Holiday World - 9/30/2006

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Monday, October 2, 2006 1:43 PM
Jeff's avatar I wasn't sure I'd make it to Holiday World this year, even though they opened The Voyage. It seems like every weekend I've been doing something or going somewhere, and I just wouldn't have time.

But oddly enough, I started dating someone in the spring who had never been on a roller coaster, and now wants to ride as many as she can. Weird how that goes. And since Catherine lives in Columbus now, that takes off almost two hours of drive time. She really wanted to go, and I had a favor coming at the park.

So we packed up the dog and drove down Friday night to the Comfort Inn at I-64. I've stayed there before, and it's exceptionally clean and well run. This time was no different. We went to Santa's Lodge for dinner, and they had a buffet with chemical potatoes and cold chicken fingers. Should've probably just had Wendy's but now we know.

We headed out in the morning and arrived at the park around 9:30 a.m. under a slight drizzle.

First off, puppy prison, er, doggie daycare, is very nice and clean. It's $5 to put your pooch outside, $10 to put the dog inside. Cosmo is a Boston Terrier, and doesn't hold heat very well, so we put her inside. I think Cath was put at ease by just how nice everyone was, from guest services to the ticket takers.

When 10 rolled around, we made our way back toward 4th of July and down toward Thanksgiving to ride The Voyage. Kara and Matt were also there. When we arrived at the station, one or two trains had gone out (well, it was one train, but cycled a few times). I was surprised at how long it took for the train to come back. This is a very, very long ride. We took the front seats, the Michigan dorks took the back.

The Voyage does what few rides do well. It tosses you up, then changes direction. It does this a lot, and it's a pretty amazing feeling. It does this perfectly probably a dozen times. The first few hills are Timbers-esque, and then in the turn around it gets really crazy.

I remember thinking that it went pretty slow through the mid-course, but figured I'd revise that opinion later in the day when it was warmed up. Even with the relatively slow speed at the mid-course, it never lets go after that. The Gravity Group had a lot to work with on that long descent back to the station, and they did not disappoint in any way at all. I was blown away. More on the ride later.

We walked on to Gobbler Getaway for some dark ride fun. Grandma's poor cat in the queue looked like he had a raw spot from all of the rubbing. Poor thing. The queue is absolutely beautiful, and indeed the whole ride has far more style than you'd expect for a park this size. It's world-class, even, and an indicator that the "little" park in Santa Claus isn't really that little anymore.

We rode The Legend, which was uncharacteristically slow (an opinion tainted by the four straight night rides I had at last year's Fall Affair), but I figured it would get faster as well with a full train. We were in the front again.

After that lap, we hit the flume since it wasn't clear if we'd have jackets on later in the day. Good times. I hope they scrub out the tunnel, because it smells moldy. We took one more spin Legend, toward the back, and this was a faster ride with a full train.

On to The Raven, which Catherine really liked. I'm really amazed at how well this ride runs even today. It seems to be so well maintained that I suspect it rides a lot like it did when it was new. Again, another front seat ride.

Around the park again, we entered the kids area to ride The Howler. I explained to Catherine that this is what enthusiasts call credit whoring. But hey, the kids love it.

We went to visit the dog, and then had a little lunch at Kringle's. Pizza is so hard to screw up, yet most parks make really bad pizza. Holiday World's is, as I expected still top notch. I got some cold curly fries on first try, but they had no problem giving me fresh replacements. Cath's salad was huge. All in all, it's still unusual to pay $10 for two people. Well done.

By this time Voyage had been running a couple of hours, so we headed back down there to ride again, this time in the back seat. I wasn't prepared for the difference in the experience.

The back seat offers most of the same sensation, only amplified. A lot. As much as I enjoyed it, I have to admit that by the time we went through the tunnel in the station, I was about ready for it to be over. My back was not feeling particularly good about the intense physicality of the ride. I wouldn't call it rough exactly, but intense doesn't quite capture it either. We got off the ride kind of slowly, and began leisurely started walking toward where ever our feet were taking us. I loved the ride, but wow... that seemed like a bit much.

We would make another round and browse the gift shops, take another lap on The Raven (still impressive to Catherine), and killed some time during a shower playing Skee-Ball. All told I spent about ten bucks so I could win a Stewie Griffin and some other junk.

