Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Duet of Holiday World 2011 Trip Reports

Welcome back, it's time to continue posting my 2011 park trip reports.

Today, I give you a doubleheader of Holiday World trip reports. Holiday World, located in Santa Claus, IN is one of the parks I have visited most often in recent yeas outside of my home park. Part of the reason for this is the park has long offered a spring coaster enthusiast event, which I have attended every year it has been offered since 1999. More recently, they have also partnered with Coasterrbuzz to offer a fall event as well. I think I have been to almost every one of those. Then, there have been a couple times I have dropped by on regular park days.

With that out of the way, let's get this started with Holiwood Nights 2011. This event is the spring event, which the last couple years has take place in early June. This year it was June 3 and 4, also as usual, I would be traveling with my HoliWood Nights partner, Dave Althoff, JR, AKA Rideman. For reasons that I won;t go into here, both of us had doubts as to our ability to attend the event this year, at least the Friday portion of it. But, as the date grew closer, combined with the park staying open later, combined with the time zone change from Cincinnati to Santa Claus, it all worked out.

In year's past the Friday night events started at 6pm CST, but due to later park hours, this year it started at 7pm, which means that on my clock, it started at 8pm EST. It takes about three hours to get to the park, so that means we could theoretically leave as late as 5pm, and still make it to the park on time. So, bearing that in mind, Dave picked me up a little after 4pm. This did mean we had to deal with a little rush hour traffic, but it gets us to Louisville around 5:30. To ensure a smooth ride through Louisville, we stopped just outside of town for the refueling stop where we filled both the car and ourselves with a snack at McDonalds. This meant, a smooth ride through Louisville, and the construction delays that plagued I-64 a year ago are gone, so before you know it, we were driving the 7 mile road from I-64 to the park.

Over the years, Holiday World has experienced both a growth in the size of the park, but also in attendance. As we rode past the back of Thanksgiving and HoliDog's Fun Town, we noted the new entrance to the Legend lot has been completed and what was the overflow lot appears to now be the main lot as signage tells us that all Holiday Wold parking is straight ahead. We ignored that sign, and turned right anyway, driving past the back of 4th of July and Christmas. Again, another sign directed us that "Holiday World Parking - Next Left". We turned right. You see, we much prefer the old Raven lot to the new Legend lot. The Legend lot is nice, don't get me wrong, as part of the "Guest Comfort" package the park installed this year is a nice shelter for those waiting on tram service. It's just that at an after hours event, there is no tram service at the end of the event, and due to the fact the entire tram station and tram driveway in the Legend lot is lined with fencing, you can (and we have) gotten nice front row parking spots and you still have to walk all the way around the tram station, despite being parked directly in front of the tunnel under the main road. Then, and I presume this is for the safety of the younger guests the park attracts, you come out of the tunnel on the park side, almost directly across from the main gate, but further fencing insists you walk all the way around the perimeter of the parking lot.

So, we enter the Raven lot, and eventually find a parking space almost even with the picnic grove, and prepare to to the salmon run. No, not the ride in the park, but the fact it is about 6:30, the park has just, or is just about to close for the night, so we are heading for the ticket office just as hundreds if not thousands of people are trying to get from the front gate to their cars.

Owing to fact we wee unsure of our ability to attend, we would have to buy tickets on site, so we went up to the group sales office, handed over some money, and received the usual event packet: name tag, ticket sheet, event schedule, and a coupon sheet. We next did the run back to the car to return everything we did not need on night 1, and headed for the front gate.

One of the items mentioned as part of the "Comfort Package" was a new front gate. I saw the construction photos, so I know they actually did redo the front gate, but looking at it, I can't put a finger on just what they did. Wider lanes, perhaps, to accommodate strollers at any lane? I mentioned before that the park caters to younger guests, and I recall the last time they redid the front gate, one of the big changes was to rid the park of all turnstiles. The reasoning is simple, while the crossbar is even with the waist or belly of an adult, it was even with the neck or face of a child.

