Holiday World (6/25/2006)

Associated parks:
None

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 11:58 PM
What: "Lower Midwest Coaster Vacation - Park 4"

Where: Holiday World, Santa Claus IN

When: Sunday, June 25 - 2pm to 9pm (Closing)

Who: Myself, my wife

Weather: Hot and Humid

Crowd: Light to moderate

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Arrival: Having driven from Louisville that morning, we actually drove by the park around 11am in an attempt to find a place to stay. Santa's Lodge was full, so we headed back to Ferdinan along I-64 to a Comfort Inn and checked in. After grabing a quick bite to eat and taking a little rest, we headed back out to Santa Claus once again. Two empty Pepsi bottles got a discount on admission.

Checking out the map, we started on our way.

Raven (part 1): 2 rides, 1 front, 1 back: This coaster was basically a walk on for all seats except the front, so I settled for seat 2. The lift seemed to be running slow, but that wast the only slow thing about it. After that, it was non stop speed. A great coaster, but I was amazed how short it seemed. No sooner had it begun than it was over after a relatively short ride. But what a ride it was. I imediately circled around and grabbed a back seat ride. While I liked the visuals of the front, the out of control feeling in the back was wild as it flew through the woods. I was getting ready for a third ride when an announcement was made that the coaster was shutting down for a few minutes while they removed one of the two trains "because there is no line." Not wanting to wait... I decided to return later in the day.

The Legend (part 1): 1 ride, front seat. Logically, the next big thing to hit is The Legend. So, while Chele was exploring the near by areas of the park, I got in line. The line was light, so I waited for the front seat. When it came time to load, I got in and took the left seat. Someone, a 20 something guy, got in the left seat. Two of his buddies got in row two. I knew I was in for a ride when I heard them talking... Here I was buckled in with three poster boys for "Coaster Geeks Union Local 137". In the few moments before dispatch and climbing the lift hill, I lost count of how many times each tried to out do the other by naming certain coasters and how they compared to Ledgend, Rave, Voyage, everything at CP, etc etc etc. Somewhere on the lift hill my brain shut down and I must have gone into a catatonic state.

I was jolted out of this by the sound of the Wolf howl at the top of the lift. Looking down the first drop, I knew I was in for a ride... and what a wild ride it was. The twisting track, the way it intwined with the water slides, the way it intwinded with itself, and the relentlessness of it up until the break run was amazing.

This is one truely great coaster. So many rave about Raven and heap praise on the new Voyage while Legend just seems to be "there" in many conversations. I don't see why. This is one great coaster. I suppose Raven might get the "sentimental" favorite votes from some... and The Voyage might get the priase because of its newness and its size... but The Legend to me out shined both.

Getting in line again, things came to a screeching halt when one train stopped on the lift. Rather than wait for the coaster to start up again, I got out of line and radioed Chele. We met up at the little eating area that over looked the station of The Legend and then headed down the path to...

Frightful Falls: 1 Ride. There was no line for this, so we were quickly getting ready to load. The op, a late teen or early 20 guy asked to have our bag. Chele asked if we could keep it with us because it had our camera (a Digital Rebel XT) in it, that we have taken it on other flumes. He said "No" and said that no bags were allowed on the ride. He then said if we were worried about the camera, he could put it over in the secured area where the ops are. We said okay, and hand the bag over. The kid then procedes to open the bag and start going through it to look for our camera. Hold it... stop the presses. "What are you doing?" we quickly asked. He said "Getting your camera out to put over there." "Sorry, but you don't go through visitor's bags..." The kid just stood there looking confused. The girl who was working there saw this and came over and asked what was going on. We explained about the concerns about the camera... but our main concern that her co-worker was rooting through our bag. She said she could put the ENTIRE bag in the gated area. We had no problem with that. Just to get things straight, we had no problem with leaving our bag there... but we didn't like the kid opening it up and going through it to remove the camera from it.

Anyway, on to the ride. I like flume rides... especially those that follow the ground like they are running in a creek or something. The DARL tunnel at the beginning of this ride really adds to it. The splash at the bottom was not drenching, but it was enough to get us wet.

When we approached the station, the girl working there went over to the "fenced" operators area and got our bag and had it waiting for us when we reached the station. We thanked her and were on our way.

The Voyage: 2 rides, 1 second seat, 1 3rd seat from back. When I saw the station, I thought "Wow, hardly a line". When I got inside the bottom of the station, I saw that there was very long line. However, with three trains running taking 36 riders each, the long line was actually only about 20 to 30 minutes. So, there I was, secured into seat 2 and we start climbing the lift hill. And climbing and climbing and climbing. And then at the top. And then the view down the steep drop. And then, as Bill Cosby said in his "Roland and the Roller Coaster" routine, that's when it hit the fan.

