Share thoughts, photos, and reviews from visits to Carowinds or any other amusement park
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By mdsmith98
#102391
Hey everyone! From August 6th until the 12th I was on my first ever "coastercation", which is basically a vacation that is geared towards roller coasters. I had the pleasure of hitting up 4 parks in this 7 day window (two of the parks I spent two days at each). Each reply to this thread will be it's own day. I will start this off with Day 1 of the trip. Please keep in mind, I will not have a picture of every single ride from this trip. I just didn't take pictures of everything.


DAY 1 (8/6): CEDAR POINT

My plane left from Charlotte at 6:15am, got a layover in DC, then I arrived at Columbus airport at 9:45am. By the time we got off the plane and got the rental car, we were on our way around 10:30ish.

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My first coaster of this entire trip was no other than Steel Vengeance of course!

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This coaster was so hyped up, I just had to experience it first. Luckily, I had Fast Lane Plus for this day, so I was able to skip the long 2+ hour line (and only wait about 20 minutes instead). Let me say. WOW. After this coaster, nothing else matters. Seriously. Fury was my favorite roller coaster until I experienced the madness that is Steel Vengeance. This coaster literally does everything right. From it's insane amount of airtime, to it's outerbank turn, it's stall, literally everything is perfect about this ride. After experiencing this, you won't look at coasters the same ever again. I definitely want to make Cedar Point a yearly trip just to experience this on a yearly basis.

I may get the order of the rest of these coasters mixed up. I did get all coaster credits I didn't have from my 2011 trip (I only got a few on that trip) on Day 1 (with the exception of Iron Dragon).


Next coaster was Cedar Creek Mine Ride. I don't have a picture of this ride, but it is probably my favorite, or second favorite mine ride. I love it's hills and how sudden they are.


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Next up was Valravn. This was my first and only B&M Dive Coaster, and it was pretty good. It was a little short, but I expected it to be short. The hang over the drop was very awesome. The picture isn't very good, but whatever.


Next was Raptor. This was a very good B&M invert, it is now my #2 (behind Afterburn). It is VERY LOUD. It is so loud, you can't hear yourself think if you are on the midway. It is insane. It does pull some good g's, and no I don't have a picture.


Next up was Blue Streak. I don't have a picture of this one either, but it is nothing special. I rode it just for the credit, and had no interest in riding it again. It is so rough and unpleasant.


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Next coaster of the trip was GateKeeper. I was not a fan at all. It's not that it was a bad coaster, but I had put my brand new Oakley sunglasses in my pocket (they are prescription sun glasses), and the ride attendant stapled me to the seat, and the fact that the B&M vest restraints kind of crush your thighs anyways, didn't help the matter. I feared my glasses would get crushed, and sure enough, they got crushed. The lens popped out, and they were bent out of shape, and one of the arms came off (it was easily re attachable). It was a pretty good ride, but my glasses experience just ruined it for me, and I didn't care to ride again.


Next coaster was Wicked Twister. This was my first ever Intamin Impulse coaster. It was way more intense then I thought it would be, and all around wasn't a bad ride. I did not get a picture.


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Next ride was Top Thrill Dragster. Wow. This launch is INCREDIBLE. I rode this back in 2011, but I forgot how awesome that launch is. Wow wow wow. I forgot the hydraulic launch uses water to cool it down (or something like that) and at the end of the launch I kept getting a little wet, I thought it was the person in front of me crying so hard :lol:. It is a very good ride though.


Next up was Magnum XL-200. I heard great things about this ride, but unfortunately, it is not very high on my list. It was a little rough, maybe because I rode back row, and I was wearing my glasses and I was having to hold onto them the whole time, because I kept feeling like I was gonna lose them on every airtime hill towards the end. Not a terrible ride, but just not one of my favorites.


Next is Corkscrew. I don't have a picture of this one either, but definitely my least favorite coaster by Arrow. My harness wasn't extremely tight on me, so over each airtime hill, I got flung up into the harness, and it was very uncomfortable if you are a male. I am going to leave it at that.


