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I know this is a bit shocking but since getting a beer meant standing in a 30-45 minute line it just wasn't in the cards at Kings Island.

This statement is disturbing. Usually the beer garden of Fest Haus (or whatever the f*** it's called) have the shortest lines for beer.


Glad you had a good trip. We love the hell out of KI and we're looking forward to our trip next week. The park is staying open until Midnight for a the next several Saturdays in a row. They also claim these Saturdays will have bigger and better fireworks, which is probably why they're skimping on the regularly scheduled display.

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Awesome report! There's always at least one point in your reports where I audibly laugh, which is rare on the internet . Anyway, hopefully you'll be at HW a day that I'm working (ride op in the lower Thanksgiving area). Hope to see ya there!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the feedback guys!


Gotta love truck stops...


Did you happen to get into any of the gift shops or pancake houses in Pigeon Forge? They're a mix of the shirts you featured with a ton of Jesus/God rip-off sh#t thrown in for good measure. Freaking hilarious to spend time gawking at just how seriously stupid the t-shirts are.

Just Goats on the Roof, some shirts were ridiculous but the goat ones were funny. I think Brit actually bought one.


You haven't experienced this yet

LOL at "yet"


Awesome report! There's always at least one point in your reports where I audibly laugh, which is rare on the internet . Anyway, hopefully you'll be at HW a day that I'm working (ride op in the lower Thanksgiving area). Hope to see ya there!

Thanks! This was over Memorial Day weekend, so not quite "real time", but by my procrastination standards it might as well be.


Anyway, on to day 2!




After our awesome day at Kings Island, we woke up the next morning in the budding metropolis of Florence Kentucky (which is really only a few minutes over the border). In all seriousness, while anyone who hasn't been to Florence, KY would assume (simply by it's name) that it's located somewhere near East Bumblefuck-tucky where the only recreational activities are cow tipping, muddin' and being the reason I have to show my ID when buying Sudafed; it's actually a cool place. Florence is really a Cincinatti suburb, so it's full of restaurants, bars, shopping malls and I'm pretty sure they even have a minor league baseball team.


Unfortunately we didn't have a ton of time to spend there since we had a busy day planned. A few days out it became clear that (aside from Friday which we spent at Kings Island) weather would be a major factor all weekend long. While no day was going to be a washout, every day called for random severe storms that could arrive at any point so we were prepared to be flexible with our plans. Being from the northeast, just checking the weather was an adventure. Accuweather specifically mentioned "Damaging tornadoes, major property damage and baseball sized hail" for both Saturday and Sunday. I've never seen a forecast like that before so we were slightly alarmed, but while enjoying our hotel breakfast and watching the non-reactions from the locals I quickly realized that it was just another day in Florence, KY.



The day's forecast

Because of the weather we hadn't yet bought any park tickets or booked any hotels for the rest of the trip and we honestly had no clue where we would end up that night. The plan was to hit Kentucky Kingdom and Holiday World (taking as long as necessary to do so depending on weather) and then spend the rest of our weekend at Cedar Point with no clue when we would actually get there. We also had a passing thought of checking out Coney Island in Cincinnati if it was convenient to do so but that was never a "must-do".


As we left out hotel we noted that it was approximately nine million degrees outside with the humidity resting at a pleasant seven thousand percent. Initially we had thought of heading to Holiday World first and then backtracking (which we had to do anyway) to Kentucky Kingdom but since I'd heard about Kentucky Kingdom's crap-tastic weather policy we decided to head there first since it was sunny when we arrived in Louisville and it looked like we had a window to get some rides in before the park was inevitably destroyed by a tornado that afternoon.


We took advantage of Kentucky Kingdom's awesome "out of state" discount which is honestly a pretty amazing deal. I get the idea that nobody actually pays for general admission at this park since general admission is listed at 49.95 and a season pass is only 99.95 so locals will likely all get that. If you're not a local and don't want a season pass then you can get in for $29.95 which includes TWO DAY admission (which we probably wouldn't need but it was a nice backup plan given the forecast) and free soft drinks!


As we got closer to the park, Lightning Run and Storm Chaser appeared to our right and the hype slowly started building. We got to our exit, pulled up to the parking booths, forked over the (very reasonable) parking fee and proceeded into the sh*t show of a parking lot where the hype continued to build since it took us forever to figure out how to park the car.


I see what they were going for here, and I sort of like it in theory... but wtf? If you've ever been to Hershey, you know that they found an efficient way to use the same entrance road and parking tolls for an arena, outdoor stadium / concert venue and a theme park and have found a highly efficient way to direct traffic where they need to go depending on what's going on. This, however is not Hershey. Paying the parking fee grants you access to a giant loop called the "Circle of Champions" that provides access to Kentucky Kingdom, the State Fair, the Exposition Center, Freedom Hall, some weird Football / Baseball stadium and Broadbent Arena and has absolutely no signs or competent parking attendants.


