We arrived at Lake Rudolph Campground at 3 pm central time, unpacked the car and made up the beds. It was very hot, oppressively humid, and I was thankful the AC had already been turned on in the RV. We had an hour before the discounted entry into HW and Donna, after noticing the fire pit, suggested a fire and s'mores for that night. Ian asked if there were a grocery store nearby, but I figured we could get everything at the Lake Rudolph Campground camp store. Ian was skeptical and I laughed. It's a CAMPGROUND store, after all! They had everything we needed and after stashing the supplies in the RV, we grabbed the shuttle to Holiday World.
I whipped out my Coasterbuzz card and was extremely pleased to learn the discount got both the evening and next day tickets for only $39.95. The kids, with their pepsi can, got their tickets for $44.95. Both much cheaper than any single day ticket for other amusement parks.
Both parking lots were filled to capacity and Ian figured there would be significant lines for the coasters, but I knew most of the guests would be packed into Splashin' Safari.
There is something about the anticipation that comes with riding a coaster for the first time. It's like being a little kid on Christmas Eve, looking forward to what was to come. It's such a high, I wanted to savor it a bit longer. So instead of heading directly to the Thanksgiving section, we went to Halloween to make our first ride on the Raven.
The wait was less than 15 minutes. As we crested the lift hill and dove into the tunnel, I could feel the stress inside my body leaking out like a heavy sandbag losing it's sand, spilling out in the wake of the train. By the time we hit the station, I felt 100 times lighter. The airtime certainly helped!
But it was nothing compared to the emotional welling deep inside me when on the Legend. The feeling was so powerful, I had tears in my eyes when we returned to the station. I was at Holiday World riding my favorite wooden coasters!
We continued on to the Thanksgiving section for our first ride on the Voyage, the 67th coaster to be added to my track record. There was little wait, and we completely bypassed a large portion of queue inside the lower level of the station. I was a bit surprised at how large the queue area was and wondered if it ever really filled considering how small the line was. I was also surprised to recognize Will Koch's voice on the spiel recording.
I really didn't know what to expect. All reports indicated the return trip was intense and rough, so when I climbed into the train, I went into what I call my "Mean Streak" position...leaning forward, holding on, and willing my body to relax and become one with the train.
The first three hills and drop into the first tunnel was smooth and filled with air time. In fact, Ian said afterwards he almost thought the coaster would end up being boring. But out of the tunnel the track makes some twists and turns, and into the turnaround through a 90 degree bank. Down into another tunnel and up into the mid course brake run where the train slows down.
From that point on, though, The Voyage tosses you like a ship in a hurricane. Considering the return run is all downhill and low to the ground, the train flies into the double down in a tunnel, providing extreme airtime and picks up even more speed. Even after 6 or more rides throughout the weekend, I still can't describe the elements after the double down. The changes in direction are constant, and even in daylight it's hard to anticipate what is going to happen next. The laterals are extreme and you are tossed from left to right uncontrollably, flying through the turns, into tunnels around the station and by the time you hit the brakes, one is left wondering "what the hell just happened?!?"
Of course, with the short line (15 minute wait), we went right back around for another ride. I called Catherine, my coaster buddy who couldn't make the trip, from the station to let her know the next ride would be for her. As it turned out, there was a little girl of about 8 standing in front of me who was riding alone while her friend was riding with another woman in the seats just in front. She asked if I would ride with her. Although I was going to ride alone behind the kids, she seemed a bit apprehensive about riding alone, so with a nod from the kids, I agreed to ride with Mikhala. She'd ridden before, but asked if I'd hold her hand through the ride. So we clasped hands and made our second "voyage", screaming with delight as we were tossed about. The excitement shining on her face when we reached the station reminded me of of Ian's first rides on Magnum, and the warm feeling after that ride stayed with me for quite some time.
We stopped in the store next to the station where I purchased the Voyage pin to add to my roller coaster pin collection and we decided to wait until dark for our next Voyage ride. Gobbler Getaway was next.
