After all the hype for Voyage, watching the animation, seeing the on ride video from media day, and hearing unheard of good reports about it from people who rode it, I HAD to go on it NOW. I didnt want to wait another 2 weeks for Holiwood Nights and figured it would be good to go now so that I could get a decent amount of rides on it. From what I heard, 1,800 people have pre-registered for HWN so I knew that after hearing how absolutely good this ride was I wouldnt get but a handful of rides on it during the event.
I live in the western Chicago suburbs, so HW is a good 6-6.5 hr drive from me. My girlfriend Nicole and I headed out of Chicago around 4:30pm on Friday. As many of you know, the traffic in Chicago can be real horrendous at rush hour, this day being no exception. I tried to take a few back roads to avoid the congestion only to delay us even more. It ended up taking us 2.5 hours just to get out of Illinois! Yes thats 30 miles in 2.5 hrs! Oh well what can you do? The rest of the drive was smooth sailing at 80 mph, so we ended up arriving at our hotel which was about 40 miles from Holiday World at around 12am.
I woke up in the morning full of anticipation! Could this ride REALLY be THAT good?? We left the hotel at around 9am and got to HW right before opening at 10. The day at Holiday World started with a shocker. Up on the entrance gate a sign read: "The Following Attractions will not be open today: Gobbler Getaway, The Voyage". I couldnt believe that we drove all the way down for this ride and it was gonna be closed? I even saw it test run on the drive over! There had to be something up with that so we asked the guy at the gate and he said it was just opening 30 minutes late...whew!
Voyage opening late actually kinda worked out nice because it gave me a chance to take Nicole on the other 2 coasters and get a last ride on them before the face of the park changed after a ride on Voyage. I kinda wanted one more taste of what will now be known as the "Old Days" when it was Legend and Raven heading up the park.
First up was Raven, then the Legend. We rode both of them once and MAN were they slow! I guess thats to be expected because it was 10am on a cool day but I had just hoped theyd be running a little better than they were. I knew that if we came back later in the day theyd be running a lot better as thats how it has always been with those two, and most wooden coasters.
Finally it was the moment of truth. We walked down into the Thanksgiving section which was still not complete and being worked on. Im sure that when its all said and done this section will fit in nicely with the rest of the park. Voyage had not yet opened, so we joined the other 30 or so people waiting at the entrance. A couple things I liked about the area near Voyage: The entrance and exit are within a few feet of each other, making walk arounds for rerides very simple, and also the restrooms and pepsi oasis are located directly across from Voyage. The point is, if you are marathoning Voyage on a dead day you dont have to spring far from it to get refreshed or relieved, more so than it is by Raven and Legend.
At about 10:40am the line opened and we made our way up into the station and got in line for the back row, which I had heard is the best seat on the ride. The station and Queue is nicely themed with Nautical items such as fishing nets and ship steering wheels, i felt like I was in a big seafood resturant! After a train or two we were getting on our first ride, something I had been waiting months to do! Before even riding I was convinced this would be my #1 wooden coaster. My current favorites were Hades and Thunderhead and just by the looks of this ride I thought it would blow them out of the water. Im a fan of coasters that are fast, and have a combination of airtime, Out of Control feeling and directional changes, and some laterals forces so this looked just up my alley. After taking my first ride on Voyage I can tell you this, it easily took the #1 spot. Every second of this ride is a good one and I loved it! Then I remembered how much Raven and Legend warm up after a few hours and thought it can only get better!
Nicole and I continued to ride it for the next 2 hours, waiting about 1-3 trains for each ride. Even in those 1st two hours I could feel it warming up...at this rate I could see it becoming my favorite coaster EVER if it continued like this and thats not even including night rides on it (which have to be INSANE) that will be had at HWN. After our 5th ride, an incident occured that I had never been involved in, and no one I had ever been with at a park had ever been involved in (no its not an accident!). After getting off the ride, Nicole went to get her purse that she left on the shelves on the exit platform. Just as she went to walk away from it BLEUUAAAH! This teenager puked all over the station floor. Luckily it was a pretty liquid puke and not a chunky one (how many of you get grossed out by barf descriptions? lol). However, not only did this kid puke on the floor but puked all over the back of Nicole's sweatshirt, legs and sandals! Even I who was standing next to her got a few pink drops on the back of my jeans...gross! Luckily I had another long sleeve shirt in the car for her to wear because obviously that was the end of that sweatshirt! The catch phrase the rest of the day was "I got puked on." which we said to sound like Stifler in the movie American Pie 2 when he said "I got peed on." :-)
So anyway after a couple more rides (they kept getting better) we walked away from Voyage to go eat, get the clothes from the car, and ride Raven and Legend another time. I was happy to see two things when we went back to the other coasters: 1. They were running a lot faster like they normally do and 2. Despite Voyage being WAY better, it didnt ruin the experience on these two. After reading other TRs about Voyage blowing everything away, I was afraid that all other wooden coasters would seem real slow and tame. Im happy to report this is not true, I still love these rides the same as I did before Voyage.
