by Chris Godsey,
have the experience where you hear about the opening of a new coaster
over a year in advance, you follow along with the building process,
you join in the conversations about the upcoming ride, you anticipate
the opening, you go to the park for that all impressive first ride
- and are totally disappointed? Holiday World and the Voyage did
NOT put us through that experience this time.
WOW! What a ride. A few
words that come to mind - INTENSITY, AIR TIME MACHINE, AMAZING
DROPS, SPEED, QUICK CHANGES IN DIRECTION, THRILLING TRIPLE DOWN,
AN OUT-N-BACK MEETS TERRAIN MEETS TWISTER. That is how I would
describe The Voyage.
Holiday World has been one of the best kept secrets in the amusement
park world for the last 59 years. For its 60th anniversary, the
park pulled out all of the stops to "break a million" and enter
the world of the top-tier amusement parks in America. The park
will most definitely succeed with their new Thanksgiving area
and The Voyage. For the task of building its largest attraction
in history, the park turned to the Gravity Group, a company still
in its infancy but with decades with years of coaster designing
experience under their belt. The park has always been in touch
with what its patrons want and this coaster is no different. It's
as if the park took every positive characteristic from the World's
Top 10 coasters and then took them a step further. Size, drop
angles, airtime, changes in direction, speed, lateral G's- all
great things found in the World's best scream machines.
The Voyage is very similar to a trip at sea. You calmly climb
aboard in anticipation of reaching the destination. The trip begins
slowly. A storm approaches and the trip gets exciting, complete
with up and down movements like riding waves. After the seas calm,
you reach your destination with happiness and joy. This voyage
takes you on a trip to roller coaster nirvana in less than 3 minutes.
you approach the new Thanksgiving area, The Voyage stands tall
above the rest of the park and disappears into the trees ahead.
While standing in the plaza area below the finale, the area becomes
eerily quiet as the train traverses the wooded section but quickly
gets screamingly loud as its approaches the final twisted and
As you enter the queue, the coaster's three-story station is much
larger than most wooden coaster stations. Holiday World used its
resourcefulness and placed most of the queue areas in the lower
basement floor allowing waiting riders to take a peek into one
of the return tunnels via a Plexiglas window. Nice touch.
entering the station area, you notice the larger gate area allowing
ample room for guests to embark and disembark on their cruise.
Boarding the PTC trains and getting buckled in is the last step
before your expedition begins. The train begins the 163 foot lift
hill ascent. Even at those heights, a good portion of the coaster
still remains hidden. You crest the lift and begin your fantastic
journey to airtime city. In the front row of the train, you can
really feel 67 mph speed as you drop vigorously and climb the
first hill with fury. This is your first taste of true floating
airtime. Get ready; there is more gentle floating air in hills
two and three. Once you descent hill three, the storm begins to
rage. At this point, hang on for the ensuing downpour of intensity
and speed. After two subterranean drops, the train emerges and
the tempest begins. Two sharp changes in direction filled with
intense lateral G's leads to the turnaround portion of the ride.
A 180 degree turn guides us to the first of three 90 degree turns.
Unlike the first ever 90 degree turn designed in Hades, this one
is completely outdoors allowing the riders to fully appreciate
the tilt. Then, another turn leads us to "90" number two. After
the second "90" that sets us back towards the park, we dive back
underground and up into the "midpoint" of the ride. At this point,
The Voyage is a complete coaster offering many chills and thrills.
But, the ride isn't done. This is the MIDPOINT. We are simply
half way through our tour. We must get back to where we started.
There is just enough time to catch your breath before the REAL
this point, the train dives BACK underground into the infamous
"triple-down." For those not familiar with coaster terminology,
a triple-down is a series of three downward hills producing some
fantastic airtime, especially in the back row. The Voyage's version
is brilliantly done in darkness. This is my favorite part of the
coaster by far. Not only does it pay homage to some of the legendary
coasters of the past, The Voyage takes it a step further by being
traversed in a tunnel. After the triple-down, the train emerges
into the light once again and begins what I call the "dancing
return." I call it that because of the laterals and changes in
direction which made me feel like I was moving from left to right
similar to dancing. This is accomplished as the train weaves in
and out of the structure of the beginning portion of the ride.
of the design that takes advantage of the terrain, it seems the
dancing return picks up speed with every feet of track crossed.
This is because of the almost 100 foot change in elevation from
the midpoint to the station. This portion of the ride is by far
the most intense part. By this point, you are holding on for dear
life as the ride whips in and out of itself into the final 90
degree banked turn. The storm is reaching its peak, but the boat
must press on. Following the final "90," the train performs a
fantastic twisting camelback hill over the lift into the tunnel
next to the station house. Smile for the camera! Believe it or
not, the train is STILL picking up speed as it enters the soon-to-be
swift changes in direction along with strong lateral G forces
combine to be one of the most intense moments I have ever experienced
on a coaster. The train speedily enters the final tunnel, goes
through the final turns, and into the brake run. WHEW, even though
I just sat there and enjoyed the ride, I feel extremely exhausted.
I feel like I just ran 1.2 miles instead of riding it. The park
is boasting 24.2 seconds of airtime, but I can assure you there
sure seems to be A LOT more than that. It's the most airtime I
have ever experienced on a coaster. In some cases, it would take
2-3 rides on some of the world's best coasters to equal the airtime
of The Voyage.
coaster takes everything you come to expect in a world class coaster
and turns it on its ears. This coaster not only rose to the challenge
of my high expectations, it surpassed them. The Voyage will set
the standard for all future coaster installations in the world
and what a high standard it has become. The Voyage is four coasters
in one. It's an out-and-back, an airtime coaster, a terrain coaster,
and an extreme twister melted together to become the undisputed
number one coaster on the planet - wood or steel.
I know that
statement is a bold one. But, I honestly cannot put this coaster
behind of anything else I have ever ridden (over 325 coasters).
This coaster is hands down the belle of the ball. Folks, I implore
you to do whatever you can to get to Holiday World and take part
in this fantastic voyage and enjoy a feast of fun at the cleanest
and friendliest park in the world.
I truly believe that if you make the journey to Holiday World
and experience The Voyage and the new Thanksgiving section, you
will be among the one million other visitors to visit the park
this year - yet somehow your park experience at Holiday World
will make you feel as if you are the most coveted visitor they
will see that year. And that is what makes the trip to Holiday
World a true experience you will not soon forget.
- Total "Air-Time"-
over 24.2 seconds
- Ride Height-
173 feet tall (total height difference) with drops of 154, 107,
and 100 feet
of Tunnels- 5 with 8 underground traverses
of 90-degree banked turns- 3 (most of any coaster)
- First drop-
66 degrees (steepest in the U.S.)
speed- 67.4 MPH
- Total length-
6,442 feet (1.2 miles)
Other Interesting Stats- The Voyage is a 6.5 million dollar investment
for Holiday World, its largest ride project to date. There was over
750 tons of steel and over 320,000 board feet of lumber used in
it's construction. The ride time from station to station is approximately
2 minutes, 45 seconds.
*Photos courtesy of RideWorld.com, David Drake, and Holiday World
and Splashin' Safari