Holiday World vs. Great Adventure

Hi all,

Next year I will be choosing between a Holiday World vacation or a Six Flags Great Adventure vacation. Although I plan on attending both parks some day, I have to choose one for 2015. I've been on Top Thrill Dragster, so Kingda Ka isn't completely uncharted territory (I'm assuming). However El Toro looks amazing. But then there are all of the amazing things everyone says about Holiday World. If anyone has any insight on either of these park's plans for next season, that would also help. Please guide me in the right direction with your vast coaster knowledge!


Chad K

sirloindude's avatar

I've never been to Holiday World, but I will say that my experiences at Great Adventure on days that aren't crowded are some of the nicest amusement park days I've ever had. Granted, with its location, those days can be hard to find, but I'm a big fan of the park and some of my favorite coasters are there. On top of that, there are some very nice places in the park for you to relax. The walk along the lake in the back of the park is one of the most pleasant sections of any amusement park I've visited.

Again, I can't offer a comparison (save that I'm pretty confident you're looking at two very different experiences), but I can at least recommend Great Adventure on its own merit.

Last edited by sirloindude,

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

Bakeman31092's avatar

If you're a coaster junkie then obviously GA has more to choose from. I haven't been to either park since 2006, the year that both of their best coasters opened. I prefer El Toro over The Voyage, and that was when the latter was brand new and running smoothly. I'm not sure how it's holding up these days, but my guess is that the gap has widened. HW is more family oriented and has a highly regarded water park. If I had to choose between the two, I would go with GA.

If you are planning a vacation I would try to find a coaster enthusiasts event to make the trip extra sweet. Holiday World has a very awesome even called Holiwood Nights. SFGA has a pretty sweet even called running of the bulls with ert on El Toro in the pm while having ERT on Nitro in the AM. I feel Holiday World is a one day park while Six Flags could be two day park. There are other parks in distance of both parks you could plan to visit also.

MF Crew 2006
Magnum's 3rd hill is the best airtime hill out of all the coasters in the world!

Chris brings up good points, though I will add that Riding of the Bull is an ACE event only, so you'd have to have an ACE membership or have an ACEr sign you up for it.

Anyway, I have never been to Holiday World, but I've never heard anyone say, "Oh man, that park sucks!". Also, depending where you are coming from, either park is situated so you could indeed visit multiple other parks as well. For example, within 2 hours of Great Adventure, there is Dorney Park, within three hours Hershey, within 4 hours Knoebels. All these parks have at LEAST one well-loved coaster worth the trip. Dorney Park's Talon is a respected invert packed into a small, tight course. Hershey has one of my top 3 wooden coasters in Lightning Racer. Knoebels is a totally different park experience than the usual, and the Phoenix is so awesome it had a special event named after it. Finally, Great Adventure has some great steel and wood. I cannot give a fair comparison of Toro to Voyage to tell you if Voyage is worth a trip, but I can tell you that Toro is my number one coaster all around. It will shock the living daylights out of you.

Again, I am not really pushing for you to go to Great Adventure because I like it so much better or anything like that, but I'm just giving out what information I know about my particular coasting experience here in the TriState area. I'm sure there are many arguments for taking the western trip as well. I'm still trying to get out that way myself!

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Holiday World's appeal also depends a great deal on how much you enjoy Water Parks. If you like Water Parks, Holiday World's is fabulous and huge and you'll find plenty to do. If you're not a water park fan, you will quickly run out of things to do there. It is a very nice park, but the ride park is small and other than the coasters there isn't a whole lot there. And what is there isn't particularly remarkable.

However, if you do decide to go to HW you could add Beech Bend, Kings Island, and/or the reopened Kentucky Kingdom to your trip pretty easily.

If I may ask ... how soon do you have to decide?

Paula Werne
Holiday World

Tommytheduck's avatar

bunky666 said:

Anyway, I have never been to Holiday World, but I've never heard anyone say, "Oh man, that park sucks!"

Man, that park sucks!

There... I said it...

And now I completely retract it. Some of the best times I've ever had were at what used to be known as Stark Raven Mad. (Now known as Holiwood Nights.) If at all possible, plan your trip around that, it's a 2-day event usually held in late May. Raven is still one of my all time favorite coasters. I find Voyage a bit rough, but others have called me a bit of a wuss, so...

You can't go wrong with a trip to HW. It's a family friendly environment and will certainly be a less expensive all around experience too. Only downside is that, yeah, you could do it all in a day if you wanted to. But if you're going to make the trip, stretch it out. There's a lot of other great stuff to do in the area, non coaster related, even. I'd go to Mammoth Caves in KY, and the Corvette museum in Bowling Green, which now has a miniature cave of it's own!

That being said, you can't beat SFGrAdv for sheer size. They have a great coaster collection, on of the best in the SF chain, IMO. But like someone already said, it will be crowded, you will pay out the nose for food, parking, etc, and you will get line jumped both legally (Fastpass) and illegally. Add to that the typical SF operations, and you're looking at some long waits. (And I've heard mentioned that there are very few hotel options nearby.)