So now its a good hour or so after our last Voyage ride, how much better could it have gotten?? It got so good it is now my favorite coaster I have been on, beating out the ride I thought would be impossible to dethrone, Superman Ride of Steel at SF New England. The back seat is the place to be on Voyage, and thats where we rode the majority of our rides at. The front was still good, as were the rest of the seats but nothing to me was better than the back 4 rows. Here, FINALLY, is my desription of the ride when riding it midday in the back seat.....
The beginning of the ride starts with the 3 hills over 100 feet. This part of the ride is very similar to the beginning of Shivering Timbers in its heyday (98-00). You get air for an extended about of time plunging down all three of these drops. Next comes the Tremors-like tunnel, hill, tunnel...this hill floats you over, barely at all in the morning but gets better as the day goes by..it REALLY reminded me of one of the hills on Avalanche in Wisconsin Dells, gives you a good float but doesnt eject you out of the seat. Now that im mentioning that, ill mention this, Voyage does not have strong ejector air like you will find on some of the other wooden coasters. Im talking SFOG Cyclone drops, or for steel coasters the SROS hills. Its all about floats, strong floats and some jolts on Voyage so if thats not what you like it may not be as good for you. Anyway, back to the ride.
Next is the hill before you go into the turn around. This is probably the tamest part of the ride but, IMO, doesnt take away anything from the rest of the ride. After this hill you go into the INSANE ASS turnaround that to me blows away the end of the Raven just as an example. It starts with a jarring left hand turn then back to the right while on a hill combo, throwing you up to the left as you go over it. You then head down the hill a bit and suddenly drop a second time giving you another great dose of air. After this you head into a left handed powerful turn, similar to the ending turn on Raven except this one had a bunny hill like element in the middle once again tossing you out of the seat. After that comes the most screwed up track on the ride id say, the small bunny hop/turn that is banked in the wrong direction. If you have been on Hades there is a turn like this on the return run tunnel except on Voyage you get some oddball sideways air at the same time. You then transition into the 2 90 degree turns which are a lot of fun and head into a sick like double down/ left hand turn before flying through another tunnel and up into the block brakes.
The block brakes are not on AT ALL. They are WIDE OPEN and dont do ANYTHING. After that you hit up the triple down in the tunnel each drop having stronger floater air and each drop getting deeper. You burst out of the tunnel into 2 great floating air hills and then hit up this oddball hill thats a combination of one of the other hills and trick track (sort of reminded me of what the good GCI coasters do coiling through odd little turns). You then make a right hand turn under the structure of the 2nd hill and then turn back to the left and cross under the lift into the final 90 degree turn. After taking that turn the train seems to somehow gain a bunch of speed before entering the insane ending sequence of turns and tunnels. I counted a total of 22 airtime moments on this ride, along with countless moments of laterals (most of which come at the same time as the air does). To me, they couldnt make this ride any better.
Nicole and I ended up with 39 rides on it and we are both totally sore. However, I can not wait to ride it again and especially at night when HWN is going on. I cant imagine how INSANE thats going to be. Anyway, after our day was over we were totally beat but still had to drive all the way back to Chicago and got back home around 2am. As Im sitting here typing this whole long ass trip report my neck, arms, back and legs are completely sore but I couldnt be any happier!
Thanks for reading!
Nice TR. 39 rides, wow. Why did we only ride it about a dozen times, guys? I too still enjoyed Raven and Legend. I'm looking forward to crazy late night rides on them as well, especially since most people at HWN will probably be at The Voyage.
Long live the Big Bad Wolf
Matt, we need an ERT ride together. This is without a doubt the biggest event of all time.
They need to respell the City C-H-I-C-H-E-(Double Hockey Sticks)-G-O!
I also thought it was hilarious when your girlfriend sang the "halfway there" lyric from Livin' on a Prayer at the block brakes.
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