Trip Report: Holiday World - Santa Claus, IN (USA)
Welcome to Memorial Day weekend, often thought of as the start of the prime amusement park season, that reputation lives on as Holiday World has opened their gates once again to around 1,100 (per Paula Werne) coaster enthusiasts as part of its new Holiwood Nights coaster festival.
Our group this year consisted of Rideman and John Peck from Columbus, OH, and myself from Cincinnati, OH. I was expecting the group to pick me up around 2pm, so I took the opportunity to grab some lamb curry at the local Indian cuisine restaurant. I was also grateful for the late departure time as our area had a terrible storm on Thursday night that left us without power from 7PM-2AM, but we were lucky, the house four doors down from us is dealing with the aftermath of a fire caused by the storm.
So at around 2:15 I jump into the car and we start making our way to the park. We have some pleasant conversation on the way to the park, and stop once to make sure the car and its riders get enough to drink. Oh, and Moon Pies! Must Have Moon Pie. Yummmm. We arrive at Holiday World just before 5pm and make our way up to the front gate. We are lucky enough to park in the main (Raven) lot just two rows behind the handicap parking area. We walk alongside the Raven and make our way up to the festive entry way. Just beyond the ticket booths are the event registration windows. John Peck gets faster service owing to having a last name in a seemingly unpopular part of the alphabet. I show my ACE membership card and I get handed a goode packet consisting of: a Holiwood nights T-shirt, a park map, a name badge, a FUNvelope with tickets, meal passes, in park coupons, and a schedule of events.
Okay, we have our tickets, so now its time to, head back to the parking lot to drop off all the stuff we don't really need tonight. Basially all we keep are the Friday admission ticket, the Friday meal ticket and the name badge. We committ the nights schedule to memory and put everything else in the trunk.
I take a moment to look over the event t-shirt. This years shirt is grey, and the front bears a small logo that looks like a movie marquee with the words "Holiwood Nights - a Holiday World & Splashin Safari production" the back contains a large graphic that looks like an old time movie poster. Said poster has what may be a low res image of Voyage's lift hill, and reads: Thrills!!! Hills!!! Turns!!! The Voyage starring in "The Greatest Coaster Ever Built" Featuring: The Raven, The Legend and introducing The Voyage. Directed by Will Koch. Produced by Larry Bill, Chad Miller, Korey Klepert, Michael Graham and Will Koch/ Transportation by PTC/ Power provided by Sir Issac Newton/ Financing by 90 Degree Banking/ Filmed in Tunnelvision/ rated P for Perfect, contains Airtime, Speed, and G-Forces. A banner over the poster reads May 26-27, 20006 Holiwood Nights Exclusive Engagement.
All in all I think is a cool shirt astetically, though the big graphic on the back make me leery of wearing it in the hot and humid Holiday World climate. I also look at the ticket sheet. Holiday World has improved the ticket sheet this time around. They were notorius for not having the tikets on the strip in order, and ite always seemed like the Friday admission ticket was in the middle, this time the tickets are in the order they will be used.
We take our new tickets to the gate and proceed into the park. Once bast the ticket checkpoint we find ourselves in Christmas. To the left are some park services like guest relations and locker rental, and to the right is the rental center and some gift shops. We ignore those and head towards the giant christmas tree that is in the middle of the walkway straight ahead. Christmas carols fill the air and how can one not pause if just for a moment and suddenly feel all relaxed. It will soon be time to head to Thanksgiving where I understand the park is giving me my 2006 Christmas present early. :) We ignore the first turn to the right that leads to "Rudolph's Reindeer Ranch" childrens rides area and the giant Santa Claus statue and proceed forwards. We note the Appluase award sculpture has not yet made its way to the parks fountain. Instead of pursuing Christmas further, we take the second right, past the nativity sceneand head into Halloween. We had been warned to ride Raven and Legend before heading back to Voyage, just in case you never make it bak to the rids in the front. Therefore we headed down the ramp, through the wrought iron gates with "Raven" over them and into the Raven queue. There was just a little challenge getting into the queueas the high dive show was in session and folks tend to stand and watch the show from the Raven's queue area.
We headed up the driveway where no switchbacks were being used, up on the porch, through the front door of the Victorian house themed station and we met the line about halfway up the stairs. We headed towards the back of the train and found some seats in car 5. Buckled in, lapbar down, its time to go for a ride. We left the station, did a turnaround to he left over the queue area and then into the carriage house. The carriage house was added last season when the ride was upgraded to two trains, At the time, we saw one train operating, but really given the short wait that was reasonable. Coming out of the carriage house, a quick jog to the left amd its up the lift. From the top of the lifthill you can see more people arriving at the front gate. A turn to the right leads to the first drop and into the tunnel at the base of he first drop. We experience some airtime on the drop, then we come back up, a slight turn to the right, and dwon another drop, back up and then a big turn to the right for the swoop turn over Lake Rudolph turn. Coming out of the Lake Rudolph turnaround we turn to the left to run alongisde the outrun of the coaster, a small dip is followed by a turn to the left which is followed by the rides major drop that goes down depp into the ravine. At the bottom of the ravene the ride stops focusing on hills and drops and stars focusing on a series of curves designed to fling you both ways. Its both experiences combined, that make Raven a great coaster. We soon arrive back at the brake run after the S-Cure and the follwing left turn. We are soon advanced back into the station. Ah, Raven Air is still its usual consistant self. We continue down the hill, bypassing the Scarecrow Srambler and Frigtfull Falls (log flume), proceed though the games area, pick up our first of many free soft drinks, and head down the stairs to Legend.
Legends queue starts with a flight of stairs to go down under the break run, then there is a queue maze setup inside the home stretch of the coaster, then you go back up the stairs to the 1 room schoolhouse themed station.
The line is just to the bottom of the stairs but the switchback in the station is not being used. Without too much of a waitwe are in row 4 of the train. We hear the schoolbell ring, and offwe go. We exit the station andturn to the right togo up the lift. As we climb the lift we see thecoaster mechanics preparing the second train for tonights ERT. We climb the lift,remembering to Wave to the Wave, and at the topwe are pleasantly surprised that the"Don't Look Back!" audio clip has been resotred. A turn to the right at the top of the lift leads us to the frist drop which ends in a curve to the left through the first tunnel, we then go over a speed hill, then job a bit to the right up hill 3, and down the 'cured drop' which runs around Zinga. We start our journey back with an airtime hill 4, then a slower hill 5, through tunnel 2 which leads to the 540 degree helix. Unlike most helices, this one does not just calmly spiral around,, no its one side is tunneled, and ont he first pass you go into the tunnel high, down a drop in the tunnel and come out low, the second pass you enter the tunnel low, climb a hill in the tunnel and come out onthe highter part of track. After the helix you hit what has become lovingly known as "The Four Turns of Death" One sharp turn to exit the helix and dive through the lift hill stucture, the second turn (in the opposite direction) to head back towards the station. You diver under the hill on Frightfull Falls, then come back up again just in time for turn 3 (again in the opposite direction) which diverts you away from the station at the last possible moment. You then head around the ride queue area, which leads to Corner of Death 4 which is a turnaound to bring you back to the brake run. (So the 4 turns of death are left, right, left, right) Legend is still an okay ride, but it just isn't running as fast as I know it can run, and therefore just doesn't have that usual intensity. This can be felt the most as it just sort of meanders around the Four Courners of Death instead of racing through them at high speed.
