Hey! That was me! I was quite cold in the extremities Thursday morning until just before boarding Thunderbird and then I completely forgot about being cold even in the shade of the station. Warmed up quite nicely later in the day.
You've got to consider the ride time on this one. Voyage, even with two trains, gets to MCBR just around the same time that Thunderbird makes a complete circuit. I can remember waiting a couple hours for Voyage when it first opened.
I'm finally getting around to posting my TR from Thursday's Media Day. After a long day at the park and then a long day at work Friday, plus the painfully long process of uploading photos, I just didn't have the energy to post one yesterday. Forgive me. The previous reports have been very good which was also a reason I didn't feel I had to post yesterday.
I took a metric buttload of photos and video from my phone. I apologize for the quality but even the best cameras don't capture this ride in all of its glory. Go see it for yourself. As for the ride, ride it. My first launch was from that popular front left seat. The near-miss elements (buildings, supports, trees, fences included) were pretty great on the left. I didn't quite enjoy the top of the Immelmann or the Zero-G Roll as much from the left as I did the right side. There is a noticeable fun "snap" as you flip over at the top that I felt was better experienced from the right than the left. Both are great, however. The right also offered slightly more feet-choppers than head-choppers. Having big feet made this feel even more dangerous...in a good way. I preferred the front right to the front left just for the negative G experience. However, my best rides of the day were from the back row, left side. The noticeable speed jump from the cold morning to the time that I rode in the back midday added to the experience. Also, the fly-thru barn seemed even closer to that safe envelope from the back because I could see how close it was coming to those in front of me. The rear also had a nice whip to it in and out of the loop as well as through the Zero-G and the S-Curve. For being such a short train, I wasn't expecting this. My expectations were low going in to the rear left seat but were surpassed easily after back-to-back rides in the same spot. I will say that it seems there isn't a bad seat on the whole train. Knowing that the GP will vie for that front seat spot, your ride won't be hurt by taking a seat mid-train or towards the rear if they have shorter waits. My favorite part of the ride is the horseshoe section after the loop and before the Zero-G Roll. Selection a favorite is difficult as I loved the whole ride, nothing to dislike. I liked the horseshoe most because of the feeling of soaring through the trees and barely missing all of those supports and fences. Even with early spring leaves on those trees, it felt like I could reach out and pluck a few off. I can't imagine mid-summer foliage.
The ride experience is only outmatched by the theming and detail on ride and in the plaza. Holiday World is known for being a beautiful park already but the Thunderbird Plaza area had me considering buying a season pass just to come sit and relax after a long work week. Holiday World nails it in this regard. They know that Thunderbird won't be for everyone and they have catered to those folks who have to wait for their family or friends in the long queue by offering an oasis of tranquility right next to a 0-60 in 3.5seconds launch. Maybe it was the Benadryl for my seasonal allergies but the whole area had a very peaceful and calming feeling without taking away from the intensity of the ride next door. Even when the park is full of Thunderbird riders, that area will still be a nice place to rest after a few laps. Even the gaps between the plaza's structures seem intentional for allowing the best views of Thunderbird and Voyage in the Indiana woods. Here's how the day went minus a few moments that I caught on video rather than in photos.
My guest and I arrived at the park around 6AM local time. Just in time for sunrise. Only thing missing from this photo is Raven. Thunderbird is seen just behind the trees to the left of Voyage (center).
After waiting for our badges to be handed out, we made our way towards the back of the park. Way back. The first glimpses of Thunderbird appear right around Hoosier Celebration Theater and the entrance to SS. It was like the sun was showing the way.
On the pathway from Halloween/Fourth of July to Thanksgiving. As others have said, the two rides compliment each other so well and from nearly every angle.
Due to there being ice on the Thanksgiving bridge, yes it was very cold that morning, staff detoured us under the bridge. This made for some nice views of Voyage's final turns in the morning light. Holiday World is so photogenic.
You can see the frost on the roof of Voyage's station. Until about 9AM, I hated that I wore shorts and a t-shirt.
Still making our way back to Thunderbird Plaza. The sun had rose quite a bit since we had arrived at the park. The theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey would have fit perfectly.
Voyage was looking (and riding) as good as ever.
A little over half way there....
