9/28 - Holiday World - GOCC Fall Freak Out (WOW)

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Holiday World GOCC Fall Freak Out - 9/28/02

“Remember the Alamo” (let us have at least one in-joke ;))


One word sums up my experience at the Holiday World GOCC event, my first trip to that sacred ground: “disbelief.” Disbelief that one little amusement park can be such a life-changing experience. Disbelief that a park can be kept so immaculately clean, that even the lowest employees can care so compassionately about guests, and that park owners can be so down-to-Earth and caring, not about sucking every last penny from their guests, but about simply being the best and bending over backwards to make guests happy. And finally, disbelief that I could achieve so many coaster rides during an ERT session (so many of them being rerides), that I could reach such a state of euphoric coaster bliss, and that coasters as freaking insane as Raven and Legend can even exist. All of this can be found at Holiday World. Forget Coastermania; THIS was the single greatest day I have ever experienced at an amusement park.

The memories are too numerous, but I will try my best to mention the highlights of the highlights. Rob (Robodud), Kristin (KicksTheSky), and Tim (vacoasterfreak) came into Delaware, OH, at my college on Friday night around 1 AM to stay the night. Knowing we had to get up at 5 AM the next day, we still played DDR until 2:30 (Tim’s first experience with the game, which was entertaining to say the least, although I suck too so I can’t say anything). Anyway, 2 hours of sleep later, we were up, and by 6:30 AM we were on the road. At 10:30 AM Indiana time, we pulled into my new favorite theme park anywhere. Groggy, slow, but at the same time very adrenalized, we spent the next 11 hours in amusement park heaven, meeting up and hanging out all day with Brad (ArrowGuy). The group was in place; let the good times roll! Besides the amazing coaster rides we scored, goofing around and videotaping our antics played a major part in our day—I can’t wait to see Kristin’s video.

As for the coasters themselves, I for one cannot decide which one I like better. On first impulse, I want to say the obvious answer: Legend. This is by far the most intense coaster I’ve ever ridden. It has everything: perfect pacing, bat-out-of-hell speed, laterals so insane that no word has been invented in the English language to do them justice, and even some ejector-slamming airtime. From start to finish, this is probably the most physically demanding coaster ever designed, yet it still runs smooth as glass thanks to Mr. Jeff Hammersley. So why isn’t it better than Raven? I really don’t know. Raven has lots more airtime, but it also has some kind of magic spark (and I’m not just talking about what was coming from the upstop wheels on our nighttime ERT rides) that just does it for me. Raven also has that 5th drop (the skies opened, and I saw God), and lots of crazy, wacky moments. The last fifteen seconds, especially, are absolute coaster perfection, especially when it is dark and the train is FLYING! There’s a reason why it’s been the number-one rated coaster for eternity. I really can’t decide which I like better, but both are in a class way above and beyond any other wooden (or steel, for that matter) coaster I’ve ever ridden.

So many other things happened, and I’m bound to forget something. Meeting the Holiday world “celebrities” (Mrs. Koch, Will, Paula, Jeff, etc.) was fantastic. At the end of the night, I hugged Mrs. Koch and asked her to adopt me. Maybe it was because I saw what fun her grandkids were having all night long, doing spiels on Legend (“Who wants to ride again?!?!?!?”) and running around and slapping hands with riders on dispatching trains. The kids fit in with the rest of the staff, however, who were also just as enthusiastic, slapping hands all night long and hauling ass to make dispatches as fast as possible. And what about allowing 3-cycle rerides during ERT? And friendly doesn’t even begin to describe the staff. Instead of screaming “NO LOOSE ARTICLES,” the Holiday World employees kindly ask you, “Can I take your bag?” Imagine having staff walk up to you and actually ask you, “How was your day?” Imagine SMILING staff. From the top on down to the lowliest midway-sweep, the folks at Holiday World genuinely care about their guests and love what they’re doing.