We grab a soft drink, then we just can't wait any longer. We walk right past HallowSwings and the water park entrance. There is a pathway that is not well marked that runs behind the ampitheater and seems to go right from the edge of Halloween to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the parks newest themed section. The walkway circles the slide tower for a couple water slides, and in fact one slide even goes over the new walkway twice. Look at the waterslide now because once you come to the next curve, your view will be comanded by Voyage as you justsee a massive lift hill going off into the woods. The station end trackage is mosty well hidden by the brake run. Be careful, especailly at night as there are some wooden posts in the middle of the midway at either end of the wooden bridge like section.
We cross over the bridge and whie still mesmarized by the track head towards the station. We note there is a signifigant secion of track on the opposite side of te walkway than the station. We head for the ride entrance but alas the line has already been closed so that all in line may ride before park close. ARRRGGGHHH!!! We forlornly look at the coaster for a few minutes before looking over the new themed area.
As you come into the section a huge Thanksgiving sign on the Voyages structure welcomes you into the area. Along the new midway on the left you come to the giant cape cod type structure that houses the Vyage station. It's at least three levels complete with dormer windows in the attic. Next to the station is the Voyage gift shop, and further along is the future site of the Plymouth Rock Cafe. On the right side of the midway is a comfort station inlcuding a Pepsi Oasis, then behind the front buildings which are all done in blue is a big red barn looking building that houses the Gobbler Getaway dark ride.
We decide to take a ride on Gobbler Getaway, the linewas just outside the entrance doors. We enter the buildingandthere is a nice mural in the foyer and I see the ride has a "Single Rider Line" which was not open today. We move into the main waiting room, which I am pleased to report is air conditioned. The queue was taking its shortest route, which meas going the width of the building and back. As we were about halfway through the line, the park closed the front doors cutting off the line after opening upthe indoor queues so tha all guests who were due a ride could wait inside. Before you get to the ride itself, you pass an animatronic that I called "Grandma" Grandma is sitting in her easy chair petting her cat with one hand and waving around a Turkey Caller in the other. Yep, in the interest of making it a non violent dark ride, instead of being on a hunting expedition and killing turkeys, you are merely 'calling' them using your Turkey Caller. Grandma explains the story to you (or she would if the park would turn the volume up, I think the overall volume for the sound in the entire attraction could stand to be turned up several notches. ) I think the milk and cookies onher end table evoke feelings of Christmas rather than Thanksgiving. We soon reach the boarding area. The cars seat 4 in two rows of two, with stadium style seating where the back row is a bit higher. Riders are secured with two accross lapbars, thenyou pick up your Turkey Caller. and are on your way. You first head to the target practice wall which is full of targets where you can get the feel for how to use the Turkey Caller. I don't know about using a Turkey Call as a pointing device, the top is a big rectangle and there is no real mark on the caller to help aim the thing, and besides if its a call, it should work by emitting a sound, which does not depend on line of sight aim. I say lets loose the turkey callers, and install toy shotguns in the cars.
You turn away from target practice and the socreboard in the car resets. You then pass through what must be the time warp tunnel that Grandma was talking about, but more importantly for dark ride fans, this dark ride usued actual inertia powered crash doors at the begining and end of the ride as well as at several set changes during the ride. I thought the era of using crash doors on dark rides had come to and end, so it was nice to see this nod to traditional styling. You first pass trrough several scenes with no targets, I guess they still want to get the story accross, since they know you won;t be paying much attention in the rooms where you are calling turkeys. You don't shoot at turkeys, but if you hit the targets, turkeys will appear. In the first room inside the actual ride itself, they pump in pumpkin pie smell, and it smells so good, that if they were to have installed a pumpkin pie booth at the ride exit, I would have bought a slice. The remainder of the ride does have a few spots with no targets, but overall I think the ride needs more targets to shoot at. Since each target can only be hit once per car, if you have a full car thats not many targets to divy up. Oh, and yes the Tukey Calls do "Call" by emitting a funny noise when you use them. Towards the end of the ride, after the turkey calling is over there is a scene of the family sitting down to table, and the father says "I couldn't do it" and lifts the cover on a big serving platter containing a pizza. The last room contains, I kid you not, what look to be dancing turkeys complete with chase lights. Since we could not really here the rides sountrack, we added our own, starting first with "It's a Hershey's Chocolate, Hershey's Chocolate, Hershey's Chocolate World!" and continuing with the Small World theme song. We noted the ratings chart has not yet been completed, and we were still singing the Small World tune as we hit unload. The ride operator kindly reminded us that we were in the wrong park for that song. Oh, I advise caution getting out of the cars its quite the step down to the floor. We then exit through a plain black exit hallway and back out onto the midway.
Holiday World is very much a theme park. For example the banners lining the walkways are different colors for each theme section, the rides and things all have thematic names and each area has thematic music. For example, Christmas plays Christmas Carols, you can hear patriotic standards in 4th of July, Haloween has such hits as Monster Mash, and a certain Tocatta and Fugue you normally associate with haunted houses. In Thankisgiving, I heard a some hymns (We Gather Together), as well as some lighter fare "The Mashed Potato", and even "Candyman" figured into the mix.
We grab some refreshments, then head to the picnic grove for the opening meeting. The opening meeting consisted of soem opening remarks about the park "Our mission is to provide a fun, safe park experience at reasonable prices" or something like that., I especially liked how the return run on Voyage was dubbed "The Ewok Adventure". Then we went over the schedule of events, then we had a safety briefing. We were also informed that the park had already removed two enthusiasts for violation of park policies. Pat Koch have us a heart felt personal welcome back and let us in an opening prayer. She very briefly acknowledged the last time she led us in prayer at the picnic grove was not a happy occasion, and that was the only allusion to the incident during the entire event. Just the right move, I say, they felt the need to somehow acknowledge something happened, but in the same breath, move forward. Very gracefully handled. They also announced they had some bad news for us, Voyage would only be running two trains tonight, something about parts.
