Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

Santa Claus, IN

Trip Report: Stark Raven Mad - Holiday World

May 31, 2002 - June 1, 2002

Santa Claus, IN

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For several coaster enthusiasts, the coaster season doesn’t start with the new year, it doesn’t even start with that first coaster ride of the year, in fact it doesn’t even start with Memorial Day, the standard start of the peak summer amusement season. No, for multitudes of coaster fanatics the season doesn’t start until Stark Raven Mad at Holiday World.

Due to a variety of reasons ranging from traffic to incompetent hotel front desk staff our arrival at SRM was somewhat delayed to just after 7pm (CST of course). This year I was a member of Rideman’s crew which consisted of Arrow Guy, John Peck, Rideman, and myself. As I was playing the role of procrastinator, I still had to take care of on-site registration while the rest of the gang merely had to pick up their shirts and other SRM related gear. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this year’s SRM shirt and was even happier when I learned that the park happened to have some in stock for those of us registering for the event at this late date. Thus, despite all my good training at going to tourist events, I started doing my souvenir shopping first thing. First purchase was the shirt before I even got in the gate. I was issued the official SRM nametag, a strip of tickets, and an agenda.

There was a brief time of confusion as the tickets were printed in a bizarre order, instead of being printed such that you could start from one end of the strip of tickets and work your way across, tearing off the next segment each time, to get to the Friday night ERT ticket, you had to tear off the Saturday admission ticket, find a safe place to stow it, along with all the remaining tickets. Oh and the Friday Dinner Ticket which fortunately was right next to the Friday ERT ticket. We handed the Friday ERT ticket in at the front gate and proceeded into the park As we were entering the last of the regular day guests were being cleared and the park map stand put away for the evening.

We noted that Kringle’s Kafe was open for dinner but we decided we had our own little to-do list to accomplish before dinner, or at least I did. On my to-do list was to get video POV rides of Raven and Legend, as well as to pick up Rob Coker’s new book. As such I proceeded directly to Legend. The Legend queue was very short at this point, and I didn’t really notice any differences until I entered the schoolhouse. As you probably already know there was an extensive renovation performed on Legend that involved adding a second train, switch track, and an extended brake run. In effect they put the block brake at the very end of the ride, such that the main course still remains brakeless. Not an entirely new concept as such coasters as Magnum XL-200 and Dueling Dragons use unusually long final brake areas to provide a brakeless journey while still running multiple trains. The old final or ready brake is now the block brake, and is still used as the main brake, the old loading area has been converted to a safety brake. Observation of the blocking system reveals that the ride won’t let the train crest the lift until the other train is parked in the station. The train on the brakes can’t pull into the station until the other train has started up the lift. Rather than relocate the schoolhouse several feet and then have to reroute the entrance and exit stairs, they added on to the existing schoolhouse making it longer. It’s funny but I don’t even recall the ride having a long straight section of track between the station and the turn to the lift before. (Where the new loading area is) The area where the seat queues used to be has been converted into an additional queuing area with a couple switchbacks.. A fence has been installed to protect people from getting too close to the tracks, and a rather tall piece of chicken wire fence has been installed on top of that preventing people from leaning over the barrier. I’m sure that this move promotes good safety, but its all function and no form. (That’s a nice way of saying it is rather unattractive) That end of the school house is beginning to resemble more of a barn. Anyway after a few twists and turns the line continues to the new part of the schoolhouse where the loading now takes place. Here, Holiday World committed one of the sins of roller coaster station design. You see, a station works best when the queue line enters it at about the middle of the train, that way people fan out to the two ends of the trains and leaves a pathway for those not so particular to fill in the middle. On Legend now the line enters the actual loading area right next to the back seat. It’s a narrow platform to begin with and has inadequate space to contain the lines for the back two rows. The upshot of this is that while at times, there was a line for Legend stretching to the bottom of the stairs, seats were going out empty as people were struggling in the bottleneck at the loading platform entrance. We are talking about seasoned coaster nuts getting clogged up in the jam.

