TR: Holiwood Nights (5/29-30, 2009) - Holiday World
Santa Claus, IN
May 29-30, 2009
Okay, welcome to the official start of the 2009 Summer season, preview weekends are over and its time to start the main season with the Coaster Enthusiasts Family Reunion aka HoliWood Nights at Holiday World.
I started my day May 29th with the pre-event ritual, a buffet luncheon at the local Indian restaurant. Trust me, there is nothing like Chicken Curry, rice, and Nan to coat the stomach and prepare it for the three days ahead I would advise, however, not waiting until the day of the event to start getting your system used to Indian cuisine, lest you suffer the consequences.
When Rideman picked me up, he noted my American flag was wrapped around its pole, despite the fact I have a special pole that is designed to prevent that from happening. He comment "I thought that wasn't supposed to happen with that pole" In truth it doesn't very often, but no solution is perfect. I then left Coasterville around 4pm which meant we got to deal with downtown Cincinnati during rush hour, which wasn't bad this year, we even sailed through Louisville and were thankful we weren't heading east. We were all smiles and making time until we got mid way through Indiana when the highway was cut down to one lane each way moving 40mph instead of the usual 70mph. That was painfully slow. Eventually we made our way to Exit 63, and I am surprised there isn't a traffic light at the exit, what with the number of people heading to Holiday World from points east, and having tomake a left turn off the exit. We then start heading down the 7 mile drive from the exit to the park chuckling that this is the point where first time park visitors are pulling out their maps scratchng their heads.
It used to be the first sighting of the park was when you drove around the back of HoliDogs FunTown, then the Voyage became the beacon indicating you were nearing the park, now its Pilgrims Plunge you see first. We had heard Santa Claus got its first ever trafic light this year (they ARE red and green afterall), we had conjectured it would be at the intersection where you make the turn to go to either the Raven or Legend lot, but instead it is located at the turn near Fun Town. I guess it does help at the end of the night since anybody exiting towards Exit 63 has to make that left. Interestingly, we note evidence of a new road going straight at what was formerly a three way intersection, the new road might only be 50 feet long at this point, but it has arrows on the right side pointing in. We combined that with the recent news the park was negotiating more real estate to expand the Legend lot, along with evidence the Legend lot is undergoing a lot of work, that we conjectured there may be a time when the Raven lot will cease to exist as we know it, which will allow the park to expand to fill in the Raven lot, and all parking will be at the Legend lot and you will enter the park via the tunnel under the road, Kennywood style.
We pull into the Raven lot and try to vulture (or is that Raven) a space as close to the front gate as possible, always a fun challenge due to the layout of the front of the parking lot consisting of dead head rows where you pull in, find out the space you were going to grab is filled with a compact car or light stanchion and then have to back out of the row. We score a parking space near the front of the lot and do our best salmon imitation as we are trying to get to the park gate as swarms of people are trying to get out to their cars. We make our way to the front gate plaza and we find a nice crowd waiting at the check in windows and another crowd gathered outside the gates. Yep the reunion has started, as soon as people got checked in they were joining the crowd of people milling around outside the park waiting for the first night ERT.
Check in was an efficient process with two lanes for pre-registered people and one lane for ticket sales. I got to the window, showed my ID and ACE card, they checked my name, then handed me a t-shirt and my FUNvelope containing the usual contents: nametag, ticket strip with admission and meal tickets, and a coupon sheet. The check in hostess was taking the time to explain the ticket sheet, then handed me an itinerary after pointing out the key important parts. They even took the time to circle in highlighter the fact I needed to be there by 8:15AM or no Morning ERT for me. I pretty much decided right then and there that I would be bagging on the morning ERT. I also recieved a flyer for the CoasterBuzz event in the fall, I will take that event under consideration.