We were then releqased back into the park. We made our way down to Voyage. We crossed the thin wooden walkway over what I would later realize is the station fly under tunnell. Hmm, I think the visual would have been a bit more effective without the metal grating, but at the same time I can easily see why its there. We entered the cape cod style station and we made a left turn, up a stair or two then two more left turns to the stairway up to the station. We were anxious to get onto the ride, so we made our way to a row near the back half of the train, which offered a minimal wait of a train or two.
The Voyage - Coaster Credit #256
Ah, I am now seated in the blue PTC train with red and gold trimwork on the sides, and the exposed metal parts that are usually silverish are gold tone. The train floor is a black diamond plate. The train, has no headrests, the new open style seat dividers, seatbelts and black ratcheting lapbars. So its still true, there are no orange lapbars at Holiday World. So I fasten the belt, lower the lapbar several clicks and we see the tumbs up given. It's time to ride a coaster I have been waiting for since, well like the middle of 2005. I sure hope I don't get bit by the anticipointment bug.
So we go straight out of the station, then a little jog to the left puts us on the lift hill, we see the other train flying overhead into the station tunnel. Man this lift is high, it is also fairly steep and the lift chain is nice and fast, which makes short work of climbing the lift. Holiday World is known for lining the top parts of their lift hills with brightly colored flags, no design, just nice solid colored flags. We notice the flags on Voyage are more squarish or at least more traditionally shaped than the tall narrow flags that line the lift hills on Raven or Legend. My I barely have a chance to enjoy the views of the new Bahari section of the waterpark and the employee parking area when its time.
Drop #1, a nice float all the way down steep drop 1, then right back up into a nice tall hill 2, over the top and a nice float down the other side. Its the ultimate out and back coaster, but wait now the bottoms of the drops contain short tunnels. Cool, there is a Tremors like moment where you come out of one tunnel crest a short hill, then its right back into another tunnel. The outband leg is classic textbook out-and-back coaster. John Miller would be proud. We then hit the turnaround. The turnaround is where we first get the hint this will be no ordinary coaster. Forget a simple swoop turn or fan turn, you can't really call it a helix or figure 8. Its the oddest bit of track. You first take a jog to the right while going down a drop, with airtime, what a totally insane feeling, the melding of lateral and negative G's. You go around the turaround which mas a few more random direction changes just so you can't really get too comfortable. This sets you up for the set of two 90* banked turns in opposite directions. By now, you realize this coaster is calling out notions of the Crystal Beach Cyclone. Yes, I heard more than a couple event attendees make the reference to the revered Crystal Beach Cyclone. Just when you think the turnaround is done, you make a hard slamming turn into a drop into a tunnel, when you come back up out of the tunnel, you come to the mid course brake. Luckily the brake is not used to slow the train down, yet with the way the ride is laid out, and the way the terrain is, the brake is only like 6' off the ground, yet the train can afford to roll over it at a relaxed pace. Take advantage of it, this is the last chance to catch your breath, once you leave this part of the ride, you won't get another good breath until the final brakes. The ride next does its Mauch Chunk Railway impersonation as you are about to traverse a 100' downard elevation change. What better way to do that than an enclosed triple down in the dark.
Moden coaster designers seem to be leary of using double downs as they wish to curtail airtime, and here we have a triple down. As you might expect the airtime gets a bit stronger with each drop. Coming out of the triple down, we go up a slight hill, where we have another airtime filled drop. The ride now goes into Will's Ewok Adventure mode as it still goes up and down hills and provides all kinds of airtime, but it does it while zigging back and forth underneath the outbound ride structure, culminatng with the rides thirs 90* bank turn to start the station return run, We zip aroundf the base of the lift hill, and a severe righ turn and a nice airtime filled srop through the station tunnel. If you glance you can see the ride queue area for a split second. As you come out of the station tunnel, you may have some crazy thought that the ride is about over? Whatecer gave you that idea as instead of heading to the right to return to the station, you instead dive back down and head left through a tunnel under the midway where you pop up on the opposite side of the midway by the Pepsi Oasis, you then doubel back and head into the brake run which is right over the entrance to this section of the park. You are then brought in around one more right turn over another block point, then an S-curve into the station. At this point ou applaud, you catch your breath, gather up your sense of direction and balance and attempt to exit the train. There is an exit ramp at the front of the station and an exit stairway at the back end. Those exiting the front exit go down a nice covered interior hallway/ramp that leads towards the back of the station, where we join the people coming down the stairs from the back exit, then everybody goes down the second ramp which then exits the station at the front. You then make a couple turns to go under the lift approach, then over the station tunnel and finnally out next to the gift shop.
Notice I said NEXT to the gift shop, not THROUGH the gift shop. Holiday World is not that heavy handed with reatil yet, but with both Legned and Voyage, they did put the ride entrance and exit right next to each other, and near a Pepsi Oasis. See, they really do care about us. WE grab a drink and get back in line. This time we enter the station building and we turn right, down a flight of stairs, turnaround to the right down a couple more stairs. We walk alongside the windows that look into the station tunnell. OOoohh Ahhhh. The tunnel windows are to the left, and a big unused at this point queue maze is to the right. Luckily we are directed to go straigh ahead and up a flight of stairs, then turnaround to the right alongide a hallway, then a jog to the right and its up the stairs and into the station. The load side of the station is a big open area, with lots of room to wait for the row of your choice, the bad thing is this can lead to confusion in the back of the station trying to determine who is waiting for which row. We decide to take a ride towards the front. Again WOW.
We exit the ride and head to the gift shop. I purchase the on-ride photo ($8), and the Holiday World pictoral history book ($20), which was then personalized and autographed by Pat Koch. I did notice that despite the note on the event FAQ stating that the Voyage rugs are NOT for sale, signs in the gift shop stated that there were, in fact, for sale, and by Saturday I noticed they were gone. At this point John Peck had ogne back to the car to get money to buy the book for the book signing and we got seperated from Rideman on the walk back to the Voyage.
I decided to take a ride on Gobbler Getaway. Hmm, Pumpkin pie smell, hmm, my Turkey Calling isn't getting any better. On this ride we noted a problem a friend had told me about. Maybe they have too many cars on the ride, which causes the Small World effect where you have cars backed up through the last few rooms of the ride waiting to unload. Hmm, the pizza gag at the end of the ride. Wait that reminds me, I have to pick up my own pizza.
I start to leave Thanksgiving, but instead I find myself stopping at the Pepsi Oasis, then getting into line for Voyage. We still just zip through the lower level, and soon I am up in the station, I hold out for the back seat. It takes some time to get to the front of the back seat queue. I notice that the walls of the queue area and station for Voyage are decorated with a few sets of "Generic Nautical Theming" You know, ships wheels, harpoons, cargo nets, large diameter rough rope. Conspicuously absent were the traditional "International Code of Signals" flags you typically associate with nautical theming, but then I just looked those up, and they were developed in 1855, and the ride is developed around a more 1600's experience. For the same reason, I suppose I can leave my semaphore flag signalling kit at home. I kind of likes the Captains Quarters sign on the control console. We need to work in how to mount a ships wheel on there, if only for decoration.
