Thunderbird fever

Thunderbird's Immelmann loop

Seriously. A few of our invited guests for Thursday’s Thunderbird Media Preview have mentioned calling in to work this week, sick with the Thunderbird Flu. My version of this mysterious illness? Sleeplessness (note the time of this post) and an inability to type the word Thursday at the first try. Somehow, it always comes out spelled Thunderbird the first time. And so, as we close in on opening our season on Saturday, senses are heightened and grins are uncontrollable. We finally did it. A big steel coaster. A B&M coaster, at that. Wow. This was a nice cherry on the…

The long-awaited Thunderbird POV

For the uninitiated, let us explain: POV = Point of View POV footage at a theme park customarily shows the viewer what the rider sees while riding. A birds-eye view, if you will. But in this day and age of selfies, we just had to take a Reverse POV of our adventuresome test dummies riding Thunderbird just as the sun set one evening this week. They could hardly contain themselves! Oh, you thought we were ready to release a standard POV of Thunderbird? Soon. Very soon.

Confessions of a screaming grandma

Staff rides Thunderbird roller coaster

Ever since we announced Thunderbird last July, I’ve been asked over and over: So. Are you gonna ride? And my answer has not wavered: “I honestly don’t know.” As excited as I’ve been about Thunderbird ever since I was invited into the “cone of silence” 18 months ago, the thought of riding it was, frankly, incomprehensible to me. You see, I have a long history of complicated relationships with rides. It started when I was just three years old. My family lived in Connecticut at the time and we visited Quassy Amusement Park (then called Lake Quassapaug) for the day….

We work hard …

Koch Family's First Thunderbird Ride

… and we play hard. Perk. pic.twitter.com/lIuJp0MCpq — Holiday World (@HolidayWorld) April 10, 2015

Because at heart we’re all 8 years old

Up in the Thunderbird station a few minutes ago, Leah nudged me and pointed: "Clean-up on Wing 4!" pic.twitter.com/ilqMz2b8ZZ — Holiday World (@HolidayWorld) April 8, 2015 Sometimes you just have to go for it. The low-hanging fruit, that is …

Going, going … almost gone!

Thunderbird First Flight Auction

You’ve been meaning to check out our Thunderbird’s First Flight Auction for Give Kids The World, haven’t you? But you’ve been busy. We understand. Boy, do we understand! The deadline to place your bids for the First Flight on Thunderbird is just a few days away. We’ve got an incredible day planned for April 23 – plus the auction benefits the incredible Give Kids The World Village. So here’s your video reminder (with some awesome Thunderbird footage) – and here’s the auction link – as time is running out.

A family tradition

Lori and Leah Koch on Thunderbird

Paula’s note: It was pure delight watching the Kochs ride Thunderbird for the very first time. Our owners – Lori, Lauren, Leah and William – were beside themselves as they scrambled to switch seats and ride again. Later that evening, I texted them to ask for a volunteer to continue Will’s tradition of blogging after riding a new coaster for the very first time. His middle child, Leah, grabbed her journal and captured her memories before they faded even by a few hours: When Paula first asked us to write down our thoughts about riding Thunderbird our first time, at…

Thunderbird: All it takes is Will Power

Leah, Lauren and the Will Power sign

When we announced Thunderbird nearly nine months ago (I’ll refrain from any “giving birth” jokes, for now anyway), it was the start of an incredible journey. At the same time, it was the last high-banked turn in a much longer journey – the realization of a decade-long dream to add a remarkable steel roller coaster to Holiday World’s line-up. Will’s dream. At our announcement in July, the crowd of a thousand or more made their approval known quite enthusiastically when Will’s daughters, Lauren and Leah, announced we would name Thunderbird’s “flywheel building” the Will Power building in honor of their…

I know. I want to see pictures, too.

Thunderbird's Wingtips

Jordan is one of our Security officers. He makes the rounds in the evening, so we often take time for a brief chat. It makes me happy to see Jordan. My maternal grandfather was a policeman in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a “cop on the beat” until he retired. He was offered other positions on the force, but he liked the long walks, getting to know the people in his neighborhoods, and the break-time food trucks at the factories, where he could pick up a pastry or a sandwich. When I told Jordan I’m really looking forward to the…

Thunderbird’s other sound

Thunderbird Logo Installation

We posted this video snip a week ago, to share we had both trains on Thunderbird’s track (an important step in the testing process) and to point out the haunting cry of the Thunderbird. What we didn’t explain was the “chch” sound as each train processes through the loading station. Here’s the answer, from VP James: There are five sets of electrical contacts in the station (one per car). This allows the ride computer to talk to the train while in the station (for example, to check that the harnesses are all locked before dispatch). These are spring-loaded contacts, causing…