I've been bugging Cath all season to ride Power Tower at Cedar Point, but she wouldn't do it. I figured Liberty Launch would be a good starter S&S tower because it's so small. Wow, did she freak out. You know how there are girl screams that are, well, just girl screams, and actual terror screams? These were terror screams. She did not like that ride.

It was still early afternoon, but we managed to ride most of the major attractions, and we planned to drive back to Columbus. We couldn't leave without another lap on The Voyage, and wanted to compare the warmed-up front to our earlier rides. I was surprised to see a fairly long line down into the midway, and they were only running one train. I hate to criticize the park, because it's Holiday World, but I don't understand why they were only running one train. The wait was a half-hour, which doesn't seem like it respects the guests' time very much. Oh well, I put up with it (and the smelly guy in front of us).

This last lap, in the front, was the lap that cemented The Voyage my favorite wood coaster, and maybe favorite coaster period. It was absolutely amazing, start to finish. And what a big finish it makes. Where most coasters get dull toward the end, I would argue that the best part of The Voyage is actually the last third of it. It does everything coaster dorks like... speed, airtime, laterals, amazing visuals... it's the whole package. When we came flying into the brakes, I knew that this was the ride that sets the new standard. Saying that I was blown away doesn't even cover it. If I could have any ride as my own private coaster, this would be the one. It was absolutely amazing.

After our final lap, we picked up Cosmo and headed back to Columbus. We stopped in Cincy at a Macaroni Grille for dinner. The lighting on PKI's Eiffel Tower was stunning. Overall, a great trip. Can't wait to ride The Voyage again next year!

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Monday, October 2, 2006 2:05 PM
Agreed on the Comfort Inn. Stayed there two nights at the end of July, very clean, great place, and being less than ten minutes from the park earns it points too. ;)

The Eiffel Tower lighting is really amazing. During the normal season next year they're going to be running it Millennium Force style, using the WinterFest lighting package with color sequences.

Monday, October 2, 2006 2:58 PM
Olsor's avatar I love reading reviews of The Voyage... it's basically a life experience.

After riding The Voyage, it so thoroughly blew my mind that I can't even look at traditional coaster designs the same way anymore. So much happens in the course of that ride that it really does seem to overwhelm the rider. I had been thinking that The Voyage, if it's well maintained, may someday achieve the same sort of legendary status as The Beast. But comparisons to the Crystal Beach Cyclone might be just as apt.

The guys in The Gravity Group have pretty much put 120 years of coaster designs to shame.

Monday, October 2, 2006 3:02 PM
Gemini's avatar

I hate to criticize the park, because it's Holiday World

Fanboy! :)

Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

Monday, October 2, 2006 5:53 PM
" I hate to criticize the park, because it's Holiday World, but I don't understand why they were only running one train. The wait was a half-hour, which doesn't seem like it respects the guests' time very much. Oh well, I put up with it (and the smelly guy in front of us)."

If I had 1 main thing to complain about Holiday World, this would be it. You have multiple trains and there is a decent line--run the trains! It bugged me when I was there on opening day to wait in line for Raven and Legend when they were only running 1 train each, and the second train was just sitting on the transfer track.

If there is more than a 5-10 minute wait, put on a second train.

Another thing that I saw when I was there was employees crossing the track in the station--a fair amount. This doesn't seem like the safest of operating procedures.

coastin' since 1985

Monday, October 2, 2006 9:04 PM
Just be glad we were there on Saturday and not Sunday. :) With the better weather Sunday, I heard a report that the line came close to filling the room below the station and they still would not put on a second train. I was disappointed they didn't use another train on Saturday, but it didn't ruin my day. We ended up with probably close to 20 rides and even some rerides by the time it was all said and done. It sounds like a lot of days were ruined on Sunday though and that is too bad. They have a great ride on their hands so they should take full advantage of it. The ride is so long that it is truely ridiculous to not run two.

The Voyage is really the most amazing ride I've ever ridden. It's really sad, but it makes most other coasters seem almost boring. SOme people say it's too intense, but for me, it just has 3 times as much of every element you could ask for as any other coaster.

About the crossing over the track thing, that does seem funny to me too, but that is coming from a guy who worked at CP (who is probably OVERLY anal about safety) for three seasons. I don't really have a problem with it if the train is parked in the station because let's be honest - the thing is not going anywhere. I don't really like seeing them crossing over the track in an empty station with the train approaching. They didn't have any close calls (they usually do their crossing fairly early on in the cycle, but if someone were to slip and not get up right away, or worse yet, get their foot stuck in the track, there might be problems - especially seeing as how the trains at HW seem to park themselves without any buttons needing to be held down etc.


