7/17-20 Midwest Wood: The good, the bad, and The Voyage!

Associated parks:
None

Friday, July 25, 2008 5:32 AM
7/17 Indiana Beach

Set out from Chicago at 7am and made it to Monticello in time to have breakfast at "Harvest Time". Breakfast and service was GREAT here. Got to IB just as they were opening and at the gate found out that our $3 off Coke proof-of-purchase labels were good for BOGO, so we got two ride sessions for $25 and change. That was a nice surprise not mentioned on the IB website. Rode HH and Cornball (very front and very back were roped off though). CBE was a great ride of course. They let us re-ride since there was no one waiting. Steel Hawg opened even though at the gate it was listed as "not operating today". We took a lap on that. It is so new and shiny and I loved that, but the ride is fairly tame. Some of the elements reminded me of Mystery Mine in a way, maybe I was expecting more from it because of that. I was kind of disappointed. Still, inversions are always welcome. The super-fast lift was the highlight and I rode it twice, so it's all good....glad it's there. The day at IB was so relaxed and fun...I loved all the flats. Even though they ran on an every 1/2 hour schedule, we managed to ride them all, except for Air Crow...which ran early, but then they never bothered to open it on the scheduled 1/2 hour after that-at least the two times I went by to ride it. Still, the Water Swings, Paratrooper, and Falling Star opened as noted and were all good rides....especially Paratrooper. Never ridden one before. I like it more than I do the Enterprise rides I think. We were loving IB by now-even the Lost Coaster was a nice surprise-longest wait of the day BTW (20 min). We headed up the boardwalk and enjoyed the food smells and sights and the Ferris Wheel with those great open gondolas. We found the Fascination game that I've heard so much about, and went in and got a "lesson" from the nice lady there and played that. The Fascination lady was so nice and patient and explained to us how it works and how it's really supposed to be played with a full group of people. The Double Shot was painful to us at the top (It's short but packs a punch), and we skipped the water park. We did take Josh M's advice from my earlier post and had our lunch at the Taco Shoppe. It was great! The tacos were awesome, but the cheese fries were the absolute best I've ever had. We did the Haunted Castle after that, rode CB again and Tig'rr a second time (loved the lack of restraints) and left the park. Galaxi ran for just a little while in the morning, but shut down after that and we did not get to ride that and the blasted Sky Ride never opened. I have the worst luck with sky rides. Still it was a great afternoon at IB. So glad this great little park is close enough to Chicago for a day trip.

7/18 Holiday World

We were going to spend this day in Louisville at KK, but were there last year and even though I really wanted to ride what I consider to be the best stand-up (of the few that I've been on anyway) Chang, and the wonderful Deluge again, we skipped KK and drove straight to Santa Claus because we thought Friday there would be less crowded than Saturday and that we might need 2 days at HW. We didn't, but now wish we had stayed there for a 2nd day, we wanted to, but St. Louis was on the agenda too so we made do with one perfect Friday at HW.

So much has been said about HW and how great the place is, that I had high expectations for my first trip. I knew from here that the coasters were going to be amazing, the park was going to be amazing, and the overall experience was going to be amazing. Yet, I still didn't "get it". Well, I get it now. My high expectations were not only met but far exceeded. HW just amazed me in every way. I had my most perfect park day there ever. The place was very busy but still there was almost no waiting for anything. They were running ONE train on Raven and Legend in the afternoon, graciously taking and storing people's hats, glasses, bags, etc. and still NO WAITING. I couldn't get over it. The water park was incredible also. It's HUGE and with so much room to expand-can you say "HUGE water coaster please?" This is where we encountered the longest (20 minute) waits for Zoombabwe and Bakuli. Kima Bay is a nice addition-water pressure could have been a bit better though. The huge double wave pool was great too. They could use a larger changing room but the abundant free sunblock left me without a burn on this cloudless, 90+ degree day. There is no excuse to go to Splashin' Safari and leave with a sunburn. This idea is such a no-brainer for a waterpark. How deeply could this cut into potential profits? I don't know anyone who has ever purchased the grossly overpriced sunblock available in the park shops. I never have. You bring your own or do without. This is just a great idea. Just a little cost to build untold amounts of good will in your guests toward your park. Same can be said for the comp. parking/pop. I know the chains will NEVER offer those things for free but a little sunblock at the waterparks? Is that too much to ask of the big boys? Oh and how about those $3 lockers? On a side note, I did find the waterless urinals to be a bit...umm...unique.