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Next up was Maverick. This is even better than I remembered it. Most of the effects were working in the tunnel when I went, so it made it that much better. That turn after the second launch is so intense! You pull some incredible g's coming into that turn. I love Maverick, definitely my second favorite in the park.


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Next up is Millennium Force. It's line was quite long, even for FLP, I did wait in it, and sat in the very back. I thought much higher of it back in 2011, and that's probably because Fury has spoiled me and has become my favorite Giga coaster out of the three I have been on.


Next was Rougarou. I had high expectations since it was converted from a stand up to a floorless a few years back, and the one floorless I have been on was amazing. Nope. There is no fixing this ride. It was pretty rough, and plenty of headbanging to be had.


I did ride the kiddie coasters, but I will not report on them since they are just kiddie coasters, nothing special.


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One of the highlights of my trip was Cedar Point's Express Hotel! I originally reserved a night at Motel 6, but I heard some not so good things about it, so I cancelled last minute and got a room here for pretty cheap. I absolutely loved this hotel, and loved how the rooms had some pictures of CP coasters in them.


Let's finish off day 1 with a beautiful picture of the GOAT.
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User avatar
By mdsmith98
#102453
DAY 2 (8/7): CEDAR POINT

On day 2 of this wonderful vacation, I returned to Cedar Point to get the last credit I missed from Day 1, and because you need to spend more than one day at CP. It is America's Roller Coast (and the roller coaster capital of the world), after all.


So as soon as I got to the park, I went straight to Iron Dragon, so I could get the last credit. This was my first ever Arrow suspended swinging coaster, so I didn't know what to expect. This was a fun little coaster! Wasn't the least bit rough, and I really enjoyed it.


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Top Thrill Dragster was down for the first hour or so, and I saw it running as I was in the queue line for Iron Dragon, so I figured I would go straight to TTD. If you've ever been to the point, you know how often TTD goes down, and is often down for hours and hours. I managed to get two more rides on it today (thanks to Fast Lane Plus).


I then walked the midway to the right of TTD, and went to Gemini since I haven't experienced this since 2011. It was down when I first got to it, but I saw it testing, so waited it out so I could ride it before the line got too long (Gemini was not accepting Fast Lane. I am glad I rode it when I did, because by the time the ride was over, it had at least a 30 minute wait.

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After Gemini, I headed straight to no other than Steel Vengeance to get a few more rides in. It is such an amazing coaster. I don't want to obsess over it like I did in yesterday's trip report, but holy moly. Amazing.


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After Steel Vengeance, I went over to the Town Hall Museum to see the famous SV model. WOW. Whoever modeled this did a phenomenal job. As you can see to the left of the picture, it has a little control board. This makes me curious if it will actually operate one day. One could hope. I also thought the Gemini car that you could sit in was pretty neat.


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Next I went over to Maverick, and got two more rides on it. Such an amazing little coaster. Still the #2 in the park, imo. If the Carowinds 2019 coaster is even similar to Maverick, I will be very happy.


After Maverick, I walked back over to the Gatekeeper area and got a ride on Windseeker. It was pretty good, it is your typical windseeker.


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Next, I walked back to Steel Vengeance and pretty much marathoned that the rest of the day. I got a total of 10 rides on it for the day, making my grand total 12. I look forward to riding it again hopefully soon (probably not though). It did rain on two of my rides, and it is quite painful in the rain, as is any coaster. It then closed for weather (twice) then reopened about 30 minutes later.


One pro tip about Cedar Point. If you can afford Fast Lane Plus, definitely do it. I wouldn't settle with regular fast lane, might as well spend the extra money and get Plus. I wouldn't ever do Cedar Point again without Fast Lane Plus. Also, if you have a Platinum Pass, and purchase Fast Lane (regular) online, they will upgrade to Plus for no additional charge at the park. Only for Cedar Point though. Idk if it was so busy because it was the middle of summer, but it was packed. Fast Lane Plus definitely made the CP experience the best it could be for me, and I would highly recommend it. The lines for SV were constantly over 2 hours, maverick was constantly an hour and a half, TTD (when it was opened) was an hour at least. So yea, definitely worth it if you want to get the most of your trip. I will definitely purchase it for future trips.


