Sept. 15, 2007

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    My friend Doug and I decided about a week prior to take a trip to Holiday World. He had never been, and my only visit was in 2002. The park now has Voyage, and I absolutely could not turn down a chance to visit. Our Global Positioning system kept going out, and we got lost on some backroads through the hills in Indiana, but we eventually made it to the park. Wow. Voyage stands out on the drive to the park. We got there about 40 minutes after it opened.

    Doug brought a Mountain Dew can for a discounted ticket, and I use my ACE card. We entered and immediately headed to Voyage. Like we'd go anywhere else. The line was extremely short. We walked up the stairs into the station and headed to the back seat. My first ride on Voyage had to be in the back. I wasn't allowed to bring my camera on the ride, even though it was strapped to my belt, but that was OK. The ride host put it on a shelf in the station. We were given the clear and we left the station.

    Yes. Finally. I'd waited too long for this.

    The ride climbs up the lift hill at a quick pace. The front cars started dropping, and we were flung down the drop. Mmmm. Airtime. The second hill had some airtime, and we fell into the first of seven tunnels. There's a small hill with a quick bump to the right, which I loved. We quickly dropped into another tunnel, over another hill and into a third tunnel. The drop into that third tunnel took me by surprise because it was steeper than the previous one and had a good jolt of airtime.

    Then came what quickly became my favorite part of the ride: the turnaround. We flew over a twisting hill, hit a small airtime dip and dropped into a huge, ground-hugging turn. The next two parts surprised me. There are two short banked hops, but they're banked the wrong way. What a sensation! Then came the first 90-degree turn, a pass under the structure, then the second 90-degree turn. I love these turns. They're amazing. Doug says the turnaround section is like a ski slalom because it's constantly moving in different directions. There's a hop of airtime, a turn to the left into a tunnel and time for a breather in the block brake.

    The block brake wasn't on for our first ride. We suspected it was because it was warming up, and it was chilly outside. The triple down is great, especially the third drop in it. That took me by surprise, and the airtime is awesome.

    Here's where the ride kicks into high gear. We flew over an airtime hill, bolted to the right over another airtime hill and came to a part of the ride that still confuses me. It banks to the left up a hill, right at the top, then left as it goes down and right as it levels out. It's taken in quick succession, and it feels really cool. I felt like we kept picking up speed. Airtime, left turn, hop, then the third 90-degree turn. Then a big drop and turn to the left is followed by an airtime-packed twisting hill over the lift hill. That's followed by a sweet drop into a tunnel by the station and another twisting hill.

    Come on! Then we drop into a seventh tunnel, soar over a small hop and turn, and turn to the right into the brake run.

    I had to take a moment. My fingers were shaking. Shaking! That certainly was the craziest layout ever. And it doesn't let up on the speed. Did I have a new No. 1 wooden coaster? Had it topped Legend? We had to find out.

    We were hungry, so we went to get food at Kringle's Kafe. I got a cheeseburger combo, which comes with fries (I got curly fries) and a cookie. I love that the drinks are free. That helps keep the price down.

    We headed up the hills to Raven first. Of course we went to the back seat. I hadn't forgotten about that awesome fifth drop, and I wanted Doug to experience it. They were only running one train, but that was fine with us. The park wasn't crowded, and we only waited about 10 minutes to get on. People in line kept stopping to watch the diving show that was going on, which was a little annoying.

    The first drop is fun, and I love the tunnel. There are good laterals in the turns, and the turn over the lake is just as great as I remembered it. Oh boy. One more drop before the best part of the ride. We dropped to the left and rose into the hill, then we flew over the drop. My gosh. I love this part. It's totally surprising, and the airtime is sudden. Then the ride tears through quick turns and dips, not losing speed. It's quick, but it's great. 10/10.

    Legend was next. Legend was my No. 1 wooden coaster, and I hadn't yet decided where Voyage was. I really missed Legend. I'm a big fan of lateral G-forces, and Legend's packed with them, which is why I love it so much. We went to the back seat (see a pattern?) and got on in about two trains. There's a speaker at the top of the lift that plays the sound of a wolf howling. I didn't remember that from five years ago, and I love it.

    The first drop has excellent airtime, and the tunnel is a blast. The next two hills are taken fast, and the drops are great. The third drop is where the ride really kicks into high gear. The bottom of the drop has high laterals. Then there's a double up. The first part of the double up surprised me because there's a really quick pop of big airtime. The drop into the tunnel has some air, and then it's just turns from there.

