Canobie Coaster wrote:I'm kind of puzzled how that ride could be anyone's favorite in the park
Nobody's as puzzled as I am, believe me.
prozach626 wrote:It sucks we missed you by a couple days. There are a ton of scenic spots to grab a beer in this park, with an added bonus of no beer prison.
Yeah, that's definitely a bummer. I'm sure we'll run into you at some point though (we definitely go on enough road trips, lol). If we ever get back to this park I'm definitely planning to spend more time there. Louisville itself seemed pretty cool too. I took notice of the Brewery and Smokehouse in the baseball stadium, we couldn't work it into our schedule this time but I could definitely see going back and spending a day in Louisville between the park / city and maybe even the ballpark.
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Awesome as usual! Everyone loves Dick Rock Canyon. It's probably the best thing about that park.
Anyway, on to Holiday World...
As a storm started to move in, we traded in the "Circle of Champions" for the "Straight Line of Corn Fields".
I'll be honest, there was something about the drive from Louisville to Holiday World that I really enjoyed. The farms, rolling hills and open fields were absolutely beautiful and I'm sort of annoyed with myself for not getting any pictures. Brit probably would have taken some, but she saw an opportunity for an hour long nap and she capitalized on it. I can't say that I blame her.
One thing that I found odd is that there's a time change between the two parks, but no signs telling you about it. For a good portion of the drive we had no idea what time it was which was kind of cool. but I did appreciate the GPS telling us that we would arrive in 30 minutes, 30 minutes ago. The time change made the day far less stressful since we had "extra time" to get some rides in (if we ended up needing it).
As we kept driving, we would see an occasional billboard for Santa Claus, Indiana, mainly for the park or the massive Christmas Shop. We didn't know much about the town but we were getting the idea that it was a fun tourist trap of a place that capitalized on it's name so we decided that we might want to block out some time to drive around and check out all of the great Christmas stuff and tourist attractions that they were sure to have. When we got to our exit we were pretty excited to see what was in store, so as we got to the top of the ramp we were surprised to be greeted by....
... absolutely f*ck nothing. Seriously... nothing. There wasn't even a traffic light at the end of the ramp (exit ramps with stop signs generally mean you're in the middle of mokey f*ck nowhere, fine by me but surprising nonetheless). Apparently the park is 15 minutes from the exit of I-64 and there is absolutely nothing between the exit and the park but a long 2 lane road and a ton of farms. The billboards had us hyped up for some cute little tourist town but when we started getting close to the park we were pretty much convinced that our GPS was screwing with us. Finally, after the 738th consecutive farm we made a slight turn and (not surprisingly) found a 739th farm BUT this one had a huge, shiny orange B&M behind it.
We came to the conclusion that the entire town of Santa Claus basically consists of Holiday World, a Christmas Store, a Dollar general and a gas station so we quickly abandoned our plan to spend any time checking out the other “tourist attractions” but it was hard to be disappointed too much by the town itself with that awesome looking B&M beast beckoning.
I'll be honest. I was REALLY excited to check out Holiday World. I had been hearing but amazing things about the park and it's legendary (lol) coaster collection for the good part of 2 decades and it seemed almost surreal to finally be standing at the gate, watching a Raven train ascend the lift hill.
Because of our flexible schedule, we bought our tickets at the gate and paid a premium for it. They definitely didn't come cheap (at $100 for both of us) but I was so happy to be at Holiday World that I barely cared. We stepped through the front gate into the Christmas section and after a quick pit stop at the restrooms we started exploring the park.
One thing that we immediately noticed was the strange layout. The front gate is located at the top of a large hill with the road on the right, so you have the option of either heading straight through the Christmas section and back to the kids area or left which takes you down a heavily wooded path to the coasters and Splashin' Safari.
Obviously we went left, and almost immediately we found ourselves at the iconic Raven.