Out on the circuit I go for my first ever back seat ride on Voyage, and twilight is starting to set in. We crest the first hill, and remember everything I said earler, well multiply the airtime quality by 10. The back seat ride is absolutely insane. This is the #1 perfect coaster ride. It was right then and there, that I offically made Voyage my new #1. The folks at Gravity Group have just raised the bar on wood coaster construction.
However, its kind of like going to a buffet: You want a tall lift, you want a steep drop, you want airtime laden hills, headchoopers, tunnels, sudden direction changes, surprise direction changes, a triple down? Okay great, here is everything you ever wanted in a wood coaster all crammed into one ride. Some folks might declare it to be a bit too much for one ride, but I just think we have now advanced to the Extreme Wood Coaster. Funny thing about it is, that during the course of the weekend, I didn't see one member of the GP get off that ride upset, or vowing to never ride again. We may think its extreme, but I think for the average park guests its actually just right. Its a very noteworthy wood coaster, and unlike us, they don't try to repeat ride,and turn it into an endurance contest. They will ride Voyage, then go down and ride Gobbler Getaway, then head towards 4th of July, etc.
I exit the ride, and check my watch. My, my its 8:20, and the pizza party is scheduled to end at 8:30. I don't think Holiday World would cut the line off at 8:30 sharp, but when it comes to food, one can never be too safe. I make my way quickly but carefully from Thanksgiving to Christmas using the "new" walkway behind HalowSwings. Let me tell you, it was on that hike I learned. "Holiday World is not flat" I always knew the park has its share of hills, but the walk from Voyage to Kringles is just one solid uphill trek. Must, Reach, Kringles!
I head into Kringles and sure enough there is still food being served. I pick up my 2 slices of pizza, root beer, potato chips, and a piece of chocolate pecan fudge. The fudge is the limited item for which you surrender your meal ticket. I also notices some relish trays and nachos set out. Lo and behold as I am looking for a table, I run into Rideman and John Peck, and later Rastus joins us for dinner and conversation. Hmm, good food. I go back to get some more pizza. You know its not really anything special about the pizza except the fact its Holiday World Pizza. I deicde to put my fudge into my bag for a late night snack. While the others finish up eating, I run my purchases back to the car and rejoin the group.
We head out, and the original plan was to ride Raven, then Legend and then head back to Voyage. By this time though it is near 9:00 so even though we technically entered the Raven's queue, John and I back out and head down to Voyage. It is a good thing we did as Voyage was now using a good portion of the lower level queue maze. With the queue maze and all I would say it made the wait about 30 minutes or so. We see Rideman entering the lower level maze just as we are heading up the stairs to the ground level. We take seats near the back of the train and experience Voayge in near darkness except for lighing in the Thanksgiving area and around the lift, and one light above the mid course brake, the rest of the ride was totally dark, including the wild and insane turnaround. It just keeps getting better and better.
We exit, we grab a drink, we reenter. We wait through the lower level queue. Just as we are about to go up the stairs, we note no one entering the queue. Hmmm. When we make it to the second upwards staircase we can see the queue entrance has been cut. We make it into the station, and we hold out fo the back seat. John loses his patience and gets worried that they may consolidate the remainig riders so as to run as few trains as possible after 10pm, but they dont' John bails in time for 2 rides in a middle of the train seat, while I was the last rider in the back seat, for 1 back seat ride. Quality over Quantity! That back seat, in the dark is sheer coaster nirvana. And just think, tommorow we get to come back and do it all again!!!
John and I meet up as we exit Voyage about 10:20, grab drinks, and make the long arduous uphill climb to the front gate. We meed Rideman by the fountain. He had finished out the night on Raven. By the time we finished said arduous climb we more like "We're tired out, and its only night 1" As we exit the park, I note the giant christmas tree had its lights on, then a big surrpirse that showed the true hearts of the Holiday World crew. At the park exit was a sign, the sgn informed us that Kentucky Rumbler at Beech Bend Park had been repaired and would operate on Saturday. Now I ask you, how many other parks would advertise, much less give ride status notices about competing parks? This is part of what makes Holiday World the friendliest theme park in the world. We head out to the car, fire up the GPS mapping system, put on some George Carlin, and make the trek to Evansville for the night. We get checked into our room where we probably stayed up too late messing around on the internet and such. Then it hits us, Waterpark ERT, 8:45 sharp, that means getting up at like 6AM. Totally uncivilized, this is like a WORK day!
Better get to sleep!
We wkae up, get ready, yada yada, enjoy the hotel's courtesy breakfast, and we all gather into the car right around 7:50. That gives us just under an hour to get to Holiday World. Thanks to GPS we make it to Holiday World without incident, also aided by the nice large signs the park has placed at each turn coming from exit 57. We pull into the paring lot right around 8:30 or so and pull out the items we would need for a waterpark.
We make our way to the front gate plaza and join the large group of event members waiting for the gates to swing open. Right around 8:45 the gates swing open and we enter the park and make it all of about 500' of ro when I stop to get in another line for locker rental. Yep, unlike the others in my group I am a locker person when it comes to waterparks. There were only a couple lines, but the lines did move at a pretty fast clip. I handed over the $10 for locker rental ($7 of which is a refundable deposit) and filled out a little registration card with my name and phone number. Key in hand I make my way down to the waterpark. In hindsight I should have propably surveyed the area around locker rental for John and Dave, but I just assumed they went on down. I fell into line with the group taking the new shortcut between Haloswings and the Louis and Clark Trail, labeled "Shortest way to Splashin Safari" and soon made my way into Splashin Safari and at the the bottom of the entrance ramp found the main bathhouse.
Let me get off my chest right now: I HATE public bathhouses, particularly the ones with one large room like back in gym class in which to change. This may be why I don't typically do waterparks. So I find one of those private changing booths, you know the ones where you have to change while half the booth is occupied by a toilet. Okay, now that I am changed, lets head out. Man, I never did get used to walking around barefoot outside. Note to self: Next time bring the aqua sox. Next game is to find my locker, which I locate across a small wooden bridge. Its a tiny locker, so I still have to cram my swim bag into it, lock it, and put the key, well actually up near the elbow, as thats where the elastic key ring feels snug enough on me that I won't loose said key.
