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2012 Best Attraction Tournament: The Voyage vs. Apollo's Chariot

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Published: March 7, 2012 at 3:44 PM

It's time to return to the Best Roller Coaster bracket in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament.

We're a step away from our final four contestants in this bracket, and your vote today will put one of these popular coasters there. Which will it be?

The Voyage - at Holiday World

The Voyage

Apollo's Chariot - at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Apollo's Chariot

Voting is open for 24 hours. You can recruit more voters to your cause by sharing this post on Facebook and via Twitter.


Tomorrow: Universal's Horror Make-Up Show and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular face off in the Best Show bracket.

Readers' Opinions

From 50.90.188.71 on March 7, 2012 at 4:13 PM
The Voyage is a flawless, excitingly, and breath-taking attraction that you do not want to miss!!
From 65.186.193.254 on March 7, 2012 at 4:21 PM
There are far better wooden coasters than Voyage (El Toro, Thunderhead just to name a few). Although I don't like B&M Megas, I went with Apollo for the upset.
From Dominick D on March 7, 2012 at 4:26 PM
I voted for The Voyage.
From James Rao on March 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM
I love both, but the Voyage is a singular experience, unmatched thus far in my coaster travels.
From Caroline Davis on March 7, 2012 at 4:34 PM
I have only been on Apollo's Chariot. I voted for it, only because I usually find wooden coasters (even highly rated ones) a little bit of a disappointment. I didn't actually love Apollo's Chariot that much, so really that was a slight disappointment to me too, but I still felt after seeing footage of The Voyage I would have found them about the same. And a vote for the devil you know, is better than a vote for the devil you don't.

Is there a list of rides in the tournament? Like a masterpost of the competition?

From Robert Niles on March 7, 2012 at 4:49 PM
It's here.
From Caroline Davis on March 7, 2012 at 4:55 PM
Brilliant. I promise I won't use it for tactical voting. :)
From Manny Rodriguez on March 7, 2012 at 7:03 PM
I voted voyage even though I haven't rode it it seems awesome
From Mike Gallagher on March 7, 2012 at 7:38 PM
In 2007, I had my only rides on Voyage. 50 rides over 2 days, many at night. The ride blew me away, and when I left Santa Claus, I had it as my #3 coaster, behind only El Toro and The Beast (those rankings have changed since.) I have not made it back to Holiday World in the intervening years. I've heard, from people I trust, that the ride is a shell of what it was. Maybe I'm kinda romanticizing it a little (remembering it as better than it was,) but I loved the ride.

Apollo's Chariot for me is lower tier when it comes to B&M hypers. I like the color scheme, the visuals ain't bad..it's a nice ride. But I don't want "nice" when it comes to these machines that are my real passion in life. I don't get off Apollo feeling like I've been given a thrilling experience. I'll ride it again if there's a short line, but I don't get off with a strong desire to ride again as I do with others that I rank higher.

My vote goes to Voyage.

From Derek Potter on March 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM
Voyage...no contest.
From James Rao on March 7, 2012 at 9:08 PM
Mike, I am saddened to say that you are not the first TPI poster to mention that the Voyage may be showing some age. Rough kills a coaster faster than an overdone MCBR, so I sincerely hope HW is doing everything it can to preserve this tour de force. I would hate for my favorite coaster to go the way of so many other neglected woodies: re-tracked to death, slower than snot, and basically un-ride-able. The victims of this type of neglect are littered across nation: Mean Streak (CP), Hurler (KD), Timber Wolf (WoF), Screamin' Eagle (SFStL), Cyclone (SFNE), and Judge Roy Scream (SFoT), just to name a few. However, I refuse to believe HW would let the Voyage go down that same road.

And they won't! They continue to test new Timberliner trains which may be a better complement to the twists, turns, and amazing 90 degree testosterone boosters offered by the Voyage's one-of-a-kind layout. Last I heard, Paula Werne (HW PR and TPI contributor) said that the park is still planning to get Timberliner trains on the Voyage in 2012.

Help us, Paula Werne, you're our only hope!

From AJ Hummel on March 7, 2012 at 9:36 PM
I've been on both and while they are both outstanding rides, I voted for Voyage for one reason and one reason only: It is the more unique of the two. I've been on four different B&M Mega Coasters, and all of them were pretty similar. However, out of the nearly 40 woodies I've been on, none is quite like the Voyage. Sure, it is rough and it certainly isn't for everyone, but I think it is a better ride overall and if the new trains do what they are supposed to this will be a no contest decision next year.
From Beth Olliges on March 7, 2012 at 9:38 PM
I've only ridden The Voyage once, and that was more than enough for me. It instantly gave me a pounding headache that lasted quite a while. (Same for the other three people in my party.) I love coasters, but not ones that leave me feeling beaten up! I've been going to Holiday World since it was Santa Claus Land when I was a kid, but I just can't vote for The Voyage. (Now, if it were The Raven...)
From Mike Gallagher on March 8, 2012 at 3:35 AM
James, have you ever made it to Quassy in CT? Their Wooden Warrior, which opened last spring, was the first US installation to use Timberliners, and they were wonderful. Fun ride, too.

Beth, if Raven was about 30-45 seconds longer, it'd be in my Top Ten. Even as it is, it's a great ride. To me, Legend is the "weakest link" among HW's woodies.