Raven is the coaster that really put this park on the map. While I had heard that it's since been overshadowed by Legend and Voyage I was incredibly excited to finally ride the coaster that enthusiasts have been praising nonstop for 20 years. We wouldn't have to wait long as the oppressive heat had forced just about everyone into Splashin Safari and the ride lines were nonexistent across the board all day. As we strapped in and ascended the lift, it started to hit me that I was FINALLY about to experience the famous Raven. We made a slight turn on top of the lift, headed down the drop and...
While the layout was definitely sort of cool, this ride was a rough pile of sh*t. The laterals were extremely aggressive (and not in a good way) and the ride pretty much jackhammered throughout the entire course. Near the end of the ride, I found myself wishing it would end. Looking back I can appreciate the layout and the turn over the lake, but this was a one-and-done for us. Very disappointing.
After vowing never to ride that again (or vowing to ride it... "nevermore" if we want to be festive), we walked down a little further and came across Legend. Legend was another coaster I had been hearing about for years, but I was sort of skeptical since Raven turned out to be such a massive turd sandwich. Unfortunately I have to say that I was probably right to be skeptical. This ride was running slightly better than Raven, but I still wasn't a fan. It looks like they did some work on the first drop and that part was really enjoyable, but the rest of the ride was a jackhammering lateral sh*t storm. This ride also had a cool layout and I did enjoy it more than Raven, but we were pretty disappointed when we got off of this one also. I loved the layout, tunnels and interaction with nearby rides but this thing was really uncomfortable and (like Raven) it didn't live up to the hype at all.
I'll admit that when we got off Legend I couldn't help but be a bit annoyed. I've never felt this way in a park before, but I honestly started to wonder if we had wasted our time and money by going there. We had coughed up $100 and gone on a ridiculous road trip to visit a park that was hyped up by everyone but 2 of their most iconic coasters were complete sh*t and we knew we were headed for Voyage which (by all accounts) was even rougher and less re-rideable than Legend and Raven. I'm sure the oppressive heat wasn't helping matters but we were definitely a little disappointed and annoyed. We had ridden 3 wood coasters that day including the famous Raven and Legend and Thunder Run was EASILY the best. We definitely didn't think we'd be saying that.
As we got to the bottom of the hill we entered the Thanksgiving section and approached Voyage. Part of me just wanted to walk right past it and ride Thunderbird since we knew that no matter how terrible the other coasters were, Thunderbird was bound to be smooth, re-rideable and all around awesome. Reluctantly though we entered the queue and were met with a 10 minute line for the front row.
I had heard a lot about how violent this ride was so I wasn't really all that excited for it (even before riding Legend and Raven). I knew it had it's fans, but recently the reviews haven't been good at all so we had really low expectations as we strapped in and ascended the lift and dropped off into the woods.
Okay. I have to say, this ride...
Unlike those 2 pieces of crap at the front of the park, this ride wasn't rough at all! Aggressive? Hell yeah. Forceful? Absolutely. Rough and tough to re-ride? Hell no. This ride is absolutely awesome from start to finish and was probably the biggest surprise of the trip. It delivers tons of airtime, has an awesome layout, has tunnels that are so deep it must be 30 degrees colder when you're inside them and has a crazy, out of control finale to put the final exclamation point on this awesome beast of a coaster. Honestly this thing feels more like a steel hypercoaster than a traditional wood coaster.
The first half is all about huge airtime hills, the turnaround is great and the entire way back to the station is the perfect combination of airtime, crazy laterals, awesome visuals and really cool tunnels. While I wouldn't say it's on the same level as the RMC / Intamin wood coasters, it's definitely the best "traditional" wood coaster I've ever had the pleasure of riding aside from Phoenix. In the course of a few minutes, Voyage managed to completely sway our opinion of the park and put us both in great moods.
Once we got off Voyage we were tempted to re-ride, check out Gobbler Getaway or get something to eat at the famed Plymouth Rock cafe, but we remembered the forecast and decided to head up and get our ride on Thunderbird first.
