It could be argued that Holiday World already has the best one two punch line-up in the industry with perennial heavy weights: The Raven and The Legend. That combination of wooden coasters has already left most of us dazed and seeing stars of delight, but now get ready for the knock out punch.
On July 13, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari announced its largest expansion ever for its 60th anniversary season. In 2006 the park will spend double that of any previous expansion to the tune of $13.5 million dollars that will add capacity and attractions to both sides of the park.
"It's all about value," said Will Koch, president and general manager of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.
The foundation of this expansion is a new themed area called "Thanksgiving" that will be home to a number of new attractions including a Tilt-a-Whirl, a turkey chase themed dark ride from Sally, and a new restaurant. But of course Thanksgiving would not be complete without a centerpiece.
Serving as the centerpiece is "The Voyage", a third wooden roller coaster for the park designed by The Gravity Group.
The Voyage is being billed as "The world's top airtime wooden coaster" with a total of 24-seconds of weightlessness. So like the annual family dinner there will be hardly enough gravity to go around. Now with the addition of The Voyage, Holiday World will add an "Out and Back" woodie to form an impressive lineup.
The journey on The Voyage begins with three successive drops, in order: 154-feet, 107-feet, and 100-feet, with the first one angled at a new North America record of 66-degrees. It will also feature two different sections of 90-degree angle extreme banked turns, and five underground tunnels, another new record for a roller coaster.
On some of the tunnels the trains will traverse through them more than once for a total of eight underground moments. Look out, because in one of these tunnels, hidden in complete darkness, is a "triple down" element that is sure to surprise the unsuspecting.
Lastly, if all that is not enough to get your neurons jumping, The Voyage will be one of the world's longest wooden roller coasters at 6,442 feet. That's just about a mile and quarter in length.
"I kind of like the idea of being sort of a world capital of wooden coasters," said Koch. With addition of The Voyage, Holiday World can easily make that claim.
The setting for Holiday World's new roller coaster will once again be the woods of scenic Southern Indiana and in the interest of preserving the setting only the trees that absolutely had to be removed were.
The Voyage will also keep with a Holiday World standard of being brake free through the course of the ride. Of course, with three train operation there will be a mid-course block brake to keep the trains properly spaced apart for safety.
"We think speed is important and it is our job to maintain the track," said Koch ensuring that riders will get the best on-ride experience.
At the announcement Michael Graham and Chad Miller from The Gravity Group, designers of The Voyage, were on hand to provide insight into the ride and its conception.
According to the Gravity Group most parks give them a budget and ask them to build a ride within the budget, but this was not the case with Holiday World.
According to Graham and Miller, Will Koch was actively involved in the development of this roller coaster and he knew what he wanted.
"There was a lot of back and forth discussion with Koch and our organization," said Graham and Miller. "The basic premise was to have a ride somewhat like Shivering Timbers (Michigan's Adventure) on the outbound, while Boulder Dash (Lake Compounce) was used as template for the return trip.
Koch stated that the commitment to build The Voyage was made at the IAAPA convention in 2004, with contracts signed shortly thereafter.
As many have speculated Holiday World was leaning heavily towards using The Gravity Group due to the their previous relationship.
"We did have some discussions with some other vendors, but I think we really kind of knew that the Gravity Group was who we were going to end up working with from the beginning," said Koch. "We just have just have a great relationship with these guys and they have done some great work for us in the past."
Besides the largest expansion in park history things are indeed going well at Holiday World.
"I expect we will finish the season up in attendance, but I think it will be 2006 before we hit a million," stated Koch.
Whatever the case coaster enthusiasts everywhere, and even theme park enthusiasts have a reason to be "thankful" as this will certainly be one Thanksgiving to remember.
Type of Ride:
Out and Back Wooden Coaster
Height: 173 feet
First Drop: 154 feet
Top Speed: 67.4 mph
Length: 6,442 feet
Angle of Descent:
66-degrees the steepest on a U.S. wooden coaster
A record 24.2 seconds
Five Tunnels for 8 underground moments, Two 90-degree extreme banked turns
Three 28-passenger PTC Trains
2 minutes, 45 seconds
The Gravity Group
Santa Claus, Indiana