Holiday World: 06/16/01 "I'm now a believer..."

Associated parks:

Wednesday, July 11, 2001 10:07 PM
Sorry this is so late, but I've been extremely busy, and I head to Reno tomorrow. Fortunately, I worked in enough time to finish this report--enjoy. A SFoT review will come in a few weeks.

After much deliberation, calculation, and anticipation, I arrived in Santa Claus, IN, on June 15 and took a drive by the park on my way to the Holiday Inn Express in Tell City. I was in awe looking at the first few hills of the Raven and the famous turn over the lake. We spent the night at the hotel, which was extremely nice and inexpensive. The next day, we set out.

I arrived at the park at approximately 9:40, ready to take on the world’s most fearsome pair of wooden roller coasters. My only CCI to that date was the Boss at SFSTL, and let’s just say that I was less than impressed. However, hearing all the hype and rave about Holiday World’s duo had me very excited, and my expectations were extremely high. While waiting for the rope to drop to Halloween land, I wandered around and took a look at some of the attractions in the Christmas section. I immediately sensed a laid back and fun atmosphere, and the aura greatly reminded me of Silver Dollar City—although Holiday World seemed to be even more of a small, family feel. At 10:00, they dropped the ropes to go to the Halloween section. While most of the mob headed for the Raven, my brothers and I took off down the hill for The Legend.

I was in awe approaching The Legend. This coaster looks flat out massive, much more so than in the pictures I had seen. We waited about five minutes, and I noticed that The Legend was only running one train. I could not understand why, until I looked at the coaster and realized that it only possessed one train. I had never heard this mentioned by anyone before, and I still cannot figure out why HW built a 4,000+ foot coaster with only one train. Does anybody know why they did this? Was it economic reasons, or was it just because they didn’t need the capacity?

I boarded the slick looking Gerstlauer trains, and took my inaugural spin in the last row. All I can say is that I was simply blown away by this coaster. I’m usually not a fan of twisting drops, because they usually don’t give you that “stomach-in-throat” feeling that a straight dive will. However, The Legend’s initial descent manages to give you the falling sensation, and then rip you to the left at insane speed with intense laterals. The rest of the ride was fast and furious, and the coaster simply never lets up, pushing you faster and faster seemingly throughout the entire course. The helix was awesome, and the double up throws you upward and then slams you down. Great fun, and a great overall ride. As I said earlier, my first run in with Gerstlauers on the Boss was less than memorable, so I was pleasantly surprised to see The Legend run so well with them. I still prefer PTC’s, but I’m jumping off of the G-train bashing bandwagon for right now. I was thinking, “How can it get any better than this?” while getting off. I was soon about to find out, as I grabbed a free Pepsi, and headed up toward the Raven.

We hiked up the hill to the Raven, and found about a thirty-minute wait for the ride. I love the look of the station, and watching the train rip across that last left turn excited me. It appeared as though the coaster had a lot of speed and momentum left in the final stages, and boy, was this ever the case. We waited up the stuffiest staircase I have ever been in, and then boarded the PTCs in the back row. Around the slow left turns we went and then hit the lift. Up, to the right, and no turning back it was. The first hill had a surprising punch for it’s size, and the tunnel made the ride look lightning fast. Then we hit that second dive, and I thought, “Whoa, that had a lot of air.” Little did I know what was coming in a little bit.

The turn over the lake was very cool—fast and furious with a ton of laterals. Faster and faster the ride was going, and we were absolutely tearing through the woods at what looked like mach 4. We crested a hill, the infamous fifth hill, and one of those moments happened.

Certain rides have it—that moment where you are simply stunned by what has happened. For me, things like Kumba’s zero-G roll, Dueling Dragons near miss loops, Mamba’s second drop, Magnum’s second drop, Wildfire’s first drop, and Montu’s batwing have done it for me. Those moments of euphoria when the angels sing and the heavens open up from above—or something like that—are the greatest part about coastering and keep me coming back for more. Well, that fifth hill had so much air, SO much air, that I was speechless (and yell-less). I had some room between the bar and my legs, and I just flew up, and soared down that great drop. That, ladies and gentlemen, was sensational, colossal, incredible, and beyond description… I guess I’m an airtime whore, and that drop is the Mecca of air--ejecting, floating, and falling.