Upon entering the lot we made a right (which you have to do) and were immediately directed by a 14 year old kid in a bright orange vest into a parking lot for the arena where a high school graduation was taking place. We tried to explain that we were going to Kentucky Kingdom but he just kept waving his plastic stick thing so we pulled into the lot, parked the car, looked around, realized we were nowhere near the park and then bolted out of there (dodging the kids in graduation caps and gowns) when he wasn't looking. Once we left that lot, we encountered another kid who was directing us to exit the circle of champions. Obviously we couldn't exit since we had just paid to park so we just straight up drove right around him, completely ignoring everything he told us to do and soon after we finally arrived at what appeared to be the Kentucky Kingdom parking lot.


Unlike everywhere else, there were no parking attendants in the Kentucky Kingdom lot at all. It was basically just a complete free-for-all but we managed to get a spot near the gate. There were a decent amount of people there that had somehow managed to evade the idiot parking attendants but we could tell that lines weren't going to be an issue for us at all. We walked along the "welcoming" barbed wire fence (I guess plenty of people are skipping out on that $29 2 day ticket), got our tickets and headed through the gates, excited for the great morning that was sure to follow.



We made it!

Upon entering the park, I was immediately impressed with how nice everything looked. I knew that as a Six Flags park this place had a bad reputation and I knew that it had been sitting abandoned for years but we were really impressed to see that basically everything in the park looked like it was brand new. Every building had a fresh coat of paint, the rides looked great, the colors were warm and inviting and the park even had a fair amount of trees.


We didn't have much of a plan, but we headed left at the Kentucky Kingdom sign and eventually made our way over to Lightning Run. We were happy to see that the ride was a station wait, but once we got in the station we realized that the short wait time wasn't for lack of effort on the part of the ride ops. These guys took FOREVER to send a train... I'm talking at least 8 minute dispatches. We didn't really care since the line was so short and we were actually pretty entertained by it since we had been warned ahead of time and had set our expectations accordingly but god damn.


After waiting about 25 minutes for them to send 3 trains we were in the front row and totally hyped up for our Lightning Run adventure. Obviously this ride is universally praised by absolutely everyone so our expectations were sky high and thanks to the atrocious dispatch times the anticipation had a good 7 more minutes to build once we were strapped in! Woohoo!


We only got one ride on Lightning Run (and no pictures... oops) but I thought it was a great little coaster. The restraints are really weird, but they didn't really detract from the ride. The ride might be a tad overhyped (the fact that people prefer it to Storm Chaser is nuts to me), but it had a nice amount of airtime, some great transitions and is a pretty awesome ride for such a small space. Lightning Run gets a big thumbs up from me!


After Lightning Run we headed over the bridge to Thunder Run. We actually did quite a bit of backtracking here since the park layout is really weird (though not AS weird as I was expecting) but eventually found it and got in line.



Riders happily ascending the lift as we approached the ride, completely unaware of the murderous rampage they were about to become a part of...

As we were walking through the queue I had noticed that I hadn't seen a train run in awhile but since the line was open we thought nothing of it. As we got to the station we were greeted with a station wait but an empty train and a bunch of guys standing around. The ride operator (who was awesome by the way) got on the PA system and apologized for the brief delay in operation and then informed us that it was "all for a damn bird", clearly fighting back laughter.


After talking with some people in line, it became clear that a poor bird had managed to get himself

and they were waiting on maintenance to come up and retrieve it. Apparently the incident happened on a train that was completely full except for one row in the middle of the train which just so happened to be the one where the bird ended up. After a few minutes, maintenance headed up the ramp, strangely devoid of bags, tongs, gloves or anything you would expect them to have for the job at hand.



Our brave heroes have arrived...

I'm happy to report that the guys they have working maintenance at Kentucky Kingdom are the exact "Good Ol' Boy" types you had imagined that they would be so the first guy up the stairs walked over to the train, loudly exclaimed "well damn...", grabbed the bird with his bare hands, carried him out of the station and threw him in a nearby trash can to an eruption of laughter and cheers.


Once they left the ride op opened the gates and loaded the train (leading to another eruption of cheers) but that one row cycled empty... either as a subtle memorial to the deceased bird or because nobody wanted to sit there since they didn't bother to wipe it down or really do much of anything because you know... Kentucky.


They let that train go twice since they had to wait so long, but once they pulled in the second time we hopped into the front row, assumed the "Mean Streak" position and prepared ourselves to deflect any suicidal birds we might encounter.


I have to say, this ride is quite good. It's nothing amazing, but since it's layout is so similar to Hurler it definitely exceeded our expectations since it blows those rides to hell (I mean... you don't see many birds so excited to ride Hurler that they risk death to jump in empty row now do you?). The ride is a little jerky but it's nothing too bad and I don't see that as a major issue on a wood coaster.


We contemplated re-riding, but the one train operations and ominous clouds had us thinking otherwise and we decided to get one ride on everything just in-case the storms started to roll in. Speaking of storms... our next stop was my most anticipated coaster of the day, Storm Chaser! (How's that for a segue? Awful? Well f*ck you then.)