After pushing my way through to the front half of the loading area I discovered the front seat line was quite reasonable. It was made even more reasonable by virtue of the fact that they had both trains running. Legend was designed at just about the right length and duration such that seconds after one train has finished leaving the station the other is just arriving on the back brake. In other words the line for Legend now moves very steady as opposed to the more stop-and-go behavior of years past. While in the front seat queue I took my camcorder out of its bag, and used the now empty bag to stow such items as the T-Shirt, keys, glasses, the rest of the SRM tickets, and other loose items. The operators at Holiday World are very platform efficient while offering several guest-friendly courtesies such as coming around to collect any loose articles while the station track is clear and placing them on the loose items shelves for you. I also noticed that in addition to the shelves they have also installed a bank of lockers in the station. They are the coin-op variety except the slot says it operates on tokens. I did not inquire as to how to obtain tokens, nor did I see them get used during my visit. I suppose this is in accommodation for those that are a bit leery about using the shelves. I do wonder if it would help the platform crews on several Holiday World attractions if trash cans were placed closer to the actual ride boarding points. (I.e. in the empty spaces between the seat queues) Please note that HW is one of the cleanest amusement parks, and has in fact won an award for that attribute. However this is due to the efforts of the staff, I am merely pointing out that having containers close to loading points would allow the guests who do clean up after themselves to dispose of the stuff, rather than the ride operators doing that as well as securing loose articles for people between dispatches.

So I hop into seat 1.1 and prepare for the video ride, since everything else of mine is on a shelf I only have to worry about the camera. And off we go, the first Legend ride for me in the brand new PTC’s!. Yes the brand new PTC’s that have one of the best paint jobs ever seen on a PTC. The trains contain orange ratcheting lap bars, seat dividers and seatbelts but no annoying headrests. I start rolling tape as soon as the clapping begins, and then we go up the lift, down the drop, nice airtime on the twisting drop into tunnel 1, out of the tunnel and then on a rollicking course as the ride intertwines with the new ZoomBabWe water slide, then the Spiral drop, then the two airtime hills, tunnel 2, and into the helix. The helix is where I first noticed it. Folks, padding makes a big difference. At first I though maybe Legend was running in tame mode, then I realized that it was running as out of control as ever, but it wasn’t being translated to my body via hard unforgiving molded seats. In effect what they have done was increase ride capacity, while providing a far more comfortable ride experience. Then come the 4 turns of doom, the interaction with the log flume, station flyby, queue area flyover followed by the sudden stop in the station. This is one of those CCI gravity-warp coasters that just ignores the laws of physics and gets wilder and crazier as the ride goes on.

Satisfied with my video ride, I collect my things and head to the Legend Photos booth. Tonight, instead of just selling on-ride photos and Legend souvenirs this stand also sold Rob Coker’s new book. As an added bonus, HW was charging the exact same price as the bookstore by my house, with the added benefit of having the author on hand for book signing. I purchased a personalized and autographed copy of Rob Coker’s book and headed to Raven. This is more or less when I came upon John Peck. We entered the Raven queue. There really wasn’t a bad line for Raven just to the bottom of the stairs, but clearly the crowds had started to pick back up, and the sun was threatening to set. Include in this the fact that we hadn’t had our dinner yet so we had an 8:30 cutoff at Kringle’s Kafe meant that I decided to not wait in the front seat line and instead opted for a ride in the second row. This was again a video ride, and while it did not turn out as well as my Legend video ride the finished product was acceptable. Besides which I already had Raven POV but not Legend POV. Even on my first ride in the front I knew Raven was a different kind of animal this year. It was more rambunctious than before, with more airtime than before, and a wilder crazier ride than before. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on perfection, but Holiday World continues to turn their excellent coasters into otherworldly "I’m NOT WORTHY" quality coasters.

After finishing my video ride, it was time to take a trip to the car to dump off books, t-shirts, camcorders, unneeded tickets for today. This year your name badge was your re-entry pass, and no handstamps were issued. It felt quite odd leaving the park without a handstamp but it worked out, and soon we were back in the park heading to Kringle’s Kafe with about 15 minutes to spare. Kringle’s Kafe received a little renovation in the off-season as well. Last year the free soft drinks were poured by the staff but this year the fountains have been moved into the dining areas for self service. We walked up to the main serving counter, dropped our tickets in the basket and received our two gigantic slices of pepperoni pizza, then walked over to where the ice cream stand is to pick up our free huge block of fudge, then over around the corner to pick up free drinks and to dish out a mountain of chips. It’s the special Holiday World PGT feast. We finished feasting just in time for the light rain to start. I’m starting to get a complex, is there a rule that says "IF David is in Amusement Park, THEN start raining" Truth be told though rain is a lot more pleasant, almost welcome in hot weather as opposed to cool weather. We proceeded back to Legend to take a few rides. By now the line for Legend was starting to fill both the queue area inside the station as well as the outdoor queue area. While they never had to use the back half of the outdoor queues the main section was full. It was more or less about this time that the stories of the tragedy at Kennywood started to spread through the crowd. We took quite a few rides on Legend, punctuated by trips up the hill to ride Raven and trips to the Pepsi Oasis.

