So, Saturday morning, thanks to Holiday World being in Central time zone, we left Pittsburgh at a respectable 9:30am. The drive out to Holiday World was uneventful, as most long drives tend to be. I was surprised as we left Louisville and entered Indiana at the hills and rough terrain. I was expecting a cornfield and southern Indiana looks a lot more like Pittsburgh ... most of Ohio looked more like what I was expecting in Indiana. Seeing our first bilboard in Louisville for Holiday World helped to fuel the anticipation and we arrived at the park at about 4:15pm local time, pretty much right on schedule.
On the park website, if you've seen the thread lately, there was a posted warning about the anticipated crowds on this day, and from the getgo, we could see that this was probably true. The main parking lot was nearly full, and the lot across the road was nearly full as well ... a lot of cars for what looked to be a very small park. Because we arrived late, we pulled into the main lot, found an already-abandoned spot, picked up our $11-off Pepsi cans and after a couple of seconds trying to figure out where the entrance was, headed for the gates.
On entering the park, my first impression was that it wasn't what I was expecting. For some reason, I pictured each Holiday being as extensively themed as an Island at IoA ... not sure why I was expecting that from a family-owned and family-oriented park in basically the middle of nowhere, but I was. Not that it was bad, but the park reminded me more of the scale of Kennywood or Lagoon. We tried to pick up a map, but the map was annoyingly difficult to match up to the actual park, and the blocky-ness of it just made me frustrated. It was a lot easier to just walk to the lift hills. First stop of the day, Raven.
Raven (day ride): The line here was nothing, we literally waited one train and were beginning to question the "warning" about the crowds. I
think this short line was attributable to the dive show going on right outside the entrance, but I didn't figure that one out until much later. We opted for a 2nd-to-last seat ride and soon we were off on the former "best wooden coaster in the world". The entire walk to the ride, I kept trying to literally clear my mind of expectations, stop thinking analytically about the ride, just enjoy it for what it is. Going up the slooooooow chain lift, I was doing a good job, didn't have one analytic thought, was just taking in the scenery and trying to figure out how the paths went to get over to Legend. After the first drop which was good
(but not great) the first enthusiast thought began to creep into my mind ... through the tunnel I was thinking "that's how the #1 coaster starts off?!?" ... but I pushed that thought back out of my head, kept my hands held high and let the ride take me where it would. And WOW! What a ride. As would be a continuing theme, the first half is good, but
the second half is where this coaster SHINES. The directional changes, the ever-increasing speed, the closeness to terrain and the woods, it was wonderful! I got off not really knowing exactly how the track was laid out, and for me, that's odd, I can usually map most of a ride after one time. Raven was great, but it wasn't THE top coaster it was billed to be. 9/10 (day ride)
Next up, Legend (day ride): Here's where we started to see the lines form. There were two switchbacks open down below here in the "infield" followed by some switchbacks up in the station. All in all, about a 30 minute wait, but still, if that's "crowded" give me "crowded" any day! =) Legend's line offers a great view of the last few wicked twists and
turns of this ride, as well as a great view of the gorgeous lift hill. The bell tower that actually functions on this ride is a neat feature. Our wait was rather uneventful, and we opted for a back-row ride this time. Unlike Raven, from the moment the wolf howled and this one topped the lift hill, I knew this one was going to be amazing. To this point of my day, Legend was the most powerful, most out of control, most insane coaster I think I've ever ridden. The tunnels are all perfectly placed, the pops of air, the drops through the structure, the interaction with the woods, the one "breather" section and as all good Holiday
World coasters have, pacing that just dials it up the closer you get to the end of the ride. I usually yell and scream and whoop and laugh on rides just for fun, but on this ride, it would have come out of my mouth if I wanted it to or not! We hit the brakes and again, my first thought was "I have no idea where we just went!". Another absolute winner ... Legend was so good that it immediately moved near the top of my list, wood or steel! (and those of you that know me or have seen me post for a
few years know how big of an "event" it is that I consider a wooden coaster better than steel!). 9.5/10 (day ride)
After catching our breath and our first drinks at the free drink stations (woot woot for those things ... best infrastructure improvement
EVAH!) we headed off on some confusing paths to get over to the most anticipated coaster of the day ... the Voyage! I was at this point
moderately convinced that Legend would end up being my favorite in the park. Heck, it had already beaten out most of 150+ other coasters I've ridden previously, how could I get not only one, but TWO coasters (wooden coasters to boot!) that top my list? How wrong I would be ...