We then followed more Holiday World event ritual by quickly returning to our car to drop off everything except the nametags and the Friday night tickets. It may seem silly but we saw a space in the first non handicap row of the parking lot and so we moved the car up to what is literally the nearest non-handicap space in the lot. We return to the front gate plaza to join the reunion. The big topic of conversation was the closed rides board which indicated both Legend and Pilgrim Plunge were down for the day. We didn't linger long so we could take care of some post multi hour travel needs. By this time it was 6:40 and we weren't sure if they would let us enter the park now or if we would have to wait outside until ERT begins. We entered the park and the reunion moved to by the Appluase fountain. We chatted there until we heard Will and Pat Koch on the PA system announcing the park had been closed for 30 minutes, telling us about return visit offers, its a very friendly touch on the usual "Park's closed, get out now" recording. We noticed there were a fair number of general pubic also lingering about the area, and figured we would help the park be able to give the all clear for ERT if we moved on to the picnic grove.
We were walking towards the Picnic Grove when we met up with Pat Koch near the Alamo, and proceeded to walk part of the way to the Pincic Grove with her. I think we got distracted when we noted what might be the only test seat for a rapids ride. We entered the picnic grove just in time to hear the stories about Legend blowing a gearbox and a dedicated Holiday World staffer making a mad drive from the park to Cincinnati, OH to have the gearbox serviced, then making the mad drive back to the park, then getting the gearbox installed, and tested. Yes, they had it running in time for the evening ERT!!! The second story was about Pilgrims Plunge which was down since Wednesday, it blew a shaft encoder, a specialty part that needs to come from the Intamin factory in Germany. Its status at the time was somewhere between Philadelpiha and a town just north of the park They apologized that Plunge would not be available for Friday ERT, but Will is refreshing the UPS tracking page every 30 seconds, and has the UPS agent in the local depot instructed to page him as soon as the package arrives. Word has it that Will got the call at 5:30AM, and went out picked it up, and the park had the ride operational for Saturday morning ERT! We then went through a detailed explanation of the event schedule, during whch Dave Althoff got a shout out, a dishonrable mention for having to pay the Procrastination Tax, actually.
There was a moment of silence for some fellow enthusiasts who had recently passed away, then we started Friday ERT.
We decided to head up to dinner first, noting the Legend was open, but instead taking a spin on the Raven as our first ride, hey it beats walkinng up the hill. Our first ride was in the front row of the back car and it was already performing nicely. We headed to Kringles Kafe where we each polished off 4 slices of Sausage pizza with its famous thick soft doughy crust, a pile of potato chips and a block of fudge. We met up with more friends at dinner, and after dinner just outside Kringles. Man I'm gonna miss somebody if I try to remember them all, but hello again to Klockster, the Drabeks, David Cornell, the guys from Texas, Kory and Chad, the dude who likes old rides who is building an aircraft we met in the bumper cars line, the Nungesters, and much,much more.
After dinner, it was time to ride,we continued Coaster Foreplay with another quality ride on Raven, this time in that wonderful back seat before heading onto Legend. Legend was a near walk on, we rode towards the front, and sure Legend was squealing and was only running one train, but lets remember it was down all day so let's just be grateful it was open. One ride on Legend, and we can say that the Legend is back! Legend had a spell when it wasn't really running as good as it did when it first opened, but these last couple years they have done a lot to get it back to the way when it opened.
After Legend, we made a stop at Hollowswings which the park had graciously substituted for Pilgrims Plunge. When we arrived the ride was running empty to drum up business, when we boarded there were maybe half a dozen peope on the ride, when our ride ended at least one lane of the queue maze was full. The ride itself was fun with the spooky music and is a lot smoother ride than the Zierrer. Hallowsings is a custom themed Zamperla Flying Trapeeze.
