Holiday World previews Thunderbird, opens this weekend

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari is ready to launch its Thunderbird, a B&M launched wing roller coaster. The park offered a preview to media and guests today, while the park will open this weekend for the 2015 season.

See more photos on our Holiday World Thunderbird page.

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Bakeman31092's avatar

Left side looks WAAAAY better.

I'll be there in July, after I get back I'll let you know which side is the best! ;)

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Jeff's avatar

It's hard to pick. There are pros and cons.

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Vater's avatar

Yeah, I'm kinda not really seeing a whole ton of difference between sides. They both look like fun.

Jeff's avatar

The turns and inversions all kind of pop you up high because they're so tight and fast, so it's vastly different. The front right has this crazy pop just before it dives down into the barn, while the left pops you over the zero-G roll and "drags" you on the ground by the barn.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

I was going to write a trip report entitled "Thunderbird Destroys All Wing Rider Coaster" but decided to just chime in here instead.

I loved Thunderbird. It's a medium-sized coaster that packs a punch. It's smooth as glass, the launch is awesome, and the special effects in the station are fun. The entire area (way back there) is awesome and well displays Holiday World's recent commitment to step things up in the theming department. The station and surrounding structures were very detailed with barn siding and stacked stone veneer. There's a new eatery, the Smokehouse, a gift shop, a secluded smoking area, and restrooms. Farm implements, crates, appropriate lighting, and cute signage round out the total look. The ride crosses over the path of The Voyage and it's evident that as many trees as possible were left in place. I'd say this addition could easily reside at a well-themed park like Silver Dollar City, or even Busch.

After many rides I decided my preferred seat was in the back on the right. On that side during the rolls and flips the seat pulls out out from under you and it happens twice. The entrance into the sloooow roll (a new B&M signature move?) is fun on that side as well. The Immelmann and the loop were great, but a surprise element for me was the swooping figure eight. It's fast, highly banked and fun on both sides of the train. The launch is smooth, but fast and powerful. I predict we'll see more of this new, highly successful element from B&M. It's thrilling and a space saver as well, taking up a lot less track than a traditional lift.

After having tried the rides at Dollywood and Cedar Point, I decided (sadly) that the wing rider concept wasn't my favorite. I felt the design almost demands that elements be taken slowly and they seem rather lumbering to me. Thunderbird, however, restored my faith in this type of coaster. Perhaps it's the shorter, lighter five car train, but I detected virtually no vibration that seems to plague the other rides I've tried. And maybe it's the speedy launch, but the over all layout seems to be snappier than others, with each element fast and fun.

I was so fortunate to receive an invitation to the event. Holiday World's staff did an outstanding job with the day. There was plenty of ride time, not only on Thunderbird but Crow's Nest, The Voyage, and later in the day Raven and Legend. They raised money for Give Kids the World. There was a never ending supply of food, starting with breakfast, snacks, cookies, a lunch with items from the new Smokehouse, Thunderbird ice cream, and pizza. The presentation before the ride session was short, sweet, but meaningful. You could see the pride in the project and it was evident that the day represented, perhaps bittersweetly, the realization of a long-term dream for the park. Then throughout the day we were approached by managers and directors wanting to know what we thought of the new experience, and by that I was reminded how Holiday World genuinely cares for and about their customers' experience.

To top it off we were all treated to glorious weather. Early morning was cool, but it warmed up to a comfortable temperature and the blue sky and sunshine kept photographers and videographers busy all day. They couldn't have asked for better.

So, congratulations and many thanks to Holiday World. This project may not be the season's biggest, but it's one of the best and they should look forward to an outstanding summer.

Mac, you described a "slow roll." Something like Hydra's "Jo-Jo Roll?"

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

Yes, kind of like that. I was thinking in particular of the last inversion element on Banshee. It's an in-line twist that seems stretched out and slow. It's a great trick and takes a lot of riders by surprise.

koolcat1101's avatar

I'm glad HW brought back the concept of a launched wing rider. Can't wait to try out this ride! Also the HW website kind of admits that the left side is better.

Last edited by koolcat1101,

(Insert funny signature here.)

Jeff's avatar

I think the shorter trains mean that they can more predictably measure the dynamics of the ride, consistently, front to back, and that means they can be more aggressive. Every turn and inversion on the ride is taken fast (other than the final roll). There is not a dull moment. And of course, leave it to B&M to somehow make the launch itself the smoothest one I've ever been on.

The weird thing though is that it isn't so aggressive as to make it hard to re-ride. I think they've got a big hit.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

I enjoyed watching members at another forum yesterday spend the entire day bitching and moaning about changes to the mid-course brake on Voyage. Finally, around 2:00, someone pointed out how stupid the incessant complaining sounded on the media day for another ride.

Last edited by bigboy,

Tekwardo's avatar

What changes on Voyage's MCBR?

I'm excited about Thunderbird. Not able to do HWN this year as I have to go to training for work (at the beach, I'm not complaining), and I'm taking a friend who is moving to Seattle to CP for the first time in May, but I may hit up the park in July.

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Jeff's avatar

If something about it changed, I didn't notice. I had the best ride on Voyage that I've had in years. They did a nice job in the off-season.

Don't forget... Fall Affair will be the last weekend of August.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Tekwardo's avatar

There are no changes just somebody joking around and now a bunch of kids are
Running with it. Lol

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

It's nice to read some great reviews from trusted sources. Due to the lackluster reviews of the other wing riders, I was concerned that Thunderbird might not be an exceptional coaster. I'm very happy for Holiday World. Another Home Run! I can't wait for the annual trip in July. Hell, I may have to move it up to June.

CarolinaNick15's avatar

The launch looks much better than I expected. How does it compare to the current wing riders? Fron the pov it looks better but it is hard to judge a ride based on pov.

Jeff's avatar

I think it's better, because it's more aggressive. Everything is tighter, again, presumably because of the shorter trains. The third inversion really yanks you through it, especially on the left side.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Is it July 6 yet?

Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!
kpjb's avatar

No, it's still April.


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