It was obvious this Sally dark ride was a real hit with guests with small children. They have "windows" in the queue area where you can see the neon colors of the scenery at the beginning of the ride. I climbed into the front of the car with Ian and Donna in the back, telling Ian I needed all the help I could get. That proved to be very true as I had difficulty with my turkey caller and even at close range wasn't able to make successful shots. With a very poor score of 270, I am a gobbler wannabe. LOL! But it is certainly a fun ride and an excellent addition to the park.
We spent the next couple of hours wandering the park, riding Liberty Launch, perusing the stores, and grabbing some ice cream as none of us were particularly hungry enough for dinner. By the time we went back to the Legend, the water park was beginning to empty out, so we had a longer line, although still pretty short at a bit over 20 minutes. We knew the park closed at 9 pm, and although it was only a little after 8 pm when we exited Legend, we didn't figure we had enough time to ride Raven and still make the queue for the Voyage before they closed it down.
It was dusk (an advantage of being just inside the central time zone and one I was counting on) and there was less of a line than I expected, although it did run briefly through the lower level queue. By the time we climbed into the train, it was nearly dark.
I never thought anything would beat the Beast at PKI in the dark, but Voyage beats it hands down. I thought the return trip felt out of control in the daylight. In the dark, you have absolutely no idea what is coming next. No way to anticipate the turns and it was so intense the adrenaline was pumping through my body by the time we hit the brakes. Thank goodness I was able to cut my rough coaster riding teeth on Mean Streak and the Beast. Yes, it was nearly a religious experience for me, even if it does thrash you about.
We'd been slowly working our way from rides in the front of the train to the back, so we were in the second to last car on that first night ride. Our final ride of the night was closer to the front, which takes just a slight bit of edge off the roughness, but still extreme all the same.
The park was near closing, so we called it a night, grabbing a shuttle back to the campground and happy to enter the coolness of the RV. Even though it was well past sunset, the humidity was still oppressive, to the point of feeling like there was a slimey layer of moisture on my skin. Since we hadn't eaten dinner in the park, I made spaghetti for dinner, looking forward to s'mores afterwards.
We crawled into bed around 12:30 am central time, with our bodies still on eastern time.
At 3:30 am I awoke to thunder and lightning. In fact, the lightning was so vivid and close, I was nervous about being in an RV surrounded by trees. There were several really close hits, but the storm moved through rather quickly. I went to use the bathroom and walked into a soaking wet floor. The skylight opening in the ceiling was left opened and rain had poured in, so I had quite a mess to clean up. But afterwards I fell back to sleep listening to the patter of raindrops falling from the trees.
I was up by 8:30 am the next morning,woke the kids and pulled out the griddle to make a huge stack of pancakes for breakfast. Sufficiently fed, we walked through the entrance gates at 10:30 am and secured a locker in Splashin' Safari for our towels.
We spent 90 minutes riding the coasters and by noon, the day was heating up and so was Splashin' Safari, so we went into the water park to stake out some lounge chairs by The Wave. After riding Zinga, we spent the rest of our water park time jumping waves in the wave pool and I made three floating circuits in the Bahari River before we dried off and went into the park for some dinner.
We picked Kringle's as they had a varied menu, and with free sodas, were able to eat for under $5 each. We followed dinner with ice cream and perused the shops. After a few more rides on the Legend, Raven, Voyage and Gobbler Getaway, we perused the stores again. The kids got a Voyage shot glass, Donna got a blown glass dragon, and I took advantage of the buy 4 get 2 free fudge.
I was able to make it an all cash weekend, including admissions, using the $90 cash Ian and Donna gave me for their half of the RV. The inexpensive prices at the park made it easy and is one of the reasons Holiday World is known for their value. The food is good and so well priced, especially considering we never had to pay for drinks. It was easy to keep hydrated without having to wait in long lines at food stands to get water like we do at Cedar Point. Considering the heat and humidity, being able to stop any time to grab something to drink is a major plus!
We left the park 90 minutes before closing totally satisfied with our weekend.
Nice TR Lady.
Join us for Holiwood Nights won't you? It gets even darker than that :)
I have a lot of other parks on my list, including Knoebels, Lake Compounce and Indiana Beach. Again, all the if's in my life make it difficult to plan much in advance these days.
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