Holiday World is my home park. I’ve been there countless times and at this point probably can’t add anything new to what everyone else has already reported. I try to avoid going to HW on Saturdays at all costs, but this trip was one in which we were to meet up with relatives with so we were at the mercy of their schedules. As it turned out, there were no less than three company picnics being held at the park that day but even so, the park was less crowded than when I went on a weekday about a month ago. This is probably due to the fact that schools were starting back up the following Monday.
Anyway, we arrived at the park at 9:55 AM and though they were still letting cars into the main lot, I opted to get a front row spot in the Legend lot instead. It was sunny and about 88 out. As usual, Pat Koch was greeting guests outside the gates. I yelled “Hi Pat!” and waved from across the lot. This of course, mortified my wife but Pat smiled and waved back.
This trip was all about the kiddies; my one and a half year old son and my two year old niece to be exact. We were in the park minutes after opening and went straight to the kiddie section in the Christmas area. We let the little ones go on a few of the spinning rides. They had a great time and then the family opted, as they always do, to go straight to the water park. I thought I could sneak a ride on the Raven on the way there but the lines were already into the second switchback. No matter, I knew I would get plenty of rides on it later. We went to Splashin’ Safari and headed straight to the wave pool. My wife and son love it. That’s pretty much the entire reason we buy season passes every year. It’s cheaper than a swim club membership, and an incredibly better value. We hit The Wave up first and messed around there for about 2 hours. Then we went to play in the Jungle Jets. I was going to make a few runs on Jungle Racer, but the lines were all they way down the towers and back to where you pick up your racing mats. This particular trip was about family so I decided to skip it in order to spend some more quality time. After that we hit the Bahari Wave Pool where again my wife, son and other relatives really had a great time. The little ones absolutely love the geysers that spray at the edge of the pool. The capacity of this pool is amazing. I’ve never seen it anywhere near full, but I’m sure it could hold 1000 people easily. The new star of Splashin’ Safari this year is Bakuli. And though I’ve been to the park half a dozen times so far this season, I have yet to ride it. The lines for it are always some of the longest in the entire park. I’d estimate the wait to be at least 45 minutes if not an hour. Though the ride looks fun, I have no problem waiting until another visit to ride when the wait is less, especially when I had family waiting on me. We skipped Bakuli and took a few laps on the Bahari River. Personally, I think that Congo River is the more exciting lazy river with better elements, but Bahari River is more relaxing and much, much longer. After that it was time for lunch. $17 to feed 3 adults and 2 kids at an amusement park is simply amazing. And we’re talking all the way full with food left over too! Of course I don’t need to mention that we had been taking advantage of the free soft drinks since we arrived. After that it was over to Crocodile Isle to let the kids get some sliding in. This area, though not packed, was more crowded that I had ever seen it this season. They also seemed to be short a lifeguard or two in this section today. Not truly an issue though since all of the parents seemed to be monitoring their little ones. After that it was back to The Wave for another hour or two and then back out to the theme park.
Here’s where I’ll post my little rant about how HW desperately needs to do something about crowd control in the locker and changing room area of Splashin’ Safari. Yeah I know that when it was built, the Koch’s never dreamed that the water park would grow to be as large as it is, but there are severe capacity issues in the locker area, especially in the afternoons. The problem is that all of the lockers are in one area. Though this is convenient and while it is a reasonably large area, the hallways between lockers can be a tight squeeze (especially if you have a baby stroller) and now matter how hard you try you will always run into gridlock. I don’t know if spreading more lockers into different sections of the water park would alleviate the congestion, but something should be done. It gets worse every year and will continue to do so as Holiday World becomes even more popular. The one saving grace is that 98% of all guests are patient and respectful and understand that this is just something everyone has to deal with in order to enjoy Splashin’ Safari.