Holiday World offers it guests more value added services than almost any park on earth. For example there is no direct cost related to parking, soft drinks, sunscreen, or inner tubes while at Holiday World, in addition there is no charge for the bumper boats, an attraction that typically is an up-charge attraction. The most noticeable of these are the free soft drinks. Not only free soft drinks, but an extensive selection of free drinks that includes not only practically every Pepsi flavor you can think of, but fruit punch, lemonade, orange drink, sweet tea and water as well.

Holiday World has also taken steps to try to shorten the lines at SRM. In addition to having that wonderful second train added to Legend, they have started operating a few of the parks other rides for the first half of the ERT session. Tonight Frightful Falls (Log Flume), Scarecrow Scrambler (Scrambler) and Banshee (Falling Star) were made available. The night proceeded with numerous rides on both Legend and Raven, with both rides getting wilder and more out of control as the night went on. Somewhere, someone highly skilled in physics is scratching their head wondering "What happened in Santa Claus, IN"

But alas, all too soon it came time for the first evening’s ERT to come to a close, we finished up on Legend, and slowly made our way back to the fountain where people generally mingle for a bit. Coaster events have become less about marathon riding sessions and more about socializing with your fellow coaster nuts. Of course the best place to socialize is while standing in the queues. We dutifully picked up our comment cards and a flyer for the GOCC event in September and made our way to the car. However, a stop was also made to check out the waterless urinals before we started the drive to the hotel.

Day 2! The Coaster Event so Grand it was held for TWO MONTHS!

Okay, maybe not two whole months but it started in May and ended in June, that’s two months, right? We awoke early for Day 2, our full day at Holiday World including a morning ERT, and an evening ERT. How much better can life get? We were informed that we must arrive at the park no later than 9:00am to participate in morning ERT. Fortunately the park planned for those running a few minutes behind schedule. I believe we pulled into the lot around 8:59 and were able to join the crowd at the ticketing plaza just moments before the gates were opened. Wow, I was not expecting this many people for a water slide ERT. Shortly after 9 the SRM Participant’s Parade was formed heading from the park gate down to Splashin’ Safari. There was more of that ticket confusion I mentioned earlier as people were attempting to use their Saturday ERT ticket in place of their Saturday Admission Ticket. I can see the confusion, it was Saturday, and it was an ERT session. I noticed that they put the same barcode and serial number on both of these tickets. A mysterious line formed shortly after entering the waterpark. It was one of those lines that extended so far you could not tell what it was for. We sent a scout ahead who returned to inform us that this lengthy line was for locker rental. You see you can’t walk through the rides section of HW in your swim attire, even if the rest of the park is closed. As we had planned for this we declined the locker rental, and decided to proceed on to the Zoom-Bob-We area. A brief stop was made at the bathhouse in the middle of the waterpark for changing, and we soon regrouped at the Zoom-Bob-We grill. May I point out that gravel should be outlawed within 50 feet of a water park, kindly watch your step.

Along with the water park ERT, the park offered a continental breakfast. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who assumed it would be served at the food outlet by ZoomBobWe, as we helped to point a lot of other people who first headed to the grill to the Pepsi Oasis building which had been modified to contain, in addition to the Pepsi products, hot coffee, cold juice and milk and a variety of muffins. We had breakfast and socialized for awhile, and finally headed for the slide around 9:30. For the ERT only ZoomBobWe was open. At first you merely climb up a gradually sloping ramp, and even get to pass underneath the Legend, but of course that’s just a tease. One thing you may not be quick to recall is that when somebody is building a 110’ waterslide, they also have to build 110’ worth of uphill path to get to it, and as you may suspect the most common way to do that is by constructing stairways. As the entrance is right next to the splash pool, you don’t get to bypass any of it either. The slide height was thought to be 100’ when we were waiting in line, and Rideman comments that if it is a 100 foot slide, then its capacity should be 50 people. Once you quit groaning, just recall that Rideman is the same person who brought us the No-Bell Prize quip last year.