I wasn't able to stay at the park too late, we had a 2 hour drive to a town just outside of Columbus where we stayed with family for the night, since we were heading in that direction for the park that is Day 3 of the trip.
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By mdsmith98
#102525
DAY 3 (8/8): King's Island

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The family I stayed with the night of August 7th live a little shy of 2 hours from King's Island. I think we left their house around 9:00, and arrived at the park right around 11:00. I did not have fast lane for this day, since it was calling for thunderstorms, I did not want to waste my money if it was going to storm all day. Luckily, the weather held off, and it was just overcast. The park was absolutely dead, pretty much everything except Backlot and Flight of Fear were walk ons (this was probably due to the weather forecast).


First ride of the day was Mystic Timbers. I have heard great things about this ride, so I wanted to make this the first ride before the line would get too backed up. It was okay, but I expected it to be a bit better than it was. It's still phenomenal, but I heard it being hyped up like its the best thing ever. It still ranks pretty high in my wooden coaster rankings (maybe #4). I swear I took a picture of it, but evidently I didn't.


Next I headed over to Beast - the world's longest wooden coaster. I was very excited for this ride, I hear it's awesome, and an even better night ride (the park closed at 8 both nights, so I didn't get to experience a night ride). It's kind of difficult to get a get a picture, so once again, no picture. I absolutely LOVED the beast. This is tough. I am not exactly sure if this is my #2 or #3 woodie. I just loved how it was in the woods, and the first helix in the tunnel after the second lift hill is AMAZING! You pull some awesome Gs in there, and it's incredible.


After riding beast, I headed over to Backlot Stunt Coaster. I rode the clone at Kings Dominion earlier this year. It is pretty much the same. I wish Carowinds would've gotten one of these, they are fun little family launched coasters. Nothing too crazy about the ride, just an all around fun coaster, and a break from the huge thrills.


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I next made my way over to Vortex. I didn't think it was bad at all. I would probably rank it behind Tennessee Tornado, in terms of Arrow loopers. There was only one bad spot on this ride, which I can't remember what it was. I thought it was a really fun ride. I did ride windseeker after this, but it is Windseeker, we all know what Windseeker is like. So I am not going to report on that, lol.


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I next made my way over to Diamondback. I was pretty excited for this hyper, it looked to be one of the better ones. I really enjoyed it, I think it may be my favorite hyper coaster of the ones I have been on. It's between Diamondback and Intimidator, but I feel like diamondback has the more superior layout. That splashdown is awesome, you do get a little wet in the backseat, and it's awesome.


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Next I went over to Flight of Fear. I rode the one at King's Dominion back in April of this year, and it's the same thing. A pretty fun coaster, the launch is really good.


Next I headed over to Firehawk. I wasn't expecting much from this ride (nighthawk is terrible), I just wanted the credit. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed Firehawk. This goes to show now all vekoma flyers are bad. Nighthawk is just terrible and rough for some reason, firehawk is pretty smooth. I do like the scenery of nighthawk better being over the lake, but firehawk is the better coaster.


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After Firehawk, I headed over to Racer. The blue side was closed that day, so I only got to experience the Red side. Racing coaster are two separate credits, and I really wanted the other credit, but didn't get it that day. I didn't think Racer was NEARLY as rough as everyone has been saying. I found Racer 75 to be way more rough.


After Racer, I made my way over to Adventure Express. Either this one or Cedar Creek Mine Ride is my favorite mine ride. Not sure which one. I like the restraints on Adventure Express way more than cedar creek mine ride. It is more accommodating to adults. I loved the second lift how it was in the tunnel, and had animatronics. That was probably the highlight of the ride.


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Next I headed over to Banshee. I had high expectations for this ride, I heard by many it was the best invert ever created (even heard someone say it is the best B&M ever created, which is laughable). I was not a fan of banshee. It's not that it was a bad ride, it is just too large of an invert, so it's elements are a lot larger than most, so it is not as intense as Afterburn or even the batman clones. I would rank this probably as my third favorite invert (behind Afterburn and Raptor). It wasn't terrible, just expected more out of it. I guess I had too high of hopes.


