TR: Stark Raven Mad
Park: Holiday World, Santa Claus IN
Date: May 5-6, 2000
Weather: Quite Warm
"Somewhere up in the sky, Harry Traver is smiling"
It's the event we've all been waiting for, my second annual Stark Raven Mad.
Chapter 1: Getting There is Half the Fun
As was fortold in my recent post, I officially left work around noon on Friday, changed at work into coasternut attire, and hit the bus stop for a quick and on schedule trip downtown, where I was to catch the airport shuttle. I went to the normal pickup spot for the airport shuttle to be met by a sign "Effective May 5, The airport shuttle pickup is now at <a point 4 blocks from me>" Well time to start running thorugh busy lunch hour downtown, made it to the pickup point and rode out to the airport. Met up with Eric Huelsman, and proceeded to Holiday World. We were making great time until that construction delay around mile marker 89 on I-64, but we made it to the park around 4:45.
Got in line got our various tickets, our agenda, and T-shirts, entered the park and procceded to our first attraction: The Doniker: Hey it's a long ride from Cincinnati!
Chapter 2: First Rides
After that we think for about 3 seconds about which coaster we want to ride first, and head directly to the Legend, Legends lift hill looks awe inspiring as soon as you pass Rudolphs Raindeer Ranch (kiddieland), passing the Raven for now, and we make the turn by the High Dive Show and Wow, what perfect placement for the station, it grabs your attention as soon as you hit the main area of Halloween, we walk past the station to the ride entrance and, WOW again the final curves around the queue area look EVIL, and it was great that the decided to leave Frightfull Falls where it is, makes for some good interaction between the two rides. The queue starts with a short stairway down from the midway into the queue area, then up the longer stairway to the station level. The station is done up like a one room schoolhouse, complete with chalkboard and school bell, (which does operate and provides the official "Legened Sound" We decided to take our fist ride in the very back seat. Which gave us time to contemplate the loud sound the ride makes as it runs its course. I swear its almost like B&M roar. There is that distinctive rat-a-tat-tat sound as it makes the turn by the station. While in line we spot some other coaster enthusasts we know (List of names way to long to mention) but as we are boarding the back seat we see Mark McKenzie who tells me "Hold On!" I don't need to hold on! So I board the train, pull down the lap bar and prepare for the Legend. A quick peppy lift apporach parades you past the midway then a quick dip by Goblin Burgers onto the chain lift. Going up the chain lift you get your fist glance at the incredible first drop. A sharp turn to the right at the top of the lift, then the drop AIRTIME and the first drop has a twist about 3/4 of the way down it. A twist to the left into the first cedar lined tunnel, then we come back up, another curve, back down over the Wautubee, back up and into the spiral drop where first we hear the antilrollback dogs tear throught he antirollback then the spiraldrop, back up over a hill AIRTIME, then another hill AIRTIME, into the second cedar tunnel, then a wierd series of turns takes us into the Double helix, but it is unlike anything I have seen first you start at the top, enter the third cedar lined tunnel, drop while in the tunel, have a small rise as you circle around th do the 4th tunnel then after the tunnel helix is pure mayhem, a sharp left to cross under the lift hill, a sharp right, down a dip past the cameras, (strobe lights), then a sharp left mere seconds before appearing to crash into the station, then another drop then the "Kick you while your down" turnaround into the brake run which stops you perfectly right outside the station, where you are brough into unload. WOW What I din't mention is that with the insane speed of this ride, every turn is accompanied by a lateral slam, and int he SpiralDrop and the Helix, the person on the right crushes the person on the left, who is pnned to the side of the car. Last week I said SOB was truly amazing and that Legend has a tough act to follow. Legend follows with amazing skill. Legend is quite easily my honorary #1 coaster (I don't do a real top ten) (Legend is also my 108th coaster credit))
Hot Damn I need to try this one again, right now. Luckily for repeat riders there is boith a ramp and a stiarway down from the station. The stairway is pparticularlyt interesting in that it feeds directly into the entrance stairway. For a while the line looked as if it was gonna head up the exit stairs in a grand circle. Later the line was moved to go along the games midway. Speaking of convenitnet is that Holdiay World now offers FREE soft drinks. Well one of the soft drink Oasis buildings is right accross from the Legend Entance/Exit.
A word on the free drink service: Amazing and done up right. Several Oasis buildings have been built around the park, some so new they still have their building permits on them. Each station has 4 or more lines, where you go inside, into an Air conditioned buiding (so it doubles as a cool zone) you get a cup (12 oz), and proceed to get your own from the machine. But what makes it amazing is the VARIETY of free drinks offered, almost every Pepsi product anyones ever heard of, including a new one to me" Storm! Is Storm! available anywhere other than Holdiay World? It is the best lemon-line soda I;ve had, not to mention fruit punch, lemonade, Iced Tea and Iced Water. I'd also like to coment that we noted no abuse of the free soft drinks, nor did we see many half drank cups sitting around.
