We didn’t expect much from this park after hearing so many bad things about it, and while it was a pleasant surprise it still wasn’t great. Lots of food stands were closed and we were starving! We couldn’t find a place to spend our money! Thunder Run was surely the highlight, incredibly smooth turns (was expecting the worst) and freaking sweet airtime! Why haven’t I heard more about this coaster?
Monica says: I really had no expectations of this place. I thought it was odd that there was so much barbed wire around the park. Were we in such a high crime area? We only stayed about an hour there and rode two wooden coasters that were each a lot of fun. Hey, what can I say? It’s a Six Flags!
We spent the 4 th of July at Holiday World. The crowds were moderate and the weather was beautiful (hot as…). We stayed at the park from when it opened until it closed with a break in the middle to eat at St. Nick’s restaurant and to return to our campsite.
I personally could not wait to visit Holiday World and their two world-class wood coasters, Raven and Legend, but Monica and I were left disappointed with the park as a whole. There was the promise of a theme park, but there was very little theme outside of the named areas. Walking from area to area the theme hardly changes other than the music and the names and colors of the rides. Where were the fake gravestones and cobwebs in the Halloween area? How about some fake snow or more than one decorated tree in Christmas. And why are all the wooden railings in the entire park painted mud brown?
The coasters and water park dominate the park, without them there wouldn’t be much to do.
Monica says: I was psyched to visit Holiday World because I love Christmas and the other Holidays. I love amusement parks, too, so what could be better than a place that combines these two things? I have to agree with Ryan’s opinion of the park. Changing the music and the paint color does not change the theme.
Our first ride on Raven I was left wondering what the hype was all about, it was good and fun, but #1 in the world? For me it couldn’t compare to either of Knoebel’s woodies. The first half was good, but the second half to me was too lateral crazy and threw us around too much which resulted in a headache
At night things changed and I saw why it was ranked #1 for so long. The ravine drop from the back was wild and it got so dark on my last lap I couldn’t tell which way was which. The rides at night were far better, but were still far too rough for me to rank above my favorites, Twister and Phoenix. That said, I couldn’t resist getting off and running back around to the short line again while Monica waited on a bench drinking a free soda. The atmosphere in the line was electric, with plenty of parents and their kids eagerly waiting their ride cheering the whole way. Good times.
So this is were the howling we heard in the campground was coming from. Legend is huge! So much larger than I was expecting. It was lateral crazy and again it gave me a headache, but I can’t resist riding it. It must be something CCI added to the wood that makes them so addicting, kind of like McDonalds or Starbucks.
I loved the first drop & trip through the water park and its two nasty airtime hills. The double helix was relentless and the finale was just as intense as the beginning of the ride. While it is larger and longer, there isn’t much to me that makes Legend standout from Raven other than its length.
Splashin’ Safari Water Park
Splashin’ Safari is one of the best water parks the two of us have been to. All of the slides were a blast, the new Bahari wave pool was fun and nicely themed and the lazy river was perfectly paced.
Monica: This place saved Holiday World for me. I had a really good time here. The Congo River was so relaxing and all the slides were a lot of fun.
Nothing here stood out to me as being great, the pizza we ate was better than most amusement park pizza, but most amusement park pizza isn’t very good to begin with. The free soft drinks are a nice touch.
Monica: First off, the unlimited free soft drinks were the best! I love diet pepsi so much and even though I should have been drinking water all day, I couldn’t resist the sweet caffeinated nectar! We ate lunch at Kringle’s Café. I really enjoyed the pizza; it was nice and doughy. We ate dinner outside of the park. The park offered no “must-eats.”
Accommodation - Lake Rudolph
Monica: The campground was located adjacent to Holiday World, but offers no direct park access. It offered paddle boats and miniature golf, but I have seen nicer campgrounds in my day. Santa Claus, IN is a virtual ghost town. There is nothing for tourists outside of Holiday World and the only full-service restaurant was St. Nick’s Restaurant located at Santa’s Lodge. The food was expensive, mediocre at best and the waitress neglected to tell us that there was a salad bar. It wasn’t the North Pole experience that I had hoped for, although we did get a nice photo of Ryan touching Santa’s bum< in front of the municipal building.
Ryan: The atmosphere here was great, and pretty typical of a campground located so close to an amusement park, it felt similar to Knoebel's. Of course we got stuck with the only two noisy families in the whole campground both nights who insisted on arguing with each other or yelling about a game of cards. There was only one small pool however, and due to the excruciating heat it was packed with children.
Reasons to go Back
* Free soft drinks
* Free Parking
* Good capacity
* Great water park
* Really nice, and usually enthusiastic workers
* Lack of creativity in their themed areas
* Lack of unique flat rides
All that good and still disappointed? Its weird but yeah, there was just something missing for us. The employees, coasters and waterpark were all outstanding, but the park’s atmosphere was lacking and just didn’t feel right. That said, I am already craving Raven and Legend, and The Voyage looks too great to pass up. So we will be back. Even if I have to drag Monica kicking and screaming.
I've never had a server tell me about a salad bar which is usually in plain sight.
To me Raven doesn't really look that exciting, I mean it looks ok but not amazing. Maybe we'll drive the 12 hours b/c of the Voyage next year, besides we have friends in Louisville Kentucky.
But there is a little bit more to do in the immediate area besides the park and camp ground. There's Buffalo Run where you can eat Buffalo and Ostrich as well as see them. There's the Lincoln Boyhood National Monument. Also there's the St. Meinrad Abbey and Monestary in Ferdinand and all of these are within 10 miles of HW.
All the things people rave about Holiday World are true, they have great employees, great coasters and a great waterpark.
I think for me personally HW could use some infrastructure of buildings to help theme out each area. For example, in the Halloween section, there aren't too many buildings to help distinguish the character there from the other sections. I've always thought it could use a good scary/fun dark ride to help fill in the lack of buildings in that area. Plus, I'm not too sure what a dive show has to do with Halloween, but where else to put it? Hopefully the new Thanksgiving section will be more fleshed out.
In the five years I've been going a little of it's charm is slowly being taken away every year. The Wax Museum and other things.
Also the landscaping all through the middle of the park is horrid with patches of dirt and grass shaved to the nub. Three years later you can still see the bulldozer tracks by Liberty launch.
BTW, there are some gravestones on the log flume one I remember is OTTO Mo Bile
Chuck, who says all the theming at HW said, NOW SMOKE FREE LOL.
Paula forgive me, Good with da bad ya know :)
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