After Hallowsings, it was time to stop stalling and get ourselvedsdown to Voyage. Voyage was a walk on in anywhwere except the front and back seats. We started wonering where everybody was, as it seemed like all the rides were walk ons, yet we saw a good size group in the picnic grove. Our first Voyage ride was a middle car ride just to get on the ride, and we were impressed with that. Then we took a front car ride in row 2, and that was even better, then another ride in maybe car 3. Around the time we had started hearing people saw the back seat is too intense. We took that as a challenge, and headed to the back seat. Wow! Extreme airtime on every drop, a devine triple down, and the ride seemed to be running all out in extreme mode. Little did we now what we would be thinking in 24 hours, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
We continued to ride Voyage until about 10:15 (for a 10:30 park close), then headed to Raven so we would not have to walk up the hill by Raven. Thats not to say we didn't avoid the hill between Thanksgiving and Haloween, and we realized once again that Holiday World is a very hilly park. We finished night one with 2 or 3 back to back rides on Raven until they shut the rides down for night one. We headed out of the park, thanking Pat, Will, and Paula on our way out
We headed to our car, and then headed to our hotel in Tell City. It seems just about every hotel near the park charges at least $100 a night, but we found a Days Inn in Tell City for only like $61 a night. Obviously a lot of other Holiwood Nights attendees also found the Days Inn as walking the hotel halls we didn't spot one other guest that didn't have a coaster shirt of some type on. After dealing with the uneven parking lot, and finding our room despite the misleading directions we were given by the desk clerk we soon found our room and settled in After getting the air conditioner cranked up, and electronics chargers charging we went out to source a late night snack. We first stopped at the Super WalMart Tell City, clearly the city's big hang out spot. Snack supplies sourced, we next found the only open food in Tell City, a Taco Bell drive through. I can't say it better than Rideman did when he said "You know somethings wrong when late night Taco Bell helps cure the digestive issues casued by the pizza" Dave, I'm telling you, coating your stomach with chicken curry does wonders!
We had already made the decision to skip the waterpark ERT, well we also decided to sleep in knowing we had a late night ahead of us. I think we fnally got to the park around 1pm after a wild goose chase to Dale, but we did learn the Denny's has been moved, as has the freeway exit. By this time the Raven lot was marked as full, so we headed to the Legend lot and found a space within a reasonable distance of the tunnel. Evidence of a lot of work going on in the Legend lot is obvious as much of the back half is coned off, and it looks like they are building a tram circle in the front of the lot. A disused parking trams sits in the Legend lot. We go through the tunnel and we can see the front gate straight ahead of us just accross the Raven parking lot, unfortunately the park has built a chain link fence to ensure you can't cut through the lot, you have to walk all the way to the front of the Raven lot and walk around the perimieter of the Raven lot to the park gates. I know the park caters to a lot of children, but this just seems to be overkill, like they don't trust you with the basic skill of safely walking through a parking lot. I notice the park is also building a new tram circle in front of the park gates, which I think will probably be used for the Legend lot tram, as they already have a Raven lot tram circle and tram path along one side of the Raven lot.
We noticed no rides marked as closed, so we entered the park just in time for an anoyance rain to start coming down. We were hungry not having had breakfast or lunch yet, so we headed directly to the Plymouth Rock Cafe. We walked right up to the serving line where I opted for roast turkey, dressing, corn on the cob, sweet potato casserole, dinner roll, butter, pumpkin pie and a sweet tea, all for just around $12. It would be hard to find that kind of meal at that price at a casual dining restaurant outside of the park. Plymouth Rock Cafe still serves up good food, at a great value, but it still suffers from a bad bottleneck at the check out stands that it has had ever since it opened. I make my way out to a table, and I was pleasantly surprised to see apple butter on the condiment bar. We proceeded to sit down to lunch with Kory and his family. It was a great relaxing meal.
After lunch Rideman wanted to fetch something from his car, so I took a back seat on Voyage while I was waiting for him. Voyage, while running above average was not quite up to last night. I do, however, appreciate the free lockers for cameras and the like. After my ride I met up with Rideman who surprised me as I was expecting him to come down the hill from Halloween, and he instead entered through Splashin Safari.
We next headed to Pilgrims Plunge, the queue house was maybe half full and sports the largest cieling fan known to man. At the end of the main queue house is an ride attendant who has the job of controlling access to the ride. You see the people entering the ride from the queue area, and the people exiting the ride from the ride both enter this area where there are loose article shelves and courtesy lockers for your use. You get time to stow your stuff, remembering you can take your shirts, shoes and socks off for this ride. After you access the lockers this host has the job of making sure those enterting the ride head to the stairs to cross over the trough, and those exiting the ride head to the exit door. Once across the bridge over the trough you enter a holding area, it loook like five seat lanes except there are no gates in front, instead there is only one gate and people flow through the gate from the seat lanes in order front to back. They use a "the boats never stop system" which is all well and good, but I freak out and my sense of self preservation refuses to let me make the jump into the boat. After two attempts and about to give up, I ask the ride host if the boat can stop, and find out that yes it can.