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While I am on the topic of banshee, this is the famous Son of Beast gravestone. The flowers and wood is what got all the KI fan boys going about SOB revival. These were evidently put there by someone else, not officially by the park. So carry on.


Next, I headed to the dead end of the park. Bat. That queue line is enormous, such a long walk to get to the ride, and you have to go down some stairs, only to go back up stairs a little bit later, lol. Definitely a weird queue line, but I understand the terrain is why it's like that. This was a good arrow suspended swinging, probably I would rank it ahead of Iron Dragon, it is really good.


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While I was in the area, I got a picture of the old SOB station. I just think it's the craziest thing how they tore down SOB, but saved it's station. I understand they use it for their halloween haunt now, but still kind of strange. They may be planning to reuse it in the future (no not for a SOB remake :lol:), who knows.


The last adult coaster credit was Invertigo. Definitely a step up from Flying Cobras (and any other regular boomerang). I actually enjoyed a boomerang for once, so that was pretty good. It is pretty intense.


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Next I rode the kiddie coasters, and got those credits. Not gonna comment on these at all. They are kiddie coasters, I ride them just to get the credits, and then i'm done with it.


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And that's a wrap on Day 3 of this awesome trip!
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By mdsmith98
#102608
DAY 4 (8/9): Kings Island

I am back for my second day at Kings Island. Today I had Fast Lane Plus, because when I was originally planning this vacation, I wasn't sure if one day would be enough (I thought this park was bigger than it was), and I expected crowds to be more of a factor then it was on day 3, so I wasn't sure if I would be able to ride everything. So today was just kind of a relax day, reride the good coasters type of day.


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I got to the park right at opening, and went right to the fast lane kiosk near the gate. The fast lane line was pretty long, and overall the park was somewhat busy today. Still not as busy as I was expecting, but still way busier than day 3.


Firstly, I headed over to Mystic Timbers. I rode this many many times with FLP. I did get to experience all three of the shed endings, and my favorite is by far the tree. I did start to like the ride more than I did on day 3, it is just one of those rides you need to ride more than a few times to really appreciate it.


Next, I headed over to Beast of course. I rode this about 4 times this day. It is a really good wooden coaster, I already gave my thoughts yesterday, they are pretty much the same as those. Haven't changed at all.


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After beast, I went over to Diamondback. I got both a front row and back row ride on it. The back row, I was surprised to get a little wet. When I rode the front row, the guy next to me was recording, which would have been very unfortunate. Still a very solid ride, back row on this is probably my favorite row.


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Next I headed over to Vortex to get another ride on it. I don't mind this ride at all, one of my favorite arrow loopers.


Next I rode Windseeker again. It's your typical windseeker folks.


Next I headed over to Flight of Fear, and got another ride on it. It was down for technical difficulties for a while, but I waited it out and was able to get right on.


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I then headed up the Eiffel Tower. I've been to Kings Dominion back in April, but didn't experience their eiffel tower. I loved it! Gives some amazing views up there. I still don't understand why the Kings park even have Eiffel Towers, if somebody knows, please enlighten me. I know they were built way back in the day.


When I was on eiffel tower, I saw the Blue Racer going, so I got down as quick as I could so I could get that credit in case it closed down again. I don't find the blue side rough either. Racer is fine to me. And they were racing!! Both blue and red were going. That was a huge nostalgia throw back to thunder road. It was pretty sweet to experience a ride so similar to thunder road again. Brought back tons of memories.


After Blue Racer I headed over to Adventure Express. I still rate this high for mine trains. Solid little ride.


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I headed over to Banshee next, and only rode it once. I don't care for this ride at all really, I much prefer other inverts.


Next I took a break from coasters and watched the Ultimate Stunt Show. It was pretty good for a show at a cedar fair park. Some of the stunts were really awesome.


I then finished the day with a few more rides on Mystic Timbers.