Anyway, ZoomBobWe sits very near the campground, and we could see a few folks watching us in line for the slide. Since everybody was in line for the slide and the line was all the way down the stairs and curved around past the campground, I can imagine the folks in the campground going "Man, that park is crowded today, and its not even supposed to be open yet??!!??" We slowly and steadily made our way up the stairs, while watching the Legend testing, and by the time we boarded ZoomBabWe the park was open and Legend was carrying riders. Our group on the slide consisted of Rideman, John Peck, Melissa, and myself. We reached the top of the stairs and the signs stated "4-5 persons per boat" When our turn came we stepped forward and boarded the raft. Melissa got in and faced backwards, Rideman and John Peck took the sides, and Ig ot in last facing forwards. We were then pushed into the slide where we noticed that they have a "no one gets away dry" waterfall setup to prepare you for the upcoming torrents of water, and for good measure, and good picture taking, another waterfall showers the exit from the slide. ZoomBobWe is an example of one of the mega-raft waterslides where 4-5 people share one raft as they slide down. Holiday World wasn’t satisfied with just that, I mean they already have Wautubee, oh no, we need to make this the tallest, longest, twisty-est, most enclosed, most purple, most photogenic version of this slide that intertwines with another park attraction. On their website they mention that it may be bright purple on the outside, but it’s blacker than night on the inside, and they are totally correct, it is "can’t see hand in front of face" pitch black on the inside, punctuated every now and then with little characters in the walls of the slide composed of a series of holes punched in the sides of the slide.

It was all well and good, and then the attendant moved our raft from the load area and through the open jaw under the waterfall that signals the start of Zoom-Bob-We, which translates into "Human Taco Factory" We were all smiles and laughter around the first few turns and the first of the steep drops, it was about the second drop when my white water rafting expedition went to heck. I suppose the Human Taco Factory had decided it had added enough water to the filling and it was time to fold the taco. Here is where I think it took a hold of Melissa as she was clearly the lightest of the 4 riders, and if the raft had to give somewhere it only makes sense that it would pick the lightest spot. What happened was the raft folded over upon itself with Melissa and I being rudely and sharply introduced to each other as the raft folded and we butted heads. Meanwhile John Peck and Rideman are oblivious that anything was amiss other than the raft folder as they were in the hinge of the human taco and not the sides. Rideman did experience a little bit of discomfort when our legs became tangled up then forcefully separated from each other I mentioned before you could not see your hand in front of your face, I know this because with the water gushing over me, I put my hand up to my face to feel for damages, which was stupid because without the air of light I could not tell if the liquid I was feeling was blood, water, or a combination of both. Rideman only knew something was wrong when for the last 2/3 of the ride I spent the time groaning, moaning, making expressions of pain ("Yeouch","OWWW","OOOPH" etc) as well as some words that are not repeatable here I also knew that I was no longer having fun, I did not know that I hadn’t even traversed a third of the slides layout. You never know how long a waterslide can be until you are sitting there, in agony, wanting nothing more than a trip to the mirror.

Luckily, five eternities later, the slide came to an end and we landed in the splash pool. My first sign of relief is that the lifeguards did not freak out or descend on me on sight. I gingerly made my way to shore and up on the pavement. It was about this time that either John Peck or Melissa told me "You’ve got a bloody nose" I touched my hand to my nose and sure enough, red. Melissa reported that she had swallowed blood and must have bit her tongue in the collision. I darted to my bag which was stashed next to the Zoombabwe Grill and retrieved my beach-towel. I will note that I came prepared for a water park ERT with a beach towel with a roller coaster on it. My next stop was the bathhouse to have Mirror ERT. Okay, things don’t look too bad, by the time I got to the bathhouse I had managed to stop the nosebleed (in realty a cut on the bottom of the nose between the nostrils), but I also had a black-eye. I decided that I was not cut up bad enough to warrant a trip to First Aid, but I did decide that I wanted nothing to do with the water park. I redressed back into coaster nut attire, headed to the Pepsi Oasis and started my addiction to the sweet tea they offer. The patio for one of Splashin’ Safari food stands became more-or-less the mingling and socializing area as people waited out their water park exile. You see, in trade off for a chance to slide the one slide open and have continental breakfast you were exiled to the water park and could neither exit the park or head back to the rides area. Which meant from 10:15 to 11:00 we were essentially in time-out. It wasn’t an arrangement I agree with, but then their house, their rules. While in exile I learned that I was not the only one inured on the slide. Hey, misery loves company!

Now, in all fairness to the kind people at Holiday World, I’m pretty sure these incidents will not happen again, as I think they learned a LOT about their new attraction. For instance, I hear that they are now limiting it to 3 persons per raft with an aggregate weight of 800lbs. Max. SRM was probably the best break-in they could have hoped for. Hot crowds and a captive audience assured ridership, combine that with the fact that coaster nuts tend to be heavier than the average guest. To make matters worse usually only the children or teens ride the waterslides, here instead of families, we were loading the rafts with 4 full grown coaster crazies, probably the first time it had been done on this slide, and the result was determined and reacted to. Okay, the exile is over and we head back up the paths to the main park to the bewilderment of the GP which are just making their way down to the water park.

