*Be warned that this is a very long and over-detailed report
I’d been looking forward to this event all season. It was the first Club/ERT event I’ve ever attended. I’ve already visited the park well over a dozen times this season, but this time, I made arrangements to do it sans family. I missed them throughout the day, but the ability to go wherever, whenever without any kid-wrangling was a nice change. I brought along a non-enthusiast (yet still coaster-loving) friend who had not been to the park in several years.
The weather was great; sunny and 80 degrees with a gentle breeze all day. There were times when some clouds would roll over and we wondered about rain, but nothing ever came of it. The crowds were as small as I’ve ever seen them. We arrived late (10:45) and were still able to park about halfway up in the main lot. Rides were usually walk-ons all day. The most we ever waited was two cycles for the bumper cars which don’t have great capacity anyway. Management appeared to be out even more than usual as I saw Will, Pat, Paula and other “yellow shirts” many times throughout the day. I can’t really say much more about the park that hasn’t already been said. Everywhere was well still staffed even this late into the season and the ride ops were quite playful and chatty. My one disappointment was that the Dive Show has ended. I didn’t really expect it to be open now that it’s getting cooler, but I had still hoped to catch it one more time this year.
During the day, my friend and I commented that the ERT might be kind of pointless because we pretty much had ERT in the whole park during the day. How wrong we would wind up being! The park closed at 5:30 and we met at Kringle’s banquet hall where we feasted on pizza, chips, veggies and of course fudge! Holidog came in and mingled during the course of dinner. My friend and I were discussing the fudge when Pat Koch sat down next to us for dinner. She asked us about our day and we were asking her about Holidog; specifically how many they have. It was kind of funny, because you could tell she really didn’t want to answer the question. But she then explained that they have two costumes and then she really started opening up about it and told us that they had a third but it was stolen. She got pretty excited about it and said, “I guarantee that it’s on a college campus somewhere!” After some more chit chat with her, Will came over and sat next to us as well. He told Pat that the park was almost cleared for ERT and then talked with us for a minute. I was surprised when he told us he was always nervous about speaking to crowds because he never knew if what he was going to say might disappoint. My friend suggested ending all his speeches with “free fudge for everybody!” He laughed and then it was time to talk. Pat was first and welcomed us and then recapped next year’s Holiwatch program. Will was next and he touted Pilgrims’ Plunge. Surprisingly, there was no new info or insights from either one of them. It was the standard press-release info we already know. They then introduced a surprise guest; one of the engineers from Gravity Group. I think it was Mike, but am not sure. There were not microphones and it was kind of hard to hear. There was then a very brief Q&A in which nothing of any importance was revealed. We were then released from dinner and into ERT.
The Raven & Legend were up first. Now I’ve never gotten to ride any of HW’s coasters after dark before so this was quite exciting for me. We had ridden both of them multiple times during the day already and were very curious how they would be in the dark. If you will excuse the cliché, the difference is night and day! We took on the Raven first. We took one lap in the front seat and one in the back. There is a drastic difference in the perceptible speed after dark. The Raven isn’t a rough ride to begin with, but what bumps are there smooth out even more once the sun goes down. It was superb. We were trying to conserve our energy for the Voyage so we moved on to the Legend. Much like the Raven, the speed was turned up and the bumps down. The pops of airtime were much stronger than normal as well. The intense laterals the ride already provides were made even better (especially on the double helix) as the bumps on them were now gone and there was nothing to interrupt the Gs pulling your body. Again, two laps on the Legend and we decided to head to the main attraction. We knew that it wasn’t up yet, but when we arrived at the Voyage, a surprised Paula greeted us with, “How did you get down here?” Puzzled, we replied that we walked. She laughed and said that the paths into Thanksgiving were supposed to be blocked off. One was, but the one running behind the Hoosier Theater was not. She radioed for security to block it off and escorted us out of the area. We had a nice chat with her on the way back. We wound up taking one more lap on the Legend while we waited for the Voyage to open up. I was surprised at the number of people who attended who were not riding. There were probably a total of 75 people at the event and maybe only half of those were actively riding. The rest were simply sitting around talking and enjoying the atmosphere. After we got off our extra Legend ride, we noticed that people were heading towards Thanksgiving. We followed suit and were greeted with the roar of testing Voyage trains as we entered the area.