That's a wrap on Day 4. I was trying to do a trip report every day, but I completely forgot yesterday. So to make up for it, I am going to begin writing the trip report for Day 5, and have it posted soon.
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By mdsmith98
#102609
Day 5 (8/10): Kentucky Kingdom

I spent the next day at Kentucky Kingdom. Their tickets are really good deals. It's really cheap, and most of the tickets come with free soft drinks and free sunscreen. I was looking forward to this park. I enjoy history, especially with amusement parks. I knew about it's history, the injury under Six Flags, etc. I heard some pretty good things about this park, and was excited to experience it.


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Let me just say. The parking lot is very very confusing. The turns aren't really clearly marked, and if you don't make the turn, you'll find yourself circling the amusement park and fairgrounds again.


We arrived promptly at opening time, which was 11 am. I wanted to try to beat the crowds (in case there were any, which I later found out there weren't). To my surprise, I found out Storm Chaser and T3 don't open until noon. I did head straight to storm chaser, but found that out, so I went to T3, then went to thunder run, and all 3 were closed. So I decided to hit up the kiddie coaster for that credit.


The Kiddie Coaster (Roller Skater) wasn't bad. I was the only person on the entire train, so I sat in the back row. It wasn't a bad ride, it wasn't rough or anything, but its a kiddie coaster. Nothing too special about it.


After the Kiddie Coaster, since all the roller coasters were closed, I decided to walk around a little bit and familiarize myself with the park.


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Later, I found Thunder Run open. Let me start off by saying this is Hurler's big brother. The designs are so similar, they are just mirrored with a small changes here and there. Their turns are more forceful though, I will say that. It is better than Hurler in my opinion, but not by much. It was incredibly smooth. Hurler isn't really rough, but Thunder Run is superior. I enjoyed this ride. Nowhere near the top in my wooden coaster rankings, but it's not bad. I rode this twice on this day.


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After Thunder Run, it was about noon, so I decided to wait by storm chaser for it to open. You can tell this park is completely dead when their isn't a line for an RMC. I rode this twice, then moved on to other rides. This is a solid RMC. I would rank this as my fourth favorite (out of 5). The drop is really good, it's not at all rough, it is pretty good. No real complaints about it, but the others I have been on are superior to SC.


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Next I headed over to T3, which was my forth credit of the day. If I can describe this ride in one word: OUCH. I haven't been on an SLC since Darien Lake, and that was probably 8 years or so ago, so I forgot how terribly bad they were and thought enthusiasts were over exaggerating this whole time. NOPE. It is actually terrible. The restraints don't cause any headbanging like the other SLCs, but the restraints aren't exactly pleasant. At the end of the ride, it was crushing my thighs so BADLY, and was hurting in other places (i'll let you guess where). I was so ready to get off it. I feel like SLCs are good for being compact, but their transitions are too tight, and they aren't exactly smooth either. In summary, I only rode this for the credit, then I was done. Did not care to even consider riding this again. OUCH.


Finally, I rode Lightning Run. This thing was actually really good for a small coaster. I wish more of these would be installed at smaller parks. They are definitely geared towards smaller parks, because their capacity isn't the greatest, and they were only running 1 train when I went. So this was the longest line of the day. It felt very much like an RMC. The insane amount of airtime on the drop, the insane transitions, the insane ejector airtime at the end, etc. It was smooth as silk too. Not in my top steel coasters, but still a very solid ride.


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At this point, I rode all the coasters, so I took a closer look at the waterpark. I didn't swim or get on any of the slides, just walked through it. Their water park is definitely the strong point of this park. While the dry park wasn't crowded, the water park was. The slide in the picture above looked INSANE. It is one of those capsule slides like Carowinds has where the floor drops from beneath you, but it is straight down, and I believe they said it is 120 feet high. That is very tall for a water slide.


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I also had a funnel cake. It was nice and fresh and hot. It is your typical funnel cake though, but the portion was pretty good, and wasn't expensive at all.