Here I learn how spread out Splashn Safari is. When I first started going to Holiday World in 1996 I thought that Splashin Safari was kind of a small waterpark, man has it grown in size. After about an 11 mile hike :) I find the Bahari section. I also find a line of event memebers and I learn that the line is for the parks courtesy breakfast. I pass on the breakfast and head towards Bahari Wave Pool. Its a nice large wave pool with a stairless entrance like at the beach, and the entry area is lined with some water jets. Noticeable along the decorative sides of the pool which look more like rock formations than a concrete pool side are several idol masks, each of whcih is sprayign water into the pool. Its also an unusual shape pool, more like a V shape with a lifeguard station that juts out into the middle of the pool. Its also a very cold pool, yikes. It takes me some time to get aclimated to the water temperature. I know they are those that beleive in the quick-submerge and get it over with, but I fall into the gradual approach, you know a few steps further each time.
Ah how nice it is to be in a pool. I stick around for one wave cycle. They alternate 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. However, like with most newer wave pools, I think the deep end in this pool is 5', I am 6', so it just never gets deep enough. I kind of like the old school wave pools, like at the Beach in Cincinnati that reach like 8-10' depth.
I exit the pool and note the breakfast line hasn't gotten any shorter, so I make the trek to Bahari River. This isn't one of those wateprarks where things are literally piled on on top of each other. Its a short walk to Bahari River, and then I learn the entry/exit point is on the island in the center of Bahari RIver, so I cross over the bridge, and make my way through the empty queue maze. I like how most of the waterpark queue mazes are built using PVC tubing, which won't burn your hands when the sun beats down on it. I enter Bahari River, now somewhere in my home movie library there is a 5 minute or so film on Super 8 that was shot at a pool in Florida that involves numerous attempts at getting into an innertube that merely resulted in the tube flipping over, unceremoniously dumping its payload into the pool. WE had numerous members of my family try to board said tube, and more othen that not the result was "Splash!" into the pool you go. That was real funny back in 1985 when it only involved family members, it was not so funny in 2006 when I displayed the exact same ineptitude at getting into a tube in Bahari River in front of total strangers. I guess I never did learn... I do have to commend the Splashin Safari staff member who was right there as soon as I flipped over, even if it did add to the embarament factor, but hey no blood no foul, just a nice scrape across the knuckles to remind me thats why we used to attempt to board said tube at the deep end of the pool.
So now succesfully on a tube, I start making my way around Bahari River. Okay I like the rock formations for the sides of the pool. There was one section that had jacuzi like jets, then there were a couple of waterfalls, but these elements came few and far between. I suppose I like a little more action in my lazy rivers. I do like how whenever there is a waterfall or water element it is designed so that you may bypass it, and speaking of bypasses, I chose not to bypass the grand canyon section of Bahari River and went the long way around. There are a coule water curtains under the footbridges to and from Bahari River. The water current moves at a fairly fast clip and it seemed like I was back to the single entry/exit point in no time. I wonder if Splashin Safari ever considered using a lazy river as Transportainment like at that famous waterpark in Texas. You know grab a tube at Bahari section and float around till you reach the original slide tower, then float some more till you reach the locker rental area, then float some more for Wautubee and Ottorogo, float some more for Zoombabwe and Zinga, finally completing the circle back at Bahari.
The Bahari River exit is interesting in that the PVS tubing suggests a U shaped exit, whereas I observed most people stepping through a small gap and avoiding the little extra turn. I make my way back towards Bahari Snacks. Okay, this line isn't going to get any shorter, now is it?
I get in line which has stretched back to right accorss from the smoking area, and there are some annoying gnats to contend with, but the line moves fairly quickly and I soon pick up my muffin (Banana nut), a fruit cup, and a beverage. I took a few minutes to enjoy my breakfast before heading back towards the slides. I find it interesting that waterparks have food concessions located near the water activities as I grew up in a "No swimming until one hour after eating" household, that and where do people stash their money to use at said food stands? Splashin Safari has many food stands and arguably some of the best food in the park is in Splashin Safari. I mean the only fish, chicken and wraps stand, the Bosco Sticks. Yummmy!
Okay, I choose to ignore that motherly advice about waiting an hour, and head for Jungle Racers. Jungle Racers reminds me of the old time Giant Slides that have all but disapeared from major amusement parks, and now seem to be relegated to state fairs and carnivals. In this one you grab a mat from a bin at the bottom of the slide, then make you way up 50' of stairs to the loading area. There must be about 10 or so lanes, and the lanes take on that classic triple down configuration seem in the old time giant slides. And to add to it they race you. Here is where the thing differs from those Giant Slides of old. Do you remember what you always wanted to do on those slides, but couldn't? Yep, slide down head first on your stomach. Well that is the only way to slid down Jungle Racers. So you place you mat into the water being very careful not to let it get away from you. You then kneel on said mat, and then bend over and grab the handles with a nice tight grip. Depending on your size vs/ the mats size you may be able to more or less lie down at this point. The position you assume is almost like that of a track racer in the starting blocks, getting ready to push off the back wall of the pool with your legs. ush off and away you go, keep hloding on tight, as we are about to experience airtime on those humps. Whee!!! You eventually (in like all of 6-7 seconds) reach the checkerboard pattern run out at the bottom of the slide. If you are light you then have to pick up your mat and walk to the end of your lane, if you are heavy like me, don't worry physics will propel you to the end of your lane. Wow, that was so fun I did it 3 more times. I did note the electronic scoreboard at the end of the slide was not changing between races.
Okay, time to grab something from the Pepsi Oasis, then head towards Zinga. Zinga was the hit of ERT with the line about halfway down the stairs. The line moves fast however and I did join ito a conversation as we made our way up the stairs, and even identified another single rider, so I was already paired before reaching the top. At the top. the sliders are responsible for picking up their own tube from the tube conveyor and then the slide attendant helps position the tube into the water. We boarded the cloverleaf shaped tube and with a little push to get things started, found ourselves sliding down the dark twisty enclosed slide. This is of course just the appetizer, the main event is when the tube slide becomes very steep and dumps you into the funnel. Here you slide back and forth going up the sides of the funnel, never too fasr but you go back and forth like an extreme sprots person doing the half pipe, until the funnel narrows into another short slide that slides you into the landing pool. Neat, I like Zinga, and there is a reason why the Proslide Tornado has become the most common waterpark installation in the past few year. I head back to Bahari Snacks and join in with some conversation that is going on, and at the same time find both Rideman and John. Oh, and then we saw what maybe the most infamous ERT participant, the guy who chose to do the waterpark ERT in a full body wet suit. And the point of participating in water activities while taking every precaution not to get wet would be?
Towards the end of ERT John and I decided to sample a couple other Spashin Safari attractions. While Rideman was headed toward the rope to make the Exodus to Voyage, John and I headed to ZOOMbabwe. We found it to be a popular choice as there was already a sizeable line of ERT participants awaiting the opening of Zoombabwe. When the queue opened and the line filed in, by the time the line stopped filing in, we were almost to the top of the stairs right before the line splits into two lanes. It took a while for the line to settle in, becuase being near the end of ERT we were not exactly sprinting up the stairs.