A couple more Legend rides, then it was time to see what was happening with my good friend Raven.
Raven as you probably know now has red ratcheting lapbars and individual seatbelts, which are harder to fasten than the PTC individual belt. However that does not detract from the Raven expericne as we still managed tog et three good moments of airtime (drops 1,2 and 5)and the laterals and everything else Raven is known for is still there. And after a coule Raven rides, it was time for the pizza buffet, run things out to cars (like T-shirts) By the handstamp gsate we noted staff stamping the Legend logo onto pieces of lumber, but we were told we'd have to wait till later to get one, Back to Kringles for Pizza, fudge, chips, and soft drinks. The agenda mentioned a presentation anoyone see it? Kringles was so full that modt people finished then left to cleat the table for someone else. So we headed down to Legend to wsit in line
A coulple more Legned rides, then over to Raven, and
Chapter 3: Things That go Bump in the night
We decided to ride Raven in the very back seat, which meant that by the time we got to ride it was nice and pitch black outside. Raven in the dark is not to be missed, it is an insane trip through the woods. but then we thought, let's to Legend in the dark. Wow, since we don't quite have Legends layout figured out, this lateral filled beast did its wonders. I was reduced to white knuckling. Wow this just keeps getting better. The rest of the evening followed a Raven-Legend-Raven-Legend pattern. Then the doubles started, and wow were our legs sure feeling it. We left the ert around 11:45, tired and exhausted, picked up our block of wood with the Legend logo stamped on it. A unique giveway. And procced to our hotel.
Chapter 4: The next day
Got up (can you tell I';m still tired, this TR is not living up to my usual level of detail), got dressed, ate at Denny's and procceded to drive to the park. Where we noted a billboard "Holiday World - Exit 57" (It is usually Exit 63 coming from the East). So we pull off exit 57, turn right, and drive awhile then a fateful thing happened. On the main intersection of down, the Knights of Columbus were taking doonations. So we made a donation and asked directions. Ah, NOw we know. The Koch's ought to invest in some "Holiday World" arrows at least for the Exit 57 route. Anyhow we arrive at the park around 9:45, use our free tickets to enter, and meet the rest of the group behind the ropes. The ropes drop shortly after 10:00 and we procced to the Legend. (Again did anybody hear the presentation, we just saw normal operations). We did not ride Legend at this time, instead procceding to the back of the park to ride the Howler, a Zamperla family coaster with a unique helix like turn in the middle of it. After a quick double ride we took a tour of Holidog Town, noted the attendant issuing kids little paper 'hospital style' booties to put over their shoes to protect their shoes from the slides, or the slides from their shoes I'm not sure which. Then we headed back towards the front stoping off at Thunder Bumpers (free bumper boats), Paul Revere's Midnight Ride (Spider), noted the low food prices, headed over to ride Legend where we made it off and got over JUST in time for the photo walkback. The walkback took us along a gravel road and around both coasters. Lots of unique photo opportunities abounded. Again a wonderful gesture on the Koch's part, and a SRM tradition. We talked with Paula a short while when we hit the exit of the photo tour, then rode Frightfull Falls some more good photo opporunities, then the Legend, then it becomes a blur, we made several laps around the park, joined in and out of several groups and rode several rides. namely, Todd Long, I redeamed myself on the Eagles Flight, not ONLY getting a few snaps, but also making contact with a TREE! It took me a few Eagles Flight rides to get the hang of it, but the practice was worth it. We also did the Rapids ride (where we didn't get too wet), went on the Spider and had a most interesting Spider ride. Granted it was the Spider's first day, and the Spider has a complex control system, but I have never seen a Spider stop rotating and the arms start going up and down before! That and several attempts to try to park the Spider in the proper loading position.
Overall, the thing that sets Holidy World apart from other parks is not the great mix of family rides, its not really even the two amazingly insane coasters, its the people. Many parks preach that "Every guest shall be treated like a VIP" but Holiday World walks-the-talk. I have yet in all my trips to Holiday World yet to see even an indifferent employee, much less one in a bad mood. Each staff member seems genuinely glad you are there and is willing to help. Of special note is the Eagles Flight operator, everyone knows how welike Flying Skooters, so its no surprise that we spent a lot of time at Eagles Flight. The man they had working there in the afternoon personally greeted every person entering the ride, personally gave each group of riders the required safety instructions while checking seatbelts, and made the ride a real fun experience. Then thanked everybody as they left the ride.
And after lots of rides, and finally hitting the "No More" point on Legend. (Read that point when as soon as you pull down the lapbar, your legs cry out in agony), we made the requisite gift shop run, then headed back home, where we met and personally got to thank WIll Koch at the park exit gate.
We'll see you next year Will!
Back to Trip Reports