I also had the honor of running into Ed Hart on this visit. If you don't know, Ed Hart was the second ever owner of Kentucky Kingdom (before Six Flags), and he is the main man responsible for bringing it back after Six Flags abandoned it. It was pretty cool to see the park CEO there, I can't say i've ever seen that in my entire life. I have seen a few executives at parks, but never the main man.



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We left the park probably around 4:00ish, because of the next destination, and being a different time zone (whoops, I probably just revealed it right there).
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By mdsmith98
#102635
DAY 6 (8/11): Holiday World


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Welcome to day 6 of the trip! While this trip was technically a 7 day trip, the 7th day was spent flying home. So this will be the last day for this trip report. We arrived at Holiday World 30ish minutes before the park opened. To my surprise, they actually let you in the park before it officially opens, but they keep you at a certain point so you can't free roam the park, which was fine with me.


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As soon as the park officially opened and security dropped the rope barrier, a bunch of kids start RUNNING towards Thunderbird. I wasn't about to run to ride a roller coaster, so I just fast walked. I wanted to hit up this roller coaster first before it got a huge crowd, since it seems like this and Voyage are the star attractions of the park. I managed to get a back row seat for my first ride on the right wing, then after the first ride I got a second ride on the left wing, back row. The line did pick up quite a bit during my first ride, I had to wait in line 10 minutes or so compared to the walk on for the first ride. This was honestly one of the most anticipated coasters of this entire trip. I have never been on a launched B&M coaster before, so it was a new experience. This is the third wing coaster i've been on, and it is my favorite. The launch is really good, the inversions are great, and the near miss at the end is really good too. Definitely my favorite wing coaster without question.


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After Thunderbird, I went over to Voyage, and it's line was pretty long. I wanted a good 30 minutes or so to get on, and I sat towards the front. This coaster is VERY good. One of my top woodies, I think I have to rank it either #2 or #3. My favorite is of course Lightning Rod, and #2 and #3 is a battle between Beast and Voyage. They are both similar with all the tunnels, and they are both phenomenal rides. I wanted to ride again, but the line was pretty long, and I didn't have much time here to begin with, because the drive back to a family members house was a little under 5 hours, plus the timezone change (an hour ahead of Holiday World). So I really wanted to ensure I got all the credits then would ride some of the coasters again.


Next I headed over to Raven. Holy shmokes. This line was an hour, which was understandable for a weekend, but still. A little longer than I was wanting to wait. But the good thing was they were doing a show right next to Raven, so I was able to watch that from the queue. The raven is a good little woodie, but is the weakest woodie in the park definitely.


Next I went over and got the kiddie credit, Howler. The line was about 20 minutes or so, which was a little longer than I wanted to wait for a kiddie credit, but it was all good. Not gonna give any thoughts on this, since it is in fact a kiddie coaster.


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For the last credit of the day, I chose to ride Legend. And there is a reason I rode Legend after Howler. Legend was my 100th roller coaster! I could have made Thunderbird or Voyage the 100th credit, but I wanted to ride those right away before a massive line formed. I really enjoyed this coaster, and I would rank it the 3rd best in the park. I didn't expect much from it, but it exceeded my expectations. Definitely solid, I thought it was a lot smaller than it actually was. Really fun ride, and it will definitely always hold a special place in my heart, since it is my 100th roller coaster. I am so thankful to have hit this milestone. I know it isn't much compared to others, but I don't get out to different parks too often, so it is a big accomplishment for me.


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After Legend, I had gotten all the credits here, and it was only about 1:30. So I decided to get another ride or two on Voyage, which is what made me really appreciate the ride more. For me, I have to ride a coaster a few times to really appreciate it.


We left the park around 2:30 Central Time, and headed over to spend the night with family before our flight in the morning.



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Thank you everyone for reading my entire trip report! 6 days, 39 new credits. I planned this trip only a few days before I went on it (yea last minute, I know :lol:). But it turned out to be very successful, and very well planned. This trip was just kind of a warm up for bigger trips in the future, hopefully. I wanted to get a feel for it. I did renew my Platinum Pass for 2019, and I want to try to make it out to Canada's Wonderland next summer, as well as some of the PA parks, then eventually out to California (maybe the following year after I am done with college).

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