Friday night ERT ticket scanned and taken, we proceeded into the park. The base package does not include Friday admission, only the ERT session, which makes tonight more like a preview night. As the park continued to direct the day guests out of the park, we made our way through the closed park to the main picnic grove. We arrived just in time for the big announcement that the park is considering a steel coaster proect, not for 2012, but sometime in the near future. More to the point, just like Voyage, and to a lesser extent Legend, the park wants our input on the design of their steel coaster. The parks new president, Dan Koch was introduced, the usual ride safety lecture given, and it was time to head into the park. I think we have the timing for this down, we get to the grove just in time to hear the most pertinent parts of the opening ceremony then turn right back around and head into the park.

Into the park, there are essentially two options you can take: Thanksgiving or Halloween. We opted for Halloween and thus found ourselves started ERT on the Legend. The Legend really does suffer from middle-child syndrome. Owing to the small crowd, we headed for seat 2.1 and though the ride was just okay, nothing special but okay. The ride does seem to be running faster and smoother than it has in recent seasons. I like the description that the ride is everything the Beast (Kings Island) is not, which seems fitting as one of the early coaster shows on Discovery had Will Koch saying he was inspired (for Raven actually) by the Beast. Legend starts with an impressive twisting drop into a tunnel, then you go over a couple hills while getting a tour of Splashin' Safari, culminating in the spiral drop at the far end. This leads you into a series of airtime hills, and a tunnel, that cuts through the structure of the ride, and takes you to the backside of the ride whee the helix resides. This isn't your Beast Helix, it may by a double helix, partially tunneled and all that, but that's where it ends. Instead of the two layers of helix on Beast being neat and one on top of the other in the tunneled portion, on Legend the top tunnel going in is the bottom tunnel coming out, and vice versa. The ride concludes with a rapid fire series of curves, affectionately known as the Four Corners of Doom. We exit the ride and meet Dan Koch on the exit, we make our introductions, notice his birthday button, and proceed on.

Another part of the "Comfort Package" involves more restrooms, and in this case they have converted the Merlin's Castle arcade into additional restrooms. Noting that, we headed up the hill towards Raven.

Raven, the coaster that started it all for the park. We took a couple back seat or near back seat rides. Raven, while being the shortest wood coaster in the park, still packs a punch. The tunneled first drop, which leads to what would appear to be an out and back layout with its turnaround over Lake Rudolph being a low water hugger rather than the traditional high turnaround. The big surprise comes when you encounter the rides big drop about halfway down the return leg, and then, before you know what hit you, the ride goes into a ground-hugging series of curves, before rising to meet the brake run, still with much fury as you head the wheels spinning madly on the brake run.

After our second Raven ride, it was time for the pizza party in Kringles. It's clever, putting the meal and ERT at the same time. Okay, you figure out how you want to spend your time. We head into Kringles and prepare for to feast on pizza, potato chips, veggie trays and Pepsi. This is also where you start running into all the people yoou haven't seen all winter, which means you spend more time at the meal than you probably should. Remember, Friday is the preview, its just to get you ready for the big event tomorrow. Before leaving Kringles, you would be remiss if you didn't stop by the fudge counter to pick up your free block of fudge. It's great fudge, and it gives you the sugar high you need to make it through the event.

After dinner, we headed towards Thanksgiving. On our way down there, we noted Hallowswings was open, and the operator was so enthusiastic at recruiting riders, how could we refuse. It's your typical park circle swing ride, with a custom Halloween theme package, where as the park blog once noted "Even the skulls are smiling" Spin rides, right after gorging on pizza and fudge, the true mark of a ride enthusiast.

We then took the long walk down to Thanksgiving, and enough with the appetizers, now it's time for the Voyage. We headed to Voyage, and upon noting the line for the back seat to be no worse than any other seat, headed there. By now, you know the Timberliners did not make it for the 2010 season, which cause the park to re-engineer one of the Raven trains into the high-performance model required for Voyage so that Voyage at least had two trains. (The park had sold two of the Voyages three trains to Darien Lake prior to the start of the 2010 season, which may have put the very last trailer model PTC's out of our misery) Sure, that left Raven with only one train, which isn't ideal, but I did mention the ride was short right? It also gave enthusiasts something to debate all summer, was the red or blue train better on Voyage, and as you might expect, answers differed. This season, the park took no chances, and ordered a replacement PTC train to give the Raven its second train back, and to give Voyage a second train. Even better, last year the Voyage ran with shortened 6 car trains, since a Raven train is only 6 cars, and you apparently can't run trains with differing amounts of cars, so now car 7 is back.