On the way, you get little peeks at Thunderbird dancing around Voyage and through the woods. What a tease. Move faster legs!
Turning back to look at the park from where the last photo^ was taken. Yeah, it's a trek. Trek and a half, really.
Then you turn back around and see a whole new park. Where'd you come from?
Hyena Falls doesn't seem so lonely anymore. The path to TB gives a nice view of sliders coming down and into the half-pipe.
Thunderbird dwarfs everything in the area. Being on the hill also adds to its giant stature.
I remember at first some being skeptical about the orange color. It truly pops against the greenery especially after seeing Thunderbird from a webcam.
As has been said before, Crow's Nest (formerly Sparkler in the Fourth of July section) fits very well next to Thunderbird's Immelmann.
This was still on the walk to Thunderbird Plaza but, after spending all day looking at this coaster in person, it is one of the prettiest rides out there. Not only is the ride experience good enough to enjoy multiple times in one day the view is also something I couldn't stop looking at.
I almost couldn't believe Thunderbird Plaza. I'm on a virtual reality set, right? We've just stepped into the animation, correct?
Someone asked about the steam engine and its reasoning for being included in the theming. The Will Power building even says "Steam Engine Company". I think it was a very cool piece and a nice way to help camouflage those electrical lines.
Of course Santa Claus was there bright and early. A line was already forming to ride TB after the auction winners.
For those of us who enjoy theming and detail, Holiday World left nothing overlooked. Here's the gift shop next to Thunderbird's station near the rear of the plaza.
And the side of the station building. It really looks like a barn was here and they just built a roller coaster through it. Massive difference compared to Raven's 20 year old plywood house station.
From the rear of the plaza. This whole area was designed with seating and Thunderbird watching in mind. I imagine this is for those families who only have a few daring members who want to take on Thunderbird or for those needing a breather after a few circuits. There isn't a bad view around.
The spot behind the Dip N Dots stand offers the best view (and closest) of the loop and valley after the Immelmann.
Entering the station after the auction winners launch. The theming carried on in here as well. I have a full walk-thru video but can't figure out how to post it directly to the forum. The video even shows the lanterns flickering as the lightning strikes above. Pictures will do for now until you see for yourself.
Bottom of the station track for those of you who like weird stuff.
Just in case....
Even Thunderbird's inside look really great. Do I ride this coaster or just stare at it?
We settled on the silo being a hidden elevator for right side handicap riders. The left side has a long switchback ramp. If it is an elevator, that's pretty nifty.
The pre-launch room of Thunderbird is incredible. Not only is it themed with barn items and the sort, the sound effects are awesome and can almost be heard all over the park (granted the park was basically empty and nothing was running). The fog effect really adds to the launch. You can't see the first 10' or so due to having a cloud in front of your face. Flying blind is quite exciting!
COMPLETELY ORIGINAL PHOTO. ONE OF A KIND.
Launch was served and consisted of the new Smokehouse menu but was served at Plymouth Rock Cafe. It's Holiday World so do I have to explain how good the food was? The line formed a good half hour before serving. Everyone knew the quality beforehand.
After lunch and a quick lap on Legend and Raven, both of which were quite rough in the still warming air - Legend more so than Raven of course, we headed to the walk-back tour. The guide kept on both Thunderbird and Voyage ops to keep trains coming, trying his best to time them out for the coveted crossover photo. Here are the photos from that tour.
I look forward to when the park expands to this point. Again, the views were stunning.
For those who prefer the technical side of things, here's a photo of one of Thunderbird's supports. Complete with grounding wire.
The interplay between Voyage and Thunderbird is quite fun. They interact very well both off ride and on.
The horseshoe area of Thunderbird was one of my favorite to look at on the walk-back. It was like looking into a nature preserve. The ride did not take away from the scenery.
Entrance into Voyage's spaghetti bowl. Retracted and better than ever.
From the other side.
It was an incredible day at an even more incredible park. Thunderbird is a huge win for Holiday World as we would all expect. The ride, the theming, the food, and the people all make this a massive success. I'd like to send a huge thank you to RavenMaven for the invite. It put a lasting smile on my face and that's something that has been missing for quite a while. I look forward to hearing of the memories made by this awesome new addition.