Hope its not too late to kick this thread up and join the discussion. These past two days I read through the Mitch Hawker poll threads for 2009 and 2010. There was so much in both about Voyage.
Voyage is my favorite coaster--by far. In fact, I would find it hard to believe someone out there is a bigger fan of the ride than me. I have not been on a pre-fab, but they look awesome, and I am sure I would love them. I do understand why some don't like Voyage. What I don't get is why those who do not like Voyage cannot believe that people who like it, actually do. It is not fanboyism. It's not the park it's in. If we happened to get better rides at HWN; that's because we know what we like and how to get it.
I have been on Voyage every year its been open except 2008 and this season (will be at HWN next week). Of the years I have gone, I have been to HWN each year, but I have also had 2 trips there that were not an event. I did not go while it was being trimmed.
I get that Voyage is too much coaster for many people. It's often interesting to me how it affects people because I will see harden enthusiasts sitting out complaining about it, and small girls just tall enough to ride laughing the whole way the same day. I don't mean this as a dig against people who cannot enjoy the ride. It is just evidence to me that the ride negatively affects a certain type of person.
I have had the pleasure of taking several coaster novices to HW to ride Voyage and some loved it, one only loved it after taking some left over pain meds she had, and some cannot handle it. If you are prone to headaches from jostling, this ride is not for you. I know several people like that, can empathize without experiencing what they are going through, and thankfully I do not share their pain. Last year I dated the girl I took to HWN for about 2 months after. In our last fight she was still screaming at me for taking her in the back seat of Voyage for her first ride!
So the question is how can I like a ride that is so painful? First off, it does not hurt me even though I 100% believe that it hurts those who claim it does. I don't believe however the trouble it that it is a bad ride. It is one thing for an over-breaked Mean Streak to bounce around like a jack hammer while going 15 miles per hour, and quite another for a ride to toss you around like a rag doll because it is going faster than most coasters would over the track it has (takes the elements much faster than you would expect it to). A term I coined to describe Voyage when it first opened was "violently aggressive". That is much different to me than just rough. There is nothing aggressive about Mean Streak or Son of Beast. They are just terrible rides.
There were times where part of the ride were somewhat rough as well when I rode it. The bunny hop at the end of the turnarond was a brace yourself moment till they fixed it, as was the hop before the final 90 degree turn. I have been there when there was some extra rattling at the bottom of the big hills too. It was not really that bad to me, but I will concede it may have been worse when I was not there. I don't think this is the main problem with the ride for most people however.
The turnaround on this ride is insane, and the return trip after the first cross-under takes you into a world never before seen in the coaster community. These parts are too much for many people, and they are also exactly why I love the Voyage. Sure Voyage has a lot of air. So do many coasters. What sets it apart is the insanity that most coasters don't even hint at, but Voyage supplies with an excessive helping. The last part of Raven after drop 5 is insane as well, but so little in comparison with Voyage.
If Phoenix was a by-the-book well measured mixed drink, Voyage would be a glass of Captain with a shot of Coke. If Thunderhead was sex, Voyage would be great rough sex. After riding it, all other coasters seem so vanilla.
Please keep in mind there is something a little wrong with people who crave the ridiculously strong drink or rough sex, but they really do like it. You don't have to question them on that.
Somewhere in this thread, the question was asked if Voyage would be ranked so high if it were in a Six Flags park. The obvious answer is no because Six Flags would not repair the track like HW does, they would trim the fun out of it, and they may even reprofile parts. If Six Flags hypothetically forgot all their normal behavious and kept the ride just like HW does, I think it would rank about as high. Some people would not go back as much due to the park, but the ride would still stand on its own merit. This is not shot at just Six Flags. In my opinion, Voyage is too much for corporate parks, and most private parks too.
At the beginning of this post, I pretty much claimed to be the biggest fan of Voyage. This ride completely changed me. Before Voyage was built, I was going out and riding new rides all the time. Now I keep going back to HW. I even stopped buying season passes to my homepark. The Voyage was so good that it somewhat ruined other rides for me. It took me forever to get to Cedar Point to ride Maverick, but I finally did. There are so many other rides that I really have to get to. Now I want to get back to riding more things even though I do have a HWN trip next week. I've a lot of catching up to do.
I do understand why some people don't like it. If it gives you headaches or makes your body sore, I get that. Also, when someone tells me that being stapled on El Toro hurts them due to their body dimensions, I get that too even if I don't think I would have the same opinion. I can understand why some people would rate pretty much every coaster low for one reason or another. Claims of "rigged ballots" just due to an unpopular vote do not meet my standards for agreement.
What I do not understand is questioning a high rank as misguided or deluded. If I am only kidding myself that I like Voyage because it is in HW, maybe you are kidding yourself that a ride with a midcouse 15 seconds after the first drop is all that because it is in a location only cool people can make it to. Both arguments are equally nonsensical to me.
When I read through these threads, some of the negative comments of Voyage went a bit too far. Some of the positive ones did too. I like to read differing opinions without feeling like those who disagree with me think I'm a fool. Sometimes it is an intellectual exercise. Sometimes you take a little of what you hear. Sometimes you may even do a 180 eventually...but only if you get the message in a respectful way.
Will the new trains fix Voyage? Yes and no. It will probably and hopefully mean less track work for HW. Hopefully the intensity of the ride will not be reduced. It will not help those who rank it ninety-something because it will still be designed to throw you around like a rag doll.
If one lap on the Voyage gives you a migraine and ruins your day, please by all means rank it last on your ballots each year or wherever you think it deserves to be. The polls are an average of opinions and experiences and yours are just as valid as mine. However, when I tell you that I can ride it 20 times in a row without a bruise, headache, or soreness today or tomorrow; please do not suggest that I or people like me are deluded and really in a lot of pain. I am not that dumb. If I have to go to the hospital after Voyage ERT, it is because my you know what lasted longer than 4 hours.