And with that, we are into car 7. Voyage was everything its supposed to be, sure there is still some potholes on the outbound leg, but overall the ride is running fast and furious. Voyage is essentially an out and back coaster with unconventional turnarounds at either end. Myself, I love the outbound leg and the return leg, but more and more, I am hating the infamous spaghetti bowl turnaround on the far end. It's just unnecessarily violent, and I find myself merely enduring that part of the ride and hoping to get it over with so we can get to the awesome return leg. You get a quick moment to catch your breath on the mid course brake, not that it is on, but it is the only slow, flat part of the entire ride. Then, prepare for triple down heaven, and a return leg that slices and dices through the structure of the outbound leg while generating generous airtime. It's all good until after the drop under the station, where the second turnaround, while nowhere near as bad as the first, is the "Kick you while you are down" turnaround. You have just gone through an exhausting ride, the station is in sight. The ride says "Think you've had enough? WHAM Now you've had enough!" Luckily the two long airtime filled straight sections more than make up for the two brutal turns. The rides other claim to fame, the terrain. As you go out, you go uphill, a very steep uphill. To the point where the mid course safety brake is almost at ground level, which means the return run is all downhill literally, which means each successive drop can be even deeper than the one before.

That was so fun, let's do it again. Voyage Plaza has also been the location of special events during the ERT. Last year, the area sported a prototype Timberliner car for our inspection and photo opportunities. This year, there was a table setup in the middle of the area with laptops. This was so you could participate in the Steel Coaster Survey. Next to the table was a poster about the survey with a QR code so you could take the survey on your mobile device. The poster also advertised the survey would be available at a secret link, so you could take it after you got home (or in your hotel, like I did). On the other side of Voyage plaza, next to the Pepsi Oasis, were more tables where Dan Koch's birthday cake was being distributed.

After enjoying some cake, we finished the night with several more Voyage rides. On one ride, we decided to just grab an empty seat (5.2) instead of waiting for the back seat. Big mistake, as the ride was being particularly brutal in the middle cars, all through the ride. What gives? No more rides in 5.2 for us, from then on it was back seat or nothing for us.

By continued Voyage rides, we soon found ourselves on the last Voyage ride of the night, which also meant we missed our usual tactic of riding Raven last. So, as usual, we engaged in strange coasternut behavior, and stood around and talked on Voyage Plaza until the area was almost empty, then talked our way through the park up to the main gate. I do believe the park has "When Rideman gets to the front gate, the park is clear" as part of their ERT procedures. We then proceese to talk some more at the front gate, then some more out in the parking lot.

Then it was time to find our hotel. We decided to take advantage of the new 231 to Owensboro, KY, and stayed in Owensboro, but not before first making a couple wrong turns before getting out of Santa Claus. The on ramp to 231 from Santa Claus is badly in need of lighting. I don't mean traffic lights, I mean street lights. Right now there is nothing, you practically have to use feel, intuition and luck to make the turn onto the highway after dark. Sure you have headlights, but they aren't shining off to the left to show you where the ramp is. We also make the bad decision that since our hotel was right on the Owensboro bypass, we would be wise to take the bypass around town to our hotel instead of going right through town. Bad call. So we made it to the hotel a bit later than we planned, but hey it is a Holiday Inn Express, so maybe we will become smarter overnight, like their advertisements claim. You know you were very tired when you wake up in the middle of the night, still in your clothes, on the bed clutching your mobile device.

As has also become standard for us, we missed the included morning "Pool Party" at the water park. It's part of the event where they give us access to Bahari wavepool, Wildebeast and maybe Bahari River starting at 8:30 in the morning. Oh, and there is also a free continental breakfast. One of the stipulations, however, is that you have to be at the park by 8:15 to attend the pool party, as they walk the group back to Bahari as a group, and there is no late entry. For a long time, you could not exit the waterpark early either, not until the regular waterpark opening time, but I hear you can now exit via Pilgrims Plunge stating at park opening time. So, with the early arrival time, and all that, while we have made it to the water park pool party a time or two, we generally do not. Instead, while the pool party was going on I was introducing myself to the Holiday Inn Express Award Winning Showerhead, quickly followed by the Holiday Inn Express Award Winning Cinamon rolls at the hotels free breakfast. (Yes with eggs, meat and all).

