The Big Debate: Was Kings Dominion right to slow down Intimidator 305 after blackout reports? | Theme Park Tourist (2022)

In the first of a series of articles in which we'll ask readers to share their opinions on current theme park topics, this week we're asking for your views on Kings Dominion's decision to add trim brakes to its Intimidator 305 rollercoaster.

The high speed and intense twists and turns of Intimidator 305 are designed to mimic the experience of NASCAR driving, with the coaster's name being a tribute to 7-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. The $25 million Intamin Giga Coaster opened to rave reviews from coaster enthusiasts on April 3, 2010. However, one particularly tight turn has led to many riders experiencing "blackouts" due to the high g-forces exerted on them.

In response, Kings Dominion installed the brakes on the coaster's 300-feet first drop, reducing its top speed from 92mph to around 79.5mph. Despite this update (and the addition of new shoulder harnesses to the ride's trains), reports of blackouts have continued to flood in. In fact, much to our surprise, Theme Park Tourist's original article on the addition of the trim brakes has become one of the most popular stories we've ever published.

(Video) Kings Island Full Park Walk Through with The Legend

You can see a great point-of-view video of Intimidator 305 below, courtesy of Theme Park Review:

What exactly causes the blackout phenomenon, which occurs during Intimidator 305's sharp first bend (immediately after the first drop)? Essentially, when the coaster pulls out of the drop and rockets around the corner at high speed, positive g-forces are exerted on the rider's body. This effect - which is the opposite of "weightlessness" - causes blood to rush to the lower extremeties of the body, starving the brain of oxygen. This can cause both blackouts, where a person loses vision completely whilst retaining consciousness, or less severe greyouts in which vision is retained but with a perceived dimming of colors. See CoasterForce's excellent g-forces guide for further information.

It's clear from the comments on TPT's news stories that some riders love the blackout sensation, while others hate it. Kings Dominion is still experimenting with the location and level of braking on Intimidator 305, so we thought this was a great time to revisit the debate and get your views. First, let's recap the arguments made to date on whether the park was right to add trim brakes to the ride.

The "Yes" argument

Predictably, the arguments for altering Intimidator 305 center around the need to eliminate the blackout sensation. One rider, Amy, claims to have lost her contact lenses during the ride and comments: "It is ridiculous to build a ride that will cause someone to pass out. I suggest to people to keep their eyes closed if they wear contacts and not to ride if you don't want to pass out!"

The subject is being actively discussed at the park, with BigDragon claiming: "Most people were commenting on the sensation. Some liked it, but others like me really don't like the feeling...I found I was actively fighting against the ride instead of enjoying it...It's cool to suck it up and not let the ride beat you, but everyone in my group pretty much agreed never to ride it again once they got over themselves. We were far from alone."

With some suggesting that the blackout reports and negative word-of-mouth are already affecting the ride's popularity, many are understanding of King Dominion's desire to mitigate the effects. Coaster Fan backs the addition of the brakes, saying: "For the average rider, I am sure this sensation is too much hence the lack of ridership. But the park would not spend the money to build an amazing ride and then have no one want to ride it. I support their decision to modify it and appeal to the largest demographic of guests."

Joel Bullock, reviewing Intimidator 305 on his popular Coaster Critic blog, also backs Kings Dominion's move. He says: "If you feel that the ride was better before, then please hold those rides dear, but you’re wasting your time by complaining. They have to build these mega attractions so that they suit the general public, not just the thrill junkies out there. For 99.99% of people, blacking out on a roller coaster is not a desired state. No matter if the airtime is better. And, for the record, I barely noticed the trims."

The "No" argument

Intimidator 305 was open for several weeks prior to the installation of trim brakes, and some of those who experienced the ride in its "untrimmed" state are not happy about the change. Among them is Chris B: "I took a ride before the trim brakes were added and I am now very disappointed with the ride. Not in whole, but compared to what it was and what it is now. Now it's just another ride. It WAS the best. The 1st time I rode it I did have a brief grey out. This is what 'intimidated' me about riding it again."

Others agree that the brakes have taken the edge off Intimidator 305, with TwinTurbo300zx complaining: "The drop feels really slow. Once you get to the top and start to go down, about half-way through you can feel the brakes slowing down the cart. It actually felt like we slowed down so much that the carts behind us were going to flip over our heads (we were in the front), kind of like if you used only the front brake on a motorcycle."

