Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana, USA
My first and most recent visit to Holiday World was in the fall of 2007, so I thought a return trip/reunion with friends from undergraduate life (Santa Claus is a fairly good meeting point between Bloomington, IN and Nashville, TN) would be a lovely way to spend a Saturday. And indeed it was: the weather was gorgeous,crowds were fairly light (no more than a 10-15 minute wait all day), and the company (despite the somewhat park-awkward amount of five people) simply couldn’t be beat.
We met at the park at roughly 11 and proceeded to take the typical circuit of Halloween--> 4th of July--> Thanksgiving around the park. Raven was a nice start to the day,though it didn’t seem to be running quite as swiftly or smoothly as I remembered from my visit three years ago. It is a bit short, but there’s not a dull moment and it never lets up! My main qualm with the ride, I suppose, was that the helix over the lake was feeling very rough; I remembered it feeling much more like gliding across the water… but no matter –I enjoyed the intensity.
Legend was next, naturally, and I was hoping I’d find it more pleasing this year. My last experience left me enjoying the intensity and twisted, confusing (to me!) layout, though I thought it was just a bit too rough to be a top-tier coaster. Unfortunately, the ride was much of the same. I like the rough-and-tumble of wooden coasters, but this was just a bit much for me. I still appreciate the intensity, but it was definitely not worth a re-ride.
It was the first HW visit of all of my friends save one, and they were very pleased to find out about the free sodas all day. Really, it adds SO much to the park experience… having that refreshment readily available whenever you want is such a convenient luxury. Unfortunately, we first discovered The Bees at the drink machine: not quite the amount of a swarm, but still, a huge amount of them were buzzing excitedly around the dispensers. I only found it mildly annoying myself, but a member of my party is deathly afraid of them, providing us with a rather wonderful form of free entertainment. I was sympathetic, naturally, but I couldn’t resist laughing at seeing a 22-year-old young woman dart to and fro while escaping The Bees.
We moved on, catching the Hallowswings (such fun) and a few of the 4th of July attractions before heading to Voyage, which was my reigning #1. On our first lap, it was running reasonably well, though the mid-course brakes brought us to a complete halt, and we baked in the sun for at least five minutes in the middle of the woods. I’m not sure what the issue was,but after some time a maintenance worker came back, checked out restraints, and then sent us on our way. I feared it would ruin the second half of the ride, but no way! The back half was as ferocious as ever, leaving us all quite incapable of a re-ride. Sadly, it wasn’t as solid as my previous rides three years ago, but it was still damned good.
We took on Turkey Whirl (goodness, I LOVE that ride) and the dark ride before deciding lunch would be a good idea. The group wasn’t keen on the Thanksgiving meal (some strange smells coming from that building…) so we trekked back to the burger place in Halloween. Here, The Bees struck again. We all sat around around table, but there were literally at least 15-20 bees hovering around us at all times, landing in our hair, crawling across the table, trying to get into the food… we eventually moved over to a ledge by the scrambler, but still, a few of them taunted us regularly (my poor friend was a mess, as you can imagine…she ate her chicken tenders while continually walking away from an incoming bee, real or imagined). This problem continued all day; for some reason—maybe it was the weather, the people, sticky surfaces, I don’t know—they were everywhere, and while perhaps unavoidable,after a while it did start to make the group a bit crabby.
After lunch, we took in all the water rides, as we figured some coaster riding and general sun would dry us up before long. I find the log ride enjoyable, the river rapids are very weak, and Pilgrim’s Plunge (new to me) was a major letdown. The ride building is far too cavernous in my opinion, and the flume before the lift is pointlessly dull. The lift itself wasn’t quite as scary as I’d imagined, and the drop was merely-so so. The huge unexpectedly-late splash was a great surprise, but overall, I doubt I’d ever ride it again. It sure looks good in the park, and I bet it pulls in huge crowds, but it’s just not for me.
On our way out of the park, we did each coaster once again in reverse order. Voyage was running miles better, and one friend and I actually made the group wait so we could snag two more go-arounds. These rides were absolutely brilliant (!!!), restoring any faith I might have lost with my previous ride in the day. I can only imagine what wonders the new trains will hopefully do for the ride; if they can tame it just enough to make it more re-rideable while maintaining or increasing the same relentless ferocity and airtime it has now, I’d be very tempted to buy a season pass and make the 1.5-hr trip much more frequently.
Next on the return circuit was Legend… and oh my god, I don’t know what happened. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time of day, maybe we sat int he wrong seats (middle-back), maybe we were simply tired, but that ride beat me up like no other ride in my life. As I said earlier, I really love wooden coasters, but this was nothing short of painful from start to finish. I suppose I found the first drop mildly enjoyable, but every other second provided what was probably the worst experience on a rollercoaster in my life (and I rode Texas Giant in 2009!). I’m telling you, my rear end was literally in pain for a good four or five days after our visit. Legend still seems to have its fans, as I’ve read decent-to-great reports on here this season and it maintains generally good rankings, but I can’t say that I’m one of them. I suppose I’ll give it another go if I visit next year (a seat closer to the front is probably a better option), but for now, I’m left with an extremely bitter taste in my mouth.
Thankfully, we ended with a ride on Raven, which was running SUPERBLY. Much smoother than earlier, fast, surprising, and tons of fun, this coaster restored my faith in the park a good deal during its short duration. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to an event one of these days and catch it at night, which I imagine could be something of a religious experience (not to mention Voyage,naturally!).
In the end, it was an enjoyable day at the park, though I think the ticket price is perhaps a little high for what you get on anon-Splashin’-Safari day. Yes, the free parking, drinks, and cheap food are wonderful, and perhaps I sound ungrateful here, but I’m still not sure it’s enough. The staff was also very friendly all day per usual(except for the guy running the Dippin’ Dots-esque food stand in Halloween;when asked what he thought we should get between two choices, he replied with “I don’t like these, so if I were you I probably wouldn’t get any at all”… well,they weren’t great anyway, so in my estimation he was justified, but still –customer service!).
I think it’s wonderful that attendance is growing each year, and I do think their additions for next year are wise investments. Still, I believe they could use one or two more large thrill rides (such as a HUSS Giant Frisbee and a typically-HW-creative steel coaster of some sort) to really help round out the park and make me (and really, my tougher-to-please friends) more eager to visit over and over again.
(ETA: does anyone else have formatting issues when copying and pasting from Microsoft Word?)
Sounds like a fun time......despite the roughness of Legend and the ferocity of Voyage. Those new gravity Group trains can't come fast enough. Who knows, they may outfit Legend with them in the future. There were 4 parks on my hit list that I always wanted to attend (Hershey, Kennywood, Knoebels and Holiday World) I already have two down.....Holiday world is next.
I also have had issues copying and pasting from word. Because of that I use notepad mostly....or I just type it in coasterbuzz dialog box and copy it (in case I get logged out)
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