After getting some driving advice from the front desk, we headed to the park, arriving almost just before the water park opened. We park in Raven lot once again, somewhere in between tram stops 2 and 3. Poor Dave, we get to the front gate plaza just in time for him to realize he has to go back to his car. Once all of that is settled, we head into the park and directly for Splashin Safari. One of the big parts of the "Comfort Package" is the addition of lots of new deck chairs, and lockers to the water park. Yes, this so called "Comfort Package" is really general improvements made to help keep pace with the parks growing attendance.

For whatever reason, I still had my iPhone with me, and not wanting to do the usual "hiding place" method, bought some peace of mind for $5 in the form of a locker. I headed to what appeared to be a bigger bathhouse, and noted the area that had the locker rental counter is just lockers now. Following some signs, I head to the all new locker rental building, which replaced Water Wars (sanctioned water balloon fights). Locker obtained, stuff stowed, free suntan lotion liberally applie, we headed to Wildebeast. This, of course, means a full tour of a rather large water park. I can remember when the whole waterpark was the two slide tower at the very front, a lazy river, wave pool, and a small kiddie area. Now, it is a very large waterpark, and we passed by what I think is the third children's water activity area that was added for this season. Eventually, we get back to Wilebeast. I noted some shade covering has been added to the rest of the slide's queue area, and that the single rider line provides an almost walk on wait.

We head for the single rider line. Wildebeast is the parks first water coaster, and was so successful, they are adding a second only two years later. In this one, you ride in 4 person toboggan rafts, and with a loading area that Henry Ford would be proud of, they handle both the regular and single rider lines with ease, and with their three stage red/yellow/green loading system, they ensure almost every boat goes out full, and on time. First riders from the main queue step out onto the red dots, when the next raft loads, they step up to the yellow dots, and empty spots are filled in from single rider, then another raft loads, they move up to green, and as such are ready to go as soon as the next raft is available. From green, you step onto the moving belt, which provides the illusion the raft is perfectly still as your load into it. From there you move out to the conveyor belt lift, to the top of the ride. There an operator ensures proper spacing between rafts before they enter the slide. Like most of their newer slides you first pass under a water curtain. It robs you of the whole "Maybe I can get through this dry" notion right away. A curvy downward section helps you built up speed before heading into the Dips. The rides feature is a series of steep dips, which produce an amazingly strong dose of airtime for a water slide. Airtime, with nothing but physics and the promise to hold on to the handles keeping you in the raft. It's no wonder the coaster enthusiasts love these.

The other amazing thing are the uphill segments where thanks to some complicated hydromagnetic forces (or magic, your choice) your raft seems to fly up the uphill segments, sometimes even faster than when you were going downhill For this it pays to ride with as light a raft as possible, as the mechanism seems to pull each raft with the same amount of force, the lighter the raft the more it catapults you over the top, which translates into airtime. Another curving helix and water curtain mrk the end of the ride, where your raft is brought to a stop by use of a variable speed moving belt. We manage 3 or 4 rides before the crowd catches up to us.

We then stop by the Pepsi Oasis, I get some fruit punch to go with the whole tropical safari theme, and we head to Pilgrims Plunge. Pilgrims Plunge is an Intamin shoot the chutes type ride, billed as the tallest water ride in the world. I'm sure the concept showed the ride would be a lot wetter, and would drench the riders more than it actually does. For the world's tallest water ride, the splashdown is rather lackluster. But, due to what was promised to be a big splash, the park positioned the ride so while it was in the Thanksgiving section, it was also adjacent to the water park. This would allow them to also offer the ride as a water park ride, and yes you are allowed to ride it barefooted in nothing more than a bathing suit. The ride even has a dual measuring device so that those who ride barefooted are given a one inch allowance on the height requirement to account for the fact they aren't wearing shoes and socks.

We enter the queue and its about a third full or less, and we quickly make our way through the queue and onto the ride. The ride retains the faster speed it gained last season, and runs about the same. Checking that off the list, and since we both have footwear, bathing suits and shirts on, we are able to continue walking into Thanksgiving.