After being numbed by the fifth drop, the speed of the remaining ride blew me away. Roaring through the trees, which are oh so close to the coaster, you take that diving right turn, hop back up, and make the screeching left into the station run. The Raven is truly an unreal experience. I would gladly give up almost any of my other favorite coasters to have this baby in my backyard. Holiday World has a masterpiece, and the number one ranking does not do it justice. The coaster combines a rare mixture of speed, airtime, and laterals, but it tracks like buttah and can be rerode all day. I don’t think I’ve ever found anything that combines excitement, intensity, and flat-out fun quite like the Raven. Few hyped coasters deliver the big-time goods, but the Raven does this in flying style. Will any ride ever touch the Raven in quality—well, maybe, but to quoth the Raven, “Never…more.” J

After riding the coasters, we rode the Banshee, which was great fun. We saw the Discovery Institute show, which was stupid at the extreme least. Why does everyone think that things have to be beyond stupid for young children to enjoy them? I heard some children who looked no older than five asking their parents why the actors were acting “so dumb.” Several of the scientific things that they show are neat, but I feel that they could cut out a lot of the stupidity and still have a fun, educational show. I also watched the dive show, and I was blown away by the eighty-foot dive at the end. An eighty-foot dive into a ten-foot deep small round pool?!! And coaster enthusiasts are considered nuts by some for their thrill seeking ways. The divers had mad skills and nerves of steel.

I tried to take in some of the smaller aspects of the park. I rode many of the flat rides, including the Roundhouse, bumper boats, and bumper cars—all were fun. I also rode the Nightmare Falls flume ride. It’s an extremely good design with a wicked starting tunnel and a great ending drop. Along with these, I took a spin on the river rapids ride (the name eludes me). It was fun I thought, but no one seemed to get exceptionally wet. If you want to get drowned on a rapids ride, it is hard to beat Thunder River at SFSTL.

Overall, the park is incredible. Two of the greatest coasters in the world, a decent selection of flat rides, friendly staff, some water rides, and free soda all make for a pleasant experience, and I had more fun than I normally have at theme parks. I hope to make it back later this year. I guess I visited on an extremely busy day, because the waits for the coasters were about 45 minutes all day long, and I had heard of much shorter lines. Nevertheless, it’s amazing how much better waiting in line can be while in a clean, friendly park with a free soda in hand. Much has been said about the small park in southern Indiana, and I wondered if it could possibly live up to the hype. It did, and now I’m a believer.

According to the "official" count, next year's new coaster lineup will feature 17 Arrow 4-Ds, 21 TA2Ks, 34 B&M floorless's, 17 Intamin Gigas, 12 beemer flyers, and 247 CCIs. And oh yeah, CP will receive one of all of these.
Thursday, July 12, 2001 8:54 AM
The first time i went to HW it was a very busy day, with lines between 45-60 min for legend and around 30 for Raven. That is about as busy as it will get at HW.... as for each coaster only running one train, I was surprised by that too, but really it makes sense. First, obviously it cuts costs, and since HW is not what I would call a "big time" park, i'm sure that helps. Also, it just doesn't make sense capacity wise, as most of the time the park just isn't that crowded and really has no need for a second train. Anyway, I agree that HW is a great park, but if you thought the Legend and Raven were great in the afternoon, you have to....HAVE TO....go to stark raven mad in May, trust me you will not regret it, riding those two coasters in the dark is a religous experience which no true coaster fan should not have gone through.... after you do it no ride experience will even compare.
Thursday, July 12, 2001 9:06 AM
I went in early June. It amazed me how I could ride Raven 50x without getting off when it only had 1 train! I love HW and I hope I can go back again!

"Bathroom 1 looks too intense for me"-Ed Markey
Tuesday, July 17, 2001 9:56 PM
Oh, believe you me, I got a night ride on each of them, and it made the day rides look like child's play. I cannot imagine how well and wild they run at midnight...*Sigh* Someday I'll get that ACE membership and come to SRM.

According to the "official" count, next year's new coaster lineup will feature 17 Arrow 4-Ds, 21 TA2Ks, 34 B&M floorless's, 17 Intamin Gigas, 12 beemer flyers, and 247 CCIs. And oh yeah, CP will receive one of all of these.

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