By HoliBlogger Max K.

When you ride a roller coaster, you never have more than a few seconds to admire the view on top of the lift hill. Unless…you walk to the top.

And Holiday World is giving you the chance to do exactly that.

That’s just one part of the EarlyBird Guided Tour. Now before I talk about the climb, let me tell you what the EarlyBird Guided Tour is.

The tour is a separately ticketed experience at Holiday World that runs for 2 hours, weather permitting, before the park opens.

This premium tour is a coaster enthusiast’s dream.

You get a 2 hour behind-the-scenes look at The Voyage and Thunderbird roller coasters, trek to the top of The Voyage’s lift hill, Meet & Greet with a coaster technician, and take the first public flight of the day on Thunderbird.

You also get an All-Day Digital Photo Pass, $15 Souvenir HoliCash Gift Card, three single-use Quick Access Passes, and a souvenir lanyard.

Now back to the sweat-inducing ascent ahead of us.

I’d like to mention that I didn’t do this alone. Along for this adventure was my girlfriend and my mom. Neither of them are the biggest fans of heights, but they came out of this tour loving it. They may have been white knuckling the railing, but can you really blame them when you’re 163 feet in the air?

I’m not sure how long the walk up the lift hill was, and to be honest, I don’t think time exists when you’re walking up a coaster. It could’ve been 3 minutes or 30 minutes. However, we were told it’s around 300 steps.

Once you’re at the peak of the lift hill, you can take out your phone and capture as many photos and videos as you want. My only warning is to be extra careful. If your phone falls, there’s not enough glue in the world to save it.

The view was incredible.

You can see all of Holiday World, Splashin’ Safari, and beyond.

HoliBlogger Max at the top of The Voyage's Lift Hill | EarlyBird Tour

If the tour stopped here, I would’ve been happy. There’s something very powerful about standing on top of a roller coaster, but if you need to be humbled, just look down.

Once we landed back on Earth. Chris, a coaster technician, took us on our next leg of the tour.

Chris fed us with enough coaster facts to last a few lifetimes. We learned about the daily maintenance routine to ensure the coaster is running safely, saw the very heavy packs they carry each morning with all the tools needed to make any repairs, and learned why different types of woods matter for different parts of the track.

Did you know that when the wood on a wooden coaster is replaced, it can actually make the coaster a few mph faster than it was before the replacement?

After that, we moved to Thunderbird.

We talked with Chris, another coaster technician, to learn the workings of their steel coaster.

He took us up to the maintenance bay where the trains go for routine maintenance and repairs. And we got to stand at the control center where Thunderbird is operated.

We got to see the opening crew of Thunderbird run through the tail end of their opening checklist. As the last check was made, we were invited to ride the first public flight of the day.

As we launched into the sunny skies of Santa Claus, our tour had come to a close.

We exited the ride just as the gates of Holiday World had opened and Guests were excitedly rushing to Thunderbird to be the first riders of the day. Little did they know…

Whether you’re a coaster enthusiast or love to go behind the scenes, the EarlyBird Guided Tour is waiting for you next time you visit Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.


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You can book an EarlyBird Guided tour here!


Enter to Win A Pair of Tickets to Holiday World!

Be sure to follow the adventures of the HoliBloggers. Each of their blog posts will have a giveaway where you can enter to win two tickets to visit Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

There are several ways you can be entered to win. Click any option below to get more details to gain those entries. You can enter to win through some options daily!

Entries accepted through Thursday, July 27 at 8pm Central.


Reminder: Holiday World will never comment on a social media post telling you that you’ve won our giveaway. When our giveaway is over, the winner’s first name and last initial will be displayed in the giveaway above. Winners will be contacted at the email address they provided while signing in to earn entries.

HoliBlogger Max KennedyThis blog post was written by HoliBlogger Max K.

Max Kennedy is a theme park enthusiast and travel content creator from Chicago, Illinois. You’ll find him posting his theme park tips, tricks, and travels on Instagram and TikTok (@ThisIsMaxKennedy). His love of theme parks goes all the way back to growing up going to Disney World with his family and watching every Travel Channel special about Disney World. In 2018, he got to live out his dream job of being a cast member at Walt Disney World and spent time as a Six Flags scare actor. Today, you can find him exploring theme parks, seeking out local food spots, and showing you that theme parks are more than just roller coasters.

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32 Responses to “A Must-Do for Coaster Enthusiasts: The EarlyBird Guided Tour”

  1. Jessica Wheeler

    My favorite ride was raging rapids and my favorite rollercoaster is the Legend.

  2. Victoria Carter

    My favorite ride is the legend and mammoth! Can’t wait to visit this year

  3. Brad

    This was a well written post! I Cannot imagine what it would be like to walk a wooden coaster. Good insights and solid post Max!

  4. Jason

    You can only do things like this at the best park in the world! Fav ride is no doubt the Voyage. Rode it 5x in a row last time we came.

    • Sidney Shoaf

      Can I say that my favorite rides are all of them?? Lol.
      But if I had to choose one… The Voyager. I love going to Holiday World so much!

  5. Shawn Boswell

    I would have to say it is a tie between The Voyage and Thunderbird!

  6. Sidney Shoaf

    With this hot weather right now, it’d be perfect to go to holiday world!