We decided to return our goods to the car, but this being Holiday World and all, there is an unwritten law "Thou Shalt Not Climb Halloween Hill if Raven Be Open" Raven was open and the queue area was about 2/3 full, but hopefully that will get swallowed up by the water park. We take a Raven ride and learn that its running just as great during the day as it was at night. From Raven we received our hand stamps and headed to the car to drop off our swim bags. Out in the lot, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. You see, Holiday World has a Chance Parking Tram. Today was the first time I had seen the parking tram in operation. We decided not to ride the tram, returned goods to car, returned to park, and came to the realization that today was going to be HOT.

We started the park with the 4th of July area, or more specifically with Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride. The Midnight Ride is an Eyerly Spider. Not only that it is one of the finest Spiders I have seen for pure spin action. While the Spider queue was about half full the line moved fast and only a cycle later I was on the ride. I can verify that this Spider is still a spin fest. I have always joked that the place they really need the freedrink service is when you are stopped at the top of the ride waiting for the other two sets of bugs to be loaded. Therefore as soon as the ride ended, I enjoyed a free drink and noticed one of the nice touches the park has added. You see in the cut-over walkway in the center of the park (the one that cuts the classic Duell Loop layout in half and provides a shortcut to the other side of the loop) they have added a row of American Flags dedicated to all the veterans that have served our country, past, present and future, it’s a really nice display. It’s a wonderful centerpiece to the 4th of July section. I am curious though, always trying to look for symbolism that probably isn’t there, I counted the flags and came up with 14. Hmm, I could figure 13 colonies but 14? Rideman suggested "13 colonies, 1 country?" Oh well, after looking at the memorial display for a bit, we moved onto the Eagles’ Flight.

Eagle’s Flight is the parks Flying Skooters ride, on a portable center. Of course at any coaster fanatic gathering you can expect to see a few coaster fans either learning how to fly, or showing off their ACE Pilot skills. Eagle’s Flight was also one of several rides to receive a new queue area last year as part of the general improvements. Translated the park is starting to draw larger crowds than ever before. That fact was especially true today as the park had a rather major company picnic group in the park. We entered the Eagles Flight queue and observed the ride in progress and noted that there must not be and skilled flyers aboard. Then the next group entered, again not much action, then the next group, another lifeless ride. We didn’t want to totally write off the ride experience until we rode it. Eventually we boarded the ride and the ride started. Slowly, very slowly, and it picked up speed very gradually until finally it got up to somewhat near normal speed. We just could not get any snaps out of the ride. I teases you and you can go in relatively gentle dive and climb motions but nothing like what a flyer ride should be like. This fact was further evidenced by the fact that the line got much shorter as the day wore on and a lot of coaster fans appeared to write this particular ride off. Oh, we also learned there are other uses for Fruit Salad Supreme, or more to the point containers for Fruit Salad Supreme.

Upon exiting the Eagle’s Flight I noticed the park has converted one of its small show venues into a "Smoking Lounge", now we just have to ban smoking on the midways and everything will be fine. Next to the Smoking Lounge is the Roundhouse, a Round-Up ride. It’s a particularly nice Round Up with a good fast speed, a ride scycle that is just about right, and it seems to go up fairly high to. On top of this, courtesy of Rideman I learned "Everything You Didn’t Even Know You Wanted To Know about a Round Up, and Didn’t Know You Were Too Afraid To Ask" A very nice spin on the Round Up and then we proceeded to the rear of the park to the Freedom Train.

Freedom Train is a very historically significant attraction as it is the last of the original attractions still around today. The train cars are a bit tinier than you may be expecting, but for little kids you have to love the fully enclosed car. Not only does it look like a passenger railroad car, each set of benches has its own compartment door much like the first class cars on a real railroad. (In fact the enclosed car is probably the same as the open car except with the enclosure built around it.) The enclosed car was probably also built as a means to allow little kids to safely ride without their parents. We took a ride on the Freedom Train. It was a neat ride as we were riding with a family who was waxing nostalgic about how they used to ride this back in the 1960’s and the same scenery was there. The scenery for the Freedom Train consists of statuary (stationary) depicting various nursery rhymes . It’s a neat ride in its own way, and it circles Holidog’s Fun Town. The area that for several years housed the parks Firecracker Roller Coaster (Pinfari Zyklon) was rethemed into a kid’s area following the removal of the Firecracker. Not just any kid’s area though, this one features not only the Howler Kiddie coaster, and a kid’s jeep ride, but it also houses a really impressive kids play structure along with appropriately soft ground underneath. Add to that the fountains in the center to play in, and the EPCOT inspired jumping fountains and you have a very nice children’s area. (It also has the infamous waterless urinals).

