In this edition of Everyview Doubleshot, Andrew Majors and Zac Pritcher take a look at Holiday World, a holiday-inspired theme park. Featuring three of the highest-rated wooden roller coasters in the world, one of the best water parks around, and a reputation for being extremely clean and fun, Holiday World is one of the best and most-visited theme parks in the Mid-West.
Both writers visited the park on separate days, Andrew on a Saturday and Zac on a Wednesday.
Review by Andrew Majors:
Holiday World used to be viewed as a small park with only a couple of unique rides to experience, and it’s certainly grown by leaps and bounds since the early days. Now boasting three highly rated roller coasters and a tremendously large water park, it’s not taking a back seat to Amusement Park giants Six Flags, Kings Island, or even Disney World.
Holiday World offers a day of fun and entertainment for a reasonable price. I got two tickets for $60, which isn’t ludicrous by any means. When you couple that with unlimited soft drinks, as well as well as that it’s the closest park to where I am, it’s a pretty solid deal.
Unfortunately, in all the years I’ve been going, they still haven’t learned how to properly staff the damn place. Granted, most of the employees are probably under the age of 18 so I wouldn’t expect them to have much real world working experience, but some also exhibit poor judgment. One item in particular was vexing to me. On roller coasters, it is recommended that you remove loose articles so they don’t become lost during the ride. While this is a legitimate suggestion, in it’s implementation, it’s not very successful. One employee on “The Raven” decided that my dad’s fanny pack was a lose article, and demanded that he remove it and store it for the duration of the ride. As my father did not feel comfortable leaving his personal effects virtually unsupervised for two minutes, he then decided not to even ride the roller coaster, after having waited in line for an hour.
What makes a fanny pack a loose article? I myself was wearing a belt that was secured in the same way as his fanny pack, and it was not demanded I remove my belt. People were also permitted to wear sunglasses (which are surely “looser” than a fanny pack). Even people with hats were merely suggested to remove them, not demanded. Why not have one of the hundreds of employees sit outside the entrance to the queue line to check people before they even begin waiting, for things they suggest shouldn’t be taken? At least it gives them something to do. Or perhaps we just had the misfortune of running into an employee who took their job a bit too seriously, or took rule wording a little to literally. Either way, she almost wrecked a fun day. (FYI, my dad was allowed to wear said fanny pack on both of the other roller coasters, without any problem or inconvenience.)
“The Raven” is the park’s oldest wooden roller coaster, and it’s still a fun ride. It’s fast and fun, and the sensation of going out over water is always one I enjoy. “The Legend” is a bit newer, and it seems a little faster and higher than “The Raven,” but those two are comparable. “The Voyage,” the park’s newest wooden coaster, is the best of the bunch. It’s fast and dangerous, and best of all, it’s long. Nothing makes less sense to me then waiting in line for an hour for a minute of fun. “The Voyage” seemed twice as long as the other two coasters, and it even had the sensation of running almost on your side, which was very fun.
There was one other ride in the Thanksgiving section that was fun, and it implemented almost a laser tag psyche. You’re placed into a car, and slowly led around a track that has bulls-eyes placed all around it that you shoot and the score’s are actually kept on the ride itself. It was very fun, but be warned, if you end up in the back and someone in front of you has any skill, you’re going to get beaten pretty soundly, as they have first shot at everything and once a target is hit it cannot be re-hit.
The water park, Splashin’ Safari, is absolutely enormous, but it was still too crowded. Granted I went on the hottest day of the year thus far, so people might have just wanted to same relief as I did, but there were still no slides with shorter then a 45 minute to 1 hour wait.
And of course, there’s the swimsuit issue (and not the awesome Sports Illustrated one). Most, and I mean clearly the majority of people in the water park, are wearing swimsuits they should not be permitted to wear. It’s actually a little disgusting to see some of these people’s bodies.
Another problem in the water park is with the children. And listen, I’m perfectly fine with kids having a fun time and running around and stuff. They’re kids, it’s what they do. But at some points, it gets a little annoying constantly having to watch after kids whose parents won’t watch after them and just let them completely run roughshod over anything they want. It’s pretty annoying.