... good lord this thing

As we walked up to the ride we were thilled to see that it had absolutely no wait whatsoever. Our timing couldn't have been more perfect as we got to the station, headed for the back row and had a train pull in as soon as we got up to the gate. Within seconds we were strapped in and ready to go.


Prior to Storm Chaser our only RMC coasters were Wicked Cyclone and Lightning Rod, both of which we love. Because of it's size I was sort of expecting a toned down version of those rides, but I'm happy to report that Storm Chaser blew my (already high) expectations away. Despite it's size, this thing absolutely hauls. I can't believe they managed to pack this much crazy into such a small space. The transitions are insane, the barrel rolling first drop is awesome, the airtime is completely nuts and the entire thing is OMFG insane from start to finish. I'd love to give some type of play by play review of the ride, but it's so disorienting and crazy that it's almost impossible to do that. After awhile you don't even know which way is up, the right turns bank left, they put barrel rolls where there should never be barrel rolls... god damn.



So good!

As badly as I wanted to ride Storm Chaser again (and again) and never get off, the sky was getting darker so we decided to head towards the back of the park. I have to say, while we were very excited to be at Kentucky Kingdom I think it's possible that Kentucky Kingdom was even more excited to see us!



Hats off to whoever got their boss to approve this. Yes, that's a fountain coming out of the top and yes it's a waterfall for the rapids ride.

Highly amused, we continued on through dick rock canyon and eventually arrived at the coaster that needs no introduction... T3!


We walked up to the (fittingly) empty station and were prepared to hop in line for a middle row (where there's a chance of a slightly less terrible experience) but we noticed that the gates were open and the back row was empty so we figured that since we were in for a world of pain anyway we might as well just get it over with. We hopped aboard the pain train and noted the really stupid restraints with weird clicky ball, joystick looking things to hold on to. Brit was scared of them for some reason because she thought they would release the restraints (which is half true I guess) and I informed her that if they were really eject buttons then she should prepare for me to hit them mid-ride as an attempt to bail before the Vekoma barrel rolls from hell.


The ride itself was as punishing as terrible as I figured it would be with the new train doing absolutely nothing to improve it. When I exited I think I actually texted Boldikus (who was living vicariously at work... payback for him sending me El Toro pictures from opening day last year when I was at work) that it "sucked a** and needed to be put on a rocket and launched into the sun".


Brit on the other hand absolutely loved the thing. She wasn't a big fan of Lightning Run's restraints and RMC's sort of freak her out if she has nothing to hold on to so she told me that she loved it and it was her favorite ride in the park. Yeah... you read that right.



Brit basking in the greatness of T3, her favorite ride in the park... I sh*t you not.

My first reaction was (of course) of great concern, I assumed that she had obviously experienced a massive blow to the head from one of the many horrific elements that the Vekoma gods had just provided us with but she seemed to be walking okay, her eyes weren't strangely dilated, she wasn't light headed from the insane heat and nobody in the parking lot had sold her any drugs so I have no real explanation for this one. I guess some people just like horrendous coasters.


After experiencing the sheer brilliance of T3, the clouds were looking really ominous so we decided to score one last ride on Storm Chaser and head out. We headed over to Storm Chaser (passing up the Eye of the Storm credit) and were treated to another amazing ride. I still can't get over this thing... I mean, I know it's no T3 but it wouldn't be fair to compare it to that level of brilliance so it would have to do.



I could get used to this...

After Storm Chaser, we walked through the crosswalk to the other side of the park (yeah... seriously), popped in a gift shop for a Kentucky Kingdom Christmas ornament and headed towards the exit. On the way we noticed that the Roller Skater was actually a pretty respectable ride with plenty of adults riding so we snagged a ride on that (and really enjoyed it, though I wish it went around twice), got some free soda and got in the car just before the rain came for our short drive over to Holiday World.


Kentucky Kingdom is an absolute blast. With the short lines, great coasters, fun looking flats (though we didn't have time for them) and great prices we were really impressed. On top of that it was a great looking park and they seemed to be very concerned with making sure everything looked welcoming, clean and well maintained. This place greatly exceeded our expectations and if they ever get another major coaster we'll gladly return!



Bye Kentucky Kingdom! Ignore the family on a bench that are now a part of TPR trip report lore, despite the background there was an apocalyptic cloud on the way so we snagged this picture in a hurry before bolting to the car. We didn't really have time to pay attention to details.


Up next, Holiday World!

Edited by coasterbill
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Great report of Kentucky Kingdom! I'm on Team Storm Chaser like you. If that really is one of the worst RMCs, I really need to get around and ride all of the other ones. Storm Chaser is still a borderline top 10 steel coaster for me.


T3 is one of the better SLCs due to the restraints not beating your head, but it terms of how the trains tracked it, T3 is among the worst. I'm kind of puzzled how that ride could be anyone's favorite in the park, but to each their own.

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I don't know why it took me so long to subscribe to this thread. Bill, you have some of the best trip reports on this board, and a writing style that never fails to make me laugh. If you don't write professionally for a living, you need to contemplate a career change.


(Unless you like actually making money. In which case, stick with whatever you're doing.)

