Specific Type: Steel, Mine Train
Throughout the late 1970's to 1980's, the names George Lucas and Steven Speilburg were household names, with blockbusters like American Graffiti, Star Wars, Jaws, and ET. The duo teamed up with Paramount to create the Indiana Jones trilogy in that time as well, Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, Temple of Doom in 1984, and The Last Crusade in 1989. With such a hit series, it was only a matter of time (with any of these movies) that an amusement ride was in the works to replicate those same sensations you feel in the movies.
Kings Island, already a thrill giant in 1990, with epic endevours such as the Racer,Beast, King Cobra, and recently at that point, the record breaking Vortex, hired Arrow Dynamics and the designing talents of Ron Toomer to design a different type ride. The idea was to produce the feeling of a runaway mine train, filled with sharp curves, theming, tunnels, and the near out-of-control feeling of a wooden coaster, but with steel. Obviously, this is inspired by a similar scene in Temple of Doom. Arrow was more than up to the job building many mine train coasters before that, such as Cedar Creek Mine Ride at Cedar Point, and Runaway Mine Train at Six Flags over Texas.
The Kings Island take on the mine train is said to be the most exciting of all the Arrow creations. Buried deep in a valley in the Oktoberfest section (2nd left from the entrance), Adventure Express was to feature two lifts, one placed about mid-course and a second to get riders back to the station. Throughout the layout included many curves with high laterals, 4 themed tunnels, sound effect throughout the pre-lift section (which is lit up at night), and a location within brush and light wooding. Until recently, Son of Beast's lift towered overhead with the first drop (and before 2007, the loop) in full view, but that coaster has since been removed from the park. Many mistake Adventure Express for Son of Beast, but rather than dissapoint, the 1991 mine train shows it still has some bite.
After winding through the lengthy queue and entering the station about 17 ft above the ground, riders enter the traditional Arrow mine train stock, pull down the lapbar, and the thumbs up means its go time. They won't return for another 2:20, so lets review what they'll endure, shall we?
Immediately exiting the station, the ride takes a drop to the right and along the first half of the pre-lift,and into a little excursion through the woods with a few s-curves and jungle birds crying all around, with that feel of a jungle train gone wrong. Another drop comes into view after a sweep to the left, plunging to the right and into the first tunnel. After the s-curve within to the left, the train exits and the main course comes into view, with lots of the tracks; twister/helix section snaking around them (no pun intended). A curve right feeds trains into a few trim brakes and enters tunnel number two. A curve left within takes riders to the first chain lift. The lift grabs hold and in a slight jerky fasion, takes riders skyward. Riders get to take in the course as they look way to the left, but their attention is soon placed forwards as the train crests at 63 ft.
A steepened drop gives way to a slightly less steep angle into a curved drop. The train races under the lift and makes a climb above the covered second lift. The left curve goes into another drop which rises into a banked sweeping turn to the right. Now facing Son of Beast's first helix, the train goes into a helix of its own, banking more heavily with high lateral g's as riders go counter-clockwise. The train straightens only to go subterrainian again, into its third tunnel. The train continues downwards as a sharp curve at the bottom treats them to the exit. A fan turn by the lift turns riders back towards the main course as it drops into a ravine, brush, trees and high grass whizzing past. The bottom of the drop curves up to the left into a 2nd set of brakes which sets up the 4th and final tunnel. The train lurches up as riders are treated to the most elaborate of the themed tunnels. Giant statues beating drums line the sides as a statue at the top holds a tray of some sort, saying "YOU HAVE DISTURBED THE FORBIDDEN TEMPLE, NOW YOU WILL PAY!!!" Riders give way to screams as they go along with it, but the fact its still a coaster comes back to riders conciousness' as the train levels out, drops slightly, and turns to the right, exiting the tunnel, and ending the ride at the final brakes which lead to the station.
The coaster is dedicated to Robert Rinkel, one of the park's former heads of maintenance who passed away before the roller coaster opened. A plaque dedicating the ride to him has been placed on a stone by the entrance to the ride. While Indiana Jones himself may sniffel at the thought of the ride, you can take this astounding journey as well when you come to Kings Island and ride the Adventure Express.
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