This was my first trip to HW since the 2007-ish time frame (wow how time flies) so I was interested to see how things have changed at one of my favorite parks. I was visiting with family (including three young boys) so we did not do the best with optimizing our visit and avoiding lines...we pretty much went with the flow depending on what my family wanted to do. The park was very, very busy, but not to the point of being unpleasant.
In lieu of a chronological breakdown of the day, here are some bullets with the highlights:
- The Raven is running very well. My ride in the dark, around 9PM, was as good as it's ever been. This is still my favorite coaster at HW and maybe depending on how I feel, still my all-time favorite coaster. Coaster nirvana.
- Legend seems to have a lot of visible new wood and is also running well. I was expecting it to be rougher than it was. All in all, Legend is still Legend.
- Voyage is indeed coming to an almost full stop on the mid-course break now. It certainly has a negative impact on the triple down but the effect is minimal once the train gets back toward the station. I am of the opinion that The Voyage has never been as good as the internet hive-mind has made it out to be, especially in the ride's early years, but it is certainly still a terrific ride and a rowdy good time. Again, not as rough as I was expecting, by a long shot.
- This is a honey of a ride. HW has clearly stepped up the production value with this one - the station looks great, the queue looks great, the lights on the train at night look great.
- The hardware itself is terrific. I have now been on T-Bird, Gatekeeper, and Wild Eagle, and T-Bird is the best of the three, by a country mile. It's not even close. The ride has much more oomph, zip, and spunk than the other two, and the setting and scenery cannot be beat. It's the first recent B&M looper I can think of in many years that I would rank up there with their best work from the mid-to-late 90's.
- "Masterpiece" might be too strong of a word but seriously this is a tremendous coaster and the first wingrider to really live up to the potential of the genre.
- Operations overall were fine. Ride crews seemed generally slow but it's the dog days of mid-August and I'm not one to get in a huff about this sort of thing.
- We stayed at Lake Rudolph campground. My first visit here and it's very very nice. Will do this again next time I'm at the park. Much better than the dumpy hotels nearby.
- Mammoth is the best water slide I've been on. Still haven't tried Wildebeast as lines in the waterpark were prohibitively long. Mammoth wait was about an hour.
- Man, the whole walk from Voyage to T-Bird is awkward. I can only hope they figure out what to do with the old Pilgrims Plunge area soon. That random bit of waterpark over there is just weird as well. I'm sure it's all part of a masterplan but right now that part of the park has a little too much of a RCT plop and play feel to it. Fix it please! Overall the rest of the park looked fine.
Overall a great time. Go ride Thunderbird!