Last edited by Tommytheduck,

I have not been to SFGAdv yet. Have heard many great things. But, I've also heard that El Toro's restraints are not that accommodating for larger guests. So, I am waiting to go there after I drop some weight.

As for Holiday World, I agree with others regarding going during an event due to park hours. The park normally closes early and does not give you the opportunity to get night rides. I suggest HoliWood Nights, as it runs late, giving you many night rides on all 3 woodies. Also throw in ERT in water park, pizza, fudge, dinner, and you have the workings of a first class event! Not to mention the outstanding hospitality! Only negative thing I have to say is, it's not closer to home! So, this event is only time we get to make it there. But do so every year.

As for Voyage. Yes, it did get somewhat rough after a few seasons. But starting with the 2012 season, it received some major work. Then last year more was done, leaving only a couple of bad spots. Photos that the park has posted this winter showed more work. I am really looking forward to riding this year, as the past two seasons have greatly improved.

Not many parks take care of woodies like Holiday World!! :)

Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

Holiday World hands down. Three of the best woodies on the planet. If you have time I strongly recommend going to Indiana Beach if time permits, the have two woodies that IMHO are also among the best. Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain is also one of the most Unusual Roller Coasters ever built. Don't underestimate this coaster, she packs more wallop than some coasters ten times her size! ;)

Last edited by Regulus,
Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!

Holiday World is the safe choice. I have never had a day there that wasn't outstanding. The Voyage was running great during my visit late last summer, as was Raven. Legend is a bit overrated in my opinion, but still very good. The water park is wonderful as well. It all comes down to personal preference. I assume that coaster count isn't your biggest concern, otherwise you wouldn't have asked the question. El Toro is the only thing that might entice me to take the chance on SF:GAdv. It's a risk though. As many have stated; operations, crowds, expense, etc. are just a few variables that may make a SF:GAdv a less than spectacular experience. I would chose Holiday World and add King's Island to it. Banshee is getting great reviews.

ApolloAndy's avatar

Haven't been to either in about 8 years but Blackie's conclusion is spot-on IMO. GAdv. has a ton of run of the mill rides and clones/near clones. Basically, 1 top 5 ride, 1 top 10 ride (Nitro) and a whole bunch of clone-ish rides (Medusa, Green Lantern, S:UF, Batman, Dark Knight, KK). It costs a lot, tends to have mediocre operations and can get very crowded. That Zoomanjaro drop ride looks ridiculous but I'm guess the line for it will be equally ridiculous.

HW has 1 top 5 ride (Voyage), and 2 other excellent woodies (Raven is top 10 for me, but I'm far from the consensus on that), great operations, much better value and tends to be way less crowded. It also happens to be adjacent to one of the best water parks in the country (which is actually of very little value to me, personally).

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

slithernoggin's avatar

Holiday World, definitely. And depending on where you're coming from, you can add in Indiana Beach, Beech Bend Park, Kentucky Kingdom, Kings Island...

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Thanks everyone for taking time to offer your advice. I think I'm leaning towards a Holiday World + Kings Island vacation. Going during the Holiwood nights event sounds like a winner. I'll be flying from Southern California. Do either of these parks require a two day visit? It's probably too far away to know what's planned for next season, but it would be great to know if Holiday World or SFGA are planning a new coaster for 2015.

Chad K

ApolloAndy's avatar

If you like water parks, Holiwood Nights it definitely a two day event. I did HWN as a 1 day a couple years ago (just Friday night), but I don't like water parks. I did KI on the same trip in 1 day and 1 hour (rained out for the last two hours of the first day, so I got a cheapo ticket and finished the credit sweep the next morning). Unless you're planning on going open to close and barely stopping, I think KI is definitely a two day park. Even next year, I bet Banshee will be commanding long lines and there are some non-coaster rides that are really worth doing (Avatar, Drop Zone, Delerium, etc.)

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

LostKause's avatar

What is this Avatar and Drop Zone you speak of? ;)

Tekwardo's avatar

Andy's stuck in 2005.

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

ApolloAndy's avatar

My only visit to the park was in 2010 and I think they were Surf Dog and Drop Tower by that point. I'm not sure why I associate the rides with those two names...

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Legend is overrated? This ride is No. 3 in my top 10 wood twister list. Only Kemah Boardwalk's Kemah Bullet and Dollywood's Thunderhead rank higher IMHO. Silverwood's Tremors is No. 4, and Indiana Beach's Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain is No. 5, Beech Bend's Kentucky Rumbler is No. 6 Playland (Vancouver's) Coaster is no. 7 Blackpool's Grand National is No. 8, Big Chief's Cyclops is No. 9 and the "Tag Team" of Knoebals Coasters (That's Phoenix and Twister for those of you in Rio Linda!) chime in at No.10.

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

Raven Maven said:

If I may ask ... how soon do you have to decide?

So... is everyone ignoring this comment?

Guy says he's going in 2015, Paula asks how long he has to decide.

I infer a big announcement coming for a 2015 attraction that she believes will make him choose Holiday World.


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