We decided to take a ride on the Howler, and Rideman made a comment "What is different about this coaster than any other kiddie oval". His answer was to be that it travels clockwise, whereas most ovals go counterclockwise. I pointed out that Taxi Jam at PKI also travels clockwise. It’s a rare event to catch Rideman being wrong. J We boarded the Howler and it has a too-cute train with the front car having Holidogs face and hat, and the read car having his tail. I had a bit of trouble, but managed to lower the lapbar. A Howler ride is 2 times around the track, and the ride contains a really neat helix in the middle. It, like most rides at HW is an above average ride for its type. We did get a bit of coaster enthusiast jeering from the parents in line for the Howler upon our return. Upon seeing a train of coaster enthusiasts come back the comment was made "Oh Boy, how does THIS coaster rate?" in a snide sarcastic "You forced my kids to wait" manner.

We made our retreat from Funtown, in a nod to safety instead of having a railroad crossing, a bridge has been built over the tracks. Fortunately on the downhill end both stairs and a ramp exist, on the uphill end they is merely a short shallow grade ramp. We proceeded around and declined to ride the Thunder Bumpers, a free bumper boats ride, even though the queue area for the bumper boats allows possibly the best view of the park’s bone yard. I also took note that the "Hall of Famous Americans" wax museum was closed as it has been the last year or so. We came around to the Rough Riders. Last year, as the parks new attraction, several "improvements" were made to the bumper car ride. The most obvious of which was the themed cars. Okay they aren’t themed as cars, but rather horses and bison and other animals. Also more ‘cars’ were added in an apparent attempt to improve capacity. Unfortunately the arena was not enlarged, the power grid not cranked up, so last year the ride consisted of a cramped arena with slower than molasses cars with no action in them whatsoever. Easily the worst Dodgems ride in the area. And to add insult the ride had kid sized shoulder loops that were real choking hazards.

The Rough Riders stand proud in testament to the fact that this park cares about the guest experience and reacts to it. Upon first glance the same cool looking animal cars are traveling on the same arena floor, but once you step inside one of the cars you realize things have changed. For starters the shoulder loop has been replaced by a shoulder belt not unlike the belts that were on the cars before these, in other words, closer to what you would find in a real car, and secondly the juice has been cranked up. This means that not only can you give love taps, you can wholesale slam into someone so they feel it, and skilled nudges can actually divert an opponents car off its course. In other words the Rough Riders are back better than ever.

We then decided we needed to ride some coasters, but first we checked in on the Banshee. Banshee is a Falling Star ride, and although singles are not allowed, triples are. Banshee is a pretty intense version of the Falling Star concept. Another excellent ride, and we saw an example f the niceness that Holiday World instills into its guests. A young girl was standing in line when her chaperone type person decided to ride with her. Rather than the parent trying to advance up in the line to meet their child, they made the child go back to the end of the line to join them. How often do you see that happen? We enjoyed our ride on the Banshee and followed it up with some Legend action. . As usual the line was shorter now than during the ERT sessions but still utilized the switchbacks in the station. As others have mentioned, coaster enthusiasts may have been in mind when the coaster was constructed, but not when the queue for the coaster was constructed, could these paths be any narrower. Aboard the Legend train, and in case your just joining us, they had both trains in service all day, the ride starts with a ride past the switch, then a right turn onto the lift, then a right turn on the twisting first drop that curves to the left into the first tunnel. Airtime on the drop, then a hill or two as it rampages out to the waterpark, then the Spiral drop around ZoomBabWe, then the double up which forms the ride’s greatest airtime moment, into the second tunnel, back up into a very lateral filled helix with some interesting elevation changes, and lastly into the Four Corners Of Doom finale. We exited and after a few rides Rideman purchased Dave Coker’s book, but there was not an autograph session at this time. We looked at Legend, specifically the apparently motorized switch track. I mean they really thought this thing through. We then took a spin on the Scarecrow Scrambler which befuddled Rideman by virtue of the three unit poles apparently not spinning at exactly the same speed. Its still a nice Scrambler We got a glimpse of the High Dive show while waiting in the much shorter line for Raven that now started just on the porch of the station house. Whereas Legend has the schoolhouse, Raven has the Victorian inspired haunted house entrance. You enter on the ground floor, and go up the darkened stairway to the second floor. A much appreciated air conditioning vent exists in this stairwell. We got to the top entered the station, took a nice backseat ride and were really amazed.