We head to Gobbler Getaway, but the yellow sign and the attendant out front let us know the ride isn't quite ready for us. So, we continue to Turkey Whirl (for some reason I want to call it the Turkey Twirler, for no reason, I guess it may come back to that line from Lion King where the hyenas are marching Zazoo "Hippity Hoppity all the way to the Birdie Boiler" ) We manage to get an above average ride on Turkey Whirl, and head for Voyage, yes in the back seat. Going up the lift for Voyage I note Gobbler Getaway opening, so after a Saturday morning dose of "The Greatest Wood Coaster Ever Built" we head for Gobbler.

The ride had just opened, so there really wasn't a line to speak of. We take our places, grab our turkey callers and head out into the field. The ride goes find through the long stretch to the first set of targets. Soon after the ride stops, for a while. The ride would continue in this start, move a few feet, stop pattern. It was the longest Gobbler Getaway ride we have ever had, as evidenced by our scores. We realized that is an unspoken feature of the Sally system. Think about it, when does most park vandalism occur, when park guests are bored. Look in the queue area of a parks popular low capacity ride for evidence of this) On most dark rides the cars and action stop, leaving people bored, and that's when people climb out of the cars, putting themselves at risk, and possibly damaging the ride, either accidenttaly or on purpose. The Sally system allows you to keep shooting the targets, even when the ride vehicles are stopped, which may keep riders minds and hands occupied while you get the ride running again.

At one point when ride technicians were walking through the ride, we commented that the animatronics are getting to look incredibly life like. At any rate, we eventually made it through the ride, with insanely high scores, and noted that the ride was again closed. Another Voyage ride took place before leaving Thanksgiving.

While still in bathing suits, we next headed for the rapids ride. The line wasn't quite as long as we had feared, and it seems that on this ride you either get really drenched or you come off fairly dry. Last year was our total drench ride, this year was the barely anything ride. I do think one of the side effects of Thanksgiving is the rapids ride was shortened. Now you leave the station, go through the tunnel, come back outside, hit the first rapid, go through a turnaround, pass by the shooting gallery, another turnaround, some more rapids, then the third turnaround to take you through the flooded out western town. You may or may not get nailed by a water curtain, then you return to the station. At this point, Dave wanted to eturn his swim bag to the car and get his camera for the walk back, so we parted ways while he did that, and I went back to my locker. I grabbed my bad and headed into the bath house. I was very happy to notice the men's bath house has been renovated since last season, even more happy to see the communal changing room is now smaller, as it has been mostly replaced by several private changing rooms. Many thanks to the park for this.

I returned the locker key, got my $5 refund, and promptly spent it at the Dippin Dots booth where I got some kind of Dippin Dots that had honest to goodness brownie chunks in them. I ate those as I headed to Legend to meet Dave.

Having met up, we started the "Flat Ride Tour" of the park. First some love to Legend, this time in the back seat. Yes, they is a big difference in the back, and Legend is again performing very nicely. From there I noted the games drop boxes no longer accept paper money, you instead have to buy dollar coins from the attendants. I recall Busch Gardens tried this tactic several years ago.

From there we took the obligatory ride on Frightful Falls, skipped the Scarecrow Scrambler, and of course rode Raven instead of walking up the hill. We then headed for Fourth of July. We skipped Midnight Ride for the long line (and had I known then what I know now, we would have ridden it, as it was best of breed for a Spider ride) , but instead went on the Louis and Clark Trail, where we explored the American west in Model T Fords, just like Louis and Clark did many years ago. It's one of those rides I have been on maybe three times in all my visits to the park. I noted they no longer allow single riders (that whole park attendance thing again), and as we headed out, Dave advised me to drive very carefully. It wasn't a trite warning, as he advised me the hard roof of the car was about an eighth of an inch from my head. I was more impressed with the sheer amount of force you need to apply to the gas pedal.

After driving the antique car, we headed to Rough Riders for a good bumper car ride, then followed that up with a ride on Liberty Launch. This time looking at the lines, we decided it would be quicker to use the regular line than single rider. It's not the best double shot ride out there, but its a fun diversion. We skipped the Star Spangled Carousel that we are too heavy for, and rode the train ride. We were some of the last people onto the train, which meant I got the front seat of the back (open air) car. I may have noted the front and back seats are much smaller than the other seats of car. Some interesting contortions needed to take place, and it wasn't exactly comfortable, but we took our ride through Mother Goose Land. After that we went back and grabbed a ride on Howler.