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Great TR, Bill. I can't believe KK's staff didn't even spray down the area where the dead bird was on Thunder Run, haha. That's surprising to me seeing how clean the park is. Outside of the obvious GCI Goodness and the Beast, I'm not too much of a traditional wooden coaster fan and I hate the Hurler layouts. However, like you, I found Thunder Run really a lot of fun.


Storm Chaser is great. I think we got four rides on it. The thing is, the more I rode it the more I loved the first half and dreaded the second half. It's a little too out of control for me and the small elements began to feel more like violent convulsions than coaster elements. As a result, Lightning Run was our overall favorite.


It sucks we missed you by a couple days. There are a ton of scenic spots to grab a beer in this park, with an added bonus of no beer prison.

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Thanks guys!!!


I'm kind of puzzled how that ride could be anyone's favorite in the park


Nobody's as puzzled as I am, believe me.


It sucks we missed you by a couple days. There are a ton of scenic spots to grab a beer in this park, with an added bonus of no beer prison.


Yeah, that's definitely a bummer. I'm sure we'll run into you at some point though (we definitely go on enough road trips, lol). If we ever get back to this park I'm definitely planning to spend more time there. Louisville itself seemed pretty cool too. I took notice of the Brewery and Smokehouse in the baseball stadium, we couldn't work it into our schedule this time but I could definitely see going back and spending a day in Louisville between the park / city and maybe even the ballpark.


Awesome as usual! Everyone loves Dick Rock Canyon. It's probably the best thing about that park.




Anyway, on to Holiday World...




As a storm started to move in, we traded in the "Circle of Champions" for the "Straight Line of Corn Fields".


I'll be honest, there was something about the drive from Louisville to Holiday World that I really enjoyed. The farms, rolling hills and open fields were absolutely beautiful and I'm sort of annoyed with myself for not getting any pictures. Brit probably would have taken some, but she saw an opportunity for an hour long nap and she capitalized on it. I can't say that I blame her.


One thing that I found odd is that there's a time change between the two parks, but no signs telling you about it. For a good portion of the drive we had no idea what time it was which was kind of cool. but I did appreciate the GPS telling us that we would arrive in 30 minutes, 30 minutes ago. The time change made the day far less stressful since we had "extra time" to get some rides in (if we ended up needing it).


As we kept driving, we would see an occasional billboard for Santa Claus, Indiana, mainly for the park or the massive Christmas Shop. We didn't know much about the town but we were getting the idea that it was a fun tourist trap of a place that capitalized on it's name so we decided that we might want to block out some time to drive around and check out all of the great Christmas stuff and tourist attractions that they were sure to have. When we got to our exit we were pretty excited to see what was in store, so as we got to the top of the ramp we were surprised to be greeted by....


... absolutely f*ck nothing. Seriously... nothing. There wasn't even a traffic light at the end of the ramp (exit ramps with stop signs generally mean you're in the middle of mokey f*ck nowhere, fine by me but surprising nonetheless). Apparently the park is 15 minutes from the exit of I-64 and there is absolutely nothing between the exit and the park but a long 2 lane road and a ton of farms. The billboards had us hyped up for some cute little tourist town but when we started getting close to the park we were pretty much convinced that our GPS was screwing with us. Finally, after the 738th consecutive farm we made a slight turn and (not surprisingly) found a 739th farm BUT this one had a huge, shiny orange B&M behind it.


We came to the conclusion that the entire town of Santa Claus basically consists of Holiday World, a Christmas Store, a Dollar general and a gas station so we quickly abandoned our plan to spend any time checking out the other “tourist attractions” but it was hard to be disappointed too much by the town itself with that awesome looking B&M beast beckoning.



We made it!

I'll be honest. I was REALLY excited to check out Holiday World. I had been hearing but amazing things about the park and it's legendary (lol) coaster collection for the good part of 2 decades and it seemed almost surreal to finally be standing at the gate, watching a Raven train ascend the lift hill.


Because of our flexible schedule, we bought our tickets at the gate and paid a premium for it. They definitely didn't come cheap (at $100 for both of us) but I was so happy to be at Holiday World that I barely cared. We stepped through the front gate into the Christmas section and after a quick pit stop at the restrooms we started exploring the park.


One thing that we immediately noticed was the strange layout. The front gate is located at the top of a large hill with the road on the right, so you have the option of either heading straight through the Christmas section and back to the kids area or left which takes you down a heavily wooded path to the coasters and Splashin' Safari.


Obviously we went left, and almost immediately we found ourselves at the iconic Raven.


Raven is the coaster that really put this park on the map. While I had heard that it's since been overshadowed by Legend and Voyage I was incredibly excited to finally ride the coaster that enthusiasts have been praising nonstop for 20 years. We wouldn't have to wait long as the oppressive heat had forced just about everyone into Splashin Safari and the ride lines were nonexistent across the board all day. As we strapped in and ascended the lift, it started to hit me that I was FINALLY about to experience the famous Raven. We made a slight turn on top of the lift, headed down the drop and...




