Midwest in May -- 3-park trip report

Associated parks:
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 5:50 PM
This past weekend, I got to hit 3 Midwest parks, which is a special thing, since I live on the East coast. The weather was beautiful, thank God, and the crowds were light. Here's the lowdown:

Friday (5/5) - Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom

We originally were planning on hitting just 2 parks, HW and SFGAm, but we figured we'd try and squeeze this one in on the way to IN. Fortunately, we were able to get in with about 3.5 hrs to spare, which was plenty of time, as the park was NOT crowded.

This was our first time on GL, as the last time we were here, it went down and stayed down. It actually went down again right after we got in line, but was back up shortly thereafter. It's a fun little ride, and I hope it stays around for a while.

We hit Thunder Run, which is the best coaster here, IMO. We then hit TT, which was actually running both sides, unlike last time. I think I liked it a little more this time, but it still doesn't do a whole lot.

We rode Chang, which has a new paint job that they were almost finished with. It looks really nice, but it actually looks a lot like Mantis, IMO, without the red on the track. My friend ended up feeling bad after this, and only hit one more coaster with me, then he was done for the day. In general, we don't care much for standups, and this one, for the most part, is no exception for me now.

I wanted to ride T2, so we did. I actually like this layout a little more than the standard layout.

We ended up getting something to eat. While the food was just so-so, they did seem to have a lot open in the area where we were (next to the main waterpark entrance). The Papa Johns pizza, however, doesn't seem up to normal Papa John's quality.

The path by the dragsters is closed off, and it looks like they are going to put their next attraction back there (judging by the sign they had posted).

We hung around for a bit more before leaving. Then, we were off to IN. SFKK is a nice little park that, while not amazing, is a nice small local park that's nice to hit every so often. If it were my home park, though, I'd get bored fairly quick. It'd also be nice if the park had more room for expansion. One nice thing, though, is that Six Flags doesn't regulate the parking, so we only had to pay $5, which is wonderful compared to the likes of SFGAm, SFGAdv, and SFA.

Saturday (5/6) - Holiday World

We had tried visiting this park back in 2003, but they closed it the day we wanted to go because of the infamous SRM death. We finally made it back out here, and we're glad we did.

The park is a nice small, family-run place that has free parking and unlimited free soft-drinks--such a wonderful idea. Also, the food is pretty reasonably-priced for an amusement park, and the staff are pretty friendly. The place reminded me of Del Grosso's and Dorney Park, interestingly enough.

We hit the Raven first. While the ride is good, it's short and didn't totally blow me away. We ended up hitting this one more time later on. The first time we rode, they seemed to be fairly careful with pushing down the lap bars--could be because of the past death, or because of newbies being trained or something.

Next was the Legend. Also a good ride, but it didn't totally blow me away. A second ride later impressed me more, as this puppy was running fierce and I was sitting in the back area instead of the front.

Now, onto the new-for-2006, the Voyage, which we got 4 rides on. To sum it up in one word: AMAZING. This thing is pretty much the best and most amazing roller coaster we have ever ridden! It just packs SO much into 1 ride. And it's amazing how intense this thing is, and how fast it goes in places. The station fly-through is a really cool idea, and the entire station and queue layout is even really good. If this thing isn't rated #1 in the next Golden Ticket awards, then someone should be fired or something :) Yes, it is THAT good. If there is ANY coaster to ride this year, this is it! I certainly hope that HW will maintain this thing as good as they have Raven. I don't know how rideable it will be later on if they don't. But get out there and ride it now!

One interesting thing we noticed at HW was the many station track crossings by employees. This is something I haven't seen as often in other parks. It seems like it could be somewhat of a safety issue, so why do they do it so much? We mainly noticed it on Raven and Legend, as they were running 1 train each (which bugged me, but at least the park wasn't very crowded).

Sunday (5/7) - Six Flags Great America

When we visited this park for the first time last September, it was packed. This time around, however, it was WAY less crowded, and we were probably able to ride more this time (which was only around 4-4.5 hrs) than last time, which was most of the operating day.