Going back to this park's layout, it's really weird. Voyage and Splashin Safari are basically in a valley with the entrance up a hill on one side and Thunderbird up a hill on the other. Getting to Thunderbird requires walking around the abandoned eyesore of a water ride, up a hill with very few trees (though the park did add some shade canopies) and passing the most oddly places waterslide complex ever. Once you get to the top though you're greeted with a nice plaza featuring the "Crows Nest" ride, a restaurant. a great view of the surrounding area and a beautiful station and queue area.
Unlike many enthusiasts, we LOVE B&M wing coasters. I get the complaints about forcelessness, but in my mind these rides don't have to be forceful. They're fun, fast and provide a really unique sensation of flight. I absolutely love them. Given the fact that this coaster generally receives positive reviews from people that don't generally enjoy this coaster type, we knew we were in for a treat.
Before I get to the ride, I really want to stress that the queue itself is really great. It's well themed, but open in the back so you have a great view of the countryside from the hilltop that the ride is perched on. After walking through the (thankfully) empty series of switchbacks we headed up into the barn-like station and into a short queue for the front row.
Within a few short minutes, we were strapped in and ready to fly. Brit was super pumped as she's convinced the sun rises and sets with B&M wing coasters and I'm happy to say that this ride absolutely lives up to the hype (was there ever any doubt?).
The ride starts out with a short pre-launch sequence with mist effects. it's nothing special, but we weren't expecting it so we were pretty impressed. The train then launches down the launch track, through a surprisingly forceful (for a wing coaster) series of inversions and turns. The first half of the ride is great, but Thunderbird really shines once it hits the first barrel roll. That element is definitely my favorite part of the ride as (for a wing coaster) it's very forceful and it's close proximity to Voyage and the nearby trees only serves to make it more awesome.
After the first roll it hits a small hump and then proceeds to do another turn and barrel roll keyhole element through a wood barn (complete with fake hand cutouts that had crashed through the building) before finally hitting the brakes. This ride is SUCH a home run.
Thunderbird would have been a great addition to any park, but Holiday World really, really needed this ride. It's smooth soaring elements are the perfect compliment to the rest of their lineup full of aggressive, often rough wood coasters. This is the kind of coaster that's not only an absolute blast to ride, but also highly re-rideable.
On that note, we decided that before we walked back down the hill we might as well put it's re-rideability to the test and re-ride on the opposite wing (still in the front seat). Of course, the ride delivered once again and still riding a Thunderbird high we decided to head back down the hill to see what else the park had to offer.
Wanting a break from the heat, our next stop was Gobbler Getaway. Gobbler Getaway is the park's Sally dark ride where riders shoot (um... I mean "call") Turkeys and unlike the version we had ridden a few days prior at Kings Island, this one was in great shape. The targets all worked, the effects all worked and we had way more fun on this ride than any 2 adults had any right to have.
When we exited Gobbler Getaway we noticed some dark clouds starting to roll in and since we still had one ride we needed to make absolutely sure we rode, we booked it back up the hill to the front of the park.
Since it was approximately eleven million degrees out, I was worried that the flume would have a long line but it seems like it's location is both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, it required us to walk all the way up the hill on a ridiculously hot and humid day to ride it. On the other hand, nobody else felt light walking up the hill on a ridiculously hot and humid day to ride it either so it had no line.
The flume itself is a simple one, it starts out in a tunnel, makes a few turns, drops through the Legend and then comes back to the station but (as with all flumes) we loved it! Not only is it a cute little ride, but it provides JUST
the right level of wetness and the park was even nice enough to chlorinate the water. Frightful Falls gets a big thumbs up from me!
After braving the falls, we decided that we might as well hit Liberty Launch while we were still on top of the hill. Liberty Launch was great, providing amazing ejector airtime and a great view. I really wish there were more of these short S&S shot towers. They're much better than their larger counterparts.