While the layout was definitely sort of cool, this ride was a rough pile of sh*t. The laterals were extremely aggressive (and not in a good way) and the ride pretty much jackhammered throughout the entire course. Near the end of the ride, I found myself wishing it would end. Looking back I can appreciate the layout and the turn over the lake, but this was a one-and-done for us. Very disappointing.


After vowing never to ride that again (or vowing to ride it... "nevermore" if we want to be festive), we walked down a little further and came across Legend. Legend was another coaster I had been hearing about for years, but I was sort of skeptical since Raven turned out to be such a massive turd sandwich. Unfortunately I have to say that I was probably right to be skeptical. This ride was running slightly better than Raven, but I still wasn't a fan. It looks like they did some work on the first drop and that part was really enjoyable, but the rest of the ride was a jackhammering lateral sh*t storm. This ride also had a cool layout and I did enjoy it more than Raven, but we were pretty disappointed when we got off of this one also. I loved the layout, tunnels and interaction with nearby rides but this thing was really uncomfortable and (like Raven) it didn't live up to the hype at all.



Here's a blurry legendary turd of a picture to go with this legendary turd of a ride...

I'll admit that when we got off Legend I couldn't help but be a bit annoyed. I've never felt this way in a park before, but I honestly started to wonder if we had wasted our time and money by going there. We had coughed up $100 and gone on a ridiculous road trip to visit a park that was hyped up by everyone but 2 of their most iconic coasters were complete sh*t and we knew we were headed for Voyage which (by all accounts) was even rougher and less re-rideable than Legend and Raven. I'm sure the oppressive heat wasn't helping matters but we were definitely a little disappointed and annoyed. We had ridden 3 wood coasters that day including the famous Raven and Legend and Thunder Run was EASILY the best. We definitely didn't think we'd be saying that.


As we got to the bottom of the hill we entered the Thanksgiving section and approached Voyage. Part of me just wanted to walk right past it and ride Thunderbird since we knew that no matter how terrible the other coasters were, Thunderbird was bound to be smooth, re-rideable and all around awesome. Reluctantly though we entered the queue and were met with a 10 minute line for the front row.



You can't help but be impressed by this imposing structure.

I had heard a lot about how violent this ride was so I wasn't really all that excited for it (even before riding Legend and Raven). I knew it had it's fans, but recently the reviews haven't been good at all so we had really low expectations as we strapped in and ascended the lift and dropped off into the woods.


Okay. I have to say, this ride...











Unlike those 2 pieces of crap at the front of the park, this ride wasn't rough at all! Aggressive? Hell yeah. Forceful? Absolutely. Rough and tough to re-ride? Hell no. This ride is absolutely awesome from start to finish and was probably the biggest surprise of the trip. It delivers tons of airtime, has an awesome layout, has tunnels that are so deep it must be 30 degrees colder when you're inside them and has a crazy, out of control finale to put the final exclamation point on this awesome beast of a coaster. Honestly this thing feels more like a steel hypercoaster than a traditional wood coaster.


The first half is all about huge airtime hills, the turnaround is great and the entire way back to the station is the perfect combination of airtime, crazy laterals, awesome visuals and really cool tunnels. While I wouldn't say it's on the same level as the RMC / Intamin wood coasters, it's definitely the best "traditional" wood coaster I've ever had the pleasure of riding aside from Phoenix. In the course of a few minutes, Voyage managed to completely sway our opinion of the park and put us both in great moods.


Once we got off Voyage we were tempted to re-ride, check out Gobbler Getaway or get something to eat at the famed Plymouth Rock cafe, but we remembered the forecast and decided to head up and get our ride on Thunderbird first.


Going back to this park's layout, it's really weird. Voyage and Splashin Safari are basically in a valley with the entrance up a hill on one side and Thunderbird up a hill on the other. Getting to Thunderbird requires walking around the abandoned eyesore of a water ride, up a hill with very few trees (though the park did add some shade canopies) and passing the most oddly places waterslide complex ever. Once you get to the top though you're greeted with a nice plaza featuring the "Crows Nest" ride, a restaurant. a great view of the surrounding area and a beautiful station and queue area.



I have no idea what the camera did here but the riders all seem like ghost people.

Unlike many enthusiasts, we LOVE B&M wing coasters. I get the complaints about forcelessness, but in my mind these rides don't have to be forceful. They're fun, fast and provide a really unique sensation of flight. I absolutely love them. Given the fact that this coaster generally receives positive reviews from people that don't generally enjoy this coaster type, we knew we were in for a treat.


Before I get to the ride, I really want to stress that the queue itself is really great. It's well themed, but open in the back so you have a great view of the countryside from the hilltop that the ride is perched on. After walking through the (thankfully) empty series of switchbacks we headed up into the barn-like station and into a short queue for the front row.


Within a few short minutes, we were strapped in and ready to fly. Brit was super pumped as she's convinced the sun rises and sets with B&M wing coasters and I'm happy to say that this ride absolutely lives up to the hype (was there ever any doubt?).


