Santa Claus Travel Blog› entry 18 of 28 › view all entries
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be driving off into the middle of nowhere? No cities anywhere. Past a nuclear power plant, across a giant bridge over the Ohio River, then the road just gets narrower and narrower to only two lanes. The biggest intersection for fifty miles is a four way stop. Then, when you come to a country town of about 250, you stumble upon this gigantic amusement park that not only offers free parking, but free unlimited soft drinks, and boasts not one, but three of the biggest wooden rollercoasters that always rank in any top ten list every year.
You have reached Holiday World. Privately owned, it opened as a santa claus park in 1946, then one day they decided to turn into a full fledge theme park, with holidays as their theme.
When I first saw the free unlimited soft drink ad, I thought they meant you bought a giant sipper cup and could refill all day. That's not how it works at all. There are little shacks called Oasis you go into, which have cups and Pepsi dispensers, and you just self serve. The first time it felt like I forgot to pay somebody, but it's that simple. They are all small cups. On top of the marketing draw, they save millions in staffing, as well as not having any plastic bottles, straws, or lids.
Ok back to these rollercoasters. Raven was the first, opened in 1995. The station is highly themed, inlcluding recorded spiels, they run two trains that zoom through the trees and back. At 85 feet tall and 2800 feet of track, it packs a punch and puts many bigger coasters to shame.
In 2000 came The Legend, 113 feet tall and 4000 feet of track, with four tunnels and unique spiraling drops, the idea is you are being chased by the Headless Horseman.
2006, Voyage opened, 154 feet tall and 6400 feet of track. Three drops of over 100 feet, followed by eight tunnels, 90 degree banked turns, high speed travel along the ground through the forest, and a few moments you thought were impossible, and impossibly smooth as well. After being taken out through the woods and back you seriously feel as if you were taken on a voyage, and will never find anything that compares to it.
Unfortunately, they are also impossible to video from one location since the trains simply disappear into the woods and you don't see the train until it comes back to the station, so no videos here.
You will also find here assorted shows, high diving, a country music show, followed by an 80's music show, which were the same performers, by the way, and rides themed to their area. Their laser gun ride is Thanksgiving themed... you shoot at turkeys!
This was kind of a risky side trip, since Indiana is so far from my start point in North Carolina, but it was well worth it. Sadly, I lost my cell phone in the parking lot when I got there, I dropped it by my car and somebody picked it up within minutes, but the day was still good, it was pretty obvious why they win so many awards, including best value park and the Applause award. I made a mistake by leaving early though, to go to Kentucky Kingdom on the same day.
You can see Santa Claus there too.