Kings Dominion successfully opened its $25 million, NASCAR-themed Intimidator 305 rollercoaster as the park's 2010 season began over the Easter weekend.
The Intamin Giga Coaster features a 300-feet, 85-degree first drop and a top speed of some 92 miles per hour. Coaster fans have praised the design, which features six "air-time" humps and a number of high speed turns - with favorable comparisons being drawn to Cedar Point's Millenium Force, the only other Giga Coaster in the US.
However, early reviews on social networking site Twitter and theme park fan sites such as Theme Park Insider have drawn attention to the extremely high G-forces experienced by riders on the corner following Intimidator 305's first drop. Reports have described this as causing a "near-blackout" sensation, and indeed some riders have claimed to have suffered from actual blackouts during the turn.
Although the ride has received almost universal praise from coaster fans for its intense design, the reports of blackouts could possibly lead to adjustments in future, with the installation of trim brakes following the first drop being a likely option.
Theme Park Review were present at the opening of Intimidator 305 and have posted a full point-of-view (POV) video of the ride in action.
Intimidator 305's opening follows the launch of sister coaster Intimidator at Carowinds a week earlier. Both rollercoasters are named in honor of the late stock car driver Dale Earnhardt, who died during the Daytona 500 race in 2001.
Despite the similarities in theming between the two rides, Intimidator 305 and Intimidator are very different in design. Intimidator was designed by Intamin's rival Bolliger & Mabillard, and reaches a top speed of 75mph following a 211-feet first drop. It also features 7 "air-time" hills, representing Earnhardt's 7 NASCAR championships.
Intimidator and Intimidator 305 both feature in Theme Park Tourist's list of the 10 most exciting new theme park attractions opening in 2010.