Again the play-by-play goes as follows: a long sweeping turnaround to the left with a queue area pass over, then a long straight stretch of track where it is customary to wave to the operator, then a jog and a dip to the left bring you to the lift. You climb the lift, make a right turn and have a nice airtime drop into the tunnel, out of the tunnel and into drop two which is sporting a real nice moment of air in itself, then the lateral filled Lake Rudolph turn, then back up to what used to be a breather moment with a flat space, then a short drop, but the Coaster-Lunatic-On-Staff has managed to put airtime on this short drop which only causes otherworldly airtime on drop 5 that is probably banned in 49 states (especially New Jersey), and probably 33 other nations J All parks desiring to get a lot more out of their woodie should come take a look at this. You know how famous coaches put on sports camps in the summer. Jeff H. could put on coaster clinics. Jeff is a super coaster fantic that also happens to be the chief wood coaster mechanic at the park. Jeff’s daily To-Do List reads as follows: 1) Inspect Raven, 2) Figure out how to make Raven run 1 more second faster, 3) Figure out how to make Raven’s G-Forces even stronger, 4) Inspect Legend 5) Figure out how to shave at least 1 more second off of Legend’s time, 6) Figure out how to make Legend seem even more demented 7) Inspect Howler 8) Wish the park would install a wooden kiddie coaster in Howler’s place that he could tweak. No forget tweak, forget minor adjustments Jeff gives his coasters wholesale kicks in performance boosts. Fortunately for us, the park apparently writes Jeff a blank check and says "We want the top two woodies, we don’t care how much it costs, do whatever it takes." Where was I, oh Drop 5, the deep drop into the ravine, the one where the train seems to go a different way than your body, the one that you are thinking "Please someone pull me back down"

After Drop 5 the ride turns into a different character and instead of airtime, it tosses you around like a rag doll on its own twisted finale into the station. After Raven, another run to the car to drop Rideman’s book, and back into the park. We take a brief look at Rudolph’s Raindeer Ranch and descend into the park Some more coaster rides, then we decide to take a ride on Frightfull Falls. Frightfull Falls is their logflume and is unique in its own way. Although the park posts that "All seats must be full" this is merely a suggestion. We climbed aboard a log and floated away into a dark mist filled tunnel. We came out of the tunnel and found ourselves surrounded. Surrounded by the Legend. The log flume stays in ground until the very end but don’t let that fool you there are rapids built into that course. Roughly you go on an out and back course to the water park and back. As you might expect the finale is a lift hill and drop both under and over Legend. You get a little bit wet, but not too much. We exited the log and decided to not tempt fate by riding the Raging Rapids river raft ride, which has been known to get people very wet.

We proceeded instead to Merlin’s Castle, the parks arcade. A fitting name as when I was growing up the local arcade chain was Alladin’s Castle. Inside Merlin’s Castle we were dismayed to find no pinball machines, we took a glance around and checked out what they had. No DDR either, dancers. We decided to try a round of air hockey for 75 cents. The air hockey table was not giving the puck quite enough airtime, but then if we have to choose for good air on the coasters or the air hockey table, I’m glad they chose the coasters. It was Rideman and I in the SRM 2002 Air Hockey Showdown, a showdown that ended in a 7-6 victory in my favor, though I must penalize Rideman for "Unsportsmanlike Conduct". You see I developed slippery fingers, and my ‘air hockey tool’ came flying from my hands and sailing across the arcade floor. Did Rideman wait for me to retrieve it? NO! Did Rideman HELP me retrieve it? NO. Did Rideman take the cheap shot? YES, He took the cheap shot.. At least the air hockey table is painted purple, which keeps it nicely in theme with the Legend across the way.

We proceed around the park and wind up at the Virginia Reel. No, not that Virginia Reel. This ride is actually a Tilt-A-Whirl and after waiting a few cycles, Rideman, not learning from the waterslide experience got the following brilliant idea. "Let’s cram 4 coaster nuts into one Tilt-A-Whirl car" Three of us were seated, and we might have been able to tightly squeeze in number 4 by sitting on each others lap or something. In the end we decided to split into two groups of two. We then took another try on Eagle’s Flight and confirmed that the ride is unworkable as it is now. We also have to show Paul what we mean by a Snap. Violently rocking your bird does not count.

After the Eagle’s Flight ride, we decided on lunch. Paul keeps raving about something called a Frito Pie, and I wanted to try one. So we head to the Alamo and at Paul’s advice I ordered extra meat and sour cream. Then I went to the condiment counter and the only thing hot about the taco sauce was that it was sitting out in the sun. I looked over the three bins of sauce, and discovered that from left to right they contain "Mild Taco Sauce", "Mild Taco Sauce", and "Mild Taco Sauce" Apparently the culinary guidelines here are "Not too spicy now". A frito pie is a bag of Frito’s sliced open, to which taco beef, cheese, sour cream is added. Kind of like a Super Nacho. Prices reasonably in a a combo with a hard taco for $3.69, even after adding such goodies as sour cream, extra beef, and sales tax, it came out to about $5.22 which is about what you would pay at a Mexican taco chain.

