holiday world endorsementYesterday we went to Holiday World with uncle Andy. As usual, the kids had a blast. It was interesting to contrast our experience at Holiday World with the King's Island trip we had last summer. In thinking about it, I would have to say, I like Holiday World a LOT better. Paramount's King Island has a bigger park, more rides, and they are branded with characters that are popular with the kids. But there were a number of factors with King's Island that I just simply did not like.
Getting in and out of King's Island is a nightmare and it takes forever. Holiday World is a little further away (distance-wise), but I can park much closer to the gate than I ever could at King's Island, and if I remember right, you had to pay a premium at King's Island for similar parking. Leaving Holiday World, even at the peak of traffic when the park was closing, was a breeze. No problem at all (and it didn't require a force a traffic officers either). Although Holiday World may not have as many rides as King's Island, they do have a very good selection of rides, and in some respects, I would say they even have a BETTER selection of rides - particularly with roller coasters.
I love the roller coasters at Holiday World. It is obvious that the rides were designed around the riders and not around the Park's need to cram as many occupants on the ride as possible. If you are a man over 6'2" riding some of the rides at King's Island is PUH (Pure Unadulterated Hades). Son of Beast is the absolute worst. I hate that ride and will never ride it again. It took an act of contortion to get on that ride and I regretted it the whole way. Uncle Andy complained that he feels completely beat up after riding SOB. I agree as do many others I am sure. I am 6'4" and of reasonable build. Regardless of my girth (again, not that substantial), the problem is with my legs. They simply do not fit on that ride. Tip to King's Island: If you are going to make your rides THAT cramped, make sure that you advertise the MAXIMUM heights for your rides. I'm thinking 6'2" is the cutoff. Top Gun is another ride that is terrible in this regard. If you are over 6'2" and would like to enjoy the rides WITH your kids, Holiday World is MUCH better. By the way, I read an article in the newspaper a couple weeks after our trip to King's Island where SOB (what an appropriate acronym) came to a sudden stop coming out of some high speed portion. I can only imagine that any tall persons riding on that ride had to come away from that with deep thigh contusions at minimum and broken femurs, shins, and/or clavicles at worst. Hopefully, they were not stuck upside down as well.
The rides that are available at Holiday World may not be as numerous as King's Islands, but there are plenty to ride and they are all very enjoyable. Their roller coasters are some of the best around. Even roller coaster enthusiasts from around the country who have experienced what the industry has to offer agree that Holiday world's offerings of the Raven, the Legend, and the Voyage are some of the best (all in the top 10). I agree. The rides may not be branded with popular cartoon characters, but honestly, the kids do not care (and I appreciate that they are watching their bottom lines and providing a family experience at an affordable price). The other rides Holiday World has to offer are every bit as enjoyable as the rides offered elsewhere by other parks. Like any park, the rides have lines, but they are not nearly so long, so kids are actually able to experience most of what the park has to offer, including the rides in their excellent water park.
Holiday World's water park (Splashin' Safari) is hard to beat and the great thing is that it's part and parcel of the bargain it is already to get into the park. Kids could easily spend the whole day in either part of the park, but because they can move through lines as quickly as they do, it's easy for them to fully enjoy all the park's offerings within a single day. If it's a little chilly, they can stay in Holiday World and if it's roasting, Splashin' Safari offers welcome relief from the heat.
Holiday World's attention to the park visitor is also evidenced by its free sunscreen stations and Pepsi soda fountains spread liberally throughout the park. We visited Holiday World a couple summers ago on what had to be THE hottest two days of the summer. We were roasting. The weather was PUH, but we were able to enjoy our time at Holiday World regardless without bankrupting the family because of the amenities Holiday World offered. Holiday World is constantly recognized for its family friendliness and it's park cleanliness. I don't think you can go much more than 30 feet without seeing a trashcan and for the most part I think the patrons are fairly self-policing as far as litter goes, but for the occasional litter-bug, the park employs a conscientious staff that does a great job of keeping the park very clean.
I will drive a little further to take my family to Holiday World. They are a hard bargain to beat for family amusement park enjoyment. Holiday World is quickly becoming a family tradition. Maybe if we ever get to the point we can buy a vacation home, it just might be in Santa Claus, Indiana. I don't think the kids would mind a summer of Holiday World.