TR: Holiwood Nights (5/18-19, 2007) - Holiday World
Santa Claus, IN
May 23-24, 2008
Howdy once again, its time for the annual spring season opening event, Holiwood Nights at Holiday World, and this year Beech Bend Park is playing along by having Rumblefest the same weekend, and its Memorial Day weekend so we have the Monday after the events over, to get back home.
Day 1 T-shirt: The All Ohio Coaster shirt from last year's Coastermania
This year it will be Rideman and myself, so Friday morning I get packed, have lunch buffet at a local Indian (as in India, not native) restaurant, did a little shopping to get information on a specialty product at my local flag shop, and even had time to play some pinball. I was sure to return home by 2pm, to get Rideman's email that I should make that 3pm, at around 3:30 I get a phone call, you better make that 4:30pm.
4:30 is not a deal breaker, and in fact it might work out great, because we do have an hour time change to play with, and with a trip time of around 3 hours that gets us to the park around 6:30 local time, or really just after ERT has started. Friday doesn't include all day admission, just the meal and ERT, and okay if you arrive after a certain time they may let you in a bit early. Friday night is more of a preview night anyway, and hey it ends at 9:30 this year.
So Rideman picks me up around 4:40, we get the car loaded up, and out on the road, just in time to find ourselves stuck in friday evening Cincinnati rush hour traffic, ugh. We don't really shake the traffic until we have spent quite a bit of time getting as far as Florence in Kentucky. From there it is pretty uneventful the rest of the was to Louisville with one fuel stop on the way. Approaching Louisville the signs are flashing a warning of a traffic alert, we turn it on long enough to learn it won't affect us and proceed to Holiday World.
We pull into the Raven parking lot and find a space not too far from the gate. We proceed to walk up to guest relations, and since neither of us had preregistered, we had to fill out forms, name tags, hand over payment, and receive the usual packet with a coupon sheet, tickets, event schedule and an advertisement for Coasterbuzz's fall event. I also purchase the official event shirt for $15. With the procrastination tax added for on-site registration, our tickets came to just under $55. We then go make a mad dash for, the car, to drop off all the stuff we won't be needing on Friday night.
We return to the gate, enter the park, and check one of the nice large clocks the park has added all over to learn its about 7:30 local time now. Between that rush hour traffic, the fuel stop, and getting registered, we ate up quite a bit of time. However, we still do not go to the coasters, we instead head to Kringles for a snack sponsored by the letter "P": Pizza, Potato Chips, Pepsi, Phudge, and Produce (in the form of a relish tray).
It was a tasty snack with each of us having 3 or 4 slices along with everything else that comes with it. From the pizza party it was time to hit the coasters, we first started heading for the appetizers, the foreplay, the previews before the main feature.
We first headed to Raven, where first I notice the coasters have all received the looping safety announcements that started with Voyage. Raven was not popular so with only a 1 or 2 train wait, we were getting into the second to last seat. While Raven was running fast and furious through the curves, the airtime on the big drop in the middle of the ride didn't seem to be there.
We next headed to Legend, which was a total walk on, so we walked on to the front seat. I am very happy to report that after a few sluggish seasons, Legend is BACK. Legend was going through the course at full speed making the legendary 4 curves of doom make their presence known in a big way. Everything you used to love about Legend when it first opened, including the insane laterals and intensity are back. We stopped for a drink before heading the main feature.
It's a bit of a walk down to Thanksgiving, and when we get there we are shocked to learn that Voyage is also a walk on. Where is everybody? We head to the second to last seat on Voyage, it is already getting dark outside. What is to follow is coaster nirvana. Strong airtime on just about every drop on the ride, insane laterals on all the curves, the mid course brake was not trimming. Welcome to Perfection: The Ride.
The rest of night 1 would be spent riding Voyage over and over, with the periodic stop for one of the two services offered in the Pepsi Oasis building. After the first ride, we started just taking open seats as we got to the station without being picky. All to get the most rides in, and the air in the middle of the train is acceptable, its not the insanity of the back car, but its still quite nice. Towards the end of the night, Rideman and I get seperated, and as we are waiting for Voyage there was a 15 minute or so delay in the station. Unknown to me, Rideman headed to Raven as to avoid that long hill climb at the end of the night. I waited out the delay and rode Voyage. When I got off Voyage the queue had been cut for night 1. I had a few free drinks while I waited for them to run out the rest of the trains. Seeing no Rideman, I knew that if I headed to the car we would meet up eventually, so I made the long trek through the park out to the car. Once at the car I snag my cellphone out of the trunk and contact Rideman. Rideman is having a social chat right inside the front gate (how did I miss them on my way out?), so I returned to the front gate to join in.
