We turned around and headed back to the park. The Voyage walkback is one of my favorite things to do during HoliWood Nights. Since Doug and I hadn't ridden anything except the two water coasters, it was now time to do some riding. Steve joined us on Gobbler Getaway. Doug came in first place, and I beat Steve by about 100 points. Doug and I wanted to get some other rides in, so we split from Steve and went on our own.
We went to the other new ride, Sparkler, a giant swing. We waited a couple of cycles, which are really quick, before we got to ride. The views are fun, but you only seem to spin around at the top twice before it starts to go down. We went to Liberty Launch, which is right next to Sparkler, and got in the single-rider line. This ride may be short, but it packs a punch. I still get a big thrill from the second shot when it really delivers the airtime.
Then we went to Raven, which had no line. We waited a couple of trains for the back seat, the best seat on the coaster. My first coaster of 2012 is running really well. The last time I rode, the portion of the ride after the fifth drop was a little rough. This time it was fine. The airtime's still great, and flying through the trees is a blast. Some trees next to the lift hill had been removed, so there's a better view of it from the station. After that we went to Legend, one of my favorite wooden coasters. We got in the back seat, and I took the left side so Doug didn't have to deal with being pressed into the side of the car.
Legend's running all right, but some spots are a little bumpy. Nothing detracts from the ride, but my rides in 2010 were better. It still screams through the helix, and the four corners of death are still ferocious and filled with heavy laterals. When we stopped in the brakes while waiting for the other train to leave the station, the upstops and guide wheels were still screaming. I love it.
Then it was time for my favorite coaster of all time: Voyage. We got in the back seat of the seventh car. Had the retracking helped? Was it going to be knocked down from my No. 1 spot like it almost threatened in 2010?
No. The retracking on the first half of the ride paid off brilliantly. The coaster's running like it's brand new. The turnaround is even more fierce, though you can easily tell when the retracking ends at the first 90-degree turn. The second half is filled with airtime, and the only real pothole is after the last 90-degree turn. Rerides can happen now, though maybe not too many. As I overheard one kid say as we walked down the exit ramp: "I'm gonna do it again and again, and I'm gonna have a migraine!" He sounded excited.
We went back to Raven and rode in the back again. Fun! Then we headed to the picnic area for the buffet. It was time for dinner. We grabbed food and hung out with everyone else. I got seconds. Jerry won a piece of Voyage in the auction. Doug and I walked to Eric Snow to ask about refunds or any help since we missed Friday night ERT but paid for it. He told us that was the cheapest package and that they can't control the weather, which is perfectly understandable. But he told us he'd give us $20 gift cards that are good for three years, so we could use them next time we come. Wow. This park really goes out of its way. He took our names and told us to go to guest relations at the end of the night. Pat and Dan Koch made the standard announcement about how much they love us and this event, how we need to stay safe, and most of all to have fun. Then I grabbed a cookie, and we headed to night ERT.
Steve and I stood around talking and taking pictures. Then we rode Bench: The Ride and went to Voyage, where the only lines were for the front and back seats. Steve and I took the back, and Doug rode in front of us.
Voyage is great during the day. At night, it truly comes alive. It's a completely different ride. It's faster, more out of control, and you cannot see anything out in the woods. The moon was almost full, and there was some cloud cover, so I didn't see any stars like last time, but that didn't make this any less magical. Voyage absolutely tears through the course. The turnaround is so amazing at night, especially since the retracking makes it glass smooth. Voyage solidified itself as my No. 1 coaster again.
I met with the rest of the ThrillNetwork people, and we all rode in the same train. I was in the front seat of the sixth car. When the train ahead of me pulled into the station, I noticed a familiar face. Remember that guy(photo from Cliff's trip) I saw at Cliff's in 2010? I knew he was an ACEr right away because I could hear him talking about coasters to a stranger and he had a glasses strap. Same guy! His train left before I could try to get his attention. Then the ThrillNetwork staff boarded and had another spectacular ride.
We all split up after that. It had started raining a little. Doug and I went to Legend, though he sat out. I rode in the back seat -- right side this time so the laterals didn't kill me. Legend was amazing in the rain. It blew me totally away. It's great at night, but the rain made it better. We went to Raven and rode in the back again. The rain made it better too. I love it.
Then we went to Voyage. Doug sat out again, and I rode in the next to last seat. Amazing. This night ride in the rain might have been the best ride I've ever gotten on a coaster. It's just relentless. Voyage has so much airtime and is so completely out of control, and the rain just seemed to make that stand out more. I love Voyage so much. We left and went to guest services, where we got our gift cards. Doug and I had been talking about what would allow us to write a compliment this year since every time we visit, we have something to compliment the park on. Eric Snow, you really showed us why this park is one of the classiest ever. He said the park doesn't take comments at guest relations anymore, but he gave us a card with contact information. We thanked him again and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep before our next adventure tomorrow.
Holiday World, again, has completely outdone itself. This event is so much fun and can easily become an annual tradition for me if I'm able. The park's clean, fun, the staff's super friendly, the rides are amazing, the prices are reasonable, the food's good, and the ERT is the best. Plus it's good to meet old friends who love coasters like I do. This year's event gets a 10/10.