After that, Dave needed to get to the Voyage photo walkback, something I don't have that much interest in anymore. While Dave headed there, I headed to the glass blower shop and bought Mom a nice (but not that expensive) blown glass Christmas tree to add to her collection. After checking out the other gift shops, I ade my way out the car, following Dave's directions as he had moved it much closer to the front of the lot on his trip out to the car. Upon reentering the park, I headed to Voyage, and while they were taking photos of Voyage, I was riding Voyage.

When I noted the group heading back in, I proceeded to Gobbler Getaway to intercept Dave on the way out of the photo walk back. We ducked into Gobbler to enjoy the air conditioning, if not the longer line. This time we did get the normal Gobbler Getaway experience. After that, as I have note the last couple years, the day is just a bit too long gto go without a meal, so we stopped into the newly enlarged Plymouth Rock Cafe. Yes, booths, a nice indoor air conditioned dining room, restrooms and more have been added. They even had the prime rib that others wee complaining about them not having. It's a great food value in a theme park, where about $10 gets you meat and three sides, bread and of course a drink. Not only that, it's good food. We decided to make this our main dinner, and just snack (yeah, right) at the picnic.

After eating, it was another trip on Voyage, then back into Fourth of July to finish up the flat ride tour with Eagle's Flight and Revolution. We then sort of wandered around the park, went to Rudolph's Reindeer Ranch to look a the new cute kiddie ride. It's one of those rides where you can raise or lower your car, but in this case the cars are Santa's Sleigh. This ride, Turkey Whirl, Hallowswings, Rough Riders, Howler, Reindeer Games - you can see the park has reached the point where just buying a ride off the shelf and installing it is not an option. Custom theming, when possible, is expected. Which makes the park look that much more big time.

We made our way to the picnic grove, looked at what was available in the auction,"snacked" on pull pork BBQ with all the trimmings at their traditional backyard BBQ picnic buffet, saw the introduction of the first ever Pat Koch Bobble head, which sold at auction for $250. Then it was back for more riding.

This time we started with Voyage, and after hearing some advice, tried it up front in row 2.1. I think we manged a triple ride in that seat. You know something is off, when at the start of ERT, you need to wait for the front or back seat, but everything else is a walk on. Voyage wasn't running in top form, and juding rom the crowd you could tell they knew it. Which really opened up a big mystery. Where is everybody? Yes, I know there are far fewer people jut judging by how much less space we take up in the picnic grove. But tonight, its like people left the park right after dinner. Prime ERT conditions for those of us that stayed, however. We rode Voyage some more, we got another birthday cupcake as the cupcake and survey tables were setup again tonight. We rode Voyage until we left Thanksgiving just in time to get the final ride of Scarecrow Scrambler ERT. We then finished the night by marathon riding Raven for the rest of the evening. Careful seat selection proved once again we got to ride for at least a half an hour or more without even getting out of the seat.

From thee we made our way to the front gate, and upon leaving the park, noted the parks attention to detail. They have been using movie themes the last couple years for their Holiwood Nights event, or at least parodies of movies. Children of the Corn became "Coasters of the Corn", "Jaws" became "Claws" and this year "ET" became "ERT". Upon leaving the park, each guest was given a free bag of Recee's Pieces. At first, I thought, thanks for the free candy, I was about halfway to the car when it struck me, the whole ET connection. We then headed back to the hotel.

You may think this is the end of the trip report, but remember this is a doubleheader so stay tune for the second event. I the meantime, we took the much shorter route to the hotel, stayed the night, and while we pushed check out time to the limit, we did roust ourselves out of our room in time to snag the free breakfast. While loading up the car the sky sure was turning ugly, by the time we got to the front desk to settle up the bill, it almost looked like night outside. The desk clerk strongly urged us not to leave the hotel. We watched television in the lobby. Potential tornadoes and strong rain coming our way. Great. We watched white caps appear on the hotel swimming pool. Hey they didn't advertise having a wave pool.

An hour or so later, after things had cleared up, we headed out. Unfortunately due to downed power lines, and flooded out roads, we had to get out of town by trial and error. We more or less took the scenic route back to Cincinnati as we didn't have anywhere to be. We did stop by a Texas Roadhouse for a steak dinner, and then called it a night. We didn't even stop by Kings Island for a couple Diamondback rides to cap off the night.

