Specific Type: Wooden, Terrain, Kilo-Coaster
Who would have imagined back in 1946, in the small town of Santa Claus, Indiana, that a simple name could inspire not only arguably the first theme park in the world, but also one of the largest wooden roller coasters in existence some sixty years down the road? The kids were expecting something from a town named Santa Claus, so Louis Koch fulfilled their wishes by opening a small themed land where they could greet Santa not only at
Christmas but also all year around. It was a holiday every day at Santa Claus Land, and people liked the idea. The idea was so well-received that the park grew with the idea to feature the Fourth of July and Halloween, transforming into Holiday World. Then, another idea came about: why not bring a holiday to life with a custom-designed wooden roller coaster? A wooden coaster fit perfectly with the Halloween theme, so Raven found itself gracing the woods and dipping down towards Lake Rudolph in 1995. Thrill seekers the world over found themselves raving about the Raven, and a new era was launched. As coaster fans invaded Holiday World and discovered the family-operated theme park's charm, the park's popularity grew. It grew so much that five years later, a second, larger wooden coaster opened in the Halloween realm that would make its predecessor look like a toy under the Christmas tree: Legend. Another half a decade later, and the park continues to grow far beyond its humble beginnings as a hangout for Santa. Now comes the announcement of something so big, so unprecedented that it takes a new holiday entirely to bring it to life. Next spring, the Voyage begins, and it's something that all coaster lovers will be thankful for. Feast your eyes:
Once again, the predecessor has been put to shame by a new experience, and this time the new attraction ranks among the tallest, fastest, and longest ever conceived. Another holiday would be taken off of the calendar and brought to life by Holiday World, and this time the special day is Thanksgiving, a worthy holiday for a new roller coaster of historic proportions. Situated in a sea of trees, thrill seekers set sail on a coaster train and get tossed along some 6,442 feet of wooden track while they fly over steel supports at more than sixty-seven miles per hour in a quest for a New World of airtime and terrain coaster thrills. Expanding upon the valued quality of negative g-forces found on the park's past two major coasters, Voyage contained a record-breaking twenty-four seconds of airtime upon its opening that has sent riders sending their thanks to Holiday World since it opened. The ride also amplifies other qualities that earned Raven and Legend high marks, such as fly-bys with trees and underground tunnels. In all, Voyage took the record of most time spent underground from 2005's Hades at Mount Olympus Theme Park in Wisconsin with some eight subterranean passes. Voyage was designed by the same company behind Hades, Cincinnati's Gravity Group, which specializes in steel-supported, wood-tracked rides. Gravity Group formed from members of Custom Coasters International following that company's disbanding several years after designing Holiday World's first two wooden coasters, making for previous experience with the park.
Holiday World was certainly going for records with Gravity Group's new creation, andVoyage made its statement as the third-fastest, third-longest-dropping, and fourth-tallest wooden coaster. Concurrently, when the ride opened, the first drop on Voyagemade for the second-steepest drop on any wooden coaster in the world at sixty-six degrees. However, no one can accuse the new coaster of being a gimmick record-breaker as it hurls riders over the action-packed one-point-two-mile layout taking riders over sixteen hills and drops including a triple-down element in one of the tunnels. Other elements demanding recognition are completely sideways banked curves, at no less than ninety degrees. In all, once 320,000 feet of Southern Yellow Pine and 750 tons of steel were in place, the Voyage would carry a price tag of six-and-a-half million dollars as part of an expansion totaling $13.5 million. However, statistics are only that: to discover what the investment truly amounts to, thrill seekers will just have to take a holiday to themselves strap into one of the coaster's trains and set off on their own voyage.