Once that train cleared the chain lift and roared down the first drop, all I could do was hold on. It went so fast that I hardly knew what was happening. Over the second hill, through the tunnels, through the twisted track at the turn around, back through the structure, past the station, though the pseudo helix end, and then onto the break run. And then I took a breath.

For my next ride (after riding Gobbler Getaway), I sat near the back of the train (not the last seat... but rather the first seat of the last car... I don't like looking direclty into the heads [or headrests] in front of me). Again, a wild and out of control ride.

What can I say about The Voyage? It's big. It's a remarklable feat of wood coaster engineering. It's fast. It's intense. It looks great. But the one thing I can't say... "It's a fun coaster". I mentioned in a quote from Scott Rutherford's "American Roller Coaster" in an earlier TR... "Meduim is a rare and wonderful thing." The designers of The Voyage should have listend to this. This thing is so big and so fast that you hardly have time to realize what element you are in before you are into the next. Where there should be great floating air, you hit the crests of the hills so fast that you are over them so fast that the air is so quick that it hardly registers.

It is also a painful coaster. Only on one other wooden coaster did I have the feeling that it was trying to tear my ribs away from my sternum (and that was the now defucnt Jerkules... I mean Hercules... at Dorney Park... but yet I still thought Hercules was a fun coaster). The intensity and the speed of The Voyage gave this same feeling. Granted, J2 (formerly Tsunami) at Clementon is a very intense wooden coaster, its length makes it tollerable. The extreme length of The Voyage just prolonged the pain.

I also wonder how the years will treat this coaster. With those speeds and stresses, Holiday World better be prepared to spend a fortune on maintenance to keep this coaster from becoming unrideable for most folks.

Gobbler Getaway: 1 ride. Needing a break between rides on The Voyage, Chele and I hit Gobbler Getaway. A cute interactive dark ride which I enjoyed much better than the recently added Reeses Xtreme Cup Challenge at my home park of Hersheypark. Chele out scored me on this one.

Kringle Cafe: While I waited in line for my second ride on Voyage, Chele went back toward the front of the park and took in one of the shows. I eventually met up with her there and we grabbed "dinner" at Kringle Cafe. Very good. And the free Pepsi was great too. (Being Coca Cola fans, we both agreed that the price of Pepsi at Holiday World was what we were willing to pay for it!). Sitting at our table, I looked up at the mural of Santa and Mrs.Claus and a question came to mind. Who was the model for Mrs.Claus? Someone related to the owenrs of the park? For not only did she seem to the the model for Mrs. Claus on the mural, but she also appeared to be the model for the animatronic elderly woman in the queue for Gobbler Getaway!

Lewis and Clark Trail: Chele and I always try to do the Antique Car rides, so we took a spin on Lewis and Clark Trail. We noticed how some of the kids who were driving had to stand up to push the gas pedal down. When it came our turn, I found out why. I had to use all of my strength to get the pedal to the floor!

Raven and Legend (Part 2): I decided to catch a few more coaster rides and Chele decided that she would catch a show... a Pop or Rock and Roll review that she said left A LOT to be desired. I first went to The Legend and after about a three train wait I hopped into the back seat. WOW! As much as I liked this coaster in the front seat, I liked it even more in the back of the train! Totally insane with some good air on the drops.

Then it was on to Raven. There was about a 20 minute wait because of the one train operation. A front seat ride this time. Again, a wild and crazy (but short) ride.

Then back to Legend. Back seat again. Another GREAT ride. Seeing that the station was empty I grabbed three quick walkons in back. I can't overstate how impressed I was with this coaster.

Finally, before meeting up with Chele out side of Kringle Cafe, I grabbed one last ride on Raven. The line was short now and I waited for the back seat. It was not dark, but it was heavy twilight. That dark ride over the lake and through the woods was great.

After this final ride, and with the announcement that the park was closing, Chele and I grabbed one more cup of free Pepsi for the road and headed back to our hotel for the night.

Wrap Up: We had a great day at Holiday World. It's a great little park with what looks like a great water park too (from what I could see from the lift of The Voyage, though we did not venture into the water park). The setting is nice, the rides well maintained, and everything was clean. With the exception of the cluless kid at Frightful Falls (the one who decided to take our camera out of our bag to secure it rather than just securing the entire bag) the employees were friendly and efficient.

As for the coasters... hands down my favorite was The Legend. Raven was very good... but The Legend would be my reason for returning. If Holiday World wasn't an 11 hour drive, I would be there many times during the season and riding The Legend all day long. As for the Voyage... There is a point where quantity and quality meet. Sometimes a wood coaster can be too big and too fast for its own good and the intensity beats out the fun factor. The Voayge is only one of two wooden coasters where I have found this to be true (the next one I would encounter a few days later in southern Ohio).

