May 24, 2008
Santa Claus IN
The original plans for Saturday called for Me, Matt, and Dan to get up and head to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom for a few hours. We’d made plans to meet Eric and his crew there that morning before we coming back to Holiday World for the waterpark. None of us, however, woke up that morning. Everyone was exhausted from the day before so instead of going to Kentucky Kingdom we all got up and got ready to head to the water park. We made plans for breakfast though, technically, we’d already missed breakfast and then headed to the car…only to find my tire completely flat. No biggie, I have a full sized spare, right?
Right? Well, I do. But the special tool used to lower it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Neither was my tire iron or jack. You see, a few weeks prior, my father was driving my Xterra with a pull trailer hooked up to it. The trailer had a flat (2 actually) and he had to fix it with my tools. I told him to make sure he put them back, but he put them in the trailer instead, so they were inconveniently located in our garage in WV. Seven plus hours from me. And not helping.
Thankfully Rob had AAA, so he called and explained that we didn’t have tools to fix our flat. They said someone would be there in 45 minutes or less. Rob and Melissa made an ATM run and then went to Subway across the street to eat while we waited. The guy that got the call to come showed up, but AAA didn’t explain to him that not only were we missing a jack and tire iron, we didn’t have the tool to lower the tire either. So he took the tire and said he’d either fix it or bring another one back. After he left with the tire, Rob and Melissa came back and we headed to Subway to eat while they sat with the Xterra. After we sat down to eat at Subway I saw Rob pull up in my Xterra. The guy fixed the tire for $17 and Rob and Melissa headed over to meet us.
As we sat and ate, Brad, Brian, Kris, and their friend arrived, so we chatted with them a bit before finishing our food and heading to the park. We gave our tickets to the people at the gate and headed in and after taking a semi-group pic, headed to Splashin’ Safari. This waterpark gets much praise, and I hadn’t been to a waterpark in probably 10 years, so I was excited. After renting a locker and cramming all of our stuff in it we ran to the first bowl slide. While in line we ran into Mike Miller who joined our group as the rest of his group were lounging by the smaller wave pool. Lines weren’t extremely long, which was great. One thing I liked about their park is that they didn’t have a problem with me wearing a shirt or my glasses on rides. Mike, Matt, and I rode in a tube together. The slide part of this was really great, but the bowl was awesome! I’d never done anything like this and it quickly became one of my favorite water slides ever if I did bump my head on the side when we got to the pool.
I wanted to do the tornado slide next so we headed over that way, stopping for a drink and running into Kris and Brad on the way. After a quick potty break we decided to do the racing slides first. Mike opted out, but the rest of us went to the top and waited so we could all go together. These slides were awesome as well! The final drop launches you off of the slide, which scared me to death, but I loved it. I’m so happy I had people to go to a waterpark with, because I don’t like going by myself. Afterward we got in line for the Tornado. The line was longer than the others we’d waited in, but not too long. We talked and gossiped and joked in line. At the top, Matt, Mike and I again got in the same raft. The slide part of this is awesome with two big drops that scare you in the dark. Then you slide into the tornado funnel, where we were launched up close to the water line. This was another great slide. I wish we had a waterpark like this in West Virginia, because I would frequent it. When we hit the pool at the bottom our wave went all the way to the end, splashing the life guard. No one else we saw did that. Our next stop was the raft slide which just happens to be the longest of it’s kind in the world. The line was longer than the rest, but the wait was worth it.
For the 3rd time, Mike, Matt, and myself were in a raft together. This thing was sick! I loved the faces made by small holes in the walls of the tube. The raft really flew down the slide as we made our way down, swaying from side to side. I can see why this was so hyped up, it was an incredible ride. I loved it. I’d have ridden it again if the wait wasn’t so long. Matt and Dan wanted to do another slide, as did I. Mike was going to head over to see what Lisa and Jake were doing. Melissa and Dan were pretty much finished with the water rides, so they were heading to the slides. What was I to do? Well, I was confused, and thought that Matt and Dan were following me and Mike to The Wave to meet up with Lisa. Instead they headed to the slide they wanted to ride. Mike and I met up with Lisa and I chilled out there for a bit before making my way back to find the group. I ran into Dan and Matt, who’d just got off the slide they’d went to ride. Matt said he’d ride again with me as Dan sat out. This was a dark tube slide with a 2 seater inter-tube. It was also a lot of fun.