Voyage. Wow. Simply ... wow. There are no words to describe this coaster other than perfection. As we crossed under the brake track, I noticed the ridiculously banked turn to my left and immediately got a "pre rush" just anticipating going through that turn. We approached the station and were expecting another relatively short wait due to no line being outside... but not to be. I like the fact that the entire line is shaded and cooled due to it being inside, but come on, at least indicate to those outside that it's not just up the stairs and that's it! =) After a ridiculously short and quick-moving 50 minute wait through a nearly full queue, we arrived at the platform. At this point, I got the
butterflies for only the 3rd time since the late 90s ... Millennium, Dragster and Voyage! We again opted for the back seat as that seems to be a good "winner" seat for CCI/GG coasters. As our comfortable train departed the station, I was surprised at the speed of the chain lift.
Doesn't really give you as much time as I was expecting to contemplate what's about to happen. The first hill? Wow, just pure speed-bliss ... this is what SoB's hill SHOULD have been! Up we went over the airtime-filled 2nd hill, and up to the crest of the third hill and then .... it happened. At the top of the 3rd hill, time stopped, reality warped and
other than knowing that I was tossed around like a rag doll, there were a lot of tunnels, there were a ridiculous number of drops, and none of it hurt one bit, I honestly had NO IDEA what had just happened to me ... but I knew that it was one of a kind, it was the best there was, and it wasn't going to be beaten ... ever. Voyage is perfect. It is indescribable how amazing it is. You think you're going into a shallow tunnel? Sorry, you're dropping another 50'. You think you're going into
that fan turn out there? Sorry, you're going through a couple of tunnel drops, and a couple of wicked whiplash turns before you even get out to that fan turn. You think you're going to pass the station and glide to a nice gentle end to the ride? Sorry, you're going to ripped 40 different directions in 5 seconds in the most mind-blowing end to a ride ever created. No ride, steel or wood, has ever come close; no ride, steel or wood, WILL ever come close. 20/10!!
After our Voyage, we needed a few moments to digest what just happened to us. We took another spin on both Raven and Legend (great again!) and headed back to Thanksgiving. Another stop at an Oasis for some drinks and we peeked into Gobbler Getaway. The line for this seemed a little long for a dark ride when we knew that Coaster Nirvana/Uptopia/Heaven
was sitting 500' behind us, so we opted to head right back to Voyage. By the time we got back to the platform, we opted for another back seat
ride because, the front might be good, but if it wasn't, we would have been disappointed that we didn't ride in the back for our "last ride"
on this of our trip. But, it wasn't to be. As we got to the air gates and were next to board, an absolutely morbidly obese man attempted to
get out of the car and apparently fell and blew out his knee. For some reason, this caused the entire ride to SHUT DOWN for the NIGHT ... with
us NEXT! Absoultely frustrating. We got exit passes for Legend out of the deal, but they gave everyone in line exit passes (class act) so that meant that the "exit pass" line was nearly as long of a wait as the regular ride wait ... not to mention that now an entire line's worth of of 3-train Voyage operation folks were now in line for everything else,
and the waterpark was now closed, bringing all of those people back into the fold. But, the sun was going down, so we went for our re-rides
expecting somewhat better, but unprepared for what was to come. We walked past Legend, but opted to get some food and wait for some of the
Voyage folks to get their rides in and filter away so we had some shorter lines. Food was good (Kringle's Kafe I believe?) and very inexpensive. After food, first up was Raven (closer to food).
Raven (night ride). This one gets another review because it really IS a different ride! The first and second hills, and turn over the water are the same as during the day, but then the Raven turns into what the Raven is known for! Coming back over the water, the light begins to filter out and you begin to plunge into the dark woods ... except, you're on a coaster that's not about to let up! The 2nd half which is so good in the day is Legend-ary, even Voyage-rific at night! You can't see
anything, you have no idea where you're going, all you know is it's dark, you're going faster and faster and faster, you're whipping from side to side, and up and down and there's trees everywhere, but before you know it, you slam into the brakes wanting more! Night rides are why Raven's rated the way it is! I'm SO glad I took this piece of advice! As a night ride? Raven's a 10/10!
We moved on to use our exit passes for Legend, and again, it was (literally) night and day!
Legend (night ride). How could this ride get better? I'll tell you how ... make it pitch black! We rode smack-dab in the middle of the car this time as the exit pass people just filed in and we were the last to get on this train, but you know what? It made very little difference! From the moment the chain lets go, Legend in the dark is just cranked up 10 notches! Every turn and drop is unexpected, every turn and drop seems faster, and the pacing, again, I just cannot say enough about it, the power and itensity just goes up as the ride goes along. Coming back into the station, a night ride on Legend had now moved up my list to top every steel and every wood except Voyage. I got the same "what the heck just happened to me" feeling when I stepped out of that car that I got on Voyage ... it just wasn't as long. 11/10!