Once we exited Liberty Launch we decided it was finally time to head back down the hill and grab some lunch / early dinner. It was clouding up, but we decided to pass on a quick Voyage ride on the way, figuring once we ate we would spend the rest of the day on Voyage and Thunderbird. Sadly that ended up being a mistake.
For those who aren't familiar, Plymouth Rock Cafe's specialty is "Thanksgiving Dinner" type foods. Brit went with the more traditional turkey dinner but I can't pass up a good brisket. I ended up getting it with a dinner roll, mac and cheese and sweet potato casserole and it was absolutely wonderful. While I don't want to make any specific recommendations since I get the feeling that everything they make it great, I do really love that sweet potato casserole. I can't speak for the rest of the park's food, but Plymouth Rock Cafe is easily one of the best theme park restaurants in America.
Unfortunately for us, as we were eating an announcement came over the park's PA system that all rides were closing for weather. We figured we'd wait it out in the restaurant, but about 45 minutes later it was yet to start raining so we figured we'd do what everyone else in the park was doing and head over to Gobbler Getaway. Brit was demanding a rematch anyway since I schooled her the first time, and sadly for her the same thing happened again the second time.
This of course meant that we needed to do a best 3 out of 5, but after she (by some minor miracle) won the 3rd time, I won the 4th to save us from a 5th (and 4th consecutive) Gobbler Getaway ride at which point the ride ops would probably start to worry about our mental well-being and start asking questions.
When we got off the ride it was still pouring and it showed no signs of letting up on the radar so we decided to head up to the front gate, buy a Christmas ornament (and by the way... how the hell does a park named Holiday World with an entire section themed to Christmas have such a piss poor selection of Ornaments?) and head out.
While our Holiday World experience started off slow and it was cut short by rain, we had a great time. The staff was amazing, the food is great, the park is very nice (aside from the Thanksgiving section which looks a bit thrown together and has a giant abandoned ride sitting in the middle of it) and they have two awesome signature attractions in Voyage and Thunderbird.
When we arrived at the car, we thought we had our fill of thrill rides for the day but it turned out the most terrifying was yet to come.
While eating dinner and waiting out the storm, I had gone ahead and booked our room for the night. Since this trip was all about backtracking, it turned out that the best solution was to check back in to the hotel we had just checked out of back in the hustlin' bustlin' township of Florence, Kentucky. Unfortunately, getting there was a bit of a sh*t show.
You'll remember that in my last trip report I had mentioned the forecast. Well... they weren't kidding.
We popped on the radio on the way home and it turned out that every station was playing the Midwest's favorite summer jam... an emergency alert from the National Weather Service about the pending apocalypse.
The skies darkened, the wind picked up and then out of nowhere we were hit with a barrage of hail. When leaving Kings Island the night before we had also encountered hail which caused me to slow way down, pull into the slow lane and watch the locals continue to fly down the road at 80 MPH and presumably laugh their a**es off at the p*ssy from New York as they drove by.
Not wanting to be "that guy" with New York plates who was driving like a p*ssy for a second day in a row, I didn't adjust my speed that much this time but after awhile we could barely see and it became pretty terrifying. The sky was pitch black and we saw what appeared to be a funnel cloud up ahead. It probably wasn't one, but we could barely see anything and we were absolutely convinced we were about to die. As we kept driving, we saw a semi truck with it's hazards on driving 10 MPH and came to the realization that even the locals and professional drivers were preparing to embrace their imminent death so we were terrified.
After 5 minutes (that seemed like 5 hours) of going through my head, wondering if I had time to repent for all the bullsh*t I've done and find Jesus / Buddha / Zeus / Hydra / Montu / Zumanjaro and and whoever the f*ck else (and realizing that I DEFINITELY didn't have time to run through all that bullsh*t) the hail finally let up and we realized we'd get to live on for one more day.
Actual footage from our drive home...
How the hell do people actually live here? You have much bigger balls than I do.