Once we were finished we headed over to the lockers, got all of our stuff, and met Rob and Dan at the changing area and waited on Melissa. Matt and I decided to do the log flume and rapids ride. Dan, Melissa, and Rob had other plans to go and eat, so we split off from them and did our own thing. The flume was fun, with a short wait, but there could be a lot more themeing. I did like the tunnel, it reminded me of the one a the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. We headed over to the river rapids after that, and it also had a short line. I expected to get drenched. I didn’t. Matt and I were put in a raft with another family. The ride was fun and you do get wet, but I missed out on the waterfalls and came off fairly dry. I saw Kyle yelling at me and take some video of us on the ride.
When we got off and exited the ride we ran into the rest of our group getting ready to ride the swings, so we rode with them. I’m not one to ride spinney rides often, but I did and had a nice ride. After we finished up we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and change clothes. This was a quick stop before heading back over to the park. We got to park on the grass again up close to the tunnel under the road, which was nice. The closer to the entrance, the less you walk when you exit. When we got to the park and headed in we ran into Danny, Dawn Marie, and Russ. I hadn’t seen Dawn since she and Russ got engaged at Dollywood in 2006. It was great to see them both, now married.
We got into the park and ran into more people, then went into the gift shop so Melissa could shop. We saw Tina and her friends as well as some other geeks running around. My priority was to head to the last coaster credit in the park that I’d yet to ride, so we headed to the kiddy section as Rob, Dan, and Melissa went their own way. On the way we stopped at the Betsy Ross Doll House after we watched the new carousel for a few minutes. I got in line for Liberty Launch, but was told the wait would be shorter later so we headed over to the Doll House. It was neat, but I was bored after about 3 seconds. We got to the kids play area and I headed to the HoliDog coaster while Matt took pictures and Danny, Dawn, and Russ stood around gawking.
Matt took me over to this weird see-saw thing in the kids area, so we played on that for a few minutes. Then I ran thru the fountains shooting up from the wonderful foam floor. I wish theme parks had this all over instead of concrete or asphalt. Next we headed over to Voyage, stopping by Gobbler Getaway on the way. I don’t remember my score, but this was definitely one of the better Sally Interactive dark rides I’d ridden. I liked that you weren’t using a gun to shoot, but a turkey call. I liked the themeing, and it felt complete Then we headed over for a ride on Voyage. The line wasn’t long and I rode with Danny or Matt, I can’t recall.
It was getting close to dinner time so Dawn, Danny, and Russ headed to the picnic pavilions as we ran into Dan as he and Matt got in line for the flyers and I headed to Liberty Launch. Liberty Launch was fun, but I didn’t realize there was a single rider line. Nor did I realize it was mandatory for single riders. So, having waited in the standby line for quite a while, I was told to get behind all of the people in the single rider line who hadn’t been waiting for even half the time I had. I was not amused. This was stupid.
Liberty Launch-This was my first double shot and I have to say, it was a blast. Shooting up and then getting that great pop of airtime on the smaller models was fun, but then shooting all the way back up again is even better. I loved Liberty Launch and eagerly awaited the double shot at Indiana Beach I’d be riding the next day.
As I made my way back over to Matt, I ran into Rob and Melissa while Dan and Matt rode the round up. Then we all headed down to the Picnic Pavilions for dinner. The park was closing, and we arrived 30 minutes into the buffet, which means lines weren’t as long to get food. We sat close to the buffet table with Dawn, Danny, and Russ. Eventually Matt (Moosh), Mike, Lisa, and Jake showed up as well. Then Brian, Kris, Eric, and Brad. Dinner was okay, but it wasn’t pizza. I love pizza, and pizza the nite before was great. The fudge brownie thing I ate was really good, though. Then Will Koch got up to go over his safety speech. As he was quite a bit into it, his own voice interrupted him over the loud speakers. It was closing time for the park and he and Ms. Koch have a pre-recorded closing spiel that interrupted his speech. Everyone, including Will, laughed hysterically. Then Ms. Koch came up and they mouthed the parts for the crowd, who laughed and clapped. It is nice that they have such a sense of humor. I went over to another group table and got on camera yet again with a message for a missing comrade. I’d love to see the video when it’s done.
Once they were done I ended up hanging out with Moosh, Dawn, Danny, and Russ. I was supposed to wait for the people traveling with me, but they were primping, or waiting for others to primp, and there were coasters to ride so I ditched them for a short while. Moosh didn’t plan on riding anything but Voyage, but we talked him into a Legend and Raven ride. The Legend ride was once again great. This is a coaster I could marathon. Mike, Lisa, and Jake also ended up in our group as well.