The Main Event
This is why I came to Fall Affair. I wanted to experience a Voyage night ride. People go on and on about them and I had to see if it lived up to the hype. I’d say I’ve ridden the Voyage a good 50 times. I’m quite familiar with what the ride does and how it should/shouldn’t feel. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. As we entered the station, it occurred to me that I have never taken a lap in the very front seat. This seemed like a good time to me. It was a two train wait, but they were running two trains so we were in and ready to go in now time. In the station, it didn’t seem that dark looking out, but once we hit the lift hill it was really apparent that things were getting black…and quick. As we neared the top of the lift, there was a gorgeous scene to the left as only a thin ribbon of sunlight was left on the horizon and the rest was pure darkness. (That ribbon would be gone upon our return). We crested the hill and the visual from that first seat is unparalleled. I’ve never thought that the drop is as steep as it looks. Well let me tell you, in that first seat it is! Even better is the fact that you kind of hang off the precipice while the rest of the train clears the lift chain. The train was dropped and at the bottom of the first hill, I could already tell that we were running ten times fiercer than usual. I’d love to know if it’s my imagination of if the top speed really is greater in the dark. We went over the subsequent hills and first tunnel with supreme speed, smoothness and longer airtime than usual. We headed towards the turnaround and that’s when we all discovered the glory of Voyage night rides. Now the Voyage is great, but I’ll be the first one to tell you that if you get a bad seat/ride, it can be rough…especially on the return trip. We hit the first 90 degree turn and you heard the entire train yell “oh my gosh/wow/holy sh!t”! It was butter smooth! The turnaround and second 90 were the same. No bumps, no jarring. We hit the midcourse break and while they didn’t grab, we did lose a very slight amount of speed. We hit the triple down in pitch blackness and it makes all the difference. It’s an outstanding element anyway, but when you have no trace of light in the tunnel it’s phenomenal! As we made the return run, the smoothness was present throughout and that smoothness allowed me to feel something completely new on the ride. On every Voyage ride, the speed the ride keeps until the brakes is impressive. However on this night ride, you could not only feel the speed, but the absolute power of the train. There were no vibrations or bumps to distract. As we approached the last 90 degree turn, the train felt so powerful that I truly wondered if it might just bust through and keep going straight! Of course it didn’t and we hit the flyby and final twisty section. As we ran though these final elements it went through my mind that I was having the best coaster ride of my life. It’s hard to put into words, but it really was a transcendent/religious experience. I don’t have a huge coaster count, but I honestly don’t think that single ride will ever be beaten. When we hit the brakes, the train erupted with cheers and profanity and praise! The rumors were true. My every expectation had been shattered. We pulled back into the station, switched seats and went out again on the same train. It was 100% pitch black now. Truthfully, I was still reeling so much from that first ride that I don’t remember much about the second one. As we pulled back into the station after ride number two, my friend said he was exhausted and he could only handle one more. That was fine by me as my fudge and pizza was starting to slowly creep back up my esophagus. We took a back seat ride for our last ride. It was just as amazing (and smooth) as the first two but with even more speed to boot. I’ve typed a page about this now and I’m still having problems putting this into words. We exited that last ride completely spent. As we walked down the exit ramp my friend said, “If I had paid the money to get just those 3 rides, it would have been worth it. In fact, I’d have paid double!” I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
As we came out onto the midway, we were greeted by Will Koch who had a big box of brownies and other goodies. My dinner was only one ride away from coming back out, so I politely declined. We did tell him how amazing the rides were running to which he commented, “We turned them up for you guys!” It was probably lip service, but it sure felt like it. Then again, he did dispatch the first train we were on so who knows?! We sat and watched about a dozen more trains cycle while we regained our senses and stomachs. I thanked Will, Pat & Jeff as we walked out of Thanksgiving and made the trip back up the hill and out of the park. It was the most satisfied I’ve ever been leaving HW and that’s saying a lot.
