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Photo TR: Holiwood Nights and Beech Bend Park


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Holiwood Nights this year was my first opportunity to visit Holiday World. I first want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone at Holiday World who helped in any way to put on this event. I know things take a long time and a lot of work to accomplish, and the event was absolutely incredible.

 

To review the park properly, I’ll divide it into several categories: theming, food, service, waterpark, dark ride, water rides, flats, and coasters.

 

Theming : Above average. All areas of the park have a cohesive theme that is unbroken. Thunderbird’s plaza is by far the best themed area of the park, and the entrance plaza is outstanding as well. Some queue’s were covered, but not all. Gobbler Getaway and Thunderbird had the best queues. In general, the newer theming is better than the older, so the park is definitely going in the right direction.

 

Food: So much of it, and so good. It was like going to Grandma’s house. Need I say more?

 

Service: They really cranked it up to 11 for us. Everyone in the park, and I really do mean everyone, was so kind and friendly, and seemed to be having fun themselves. The whole place went all-out to ensure that every minute of our time there was the most awesome it could possibly be. There are not enough superlatives to describe the service.

 

Waterpark: The best I have ever been to, bar none. This was my first opportunity to ride a water coaster and a bowl slide, and I found all three of those very good. I think I preferred Wildebeest to Mammoth, but both are very fun. The airtime is better on Wildebeest, but going down the 45 degree drop on Mammoth backwards is great.

 

Bakuli was a fun experience. You really get going very fast, and the final splashdown was a satisfying ending. Zinga was the best Tornado I’ve been on due to its lengthy section in the dark before the halfpipe. The best ride I had, though, was on Zoombabwe. Three adults made for a heavy raft that climbed the side at every turn. I had to hang on tight, and I felt like I would fly out several times.

 

I went as a single rider and had no trouble being paired with a group for any of the slides that required it. Zoombabwe was the only slide where I even had an issue, and that only because I was the only person in line and just had to wait for another group to climb the stairs.

 

Dark ride: There’s just the one, Gobbler Getaway. It was corny, ridiculous, and awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a dark ride quite like it. Usually the storylines are dark or action-oriented. This ride is a comedy. I couldn’t help but smile through the whole ride, and even broke up laughing at the finale. It isn’t just over the top; it’s over the moon. I rode it six times throughout the day (helped that it was the only ride running when the storm came).

 

Water rides: Both were underwhelming. Raging Rapids managed to miss me with every water effect on my first ride—including the waterfall. On the second, only the waterfall hit me. The ride is fast and feels like a whitewater rapids, but the failure to splash makes it a dud for me. The log flume had a big splash, but it wasn’t much otherwise. Stick to the waterpark for cooling hydration.

 

Flats: The notables were Liberty Launch, Crow’s Nest, and Flying Eagles. Liberty Launch is an S&S Doubleshot tower, which I love. Single rider queue really gets through quickly, since there are 3 seats per side. Crow’s Nest is the best chairswing I’ve been on. It’s not as tall as the Windseekers or Starflyers, but I found it more fun. Plus, in its location, you get a great view of most of Thunderbird and a fair bit of Voyage too. Flying Eagles was my first opportunity to ride a flying scooters ride, and it was great! It took a bit to get used to how to control the ride, but once I learned, it was a blast flying low to the ground and then swinging up and out.

 

Coasters: Let’s take them one by one.

Thunderbird – The reason I went. I rode it in every row on both sides, and in some rows I rode in both seats. They are very different experiences. The left side spends more of its time low to the ground, and the final helix through the barn has some wonderful footchoppers. The zero-G roll is best on the left front row, inside seat. The right side has more airtime, and the Immelman slings you over the top. Right front row, outside seat was my overall favourite. It is everything the park needed, and it’s by far the most re-rideable coaster there.

 

Voyage – This is my new #2 coaster, right behind Outlaw Run. It is absolutely intense from start to finish. It has big, fast hills for the first half, and hugs the terrain afterward. The tunnels at night are really dark too, and just add to the effect. No one should boo this coaster for any reason.

 

Legend – I made the mistake of riding this for the first time on Friday night in the dark. It has so many twists that I never really knew which way it was going, and thus was slung around a lot. I came off it disoriented and sore. I gave it another shot the next morning, and once I could see where I was going, it was great! Wow, the double helix. I thought Boss’s was forceful until I rode Legend. Might be the most intense moment of any coaster I’ve been on.

 

Raven – I do not understand how such a small coaster goes so fast. The turn over the lake is the highlight, and the coaster is better in the dark. The layout is simpler than Legend’s, so I was able to quickly learn it and anticipate the turns. Back row in the dark is something else. Brilliant little ride, and the most re-rideable of the woodies.

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Obligatory sign photo.

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This is the best tilt-a-whirl.

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It's not all about the coasters, you know. They have some really good shows too.

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Lake Rudolph from the parking lot. You can see Legend and Raven peeking out from the trees.

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I really enjoyed Dive. I actually watched it twice on Saturday.

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Yes, that is real fire.

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And the high dive for the grand finale.

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Halloween is a small area, but it's really well themed. It's the more playful version of the holiday; think trick-or-treating, not haunts.

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Kringle's Kafe--THROUGH THE TREES!!!

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Holiday World's layout is incredible. There are so many views like this one, where the park seems to invite you forward.

