When I was looking at the line up of parks for the TPR New Hotness tour before signing up Holiday World was one of the parks that jumped out at me, the other park being Six Flags Great America (more on that later). Anyway both these parks were at the top of my list to visit and were definitely a key deciding factor to sign up for this trip. I’ve been wanting to go to Holiday World for a few years now after hearing about how good their wooden roller coasters were and the water park also being really good. So I was thrilled to hear that we had ERT on all the coasters and the two big water slides. Water park ERT being something Holiday World rarely does. Holiday World had also just announced their new coaster for next year Thunderbird after a viral marketing campaign called 66 Days at Sea, in which they tossed us a new clue every day for 66 days before the announcement. Holiday World hearing about our adventure the night before had quite the fun with it and was tweeting out the #66minutesofsleeptour. So let’s find out how great a host Holiday World was shall we?
First picture after getting off the bus! The iconic water tower. Notice the fogginess? Yeah so we got off the nice air conditioned bus and instantly felt the humidity so of course all our lenses fogged up. Yeah we were in for a very hot and humid day.
Right at the entrance of the park stands Raven, their oldest wooden coaster and former number one wooden coaster as the sign tells you.
See Number 1 from 2000-2003!
We were at Holiday quite early as you can see a little before 9 am, but we were in for an action packed day.
Paula from Holiday World comes out to greet us and has a few jokes about our lack of sleep and hotel fiasco from the night before. She also assured us that in no way was Holiday World associated with Santa’s Lodge and told us they had a surprise for us this morning to make up for our troubles.
Paula is a great sport and also a great host. We all knew we were in for a great day after meeting her in the morning.
We even got a free $8 voucher to use for food or merchandise your pick.
So our day started with an amazing walk back through the woods under the Raven and the Legend. So let’s begin by walking under Raven.
We got some very neat views of the Raven.
Standing under the structure of the Raven.
It feels like we’re out in the middle of nowhere.
We had a great views of the Raven track that passes over Lake Rudolph.
Coaster nerds on parade!
Lot’s of views of the Raven as it goes through the woods, unfortunately it was super earlier and neither coaster was running yet.
I spy a maintenance shed back here.
New lumber for the Voyage?
View of the Legend tunnel helix that was inspired by the Beast’s helix finale.
Legend’s lift and first drop!
Which do you prefer….? Log flume and coaster or…..
…..water slide and coaster?
More backstage areas of Holiday World.
I spy a massive wooden roller coaster over there!
Yay! We’ve finally ended up on a midway somewhere in Splashin’ Safari. Having never been to this park I was completely lost, had no idea where we were at this point but that sure was a cool walk back.
Seems we’re heading in the direction of the GIANT wooden roller coaster.
Seems to be getting a little closer.
We’ve made it to Thanksgiving!
Being that the park is located in Santa Claus, Indiana and it being called Holiday World each area of the park (excluding the waterpark) is a different holiday. You have Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Fourth of July. We were told more Holidays are looking to be added in the future.
For our troubles for the night before Holiday World surprised us with breakfast!
Let’s ride the Voyage shall we?
I had heard so much about the Voyage before coming here, that it was huge (which it is!), that it’s rough, that it’s incredible, that it should be burned down, best wooden roller coaster ever. So definitely conflicting reports so what did I think, well let’s find out!
We joined the line as soon as the park opened to the public.
Almost time to ride!
So what did I think? Well yes it’s rough but the ride is incredible! I wouldn’t quite put it in my top ten but it’s definitely in my top twenty and a good enough reason to come to Holiday World for this coaster alone. It’s something that every coaster fan needs to experience, yeah since the days of Mean Streak and Texas Giant the idea of building massive wooden roller coasters was considered to be a bad idea for their eventual roughness but this ride is just so unique it has to be experienced. Where Mean Streak and Texas Giant weaved in and out of their own structures this ride is your traditional out and back, and it goes WAY out there! So the ride is very very long, some parts are rough yes but it’s just such a marvel to look at and experience that I’d say it’s worth it. I wish I could have ridden it when it was brand new I’m sure it was top notch then, but all in all it’s still in very good shape and I can’t wait to return to Holiday World in 2015 to ride it again! Lot’s more pictures of the Voyage coming up later from our behind the scenes tour, but first more of Thanksgiving!
So I mentioned that the park announced their new for 2015 roller coaster a few days earlier right? Well look what we have here, Thunderbird merchandise already on sale!
They sure were ready with the merchandise, also makes it more incredible they were able to keep the secret for so long.
Next up we gave the shooting turkey dark ride a shot, I always enjoy a good dark ride.
The indoor line feels very modern and very comfortable. It was nicely air conditioned in here! Which was a nice relief when it was already very hot this early in the morning.
Since Holiday World is a through and through family park, your “gun” is called a Turkey Caller and the goal is to save all the turkeys as grandma explains.
Here comes our ride vehicle!
Very fun dark ride, and again a nice escape from the heat on hot humid days like today.