In the End
Fall Affair was an outstanding event. The weather and crowds could not have been more in our favor. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen Jeff give some sort of welcome speech at dinner. I had made it a point to introduce myself to him earlier in the day but didn’t want to come across as a groupie/stalker even though he and his wife were more than hospitable to me. As well, I would have liked it if our nametags had our Coasterbuzz usernames on them. I had some nice conversations with other CBuzzers throughout the day, but it felt a little too dorky to say, "Hey I’m Emiroo, who are you?” But all in all, the event was a rousing success. I’ve had the best ride I’ve ever experienced in my life and I don’t expect to ever surpass it. It was simply one of “those” moments in your life that you know you will never forget. Thanks again for everything Jeff & HW. Can’t wait until next year!Last edited by Emiroo, Monday, September 29, 2008 5:33 PM
Yes it was Mike, Diana is not my wife yet, and it doesn't seem appropriate for me to make speeches when I don't really do much in the first place. Holiday World is one of those places that take care of everything except selling the tickets, so they deserve most of the credit.
This was a fabulous event! This was the first time my fiancée and I have ever been to Holiday World and our first Coaster Event. I even brought my parents and brother to the park for the event. I never have been to a coaster event let alone one that included ERT. As the original poster stated my family was one to just linger and enjoy the ERT atmosphere for the most part. We did lots of riding thought the normal operating day. My dad, fiancée, and I did take one ride on Raven and Voyage during the ERT. We did take a ride earlier on Legend, but that was a little to rough for our taste.
The day was beautiful and the park is extremely clean. It is great when you pull into the parking lot and there is no charge for parking. There was only a one or two ride wait for the rides thought the day. The food and merchandise is reasonably priced let alone for a theme park. The soft drinks are included (Only gripe is that they only have caffeine free Diet Pepsi; I am accustomed to the regular Diet Pepsi, especially being up since 3 AM to drive 6 hours).
In summary, the food for the event was great and plentiful. The park has a great family friendly feel to it. Plus the coasters are very powerful. The themed sections in the park are actually themed unlike the park in my Chicago market. Overall, this event has sold my fiancée and me to attending more Coasterbuzz events in the future. We still have smiles on our faces about the great times we had on Saturday. If it wasn’t for finding Coasterbuzz, I would have never known this park existed. I can’t wait to see what events Coasterbuzz will be having come 2009!
P.S. It was great hearing Jeff’s sarcasm, in the Voyage station, in order to get the Voyage ERT started up earlier, instead of waiting for ride ops (Now, that is a great leader)!
Man, I actually feel bad about that because I was totally kidding. Mike and Will were standing there, waiting for a crew, and I said, "What, you guys are too high up to run rides?" They instantly sprung into action and started opening up the train. Mike said to me, "Well, they do trust me with keys."
Like I said, I feel bad about it, because most people don't "get" my "humor."
Only gripe is that they only have caffeine free Diet Pepsi; I am accustomed to the regular Diet Pepsi, especially being up since 3 AM to drive 6 hours.
Yeah, but they have Diet Mountain Dew, which totally makes up for it. Except for Holiday World and Arby's I don't think I've ever seen it on tap.
Hi, here is a reply of the dutch guy who attended fall affair and won the t-shirt from the gravity group.
Many thanks for the great event and the t-shirt.
And replying this late, because I have just returned from my vacation in the US.
In late 2007 I planned this vacation with my girlfriend for spring 2008, so I could attend HoliWood Nights. But those vacation plans where postponed to september/october 2008.
I felt really bad about not attending HoliWood Nights, but just before we went on vacation I heard about Fall Affair and we could just sqeeuze it in our busy vacation schedule.
It was an absolutely fantastic event and I'm glad I attended the event. Those evening dark rides on all three coasters where fantastic.
Holidayworld is such a lovely park and it's amazing that they have three top 10 coasters! I've not made up my mind yet where to place them in my personal top 10, but they score very high, all three.
Thanks again, greetings Hans Arentsen /-//-\
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