The last time I rode ZOOMbabwe, I did not enjoy my ride, mainly due to an incident that occured that may have well led to the "2 adults max per tube, 600lb max per tube" rules being added. This time instead of putting 4 of us into a tube, it was just the two of us. I noted the water curtain at the top of the slide was off, and after a push away we went. Wow, Zoombabwe is a long slide, much longer than you would expect. Every now and then they have patterns punched into the sides of the slide, similar to the idol carvings in Bahari rivers. These let in just the right amount of light. Now I can say I really enjoyed Zoombabwe, its a nice long dark slide with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
We headed from Zoombabwe to Wautubee. Wautubee uses the same type of tubes ats Zoombabwe, meaning the large group tubes, except that Wautubee uses an open slide instead of an enclosed slide. On the way up the stairs I looked at Otorongo which has three single person tube slides in a pattern not unlike a set of body slides at Boomerang Bay at PKI. As we were nearing the top of Wautubee, a single rider asked to join us. John and I who were both in the 2003 Zoombabwe incident were a little leary, but apparently three on this ride is okay.
We had the first clue something interesting was about to happen when the slide attendant at the top needed all of her strength to inch our tube out onto the slide, then we slid for about 5' and stopped where we then pushed ourselves off the sides until the tube started moving on its own. Once it started moving, did it ever pick up speed. I mentioned this was not an enclosed slide, but the curves have higher walls on them, much like a bobsled run. I think we almost hit the top of the walls on every turn. We didn't know this slide coudl be so wild, but the best was yet to come. As we were nering the end of the slide, we saw the lifeguard try to move out of the way. You know how most lifeguards seem to have nice dry shirts? Well, when our tube hit the splash pool, it caused a nice tidal wave that completely soaked the life guard from top to bottom despite attemps to jump out of the way. What was better is that the way our tube was positioned we got front row seats to watch it happen. I suppose we should now aplogize for the fact we could not stop laughing for the next two minutes.
At this point John was going to had back to the Bahari Wave Pool, but Voyage was just calling my name in a loud voice. I bade John farewell, and headed to Locker Island to claim my swim bag, then I headed back to the bathhouse, changed into street clothes, and then chucked the swim gear back into the locker. I then made the trip up the hill where I realized how close the walkway to Thanksgivng comes to the walkway out of the waterpark. I admit I was very tempted to climb up the grass and climb over a couple railings, but decorum prevents. The walkway to thanksgiving walks around and under the parks original slide tower and slides, and also runs right alongside the flooded town scene in their rapids ride. Hmm, maybe I should have ridden the rapids ride to see what other changes needed tobe made to acoomodate Thanksgiving.
I made my way down to Voyage where I spotted Rideman shooting video of the ride. I went ahead and took a couple rides. I mean hey, once making the trek back here, you really need to make it worth it. I noticed the lower level queue maze was in use, and here is where I got a nice realization of just how cool that lower level room is. Its almost refreshingy cold in there. Between this and Gobbler Getaway, the park is adding some nicely cool waiting areas. The Voyage waiting area reminds me of a cartoon I saw in "The unofficial guide to Walt Disney World", becuase from the midway you see people going in one door, then a few feet over you see people coming out another door, and up the stairs. What you don't see from the midway is the completely hidden lower level queue area. So it appears that people enter turn and then go up the stairs, when in reality they go into a whole nother secret area for quite some time. Its almost just like the cartoon of the disney queue that shows a building where people appear to be going in the front door, then right out the back door, till you see the second block where you see they go in the front door down stairs to a big queuee maze then back up the other stairs.
We got to the part where we had just reached the top of the first set fo stairs on the way up, right by the doorway to the rides service area when Voyage decided to take its 15 minute coffee break. A few people bailed line but not as many as you would think. Eventually I made it up to the station, and took another ride. Yep, the Voyage still has it, even this early in the morning the ride seems to be running all out. I tell you perfect ride, number one. So I took another ride on it. I was happy to see the maintenance crew prepating Voyage's third train,and I also noted that the safety line had not yet been painted on the ground for the photo walkback.
By the time I left Thanksgiving, free beverage in hand, Rideman must have moved on, so I decided to take a lap around the park to experience Holiday World's other fine rides.
My first stop was the Revolution, this is a Dartron Zero Gravity which replaced the parks earlier Roundhouse round-up ride. The ride action between the two is nearly identical, and the paint jobs are very similar. The revolution has a bit more flash, and a lot more get up and go as it gets to speed a lot faster, and it parks itself a lot faster. So even though the ride itself is actually shorter than a Roundhouse ride was, you spend almost all of that tie at full height and speed. The safety straps on this one seemed to be a bit longer than the ones on the portable model I rode at the Florida State Fair. That said I think the operator for Revolution could use a loudspeaker, as the operator this morning had a fairly soft voice so it was hard to hear the safety instructions. Revolution was a walk on.
From the Revolution I headed accross the midway to Eagle's Flight. Eagles Flight was a 2 cycle wait, but hey isince my home park hearlessly ripped out its Flying Skooters, I need to get these rides in when I can. I observed the rides ahead of mine, and to be quite honest, a still quiet is not what you want to hear while waiting for Flying Skooters, I didn't see anybody getting any snapping action. It came my turn to ride, where I was informed "You must have 2 people per bird", along with "400 pounds maximum per bird" Truth be known, I didn't press the issue, but I was a bit disapointed as I left the ride area without an Eagle's Flight ride.
I skipped Holidog's Fun Town as I already have the Howler credit, and have already experienced the Freedom Train. I heaqded back up the other side of 4th of July. I skipped Thunder Biumpers on Chesapeke Bay due to the 250 pound weight limit, and the fact that prior rides on it have taught me its a slow hot wait. But, how many other parks include thie bumber boats in with the POP? I headed to Liberty Launch. I was ready to take full advantage of my eligibility to use the singe rider line, until I looked at the ride line and noted that the Single rider line had 8 people in it, and there was less than one load in the regular queue. I entered the regular queue and was able to board the next cycle.
Liberty Launch has the tightest seats I have found ofr an S&S Tower ride, and I admit I needed operator assistance to get the bar down far enough to get the belt fastened. This is something I don't usually need on S&S Tower rides. So we get loaded and we launch up bounce a few times, then there is the downwards thrust, bounce a few more times and its over. In a park known for airtime laden rides, Liberty Launch is run in a weaker setting that offers no airtime. I know the Double Shot can provide the goods after riding the one at Playland Pier in Ocean City, NJ. A neat thing is that launch towers seem to lend themselves, almost demand that they be used as giant flagpoles. Holiday World's is no exception, I guess that gives a whole new meaning to "Let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes" :)
From Liberty Launch I headed next door to Rough Riders. Rough Riders may look like, but it is not a bumper car ride. Bumper Bison and Bumper horse, or Bumper Cow ride maybe. The ride units are all shaped and painted to look like animals one may find in a stampede. The ride also has adjustable, comfortable safety belts that don't feel as if they are going to choke you on the next hard bump. The ride starts, and its an okay bumper ride, the 'cars' could stand to be a little bit faster, and bump a bit harder but all in all it was a good ride. I exited Rough Riders, had yet another free soft drink. Exiting the free drink station, I noted the parks's hero's memorial complete with its row of 14 American flags. I wonder how they settled on the number 14. The area also has to childrens rides the Salmon Run (Winky the Whale) and the Indian River Canoe (Venture Canoe). The Virginia Reel Tilt -A-Whirl was removed at the end of the last season.
