- Ride Review
World & Splashin' Safari
If there's one thing that totally dominates media, entertainment and pop culture these days, it's hype.
It's almost to the point where it's out of control. Nothing is safe from being hyped anymore. Movies, TV shows, video games, cars, clothing and just about everything else receive an enormous amount of hype prior to being sold.
The problem is, marketers drive up the hype even if the product isn't very good.
People in the amusement industry are masters of hype. Every year, we hear about the newest, fastest, most unique thrill rides that we absolutely have to ride. Nowadays, with the help of hundreds of enthusiast sites (like this one), the hype begins a year or more before the ride even opens!
This was the case when Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana announced that they were going to build their third wooden roller coaster, The Voyage. Roller coaster enthusiasts all over the world went nuts because Holiday World and its President Will Koch, have proven over the years that they know how to build excellent wooden coasters. Their previous two efforts, The Raven and The Legend, still remain in the Top 10 even though it's been years since they were built.
Helping to drive the hype behind The Voyage were some pretty amazing stats. The coaster would open in May of 2006 with:
* Air-time of 24.2 seconds (the most in the world)
* A Track length of 6,442 feet (1.2 miles)
* A Maximum speed of 67 mph
* Eight underground moments through five different tunnels
* Three 90-degree extreme banked turns
* A first drop angle of 66 degrees
* A height of 173 feet, with drops of 154, 107 and 100 ft.
* An extremely generous ride time of 2 min., 45 sec.
Heck, we even got into the spirit of things by hyping The Voyage when we interviewed Will Koch in August of 2005 and the coaster designers from The Gravity Group in December of 2005.
But the problem with hype is that sometimes it can let you down. People can get so excited for a new ride or attraction that they mistakenly build it up too much in their minds. Then, when they finally get to ride, they suffer from a bad case of anticipointment.
I just returned from a 1,400 mile trip to Holiday World to ride The Voyage. I can say without hesitation, that in this case.... the hype is totally justified.
The Voyage is what a coaster should be. It's fast, it's fun and at times, totally out of control.
There were sections of the ride that were a complete blur. As I'm sitting here writing this review, I'm having trouble remembering exact moments because everything went by so quickly. However, there were several moments that stood out.
For instance, the three 90-degree banked curves were incredible. You really couldn't feel them, but the thrill came from seeing them approach.
Other memorable experiences were the eight underground sections. Immediately after the mid-course brakes, the train heads into a triple down. As the train descends deeper and deeper into the earth, you can feel the temperature change! I've never experienced that on a roller coaster before.
There were also many moments of airtime spread throughout the ride. During the first part of The Voyage, you experience excellent "floater" air as you crest the first several camelback hills. It was very reminiscent of the type of air found on Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Europe. But throughout the rest of the course, there is some great "ejector" air as you furiously make your way back to the station.
What amazed me most was how long of a time you get to spend on the ride. We live in an era where most of the "blockbuster" coasters have running times of less than two minutes. But The Voyage keeps going and going! And just when you think it's ending, there's still more to come!
Actually, for the first time ever, there was a point where I wanted it to end because my senses couldn't take anymore. But immediately after getting off the ride, I'd run around and get in line again.
Another interesting element to the experience is the queue line. While you're waiting, you get to walk by a Plexiglas window that gives you a view of the train speeding into the finale. You hear the train approach and ROAR as it sails by. It adds to the excitement and helps make the time spent in the queue go by a little faster.
I really think The Voyage will go down as one of the great modern coasters. It's one of those attractions that people will travel great distances to ride because of the reputation that it will gain. In the end, it's a ride that's so good... it doesn't need any hype.
So now, Holiday World has three of the best wooden roller coasters in the world. It makes you wonder what Will Koch is dreaming up that can top it.
© 2006 CoasterRadio.com
- Images 1-4 © Holiday World