Enough of that tangent. Now onto "The Voyage". I know, I know it's all been said before. Let's just say no ride has ever induced REAL screams of terror in me until this behemoth. Dragster MIGHT have on my first lap if there were time to scream that is. I rode very front, very back, and middle. Each ride was incredible, unforgettable, and truly terrifyingly intense. This baby just keeps going and going and never loses steam until the final brake run. Truly the most amazing ride I've ever, and probably will ever, ride. Amen.

We had lunch at the Plymouth Rock Cafe. It was surprisingly good. The fried chicken and green beans were fantastic and priced right just like everything else at HW.

We ended the day strolling around the top of the park that we hadn't seen yet. Got a ride on Eagle's Flight since I missed Air Crow at IB the day before. First time on this type of ride and really loved it.

To end the day, we stopped in for T-shirts and souvenirs at Liberty Bell and were, once again, floored by the reasonable prices.

This place is just incredible. I almost hate to say this and some may crucify me for it, but I think the addition of a really good steelie or two would make this place perfect-or perhaps I should say "more perfect".

7/19 Six Flags St. Louis

Another new park for me. I knew that even if we had a perfect day here, that there was no way it was going to live up to HW. I tried not let that interfere with enjoying the park, but it was unavoidable in the end. We got there in time to have a short wait for EK and it's a nice little ride. It did feel a bit like riding a kiddie coaster considering I had been on the Voyage less that 24 hours before. Still, it's a nice addition. If only that had come to SFGAM here in Chicago and St. Louis had gotten stuck with DK. Next up was Mr. Freeze. This was the one I was most excited about here and it delivered a nice ride. Xcaliber looked interesting but we didn't want a re-ride. The Boss wasn't as rough as I feared either and was a decent ride except for some low-life near the front of the train that kept spitting throughout the ride, showering most of us behind him. Why do these types only seem to be found in Six Flags parks?

By now we could tell the short waits were over and the park was going to be totally packed, so we headed to the car to get our waterpark junk. I have to say the walk-up to the waterpark entrance was beautifully landscaped. Actually, the whole park is in a very nice setting with tons of mature trees, plantings, and decent landscaping. The layout confused us a bit though and we ran into several dead ends that we are not expecting or used to finding in parks. The waterpark was starting to get very busy too. The locker rental line was a good 15 min. wait. We managed to get one of the last cheap, small ($11) lockers. I didn't like waiting in the rental line but I did like the wristband system they use to automatically open your locker just by holding your wristband up to the sensor. The time spent in the rental line was made up for by not having to wait in line while group after group struggles with the one touch screen trying to remember their locker numbers and access codes. The water park here is very small but had a pretty decent lazy river and bucket area. Hooks Lagoon had great water pressure and some other nice features I've not seen before, but most of the interactive elements were either not working properly, not working at all, or had been entirely removed. The tiny wave pool was way too crowded to enjoy and we skipped the slides since the lines were out of control and coming to the waterpark was so we could avoid the lines. The waterpark got so crowded that we decided to leave the park for lunch and a motel break. We returned about an hour and a half later to find the waterpark had reached capacity and we had to wait in line about 30 minutes to re-enter. We hit Hooks Lagoon and the lazy river again, cleaned out the locker, dropped our stuff in the car and went back in to do battle with the crowds. By this time the parking lot appeared to be completely full. Still we managed to get on Ninja after only a short wait. After that we rode the train, and the swings that are like the Water Swings at IB. The lines for everything else were just too long for us, so we just strolled around for a bit and left around 8:30.

We returned Sunday morning not realizing the park didn't open until 10:30, so we were held back at the train tracks by Colossus. At least we near the front of the crowd that by 10:30 was pretty decent. We got right on Big Spin, Eagle, and Superman. Rode the swings again and the mine ride. Then rode Colossus for great views of the whole park. We had heard so much about the Scooby-Doo ride we had to ride it. Only about a 15 min wait since it was still early. Best ride of this type I've ever been on. Didn't realize it was a water ride until we came up to the loading station. Liked that. We wanted to get wet on a "real" water ride but by now lines were very long as it was very hot. The flume ride looked great though winding through all the big trees. We also failed to ride Batman, but we have the original here in Gurnee, so didn't feel too sad to have missed it. We decided to head out about 12:30 for the long boring drive up 55 back to Chicago.

