How I lost my Beast and Raven virginity...

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Thursday, October 16, 2003 6:00 PM
When my office told me that I would be traveling to Plainfield, IN on business the week of October 13th, of course the first thing I did was check the operating schedules for PKI & Holiday World. As luck would have it, both parks were open the weekend preceding the job, so I extended my business trip to finally be able to experience these parks.

This trip was very exciting for me. Not only was I going to 2 parks that I’d been longing to visit for a long time, but I would be reaching my 100th coaster along the way.

After waking up at 5am and flying to Dayton from Atlanta, I hopped into my crappy rental car and was off for a day at PKI. The weather was incredible - mid-70s and no clouds at all. This coupled with the fall foliage made for a great visit.

After paying too much to park in a lot that does not offer any assistance in finding a spot (I don’t mind paying to park if there is someone actually parking you in an orderly fashion), I was off to the gates. What a disappointment I saw there – it was not only Fearfest, but also Boy/Girl Scout day AND a Christian Concert day! I wish PKI would have offered more information on their website about group events (it may have been hidden somewhere on their site, but I never saw it). This was part of the reason all the lines were VERY long all day.

Anyway, after passing through the Action Zone and all the crowds, I found Top Gun and decided to ride it first as it was closing early that day (not all rides were open after dark for some stupid reason – the crowds were most certainly present). I really liked this suspended, especially the large first drop and the turnaround by Son of Beast. Not as good as ninja at SFMM, but still fun.

Since I was at #100, I decided to trek across the park and make The Beast my 100th coaster. Well, if I could ever find it. This park is laid out VERY strange, with dead ends and misleading signs everywhere. I kept ending up by Vortex or in the Nickelodeon area. Eventually I found The Beast with a 5 minute wait. I chose row 2 (I was told to avoid wheels – thanks Joe) and was off on my LONG journey through the woods. I really liked The Beast! It was one of the most original roller coasters I’ve ever been on. The best part is that you cannot anticipate what is around each corner because of the terrain. Watching this ride on TV does NOT do it any justice. I was expecting a tame ride, similar to a mine train. The only problem is the heavy braking, especially on the 2nd drop. If this ride were allowed to tear through its course at full speed it would be 10 times more intense.

Everything I passed from here on out seemed to have a long line, so I just decided to start waiting it out, and headed for Flight of Fear. This was a wise decision as most of the Fearfest houses are in this area, and later it would be very chaotic. I waited about 20 minutes for a front-seat ride. What a difference the lap bars make on this ride. I rode the PKD version with Otters and it was the one of the worst coaster experiences of my life. Now it’s tolerable and even fun!

Next up was Racer. I got a back seat forwards ride, and it was horrible. No airtime and a ton of washboarding. It gave me a headache, so I opted out of a backwards run in exchange for some Aleve. Then I headed to Adventure Express which was a REALLY good mine train! I loved how it started right out of the station and rode through the terrain. I also liked the ending. Everyone was expecting to “pay” as we reached the top of the final lift.

Son of Beast was next, and I rode somewhere in the middle on a non-wheel seat after a 45 minute wait. It wasn’t as bad as some have said, but the seats were rather uncomfortable. It also didn’t strike me as a very exciting ride since it kind of just bumped around the huge helices. The loop was the best part.

Vortex was next, and what a horrible ride this is. I heard it was a headbanger, but was willing to give it a chance. The first drop is REALLY good, and I was beginning to give it a good rating, and then we hit a curve. OUCH!!! This ride is worse than Flashback (SFMM), Revolution, and Ninja (SFOG) combined. I was literally holding my head so I wouldn’t endure any more torture. One thing that was interesting – my head got banged sideways while exiting a loop. I’ve never gotten banged on a straight portion of track before. Just goes to show how bad this ride is. Stay away!

I was trying to get all of my credits in for the day, so I headed over to the Nickelodeon area to try and grab rides on Reptar, Scooby and Beastie. Well, I ended up waiting 45 minutes for Reptar, and then I was starving! I decided to take a break from the park, go check into my hotel, and grab some food that I didn’t have to trade my first born in order to afford. That, and the lines for Beastie and Scooby were both at 1 ½ hours each!!!!

When I got back, the Beastie line had dies down, so I jumped in the queue. And HOUR later I got on board. This was the stupidest thing I did all day. I can’t believe they were only running one train with the HUGE crowd that had gathered this day. Plus the ride op was sitting with his legs up on the railing, and leaning back in his chair talking on a phone. To top it all off, they trim Beastie!!! I’ve been on the Scooby Doo versions at both PKD and PC, and both have their moment or 2 of airtime. Not this one, folks. There is a trim on the 2nd turnaround of a kiddie coaster, and is has that rampy ending approach to the station, unlike PKDs version. Oh well. Now it was too late to get in line for Scooby, so I missed one credit.

Face Off was next, and after an hour wait I got on the end seat (all the way to the right of the boarding station). I actually liked this better than Déjà Vu because it traverses the course at a much more constant speed, and has higher positive g’s that make your legs numb.