The ride itself, first you go along a long meandering trough with a rapids section or two. You might get a slash or two here in the front of the boat, like we were. Eventually you come around to the base of the elevators. Here the boat waits for an elevator to arrive, then the boat raises almost stright up except for the fact the two elevator tracks bow outward to allow to elevator platforms to pass in the center while only have one 'station' at the top and bottom. Going up the elevator is just a wierd feeling, maybe even a bit unsettling. At the top the elevator lines itself, and you sit there for a moment or two before the boat moves off the elevator and onto the boat chute. The boat chute itself isn't that bad, the water spray is such that its hard to look at whats going on. As has been reported the boats don't make quite the splash you would expect, and at first I was thinking "That wasn't bad at all" and then WHOOSH a wave comes crashing into the boat. Row A you get damp but nowhere near drenched, at least that was my experience. You then go through the run out and a U-turn back to the station. This area has been outfitted with coin operated water geysers. The boats themselves have 5 rows of two seats with high seat backs and lap bars that drop down from overhead like on Intamin's newest coasters, exept these do not have seat belts. I am a rider with a nice size gut, and although Intamin rides generally cause me issues with rider fit, I found this ride to be very accomodating, and I did not experiene the lap bar staple, or the sudden lurch into the lap bar at the bottom of the drop I had read about.
We checked our watches and it was already 3pm, so its time to head to the Raven/Legend photo walk back. I like the way the park is doing it this year, instead of a sharp "You must be here at 3pm" rule, you could arrive anywhere between 3 and 3:15, which I'm sure in turn helped spread people out along the walkback trail so we weren't all bunched up together. The walkback started at the main gate to Splashin Safari so we decided to go through Thanksgiving as that seemed the shortest route. We were eager to take this walkback as it had not been offered in a few years.
We got to Splashin Safari and after a quick nametag check were admitted through the gate next to the Splashin Safari entrance, this admitted us to a path that goes between Frightful Falls and Splashin Safari. We paused to get a few photos of those two things, and then were guided to take the first path to the left instead of continuing back to go to part of Legend that goes alongside Slashin Safari. The first path to the left, takes you to see the frist drop, lift hill, and the part of Legend that crosses Frightful Falls. One could also see the water treatment building for Frightful Falls. Some time was taken at each key point to snap action photos of the rides. After this we came to a part where one could take unadvertised backstage photos of the high dive show. You then continued along a path where you had the lower ravine section of Raven to your left, and the helix section of Legend to your right.
The tour itself, was pretty much a self guided tour, although the guys from Gravity Group and a Holiday World coaster mechanic were all there eager to talk about their favorite subject with coaster enthusiasts and answer questions. As you might expect given the chance some people would take all day taking photos and talking with the ride designers and mechanics, so there was a pace person who started the tour a few minutes after the entrance gate was closed whose job it was to keep the group on pace. As you might guess, this was where the pace person met up to us. We continued up a steep hill that wrapped around the Legend helix past the wood coaster maintenance shed where this year you can see wood, but in the past they had Banshee ride parts and the old Legend train. At this point you walk across the dam that blocks Lake Rudoplh from pouring into the park. The campground can be seen accross the lake, you can look down the hill on one side and see the ravine portion of Raven, or look on the other side and see the Lake Rudolph turn on Raven. We continues towards the Lake Rudolph turn, to finish up by walking alongside the first drop tunnel to return to the park via Rudoplhs Reindeer Ranch childrens ride area.
We looked at the new for last year Reindeer Games ride and then noted we didn't have much time before the Voyage photo walkback. We headed back down to Voayge, talk about back tracking today. We got to Voyage a bit early so we took the chance to get some Pilgrims Plunge photos. At this point we came across the major annoyance the park has just installed.