The walkback and photo tour was phenomenal. In addition to seeing Raven and Legend running up close (which is impossible from the midway, since they are so well hidden), we even got to see Legend’s old Gerstlauer trains in storage. The dinner was great—huge slices of pizza and hunks of fudge—and so were the speeches from the Koch family and GOCC officers. And Holidog and Santa even made guest appearances at our dinner. Rob found out the hard way that Santa knows who’s naughty and who’s nice; after being sternly told that he's been so horrible he's getting nothing for Christmas this year. ;)

And the ERT…I’m still trying to come to terms with it. Rumor has it that while we enthusiasts were inside eating our pizza, the HW crew was busy re-greasing the tracks. If so, it showed, for these coasters were absolutely flying – I’m talking two totally different rides than in the daytime. Imagine investing all that work into your coasters just so 140 people can get insane rides for 2 hours; that’s Holiday World for you. Jeff Hammersley was proud to announce to us on Legend that we had just ridden the fastest Legend train EVER (that’s 63 seconds—compare that to the 73 second interval that is programmed into the computer), and then he had to take a ride to see for himself how his baby was cooking. As the train flew into the final brakes, he shouted, “I’ve worked two years to get her like this!” I’m one who always, always, puts his hands up on coasters, but I was holding on for dear life on my nighttime Legend rides. It was hauling around too fast for me to comprehend what was going on, and even though I was holding on tight, I still knocked into whoever was riding next to me several times. Yes, it was so fast that crazy doesn’t even begin to describe it. In fact, the super-fast intervals caused some computer problems, as the ride kept setting up all throughout ERT, which resulted in quite a few stops on the chain lift and delays. So, how did Holiday World deal with it? Well, for one, they could have easily just shut the ride down and let us ride Raven all night, but instead, they kept Legend going, constantly resetting the ride’s computer and tweaking ride sensors all throughout the ERT. It was an obvious pain in the rear for Jeff and the ride crew, but they did so with a smile and kept slapping hands to every train that dispatched (by the way, Mrs. Koch and Will were there also to get in on then hand-slapping). And for the minimal problems the Legend caused, they even extended ERT an additional half-hour. Have I mentioned that I love this park? :)

Likewise, Raven was also a completely different animal at night. Airtime showed up in places where it wasn’t during the day. I was standing all the way down the 5th drop in the 2nd seat from the front, and then I tried the back…words cannot describe. Soaring through the woods at what felt like 100 mph in the pitch dark, every single turn, which you would think I’d be expecting, took me by surprise. And yes, it was flying so fast that sparks were literally flying left and right. I was privileged enough to take some rides with Bethany of the Raven crew. The experience made her say, “This makes me wish I were a coaster enthusiast.” It made me say, “Thank God I’m a coaster enthusiast!”

The whole experience was a rite-of-passage. I’m still in awe over everything that happened, and Tim was so overwhelmed that his phrase of the day became, “I just gave birth (again).” I know that there were a lot of non-members of GOCC there yesterday, and I would expect that this event alone would cause that group’s membership to swell. Having met the officers, who were all very cool, was great. All I can say is THANK YOU! Like usual at these events, I also had the chance to meet and talk with several enthusiasts, too numerous to name. To them, and especially to our motley crew, thanks for the great time! "You best not be doing that to my wife..." - woops, another inside joke! The effects of the day are lasting. I heard the sounds of Legend’s bell and the howling on the first drop in my sleep last night, and I ache all over today after power-riding some of the most physical coasters ever built. To think that Rob, Kristin, and Tim got up bright and early (after getting in at 3:30 AM) and headed to CP. Simply put, you guys are nuts.

For those who haven’t been to Holiday World, get there! Preferably during an enthusiast event, because the rides run in an entirely different dimension then. I will definitely be at SRM next year, although I don’t know if it will be better than this event, since I know there will be tons of people there (and understandably so). To the folks at Holiday World, you’ve gained yet another convert; I look forward to my future visits! I think Jeff Hammersley’s quote sums up why: After the last Legend ride of the night, I walked up to him, shook his hand, and said, “Thank you. You are a god.” “No, no,” he replied, “I’m just an employee of Holiday World. And we take care of our guests here.”