The ride starts out with a short pre-launch sequence with mist effects. it's nothing special, but we weren't expecting it so we were pretty impressed. The train then launches down the launch track, through a surprisingly forceful (for a wing coaster) series of inversions and turns. The first half of the ride is great, but Thunderbird really shines once it hits the first barrel roll. That element is definitely my favorite part of the ride as (for a wing coaster) it's very forceful and it's close proximity to Voyage and the nearby trees only serves to make it more awesome.


After the first roll it hits a small hump and then proceeds to do another turn and barrel roll keyhole element through a wood barn (complete with fake hand cutouts that had crashed through the building) before finally hitting the brakes. This ride is SUCH a home run.



We love Thunderbird!!!!

Thunderbird would have been a great addition to any park, but Holiday World really, really needed this ride. It's smooth soaring elements are the perfect compliment to the rest of their lineup full of aggressive, often rough wood coasters. This is the kind of coaster that's not only an absolute blast to ride, but also highly re-rideable.


On that note, we decided that before we walked back down the hill we might as well put it's re-rideability to the test and re-ride on the opposite wing (still in the front seat). Of course, the ride delivered once again and still riding a Thunderbird high we decided to head back down the hill to see what else the park had to offer.


Wanting a break from the heat, our next stop was Gobbler Getaway. Gobbler Getaway is the park's Sally dark ride where riders shoot (um... I mean "call") Turkeys and unlike the version we had ridden a few days prior at Kings Island, this one was in great shape. The targets all worked, the effects all worked and we had way more fun on this ride than any 2 adults had any right to have.


When we exited Gobbler Getaway we noticed some dark clouds starting to roll in and since we still had one ride we needed to make absolutely sure we rode, we booked it back up the hill to the front of the park.









Oh did you think I was going to whore the kiddy coaster or something? What kind of filthy whore do you think I am? Nah... we skipped that sh*t. We had better things to do.


Since it was approximately eleven million degrees out, I was worried that the flume would have a long line but it seems like it's location is both a blessing and a curse.


On one hand, it required us to walk all the way up the hill on a ridiculously hot and humid day to ride it. On the other hand, nobody else felt light walking up the hill on a ridiculously hot and humid day to ride it either so it had no line.


The flume itself is a simple one, it starts out in a tunnel, makes a few turns, drops through the Legend and then comes back to the station but (as with all flumes) we loved it! Not only is it a cute little ride, but it provides JUST the right level of wetness and the park was even nice enough to chlorinate the water. Frightful Falls gets a big thumbs up from me!


After braving the falls, we decided that we might as well hit Liberty Launch while we were still on top of the hill. Liberty Launch was great, providing amazing ejector airtime and a great view. I really wish there were more of these short S&S shot towers. They're much better than their larger counterparts.


Once we exited Liberty Launch we decided it was finally time to head back down the hill and grab some lunch / early dinner. It was clouding up, but we decided to pass on a quick Voyage ride on the way, figuring once we ate we would spend the rest of the day on Voyage and Thunderbird. Sadly that ended up being a mistake.



So good...

For those who aren't familiar, Plymouth Rock Cafe's specialty is "Thanksgiving Dinner" type foods. Brit went with the more traditional turkey dinner but I can't pass up a good brisket. I ended up getting it with a dinner roll, mac and cheese and sweet potato casserole and it was absolutely wonderful. While I don't want to make any specific recommendations since I get the feeling that everything they make it great, I do really love that sweet potato casserole. I can't speak for the rest of the park's food, but Plymouth Rock Cafe is easily one of the best theme park restaurants in America.


Unfortunately for us, as we were eating an announcement came over the park's PA system that all rides were closing for weather. We figured we'd wait it out in the restaurant, but about 45 minutes later it was yet to start raining so we figured we'd do what everyone else in the park was doing and head over to Gobbler Getaway. Brit was demanding a rematch anyway since I schooled her the first time, and sadly for her the same thing happened again the second time.


This of course meant that we needed to do a best 3 out of 5, but after she (by some minor miracle) won the 3rd time, I won the 4th to save us from a 5th (and 4th consecutive) Gobbler Getaway ride at which point the ride ops would probably start to worry about our mental well-being and start asking questions.


When we got off the ride it was still pouring and it showed no signs of letting up on the radar so we decided to head up to the front gate, buy a Christmas ornament (and by the way... how the hell does a park named Holiday World with an entire section themed to Christmas have such a piss poor selection of Ornaments?) and head out.


While our Holiday World experience started off slow and it was cut short by rain, we had a great time. The staff was amazing, the food is great, the park is very nice (aside from the Thanksgiving section which looks a bit thrown together and has a giant abandoned ride sitting in the middle of it) and they have two awesome signature attractions in Voyage and Thunderbird.


When we arrived at the car, we thought we had our fill of thrill rides for the day but it turned out the most terrifying was yet to come.


While eating dinner and waiting out the storm, I had gone ahead and booked our room for the night. Since this trip was all about backtracking, it turned out that the best solution was to check back in to the hotel we had just checked out of back in the hustlin' bustlin' township of Florence, Kentucky. Unfortunately, getting there was a bit of a sh*t show.


You'll remember that in my last trip report I had mentioned the forecast. Well... they weren't kidding.