The atmosphere of Holiday World's Thanksgiving-themed section will immerse guests in the Thanksgiving holiday. Not only can visitors find the starting point of the Voyage in Thanksgiving, but they can also get their fill of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all of the traditional foods at a new restaurant, purchase holiday souvenirs at a new shop, and play a game or two. Guests can also get their thrill by chasing after and blasting at turkeys on a new dark ride, and riding the classic amusement park ride tilt-a-whirl. But for roller coaster fans, the highest priority lies in entering the line to being their ride onVoyage. One of three Philadelphia Toboggan Company trains will load before its twenty-eight passengers depart to begin the courageous journey. After a straightaway from the station, the track suddenly dives to the left, then curves to the right under another layer of track before engaging on the lift chain. Riders are taken well above the treetops, climbing to an altitude of sixteen stories before finally topping off. The track edges over the pinnacle, more, and more with no pullout in sight.
The bottom comes into sight as the train completes the 154-foot drop and edges below the trees to reach the top sixty-seven-point-four-mile-per-hour speeds. Voyage immediately rockets up into the second hill and soars over the crest at eleven stories to serve up a generous dose of airtime. A 107-foot drop at a fifty-one-degree angle takes the train to the bottom again, this time running
parallel to track on the right. The track curves slightly to the left as it ascends the third camelback hill and peaks at just over 100 feet before a straight fifty-and-a-half-degree descent into the first underground tunnel. The track only emerges for a second with a slight right bend before plunging into the second tunnel. Back into the light with a hop, the coaster enters tunnel number three, then banks to the left as it climbs out. With a right-hand dive and left-hand flat curve beneath the trees, the layout enters a U-turn section, a slight right turn, and another left-hand bank ending with dive and crossunder. The track curves to the right before diving leftward back into the third tunnel, then exits with a hop onto a straightaway. The ride isn't over yet, no. It's just begun.
Suddenly, a dive sends Voyage back into the second tunnel for the triple-down element. Once underground, the track curves a slight left and dives again, with one more straight drop before hitting the bottom. A quick rabbit hop leads passengers through steel structure before the track dives and climbs while veering right. Another dip, then it's up, meandering right and back to the ground, then gearing up for another crossunder with the structure. Another hop, then the layout plays around with the overhead structure with a dip down into a left bank, a right curve back up through the steel wall, a dip, and left-hand curve. An S-curve takes riders over the start of the lift only to dive into the next tunnel, emerge by climbing to the right, and then dive into a tunneled left turnaround. Another climb, another turnaround, and then it's onto the brakes at last. With a right-hand bend and S-curve, it's back into the station after nearly three straight minutes of action.
For the 2010 season, Holiday World had announced plans that the Voyage would be replacing its classic PTC trains with the brand-new Timberliner trains developed by Gravitykraft, sister company of the Gravity Group. Similar to Great Coasters International, Timberliners feature individual rows of trailered cars, which allow them to flow much more smoothly through twisted and heavily banked layouts. To make room for the new trains, the park sold two six-car trains out of its three seven-car trains (leaving two extra cars) to Darien Lake, where they would be used on the Predator. Disaster struck though, when the Timberliners arrived too late to get them tested before the end of the season, so the Raven was forced to sacraficed one of its two trains for use on the much longer, newer, and more popular Voyage (though it required some modifications). Plans for the Timberliner were then pushed back to 2011, but they were not to be.
When the 2011 season started, the coaster was still utilizing its mix of PTC trains on the Voyage and it's Timberliners dissappeared. They resurfaced later that year upon the opening of two of the Gravity Groups smallest creations: Wooden Warrior at Quassy Amusement Park, and Twister at Grona Lund. This led to much disappointment, as the flagship coaster for Gravity Group would not be debuting the companies new trains to put them to the ultimate test, and trains which could potentially reduce the roughness of such a massive and twisted coaster. Holiday World didn't want Raven to be running short the whole season though, and so it bought five PTC cars to use with its two extra cars for a second full train to use on the Voyage, and returning the Raven's train back to its rightful owner. The park has since state that it fully intends to test and run the coaster with the newest Timberliners come the start of the 2012 season.
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