My family and I went to Holiday World on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend – me, my wife, and 3 kids (8, 5, and 5). Overall, I was pretty impressed. The park is clean, well maintained, and has plenty of rides for all age groups. My twins both came less than half an inch below 42” so could not ride on any of the 42” rides, but that ended up not being a big deal at all. There were plenty of rides for them and they had a blast. My 8-year old was just at 48” with shoes (which matters, because at the water park they measure without shoes, so she was more limited there than in the Holiday world section), so she was able to ride all of the roller coasters save the Thunderbird. She also had a great time.
The free soft drinks (which includes Gatorade and water) were great, and soft drink stations are all over the place, so there are no issues getting something to drink. I did get one cup of Pepsi that was completely flat, but beyond that this was a nice feature. The rides are all fun and for the time we went, the lines were very short. We were able to ride everything with very little wait time.
I was generally impressed with how clean they keep this place compared to some parks I’ve been to. Some of the facilities are older, but they seem to have a strong focus on at least keeping them in good shape.
We rented a cabana in the water park which was nice, but not a must-have. Unfortunately, we rented one in front of the smaller wave pool, where we thought our kids would spend a lot of time, but they had it closed (not sure why), which made the cabana a bit of a waste, given the price. We still used it, but had I known this, I would have definitely rented one in a different part of the park. Our kids did spend a lot of time in the big wave pool, though. The water was a tad chilly but okay once you got used to it. Not much they can do about that – we were there at the end of the season and after several days of unseasonably cold weather at that. I believe this was the last day that Splashin’ Safari was open for the season so it seemed much more crowded than the main park, but still the lines were not bad, and we had no issue getting on the slides or finding a place to sit near the wave pool.
There are some negatives, but nothing huge. First, the food is not good. It’s overpriced, but that’s expected at an amusement park. The quality, though, is lacking. Chicken fingers and mini corn dogs were drastically overcooked and the hot dogs were sad, shriveled things. I can deal with overpriced amusement park food, but at least make it halfway decent. It also took a loooooong time to order, which brings me to another negative: there are a few areas & rides where the people operating them are just *glacially* slow. One ride took about 3 times as long to get set up as the actual ride was mostly because the operator of it seemed to be in no hurry to do anything. Ditto at the snack bar where we got lunch and a couple of other areas. Most of the employees seemed conscientious and friendly but a few areas seemed like they were just mailing it in.
The cabanas in the water park are nice (they better be, given the price) but for some reason the front curtain on ours was wide enough to cover only half of the space – which made it awfully hard to use as a changing area, which was a big reason we decided to pay extra for one in the first place (some extra privacy and a bit easier with the little ones). I can’t figure out if they’re all like that or if we just got one that was not maintained properly, but the pictures on the website clearly show the ability to fully close them off, and ours could not be. Strange.
Finally – the roller coasters. They have old-style wooden coasters. They are very fast. They can be very fun. They are also *very* jerky and rough compared to steel coasters. That isn’t unique to Holiday World – it seems to just be a thing with wooden coasters in general, but man – I’ve been a lot of roller coasters and while the Raven and Legion are indeed quite fun, they push the limits of tolerability because of how much they slam you side to side, and the Voyage, their largest coaster, was went from fun to actual pain. Halfway through the ride it felt every disk in my back had been rearranged and I spent the remainder of the ride in agony. And I say this as a 100% healthy person who has never had a back injury or any other chronic health problems. Whatever happened didn’t result in any long-term injury, but just be warned – the wooden coasters are rough on the body, and the Voyage in particular is the roughest roller coaster I have ever been on. So just be warned.
Overall though, this is a really nice amusement park and we had fun, which is what counts. With the day we went on, where the lines were short, we had no issue doing it all in one day, but you could definitely get two days out of it if you really wanted to do everything. Our kids had a great time here. We did too, so that’s what counts in the end. We’ll probably make a trip back in the future if we get the chance. I’ll probably skip the Voyage though. Perhaps much like the actual Mayflower voyage, once was enough.
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