After the front gate chat ended, we headed to assorted cars, and met up with Avalanche Sam, proceeded to chat some more in the parking lot until deciding to be more civilized and head to Denny's, where I proceeded to have breakfast. We spend a bit of time at Denny's partly becuase we were having good conversation, and partly because we are having the usual Denny's slow service. After Denny's we head to our hotel in Evansville. No problems with check in "You guys are the last to arrive tonight!" and soon we are in a first floor room with just under a jillion pillows on each bed. Ahh, good night, we have to get rested up for the full day version tomorrow.
We had decided neither of us had much interest in the waterpark ERT, and we also decided the park doesn't really have that much to offer to warrant getting a bright and early head start. We are up in time, however, to enjoy the hotel courtesy breakfast. Waffles, bagels, eggs, toast, cereal, but their feature item is hot breakfast sandwiches. Well you take them out of a refrigerator and microwave them yourself. After having our fill of breakfast, we load up the car with the items we don't trust leaving back at the hotel, and head to back to the park. We manage to miss the 231 turnoff on the way to the park, so wind up taking the usual entrance route off exit 63.
We enter the Raven lot and here parking attendants direct us to a space about midway between tram stops 2 and 3. The good news here is there is a tram to go with those tram stops. We get parked and walk right over to a waiting tram.
Day 2 t-shirt: a Lesourdsville Lake shirt
Rideman left his nametag back at the hotel, but a quick stop by Guest Relations fixed that, and soon we headed into the park. We headed straight back into the 4th of July themed section, where Rideman started to take ride photos for his collection. The lines for Paul Revere's Midnight Ride (Spider) and the Rough Riders (bumper cars) did look a bit long. What caught our eye, though, was the new for 2008 addition. The old pool for the bumper boats was removed, and in its place was the new Star Spangled Carousel. It sits down a bit in a ravine but appeared to be a popular new addition. The change also makes the Betsy Ross Doll House walk through more visible from the midway.I decide to grab a quick ride on Liberty Launch (S&S Double Shot) using the single rider line, and despite having just ridden Big Shot out in Vegas multiple times last week, the entriely too short belts on this ride prevented me from riding.
We next head past the Freedom Train and I note the BBQ stand that is very rarely open, was actually open. We proceed into Holidogs FunTown and while Rideman is getting photos, I am getting a Dreamsicle , which here is vanilla soft serve mixed with Orange ICEE. Yum, what a tasty treat. We continue the camera tour of the park heading past Revolution and Eagles Flight. and the Indian River (Venture Canoe). We then head down into Thanksgiving and proceed to take a nice little wake up ride on Voyage, Holiday World plays holiday specific music over their sound system, so for example in Christmas you will here carols played all summer, and to be quite clear quite a few of them are in fact Christmas Carols in the religious and not secular sense of the word. In this park, the giant statue of Santa stands proudly receiving visitors right across from what appears to be a life size nativity set. In the 4th of July section you can have your fill of all the patriotic standards, in Haloween its the spooky songs, and in Thanksgiving, well you have some hymns of thanks and praise, as well as songs that can be tied in with thanksgiving and feasting. As we started to board Voyage (as in the seafaring Voyage to the new world), I was tickled that the song on the PA was the seafaring ditty "What to do with the drunken sailor" no words , just the melody, but still it fits perfectly. And this ride will waken the drunken sailor quite nicely. That doesn't mean that later in the day when I was with some other riders who also recognized the ditty that we didn't start singing it...