We popped on the radio on the way home and it turned out that every station was playing the Midwest's favorite summer jam... an emergency alert from the National Weather Service about the pending apocalypse.


The skies darkened, the wind picked up and then out of nowhere we were hit with a barrage of hail. When leaving Kings Island the night before we had also encountered hail which caused me to slow way down, pull into the slow lane and watch the locals continue to fly down the road at 80 MPH and presumably laugh their a**es off at the p*ssy from New York as they drove by.


Not wanting to be "that guy" with New York plates who was driving like a p*ssy for a second day in a row, I didn't adjust my speed that much this time but after awhile we could barely see and it became pretty terrifying. The sky was pitch black and we saw what appeared to be a funnel cloud up ahead. It probably wasn't one, but we could barely see anything and we were absolutely convinced we were about to die. As we kept driving, we saw a semi truck with it's hazards on driving 10 MPH and came to the realization that even the locals and professional drivers were preparing to embrace their imminent death so we were terrified.


After 5 minutes (that seemed like 5 hours) of going through my head, wondering if I had time to repent for all the bullsh*t I've done and find Jesus / Buddha / Zeus / Hydra / Montu / Zumanjaro and and whoever the f*ck else (and realizing that I DEFINITELY didn't have time to run through all that bullsh*t) the hail finally let up and we realized we'd get to live on for one more day.


Actual footage from our drive home...


How the hell do people actually live here? You have much bigger balls than I do.

Edited by coasterbill
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Haha! Nice TR! Again, welcome to the Midwest with the storm. Several times per summer we have bad storms roll through while at work. We usually wait to see how the incoming front looks and sometimes we even cram all of our personal cars into the sallyport (enclosed entrance to the jail secured with garage doors) to avoid any potential hail damage. Why not put our squad cars in there? Because we are usually out 100% in the elements for car crashes, checking on downed power lines, or walking around the perimeter of a large building for a false burglar alarm set off by the storm. I used to pray that a f5 tornado would sweep SFSTL off the map...


It sucks to hear Raven is getting rough. That's the only non-Thunderbird coaster I enjoy. In my experience, rides on Voyage vary. You may be one of those people who love it, or you may have been in the right seat on the right cycle. Legend has always kicked my ass too hard to enjoy, but I haven't ridden it since GCI retracked a portion. Wooden coaster rib breaking OMFG FML MAKE THIS END NOW rides are not my cup of tea.


No fire cracker ride, eh? That's a shame since if you would listen to HW PR, you would think it's God's gift to the flat ride world...


Glad you had a good trip.

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Great report!


It sounds like you guys had similar weather as to what we experienced when we went a few years ago. Abysmal heat with crazy storms in the late afternoon/evening.


I guess that I need to get back to this park and check out Voyage again (and Thunderbird too as that wasn't there). They were only running one train on Voyage when we were there and it was so freaking hot, we were just too lazy and tired to wait for the front. I should have known that riding in the middle was going to be a crap fest and it was just that....a really, really bad & violent crap fest.


I wasn't impressed with Legend either and actually found Raven to be the best coaster there....although all were one and done. I know that you don't do water parks, but that is where the park really shines IMO.


I also recall our ride on Giraffica as it was the year before they removed it. Certainly looked like a really fun ride with a great drop, but along with Shoot The Rapids, I can say that these were two of Intamin's biggest design flops ever.


While I actually thought STR was kinda fun, this ride hit the bottom of the hill so hard that my back teeth actually drew blood from accidentally biting my inner cheek...the other guests riding in our boat also didn't seem very impressed with it and were actually booing when the ride op's asked us how our ride was when we returned from the station.

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Man, those wooden coasters at HW must be incredibly temperamental. When I visited last year, Raven was by far the smoothest of the three and Voyage was borderline unrideable (although I still rode it multiple times just to make sure). Legend was a mix of jackhammering and ridiculous laterals, but Voyage was in horrific shape from the turnaround through the entire return journey. Maybe Raven had been freshly retracked, but it was definitely one of the better woodies out of the seven or so parks I visited on that trip (including KK). I dug Thunderbird, but mainly the launch and the first inversion which seemed to dangle you over the walkway beneath.


And yeah, the surrounding landscape is really nice. After leaving the park, I drove to Bloomington (about 3 hours north), much of which was on country roads with zero lights and no other cars. It was kind of terrifying. The weather was absolutely disgusting when I was there, too. Insane humidity and intense heat. Gross.

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Great report! I ended up visiting Holiday World the day after you so I missed out on the apocalyptic weather by a day. Meanwhile it was all clear up at Indiana Beach that day.


That's disappointing you weren't a fan of Raven or Legend. I didn't get the Raven after my first ride, but that was more-so because I was expecting the ride to have crazy air. After I re-rode it later, I finally got the ride since it had a little of everything. I am still shocked it was once number 1 in the world, but it's a good ride. It was bumpy in spots but far from rough. Thunder Run was way rougher when I rode it last year. Legend was perfectly smooth, but the laterals were so aggressive to the point where I could see it becoming painful.