Let me put it to you like an old text adventure game:
"You have come to the end of the Thnksgiving Section, you look stragiht ahead and see a dead end where there is a Pilgrims Plunge observation area complete with coin operated water geysers, to your left you see a clossed gate clearly makred "Employees Only", upon further inspection you see another of the parks walkways on the other side of the gate, and you see said pathway being used by park guests much like yourselfs. These guests don't even have the coaster shirts or nametags on. To your right you see a walkway that leads to Pilgrims Plunge. Your destination is the Voyage service gate to your left, just past the closed gate that is currently being monitored by a park hostess. "
To solve this puzzle, you have to walk up the path to Pilgrims Plunge, following the signs to enter the ride, just before getting to the ride, you can walk through a gap in the fence to another Pilgrims Plunge observation area, with more coin op gesyers. There is a fence all along this path seperating you from the path you were just on. As you continue along, you go down a long windy ramp, so you can tunnel under Pilgrims Plunge, then up another ramp to come out just on the other side of the closed gate. Talk about irritating, and it is clearly irritating their normal park guests, I say this becuase when there isn't a park staff person present, folks were leaping over the closed gate. We're talking basic human behavior here, folks don't have much tolerance for long out of their way detours, and will, given the chance, try to circumvent them. I've seen it happen at several different parks. Classic example was when Kentucky Kingdom wanted to prevent people from taking a shortcut, they errected a series of obstacles - such as a park bench, then a fence, then a flower bed, then a hedge, then another fence, then a railing. That didn't stop folks from stepping up on the bench, leaping the fence, walking through the flower bed, trampling through the hedge, climbing the other fence, then ducking over the railing. Kentucky Kingdom, to their credit, finally decided to remove all that stuff and just create a path there rather than fight it. It just doesn't make sense to me, the park spent a LOT of money errecting that tunnel under the Plunge. I know they did it so they can have an attire checkpoint when leaving Splashin Safari, but if they have to put a monitor at the gate that person may as well be checking attire. They seemed to really overcomplicate this, when the easiest chepest answer would have been to have the attire check right after the Plymouth Rock Cafe, since Splashin Safari standards of dress are acceptable on Plunge. When Splashin Safari closes, then you close that gate.
Where was I, or yeah talking that long out of the way detour, the Voyage tour was much likethe ones in the past, except that now the service gate has been moved to almost the first drop. Its an out and back coaster, and this is an out and back tour along the same path. They did have the pathway on one side of the ride open all the way up to and just starting into the insane turnaround. Again more photos were taken, again the coaster mechanic and gravity group guys were on hand to answer questions or just talk coasters. After suitable time was allowed the group was paced back down the hill (Its a steep hillside Voyage is built on), and then back out the same service gate, where we took the same long detour back to Thanksgiving.
It was at this time that we decided we really should be riding some rides. We started with Gobbler Getaway where we met up with David Cornell. So in our car we had Dave Cornell, Dave Althoff, and Dave Bowers. Gee, I bet Dave is going to win! The queue maze was half full, I think the pumpkin pie spice smell is back, and with three in the car that really spreads the available points thin. Still, gotta love a classic style dark ride complete with crash doors and turkeys that taunt you at the end of the ride. Don't worry that our hapless farmer in the dark ride didn't have the heart to kill the turkey, and they armed you with turkey callers instead of shotguns, becuase you can still have turkey at the Plymouth Rock Cafe just across the midway.
We skipped Turkey Twirl and Voyage for now (hey, we have massive coaster ERT tonight!) and headed up into the main park. Since we were in a water ride mood, we decided to ride the Raging Rapids in Boulder Canyon which we usually skip. This ride was nearly a walk on and we got off mostly dry, and had more amusement watching our fellow riders avoid the water. I'm thankful the water curtain in the old town shut off just in time, and that the folks running the coin of geysers were also more interested in getting the other riders wet. This ride seems shorter than I remember it being in the past.
After the Rapids Ride, we stopped off at the Funnel Cake Factory for a snack of Fried Oreos, yumm yumm. From there we took a ride on Eagle's Flight. Eagles Flight recieved a new fully automated control sytem since my last ride on it, at least it retains its friendly operator. What's more, I actually had a good ride on it. No, I didn't get one snap out of it, but as is common for portable Flyers, although you may not get the satisfying KERCHUNK sound, you can at least get the feel of getting into a dive bombing, then quick pull out ride pattern. Its like its just a hair off from snapping then the tub pulls out of it without the payoff.
