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Holiwood kNights & Keys to the Kingdom - Part 1


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I wasn’t going to write up a report for this, as I’ve done a couple reports on each of these parks in the past (including one just last year), but a lot of unique and unexpected stuff happened this weekend. I’ll focus on those highlights, and keep my opinions on the rides themselves brief.

I wasn’t expecting to be back to these parks so soon, but it all came down to timing. I had a few of weeks off in between my summer classes and fall semester, and I wanted to do SOMETHING coaster related that wasn’t just one of my local parks. Turns out Holiday World and Kentucky Kingdom were hosting their special enthusiasts events on the same weekend, plus a few of our own CFers were invited to speak on a panel at Kentucky Kingdom. Knowing that @Snoo would definitely be there, I joined him and @Error for a weekend of fun.

Day 1

I flew into Louisville on Friday afternoon, and Snoo and Error picked me up at the airport. After a quick turnaround at our Airbnb, we hit the road to Holiday World for their two night Holiwood kNights event. We lucked out with the weather. Remnants of Hurricane Laura had rolled into the midwestern area that day, but luckily the rain had cleared up by the time we arrived at the park.

ERT for the creds were already in full effect. There were maybe just a couple hundred cars in the parking lot, but with just the coasters open and everyone in the park being an enthusiast, the line for Voyage was longer than it usually is. Waits were about 30-40 minutes each, but it was worth it. Luckily, the sun had set by the time we entered the park, so by the time we first rode Voyage it was already fairly dark.

We got two night rides on Friday and four on Saturday, and let me tell you, they were magical. While the rides on Saturday were probably better as the park was open later, I think those first couple rides on Friday shocked me a lot more. Even ignoring the darkness factor, I noticed it was running a lot better than last year, both in terms of smoothness and airtime. The airtime and laterals were fantastic, including some unexpected moments that got me every time, especially in the dark.

Then you got the trimless MCBR, and the second half is just insanity. Highlights were the underground triple down, the twisted hill over the station, and even the last couple of turns into the brake run. The turn into the brake run used to run like hot garbage, but now that they've retracked it, I think it’s actually the most intense part of the ride. It pulls some serious positive and lateral g forces, which is a brutal way to finish off the ride after non-stop craziness.

After our first ride we grabbed some dinner at the Picnic Grove. Throughout the weekend, both parks actually provided food for those attending the events, which was a huge bonus. We also met up with some fellow CFers and other friends of The Drunk Riders podcast, including @LooperOne, @Scottingtonville, @sarahsmile, and of course @ECG!

We all did another ride on Voyage, before finishing the night off with a walk on night ride of Thunderbird, which was awesome.

Day 2

We were VERY leisurely in the morning. In fact, we didn’t really get up until about noon. The plan was to grab some lunch and head back to Holiday World in the afternoon, but first, we had business to attend to.

“One for the Twist-N-Shout please.”

“Sure thing. We’re expecting plenty more of those today.”

I had already accepted that I’d gain no new creds this year. However, it was brought to our attention the day prior that there was a cred only 10 minutes up the road. And it was just $5 for the +1, so nothing too crazy.

So Holiday World was actually open to the public during the day, meaning that their new virtual queuing system was in full effect (though they didn’t use it for ERT at all). We booked a ride for Voyage, which was a two hour wait, but it wasn’t a big deal. We didn’t mind hanging out and chatting with other folks.

We also timed the virtual queue well with our back stage tour of Voyage and Thunderbird, which began at around 3:30 for us. Perfect way to keep us busy while we were “queuing.”

Now that it’s been open for a few years, you can see the trees have grown in around Thunderbird.

I really like the angle of this overbanked turnaround.

It pulls some really good gs as well.

Second camelback into the first tunnel:

The first two camelbacks are fun, but hitting that first tunnel is when the ride really starts to kick your ass.

At this point we were basically right above the underground triple down. It’s incredible to think that they were able to fit that element underneath and keep the entry and exit close to the ground. This right here is the exit of the first tunnel. We couldn’t even see any part of the spaghetti bowl beyond the hill.

Gotta do what you can to get that goon shot:

Also, shout out to @Pear and @XYZcoaster! Turns out they attended the events as well, and we ended up bumping into them during the tour (thanks to the Onion 287 shirts lol).

This tour was awesome, and easily the better of the two tours we did that weekend (although the one at Kentucky Kingdom was pretty cool too). This walk really gives you a good sense of the terrain, and how much Voyage really climbs uphill, before running back down and maintaining it’s speed.

Our reservation for Voyage was ready, so we finally went for our first ride of the day after being in the park for over two hours. The ride definitely wasn’t as good as the night rides (and they had the MCBR trims on for the public), but it was still awesome. Honestly, if it wasn’t for this one day ride we had this weekend, Voyage would be in the running for my number one spot.

We ended up chilling for the next few hours, waiting for the park to close to the public and for ERT to start. We actually ended up tailgating with the peeps from Coasters and Brews!

Pretty soon ERT started (at around 6 or 7 PM), and everyone and there mother was flocking over to Voyage. Instead, we went back up the hill to Thunderbird and kept cycling through that. Snoo said he sat on for 9 rides in about 20 minutes!

We needed to prioritize food, so we got some burgers at the Picnic Grove (and we might’ve gotten a ride on Voyage on the way, can’t remember for sure). I wanted to get a night ride on Raven, and I’m so glad we did because it was so good! Man, that was a wild ride, especially in the back seat. The second half of the ride was complete darkness… darker than any moment on a Voyage night ride (except for those tunnels). And we’re not super familiar with Raven’s layout, so there were a lot of unexpected drops and heavy laterals. Save a night ride for Raven if you ever do an evening visit at Holiday World. Raven’s night ride was so good that I was tempted to try Legend at night, but **** that. :p

We went back for a few more rides on Voyage (including a “break” in between rides on Gobbler’s Getaway), and man, what a beast. Front row, back row, middle row, you’re guaranteed an amazing ride wherever you sit. And it’s in the best shape of it’s life.

Then things got weird… (photo by Snoo)

So throughout the day we kept seeing this guy and dressed up in a construction vest while wearing a dog hoodie… I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t weird. Well, when our group was waiting in line (just before entering the building), he approaches us as says, “Hey, I won the auction for the last zen ride of the night. They told me I can bring more riders and fill the train… here’s a bag of fresh dog masks, enough for everyone… you guys wanna ride?”

Umm… YES.

So we did our last ride during ERT, waited for everyone else to clear out, donned our dog hoodies, and did one last Voyage ride as it was getting close to midnight. It was definitely an experience I’ll be looking back at for years to come. We loved it.

Next part… the first ever Keys to the Kingdom!

I’ll leave you here with the meme tomahawk made featuring Snoo:



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I'm very jealous of those backstage views of the coasters - I've always wanted better shots of Voyage and Thunderbird. Excellent!