TR: Holiwood Nights (9/26/09) - Holiday World
Santa Claus, IN
September 26, 2009
Fall Affair is the annual Coasterbuzz event at Holiday World. Flyers about it had been passed out at Holiwood Nights clear back in May, and we had pretty much decided we were a go then. That explains perfectly why Rideman and I were sweating bullets with last minute mail in registration. We had also planned to spend the night before at Halloween Haunt at Kings Island, but steady rainshowers and other issues prevented that from happening.
Halloween Haunt was part of the plan, as it would put Rideman in Cincinnati to spend the night, rather than Columbus, which would have allowed him an extra two hours sleep. He still took most of that time, which means we left for Holiday World already behind schedule. It was a pretty uneventful drive down, and we spent the time listening to, appropraitely enough, some episodes of the Coasterbuzz Podcast. In fact with just a fuel stop and a McDonalds run for breakfast, we were soon arriving in Santa Claus, IN just around 11:30.
When we arrived at the park, I showd Rideman the new parking lot access road, but we ignored it and headed to the Raven lot. Upon looking at the Raven lot, we decided the closer spaces might actually be over in Legend. We moved to the Legend lot and got a parking space very near the tunnel under the road. Soon thereafter we headed to the main gate. In the past Coasterbuzz has had their own check in booth, but I guess we missed that with our late arrival, so instead we checked in at Guest Relations. It's the standard Holiday World event procedure, we recieved a covention style plastic nametag, and a FUNvelope filled with an admission ticket, meal ticket, coupon sheet, and event schedule. This was soon followed by the traditional running all the stuff we don't need right now out to the car.
Okay, now we are really inside the park, and head for Raven. We headed right up to the Raven station, and when we peeked inside, Rideman indicated he thought lines would not be a problem. Ah, two people in line for the front seat, and the rest of the rows are empty. We of course took the opportunity to start the day off with a back seat ride on Raven. With only one train on, it goes up the lift hill at a normal rahter than a slow crawl. The ride itself was a nice start to our Holiday World day.
We then headed towards Legend, and as we were about near Scarecrow Scrambler, we saw Will Koch and stopped and chatted. I mentioned how much different this was than the crowd that was here back in August. We left us with a hearty "Enjoy your whole park ERT!"
We headed to the Legend station and where is the love for Legend. We head right for the front seat. While we ride in the front seat we can see lots of yellow markings which may suggest an off season improvement plan. For whatever reason, Legend was not running at its finest today, which runs counter to my other three days in the park so far this season.
After Legend, we did not run right for Voyage, instead we took the traditional once-around the park flat ride tour. We started with Hallowsings, then headed to Eagle's Flight. I have been getting the feeling that I've been doing something right on Eagle's Flight because the ride feels as if I should be getting action, but alas no satisfying KERCHUNK from the ride. I also figure we must be running slightly ahead of a large group as the empty Eagles' Flight queue was about a third full when we left the ride, mind you I think thats about one cycle.
From Eagle's Flight we rode Revolution, then headed to Holidog's Fun Town. We were walking around looking at Fun Town for no apparent reason. While back there I got the wild hair to go down the tallest, twistiest slide they had to offer. They have a large tree fort like play structure with numerous activities. Following the signs, I remove my shoes and contemplate how to get up to the top of the turret. There is a mini rock wall section, or a ladder followed by a cargo net bridge, it seems there is no easy staircase up. We conjectured this may be exactly to discourage overweight unathletic types like me from using the equipment. I opt for the ladder, then the cargo net bridge, as I enter the turret, Rideman reassures me he has a phone and can call somebody if I get hopelessly stuck. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Once inside the turret, its a series of mini ladder/stairs up to the top. Not the easiest climb, but nothing technically challening either. Now I am at the summit, I climb into the big metal twisty slide tube, push off, go a few feet, and then stop. Hmm, I would have thought weight would be to my advantage on a sliding board. This is sad, but I basically had to push myself down the slide. That was so disapointing. At least I didn't get stuck, or cause a scene or anything like that.
So, I make my retreat out of Holidogs Fun Town. We skip the Star Spangled Carousel and the Liberty Launch and head for Rough Riders. Rough Riders is a nice bumper car ride that has way too many cars on the floor. We still have to wonder about the pickle barrel size "Soy Sauce" container we saw in the maintenance room of Rough Riders, particulalry since we can't think of one item on Holiday World's menu that you would even remotely want to put soy sauce on.