The newest addition, The Pilgrim’s Plunge, is a very fun ride, and it takes a concept in the log ride and fancies it up to astounding heights. The line is deceptive though, as you get into it thinking to doesn’t look too long to get into the building where the ride begins, and you’re right. Problem is, all 10 queue lines are jam packed, and take about 7 minutes each. All for a 10 second payoff that, while fun, does take a significant chunk out of your day.
Because while the regular park seems to have an ebb and flow to it, the water park has none. People just stand wherever they want because there isn’t enough seating or a nice relaxation area for them. It makes the traffic seem constantly backed up, and you really have to wiggle your way through these inconsiderate people, who don’t recognize that there are other people who paid to have a fun day and are trying to have fun as well. There must be a limit to the amount of people allowed in the water park, and whatever it is, it should be much less. It’s far too uncomfortable in there with that many people, especially with the heat and humidity of this past Saturday.
Also, there seems to have been a complete breakdown in social structure in terms of waiting in line. Apparently, as long as you know someone already in line, you can enter the line and walk up to join them no matter what. And there’s nobody there to see it, so they get away with it every time. I actually considered having my sister and her boyfriend wait in line, and then just walk up to the front of line when they got there, because they were “saving my spot” the whole time. This isn’t a middle school cafeteria. I paid a lot of money to get in here. Take some of the people who are walking around sweeping up nothing, and put a few of them in spots throughout the long lines to the bigger rides to prevent this. Because I’m a pretty mild-mannered guy, but I assure you, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. I’m relentless, and I’m a prick.
I believe this had to be the busiest day of the year, but the park is still too small to accommodate the number of people who were there this past Saturday. People pay to do the big things… the roller coasters and the water park. Everything else is peanuts. Figure out how to get people through the lines faster, and do it. People will leave happier.
Overall, Holiday World is a fun experience, one I recommend if you’re in Indiana or the surrounding area and are willing to make the drive. I don’t recommend going on a Saturday, especially at this time of year. If you can make it on a weekday, you’ll have a blast. Otherwise, you’ll have good time, but you’ll have spent most of it waiting in line. The unlimited soft drinks are a wonderful idea, and the park is very clean. It’s relatively affordable entertainment , and nice way to spend a day.
- All three roller coasters are top notch
- Selectively enforced rules by employees
- Too crowded for park’s size
Score: 7.5/10 (Good fun)
A Second Opinion by Zac Pritcher:
Holiday World is a great theme park that offers a smaller and more personal experience than, say, Six Flags or Disney World, and that is what makes it one of my favorite parks. It doesn’t have the ginormous budget required to build ultra-expensive metal roller coasters, but instead sticks to providing guests with some of the highest-rated coasters you’ll ever see.
The park is segregated into different holiday-inspired sections, hence the name, each of which holds its own attractions. Halloween is probably the most popular, as it holds two of the three roller coasters — “The Raven” and “The Legend.” Right behind it, and possibly on the verge of surpassing it, is Thanksgiving. This area holds “The Voyage,” which is easily the best ride in the park, the best wooden coaster I’ve ever ridden, and one of the best roller coasters. Period.
Thanksgiving also holds the new “Pilgrim’s Plunge,” the world’s tallest water ride. It’s essentially a giant log ride, and I’m not overly fond of it. I don’t like getting wet, and I was lucky enough to be sat in the back, the wettest place to sit. I’m also horrified of heights and the slow elevator ride up to the top was very unnerving. Most people seemed to enjoy the ride and it is rather thrilling to drop straight down for a such a great distance.
Included in your ticket to Holiday World is admittance to Splashin’ Safari, the best water park I’ve ever been to. There are several huge slides and two decent wave pools. Water parks aren’t really my thing though, as I find very little thrill in water slides. I’d probably enjoy the slides a lot more if riding them didn’t require standing in hour-long lines.
I took my trip to Holiday World on a Wednesday as opposed to a weekend. Doing this leads to shorter lines and smaller crowd sizes and is definitely recommended. Splashin’ Safari is going to be crowded regardless of when you go if it’s during the summer.
Holiday World is one of, if not my favorite theme park around. Lines rarely pass the 1-hour mark, even on the busiest days, the park is extremely clean, the water park is free and rules, and the three wooden coasters are top notch. All of these attributes combine to create a very enjoyable recreational experience that I highly recommend to anyone within a reasonable distance.