Many are unsympathetic to the view that Kings Dominion needs Intimidator 305 to appeal to a wide audience, pointing out (often in the strongest terms) that the park has tamer rides on offer for those who want them. Winner offers one of the less offensive opinions: "If they continue to slow it down, it may as well only be half as tall. The speed is the main attraction to this ride. The signs clearly say that if you're not in the right state of mind or being, to not ride. Sorry that some people didn't enjoy it, but not every ride is meant to be enjoyed by every patron to the park."

The "maybe" argument

While most commenters to date are in one camp or the other, Alien does offer a more balanced view - and a suggestion for an alternative approach: "While I thought it was an amazing ride, I did think it was a little too intense...I would suggest removing the trims to keep the speed, re-profiling the turn so that it is an overbanked hill / turn, much like that on Millenium Force (at Cedar Point). I believe that would cut the sustained g's & keep the pace up. Further along the ride I would also re-profile the viscious direction changes to make them smoother, longer and frankly less likely to damage peoples necks. Make the coaster once again what it is supposed to be, a gravity driven powerhouse of fun."

Our take

It's difficult for us to comment on the Intimidator 305 changes, given that we've not yet been able to experience the ride - so please take our views with a pinch of salt. However, we can sympathize with Kings Dominion wanting to ensure that its huge investment pays off. Quite simply, a ride that only appeals to extreme coaster junkies is not going to achieve the park's aim of attracting new and returning guests.

Having said that, while the addition of trim brakes was probably inevitable given the publicity around the blackouts, we hope it is only temporary. Kings Dominion will have an opportunity to make significant updates to the ride during the off-season, and we'd like to see the first turn (and others, if necessary) re-profiled to reduce the g-forces to manageable levels whilst retaining the ride's high speed. A ride which tames its velocity is hardly a fitting tribute to a NASCAR racing legend, after all.

What do you think?

What do you make of Kings Dominion's decision to slow down Intimidator 305? How would you like to see the ride updated in future? Do you want it restored to its original configuration? Let us know using the comments section below!

FAQs

Did Intimidator 305 slow down? ›

In response, Kings Dominion installed the brakes on the coaster's 300-feet first drop, reducing its top speed from 92mph to around 79.5mph.

Is Intimidator 305 Intense? ›

In mere seconds, before they have to time to process the insane height, riders are at the 305-foot apex of the intimidating monster staring down at a 300-foot, 85-degree drop. As you might imagine, the descent is wildly intense.

How fast is the Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion? ›

1) Intimidator 305: At 305 feet tall and with speeds reaching 90 mph, Intimidator 305 is one of the tallest and fastest coasters in the world. The $25-million ride built by Switzerland-based Intamin is known as a giga coaster, a designation for coasters over 300 feet tall.

Does the Intimidator 305 go upside down? ›

How Fast Is Fury 325? ›

A high speed, steel, giga coaster which takes riders to a maximum height of 325 feet reaching speeds up to 95 mph. Riders will experience weightlessness and rapid movements from side to side.

How many G's is Fury 325? ›

At 81 degrees, the drop is almost vertical. In the middle of the drop, the riders even experience 1.5 seconds of weightlessness until they reach the bottom of the drop, which by then riders will hit a top speed of 95 miles per hour (mph) with a maximum vertical G-Force of approximately 4.0.

How does the Intimidator 305 work? ›

What is: Intimidator 305 - Kings Dominion - YouTube

When was fury 325 built? ›

Fury 325 is a steel roller coaster located at Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte, North Carolina. Manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, Fury 325 opened to the public on March 28, 2015.

What is the scariest roller coaster in the world 2021? ›

Formula Rossa

Move on to Dubai, UAE, you can find one of the world's scariest rides. The Formula Rossa is the world's fastest roller coaster with a top speed of 240 km/hour. This top speed accelerated after only 5 seconds, imagine how would that feel to your heart and stomach!

What's the scariest ride at Carowinds? ›

What's the Scariest Ride at Carowinds? Hands down it is Fury 325. Not only is it the tallest coaster at the park, it is the fastest coaster there and you can spot it from a mile away.

Is Steel Vengeance the best coaster in the world? ›

“The world record-breaking Steel Vengeance just debuted at Cedar Point in May 2018 as the world's tallest and fastest hybrid coaster with the steepest drop (90 degrees), longest drop (200 feet), most inversions (four) and most airtime (27.2 seconds) on any hybrid coaster,” according to the ranking by USA Today's 10Best ...

Has anyone ever died at Carowinds? ›

On July 4, 1989, two boys intentionally jumped out of the ride. One 9-year-old died and the other fell safely onto an emergency platform.