Club TPR? This must be where lunch is later.
Oasis you say.
One of the other things that sets Holiday World apart from their competition is they offer free drinks throughout the day, and they are located at these Oasis stations. You walk up grab a cup, pick a drink and then continue on your way. I can’t say enough how much I loved this! Even if your not a soda fan they have Gatorade or Iced Tea as options as well! I for one enjoyed the Gatorade a ton on a very humid day like today.
Take your pick!
Here’s some fun facts on the unlimited drinks.
I will say HoliDog is a little creepy looking.
Even creepier from behind.
Most of us needed our kiddie credit so another common thing you’d see on this tour, a kiddie coaster full of grown adults.
Notice the adults have their hands up. 😛
Next we rode the tiny train which went in a circle with classic fairy tale displays such as Humpty Dumpty….
Red Riding Hood…
Jack and the Beanstalk…
A tunnel? 😛
And of course Jack and Jill went up the hill… well yeah you know the rest. 😛
Who brought the fireworks?
Who’s ready for a launch?!?
Yup we’re ready! Photo Credit: Stacy Gacinin
S&S, providers of great airtime on their towers.
We’re definitely in the Fourth of July section of the park.
Aww that’s very nice of Holiday World.
Entering Halloween, ooh spooky…
You can get a second day ticket for just $27, that’s pretty good deal if you didn’t get everything done on that first day.
So who knows the Legend of sleepy hollow?
Legend was only running one train so we had to wait a little bit longer than normal.
The station is a little cramped but it’s almost time to ride!
Who’s ready to go for a ride?
Legend’s first drop, not a bad coaster, the wait was a little long due to the one train operation but still fun nonetheless.
Nice fun course, not quite the Beast as they were trying to achieve with the double helix tunnel, but still fun none the less.
Alright now who’s ready for some lunch?
Paula again welcomes to Holiday World.
Holiday World’s park management had a great Q&A during lunch where they answered questions about Thunderbird. They refused to answer questions about the Timberliner trains for the Voyage though. 😛 (The Timberliner trains for the Voyage were worked on for years to try and run on the Voyage to hopefully make it a smoother ride, but they finally canceled the project earlier this year.)
We had a special visitor during our lunch.
To prepare us for a long walk back into the woods to see the Voyage and Thunderbird sites they gave us these souvenir cups and told us to fill them up. We were gonna be thirsty.
Who’s ready for a tour and a walk back?
Still one very massive structure.
Coaster nerds on parade again.
The Voyage flying by as we continue our trek deep into the woods.
This picture gives you a better idea just how big the Voyage is and how long it is too.
And it goes even farther back!
Here they come!
The Voyage has everything, the speed, the setting, and tunnels! Also some more perspective just how big this thing is.
Coming out of the tunnel!
The part of the Voyage that everyone claims is the rough part is the spaghetti bowl turnaround to make the long trek back to the station, while yes it is a little rough, this part if just again so incredible that it’s worth it. I still think to this day this ride is an engineering marvel on its size and length alone but it packs even more punch than that.
Twisty, and a little bumpy.
Can’t argue that this area provides some great shots though.
Someone lose a pair of glasses? The funny or not so funny thing is during our night ERT on the Voyage fellow traveler Zach lost his glasses to the Voyage in the middle of the night. This beast is truly unforgiving, hold on tight and enjoy the ride, but make sure everything is secure!
Hmm they building something here? 😛
Not too much activity going on back by the Voyage, but Thunderbird will cross over the coaster a few times, mainly interacting with the ground where there are already tunnels for the Voyage. So the only work being done back here at this time was some tree clearing. Thunderbird does excite me on the fact that it will journey through the woods as well, just like Holiday World’s other coasters.
In the future I see coaster track here.
Spare steel anyone?
Say goodbye to the Voyage as we walk out to the station for Thunderbird site.
Looks like a lot more work is being done over there.
And lots of dirt.
Footers come in all shapes and sizes, circular ones….
And square ones.
As you can see a lot more work has progressed out here.
This already looks a lot different with orange track here now, and by next year it will look completely different.
This is not the station we were told, but actually the wheel house for the launch system for the ride.
Gonna be interesting when this ride competes with the Voyage for most popular coaster at the park.
The new plaza for this ride should provide some new views of the Voyage inside the park though which is always a good thing.
Lots more work to be done before April 2015!
Back inside the regular park, water park to be exact.
Since it was approaching the hottest part of the day we figured now was as good a time as any to enjoy the water park for a little bit and cool off from the hot sun. We had ERT at night waiting for us on Wildebeest and Mammoth the park’s two water coasters and best water rides, so we saved those for night time. During the day those water coasters can have waits around an hour and sometimes longer.
Interesting element on a slide.
Not a bad slide complex. This water park is basically ProSlides show floor for all their new slides.
Oooh water pumps.
Something used to be here, can’t quite put my finger on it….
