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Holiday World

Holiday World has assembled a great ride collection. They don't have as many rides as Cedar Point or Kings Island, but they have more rides you want to ride, and more rides you want to ride more than once. They take loving care of every one of these attractions, four of which are the best in their category in the country and five more of which are unique in one way or another. The emphasis here is on family rides, rather than cutting edge thrill rides. These are rides most grandparents can ride with their grandchildren.
Interactive Dark Ride. (Gobbler Getaway) # 1. Rather than scaring riders, Holiday World has chosen to actively involve them. The premise here is that you are needed to help farmer Cornelius Caddiddlehopper round up his flock of turkeys. This is really entertaining. As you enter the ride, Grandma in her fireplace rocking chair explains how to round up turkeys. The birds, of course, have other ideas. They're hiding in haystacks, lumber piles, hedgerows, woodlots, cornfields, outhouses and every other imaginable farm location. We've walked and taken cars and boats through every dark ride in the country, and in the nonGothic category, this is unique. It beats the Scobby Doo Haunted Houses by a wide margin. This ride is a triumph of imagination, creativity, cleverness and engineering. But if you're a big fan of these rides, be forewarned : this one is a lot tougher to score points on than the Scooby Doo versions. Members of our group easily top 1400 points on those, and they have a hard time getting 800 on this. Surpassed only by the versions at Kennywood and Disney.
The Turnpike (“Lewis & Clark Trail”). First ride you approach if you come through the gate and walk straight along the ridgetop. This is scenic enough, well landscaped, meandering down the hillside and back up. You’re looking down at other rides and out across to the water park. The gas pedals are extremely hard to keep floored, and the course is too short, but the cars are beautiful and meticulously maintained. Holiday World is still running Briggs & Stratton gasoline lawn mower engines in these cars, after all the other parks have converted to electric models.
Spider (“Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride”). # 1. The smoothest model of this ride still operating. Totally dismantled October 04, each part inspected, cleaned or replaced, and reassembled. The midnight epoxy surfaces don’t have a scratch or a nick on them, and the seats are very comfortable. Loading and unloading are inefficient and the ride cycle is too short. This ride has an interesting history. The Spider is a compact version of the Octopus. It has fewer cars ("buckets") and shorter, gracefully curving arms. Back in the 1950s, every major park had an Octopus and every smaller park and carnival had a Spider. Most of those smaller parks have closed, and the Spider was not a ride well suited for the constant dismantling, reassembly and transport of a carnival. Their usual demise came as the connecting struts and bearings between the reverse tilt hub and sweeps fatigued and cracked. As a result Spiders today are rare. This is a gem. It was already in good shape and the 2004 reconditioning left it in show room condition. This is one of the treasures of Holiday World's collection.
Drop Tower (“Liberty Launch”). Reprogrammed in 04 to give it more punch. The second descent is now especially heart stopping. This is not a high drop, but it's in beautiful condition and runs very smoothly both up and down. Great views up top. Drop Tower lovers will notice that this design is quite different from most of the others out there. It's more expensive and not quite as tall, but it's safer and doesn't have as many stressed parts to cause maintenance headaches.
Bumper Cars (“Rough Riders”). Unique cars molded like buffalo, horses and cattle. They’re quick and responsive, but the floor is much too small. HW should relocate this and double its size. They certainly have room, as between the bumper cars and Indian River is a fairly large vacant lot. While they’re at it, maybe they should convert to the round floor Kentucky Kingdom and Carowinds have adopted. But they should not replace these cars, which are unlike anything any other Ohio Valley park has and perform very well.
Flying Scooters (“Eagles”). Totally updated for 04. New controls, new engine, but also a little slower (10.5 rpm). Very scenic location, surrounded on three sides by heavy greenery and the fourth by a view out over the rafting ride, waterpark and forested hills. This is a great ride. It's not as fast or responsive as the one that was at Kings Island and now is at Carowinds, so you can't snap the cables, but it's still one of the better.
Tilt A Whirl. # 1. Newly redone and themed in 2005 as the Turkey Twirl, this is not only the most hilarious TiltaWhirl in the country, but also the best. The cars are...uh...turkeys. Holiday World maintenance engineers do a great job of keeping this running smoothly, which allows the cars to spin more often and more intensely. These seats are smaller, so longtime TiltaWhirl aficionados can no longer put four people in a seat to increase their spin. With the opening of the Thanksgiving Section in 2005, Holiday World moved this ride down off the hill to its present location at the base of Voyage. This is a beautiful ride, a work of art.
Swings (“Halloswings”). # 1. This is the best swing ride in the country. For starters, it’s the most beautiful. The whole structure is a work of art, with a Halloween theme. Bats, corn shucks, and various Gothic symbols adorn the engraved column and upper plates. A long, fast, smooth ride. Many of these rides have seats too narrow with backs too low, but these are large enough with high enough backs to feel safe for larger riders, and the plastic guards make the chains firmer for better gripping. If you’re into giant swings, this is the standard by which others are judged. Also see photo on the introductory page.


Scrambler. ("Scarecrow") #1. This is a smooth, well maintained, beautifully crafted Scrambler, with a long ride cycle and a striking orange and yellow paint job. It sits in a beautiful location amid trees, flowers and a grassy slope. In 2010 Holiday World reupholstered the seats, so they now sport plush benches and outer side panels (the inner panel remains stainless steel, but riders are pushed to the outside by centrifugal force, so only the outer panel needs to be padded). Scramblers are famous as one of the most durable, easily maintained and lowest energy draining rides a park can own. The paint job and scenic backdrop of this model have caused it to appear on many websites and print publications. Like the Tilt a Whirl, the Scrambler has long been the subject of math, physics and geometry studies because of the interesting patterns the cars trace as they rotate around on their three axles.

Another gem in Holiday World's collection is this Roundup ("Revolution"), one of the few still in operation at a major amusement park. This 1950s classic is still in beautiful condition. 33 riders line up around the outside with their backs to the padded wall, holding on by handles. As the wheel spins faster and faster, they are pinned to the outside by centrifugal force. Then the wheel begins to tilt upward until it is vertical. At that point, theoretically, a rider could let go of the handles and put his hands over his head, and raise his feet off the floor and tuck them against the wall, although ride operators forbid such actions for safety reasons. Riders have taken beach balls on this ride and tossed them back and forth until they got the ball balanced perfectly in the very center, seemingly defying gravity. This is a very smooth Roundup programmed with a long ride cycle.
The Star Spangled Carousel is HW's "adult" Merry Go Round. It's a three row, 30 mount Chance model that contains a rabbit, dolphin, zebra, cat, dragon, two seats for kids too young to hold on, and 23 horses, 12 permanently fixed and 11 moving up and down. HW bought it from Wild West World which bought it brand new but only had it in use for three months before the park went out of business. The carousel replaced the beloved Chesapeake Bay bumper boats in 2007. We were among the many urging HW to add a carousel to its collection but we were disappointed with this purchase. It's a fine little model. But HW is now one of the nation's premier parks, and we think they should have a major league carousel, a four row model with historical value, one in the same league as Kennywood, Kings Island and its other rival parks have, one with a Wurlitzer organ pumping out those full, rich tones and fully carved and painted panels and liners. However, this is a great kiddieland carousel, one that will thrill preschool and primary grade children. As kiddieland carousels go, it's one of the better in the country.
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