I then headed over to a one cycle wait on one of my favortie flat rides in the park, Paul Revere's Midnight Ride. Its a spider ride that if you even look at the ride tub funny it starts spinning. This ride was no exception and a wonderful spin fest soon ensued. After PAul Revere I took a look around the Liberty Bell Shop, where none of the souvenirs really jumped out at me. I then headed up towards Christmas. It was now about 1:30 or so. I walked past the Toyland Museum (as I also avoided the Betsy Ross Doll Museum in 4th of July) The area has some shops like the Glassbower, the bakery, the fudge shop, the ice cream parlour, and Krinlgee Cafe. Further down is the Holiday Thetre, Santa's Storytime Theatre, the skeeball building and such. I stopped in Kringles for yet another drink, then headed towards Halloween.
I passed right by Rudolph's Reindeer Ranch kiddie area, which has a very unque seahorse ride I don't think I've seen anywhere else. I kept right on going and entered Halloween where I took a ride on the Raven. It was a station wait for the Raven and only a two train wait for the back seat. While waiting for the Raven I noted the rides new computer control console,which apparently has the neat feature in that the status display panel can inform the operator which lap bars have not yet been locked. Neat feature. I soon paired up with another single rider, and soon found myself sitting in the back left seat of the train. We took off, and the back seat of Raven still has it. The first drop was good, the second drop was great, but man look out for the nice powerful sustained airtime moment all the way down drop five. Raven is not taking the news that it has a new much larger brother in town lightly, Raven still wants to show that it can be a world class rollercoaster. Thanks for flying Raven Air, indeed.
I exited Raven and headed through Halloween, bypassing both the Scarecrow Scrambler and the Frightfull Falls. I noticed the high dive show which appeared to be in a rehearsal mode. The show is titled History of Diving and the stage area is decorated by various international flags. Flags, I might add, that are taken down at night. I'm not quite sure if proper flag etiquette is being followed, what with the Amerian flag being to the right of the stage instead of the left, but right now I have important matters to attend to.
I take a trip through Merlin's Arcade and note the lack of pinball machines, then I took a ride on Legend. Man, there was hardly anybody riding Legend, as evidenced by the fact I had the entire back two cars to myself. As I was sitting down, I noticed a cell phone in the seat, so I turned in the phone to the operator, and wondered if anybody would have the guts to try to claim it, I mean after all the signs expressly forbidding taking cell phones on the ride. The ride started, and whereas Raven is trying to be all that it can be, Legend is more in "lie down and play dead" mode. Its just going too slow, although it still gives that one nice airtime pop midway through the ride, the former 4 corners are just weak. I did notice that the water in the Frightfull Falls attraction appeared to be quite skanky from my vantage point on the Legend train.
From Legend, I went to take a ride on Hallowswings. Halllowswings is one of the parks newer rides, and is a wave swinger type ride, but done up in a Frightfully funny halloween theme where even the skulls are smiling. It was a fun ride flying above the halloween section of the park,then I headed back to Voyage. I took another ride on Voyage, where I noted the autospiel starring Will Koch himself. Its something about preparing for your Voyage to the new world. I especailly liked the line about loose articles will be washed out to sea and never seen again. I took another ride or two on Voyage in middle of the train seats. The middle seats on this ride are better than the end seats on a lot of other coasters. After my second ride, I realized it was getting close to 3pm, and I knew the photo walkback of Voyage was at 4pm. So I got a soft drink and headed out of Thanksgiving, and headed down into the water park.
Paul Drabek had hertily recommended the Bosco Sticks,so I was curious and wanted to try one. You know that line "I'd walk a mile to smoke a Camel",well thats how it felt getting back to the Bhari Snacks stand. Bosco sticks are cheese filled breadsticks served with your choice of pizza sauce, garlic butter, or nacho cheese. I followed Paul's advice and opted for the garlic butter. You get two sticks for $2.49, and the dipping sauce will run you another 49 cents, so $3. And worth every penny, hmm those were good. I washed them down with a drink from the Pepsi Oasis then made the trek back to Locker Island where I emptied out my locker and retained the key. I then made that arduous trek once again up to the Christmas section of the park. At this time, I am all for Holiday World's next ride being an in-park transportation system. Say a Skyride from Christmas to he intersection of 4th of July/ Thanksgiving/ Haloween, and Splashin Safari. So one more arduous trek up the hill, then I stop by the locker rental booth.
I had feared returning the locker rental both would take time as they looked up the reigstration card on the deposit envelope. Nope, they have a pretty efficient filing system, and they use your phone number (which you wrote on the envelope) as a passcode before releasing the $7 refund. I traded the key in for the refund, and then ran my swim bag out to the car, and picked up the camera. For re-entry you put your paw on Holidogs paw print on the support poles of the front gate for the uv magic lamp handstamp to glow. I took a few pictures, and made a stop to return all these free soft drinks I have been enjoying. I then returned to Thanksgiving via the shortcut path. Hey at least this time it was DOWN the big hill. I entered the Thanksgiving section and found the crew assembed in the smoking area and basically filling the midway alsmost all the way back to the Voyage gift shop. I picked up another drink, and man is it hot and humid and not all that pleasant standing here on this blacktop. I son joind the group that was waiting inside the Gobbler Getaway building. We enjoyed the air conditioning until we saw the crew outside moving forward for the photo walkback.
There were a couple muddy spots to avoid as we passed the construction site for the Plymouth Rock Cafe, and then we spotted the orange lines that would demarcate the boundaries we are to stay between for the walk back. I took a nice walk alongside the entire length of the Voyage stopping several times to take all sorts of various photos. It is also along the walkback that you get a beter appreciation for the terrain the ride sits on. It is a nice long steed hill up to the top of Voyage. They did allow a spot where we could walk out on the ground covering the tunnels for better shots of trains exiting and leaving tunnels, and unlike during the construction tour, they opened up a hillside going down so that we could get near one part of the turnaround. Not only was the photo walkback good for taking photos, it was also a good downtime as all the trees in the area actually made that part of the park nice and cool. I also enjoyed some nice conversation back by the turnaround (Hi Wolf!) and as we walked back the same way we entered to head back to Thanksgiving.