    The double helix might be my favorite part of Legend. It's taken extremely quickly, and the tunnels are fun. The laterals are high in it, but the end of the helix is where it's at. The laterals are extremely high, and the turn just keeps going. Then it drops and rises into the first turn in the "four corners of death." The next four turns are taken at high speeds and are packed with laterals.

    Legend was just as amazing as I'd remembered it. It was so great, I actually thought it might be better than Voyage. But I had to ride Voyage a few more times after it warmed up. I told Doug that I thought Legend might be No. 1, with Voyage at No. 2. A little girl sitting in front of us (we were in the brake run since two trains were running) looked back at me and asked if I was crazy. Ha! She said Voyage was way better, and I told her I'd have to try again. Doug liked Legend but not too much. He said it was a bit rough. 10/10.

    So we went back to Voyage. It had warmed up a bit, so it was running really well. We got off and got back in line since it was so short. We went to the front seat, which was all right. The airtime at the beginning of the hills is cool, but the back seat is really where it's at. The airtime was better, the turnaround was totally flying, and the second half of the ride was out of control. Voyage has all I want. It's got airtime, laterals, tunnels and speed. There was no doubt it's the best wooden coaster I've ever been on.

    Scratch that. It's the best coaster I've ever been on. Period. 10/10.

    Voyage went down as they took a train off and put another on. They were still running two trains, but they just switched two. So we went to Gobbler Getaway. There's a creepy old woman in the queue line who tells you how to fire the turkey call. It's a fun ride and the third interactive Sally dark ride I'd been on. We rode twice, and I had the high score for our car both times.

    After that, we went to a Pepsi Oasis and took advantage of the free drinks. Then we walked around the park to ride a few other things. Doug rode Revolution, and I sat out because I don't really like spinning rides. Then we went to Howler since Doug hadn't ridden it. I felt like a dork because we were two adults standing in line for the kid coaster. We stood in line and joked about being terrified and not ready to ride. I said Voyage was a warm-up for this coaster.

    Doug got his credit, and we went to Liberty Launch. We went to the single rider line because there was a bit of a wait. We ended up getting on the same ride, but we were on different sides.  I had never ridden a Double Shot before, and I enjoyed it. The second launch is cool and has better airtime at the top.

    We went to Raven, which had no line. The station had a one-train wait. We went to the back seat again. That's the only place I'll ride on Raven. Then we went to Legend. Doug rode once, and I wanted to ride again. Doug sat out, so I rode by myself. I sat on the left side in the back seat. I love the laterals on this ride! The end of the helix is out of control. I got three rides on Legend today, and Doug got two.

    Voyage was next, and we rode a few times. Then we went back to Raven. We ended up with three rides on Raven today.

    The park closed at 6 p.m., so we went to finish the day at Voyage. The constant riding was getting Doug's stomach a little upset, so he left to get a snack. I stayed at Voyage. I got a ride in the back seat, which is without a doubt the best place to sit on the coaster. When Doug got back, we rode near the back and then waited at the entrance for the last train of the night. I knew they closed the ride lines before the park closed so they can get their workers out of there when the park closes.

    Doug said he ran into Will Koch, the president of Holiday World. He complimented him on the cleanliness of the park and a number of other aspects. We waited at the entrance while a ride host waited for the call to close the line. We talked with her for a while about the park and how much fun we were having. She told us she was closing the line, so we got in line and walked up the station. They told us to load all available rows, so we didn't get the back seat. We got the next to last seat, which was fine by me. I bought the on-ride photo of our last ride.

    I can't get enough of Voyage. It's really got all I want in a coaster. The airtime is amazing, it's totally out of control, and the laterals are great. It has the best turnaround I've ever experienced, the tunnels add so much to the ride, and nothing is really taken away from the ride with the block brake acting as a trim. The terrain is used perfectly. This is coaster perfection. Voyage is absolutely above and beyond what I expected. I got 12 rides on Voyage. I only wish the park was open later. I'll try to make a visit sometime when it's open until 10 p.m. I can't even imagine how a night ride is.

 We headed toward the front to go to a gift shop. Right before we got to it, I saw Will Koch and stopped to talk to him. I thanked him for Voyage, which he said would be really hard to top. I agreed. We talked for a while, and I told him I had a wonderful time. He really is a nice guy. I'm glad this park is run by such caring people.

    We went to St. Nick's Trading Company and bought some things. I got a Voyage pin, key chain and magnet for my fridge. Doug collects shot glasses, so he bought a few.

    Holiday World is one of my favorite parks. It's clean, has amazing rides and is run really well. This park does things right, and I'd love to live in the area so I could visit all the time. Holiday World gets a 10/10.

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