Sunday, January 10, 2010


There's a little amusement park outside of Richmond, Virginia that you may or may not have heard of (depending upon where you live in the world). It's called Kings Dominion.

I've been enjoying Kings Dominion since I was a little kid. Granted, it's not like Richmond was just a short drive from Roanoke, where I grew up, but it does make for a pretty decent day trip. As a small child, Kings Dominion featured a great number of attractions for the very young. Many popular Hanna-Barbera were found walking around the park greeting the children. It was the park that introduced me to the Scooby-Doo Roller Coaster.

As I got older, my Mom decided it would be a good idea to get me to ride a real roller coaster. At the age of 12, she pulled me into the line for The Grizzly, a rickety old wooden coaster in the middle of the woods. I psyched myself out so much that I literally threw up while standing in line. This was much to my Dad's relief, for he was not a fan of the roller coaster.

Only a few years later, I would finally get on my first roller coaster, beginning a love affair that will never be fully satisfied.

In 2001, Kings Dominion opened a roller coaster called the Hypersonic XLC. The XLC stood for "Xtreme Launch Coaster." I know that's a stretch for the title of today's post, what with the E being missing from the proper spelling of the word. But I digress.

Seeing commercials for that roller coaster while in college got me all kinds of excited. And so, during the summer, when the opportunity arose, a group of students, including myself, decided to take a trip to Kings Dominion to personally test this "extreme" roller coaster.

Being a new ride, it was quite popular. Thus, the line was quite long. For nearly three hours, we brave souls waited, moving slowly along the gated sidewalks. Of course, we were constantly reminded of the extremeness of the coaster, what with all the screaming going on around us.

Standing in line, we watched as the car (which held only eight people at a time, hence the long wait) would approach the "launch zone." The car would then be launched to 80mph in order to immediately mount the 90 degree climb. The car would go straight up into the air, then at the top, would make it over the hump to go straight back down, another 90 degree angle. After that, the car just made a loop back to the beginning. The entire ride might have lasted 30 seconds.

I didn't actually time it. I just remember thinking, as I got off the ride, that the ride was certainly not worth the wait. After that, we decided to go ride the Anaconda over and over again. The Anaconda is still a very good roller coaster, but it's very old. No one wants to get in line for an old roller coaster. I don't get what the problem is. It's fun to ride a coaster and not have to get out because no one else is waiting to get on.

In 2007, the Hypersonic XLC was shut down and put up for sale. I guess there were more people that felt like me. The duration of the ride just wasn't worth the wait. They should probably remove the X from the title. Because extreme, it was not.


  1. I really enjoyed your observations here. There is nothing like the extreme feeling you get from an old rollercoaster. I should know. I was 18 the last time I got on one and that was mega-decades ago.

  2. Makes a great little story, extreme or not!

  3. I am the biggest chicken when it comes to showground rides. You wouldn't get me on any of them nowadays. In my teens I went on the old wooden one at Luna Park in Sydney and was sooooo terrified, Never again.Being turned upside down and spun around and having my stomach go up into my throat isn't fun to me.