Other theme parks: Kings Dominion

 

kings dominion visit

This is a continuation of my series on other theme parks, for those times when you just can’t get to Disney but want to spend a day at a theme park.  Kings Dominion, located in Doswell, Virginia, is one of the theme parks owned by Cedar Fair.  It was a really nice park, and here are some of the things that we noticed!

Fun themeing

kings dominion 6

I pointed out before that there is a difference between a amusement park and a theme park.  Some of Cedar Fair’s other parks don’t have much themeing to them.  My husband and I have been to Dorney Park a number of times because we live near it, and while it’s fun it doesn’t have that sort of charm to it.  So we were surprised to see that Kings Dominion did!  When you first come in you are on “International Street,” which is reminiscent of the Epcot World Showcase.  There is also a Safari Village, with an Animal Kingdom feel, and “Old Virginia.”  And for the kids, like most Cedar Fair parks, there is a Planet Snoopy section.  Think Mickey-like themeing but with the Peanuts gang.  We loved an attraction that was like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger spin in set-up, but themed more like the Haunted Mansion.

Good thrill rides

kings dominion

We love roller coasters.  While the ones here weren’t quite as impressive as the ones at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, there were still some that we enjoyed a lot.  Volcano: The Blast Coaster was probably my favorite: it shoots you up into the air through a “volcano!”  The Backlot Stunt Coaster was fun and reminded me of a slightly tamer, outside version of Rockin’ Roller Coaster.  And the Dominator was a blast.  There were a number of other coasters to try out too, but those were the highlights for us.  For kids and families there are a number of more traditional amusement park rides.  Nothing terribly unique like at Disney, but still a fun time.

A clean park

kings dominion 3

No park can stay as clean as Disney, but Kings Dominion did a good job of presenting itself well.  I was impressed with how pretty it looked and how nice everything was kept.  This probably goes along with the themeing as well, but the upkeep was just quite nice and didn’t feel like your typical amusement park that can have a very industrial feel, with all of the steel and concrete.

Built-in Water Park

kings dominion soak city

Included with your admission is access to their water park.  We didn’t make use of this feature because there were so many non- water park attractions that we wanted to check out, but it would be nice if you’re there on a really hot day!  The section is called Soak City and they have about a dozen attractions, including a lazy river and a place to just lay out and enjoy the sun.

Mediocre Food

kings dominion 4

Unfortunately, the part where Kings Dominion really seemed to come up a bit short was in the food department.  We searched around awhile for something besides the typical pizza/burgers, but couldn’t find much.  You would think with “International Street” they would have more exciting food options, but the most unique thing there was tacos.  We finally settled on pizza and a salad and were totally underwhelmed.  The pizza was greasy and the salad was mostly lettuce that didn’t seem very fresh.  However, good news could be on the horizon: their website mentions a new culinary team working in the parks for 2015, and states that “New menu items for the park to include, fish tacos, park made coleslaw, new and improved grab and go desserts, signature salads throughout the park, more side options such as pasta salads, cucumber tomato salad, caprese salad.”  Sounds good to me!

Entertainment

kings dominion peanuts

Though not as much as some other parks, Kings Dominion does offer live entertainment.  The only thing we saw while we were there was a karaoke competition – which is a fun idea, but man some of those people up there were horrible singers!  There’s no word on the line-up for the 2015 entertainment, but the feeling we got from being there that it was more of a “side” thing going on that you would stop to watch for a little bit, not a big show that you made an effort to go to.  There are also occasionally Peanuts characters out to take pictures with in the kids section.

Overall I was impressed with Kings Dominion, especially the themeing!  Have you been there?  What did you think?

 For others in this series, check out the following:

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

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