Every year, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari puts on one of the best roller coaster enthusiast events of the season, HoliWood Nights. The event is always highlighted by food, experiential auctions, contests, and seven hours of exclusive ride time (ERT), but one of the most unique opportunities is behind-the-scenes walkback tours of some (or all) of the roller coasters.
For the last several years, the Thunderbird/Voyage walkback has been a staple of the event, but, for 2017, the park brought back the always-popular Raven/Legend walkback, a feature of the event that has been absent for several years. This meant that attendees of this year’s event had the chance to see rare angles of all four major coasters during the same event for the first time ever. We had the opportunity to get some rare video footage during these tours.
Raven | Fun Facts
- Raven opened in 1995 from Custom Coasters International.
- In 2005, a transfer track was added and Raven began two-train operation.
- Prior to 2005, when the ride had manual brakes, ride operators would sometime turn off station lights and brakes to allow the trains to do multiple laps during special event ERT without stopping in the station.
- Raven is 80 feet tall, but the natural terrain allows for a 110 foot height difference from the highest point of the track to the lowest point of the track.
- Four-time winner of Amusement Today’s “Best Wooden Coaster” Golden Ticket Award.
Legend | Fun Facts
- During design, the Holiday World team asked for suggestions from coaster enthusiasts on what to include; fans of the Beast are in-part responsible for the tunnels and double helix.
- Legend was the first coaster at the park to have multiple trains.
- For its first two years, Legend ran with a single Gerstlauer train, but changed to a two-train operation in 2002 when its current PTC trains arrived.
- To accommodate the second train, the loading station was shifted forward to allow for a longer brake zone at the end of the ride.
- The first drop of the Legend bears left into the woods to avoid a large tree that was accidentally removed after construction of the drop was completed. The stump of this tree is still present just to the right of the bottom of the first drop.
- The wolf howl and “Don’t Look Back” announcement at the top of the drop is well-known, but the new tunnel under Frightful Falls at the end of the ride also features a horse galloping and a whinny sound effect. This is nearly impossible to hear while on the ride, but is clear when riding or operating Frightful Falls.
The Voyage | Fun Facts
- Though built by The Gravity Group instead of Custom Coasters, The Voyage was designed by the same main design team as Raven and Legend.
- Holds the record for most airtime on a wood coaster at 24.3 seconds.
- Originally planned to have two 90 degree banked turns, a third was added on the return run as the curve was being altered during construction.
- Holds the record for most underground tunnels on a wood coaster with five, three of which are traveled through twice.
- Five-time winner of Amusement Today’s “Best Wooden Coaster” Golden Ticket Award.
- Switched to six-car trains from seven-car trains full-time in 2014 after statistics showed better dispatch intervals and better overall capacity with six-car trains in use.
Thunderbird | Fun Facts
- Initial development began shortly after The Voyage opened in 2006.
- After concept began as an inverted coaster, the wing coaster design was adopted with the success of Wild Eagle, X-Flight, and GateKeeper.
- Much like The Voyage, Thunderbird aims to recreate the Endor Forest Chase scene from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
- First major steel coaster to operate at Holiday World since Firecracker (Pinfari “Galaxi” model operated from 1981 to 1997.
- First B&M coaster to feature a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) launch system.
[Feature image courtesy of Coaster Addict Danny.]