Is it the GREATEST park on the face of the planet as some make it sound? No. But it is certainly one of the best. If I would make an 11 hour trip to a park, I would head toward Pigeon Forge TN first... but if I were ever in the neighborhood (i.e. with in 4 or 5 hours of Santa Claus), I would certainly make it a point to take the time to visit Holiday World again.

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Thursday, July 6, 2006 12:52 AM
Im glad to hear you had a good time there. Im not going to be judgemental on your claims of dollywood over holiday world just yet seeing as i have plans in the works for next year. But Holiday World is the best in the middle market and on its way to becoming something that even fans of bigger parks can really enjoy.

Ditto to the marks on raven and the legend. I thought the legend ran pretty rough, but hey that thing is intense. Which brings me to the voyage, that thing is the singlemost intense coaster on wood out there period. Its insane with laterals, and air. Dont know where you didnt feel these things, or even bothered to mention them, but it transitions very well for a wood coaster. I know there were kids that rode with us that werent too impressed, they talked a big CP Game and yes there were three of them.

Seems funny how parks get compared by people that travel a bit, no holiday world isnt cedar point, but cedar point is also not a holiday world in my book, because that park is the best ran i have been too, and cedar point/geuaga lake would be my homeparks, and me wanting to go back to holiday world speaks volumns of just how good it is. Ranks up there with me wanting to take trips to cedar point, because seems like it is always a place where you can have a good ride and time.

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Thursday, July 6, 2006 1:08 AM
I too would rather go to Dollywood, and I think every single one of HW's Golden Tickets could easily go to Dollywood (and they would if enthusiasts weren't so HW-centric)

I enjoyed your report, take on the rides, view on the park and I also agree that Voyage could quickly become a hassle. I just can't see that ride as befitting of the park's "family park" image, its so big, so intense, so wild. BUT the enthusiasts love it, so I guess thats worth enough for some more awards.

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Friday, July 7, 2006 10:04 PM
I don't really know where people get this idea that Voyage is only a favorite among the enthusiasts. Unless 75% of the folks at the park when I was there a couple of weeks ago were enthusiasts, the general park-goers absolutely love the thing too. I heard a couple of people comment that it was too much for re-rides, but to a person, I don't think I heard one complaint that it wasn't absolutely incredible ... from the brave little 5 and 6 year olds all the way up to the older Moms and Dads riding along!

And I agree that Legend doesn't get the credit it deserves. Raven was great, but it just doesn't even hold a candle to the other two in the park.

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Saturday, July 8, 2006 4:02 AM
I agree SLFAKE, I agree.

Great TR. To the point, and honest. Thanks. :)

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Saturday, July 8, 2006 4:10 AM
I agree with Impulse-ive. On the days I went, the majority of the people there were young school kids, and pretty much all of them, including ones who couldn't have weighed more than 90 pounds, came off with a huge smile and declared it their #1 coaster. I agree that it is painful, extremely long and insanely intense, but I don't interpret these feelings in a negative way. For me, it was bordering on too much, but the ride ended just as I wanted to get off. After smiling and relaxing through the new B&Ms and Intamins, I found it incredible to have my ass kicked so thoroughly by a ride.
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Saturday, July 8, 2006 12:34 PM

lettuce said:I agree that it is painful..

How is that NOT negative?

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Saturday, July 8, 2006 1:25 PM
Am I one of the few who expected the Voyage to be the way it is? I mean from the moment it was announced HW was totally up front about what the ride would be like, and it was pretty clear that it was going to literally kick your butt.

Yes, it's fast, it's intense, gives tons of airtime, and it has a ton of elements to it...but IMO, it's nearly perfect as a wooden coaster. How many times have we all been all coasters that were boring and predictable? Can't say that about Voyage!

And I'm not ripping anybody down about Dollywood, I love that place too. Can't wait for Labor Day weekend, so I can get back there and ride Thunderhead, (my #2) and actually the stuff I missed last time.

Good TR though...very thorough! *** Edited 7/8/2006 5:32:12 PM UTC by Floorless Fan***

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Saturday, July 8, 2006 7:28 PM
Funny Floorless fan, I was just there monday and I find nothing painful about voyage.

It might be to intense for some but there isn't a rough moment on it IMHO maybe that one spot pre third 90 but that was less noticable this visit and the first three hills even beat Timbers at Timbersfest.

I apreciate a honest TR and I'll take this as one. My taste might be different and Im not going to try to change his mine.

That Nasai Guy tho, He's just a wimp :)

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Saturday, July 8, 2006 7:39 PM
LOL Chuck! :)
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Saturday, July 8, 2006 7:44 PM
I don't really get where people find The Voyage to be painful, but to each his own. After just riding Timber Wolf at WOF last weekend, I think I know pain when I feel it lol.
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Saturday, July 8, 2006 9:28 PM
I thought Timberwolf was getting some M&V lovin?

Guess Im wrong.

Chuck

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Sunday, July 9, 2006 3:41 AM
If it is I never would've guessed it Chuck.
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