Pilgrims Plunge which it was originally called was removed before the start of the season. No one quite knows why, but it’s sister ride Shoot the Rapids at Cedar Point suffered a major accident last year and I’ve heard both have been maintenance nightmares for the parks so that could be a big reason for the removal. Oh well guess I’ll just have to get my fix on Shoot the Rapids, though I still prefer a classic log flume ride any day to these new age ones.
When we watched the Thunderbird announcement I was kinda like blah. I haven’t been the biggest fan of the wing riders I’ve been on, Gatekeeper and X Flight, they’re fun and serviceable but definitely not my first choice when going to a park. Though after seeing the site and hearing about the launch I’m excited for it, maybe it’ll finally sell me on the wing rider concept. Though to be fair I haven’t rode Wild Eagle at Dollywood yet, but just give me a few weeks. ;P
A nice picture of the layout for next year. Should be fun, if anything the launch aspect will certainly make it interesting.
Let’s check out the rest of Splashin Safari shall we?
Elephants are enjoying their day at the water park as well I see.
The Gorilla doesn’t want to be left out.
The main area of the water park which includes the huge first aid station and lockers.
Interesting name for a slide. Note: These pictures from this side of the water park were taken later in the day, naturally I had to check my camera into a locker to enjoy the water park.
Fun long family raft slide.
Lot’s of tubes available.
Mat racer slides are just so boring I think, and this one looks extremely boring.
However this one looks like it has a scoreboard with the times but didn’t seem to be working at this time.
ProSlide tornado, these have popped up everywhere since this was built.
This slide was interesting, there were cut outs in the slide in which the sun shined through and made faces on the slide, pretty neat idea and good use of natural sunlight.
Oh just another kids area with a bucket, how generic.
I spy Mammoth and Wildebeest over there!
The wave pool looked pretty fun.
I spy the Legend over there!
Ooh, spraying water.
The water park provides plenty of places to eat as well which is nice.
Another kids area with mini ProSlide slides, now this is more interesting and unique.
My favorite thing about this water park and Kentucky Kingdom’s is they use a new locker system I hadn’t seen yet. You put a credit card in, get a wristband, and then your locker is assigned.
Next step is walk up to the machine scan your wristband and…
like magic your locker opens! No passwords to remember, and if you forget your locker number when you scan the band it will tell you which locker is yours.
See you later Splashin’ Safari be back for some Wildebeest and Mammoth rides in a bit!
Fightful Falls was the parks log flume ride, fun classic log flume definitely didn’t disappoint.
The parks iconic station for the Raven.
Raven was a fun coaster, definitely the smoothest of the three. However my favorite of the park goes to the Voyage, it was just that incredible if only it was a little smoother it would be in my top ten for sure. Until then it’s cousin Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer will have a spot in my top ten. I did miss out on night rides of the Raven which I heard were incredible, unfortunately the combination of heat and rides gave me quite the headache at the end of the day so I sat out for a few night rides.
Who’s ready for Christmas?
We decided to grab dinner inside Kringle’s Kafe.
Prices weren’t too bad.
This was the first time seeing the front of the park since we were walked in a different way in the morning. Pretty nice entrance area I must say.
They also display this Applause Award very proudly.
Now that we filled up on dinner who’s ready for some water coaster ERT?!? Now Robb told us these two water coasters would be better than some of the regular coasters we have ridden on this trip. So let’s find out, were they?
They closed the line for Mammoth early to get everyone through before our ERT. Good thing we’re VIPs today.
Mammoth has a traditional lift and then magnets to finish the course. Airtime a plenty and overall a great ride. The only knock is be prepared to get a lot of water in your eyes on these rides. Definitely recommend a pair of goggles for riding these.
Both Mammoth and Wildebeest are hard to photograph but at least Mammoth has a platform that gives you a nice view of the finale of the slide.
The station is very reminiscent of a traditional coaster station.
Wildebeest this way!
Ready to conquer the beast?
Enjoying our ERT on Wildebeest!
Wildebeest is another hard one to get photographs of, but it’s similar to the Mammoth in that it uses magnets as well but the raft gets some air time on this ride. So that means it comes off the slide then it slams back down onto the slide and that slamming back down gave me a headache after a few rides. Wildebeest is probably the best out of the two but they are both excellent rides and Mammoth is more re-ride able since it’s smoother. My only recommendation bring goggles to enjoy these attractions or prepare to hold your hands over your eyes.
Twilight is setting!
The Legend giving a few more night rides off in the distance.
Time for a night Voyage?
Even more incredible at night.
The Voyage definitely provided some great night rides, I wasn’t going to let my headache stop me from enjoying this beast at night.
Holiday World was incredible, it certainly lived up to all my high expectations. I will say the dry side of the park is a little lacking but with the added water park it’s a remarkable park and a great deal. Plus Thunderbird will be a great addition to the dry side next year. Can’t wait to return in 2015 and try out Thunderbird and get some more rides on the incredible Voyage!!!
Next up Indiana Beach!