From there we walked right across the walkway and did a spin on Revolution. Not much to report here. We skipped Funtown as it was getting late, and besides neither of had much interest in trying to cram ourselves into Howler or the Freedom Train. Starting back towards the front of the park we noted we exceeded the weight limit on the Star Spangled Carousel, and I knew from past visits that Liberty Launch is a no go for me. We next took a spin on the Rough Riders, where we met the guy who was talking old rides and aircraft. Friendly guy who stuck around for this ride and one on Paul Rever's Midnight Ride. Rough Riders, the cars are comfortable, the belts are comfortable, the cars look cool, the cars seem to have some power to them, its just that I think there are too many cars on the floor as it was just too congested at times.
Paul Revere's Midnight Ride continues to impress as being one of the nations best Spider rides. From here we decided the line for the car ride looked a bit long. We took a look in the Liberty Bell shop. Wait, the park that put Turkey Callers instead of GUNS on its shoot em up Dark Ride has a toy department in the gift shop with all kinds of toy weapons: swords, revolvers, all the way up to assault rifles, some of which shoot real "Safety" bullets.
We make ourway to the front of the park and start taking another lap, we talk to Will for a short bit on the way past Raven and then decide to skip the Scarecrow Scrambler and head for Frightfull Falls. Frightful Falls was a walk on and so we jump into the moving log. It should be noted that although Plunge caused me problems with jumping into a moving vehicle I had no trouble with the log flume or rapids ride.
When we finsihed up with the log flume, we took a look through the front gate shops and in a momentary lapse of judgement walk up Raven hill intead of riding up. After checking out the front gate shops, we run our cameras out to our car, and move it up to the front row of the Legend Lot, being nice not to park on the newly laid cement. We re-enter the park and make our way to the picnic grove dodging rain that got heavier and heavier as we go along.
We finally get to the picnic grove and first head to the shelter that had the auction. At first I thought we were too late but then realized the auction stuff was in the back half of the shelter. We grabbed some free drinks and perused the items.
The highlights of the auction were the perinally popular roller coaster lift hill flags, this time they came signed and bundled so you get the complete color selection for the coaster involved. They also had various advertising signs and banners, some signed Gravity Group t-shirts, and more. They also had a rummage sale with media CD's, stationary, old maps and brochures, old souvenir cups and more. They seemed to have a fair amount of bearings left, but the bin labeled Roller Coaster Wheels was already emptied. We didn't realize the food was setup until somebody mentioned they had finished eating.
We head up the stairs to the red shelterhouse to pick up dinner. Here I got my first clue that attendance was way down this year, as only 1 of the two big shelterhouses was open. We headed right for the buffet. We dropped our tickets off in the bin provided and proceeded down the line. Once again, we get to play "What toppings do we need?" befoe knowing what is being served. I note buns, rolls, bread, relish trays, fruit salad, baked beans, mac and cheese, hamburgers, chicken and pull pork. We fix our plates and settle into dinner. Midway through dinner they make the announcements, sometimes interrupted by the pre-recorded "Will and Pat"closing announcements. Silent auction winners are announced and its time for the live auction. The big item up for bids was the original Legend drawings, that item sold for $500, which I think is a record for a Holiday World coaster event auction. They also sold a "Holiday World" logo flag that flew out in front of the park. I participated in that one up to $50,unfortunately for me it sold for $85. They commented they go through 3 such flags each season, which gives you an idea of the wear large flags take. Perhaps the most unique items sold were Kory and Chad from Gravity Group. Each sold one half hour of their time during the ERT. During that time you could ride rides with them, talk coasters with them, have them be your personal servant, etc. Kory mentioned he had brought his work laptop and that if you won he was willing to show you anything on the laptop that he was at liberty to disclose, including all about the new coaster in China. I think they also metioned they could design a coaster for you using their design software, just remeber you only have half an hour. I know Paula really made a big deal of this on Twitter, but I just don't think the fans were all that into it, leading to a "lets just get this over with".