Legend: So long, so few chances to breathe.

*** This post was edited by MooreOn on 9/29/2002. ***

I was at the Fall Freak Out. It rocked! 7 straight rides on the Raven, not much can beat that.
Yeah but Chris Godsey was a close second there Chubs, but our Raven rides were hardcore! Will, Pat, and Paula really know how to run a park.
Man that sounds awesome. I haven't been there yet but I'm going to SRM or GOCC next year.


rollergator's avatar
Jeff H. said:
“I’m just an employee of Holiday World. And we take care of our guests here.”
21 percent! It's no accident, my friends...wish I could have joined you, heard it was an EXCELLENT event....

Sounds like a crazy time. Kevin Smallhorn from Atlanta, GA called me a few hours ago and told me how inside his first rides on those coaster were on Saturday. I really, REALLY, wanted to be at that event but work prevailed.


Tears are still flowing as I type this from my little iMac at 1:30am after arriving home. Tears of joy from getting 90 laps on Legend this weekend (66 of which were Sunday alone, not counting the 20 or so on Raven and some flats). And tears of joy from seeing this amazing little park change some of my friends forever. I couldn't have had a better time guys, with the exception of those who couldn't be with us. :( I shall sum it up now. See sig for more:

Laps on Legend this weekend: 90. Total laps since 2000: 140. Blocks of fudge eaten: 1 (and that was with marshmallows!). Time taken to eat the block of fudge: Approx 1 hour. Free drinks consumed:16. Bruises: 33. Number of broken bolts found this morning under Legend (from the ERT): 2. Hugs given to Holidog: 2 (for some reason Holidog got really tall in the kid's area). Minutes Kristin's camera was taping: 5,983,011 (thought Kara was there for a second :)). Frito Pies eaten: 1. Number of times I missed other parks: 0 (I originally missed KI for the Flyers, but I've finally figured these out).

Great TR! You aren't such a moron after all.......you have declared Legend as your favorite! LOL
Brad Sherman
Drinks: $0. Parking: $0. Sun Lotion: $0. Sharing an event (and my fav. coaster) with some of my bestest friends in the world: Priceless.
Model coasters and rides

I was going to write my own tr but after reading yours decided you summed it up beautifully. HW was insane and my gf and I had a blast. We managed 4/triple rides on Raven-and lost count on how many on Legend. What a park and what woodies! Yea we got Cylone at Coney but what I wouldnt give for a woodie like Legend or Raven at SFGrtAdv! The atmosphere at HW really made other parks we've been to seem very anal about all their rules and guidelines. Thats really too bad I think they could learn alot from HW. The GOCCs we met were wonderful and great people and the best part of that (for me anyway ) was finally meeting the infamous Raptor Jo-that woman was even hotter than she was on Discovery....and talk about CRAZY - she was off the hook during ERT!!!!! I think we may have scared her when we 1st saw her What an awesome time and cant wait tilll we get our on ride pics back! Cyclone has now taken 3rd place under LEGEND & RAVEN!

Next stop.......PPP, SFWOA & CP!!



*** This post was edited by viper136 on 9/30/2002. ***

Okay, let me just say that I feel like a member of Fight Club. Josh and I rode Legend 30 times without getting off, and the bruises on my legs show it. I did not get home until 6:30am on Sunday after an "interesting" ride home from Santa Claus, IN to Newnan, GA (about 30 mins south of Atlanta). I hurt so bad when I woke up. All I could think of was how Sean F. had explained SRM to me in the past. That was THE most intense and fun time I have ever had at a park. It was my first time, and I could not stop telling my wife how amazing it was. I too will be at SRM next year, and my wife made me promise that I am not to go without her.

On a side note: If it wasn't for the group I was hanging out with I would not have had as much fun as I did. Thanks Joe, Chris, Kyle, Jewels, Keith, Josh, Tim, Heather, Cindy, Phillip, Corey, Jack and all the rest. That was an amazing time.

