While I keep up with this newsgroup and enjoy roller coasters, I am not able to travel around like many of you and so my coaster count is only in the 20's. I do, however, live only about 1 hour from Holiday World, so I knew I wanted to attend my first ever Stark Raven Mad if at all possible. Unfortunately, the people that would have liked to attend with me were unable to, so I wound up attending alone. I am a rather shy and reserved person so I did not introduce myself to you, but I did enjoy finally getting to put some faces with the names of prominent posters here.
Due to family commitments, I did not arrive Friday until 7:00 p.m. While the food had just started being served, I decided to try the coasters out first. I decided to do the Legend first. It was giving great rides all night. The difference that I have noticed in the new trains is that I know longer hurt in the turn at the end of the first drop. I have never heard anyone else complain about this, but with the Gerstlauer trains, I would have a jarring pain somewhere in my torso at this point in the ride almost everytime. I didn't notice it at all with the new PTC trains.
The legend is a two-faced beast. It shows you its nicer face first. It plays with you. A nice first drop, then a run into a surprising drop underneath the headchopping ZOOMbabwe, back up to the spiral drop, then into the double-up where you get some brief but amazing airtime and down the last hill before it starts showing you its mean face. From this point on, I don't really know the layout. All I know is that you start thinking this has to let up soon. You keep thinking this for some time. The lateral forces continue, though, until you come near the end of the second tunnel in the helix. The end of the tunnel combined with a view of some track ahead that is no longer helical (is that a word?) combine psyshologically to give you the impression that it is over with. It is exactly at this point that the Legend slams you even harder to the left. Then, finally, there is some relief. Though in this case, relief just means no longer having to choose between riding hands up and getting bruises, or riding holding on and getting a workout. There is finally one last little pop of air right before the turn around into the station run. And then the last element, which unfortunately was missing from several rides Friday evening, the sudden stop. The stop serves as an exclamation point, further emphasizing the intensity of the ride.
After the Legend, I went to the Raven. All I can say is this was giving some amazing rides this weekend. I was getting an enormous amount of air anywhere in the train.
Following the introductory coaster rides, I went to supper. While I was eating, Ms. Koch came by and said Hi. While she was talking with a couple at the next table, their child in a stroller spilled his (or her) free soda on the floor. When Ms. Koch noticed this she left and returned a moment later with a bucket and a mop and mopped up the spill. A person at the next table said to her "this is why we love this place. You wouldn't see this anywhere else." I assume he meant seeing the owner mopping floors, though in the case of some parks, he may have meant having the floor mopped period.
After eating I went back to the coasters, rode the Raven, stopped by the scrambler, then onto the Legend. After the Legend, I went for a ride on the Banshee where I got my first introduction to the dancing ride op. I was at the park on Memorial Day and my 6-year-old son rode the Banshee for the first time. I consider it his training for the Legend. You get some nice airtime, then are slammed into the person sitting next to you. I then rode the Legend again. It was during this wait for the Legend, I think, that I heard about the storm at Kennywood. I then went to Frightful Falls. Having the extra rides open was nice. While there were no real lines for them (except Eagle's Flight on Saturday), I think they did help with crowd management and were appreciated by those who decided to ride them.
I then went for another ride on the Raven and then back over to the Legend. By this time, the ERT on the flat rides had ended and the dancing ride op was at the Legend. On this ride on the Legend we got stopped on the lift hill. I never did find out what the problem was (mainly because I didn't try to find out), but we sat on the lift hill for 3 or 4 minutes. They finally let us go, but when we stopped, we had to sit at the brakes outside the station for several minutes while Jeff and Will (I think) checked something out. I took a few more rides but left a little early because I knew that I still had to drive home and would be driving back in the morning for ZOOMbabwe ERT.
I arrived at Holiday World about 8:45 Saturday Morning. There was a bigger crowd than I had expected for the ERT. We had to wait until just slightly past 9:00 before being allowed in the park. We were escorted to Splashin' Safari. Most of the crowd stopped at the locker stand, but since I had a bag and nothing of that much value on me, I decided to forgo the lockers. Since so many people were getting lockers, our escort stopped to help and had Jeff H. lead us on over to ZOOMbabwe. I stripped down to my trunks and headed up the path to ZOOMbabwe. They make you work for this ride. It is a long way from the queue entrance to the actual loading area and much of it is steps.
ZOOMbabwe is a giant purple people-eater and the better you sate its appetite the better the ride it delivers. The truly wild rides seem to start as you approach about 700 pounds in the raft, though I would say about anything from 500 pounds on up would give you a decent ride. Thankfully, there was no shortage of people willing to let me ride with them. I got two quick rides before the lines got long, with the second ride being the best of all the rides I got. After those two rides, I went to the free sunscreen dispensers and coated myself good. I then stopped by the Oasis and got my muffin and orange juice. After eating I started riding ZOOMbabwe again. Now, the lines were much longer. I didn't time the wait, but it was probably at least twenty minutes. I rode ZOOMbabwe several more times until the rest of the water park opened. After catching a ride on each of Otto, Ron, and Go I took my dramamine to be ready for the coasters and flat rides. (This is another reason I did not become a coaster enthusiast earlier in life, I am very prone to motion sickness. Dramamine is like a miracle drug to me.) I then tried Watubee, but there was no one to ride with me on this one, so it was a very mild ride. I then tried AmaZOOM and Bamboo Chute before getting one last ride on ZOOMbabwe. Again, though, I had no one to ride with me. Without more weight in the raft, this is a very tame ride.