Monday, October 2, 2006 10:23 PM
Jeff's avatar The track crossing thing makes me nervous too. Especially with one train it's probably not a big deal, but it does make me nervous.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Monday, October 2, 2006 10:27 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Especially with one train? I don't quite follow. Sorry if there's something really obvious I'm missing.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Monday, October 2, 2006 10:32 PM
If someone fell into the track as the one train was heading up the lift, there would be 2+ minutes to get that person out of harms way. That 2+ minutes is cut drastically with a three train operation.

For the record, I've never been a fan of their track crossing, even if they are taking my stuff for me.

Monday, October 2, 2006 10:42 PM
It's bad practice, period. At my park, you can get fired if you cross a track with the train in motion. Even with our SLC, once the train leaves the station, crossing under the track is off limits. This seems pretty standard in the industry.

It is surprising to hear that HW allows this, considering that they are very respectable operators.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 12:55 AM
rollergator's avatar Yeah, ALWAYS makes me nervous to watch them cross over the tracks (and MANY places allow this)...the likelihood of something bad happening is low, but the potential consequences are too high...
Tuesday, October 3, 2006 1:14 AM
CoastersNSich's avatar

rablat5 said:
" I hate to criticize the park, because it's Holiday World, but I don't understand why they were only running one train. The wait was a half-hour, which doesn't seem like it respects the guests' time very much. Oh well, I put up with it (and the smelly guy in front of us)."

If I had 1 main thing to complain about Holiday World, this would be it. You have multiple trains and there is a decent line--run the trains! It bugged me when I was there on opening day to wait in line for Raven and Legend when they were only running 1 train each, and the second train was just sitting on the transfer track.

If there is more than a 5-10 minute wait, put on a second train.

"Holiday World had ONE weakness" - YTMND Style.
Seriously, I agree here. I've had this issue at the Legend- earlier they'll run two trains, then about an hour later, go down to one, and the queue length will multiply. Unfortunately, some other parks are likewise agonizing in this regard.

- Hersheypark, 2004, on a Saturday in June, started operations on the coasters with one train. "We'll add them later." HUH?
- Even Cedar Point has this issue, especially on days they think the park will not be too busy.
- Probably ONE park, my home park, one I tend to criticize, Kings Island, almost ALWAYS runs all available trains on their coasters, regardless of crowds. Last Saturday, though, Vortex only ran two (of three), which added to the line, so the little cutbacks that Cedar Fair tends to do sometimes may be in effect now. *** Edited 10/3/2006 5:15:21 AM UTC by CoastersNSich***

Dental Plan! Lisa Needs Braces.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 3:03 AM
DantheCoasterman's avatar Yeah, Sunday they were only running one train, but the line wasn't THAT bad.

MDOmnis, the que under the station wasn't open all day. Where did you get that?

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 3:12 AM
Vortex and Express always cut to two trains for Fearfest.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006 7:13 AM
I guess maybe I misunderstood what I heard about the length of the line. Still, 20-30 minutes is too long when you could easily put on another train and make it a near walkon.


Tuesday, October 3, 2006 3:33 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar Neuski, yeah, I realize that. Because Jeff's statement started with "especially", I thought he was trying to say that one-train op was a bigger risk for track crossers.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 8:36 AM
I don't get the one train thing either. Expecially when two are needed Granted running two will probably mean some empty seats after a while but the guest experience is so much more possitive.

As for the coaster itself? Im glad you and Cat liked it and Raven never has dissapointed in the 6 years I've been visiting

Chuck, who also likes the front of voyage a bit more but needs that first three hill air and tripple down air in the back once in awhile.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 3:58 PM
A coaster of that size with only one train makes for an aggravating wait.

Same holds true for Chang at SFKK. Just the size of it even if it's a slow day at the park gets on your nerves.

Voyage should always have 2 trains going. The 3rd train only if the park is packed.

Did Will take a trip over to SFKK one day and now one train operation is rubbing off on him? :)

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 5:43 PM
Well last year they added and removed a train as needed. This year the last time I visited Raven opened with one and Legend went from two to one. Voyage was two all day with empty seats near closing.

The second time I visited it was 2 2 and three july 3rd and HWN was run at capcity when they got the part for Voyage.



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