All-in-all a great trip. I've ridden Voyage. Now I can die happy. *** Edited 7/25/2008 9:46:55 AM UTC by CPMagNut***

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Friday, July 25, 2008 10:57 AM
Sounds like you had a great trip! Glad you tried the Taco Shoppe... I really need to get back down there soon to try Steel Hawg... It's the closest park to me, so I have no excuse...
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Friday, July 25, 2008 8:37 PM
Thanks for the TR. Steel Hawg and Mystery Mine are my favorite steelies, I figure most of them deliver the same basic ride over and over and these two make me giggle every ride so they are my favorite steelies. 428ft? Yeah it was awesome, THE FIRST TIME :)

Thanks again.
Chuck

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Friday, July 25, 2008 10:00 PM
Glad you had a great time at Holiday World. Everything is just SICK about the park.

I got a slice of delicious pizza, fries, free drink AND a cookie for under $5.

I got a Legend T-shirt, a Voyage T-shirt and a Voyage magnent for under $20.(Legend shirt was on clearance for like $4)

Not to mention Legend and Voyage are in my top 5 wood :)

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Saturday, July 26, 2008 12:00 AM
You should have ridden Batman or should I say Namtab. If you are used to a "normal" BTR like Gam's then the experience of the mirrored version is very odd. It just doesn't feel right.

Nice TR, Might head to IB tomorrow to get my Steel Hawg credit.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008 12:11 AM
Why would the front and rear seats of both the Cornball and Hurricane be blocked off? I can't imagine that it would be coincidence that there was a problem with just those seats on both rides.
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Saturday, July 26, 2008 9:52 PM
Im going to Indiana Beach and Holiday World in 2 weeks, I cant wait. It will be my first time at Indiana Beach and only my 2nd time at Holiday World, first time since 2005.

One thing is bugging me though...Holiday World closes at 8:30??!? Thats rediculous, not even any time for night rides! Im sure a Voyage night ride would be amazing, but how are you suppoused to get one when the park closes that early?

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Saturday, July 26, 2008 11:45 PM
8:30 is actually 9:30 eastern should be a little dark for you.

I don't think HW is ever open after dark aside from enthusiasts events.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008 11:11 AM
8:30 Central will be about as light as 8:30 Eastern, depending on exactly where in each zone you're talking about.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008 11:47 AM
Santa Claus is far enough east that it is pretty dark by 8:30 a couple weeks from now.


I just did a check and on August 7 which is two Fridays from now the Sunsets at 7:50 PM

It should be quite dark by 8:30.

For comparison on the other side of the state at Cincinnati the sunsets at 8:43 PM. Well and truly there is only 7 minutes difference between the two, Central vs Eastern makes all the difference.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008 11:13 PM
Well I hope your right. I guess it is better than if they were in the Eastern time zone! That being said, I still have doubts that it will really be very dark at 8:30, but we will see. Another question, does Holiday World close the coasters early, or will they keep the lines open until 8:30 like Cedar Point does?
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Monday, July 28, 2008 1:24 PM
I got into Santa Claus on Thursday the 17th RIGHT AT 8:30. We were driving by the park just as it was closing. It was pretty dark by then. As far as the ride lines, the coasters all had a sign near the entrance that stated something to the effect of: Ride lines may close earlier than the park's actual closing time to accomodate those still waiting in line to ride. Not sure exactly what time that means or if they just "play it by ear" on this depending on crowd levels, etc. *** Edited 7/28/2008 5:26:18 PM UTC by CPMagNut***
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Monday, July 28, 2008 11:53 PM
Yeah, they play it by ear... When we've been there on weekday nights, the lines are short enough by the end of the day that it's a non-issue... they may rope the line off 5 min prior, but it was hard to tell. I think they cut the lines off early enough on busy weekend nights so that the ride only runs a few cycles beyond the actual closing time. Not like CP where they seem to allow folks into the queue right up to the minute of closing. (Note: we've twice gotten into MF's queue just at closing AND had the ride subsequently suffer a malfunction... not only did they get it fixed quickly, but they still ran the whole queue through! Kudos to CP!)

Last time we were at HW (mid June this year), ride park lines were pretty short all day, but the waterpark got very crowded during the early afternoon. About 2 hours before the waterpark closed, it emptied out bigtime - lines that were 30min+ at 1pm were 5 min or walkon by then. This was just one trip, however, so don't take it as gospel :) We're planning on heading back Wednesday; hope the rain stays away!

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