Part 2: Fall Affair - September 17, 2011

And this is the fall event. The weekend started with good intentions. The night before, Rideman and I exchanged a series of texts that read like a Star Wars script, and he noted he was going to TRY to get to my place by 10, which would get us to the park by noon. Well, that didn't happen. In fact, I had time to grab a Chipotle lunch, and then Rideman picked me up around noon. Things got worse when I-75 through the cut of the hill was a parking lot for no apparent reason, then we hit Louisville. The I-64 bridge is closed for repairs. Adding to this I-71 through th city was down to one lane for road construction. Toss in a fuel, and restroom stop, and we were considering ourselves lucky to be entering the park at around 3:30. Did I note the park closed at 5:30?

We managed to get our usual spot in Raven lot by the picnic shelter, got to the front gate, checked in, got our packets, and headed into the park.

We knew we had the coasters during ERT, and being so late, wrote off Wildebest already. We headed to Fourth of July, the line for Midnight Ride was almost a full queue, so we skipped that and instead rode Rough Riders, followed by a ride on Liberty Launch. From there we skipped the carousel, train, Howler, Revolution, and instead took a ride on Eagles Flight. We decided to skip Thanksgiving for now, and headed right to Halloween where we took a ride on Legend (a bit sluggish today), and Raven (top form as always). From there we headed up to the main gift shop to buy our Pat Koch bobble heads ($10), which, of course, needed to be taken out to the car. On the way back into the park, I picked up name tag #2 from Guest Relations, as Legend ate my first one. The second one was actually stapled shut, unlike the first one. From there we headed to Thanksgiving to grab our ride on Gobbler Getaway. Did Grandma really say it was either the 1700or1800's and we were going to ride through the farm in a car. Anachronism, much? We then went to Voyage, where something happened, that I don't think has happened since the year the ride opened. We were directed to basement level queues for the ride. None of the giant queue maze was open, we just had to go down the stairs, straight through, then back up the stairs. When we got to the Voyage platform, the back car was closed off, oh no, it wasn't but the temporary back seat fence was back. Insection of the train revealed the 7th car was again missing. Out on the ride, that does seem to have helped as the ride isn't quite as violent, that and I think they had the mid course brake functioning as a trim. The brutal turnaround didn't even seem as bad. By the tie we exited, the lower level of the queue was closed and we took another ride. I figure we caught the ride at the worst time, as the water park had just closed. After some Voyage rides it was time to hike back up to the Kringles, no wait, check your ticket - the pizza party is in the picnic grove.

We headed to the picnic grove, and had the usual pizza, chips, veggies, and fudge. The pizza didn't really survive its cross park trip from Kringles to the grove very well, but at least it is food, and it will get us through until we can get better food. The park was also hosting the Amusement Today Golden Ticket Awards today (think Oscars, Emmy's and the like for amusement parks), so that group had a big ceremony in the Holiday Theatre all day, follwed by dinner at Kringles.

Anyway during the announcements before ERT, it was announced that the Amusement Today group would be joining in on our ERT, and although I don't think it was every announced I think the ERT was extended. So yes, you now have coaster ebthusiasts riding rides alongside park presidents, PR reps, ride salesman, and other high ranking industry figures.

ERT started out with Raven and Legend ERT. We joined the group heading to Raven and started ERT with several Raven rides. We left Raven just in time to get two Legend rides before that part of ERT closed. We were advised to enjoy some free soft drinks while the park moved ride crews from the other coasters down to Voyage

We headed down to Voyage, and capped off the night and event with a Voyage ERT. I don't have a count, but we pretty much rode continuously until the end of ERT, owing to very short lines. After that, it was time to make the long hike back to the main gate, and then the parking lot. We next headed to Denny's Diner for dinner. After dinner and all that, we still had to deal with getting through the mess that is Louisville, and home. So all said, I didn't get home till almost 2am. We put in the back of our minds maybe next year driving down to Santa Claus the night before and getting a room.

And so ends Holiday World 2011 Trip reports. By now, you may be wondering what else I have up my trip report sleeve.

Coming up (real soon now) are:
1. Cedar Point (2 Days!)
2. Van Wert, OH County Fair
3. Universal Studios Florida
4. Islands of Adventure
5. Clearwater Marine Aquarium
and maybe, just maybe, details of my non coaster trip to Washington DC, New York City and much more.


Post a Comment

<< Home