Pilgrims Plunge

Ready for the World's Tallest Water Ride, Pilgrim?

Take the Plunge, baby!

Every time I visit Holiday World, I'm reminded of two things: 1. I don't visit nearly as often as I should, and 2. It simply has no equal. The Koch family treats Holiday World like their home and every visitor like a close friend.

Three of the best woodies anywhere; free sunscreen and soft drinks; free parking. Free parking. On the Saturday of the 2009 HoliWood Nights event, our group had a really fine meal at the Plymouth Rock Café and you know who was behind the counter, helping to serve the chow? Pat Koch herself, matriarch of the clan.

When we arrived on Friday, the "closed attractions" sign out front indicated that both The Legend and Pilgrims Plunge were down. Legend had some sort of a gear issue and the Plunge needed a new part from Germany. Could have been a disaster. But by Friday night, in time for the ERT, Legend was back in business. And before dawn on Saturday, a UPS truck was on the way to the park with the international delivery.

That is Customer Service, people.

My last trip to HW was back in 2002 and much has changed since then – new rides all over the place, like the HallowSwings:


And, of course, a whole new section:

Nice weathered look!

The entire HoliWood Nights blow-out was off-the-charts-spectacular fun; even the sudden, ferocious thunderstorm on Sat. night added to the excitement. And the woodies, as always, were superstars.

The "junior" coaster...

The Raven is still amazing, and still twice as good after dark. But it is now the "starter" coaster of the pack.


The Legend was a Top-Fiver the first time I rode it, and it still is. Twisted glory from beginning to end.

Oh, my god...

But The Voyage? Holy Mother of Mercy... If you haven't yet, read Chris Godsey's review; I concur. Out-and-back, twister, terrain coaster, it is all that and more. I've got nothing but punch-drunk love for this Gravity Group masterpiece. Number One with a bullet.

Look at that first hill... drooool.

While The Voyage truly dominates the Thanksgiving section, there's something here for every age bracket.

Tilt-A-Whirl themage!

Even if spin and spew rides aren't your bag, you gotta love the Turkey Whirl. Themed "Tilt-A-Whirls" are rare things, and none are cuter than this one.

Then there's the park's first dark ride, the Gobbler Getaway, a G-rated, PETA-approved attraction that equips us with "turkey callers" so's we can gather up a flock of fugitive fowl.

Granny explains it all for you.

There's even a "pre-show" where granny gives you the lowdown on your mission. See, we're not "hunting" turkeys; we're just bringing them back to the farm. I won't spoil the fun within, but note that no turkeys are harmed during the proceedings. (Also note that Will Koch hinted that this may not be the last dark ride we'll see at Holiday World.)

And then, there is the new-for-09 addition, The Pilgrims Plunge, a mid-level thriller that rounds out the mix quite nicely.

Tall. Very tall.

It's a great lure from a distance, standing alone against the sky. Those bow-legged supports do give one pause...

Looking good!

The station and landscaping are all really well-crafted, and they've thoughtfully designed the area so you can access the ride from both the "dry" park and Splashin' Safari, the waterpark (bathing attire is encouraged).

And at 131 feet, the drop is indeed the largest you'll find on any H2O-equipped fun machine, but that's not what had me worried at all – it's the trip up I was more anxious about. This new "open-air elevator" system seems so very, very wrong... with that inward tilt towards the top. And no over-the-shoulder restraints. Not happy about that one bit.

Scary part.

After leaving the station, the boats float along towards the elevator base, giving you plenty of time to see what lies ahead. (The park did choose wisely to abandon plans to tunnel this section.) And then we slide onto the lift platform. G'head and look straight up. Yikes.

Also scary-ish.

Fortunately, for wusses like myself that aren't too keen on heights, the lift does move pretty quickly. A slower vertical voyage would have made things far less pleasant.

Almost there...

Still, I was on the inside row and when we did tilt downward, just a little, my grip tightened. Just a little...

But once we're at the top, it's all good. Killer view of the The Voyage and the rest of the park. And then the "Wheeee!" begins.


It's not a super-steep drop at 45 degrees, but that makes for a nice, long descent. Good times!



We hovercraft for a bit and then "SPLOOOOOSH!"

Makin' some waves!

Much wetness ensues. Very nice!

Smart people.

As you can see with this representative group, this is a primo warm-weather attraction, especially in the front row. Little damp, boys? Hee-hee!

Super-scary? Nope; that's what the coasters are for. But satisfying high-jinks for a sunny day? Absolutely!

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For even more details about the Pilgrims Plunge and the amazing HoliWood Nights, be sure to listen to this Season Pass Podcast featuring Will Koch, recorded live at the event. Thanks again to everyone at Holiday World for being the greatest park hosts ever, and a big shout-out to some of my HWN trip buds:

Great folks, one and all!

From left to right: RideWorld's Natalee, Chris and Caroline Godsey, Doug Barnes of The Season Pass, and Darrell and Deanna Lutjens.

And one more thing: Right now, the Thanksgiving section defines the outer edge of Holiday World. In ten years, according to Will K., this will be the middle of the park. Sweet!

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Pilgrims Plunge

  • TOWER HEIGHT: 165 feet
  • TRACK LENGTH: 1,480 feet, station to station
  • DROP: 131 feet, 45-degree angle
  • BOATS: Five 10-passenger boats
  • TOP SPEED: 50+ mph
  • RIDE TIME: 2 minutes, 40 seconds



© Robert Coker
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