At the end of the photo walk back, we had some more drinks, then we rode Voyage. It was a short wait and so we all decided to go for back seat rides. Sure, no problem, back seat rides are my favorites on this. When it came time to board, I had my camera plaed in a free courtesy locker. This is just another case where Holiday World excels above other parks. The park realizes that people may not feel comfortable leaving their belonging out on shelfs, so they also provide lockers, but unlike other parks, they do not charge for these lockers. Yes they are coin operated lockers, which I don't understand, but Holiday World provided the coin. And wow antoher ride of Voyagey good perfection. I want to run down to the gift shop and get my very own Voyage to take home with me.
We look at the clock, we look at our schedule and realize we probably don't have time for another Voyage ride before the meeting in the picnic grove. We head up into Halooween, and take a Legend ride instead. We grab a second seat ride, and yes the camera goes into a nice courtesy locker. We mmet up with April and some other people on LEgends platform, so after our ride we have some drinks and head back to the picnic grove.
We enter the picnic grove using the entrance near the rapids ride, and at first I see what I think is a line to be admited to the picnic grove, but turns out to be a line to get to the sales tables and silent auction. I get into the line for these aspects of the activity. It is soon announced that in order to serve people faster the buffet lines will open early. Hmm, smell that fried chicken. Unlike the punctual opening of the buffets, the sales table area opens quite late.
There were two rows of tables, one row was for a silent auction, the other was for straight sales. I headed first for the sales table. I dub this the Holiday World Mainteance Warehouse Flea Market. Items for sale: Road wheels ($30), coaster bearings ($1),Holibolts ($1), lift hill flags ($30), PR/Marketing B-roll video ($10), Raven cicuit boards ($10) envelopes ($1), tickets allowing the bearer to photo/video Gobbler Getaway ($10), and possibly other items. Now it is no secret that I have gone to just about every Holiday World event since 1999, and have tried unsuscsefully to obtain a lift hill flag at auction. (At auction they have gone upwards of $50), so my first prioirty was to acquire a lift hill flag. I found a nice purple one (BTW:Purple is my favorite color), sure its a bit faded out, and yes there is some damage to the both corners on the fly end, but hey I'm not purchasing a flag to fly in front of my house, I am purchasing a rollercoaster flag that has some providence and history, and the fading and the damaged spots add to the authenticity of same. I decide to toss in a Raven bearing so I can have a part from each coaster and $31 later I am heading to look at the auction table. I note the Holiday World mainteance crew was standing around the area and they were engaged in answering coaster maintenance questions from the coaster nuts in attendance. Oh, and they even had a credit card machine setup.
Over on the auction table there were Voyage media kits, lapbars, coaster car dividers, a signed framed Voyage photo, Gravity Group shirts and mugs, and much more. The oddest thing on the auction table was a big plastic pail labeled "Will Koch's Coffee Mug" I'm sure there is a story behind that somewhere.
I soon took my purchases and headed up to the blue shelter house to obtain my buffett dinner. Okay, we grabbed plates and silverware then proceesed to play "Guess which condiments I need" since they have the condiments set out before you see what dinner consists of. We pass some dinner rolls, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, fruit salad, hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, soft drinks, and all sorts of cookies. We fill our plates, then we went to join the rest of our group who had acquired seats in the red shelterhouse. Its not easy balancing a full plate of food, beverage, a coaster bearing, and a lift hill flag. And,now that I have the flag at home, I am wondering what AM I supposed to do with a 6'x2.5' piece of purple fabric complete with white header and4 grommets down one side.
But I make it to my table without spilling or dropping anything. It was a delicious dinner, and at the end of it we piled a community plate full of cookiews to bring back to the table, Hmm, Cookies. Don't worry there wan't any sign of that plate of cookies by the time we got finished with it, And they were so soft, like they were right out of the oven. After dinner, there was a much shot presentation where the reitterated the safety rules, thanked everybody for coming, and announced the winners of the auction prizes. They then asked anybody holding a Gobbler Getaway photo ride ticket ($10),to assemble near the front of the grove to be escorted to Gobbler Getaway, then the rest of the group would be released. I think the exodus from the picnic grove came earleier than the park planned. We spotted a security guard, and he merely told us to stay in either the Halloween or Thanksgicing sections of the park. Rideman and I both wanted to drop off lose articles to the car, so we asked about park reentry, and the guard replied that park reentry was not yet available.
We decided to head to Raven so that we wouls be near the gate when the time came to allow us to return stuff to cars and reenter. So yes, it was me that caused the Raven to stack as I loaded a courtesy lockcer up with Rideman's camcorder, my camera, a Raven bearing, and a Legend flag. We took a middle of the train ride on Raven to start ERT and the ride was no ad at all, I soon reclaimed all the aforementioned stuff out of the locker and we spotted other enthusiasts who were returning from their cars, so we made the dash out to the car. "Leaving already??!??" We dropped off a lot of stuff,then we renetered the park, gathered up our group, and headed for Voyage.
From this point until about 11:30 the pattern was approximately this "Ride Voyage, grab drink, get back in line for Voyage". We saw the line shrink from using the entire lower level queue maze, to just going downstairs and right back up by the end of ERT. WE got a front seat ride, we got several back car rides. With each ride the Voyage seemed more and more out of control. At one point we though, hey instead of lockers, purhaps the park could install a 3 compartment locking treausre chest next to each row.
At one point we went to take a break by riding Gobbler Getaway, and we were in the seat queues to be the next group loaded when the ride broke down for the night. We exited by going forwards onto the loading platform then took a left and exited the ride. Our requests to walk through the dark ride were cheerfully ignored. :)
Okay back to Voayge it is, and so we took more and more Voyage rides until abou 11:40 or so. We deicded that now was the time start making our exit. WE made the arduous journeym drink in hand, up to Legend, where we came into a totally empty Legend station and John and I took a front seat ride, and Ridean took a backseat ride. We then headed over to Raven, where Rideman and I scored a double ride in the backseat of Raven, then when John entered the back seat queue, we moved up to seat 4 and finished off the night with a quadruple ride in seat 4 of Raven. As we exited Raven Pat Koch was on the exit ramp, so we thanked Pat for having us, and headed towards the front gate where Paula, Pat and Will were all stationed in sort of a recieving line. WE gave our thanks for being invited back to the Coaster Enthusiasts Family Reunion at Holiday World and headed out to the parking lot. It was a very fast trip back to the hotel for John and I as I think we slept most of the way back to the hotel. Sorry bout that Rideman,.
Again, Many thanks to Will, Pat, Paula and the rest of the Holiday World staff and family for having us once again, thanks for putting on what continues to be one of the best coaster events. We'll be back, thats for sure!
Next up: Rumblefest at Beech Bend Park, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
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