Photo Trip Report

HoliWood Nights

May 31-June 1, 2013


Ah, HoliWood Nights, the tradition of visiting Holiday World with my friend Doug. For once, we arrived on time Friday night for the opening gathering and announcements. Those are Paula Werne and William Koch welcoming us and telling us to have fun. We went to Kringle's Kafe and got food and met some friends. Then it was time to ride!

We started on Raven. We rode in the back seat and got to reride. Raven's running really well this year. The fifth drop has great air, as usual, but the final drop is what really surprised me. In the back seat, the airtime there is forceful and sustained for more than a second. It's fantastic.

We passed Legend and went straight down to Voyage, the greatest coaster I've ever ridden. We rode in the back seat, which is the best seat. It was just hauling through every section. There were a few bumps, but it actually felt like it was running better this year than last year.

Then we went to Turkey Whirl, which was open for ERT. We got a few good spins but not as good as we've gotten before. We rode Voyage again, this time in the fourth row (we didn't want to wait for the back seat, and the fourth row was a walk-on).

We went to HallowSwings then crossed the midway to Legend. Legend was running well this year too. The laterals are just insane on it, as always. I love it.

We called it a day and went to Santa's Lodge, the hotel.

Day 2

We got up and went to the park entrance for ERT at Splashin' Safari, the water park. We went into the new building and ate breakfast. It was a rainy morning and a little chilly, so Doug didn't ride the water coasters. But I did, and I joined my friends Steve and Tom on some. I started on Wildebeest, the smaller water coaster, then went to Mammoth. We rode Mammoth three times, including a reride, then went to Wildebeest and rode twice. The water wasn't freezing like last year, so the rides were more enjoyable. I don't really know which I like more. Wildebeest has great airtime in a few drops, but Mammoth also has airtime and has circular rafts, so you go backward and sideways.

The park opened, so we left the water park and went back to our hotel to dry off and change. We re-entered the park, met up with Steve and went to Plymouth Rock Cafe, where I got half a chicken, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, a roll and green beans. It was delicious, especially those green beans. Yum. The meal cost me nothing because last year we missed the first day and were given $20 gift cards as compensation.

The three of us went to Gobbler Getaway because it's amazing. Seriously, this ride is really fun, and we ride every year. We rode it twice, and I won both times. We met with Austin and Cody and got a ride on Legend then on Raven. We went to Liberty Launch, where the single-rider line was full of people who can't read. Doug and I went to the normal line, which had no one in it. This is such a fun ride. Not many people were there, so Doug and Cody rerode several times while I took pictures.

We went to Revolution next, but I typically don't ride spin-and-pukes, so I sat out and took pictures. Here's Steve riding. They also rode Turkey Whirl as we waited for the Voyage walkback to start.

Now it was time for the Voyage walkback. There was no Raven and Legend walkback this year, which was strange. I was a little upset I didn't get to use my new telephoto lens to get pictures of Raven and Legend, but Voyage really is the highlight of the trip. Plus this year they were letting us go all the way down the turnaround, and they were giving us snacks there. It was a little muddy because it had rained that morning.

I love doing this every year. Just walking next to my favorite coaster and getting pictures that regular visitors can't get brings me such joy. This coaster is hidden deep in the trees and behind a large hill, so you just can't get any pictures of most of its layout without going on this walkback.

I'm just going to show off pictures in this paragraph. Second drop. Lots of people. Third drop. Airtime. 90-degree turn. Low turnaround. It hugs the terrain. Airtime. Waving as a train passes. Second 90-degree turn. Zooming by. Third drop. We also saw this ribbon tied to the structure. I joked that it's a load-bearing ribbon.

In the turnaround next to the two 90-degree turns, there was a small tent with snacks and drinks. There also was a fun contest there. They had a bucket with Voyage parts in it. Someone would be blindfolded, reach into the bucket and have to guess the part they picked out. The fastest correct guesses won. Doug was the first to do it. He picked a wheel and was the fastest, so he won a picture of Raven's chain on a block of wood from Raven. It was a pretty cool walkback. We figured they let us back that far and gave us snacks because we're getting a little cynical because the Timberliners aren't on Voyage yet. They said they're confident they'll be on next year, but we've heard that for four years. I noticed a long board in Voyage's support structure under the last 90-degree turn. Odd.

We walked back to the park and rode Gobbler Getaway again. Doug beat me. We rode Raven and then Voyage. We went to Gobbler Getaway again. They let us reride, which was fun and gave us a better score because we were able to have more time to hit the first set of targets. We both did pretty well that time, but we still haven't been able to become a master turkey caller. I beat Doug both times.

We rode Raven as the sun started to go down. Then it was time for dinner. First I got a burger, mac and cheese, carrots, a pickle and a roll. For seconds, I got fried chicken, carrots and a roll. For dessert, I had a cookie and a brownie. The higher-ups made announcements and thanked us, and then it was time for ERT. Fantastic!

We started at Voyage, which is where most people go after dinner. Man, it was really flying. I just cannot imagine how any coaster could be better. It blows me away how fast it goes at night. Watching the last car go over the twisting hills at the end of the ride is amazing. We rode Raven twice, the first of which was with Tom in the back seat. He happened to get in by himself, and he called me over just as I got in the station. Excellent.

I went to Legend and rode twice in the back car (first ride in the back seat, next in the seat in front). We went to Voyage and got two more rides, the last being in the back seat with Tom. Amazing. Simply amazing. Every year I say the same thing, and every year Voyage just solidifies itself as the greatest roller coaster I've ever ridden. The speed, the airtime, the elements, the layout, the terrain, the tunnels, the total darkness of night rides. It's just the best.

We were beat (Voyage is a workout; one rides leaves me out of breath), but we still had one more ride left -- Bench: The Ride. (Photo by Tom Zeliff.)

Holiday World put on an excellent event, as usual. I was a little disappointed there was no walkback for Raven or Legend, but giving us the extra time and snacks on Voyage's helped make up for it. Voyage is running better than last year, and I had more friends show up this time. I had a blast and hope to do it again next year. 10/10.