Took a quick mini-vacation with Jan, David, Marion and Eric to visit Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana and Kings Island near Cincinnati. Just an extended weekend, but it was a fun trip.
Santa Claus offers numerous opportunities for cheesy photos with the big guy.
I’d been to Holiday World a few years earlier, so none of the coasters there were new to me, but that won’t stop me posting a few pics. Holiday World is home to what I personally consider to be the best wooden coaster ever, a beauty called The Voyage. Set in the Thanksgiving section of the park, The Voyage (163 feet high, with five tunnels and a lengthy 6,442 feet of track) is a great combo of an out-and-back coaster and a twister coaster. It’s amazingly engineered, snuggled into the rolling hills of southern Indiana. It actually feels like it gets faster after the mid-course brake.
The Voyage awaits…
Holiday World is a great park, friendly, family-run and full of unusual perks like free parking and unlimited free soft drinks in the park. It also includes a large waterpark called Splashin’ Safari. We didn’t have a lot of time for the waterpark this trip, but we did ride the new signature attraction, the world’s largest water coaster, appropriately named Mammoth. Taking the power of Linear Induction Motors (LIMs) to a new level, Mammoth propels six-person rafts up and down and up again over its splashy run. I’ve never been on anything like it, and could probably have a very happy day just riding it over and over again.
Here’s a shot of a Mammoth ride tube going uphill. Truly an amazing ride. Photo © Holiday World.
We stayed at the Lake Rudolph campground in one of the new Christmas Cabins, which was fun if somewhat cramped for a tall guy in the shower. And Santa Claus is a charming setting for the park and campground.
After a morning at the Lincoln Boyhood Memorial (more on that in an upcoming post), we headed over to Cincinnati and Kings Island. We got in on Sunday night, and rode the first of two new coasters for me, Diamondback.
Yes, it’s practically that fast…
I had read good things about Diamondback, but wasn’t prepared for such a smooth and fun coaster. This ride has amazing ejector air, plus is so buttery smooth that re-rides are a complete pleasure. The ride doesn’t have the insane intensity of The Voyage, but it’s just as enjoyable as you float over hill after hill after hill. Plus you get a splashdown finale. It’s probably just *that* much better than Apollo’s Chariot that Diamondback sneaks into my top five.
The other new coaster for me at KI was a flying coaster, Firehawk. It’s one where you load and travel up the lift hill lying flat on your back. Only after the train crests the top of the hill does the track turn around and riders hang from the coaster car in an elaborate harness. It was fun enough, but I consider this and similar rides like the Superman coaster at Great America to be more or less “novelty” coasters. Call me a coaster traditionalist, but I like my roller rides where one sits upright and faces forward.
Firehawk in action. There is a giddy feeling of having no idea where the ride is going while on board…
At any rate, we purchased the add-on FastLane passes. FastLane is a “skip the regular line” system in which you purchase a wristband (pricey, even at the “group” rate of $45 each) that lets you use a special entrance that results in basically walking on the most 20 popular rides in the park. On a hot, busy day, like we had, FastLane was a godsend and I’d buy it anytime I visit the park when it’s jammed. The waits were so short, it was like what one gets when visiting on a cool weekday in May. And I’m sure CedarFair’s investors are delighted.
The historic 1799 farmhouse that is still part of the Kirkwood Inn today.
A fun discovery (thanks to TripAdvisor) was the place we stayed in Mason, OH called the Kirkwood Inn. The modern part of the Inn is a nice but not necessarily-out-of-the-mainstream motel, but the rest of the place is beautiful, with expansive grounds scattered with flowers and nature paths through woods. Most impressive of all is a 1799 farmhouse that served as the historic Inn, and was a place where dignitaries like Henry Clay stayed. Today the building is restored and is where the Kirkwood serves up a great breakfast buffet, including some truly awesome peach butter.
Here’s the setting for your breakfast each day at the Kirkwood Inn.
We all had a great time!