IS THE Fury 325 Scary? ›

According to the Huffington Post, Fury 325 is frightening in a variety of ways. Its highest point is 325 feet tall, roughly 20 feet taller than the statue of liberty. The roller coaster also features a 81-degree drop and peak speeds of 95 miles per hour.

How much did Fury 325 cost? ›

The Fury 325 is located at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is definitely the tallest option on this list with a peak height of 325 feet at an 81-degree drop. It reaches a top speed of 95 mph and measures 1.25 miles long. It cost roughly $30 million to construct.

Is Intimidator at Carowinds scary? ›

If you love speed and airtime, but aren't the biggest fan of inversions, Intimidator is the coaster for you. Carowinds' newest coaster isn't as intense or terrifying as other coasters on this list, but still deserves a place near the top.

How fast is 9g force? ›

Normal humans can withstand no more than 9 g's, and even that for only a few seconds. When undergoing an acceleration of 9 g's, your body feels nine times heavier than usual, blood rushes to the feet, and the heart can't pump hard enough to bring this heavier blood to the brain.

Is 4.5 g-force a lot? ›

Five to 10 seconds at 4 to 5 g vertically typically leads to tunnel vision and then loss of consciousness. Fighter jets can pull up to 9 g vertically, and the more a pilot can take without blacking out, the better their chances in a dogfight.

How many G forces does Tatsu have? ›

Its cars allow riders to ride in a face-down position for the ultimate flying experience. It contains a 124 foot tall pretzel loop, the tallest in the world, which exerts 4.5 G's. Tatsu closed in June 2021 and reopened in September 2021.

Is Rita the fastest roller coaster? ›

With a top speed of 100km/ph, Rita is the 5th fastest roller coaster in the UK. Riders on Rita experience a maximum G force of 4.7. That's the highest g-force roller coaster you'll find at Alton Towers Resort! Rita was built by Intamin, the thrill ride experts who also created Th13teen.

How many G's is the Hulk? ›

How many Gs is Apollo's chariot? ›

How tall is verbolten? ›

How old is Apollo's chariot? ›

More videos on YouTube
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
LocationWilliamsburg, Virginia, USA
StatusOperating since March 27, 1999
Cost$20,000,000
Height restriction52 inches (132 cm)
May 29, 2022

How tall is steel force? ›

This mega-coaster is recognized as one of the best steel coasters in the world. The height of the main drop is 205 feet, which is 54 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty. The 2nd hill is 161 feet tall.

How fast is Skyrush? ›

Skyrush® roller coaster climbs 200 feet into the air before flying downhill at 75 mph. Experience 4 high speed turns, 5 zero-G airtime hills - all from a thrilling, winged-seat coaster train!

How do you ride Skyrush? ›

How to Ride Skyrush at Hersheypark - YouTube

How fast does the flight of fear go? ›

An indoor steel roller coaster that launches riders up to 54 miles per hour and turns riders upside down 4 times. Riders will experience high speeds, weightlessness, and rapid movements from side to side. An individual lap bar and seatbelt secures each rider across the thighs and pelvis.

Which rollercoaster has the most G Force? ›

The highest g-force which can be experienced on a roller coaster today is 6.3 g on Tower of Terror at Gold Reef City in South Africa.

What is G force on a roller coaster? ›

Several forces are felt when riding a coaster, and keeping these within safe values is a vital skill for coaster designers. These forces are known as G-Forces or “G's”. G stands for Gravity and the number in front of it represents how many times the force of gravity is felt at a particular point.

How big is the drop on Fury 325? ›

What is the oldest ride at Carowinds? ›

Carolina Goldrusher is the oldest roller coaster at Carowinds, opening with the park on March 31, 1973. Don't let that fun fact fool ya' - this roller coaster is full of spunk and continues to produce as many screams as the day it was debuted.

Does Carowinds have rides? ›

Carowinds

Does Carowinds have test seats? ›

A test seat is located at the ride entrance which can be used to ensure proper function and comfort prior to waiting in line. Guests must have a minimum of two functioning extremities; one functioning arm and one functioning leg.

How fast does the dominator at Kings Dominion go? ›

How fast does the Velocicoaster go? ›

Velocicoaster is a steel launched coaster designed by Universal Creative and manufactured by Intamin. It stands at 155ft (47m) tall and reaches a maximum speed of 70 mph down a 4,700ft (1,400m) track, with two high-speed launches, powered by linear synchronous motors, a 140ft (43m) drop and four inversions.

Which rollercoaster has the most G Force? ›

The highest g-force which can be experienced on a roller coaster today is 6.3 g on Tower of Terror at Gold Reef City in South Africa.

How tall is the drop on Intimidator 305? ›

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