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The 4th of July section does a really great job of showing the breadth of all things America.

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There are a few rides in the Christmas section, all for the littlest HW fans.

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I really liked the entrance plaza. They have suncreen, fluffy bunny rentals, measuring station, soda fountains, all right here. Get everything you need before the park opens. They even have a show here that starts about 30 minutes before opening.

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Another angle of the plaza.

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I never saw anything going on at this theatre.

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Somehow I just couldn't forget to include this picture.

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The Games-U-Ride installation.

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Cute things to see from the train.

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Liberty Launch is an amazing ride. I did not ride Revolution, but it's pretty to watch.

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Deep in the bowels of 4th of July lurks Holidog's lair.

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So is this spot, by Thunderbird's exit and the smoking area.

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Shiny happy people.

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WHEEEEEE!

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Switchback exit ramps. I appreciate that they have both stairs and ramps.

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Thunderbird wheely is barrels of fun! *ducks*

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The queue for Crow's Nest is a great vantage point for Thunderbird's launch.

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And this is the best chairswing.

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Proceeding toward the back of the park now, the Voyage welcomes you as boisterously as it knows how.

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Happy people about to not get wet from that geyser.

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This geyser looks impressive, but it fails to deliver.

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I love how pictureque this park is. Nearly every corner has a beautiful landscape like this.

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Flying Eagles--THROUGH THE TREES!!!

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BEWARE OF HOLIDOG!!!

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Raging Rapids was disappointing, but this view was not.

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But yeah, it's mostly about the coasters.

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And they all are utterly fantastic.

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We've been on this before, and we shall be again!

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A rush and a push and the New World is ours.

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The power of these hills is unbelievable.

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Very good barrel roll.

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The hangtime here is comparable to Outlaw Run's.

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And off she goes into the woods.

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*RAAWK* Figure of 8! Figure of 8!

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Speaking of great vantage points, I liked this one for the loop.

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You could see both coasters really well from here.

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Twisteee!

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These people are very happy right now.

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Zero-G--THROUGH THE TREES!!!

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Voyage--THROUGH THE TREES!!!

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Brake run, you know, for those who get off on that sort of thing.

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The Raven's station has a striking shape to all its windows and doors. You enter through that shape, ascending to the second floor. Whene'er I see that shape now, I will think upon the Raven, and its station doors. Quoth the Raven, "Come back for more!"

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This is the best swinging ship.

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Some intense theming here; this is a games pavilion.

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On the way home, I stopped by Beech Bend. I hadn’t been there, and the Kentucky Rumbler was so close I couldn’t pass it up. It really is a great ride. It’s in great shape, and I noticed quite a few sections with new wood. There are a few other fun rides as well; nothing else I’d travel for, but worthwhile if you’re there anyway. Honestly I wouldn’t go too far out of my way for Kentucky Rumber either—and I didn’t; it was about an hour and a half detour for me, and then continuing home. I spent about 2 ½ hours in the park, really took my time and got to experience everything I wanted to.

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This is a spinning Wild Mouse. That's all I have to say about that.

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Must freefall!

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Moby Dick ran surprisingly fast. It's a lot like the Rush Street Flyer at SFStL, but much faster. The view's not nearly as good, though.

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What goes up...

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Zero-G is a wonderful drop tower, possibly the best I’ve been on. It doesn’t slow you down until just the last second, and the entire ride is airtime. It’s almost like you’re freefalling.

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This was my first opportunity to ride a Zamperla Air Race—this addition combined with the Kentucky Rumbler was what convinced me to go. It’s a lot of fun, basically a bunch of corkscrews, but it changes direction sometimes when you’re nearly at the top, which has a great fake-out effect.

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Vortex is really great in its location over the lake. It doesn’t spin very fast at all; kind of felt more like a Disko than other pendulum rides.

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Vortex THROUGH THE TREE!!!

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Yep, they've got one of these.

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These rides look so good from across the lake.

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This was my first time on a Flying Bobs. I loved it! The swinging cars eliminate the problem most Himalayas have with shoving the riders to one side. Behind it is the Sea Dragon they purchased from Neverland Ranch.

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They REALLY want you to know it used to belong to Michael Jackson. They even play his music on the PA during the ride.

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Beech Bend has some nice midways. Good setup.

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Haunted House is a great old school dark ride. All the animatronics were working, the creepy sound effects were spot on. It was totally cheesy and totally fun.

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They have quite a few rides for the littlest ones.

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SCAT II is certainly a unique ride, but it's not for me.

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Some more kiddie rides in this pavilion.

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But of course, Kentucky Rumbler is the star of the show. It was running great, as smooth as a wooden usually is. I enjoyed it most in the back seat--it really whips you over those hills.

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The little stage in Christmas next to the games building is where Santa Claus will do story time and meet with kids. I'm not sure how often the show times are but its really cool for the little ones.

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Awesome trip report. This years HoliWood Nights was my first visit to Holiday World as well. This park is simply awesome! Legend easily became one of my all time favorite woodies, especially at night! The helix is my favorite part.

 

The staff was AMAZING! A lot of them really got into the ERT sessions which I thought was awesome.

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I am actually operating the Air Race at Beech Bend in that photo! I am glad that you had a great time, and it really is a cool ride. I love the Kentucky Rumbler and it is my favorite wooden coaster, the right seat in the front car is the best!!!

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