From Voyage we head to the Tilt A Whirl, here called the Turkey Twirl with the new style G5 tubs custom themed to look like turkeys. We manage to get a decent but not great ride on the Turkey Twirl and for the first of many times today my LeSourdsville Lake shirt gets me noticed. From Turkey Twirl we ride Gobbler Getaway. The Sally dark ride where you chase down turkeys with your turkey caller. It s a nice long dark ride, with lots of crash doors, lots of targets, and if you hit the target a turkey will appear out of somewhere. It also includes an ending where the turkeys win out, and the father serves his family a nice large pizza under a covered dish before you go through the room with turkeys doing a chorus line. Hillarious ending, and Rideman continues to use the "I got a bad gun excuse" here as well.
Gobbler Getaway exits right across from Plymouth Rock Cafe, so we proceed to have our main meal of the day, and what a meal it is. For only $7.99 you get choice of meat, 3 sides, bread, and of course beverages are always free, $2.49 more adds the desert. So for $10.48 plus tax, I had a nice size portion of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, baked apples, sweet tea and pumpkin pie. I'd be hard pressed to put together a meal of that caliber outside an amusement park at a restaurant for that price. Not only is the price great, the food is also quality food.
We spent a bit of time enjoying our meal and meet back up with Avalance Sam. We start our rides together with a ride on Gobbler Getaway, and then Voyage. I notice that for Memorial Day weekend the highest pair of flags on the Voyage lift are United States flags, that is different then what I remember in the past, and even recent photos of the ride.
We then head out of Thanksgiving, have another drink, ride Legend, then ride Scarecrow Scrambler. From the Scrambler we watch the high dive show practice and I note they are tying it into the Olympics which is not uncommon for them, I mean they have a section of carnival games called "Olympic Tryouts" The high dive act stage is lined with various international flags to help set the Olympic theme.
We proceed to then take a ride on Raven before Dave finishes his photo tour with the Rudolph's Reindeer Ranch childrens area. Here, you may recall the ball crawl and kids climbing structure have been replaced by a custom themed Moser Spring Ride called "Reindeer Games"
By this time, its time to head back to Thanksgiving for the Voyage walk back. We all gather by Plymouth Rock Cafe and proceed to have the usual walk back up the steep hill alongside Voyage for the purpose of photo taking and seeing the ride from a whole new perspective. I note they allowed us further closer access to the turnaround section than I remember them giving us in the past. We finish the tour, and we meet up with a different gentelman whose name I forget though I have his card downstairs here.
We take a ride on Voyage, and then I take a ride on Revolution (Dartron Zero Gravity), we proceed to take a walk through Holidogs Funtown where we point out, but do not ride the Howler. Back through 4th of July where we proceed to wait through a full queue wait for Paul Revere's Midnight Ride (Spider), but the good news is we are rewarded with an excellent spin filled ride. I decide to get a Patriot Missle, which is a red and blue soft serve ice cream with yellow and red sprinkles. I enjoy my ice cream while we walk around the park. When we get around to the front, we decide to get our hand stamped, and take the tram out to the far reaches of the parking lot to move our car to somewhere up at the front of the lot . We know from past experience that they don't run trams after ERT, and you are lucky to have lights on in the lot.
We reenter the park, and head through the park to find people carrying roller coaster parts out through the park. We head back to the picnic grove where they have an area where they are selling off the old parts from the Legend trains they must have just rehabbed, as well as selling old park brochures, posters, stationery Voyage media kits, lift hill flags and more. I wound up getting a Voyage media CD and a nice travel coffee mug marked with CoasterCon so it must have been a giveaway during last years ACE convention. This means we get to the buffet just in time to be some of the last people to have our traditional picnic lunch of burgers, hot dogs, chicken, baked beans fruit salad, and more. Don't forget the cookies and brownies. We enjoy dinner then there is the live auction, and the announcements.
We start to head to Voyage, but it is having trouble waking up for ERT, so we mill around a bit and then proceed to take several Voyage rides, making sure we get both a front seat and back seat ride somewhere in the set, but mostly towards the middle. Voyage is perfection, I mean it just doesn't get better than this. Halfway through the ERT we go up and visit Legend where you could basically stay on as long as you like, as it had no line. Shame as it was running in kick-butt mode moreso than it has in years. We took a few rides here. Then we headed back to Voyage for a few more rides , then we made sure to get to Raven for the final 15 minutes, where we had stay in your seat conditions there too, aso ended the night and event with a multi ride Raven session.
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