After our time on Legend we headed up to Raven. It was almost dark at this point as I rode in the back with Dawn. Going up the lift hill the train felt like it hit something, but apparently that’s just normal for it to do occasionally. Raven was running better the 2nd nite. I loved it more. The non existent lines meant we could ride multiple times and I know I rode more than once. Once we were on the exit, however, we stood and talked to each other and others riding while waiting for the rest of the group. Then we headed over to Voyage. I got rides in the middle of the train with Matt and Frank, and at some point other people, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a name or two. During the riding session, I came off the ride to take a break and I saw a friend talking to 2 other people. I was going to snap a pic of him, but then realized he was talking to security, so I refrained. No one seemed to know what was going on, but it didn’t look good, even if everyone was being cordial. I took a break and watched to make sure everything was okay, then I was told why this person was being talked to. A ride op said they smelled alcohol on his breath.
Now, I know the Indiana Law prohibits amusement park riders to not be ‘under the influence’ of alcohol. Or at least that’s what I’d read on Holiday World’s website. However, I know that this person was not under the influence. They had had a drink, or maybe even a couple of drinks BEFORE arriving at the park, which is his right to do since he wasn’t driving, nor was he drinking on Park property.
He didn’t deny having had alcohol before hand, but I can vouch for the fact that he was not under the influence. Apparently security told him he would need to take a breathalyzer test. He refused. I would have as well. We’re not children. We didn’t need to be babysat. I understand that the park has reason to be strict. Either come up with a happy medium, or don’t. But as a consumer of their product, I have the choice not to come back.
Upper management had asked in their speech for us to recommend the park to others. That was getting hard to want to do because of this incident. I loved the coasters and rides the park had, but I’m not going put myself into a position where I feel uncomfortable. And that is exactly how I felt when said incidents where happening. My friend decided to leave the park for the evening, which was his right. It was unfortunate that that was the option he was given if he refused a breathalyzer.
I rode Voyage a few more times and even took a group shot of the larger crew before heading over with Matt, Rob, and Melissa to Legend, and then to Raven some more. The walk isn’t far in this park between coasters, so I didn’t mind switching up. Finally we headed back over to Voyage for the last time. Danny and I got in the line for the front seat of the train. This was likely the longest time I waited for a ride all weekend. It wasn’t a long wait, but definitely the longest.
The Voyage–My last ride of the nite was in the front with Danny. Even though they’d turned the mid course brake run lights on for the 2nd nite, the ride was still crazy. You can’t see where you’re going in the woods, and I can’t help but laugh and yell and scream and hold on for dear life for the entire ride. And just at the point where you think the ride should normally end, you’re thrust into a twisting bunnyhop, down beside the station, then another twisting bunnyhop over the station, then down into some helices and tunnels before finally hitting the brake run. I loved Voyage. It was amazing. It was incredible. It was intense.
Exclusive Ride Time was finally over. We walked out with everyone left in the group. Melissa and Rob had headed back to the hotel, so Matt and I took Nicole back to the Xterra so she could guide us to the cabins. Dawn, Danny, and Russ followed as well. This after party was even more laid back. I had a cup of wine from Lisa and talked to Gary, Mike, Mike’s son, Nicole, her sister, Moosh, Mike, Lisa, Frank, Kyle, Dawn, Danny, Russ, Matt, Martha, and anyone else I may not have named. It was a nice time. I loved catching up with friends. We weren’t out as late as the nite before, but eventually it was time to go. I hugged everyone and said goodbye, then headed to the car to wait for Matt. And I waited. And I waited some more as everyone else was stalled because of the parking. Matt didn’t realize I’d went to the car, but he did eventually show up after my beeping and yelling his name. We headed back to the Hotel so I could shower and then for the 2nd nite in a row pass out exhausted, but happy from a fun weekend.
I had a nice time, but it was mired by what I felt was severely unfair treatment to my friends. And that is the last negative thing I will say in this trip report, because the good outweighs the bad. Over the course of the nite, I felt that Ms. Koch and Will Koch, who I joked with at least twice were very nice, cordial, and friendly. The park was one of the cleanest I’d ever been to. I didn’t see ANY trash for 2 days there. None. That was awesome.
The food was good too. Not the best park food I’d ever had, but it was better than most corporate parks, and far better than just average. The pizza and fudge were delicious. The ride ops were very friendly as well. The girl running Liberty Launch seemed to be having a rough day, but it happens. Everyone else was very friendly and cordial, neat, and well kept. And not talking on their cell phones. That’s always a nice touch. And the crews running the coasters during ERT were the best. They were friendly, funny, and got the crowd pumped. Holiday World, while not my most favorite park ever, was a nice treat, and I’m very happy to have finally gone.