Since the lines in Action Zone were spilling out all over the place, I decided to get in a night ride on The Beast. The line was 30 minutes, and I rode in the 2nd to last row. Night rides on The Beast are much better, but would have been more fun if they had completely turned out the lights. Why did PKI decided to turn the lights off of Vortex, but keep them on for The Beast? Bad decision.
After my night ride, I went over to Delirium and waited about 45 minutes. This was such a relaxing ride, and it looks a lot more intimidating that it really is. I wish it would have swung to the top a couple more times, as the ride cycle is really short. I headed over to Drop Zone, but the line was over an hour, and I only had an hour left in the park. I really wanted another night ride on The Beast, so I headed back over there.

I only waited about 30 minutes for a 2nd row ride. It was running very fast and was an awesome ride. There was also a 70 year old woman in front of me, who was a season pass holder and LOVES the Beast!

When I got off, there was just enough time for a ride on Tomb Raider, so I jumped in line. We skipped through the pre-show portion and right on to the ride. I’d never been on a TopSpin before, and figured this was the one to do. It was a really cool ride, because you had no idea what was going to happen next. This is proof that with a little (or a lot) of scenery, a regular flat ride can be a lot more exciting!

The next morning I slept in a little, and headed out for the 3 hour drive to Holiday World. The drive wasn’t too long, and I got to Holiday World at about 12:30 PM. After pulling into the FREE parking lot, I walked up to the gate where someone offered me a FREE ticket! Then I got inside and found my way to the FREE soda! Notice a theme here? Yes, everything is free at Holiday World which actually made me want to spend more money there. Isn’t that funny? At larger parks, I try and stretch my dollar to spend as little as possible, but I actually wanted to spend more at Holiday World!

So I headed for my first or about 15 rides on the Raven. WOW! What an AWESOME ride! It seemed as though it got faster and faster as it got further into the course. Drops 2 and 5 yanked me out of my seat and into the lap bar! This is like a shorter, more lateral-g involved version of Boulderdash. I only wish that I could have gotten a night ride, as the Raven was amazing during the day.

Next was Legend in seat 1.2, as recommended by several others. The air on the double up was awesome, and the ride was long. I wasn’t as impressed with the legend as I was the Raven, but to each his (or her) own.

I then played credit whore and got a ride in on Holidog's Howler. After exiting, I ran in Paul Drabek (www.negative-g.com), his wife Carrie, and their son. They were busy in the playground, and I was eager for more Raven rides and the gift shop, so we agreed to meet up later for more rides on the Raven.

I picked up some souvenirs, got some pictures, and eventually met back up with Paul to take multiple rides on the Raven until closing. We also managed 2 more on Legend and 1 on the Hallowswings. Liberty Launch was down for the day, but it didn’t matter. Holiday World was an AMAZING park with great rides, friendly employees, good food, and tons of free stuff!

The only things that upset me at Holiday World were that they had no polo-style shirts in their gift shop and that they had no parmesan or red pepper for their pizza. I will definitely be coming back to Holiday World as soon as possible! It was SO fun, yet relaxing because I didn’t feel rushed to DO everything.

After taking the last train of the season in the last row of the Raven, it was time for my long drive to Indianapolis, as I dreaded going to work there on Monday. Oh well, I had 2 days of late season fun, and my season still isn’t over yet! I still have a couple more days at SFOG, and of course IAAPA in November. Be on the lookout for my year end wrap-up – it’s been a busy season!

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-Matt
*** This post was edited by Matt D 10/16/2003 11:26:43 PM ***

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Thursday, October 16, 2003 7:15 PM
Wow ! I almost COMPLETELY disagree with you on everything at PKI! I found Vortex to be my number one steel and wood , respectfully , Adventure express to have a horrible ending , and Racer( you actually only rode it frontwards?) to have airtime. And the Beast? Well , let's just say it's pretty far down on my list( I still can't believe how rough it was).

Then again , I completly agree with you on Holiday World! The Raven is way better than Legend(I am an airtime whore). The whole park is just perfect in every way( although the waterpark could use a bodyslide. You know they would take care of it).

Well written TR , even though I did Cringe at times.

Edit: Oops! SOB is my number one wood , not Vortex. :)

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Dollywood: Exploding onto the coaster scene since 2004!
*** This post was edited by thepinkdoomofmonkeys 10/16/2003 11:16:27 PM ***

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Thursday, October 16, 2003 7:20 PM
Like you and many others, I was at PKI on Saturday - my first visit to the park since 1976. And, I went knowing the Scouts and the Christian music festival, not to mention Fear Fest, were going to be held on what turned out to be a glorious October Saturday.

I spent Easter week this year down in Orlando at Disney so I thought I knew crowded. It wasn't until about 8pm on October 11 that I truly understood what crowded was all about.

I made the Beast my #100 as well! Surpassed my expectations, earning a place in my top 5 woodies. At the other extreme, SoB landed in the bottom 5. In fact, it was after our ride on Sonny that both my sisters, my brother-in-law, niece and nephew raided the convenience store at the front of the park and wiped out their entire supply of Aleve. We laughed thru our pain as we all stood around outside the store popping pills and passing around a bottle of water.

Sad to say but I left 6 credits on the table at PKI, including Vortex. Very pleased to say I rode some of the best flats I've ever been on that afternoon. Absolutely loved Delerium and Drop Zone (Intamin Drops ROOL!). TRTR was worthy of any FL attraction. SD Mystery Mansion and SpongeBob were fun for the entire family. And FLYERS!

Despite the crowds and the lines, we had a great time and I look forward to returning soon. Good park, good times!

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