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Thanks for making everyone on the subway stare awkwardly as I laughed out loud repeatedly while reading that earlier.


Top stuff, don't stop.

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Great report, and thanks for the laughs... though I would have to STRONGLY disagree on your opinion of Raven for sure. Like most gravity group coasters, let that baby warm up throughout the day and you'll be flying in the evening.


I rode it about 9 times in a row in various seats during HWN...and while my nuts got a weird uncomfortable tingle at one point in the ride (wut?) the night rides were super intense but not rough. I love seeing all the fireflies flying by as you wizz through the woods at night. Nothing like it. 8)

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Glad you loved Voyage. I got 3 rides on it back in 2006. The first ride was in the front row and I was completely blown away. One of the 3-4 best single coaster rides I have ever had. The second ride was a few rows back, presumably in a wheel seat, and the ride was borderline unridable. My last ride was the last train of the night. I was waiting for front but we were told to fill out the train since the park was closed. I got a middle row, non-wheel seat, and once again was blown away. As another poster said it is a very tempermental ride dependant on a bunch of factors, and I'm sure that is more true now, 11 years later.


Suprised to hear about Raven. The ride was almost glass smooth on each of my rides back in 2006. Then again, I also remember Boulder Dash being very smooth years ago, but last week it beat the crap out of me. CCI's need premium care in order to run well, and it appears HW has skipped out on that with the $$ they pit into Thunderbird and the Legend retracking. It's a shame because I loved Raven.

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Just came here to say I visited Montreal (the Tree) last week and also made a visit for La Baquise for poutine. Yelp reviews don't mean shit unless Bill's given approval.


Yep, totally not just a mess. Delicious and magically crispy fries that don't wilt under the gravy and cheese.


Also, I didn't go to LaRonde.

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Glad you at least overall enjoyed Holiday World. It was a little surprising to read your evaluation of Raven and Legend, but then I love the Boss, so maybe I'm just more willing to overlook roughness than any reasonable person should be. Voyage is absolutely incredible, and I'm glad you got to experience this beauty. It's definitely HW's hyper coaster, and is maybe the most intense coaster I've ever been on. It would certainly be part of that discussion.


Gobbler Getaway is amazing and one of the best dark rides at any park that isn't owned by a movie studio. And I'm with you on wing coasters. They're almost universally panned by enthusiasts, and I'm not sure why. I've been on all 4 of the US ones, and each is one of the best rides in its park. Thunderbird is my favourite of the 4, and for all the reasons you listed. Wing coasters are so much better than flying coasters; any park considering a flyer should just build a wing coaster instead.


We're totally used to storms out here, but I'll admit that particular one was really bad. You're right that when you see the locals slowing down, you know it's bad. We were driving to Dollywood that day, and there were times I had to slow down to about 40 just to be able to see out the windscreen, even with the wipers on full speed. You got a true Midwest welcome!

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Wow, thanks for all the replies!


Haha! Nice TR! Again, welcome to the Midwest with the storm. Several times per summer we have bad storms roll through while at work. We usually wait to see how the incoming front looks and sometimes we even cram all of our personal cars into the sallyport (enclosed entrance to the jail secured with garage doors) to avoid any potential hail damage. Why not put our squad cars in there? Because we are usually out 100% in the elements for car crashes, checking on downed power lines, or walking around the perimeter of a large building for a false burglar alarm set off by the storm. I used to pray that a f5 tornado would sweep SFSTL off the map...

Yeah, I'm really glad we didn't sustain any hail damage, we had Brit's car so if anything happened to it I would never have heard the end of it. I'm pretty sure we won't ever be taking that car to the midwest again.


I guess that I need to get back to this park and check out Voyage again (and Thunderbird too as that wasn't there). They were only running one train on Voyage when we were there and it was so freaking hot, we were just too lazy and tired to wait for the front. I should have known that riding in the middle was going to be a crap fest and it was just that....a really, really bad & violent crap fest.

Yeah, I could definitely see this ride being a rough piece of sh*t in the wrong seat. The front was great though, I highly recommend it.


Thanks for making everyone on the subway stare awkwardly as I laughed out loud repeatedly while reading that earlier.

Any time!


Raven was by far the smoothest
It was bumpy in spots but far from rough.
Suprised to hear about Raven.
It was a little surprising to read your evaluation of Raven

Huh, I guess if we ever go back (not likely) maybe we'll give Raven another chance then. That being said...


my nuts got a weird uncomfortable tingle at one point in the ride (wut?)

Yes!!!!! What the f*ck was that? I wasn't going to be that graphic, but since you brought it up... yeah. I'd never experienced that on any other coaster before, but I had the same experience. WTF? Fix your sh*t Holiday World.


Just came here to say I visited Montreal (the Tree) last week and also made a visit for La Baquise for poutine. Yelp reviews don't mean shit unless Bill's given approval.


Yep, totally not just a mess. Delicious and magically crispy fries that don't wilt under the gravy and cheese.


Also, I didn't go to LaRonde.

Glad to hear it! Especially that last part!

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