After this, I got dressed, took advantage of the free sunscreen one last time and headed back to the main park. I don't recall when I did what during the day, but I did ride both coasters several times, rode Raging River Rapids twice, rode Eagle's Flight, Rough Riders, Thunder Bumpers, and for the first time ever I rode RoundHouse. I also saw American Praise, Discovery Institute, and DiveWorks. This is one place that I feel Holiday World has declined in quality in the last couple of years. The American Praise show had decent talent and I am sure many people enjoy it, but the Discovery Institute show was almost painful to watch. It seemed even stupider and made even less since than it did last year. The summertime/beach party show they had in the Holiday Theater two years ago was much better. I used to feel the dive show was one of the best amusement park shows you would find anywhere, but now with the recorded narration, fewer divers, less of the "silly diving" segment, and no splash diving segment the show just seemed flat. It is still breathtaking to see someone jump 85 feet into a 9 foot deep pool, but it seemed like this time, that was all there was. I am not saying anything negative about the divers who obviously have tremendous talent and performed some amazing dives, but the show definitely needs restructuring.
I had a Frito Pie and taco lunch at some point and at 4:00 I went on the photo walkback. While it was nice to see the Legend and Raven from some new vantage points, the most entertaining sight was probably the puzzled looks on the faces of the Frightful Falls riders and Splashin' Safari guests as we walked by. You will probably soon see on the web a lot of pictures of the Legend descending the first drop taken from the bottom of the first drop.
After the walkback is when I did some of the stuff mentioned above. I had not made a real effort to get a back seat ride in either coaster yet, so I decided to do that before supper. The backseat rides were awesome.
The meal was nice. The food was pretty much what I have seen at company picnics there except I do not remember them serving Moonlite barbecue before. After the meal, Paula introduced Mick Foley and auctioned off some wood from the Legend and Raven. Mick said he has been a member of ACE for a couple of years, but this was his first event. He also said his wife called him that day and said he needed to come home because she was ovulating. He decided to stay at SRM. I hope he enjoyed the ERT, because he is probably not going to enjoy getting home.
After the auction, Paula gave Ms. Koch a "two-minute prom" since she didn't get to have a prom when getting her degree. Mick gave her a wrist corsage and danced with her to the live music that was provided until various other SRM'ers cut in. Ms. Koch was also presented with the graduation cards and other gifts that various SRM'ers brought to celebrate her receiving her master's degree in ministry.
After the festivities there, we headed back to the park. There was a pretty good line for Eagle's Flight and several people getting on Roundhouse. I headed on over to the Legend. The Legend seemed to be running even better than it was Friday night. I then went to the Raven, tonight's home for the dancing ride op. At the end of the ride the only thing I could think was "Holy Cow, what did they do to this while I was at supper?" Now I am not denying that it could have just been because of my psychological state at the time, but the ride seemed even faster, with more airtime and stronger laterals than any ride I had ever had on it before. And every ride I had on it the rest of the night seemed at least the equal of this ride. I had planned to go back to the Legend after the Raven ride, but it was such a quality ride that I got back in line for it again. When I did get back to the Legend it seemed the ride had improved even further. As I took more rides on the Legend during the night it just seemed to get more and more insane. I finally decided that I would have to stop riding hands-up after the double-up. I don't know that it did a lot of good though. Considering the lateral g's on that ride, I was probably trying to hold back about 1000 pounds. I took several rides on both coasters during the remainder of the evening and could barely believe the ride I had just gotten during each one.
The high-quality rides combined with the high-quality service and the party atmosphere just make Stark Raven Mad an awesome event. I have never attended an enthusiast event anywhere else, but I don't see how they could compare to what Holiday World does. Also, I enjoyed the company of the people that I chatted with as we were waiting in line. Overall, coaster enthusiasts are just a very nice group of people that love to see other people enjoying themselves.
X-Flight World's Only flying coaster!
Batwing World's only flying coaster!
S:UF World's only flying coaster! Don't you love SF ?
I was also on that Legend train that stopped on the lift hill and the brakes with you. I was worried for a bit there that it was going down for the night, but was very impressed with how quickly they got it up and running. But it was an experience sitting there in the dark with them shining the occaisional spot light on us, wasn't it?
I also talked to Paula that Saturday morning as we were walking back to Zoombabwe and she was telling me that they were a little shocked that morning. They were expecting maybe 200 people at most to drag out of bed and show up, and it looked like close to double that. But it was a lot of fun and they handled it well.
Great Trip report!!
Sometimes it's up. Sometimes it's down.
But with God, life is one thrill ride that you'll never regret being on.
MM3, great trip report! It doesn't matter if you are unknown.....just that you love RCs. Again, good descriptions.
There's nothing like a woodie...
Just a guess of course. Could have been something else entirely that they were looking for.
Sometimes it's up. Sometimes it's down.
But with God, life is one thrill ride that you'll never regret being on.
Sorrrrrrrry folks! Parks closed. The moose out front should have told you.
You must be logged in to post