I tried using my half-price admission coupon that I got in my SFA coupon book, but it wasn't taking in their system for some reason. I did the same thing last year and had no problem. I was told to go to guest relations, where I was finally given a ticket, though the attendant asked me where I had gotten it. Do all SF parks not give out this type of coupon in their coupon books?

Anyway, the first coaster we hit was B:TR, which we skipped last time. I definitely like this one better than SFGAdv's version. The queue is shorter and prettier, and I like the trees and little pond near the end better than the asphalt and gravel and concrete at SFGAdv. The station is also themed better, though perhaps a little smaller.

Next way V2, which took us 2.5 hrs last time. It only took us around 10 minutes this time, and it was a decent ride as usual.

Next up was Iron Wolf, which we also skipped last time. This actually wasn't as bad as Chang, though there was possibly more headbanging. It wasn't very intense for being such a compact layout.

We headed for America Eagle after this, which was only running 1 side--the same one as last time, so no new credit here. They had the train running forwards this time, which made for an even more boring ride. This coaster looks nice, but it doesn't do much for me.

We hit Demon again, which was about normal. Deja Vu wasn't running, but at least we got to ride it last time.

RB was next, which is also a good ride. I still like AC better, though one is a twister and one is an out-and-back. The theming and station are nicer than Nitro, which has one of the ugliest stations for a modern coaster that I know of.

After this, we rode the drop tower, which we also skipped last time. It was a good ride, and I was impressed with the queue theming--very nice touch, what with the little canyon walls that you walk by and such.

After this, my friend wanted to get a Power Aid. He finally found a machine, but he couldn't get any because it was unplugged. He came back and met us. My girlfried bought some Dippin' Dots, which, BTW, were ridiculously expensive (around $4.99 for a small). My friend tried to buy an ICEE from this drink stand. They even had a sign out front that advertised them having ICEEs, but they didn't know how much they cost when my friend first went to get one. They finally gave him a price after he went a second time, and he was able to get one. Why advertise if you don't know how much they cost?

Anyway, Viper was next, which is a good ride. It actually seems like the park cares about this ride, and I'm glad to see it's in good condition. Even the very back seat isn't an aweful ride. We took 2 laps on this one.

We actually rode the Starship America thing, which, while having nice theming, was a kinda weird ride. It's like, "Here, sit in these seats, watch this video, and we'll shake you a lot." Not the best executed, but at least it was somewhat different from the normal motion seat jobs like at the Paramount Parks.

Next was the Sky Tower, then S:UF. I definitely like the installation of this better than SFGAdv, as well. It looks like they did a better landscaping job, and they also put up nicer queue railings. Overall, just a better job than SFGAdv.

We hit the spinning mouse coaster after this, which was crazy and fun. Then I coaxed my friends to ride one of the flumes with me, which wasn't the best idea. We ended up getting fairly wet, and my girlfriend wasn't happy about it. It was strange that they had that water shooting up after the big drop. Nice on a hot day, but not very nice right then.

After 1 more lap on BTR and one on V2, we called it a day and left. I definitely like this park, and I put it up there as one of the 2 best SF parks that I've visited, along with SFFT. The staff were pretty good, too, and the park has a nice layout and some nice theming. The parking lot is nice, and you get a nice waterpark with park admission, unlike SFGAdv, where you have to pay more for SFHH. In general, the park just looks nicer than SFGAdv. I do recommend, though, painting Iron Wolf, as it looks like it could use it.

So basically, it was a really good trip with some really good weather, small crowds, and great company.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 6:43 PM
Thanks for the report. I really liked Great America too, you can see the history of the park and it just feels nice walking around. The rides are great as are the employees. The food prices ARE insane though. My gf and I waited about fifteen minutes for a funnel cake at the end of the night and paid out the $ss for it.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 8:10 PM
Well another #1 by far vote for Voyage!

Glad you had a great trip!

Chuck

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Thursday, May 18, 2006 12:39 AM
Great trip report!

I enjoy Holiday world, but have often questioned their safety procedures. But with free soft drinks, free sun-tan lotion, and three damn good coasters, who really needs to worry about minor discrepancies in safety??

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