Thank you to Mrs. Koch, Will, Brandon, Paula and the rest of the HW staff for making our trip so much fun. It made the 7 hour drive worth every minute. And a special thanks to Jeff for greasing up the tracks. I believe I saw coaster perfection this weekend!

Just wanted to extend a big thank you, to everyone at HW for making Saturday my best day at a park yet. For anyone on the last Raven ride of the night (oh wait that was 4 rides we stayed on !!) I think I speak for everyone, when I say it was so cool to see Grandma Koch hug every single one of us when we got off the train. It almost brought tears to my eyes, because these people really care(and they definately reinforced that during ERT).

As for Jeff Hammersley what can I say, this guy is just amazing, he takes so much pride in Legend(and he should!).After one of my conversations with him I found that he realizes that although this ride is Insan in it's current state he knows it has not yet reached it's potential. He explained to me that the new PTC's are still set at stock settings, and that in the off seanon he hopefully will get a chance to tweak/loosen up the wheel bearings. (I can't wait to see these trains preform next year !!)

See you all at SRM !!

HW & IB, I love living in Indiana!

rollergator's avatar

Hey Sean....question that comes up for me: Is Jeff H. an honorary ACE member....if not, he DESERVES it! I mean, would any non-enthusiast spend so much time trying to shave seconds off the time of two of the greatest coasters out there?

bill, thinking that HW doesn't NEED a drop ride, they HAVE one...Raven - the train just DROPS out from under you...:)

Gator, I don't know.. I'm sure Paula would though , I'm sure she will be checking this thread soon.You are right, he does deserve it.Gator, have you met this guy, he is awesome !!

He worked that morning(he put a crapload of graphite on the track) and then marathoned in the morning (checking and clocking the train.) it's awesome to here him critique the ride as it goes through the coarse. plus he wanted to rack up his last ten rides, so he could hit 1,000 first ride during ERT.

He is just so proud of his creation, it is awesome !

Correction to your sig there are two drop rides at HW now thanks in part to Jeff Hammersley !!

HW & IB, I love living in Indiana!

Saturday was *Awesome*! I have NEVER had that much fun at a Park. That was also my 1st visit to HW and I was amazed. I never thought I would love those 2 Coasters as much as I do, Wow.

I'm with ScorcherBoy, if it wasn't for the group I was with I would not of had nearly as much fun as I did. GOOD TIMES! We had an absolute blast. It was Great to see everyone again. Thanks for the Glow Sticks Kev! :) I miss all the fun times :(

Robodud's avatar

MooreOn, EXCELLENT TR! I don't think I could have summed up my second experience at Holiday World better than you have.

I had a blast! Not only we're the coasters kickin butt, but the people running the park were as well. Special thanks to Pat, Will, Brandon, Jeff, Paula, GOCC peeps, the random employees that came up to us and asked how our day was, and all the other marathon riders for making this the best park trip ever. I saw some of the people at the park, who were replying to this thread, wish I could have met you all.

I can't even describe how well we were treated by the park. I would say beyond kings. Greasing the track for ERT, having both of Legend's trains warmed up, and extending the ERT since Legend was setting up were all very classy for Holiday World. They really know how to treat their guests and Jeff M. summed that up when MooreOn called him a god.

It was nice to meet you Paula and thanks for a great time. Thanks for the hug, Pat and your grandkids are cute too. They did a great job doing spiels and slapping hands as we went by.

Can't wait for SRM, I will definately be coming back!

"How's your balls feel?"
Parks this year: 35
Beatings from Kara: lost count at 2,504

Ok I guess it's time for me to gush about this past Saturday's fun times as well now.

The drive up with Kevin, Kyle, and Chris was fun in itself as we stopped off at Beech Bend for some credit whoring action, and actually had an AWESOME time as we rode one of the most insane flats ever (Scat 2).

