Sunday, May 20, 2007

holiday world endorsement

Yesterday 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.

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At 11:47 AM, Blogger Raclee said...

I grew up around Holiday World and actually worked there from 1995-1997. We go every year and just love it! You can't beat the free amenities such as parking, sunscreen, and drinks. Even when the park is busy, the lines are not incredibly long. Not like some rides at the bigger parks.

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I will agree with you a 100% that Holiday World is an excellent park, I do have to wonder about some of your claims in your blog.

1. I'm 6'4" and have no problem fitting on SOB or Top Gun. So unless you are just not very flexible, I call your bluff. Then again in your defense I have been on almost 400 different coasters around the world, so perhaps you are a rookie and just don't know how to ride.

2. Unless your trip to KI was last year, then I call your bluff about SOB. SOB has been closed since midway through last season. It is undergoing a major "facelift" which includes the removal of the loop (the only redeeming "smooth" section of the ride), new trains and a very large retracking project. It has yet to open this season and I don't see it opening until late June at the earliest.

3. Again, even though I love Holiday World, you just cannot compare Holidog Town to KI's Nick Universe section. There is a reason why this park keeps winning the Golden Ticket award (theme park's version of MVP) each year for best kid area. There are so many rides there that you can ride with your child that any other park's looks down right silly.

In the end, yes I will agree with you that I would rather spend the day at Holiday World than KI, but at the same time you are comparing apples to oranges considering that KI is a chain park (it is owned by the company that runs Ohio's largest park Cedar Point) while Holiday World is a family owned park. To think that KI wouldn't feel more corporate is absurb!

At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed HW during our trip last year. I agree that Voyage and Raven are two of my top coasters but Legend was not really worth my time.

It is over the top, however, when a person bash another park completely to "endorse" HW. KI is not my favorite park nor HW, but these type of comments will do nothing to help HW. These types of posts are not good for "PUBLIC RELATIONS".

At 8:38 AM, Blogger bylaw said...

It was last year that my oldest son and I went to KI. I wasn't on SOB obviously when it had its incident so my knowledge of it is second hand and from what I read in the newspaper. If there are inaccuracies, it is either from the report I read or my aging memory. No bluff at all.

As far as fitting on SOB, I stand by that as well. Perhaps the issue is not height per se, as much as it is leg length. I once dated a volleyball player who was 6'1". Yet when she sat on the floor next to her roommates (the tallest of which could be no more than 5'2") they were identical in height from the waist up. some people are more "leggy". Others are more "trunky". Maybe I am in the former and you are in the latter. Regardless, I had the opportunity to talk with a few other tall men at KI and they agreed with me even to the point that they simply would not ride those rides.

Given that my son is older and more excited about the larger attractions rather than the "kiddie" section, we spent the bulk of the day riding those attractions and did not have time to explore the Nickelodean section. We passed by it a couple times and it looks great from what I saw, but I cannot speak to it, since I have no experience with it.

My point in this post wasn't to bash KI. With the exception of the points I made, I had a very enjoyable time with my son and we have some great memories. In the future, when I offer a contrast to exemplify why I like HW so much, I will strive to leave the name of the contrasted entity out of the discussion. I will concede that it wasn't relevant. I will also concede that HW and KI are apples and oranges.

FYI, I am not associated with either park. I am just a patron. This is just a personal blog and not an arm of any park's PR department.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Anon #1 & Anon #2, chill out! Bluff calling, telling him what to write about in his PERSONAL blog, oh and I love the "rookie" comment (as long as you are seated and strapped in, is there really a 'wrong' way to ride a roller coaster?) HW is awesome and he has every right to make a personal review from his experience with the 2 parks. The internet is huge. If you don't like the content of the blog, or any web-site for that matter, the answer to your problem is only a click away!

IL Nurse

At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Troy said...

Totally agree with your blog! I think a big part of it is the fact that it's owned by such a great family, who approach it as managing an experience, rather than a business. Also couldn't agree more about some wooden coasters at chain parks. Holiday World loves their rides and takes care of them incredibly well. With SOB or Mean Streak at Cedar Point, it can be so rough at times it feels like the cars themselves were meant for a different track altogether. Holiday World and its mechanic staff prove wooden coasters can be smooth and enjoyable! I spent a good 20 hours on the road last summer for Holiday World trips and loved every minute of it!

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've done most of the major parks
Six Flags - Kings Island and even Disney - By far the most bang for the buck is Holiday World
HW offers more for the $$ and is more "kid safe" than any other park around
Its a 3 horus drive from my house but worth every trip
I have been enjoying it for over 12 years now and we love it each time!

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