From James Rao on March 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Mike, I have not been to Quassy in CT. The only park I have hit in CT Massachusetts is SFNE, and I went for the first time last year. Nice park, for a Six Flags, and Bizarro was tremendous.

As for the three woodies at HW, I felt they could all be headliners at other parks, but at HW they got progressively better as you headed from the front to the back of the park. So, I thought Legend was better (and definitely longer) than Raven. But Voyage was head and shoulders above the fray. Just an absolute monster. And no, I have not been to SFNJ to ride El Toro, so you don't have to ask....however, I feel it can only be "as good as" Voyage, I just don't see how it can be better. ;)

From Melanie Howe on March 8, 2012 at 6:59 AM
Mike, it's funny that you mention Quassy. I had the chance to visit it once over 20 years ago and was completely freaked out. Now, mind you, I was completely freaked out by Connecticut in general since, up to that point, I'd never been north of the Mason Dixon Line in my life. But after a lifetime's exposure to Disney's squeaky-cleanliness, Quassy was something different. I remember thinking "It's like a carnival, but it doesn't move!" There was an old roller coaster that scared the crap out of me, partly because I wasn't sure if it would hold the combined weight of myself and my future husband :-)

Your post made me check out their Web site. It looks a lot different than I remember and the new coaster looks very cool. If I'm ever up that way again, I'll have to check it out again for old time's sake :-)

From Paula Werne on March 8, 2012 at 7:12 AM
James - did you get a chance to view this video? http://youtu.be/K36iWnSaOEQ It's an update regarding off-season work on Voyage, plus a Timberliner update. Thanks!
From Mike Gallagher on March 8, 2012 at 7:22 AM
James, hate to nitpick, but SFNE is in Massachusetts, not Connecticut. Very close to CT, though..Connecticut River borders the property and can be seen well from Bizarro.

Melanie, the coaster you're referring to at Quassy might have been the Mad Mouse. Don't be misled by the website..it's a few steps up from a dump. But Wooden Warrior is worth the stop if you're ever in the neighborhood.

Somewhere on this site is my trip report from last year. Maybe I'll see if I can find it, although I don't understand how links work on this site.

From Mike Gallagher on March 8, 2012 at 7:20 AM
Melanie: Found it, if you care to read. Parts I and II.

http://www.themeparkinsider.com/news/response.cfm?ID=945508207

http://www.themeparkinsider.com/news/response.cfm?ID=945508208

From Tim Odom on March 8, 2012 at 7:33 AM
I know Apollo's does not stand a chance here, but I do love that coaster. It is one of the few coasters that I readily ride as many times as I can in a row every time I am at BGW. One, or two, or three rides are just not enough. So, yeah, Apollo's will lose here to a ride that looks damn sweet, but I still have to give some love for the ride that broke Fabio's nose.
From Mike Gallagher on March 8, 2012 at 7:53 AM
Good, Tim. Blame the ride, not the REAL culprit!
From Tim Odom on March 8, 2012 at 9:25 AM
Who's blaming? I celebrate anything that would break Fabio's nose, be it the noble bird that sacrificed his (or her) life for such a wonderful cause, or the ride that caused Fabio's nose to meet said avian.
From Melanie Howe on March 8, 2012 at 10:07 AM
Thanks for the links, Mike, and for the little trip down memory lane :-)
From James Rao on March 8, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Thanks, Paula, will take a look when I get back to the wifi at work!

And Mike, I was on a business trip visiting The Hartford and it was about 25 mins from my meeting to the park. Did not realize I had left the state! My bad.

From Tim Odom on March 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM
SFNE is right over the border, so it is very easy to get confused.
From Derek Potter on March 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM
A ride like Voyage is going to require constant care to maintain it's edge and the ability to go at top notch. All of the speed and forces are rough on the structure and the trains. A lot of the issues with the coasters that James mentioned are maintenance related, but they are also design related. The type and design of the trains has everything to do with the ride experience, and only recently has their technology been revisited...oddly enough by looking into the past. The Millennium Flyer train from GCI is a 1920's design that's been made better through modern engineering and manufacturing techniques. The more modern looking Timberliner Train are very similar with an added perk...seat suspension.

A lot of those coasters that James mentioned also use the Philadelphia Toboggan style trains that just don't seem built to do some of the things that these coasters do. The wheels are small, the trains aren't articulated, there's little leg room, and there isn't a lot of padding. It all has to do with rider comfort. As the coaster ages, the ride on those trains gets worse...which is why a coaster like Mean Streak now has trim brakes on the first drop, and why parks have spent lots of money trying to "fix" these problems. It seems they are always spending money on the track, but I think the solution to reviving these coasters lies within using better trains. Gravity Group and GCI trains could bring a lot of aging, riderless machines back to life.

Back to the contest though, we really should just declare Voyage the winner of this bracket. It's clearly the best coaster in the bunch...albeit partly because it's real competition never made it to the tournament. I'm glad that a ride like this does reside at Holiday World, because I know they will take care of it.

From James Rao on March 8, 2012 at 9:45 PM
Paula, I very much look forward to being "terrified in luxurious comfort!" Thanks for sharing the link. I wonder if the Timberliners will be in place in time for a Father's Day visit....?

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