LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---On Saturday, Kentucky Kingdom was packed and busy, as 500 members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts group got to test out the rides, a week before the park officially opens.

“It's beautiful. I love the color. I love the trains. We're so excited. I can't wait to ride it,” said Melinda Gaspari as she boarded the Lightning Run steel roller coaster.

“4 G's on the pullout. 11 points on the track have airtime, so you're feeling negative G's on the track. From the time you go off the top of the lift, from the time you come back…. it's nonstop action,” said Michael Chance, President of Chance Rides Inc.

Melinda Gaspari was one of the lucky ones trying the rides out.

“Here we go! So exciting,” said Gaspari as the ride took off.

Ed Hart, the President and CEO of Kentucky Kingdom, says he has been waiting patiently for this day.

On Saturday, he was able to see the response from the public first-hand.

“What I'm hearing is 'awesome'. That seems to be the word of the day. The ride is awesome,” said Ed Hart.

He says it's been 4 to 5 years in the making to get the park up and running again after it shut down years ago.

Ride developers are amazed at how far it has come.

“I was here over a year ago and we signed the deal for the coaster and we were walking around and I said to one of my colleagues, I don't see how they're going to get this place open in this condition, and the job that they've done is unbelievable,” said Michael Chance.

There are 20 new attractions, and the size of the water park has now doubled at Kentucky Kingdom.

“And we have the nation's tallest body slide at 12 stories, going almost 40 miles per hour. I just want to warn all the women, make sure they wear a 1 piece bathing suit,” said Hart.

Hart is hoping people will be just as excited on opening day, as they get to experience the new rides.

“I actually have season passes for it already, so I'll be here a lot,” said Eric Sexton of Louisville.

This was the first time these fans were able to visit the park, since it was last operated in 2009 by Six Flags.

The park opens next Saturday, May 24th.

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