Beech Bend - Holiday Lights Spectacular

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Sunday, December 9, 2007 2:17 AM
I am a long time lurker, but I just wanted to share my little trip report on Beech Bend's Holiday event. I hadn't seen anything about this yet, so just in case anyone was curious about it...

My boyfriend and I left Louisville late afternoon and got there soon after 5:30PM central.

We stopped at a rest area along the way and got a brochure on the Beech Bend Christmas event. We saw that several local grocery stores were offering discount tickets. Luckily, when we got off the exit and began heading south on 31W toward the park, we passed right by a Houchens Grocery Store where the discounts tickets were advertised, so we stopped. The discount offer was $1 off per car load, so we paid $14 instead of the gate price of $15. A dollar is a dollar, I guess.

We really didn’t know where we were supposed to be going for the drive-through light display or where to park to get to the coaster. We went in the main entrance just like we do to get into the park during the summer. The sign-age could have been better, but we were able to follow the very dark signs. They guided us toward the campground. The drive-through light display was at the campground. I was actually pretty impressed with the display. There were several different lighted scenes showing off Christmas. One scene was even for Hanukah. Most were elves, reindeer, santas or snowmen, but there were a few religious displays as well, including a bible.

At the end of the drive-through display, the small red arrows led us to the park’s speedway. We literally parked right on the speedway. We then got in the line to wait for the North Pole Express train. The “train” was actually a wagon pulled by a tractor. They had done a great job with the wagon though. It had multi-colored icicle lights around it, it was covered and there were bales of hay along the edge where they had put up fencing to keep people from falling out. We were all facing inward for the ride. We were squeezed in rather close, but there was plenty of leg room and it was a very pleasant ride. It’d be a long wait to ride on crowded days though.

The “train” dropped us right off inside the park by the Starship 2000 ride. We went to a nearby concession stand to buy our ride tickets. Tickets were 50 cents each. Kentucky Rumbler was six tickets to ride. We bought the special deal to get 50 tickets for $20, so that was four rides for each of us on the coaster (with 2 tickets to spare). We went immediately for our first ride. We walked right up to the station and there was no one there. About eight people were sitting in the coaster and they were waiting for us before taking off. Those people were all sitting in the middle, so we immediately went to the front!

Kentucky Rumbler may not be the biggest, fastest, tallest, coaster, but it sure is fun! That’s what I like. I like fun. I am not a thrill-seeker. I love riding coasters because they are fun. We had a great ride. Temperatures were about in the lower 50s. It had rained that day and the track was wet. I thought the ride was super smooth and we had some great air time moments. Sometimes I forget how great this coaster is. It will be staying in my top ten for sure.

We walked around the area for a while. They had several activities going on. They had opportunities for kids to meet Santa inside the new Rumbler building. They had ice skating. The rink was situated right in front of the Rumbler and beside the building. I thought the rink was too small, but people really seemed to enjoy it. While the Rumbler was the only coaster open, they did have other flat rides open. People were definitely taking advantage of riding. I’d say the crowds were decent, but not outrageous, probably what I’d see there on a typical Saturday in the peak summer. They also had lights around the lake and a few lighted trees. Also on the other side of the lake, they were showing Christmas movies. They had bleachers set out for anyone to sit and watch the movies. Sadly, it was really hard to see the picture on the screen they had set out.

We had our final three rides on Kentucky Rumbler. We sat second to last for our second ride, which we found was just as smooth as the front row. But front row is our favorite, so we sat there our final two times. On the last time in line for the front, the ride op came up to us and told Michael that he’d have to take his glasses off this time (he hadn’t on the other three rides that night). The ride op said someone had lost their glasses on the coaster that night and they climbed over the fence to go looking for them, so boss said nothing at all on people’s head, no hats or glasses. Michael asked if he had worn his strap on his glasses, could he have worn them and the answer was yes. That’s fair. But he didn’t bring the strap, so his final ride was blurry, which was just as well since the fog was rolling in pretty thick anyway.

After our final Rumbler ride, I bought some kettle corn for the trip home. We opted not to wait in the long line for the “train” and we walked back to the speedway where our car was parked.

While it was certainly no Kings Island Winterfest, or Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, Beech Bend did a great job in putting together a Christmas event. It was clear they don’t have the funds to go all out, but they really seemed to put a lot of effort to give a holiday cheer to their visitors. I was quite impressed and hope they have this again next year.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007 8:34 AM
Sounds like a nice time.
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Sunday, December 9, 2007 9:33 AM
I'll be driving out next weekend, from Philly, to hit it on Friday night, hopefully, and then take in Dollywood, on Saturday.
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Sunday, December 9, 2007 11:23 AM
Was there ever any issues with the weather being to cold to run KR at night, or did the temperature cooperate?

Asking this question now really won't help me next weekend, but still, I am curious to know.

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Monday, December 10, 2007 1:14 AM
The temperatures were in the middle 50s when we were there Saturday night (Dec 8), so there were no cold issues for running the coaster.

However, when we were waiting for the train to come back to the station, I overheard the ride op telling a couple of boys waiting for front row that they should be glad they were not there earlier in the week when the temperatures were in the 20s because people were coming off the coaster freezing.

I don't know if that man was exaggerating about the temperatures or if he was just mistaken at how cold it really was. I find it kind of hard to believe they'd run it in the 20s, but who knows. I'd say if anyone does, Beech Bend would. They seem pretty relax.

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Monday, December 10, 2007 2:16 PM
Thanks for the detailed report! I was originally planning on going to this, but I live a bit too far away to make it a simple trip, and it just isn't going to work out.

But it sounds like they put a nice event together. I hope they do well with it.

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Monday, December 10, 2007 2:40 PM

Novinha said:

That’s what I like. I like fun.


That statement is one of the best things I've read all week. It really made me smile. And I couldn't agree more!

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Monday, December 10, 2007 3:40 PM
And fun it is! I went last night and it was indeed spectacular!
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Monday, December 10, 2007 3:47 PM
I was hoping to get down there, but it's looking less and less likely. Damn holidays.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007 1:46 AM
Be sure to call the park first if you're thinking of going during the week. Apparently someone from TPR went tonight and the light display drive thru was open but the actual park was closed!
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Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:18 AM
A group of co-workers and I went down last week and had a blast! Did the ice skating thing for the first time in my life and only managed to bust my butt once! The KY Rumbler was insane in the cold 38 degree weather that night but was still fun. The camera was messed up for the on ride photo so the workers at the camera booth gave us tickets to ride the coaster again for free! Pretty cool move on their part I say.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:21 PM
Man, I wish OUR local drive trough display way a hayride from a nice woodie. :)
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Monday, December 1, 2008 10:47 AM

They are doing this again this year... http://beechbend.com/Holiday%20Lights.htm

As far as I know, this is the only coaster you can ride in the winter time except for the ones in Cali, Florida or MoA. I will be there on New Year's Eve. I hope to see you there as well.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008 12:37 PM

Dollywood

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008 10:20 PM

At midnight?

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008 11:47 AM

No.

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