On May 16th and 17th, Cedar Point's sister park to the south, Kings Island, hosted the inaugural event of Coasterstock. This event was open to several coaster enthusiast clubs from around the country. Pre-registration was required for this event, and the fee to attend was minimal based on your need for a ticket or being a passholder. Over 500 people from 24 different states and Canada showed up for this event.
On Saturday morning, check-in began at 6:30 in the morning, allowing registered participants to pick up their lanyards that would give them access to the planned events, as well as all of the free stuff. Each participant received a t-shirt, lanyard with itinerary card, a pin, a drink bottle with free refills on first day, and two free ride photo cards, one for Banshee and one for Beast. The front gates opened up shortly before 8, and we had exclusive ride time (ERT) for two hours before the park opened to the general public. Banshee was a popular spot, as riders raced off and ran around to get in line again and again. The Bat, Delirium, Drop Tower, and Adventure Express were also open for riders to enjoy. Lines were short, and everyone took full advantage of it. Later on in the morning, there was a behind the scenes photo tour of Banshee, where we got to go along a back path and take photos of Banshee as she screamed down the tracks.
The afternoon held many more activities with guest speaker, Dennis Speigel, who gave a talk in the Kings Island Theater. Sadly, I missed out on this because I knew that my small child would not be able to sit still and be quiet for it. The information I learned from others though was that it was an excellent speech. Dinner soon followed, and it was a great meal of ribs, chicken, corn, green beans, and an assortment of desserts. Snoopy and friends made several appearances during dinner and stopped to pose for pictures with everyone. Once the park closed, it was time for more ERT on Beast, Diamondback, Vortex, and Backlot Stunt Coaster. Not even the drizzle of rain could keep the most dedicated riders away, and rides took place up until midnight.
Sunday morning brought sunshine and more events for us to enjoy. At 7:30 in the morning, a group of us gathered to take a behind the scenes tour of the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad. We walked through the backstage areas and to the engine house, where we enjoyed a talk from the head engineer on the history of the trains featured at Kings Island. While I enjoyed the talk, I would have liked a little bit more view of inside the engine house. Afterwards, we walked back into the park to enjoy ERT on the Racer, Flight of Fear, and Firehawk, as well as an exclusive walk through Dinosaurs Alive!
Lunch was once again provided, and consisted of burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, pasta salad, fresh fruit, and blue ice cream. Another behind the scenes photo tour of Beast and Diamondback took place, and gave everyone an up close shot at the two rides. A brief afternoon shower gave way to more sunshine, and as the park closed, even more ERT. The day closed out with rides on Adventure Express, Banshee, Diamondback, Woodstock Gliders, and Beast.
The staff at Kings Island did a fantastic job of putting together this two day event. They went over the top and beyond what I ever expected them to do. If you were ever contemplating joining a coaster club, this past weekend would have been a good reason to do so. Events like this one are not to be missed, and gives you a chance to bond and meet others who share your love of coasters and amusement parks. I can't wait to see what next year will bring for Coasterstock!