Review: Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion


Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA is the reincarnation of The Hurler, a lumbering wooden coaster well past its prime.  It’s the latest RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) makeover to open – to critical acclaim.  Featuring RMC’s signature I-Box track – 3,351 feet of it – it’s taller, longer, faster and smoother than its predecessor.  It’s also a lot more exciting.  Talk about a new twist!

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Layout, Theme and Setting

Located at the edge of the Candy Apple Grove section of the park, Twisted Timbers has a triple out and back layout.  It’s nicely themed after an orchard, from the graphics on the train to the signage in the loading station to the rusty pickup truck outside the station.   Operating with two trains (one blue and one green) containing six cars seating two across in two rows, it has a total capacity of 24 riders.  The restraint consists of a seat belt and lap bar with shin guards.  Whereas it’s customary for riders to pull down their restraints, that’s strictly against protocol for this coaster.  As soon as the air gates open, riders are told “Please do not pull down on the orange lap bars.”  That’s a task relegated to the ride ops. As to the lap bars themselves, this is the first RMC coaster I’ve ridden that includes hold handles on the restraints.  However, the positioning is such that it might be a strain to actually hold on.  Twisted Timbers reaches a maximum speed of 54 mph.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

This coaster features a 111-foot chain lift hill, 109-foot barrel roll drop, several overbanked turns, cutback and zero-g roll, plus a number of airtime hills.  The fact that the initial drop incorporates a barrel roll makes it unique in my experience although it is not in fact unique – as Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom (another RMC coaster) contains a similar drop.  The Hurler rode close to the ground and RMC’s ride designer Alan Schilke chose to keep it that way in converting it to Twisted Timbers.  I thought that it would be interesting to compare before and after photos.

The Hurler – Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Twisted Timbers – Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Ride Experience

A ride on Twisted Timbers begins with a slight right turn out of the loading station followed by an ascent of the lift hill.  I found the journey up the lift hill to be slow and rather jerky; clickety-clack.  One of the people with whom I rode clearly had the same perception, exclaiming “I hate slow roller coasters!”  Having ridden it several times, I was tempted to tell her that things were about to kick into a higher gear but decided to let her find that out for herself.  Once at the top, the train makes a small dip and navigates a right-banked turn, during which it picks up speed, before hurling the riders through the barrel roll drop.   And I must say that the drop is pretty awesome.

After the initial drop the train traverses a small airtime hill and goes up into an overbanked right turn before negotiating the first of several trick track elements.  This is followed by three consecutive airtime hills and we are talking serious ejector airtime.  A short trick track section leads into another right-banked turn and cutback.  Upon exiting the cutback the train goes over more airtime hills, reaching a trick track double up.  Then several twists and turns take the train into a very cool zero-g roll.  Spiralling down through a zero-g roll like this was a lot more fun than rolling through one during which the elevation of the track changes only slightly.  After the zero-g the train veers sharply to the right.  Another twist and a couple more airtime hills bring the ride to a conclusion.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Final Thoughts

I quite frankly was not at all excited about Twisted Timbers when it was first announced but after watching POV videos I decided that it was well worth a trip to Virginia.  This coaster offers novelty, airtime and thrills.  The pacing is close to perfect and except for the lift hill the ride is exquisitely smooth.  As to the thrills, I would place Twisted Timbers in the high thrill rather than extreme thrill category but it’s certainly thrilling enough.  A night ride on this coaster is nothing short of amazing.

Final Rating – 9.0 out of 10 (Excellent)

What’s your take?  Have you ridden Twisted Timbers and if so, how would you rate it?

(Video courtesy of Kings Dominion)