After our Legend ride we hopped back in line to catch another ride before closing and after another amazing ride managed to get on and off
just in time to book it up the hill to Raven and catch the girl as she was closing the gates! But, she was nice enough to let us on the ride and we caught not one, but TWO more consecutive night rides on Raven before our night was over.
As we headed out of the park, we both agreed that our minds were made up: this was too good to pass up. No matter how good Kentucky Rumbler might be, 2 ½ hour drive each way to get there out of our "line" back home, in addition to tolls and a $25 admission was NOT going to beat a $19 return admission to Holiday World Sunday morning! So ... Beech Bend falls to Holiday World and for the first time, I've put quality over quantity on a coastering trip!
Sunday we came back to the park to find it again rather crowded. I was surprised to see Mrs. Koch (recognized her from the in-park photos) helping with crowd control to get people to the gates! Nice touch! We were worried that Voyage would be closed completely this day, but the signs out front indicated that it would open later in the day. We hit
Raven and Legend once each early and then began scouting Voyage. After not seeing much action, we hit Gobbler Getway which is a neat, funky
little ride. First time through, I was horrible, Ed crushed my score, but our second ride later, I got my revenge ;) (I think it all depends on who sits in the front seat). We left Thanksgiving and wandered back to get some BBQ sandwiches near Liberty Launch. We thought about riding LL, but the line was too long for a small tower ride like that and we were (at that time) semi-pressed for time ... hoping to be out of the park by 1:30 to still hit SFKK and be home at a decent hour.
After passing on LL, we headed back to Thanksgiving, figuring we'll give Voyage an hour (it was noon at this point) because that's how long we'd normally wait anyway. There were three high school kids waiting at the front of the queue, and after our second Gobbler ride, we joined them. The employee at the gate, Laura I believe was her name, was very nice, and very good at crowd control, considering the situation. During our (what started as) hour wait, we got to be pretty friendly with the
kids that were there before, two groups that came over not long after us and waited with us, and Laura. The 10 or so of us talked and joked
and the others marvelled that we drove all the way from Pittsburgh, and we generally had a good time. Well, after about 30 minutes, we started to see movement around the ride. Ed and I both looked at each other and sort of silently acknowledged that SFKK had fallen to the Voyage. We were waiting this one out no matter WHAT! After some crowd control snafus, one nasty and obnoxious employee, and our little 10-person-we've-been-here-the-longest group rallying around Laura to help her manage the crowd, Voyage finally opened around 2:30! We were (obviously) on the first train out of the station, back row, as the one kid in front of us was nice enough to give us back row and take 2nd to back!
The second time is just as sweet as the first! After two rides, I STILL had no idea what to expect, what was going on, or what had just
happened to me on that ride! We ended up hitting it 3 times in a row before 3:15 (4:15 EST) when we had to leave. After a quick stop for some magnets and keychains, we left Holiday World for what I hope to be only a short while!
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. Voyage cannot be beat, Legend is amazing, and how can we forget Raven! Holiday World, you
ROCK! As far as I'm concerned, Voyage, Legend, Raven, #1, 2, 3 in that order for the Golden Tickets!
Edit: attempted to fix some spacing errors *** Edited 6/27/2006 12:35:11 AM UTC by Impulse-ive***
I went to HW for the first time a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by Voyage. Even after the six rides I got on it I couldn't get enough. Legend was excellent and Raven was great flying through the woods.
Thanks for the descriptions of the night rides on Legend and Raven. I did not stay all day as my hotel was three hours away back in Ohio and I didn't want to drive all that way at night.
And welcome to "Club Voyage". Please enjoy your stay! ;)
I appreciate that some people don't think the Voyage will ever be beat, but with the guys from the Gravity Group realizing themselves that the next one of this scale has got to be even better (from the Podcast), I wouldn't count on it. Expect even more maniacal stuff to happen at another park (or HW) someday.
I hope the man is okay who blew out his knee. That's a shame that they would shutdown the whole ride for one injury, but it's likely that they didn't want to move the man, or make him try to walk on it. They probably had to get a stretcher in there, and you don't want anyone in the way while bringing one of those in, since the station is pretty tight on the unload side.
I don't feel bad for this guy at all. It was his own clumsy fault, he was perfectly fine once he left the ride platform and there was no audience, and he caused the ride to shut down for the night.
Yea, apparently Notepad doesn't copy-paste well into the Buzz ... nothing has since I got FireFox. I edited that stuff before I posted, did a second round after I posted and what you see is what was left. I ran out of patience on that one. How come you can't get HTML format posts in FireFox?
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