Now, Back to the park! As has almost become tradition, we seem to always leave Splashin’ Safari about 2:00 pm, at which time I always take a ride on Halloswings since they are right there as you exit the water park. I love Wave-Swingers and this one seems to run faster than most giving you some respectable Gs on the outer seats. The lines for the Legend were well into the switchbacks so I decided to forego the wait on that one. After that, we let the kids ride a few of the kiddie rides in the 4th of July section. However, both of them fell asleep before we made it to the Freedom Train and Holidog’s Fun Town. I was kind of bummed to miss the Freedom Train as I always take a ride as a tradition. The kids had both been to Holidog’s Fun Town before and though they liked it, they are still a bit too small to enjoy everything it offers so it wasn’t a huge deal to skip it. We then wandered into the Thanksgiving section. Turkey Whirl was a walk-on but I passed this visit. I was hoping to take a ride on the Voyage, but the line was well out of the station and down the stairs. Again, I was more focused on family this trip so I kept on moving. Gobbler Getaway was down (and was advertised as being down at the park gates). I was hoping it might be back up since my wife hasn’t been on it and I think she’d really think it was fun. We enjoyed more free drinks at the Plymouth Rock Café and noticed that the drink cups there are substantially larger than the ones at the Oasis stations. We trekked back up the hill towards the front of the park.
Here’s a tip: Udderly Blue has some of the best soft serve ice cream you will ever eat. It’s located right next to Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride (Spider). Now they have blue colored ice cream if you wish, but it also has a blueberry flavor which isn’t that great in my book. They do however, offer regular chocolate and vanilla. It is absolutely fantastic. Do NOT make a trip without getting some. It is dirt cheap and the cones are HUGE! It’s right up there with the park’s trademark fudge. If you visit the park is it almost sacrilegious not to have some.
With the kids knocked out and us full of ice cream we decided to head for the exits. This was about 3:00 PM. Here’s where my most useful tip comes into play. The ladies took the kids and visited a few of the shops while I went to the Raven. Starting at about 2:00 PM, the Raven is almost always dead. I guess most people have made their way to the back of the park at this time. I schedule my Raven rides at this time every trip and it has been a walk-on each time I do it this way. There’s usually a one train wait for the back seat and two for the front but any other seat will be readily available. Today, they were running both trains and were really hitting interval. Something I noticed coming up to the station was a new sign that mentioned that the Raven travels at almost 60 mph. Now it is well documented that the top speed of this coaster is 48 MPH, so I wrote it off to an overzealous sign maker. However, today’s rides have made me wonder if they haven’t actually adjusted things to make it closer to 60. The past few visits, the Raven seemed kind of sluggish to me. The airtime seemed to be kind of muddled and the ride seemed more laid back than its usual wildness. However, on this visit the Raven had been tuned up to 11! I took 3 laps in 15 minutes. I took the front, back and middle/front. The ride was running like a bat out of hell! Though I can’t confirm it, the speed really did feel closer to the 60 mph mark! Speed and airtime galore and the final section of banked turns was pulling so many Gs today that I actually had some graying out! Normally, that section is kind of weak and just burns off speed. This is the Raven I remember riding for the first time back in 1997! I’ve ridden her more than any other coaster; probably a good 75 times, so I really know when she is and isn’t running well. It’s kind of funny; my sister is petrified of coasters, but I almost had her convinced to ride with me. It’s actually a good thing she didn’t because today’s Raven would most definitely have been too much for her. I probably would have continued re-riding for a solid hour or so, but the Moms and kids were ready to pack it in for the day.
So that’s it. A nice simple, laid back family affair at Holiday World. Great weather, reasonable crowds. Not a whole lot of ride riding went on, but we had a wonderful time and the Raven really sunk its claws into me. It really was like a whole new ride this visit. It’s still #1 in my book! *** Edited 8/28/2007 9:32:54 PM UTC by Emiroo***
Are all the soft serve places the same? The place you spoke of was closed the day we went, so I got a cone right behind the Hoosier Theater. I thought it was great, but if there is better ice cream, I'll hold out for that next time.
I know exactly which ice cream stand you are talking about behind Hoosier Theater. However, we are staunch Udderly Blue patrons and have been now for about 7 years. It's been so long since I've eaten ice cream anywhere else at HW I couldn't tell you how they compare. I would assume that they should be pretty close though.
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