But when we got to HW that's when the real fun started. We had a group of 12 going at from 4pm onward (Kevin, Chris, Kyle, Julie, Josh, Corey, Tim, Phillip, Kurt, Jack, Keith, and I) and managed to stay together basically the whole time! Taking over the Howler was PRICELESS. All of the parents and kids are like eh?

Then you had the standard pizza, chips, fudge, and pop meal at Kringles which allowed for some mingling with others before the madness began on Raven and Legend.

And did those two coasters perform or what?! I have been to every SRM and GOCC/MACC event since 00 and I think they just keep getting better and better. You can't imagine how happy I was to hear my #1 wooden coaster getting such rave reviews from all my first timer friends! Kyle, Julie, Chris, and Kevin -- I told ya! Now you guys know why I've been raving about Legend for so long. :)

Best moments I think were getting stopped on the lift hill for a few minutes, looking up at the stars and being next to all the great people listed above and just enjoying life. I know that sounds corny, but HW provides one of the best escapes I can think of. I really feel removed from reality when I'm there, and I can't thank them enough for that.

I am so glad everyone else seemed to have as much fun at the event as I did. At the risk of making this fall "classic" more crowded, I *strongly* encourage everyone to try and head out to Holiday World for their end of Sept event they have every year. You will not be disappointed.

Thanks to all the people who made the day so much fun, and to Jeff H., Will, Paula, and Pat for being such amazing hosts. Holiday World is truly a class act.

Joe "Where was Godsey?" C.

It tastes like burning.

Donny, my friend Steve and I were on the last ride of the Raven. We ended up staying on seven times because no-one was waiting to get into our seats for the very last ride! 7 consecutive, WOW! The Raven was running furious that night with some extreme airtime on the legendary 5th hill. The second hill into the dive over lake rudolph was airtime all the way as well. I gave Pat a hug on the way out and thanked her for the best time of my life. Like you said Donny that kicked SRM's butt!

Legendary, Chris Godsey hung out with my group all day. He was all alone so we asked him if he wanted to go with us. He is a great guy.

Indiana + Wood = Smokin'

*** This post was edited by Binaural on 9/30/2002. ***

So I have a question, did anyone get footage of the guy almost get ejected out of Raven on the 5th hill(during the walkback)? I know most of us were probably out of the seat that far when we rode (I know I was, but it sure was scary to see from the ground!!)

HW & IB, I love living in Indiana!

Sorry I haven't checked in earlier...I'm busily getting ready for Thursday's big announcement. One of three new rides is a completely new ride, so coming up with a description for it has been quite a challenge. I guess that's why no one has guessed what it is... (You've already guessed the other two.) :)

Thanks to everyone who took part in the GOCC event on Saturday--we all had a blast, too!

I got to meet quite a few CoasterBuzzers, which was fun. I believe we had a total of 139 enthusiasts from 16 states--quite impressive!

Thanks again, Paula

Paula Werne
Director of Public Relations
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Santa Claus, Ind.

Let me just say this:

This was my first trip to HW as well. I had high expectations for these rides and well, they just completely blew me away. The sheer speed and intensity that this park runs these rides is way over my head. Ill just spend the rest of my days riding them and having a blast!

As for the ERT, Kyle, i gotta give you props for thinking of those Multi-colored blinking light sticks. They proved to be awesome in the night! Too bad Legend had its way with them :'(! Well just have to pick up some more next time.

Also, the group made the trip just so much greater. Spending the day with cool people just adds so much to the trip. I will definitely make it back to this park for many more years to come.

Thanks to HW for having this event and running your rides in an unbelievably insane mode!

PS - Thanks for the Gushers Julie!! lol


Great trip report! I don't think words can describe the experience of last weekend. The people were great. It was nice to meet some fellow buzzers. Got on Legend at about 7:50 and got off at 9:07. It was the best hour and seventeen minutes of my life(although the bruises are lasting longer). Thanks to everyone at HW for their awsome job. It is deffinately one of the greatest places on earth.

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