We commented that we were missing the Photo Walkback but decided that for various reasons we just weren’t interested. In prior years we had gotten just about every photograph you could ask for. We instead decided on a battle royale on the Roguh Riders, followed by a Spin Ride on the Spider. After the Spider I grabbed a Patriot Missile. Holiday World may be the only park that sells Patriot Missiles Yes, they are sold in the 4th of July section. A Holiday World Patriot Missile is a soft serve ice cream concoction made with bluer-than-Smurfcone Blue Ice Cream, Redder than Bozo’s nose red ice cream and white sprinkles. When they get done it’s a wonderful red, white and blue frozen concoction. Of course this Patriot Missile will soon disintegrate in my hands if I don’t get it out of this sun. I move to a shady spot and enjoy a wonderful bowl of ice cream. We then check out the gift sop. Holiday World’s main gift shop is located in 4th of July, and usually entering it is a very expensive proposition for me. However, this year I managed to avoid buying anything, mainly due to the fact the shirt I wanted was not available in the size I need.

After gift shopping we took several more coaster rides until it was near time for dinner. As you may know HW plays Christmas carols all summer long in the Christmas section, and Halloween spooky songs in the Halloween section (Monster Mash, Thriller, Time Warp), but this was the first year I noticed the 4th of July section delights with all the patriotic songs (I heard Grand Old Flag and Yankee Doodle which peacefully taking care of some business before dinner).

On my way into dinner I joined a line to sign a copy of Rob’s book to be given to the coaster wedding couple, then proceeded to snag our group a table. The parks fondness for narrow pathways extends to the space between picnic tables. Breaking from SRM tradition, and deciding that we probably don’t want pizza two nights in a row the park served the traditional park outing dinner. (Fried Chicken, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Pull Pork BBQ) with all the fixins, and even had no less than 4 lines which split into 8 buffet lanes setup. Dinner was great, and then we moved on to the entertainment period.

The park’s house band Legendaires played some rock music during dinner. I noted a trend in several selections of their set. The set included, but was not limited to: American Band, Aint That America (officially known as Pink Houses), "Keep on Rockin in the Free World" The music, the hot summer evening air, the picnic shelter, for a moment I had vivid memories of being at LeSourdsville Lake for a company picnic in the grove listening to the band. After a few songs Paula came up for the formal part of the evening. Several things to be discussed, after the usual pleasantries, a celebrity was introduced, then the charity auction continued, with the threat "No one rides a coaster tonight until…", more money was raised, Pat Koch was congratulated on her masters, Operation graduation commences and was a big success. I really liked the mortarboard Arrow Guy gave Pat. A wooden mortarboard with a model wood coaster track where the coaster cars spelled out "Congrats Pat!" That was a too cool gift. Then because she never got to go to a prom, and we just happened to have a band here, a 2 minute mini prom was held and the song was "Free Fallin’" Several cut ins took place, and I’m sure enough copies of this exist on video that it will wind up on somebody’s coater video. The band then played a few more songs while the park cleared then we were released back into the park for ERT. Tonight in addition to the coasters, we could ride the Round-Up, Flying Skooters, or Tilt-A-Whirl for the first half of ERT. We took an interesting Round Up ride, then noted the lack of enthusiasts lined up for the Flying Skooters, then headed for more coasters than a man can take. Loads of coaster rides, the most noteworthy one being our ride on Raven, in the second to last week, with the Coaster Lunatic Jeff with us. Man that is some of the best airtime ever. When the ride wants to send you out into Ravenswood, and you feel the seatbelt that you loosened as far as can be go "Oh, no you don’t" it’s a good ride. Also of mention the pullrope for the safety enhanced bell on Legend is now withing reach of riders waiting for Legend. While some resisited the urge to ring it, others like myself rang it once just to be able to say we rang it, others insisted on ringing it everytime they passed it. It’s all in good fun though.

Two nights of SRM is actually more than I can take, and I spent a half hour enjoying the Park Bench Ride, you know the ride with Intensity rating of 1. I related to Dave how I really could not get entirely comfortable on it. Rideman mentioned that maybe it was a 15-minute bench and my time had expired. All in all I took a final ride on Raven to avoid walking up that hill, and so ended another SRM. Again the world’s greatest coaster event.


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