From Rough Riders, we take a rare no wait ride on Paul Revere's Midnight Ride to confirm that it is still one of the best Spider rides out there. And again, we still seem to be just ahead of the crowd. At this time we cut through the Alamo and head to Thanksgiving. We come to Voyage and get up to the station and whats this, we have to wait. It seems the park was only running a single train on Voyage. On one hand I can't blame them when the line doesn't even reach 15 minutes single train, but that is a long time between dispatches.
After our first Voyage ride, we go and take the obligatory rides on Turkey Twirl and Gobbler Getaway, and then we went and took some photos of Pilgrims Pluge, we did not ride it because we didnt want to get wet. Remember that, it comes into our story later.
Formaliites out of the way, it was time to ride Voyage, we kept riding Voyage until about 30 minutes prior to park close. During that time we rode mostly in the heavenly airtime filled back seat, and even took the chance at a short wait front seat ride. In short we rode Voyage numerous times, and it is still the greatest wood coaster ever built.
The park was slated to close at 5:00 so at that time we started heading to the front. Along the way we stopped off at Legend for another ride. Now Legend was running a single train, and we saw the train come back empty. There was no real reason to send an empty train except as bally for the ride. "Yes, we are open!" No love I tell you.
After Legend, we grabbed a quick ride on Scarecrow Scrambler before finsihing up the regular park day with a couple rides on Raven. After Raven we wash up and head to Kringles Banquet Hall. The banquet hall has all the charm of a church social hall, maybe even less so. Maybe youth camp mess hall. It has even less charm today as the side with the christmas tree was blocked off by a room divider.
Now, you know you are at a coaster event when, the ticket says dinner is from 5:30-6:30, you arrive at 5:25 and are almost LAST in line. Luckily they did have some sausage pizza, chips, pepsi, and phudge for us. While we were eating they were talking about the really nasty rainstorm heading right for the park. Soon, they announced they were dispensing with the previously planned program for the dinner hour, that instead of the Coasterbuzz stlye progressive ERT where you move from one ride to another as a group, that all three wood coasters would be open for the entire ERT, and that instead of 6:30, the ERT starts right NOW! Now being 5:45, they had to compete with the Will/Pat prerecorded close announcement. Then they had to stress to people not to scarf down your food as people were starting to do. As a bonus the park even passed out free ponchos. Is this the most courteous park or what?
Owing to ERT starting at 5:45, they hadn't fully cleared the park yet. Not a problem, they directed everybody towards Raven, and then had an event badge check to make the turn from Christmas into Haloween. We took a ride or two on Raven where Jeff Putz was trying out his nifty HD camera setup, then we stopped by Legend as a formality. We could feel a few light drops riding Legend. We knew it was time to high tail it to Voyage.
We did get a few Voyage rides in before the rains started coming down. Ouch that first rain ride stung a little bit, and it wasn't even raiing hard then. The walk down the exit ramp we played avoid the sudden down pour as we exited the ride, then decided to wait in the station for shelter. We saw one train dispatch into the pouring rain, then we saw it come back a few minutes later with soaked riders.
What happened next boardered on insanity. We know a rain enhanced Voyage ride is not to be missed, so we grab an available seat towards the back of the train. Yes, thats right, the rain is pouring down like the end of the world, and we are BOARDING the coaster train. Did we put on the free ponchos the park offered, of course not, what chance do you really give those things of helping in this kind of rain.
They locked the train, Will and Paula looked at the proceedings in sheer amazement and amusement at what we were voluntarily going to subject ourselves to. They dispatch the train. What followed were 3 minutes of absolute insanity. Oh the pain of being shot with thousands of BB's, but oh the joy of flying over the hills at "Devil May Care" speeds. I've referred to some past Voayge rides, like the ones in May as being insane but this takes the cake. What's more insane, we return to the station and there is nobody waiting for our seat. Oh well, we are already this drenched, may as well do it again. Can't get any wetter, right? Yes, we were the same people who did not ride Pilgrim's Plunge becuase we didn't want to get wet.
After the second downpour ride, the park pulled the plug and announced it was closing. Okay, the park may not have stayed open till the advertised 7:30, but we still got a full hour of ERT, with an ending that will be remembered for a long time. Better yet those insane downpour rides were in the dark. We had it all.
Now we get to make our way back to the parking lot in the pouring rain, watch the pools of water forming on the walkways. Then, we had a light rain all the way home to Cincinnati, others reported they had storms, but I think that was becuase they were in such a rush to get to their cars. We were literally one of the last cars out of the lot.
A fuel stop, and a Steak N Shake stop then I headed home, and Rideman headed to Columbus.
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