Okay, the auction was over, but the rain is getting harder, then it gets much worse, the hail starts coming down, visibility is minimal, they asked people to huddle in away from the edges of the shelter, and they turned the lights on in the blue shelter house. We continue to talk coasters, and Paula provides regular status reports and sports scores. Perhaps showing off technology, Paula sent out a Tweet looking for the first person to come up to the microphone and say "They are testing the coasters" Such use of technology. Anyway about an hour late the coasters open and we make our way to Voyage. At this point we wait in the longest Voyage line of the weekend, it was down the stairs out the doors and into the outside queue area with the lower cargo hold being closed. We get up into the station, and we hold out for the back seat, this was actually easier than you might exepect as people were eagerly trying to get on a train, any train.
Remember everything I said about Voyage being in insane mode Friday, well forget all that. We have a new Insane Mode, perhaps we should call it InsaneX10! That train could not travel the course faster it it were jet propelled, It was literally flying over the hills, and taking the curves at breakneck speed. You know how when you see a working coaster model, it looks like the train is going ridiculously fast beause gravity does not scale down? Well thats what this looked like. The airtime was launching you up into the lapbar, and the laterals were tossing you around like a ragdoll. As if it couldn't get better the lightning off in the distance lit up the sky adding a whole new dimension to the ride. Wow, I've said Voyage is the greatest coaster ever made, but there are few things likely to ever match the performance of the Voyage during the Saturday ERT in all of coasterdom.
After Voyage we head back to see whats going on with Pilgrims Plunge as I thought it would be a neat ride to try at night as it doesn't have that many lights on the drop. We enter the ride queue area and walk directly to the loose article shelves. Stowing loose articles we start to approach the ride as there was a boat stopped in the station and the exit gate was open. We were told we still need to cross the bridge over the load side, which we do. When we get to the load side, the load gate is closed. A few moments later, the boat waiting at the loading dock glides forward presumeably on its merry way out onto the ride course. The boat gets as far as the end of the station area and comes to a stop. The next boat comes up to the loading dock and stops. They do not load that boat, it then advances further and stops right behind the boat in front. They bring yet another boat up to the loading dock, but they don't load that one either. Something doesn't look right here. They then bring the fourth and final boat into the station, but there is no room for it so it stops on the top of the lift up into the station. That boat has one rider stranded in it. After doing all this we hear the crew talking to the people in the first boat, and it doesn't sound good. Some time later they come back to us, we are the only two in the queue and tell us it won't let them start the ride, but they are going to reboot the ride and try again. We wait a few minutes for the ride to reset, they push the dispatch button and the boat at the front of the platform still refuses to budge. They then bring out the infamous Intamin black box that releases the lap bars in the boats not located in the load/unload position. They unload the first boat, and the incoming boat then close the ride. At least they were nice enough to let us exit through the boat siting in the station. That was a waste of about 5-10 minutes.
We head back to Voyage and take many rides, each one more insane than the last, whats more incredible is even with it giving first rate rides the line was still completely within the station. We got a front car ride, another back car ride, and several middle train rides,doesn't matter when its giving out rides like it was tonight. You know you are in for a treat when jaded coaster enthusiasts who don't normally react after a ride coming back with looks of shock and awe on their faces and they are hollering and cheering.
When we had about 40 minutes left before park close we decided to check out the other rides, we walked up to the Legend with Kory and Chad who by that time had finsihed their auction obligations. Legend was running one train again tonight, and it was a total walk on, so we walked right on the back seat. Legend got the same insane transformation as the Voyage, and the Four Corners of Doom were living up to their reputation. I know some have written off the Legend as it had a few sluggish years but I urge you to give it another shot, it seems to be back to the way it was when it opened.
We finished the night with a half hour long, didn't even get out of the train power ride session on Raven. Not a bad way to finish off the event and yes Raven was also in insane mode. Tonight all three HoliWoodies were in top form giving rides us mere mortals usually only dream about getting .
We then headed up to the park exit, gave our thanks to Pat, Will and Paula, and then headed out to the Legend Lot. When we got to the Legend lot there were maybe 8 cars in the entire lot, so that made it quite easy to find our car. We returned to our hotel in Tell City, and yes Paul, I see what you mean by the rollercoaster like quality of that road. We no sooner got into our room until we crahsed for the night. Next thing I know, my iPhone is giving me the "You have one hour to vacate the room" alarm clock. We push check out to the limit and are then on the road. I noted the Indiana University logo statues in peoples yards remind me a lot of devil's pitchforks.
Back to Trip Reports