Overheard in Holidog’s FunTown

At closing time, Chris (our security director) overheard this and got a chuckle out of it:

While closing Holidog’s FunTown, I overheard a mom and her young (6 or 7ish) daughter:

The mom kept saying, “I know you need you to go to the bathroom – you need to go before we leave.”

The daughter replied, “What I need is some ice cream.”
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“We finally made it!”

Santa Claus Land logo

Here’s a wonderful note we received:

Well, it took more than 30 years, but I finally made it … to Santa Claus Land!

When I was a little girl growing up here in Cincinnati, I remember seeing commercials or something for Santa Claus Land in Indiana.

I wanted to go there so bad

After all, it appeared to combine my two favorite things-amusement parks and Christmas.

Well, as things sometimes go in life, we never made it there, and I had long forgotten about your park.

Santa Claus Land logoThen, a few years back, I picked up one of your Holiday World brochures at an Indiana rest stop on my way home from visiting the in-laws.

It suddenly dawned on me that this was the Santa Claus Land I had once dreamed of visiting.

Since then I have seen your park countless times on The Travel Channel, and through the internet, have read nothing but praise for your park from theme park and coaster enthusiasts.

I made up my mind that this summer I was finally going to Santa Claus Land. And we finally made it!

Well, at 6 am yesterday morning, I left Cincinnati with my 79-year-old mother and seven-year-old daughter in tow. We were at your park when it opened, and, had we not had the three-hour drive home, would have surely closed the place down. The 8+ hours we spent there were awesome.

Everything I have read and heard was 100% true.

The park was immaculate, the staff polite and competent, the themed areas were actually that: THEMED. And the rides and attractions were great fun. And, oh yeah, the soft drinks and parking were free!! (Even on the drive home, my mother was still marveling at the fact you do that all the time; that it wasn’t just something special.)

While it may have taken me 30 years to get there, I can assure you it won’t be another 30 before we return. My daughter and I (and maybe even mom) are planning a longer visit next summer to give “thanks” to the Koch family and Santa for an awesome park!

Shari S.
Mason, Ohio
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Brochure baby

We received an email from Connie yesterday.

Asking about old brochures.

Santa Claus Land brochures.

Connie’s not a collector, though. Not of brochures, anyway.

It’s just her daughter’s photo was once in a Santa Claus Land brochure. Somehow, over the years, Connie’s copy of that brochure was misplaced.

Connie was a college chum of a member of the Koch family. She was invited to bring her daughter to a pre-season event in the mid-1970s.

Santa Claus Land brochure photoSilly little Kimber Lee put her sunglasses on upside-down and played on a “springy” ride.

Now the next generation is interested in seeing this brochure baby photo, so Connie emailed from Texas asking if we could dig up the picture for her granddaughter.

And here it is, from our 1978 Santa Claus Land brochure:

Now we have three happy generations grinning over this photo.

And maybe a few honorary cousins.
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A year late?

The other evening, my youngest son and I came back to “work” to enjoy a few hours in the park together.

James had never tried Monsoon Lagoon before; he was beside himself with glee and was literally the last one to leave.

As the water park closed, and we headed back toward Holiday World, I heard an almost familiar noise.

What was it?

So loud.

So distinct.

Could it be?

Cicadas!

Remember a year ago, how we were supposed to get clobbered by the 17-year cicadas? I started getting emails from folks back in February who were concerned about planning their vacation around the invasion.

It was alarming, to say the least.

So were the websites I went to, in order to learn more. Talk about ug-ly bugs!

I calmed down, though, when I thought to ask around. Do a bit of research.

Surely I could poll the folks who worked here 17 years ago. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to surmise that if the cicadas weren’t here 17 years ago, they wouldn’t have laid those incredibly-long-gestational eggs?

Happily, there was no memory of cicadas from 1987.

And no cicadas in 2004.

But now … wait …

That loud, harsh, snapping sound.

More and more …

Louder and louder…

Coming from every direction…

Surround-sound cicadas!

noisy flip flops in Splashin' Safari

Oh.

In my defense, it was less than a split second before I recognized it was the sound of soaking-wet flip-flops making my heart palpitate.

But for that brief nano-second, it was very scary indeed.
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80-thousand strong

screw label

The delivery arrived this morning, and we’re 80-thousand strong.

Two semi-loads.

Eighty-thousand times three, actually.

semi with coaster-building materials
It wouldn’t all fit in the storage trailer.

When Steve told us about the upcoming delivery in Monday’s staff meeting, I gasped, “Where will we put them all?”

Steve misunderstood and gave me quite a look: “In the coaster structure, of course.”

Good grief. Maybe I need to darken the shade of my hair a tad.

Eventually, the facts came out — we’ll fit all we can in the storage trailer and the rest will be stacked next to it.

containers full of bolts

Closer inspection reveals a bit more information.

screw label

Screws?

According to Steve, we were to receive the following:

  • 80,000 bolts
  • 80,000 nuts
  • and 80,000 washers

There was no mention of screws.

Maybe that is a bonus barrel. You know–buy 80,000 bolts, get a free barrel of screws.

With the end of the month comes park-wide inventory. I know April is looking forward to counting all that plush in her department.

Wonder who counts the bolts?
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A new number

Just because the announcement is in the past, that doesn’t mean the hints, teasing, and a mysterious number or two have gone away.

Perish the thought!

Tomorrow, we will receive a huge delivery on the Snowy White Gravel Road.

Included will be 80,000 … things.

We’ll post some photos and more info once the trucks arrive in the morning.

We hope you can hold it together till then.
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A glassy proposal

glass shop proposal

Oh! A proposal!

Maybe that new section should have been Valentine’s Day!

… ’cause love was all around yesterday at Holiday World.

Karen, who’s in our Human Resources Department, tells the story:

glass shop proposal

On Thursday evening, July 21, a gentleman named Chris stopped by the Bavarian Glassblowers Shop to observe the artisan at work.

He saw Kathy blowing glass “straws” into the shape of written names; he asked if it would be possible for her to make a “Will You Marry Me?” piece.

Kathy said yes! Chris came back a little later and told the Hostesses in the shop that he was going to propose to his love, Mary, right there.

Chris got down on bended knee and as Mary pulled the beautiful glass sculpture out of the box, he said, “Honey, you know I love you. Will you do me the honor of being my wife?”

Through tears of excitement, joy, and surprise, she said, “Yes.”

Cheers were cheered!

Tears were teared!

And claps were clapped!

newly engaged coupleLove was the theme in the Glassblowers Shop that evening. And as the newly engaged couple walked out past Mrs. Klaus’ Kitchen, we knew our sweet shop would never be the same, because yet another love blossomed here.

We wish the best to Chris and Mary from Centralia, Illinois, as they stroll together in life hand in hand.
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Holidog’s Voyage

Holidog’s voyage? I guess this shouldn’t surprise me.

After all, my parking spot here at work is just a few spaces down from one marked “Santa Claus.”

But …

… I just received an email from Holidog

Complete with pictures!

Holidog's voyage

Here’s some of the message:

In celebration of our new themed area, I have decided to embark (pun intended) on my own voyage.

Through my travels, I hope to tell more people about Holiday World.

Don’t worry about me; I’m a Big Dog now and I will be just fine as I explore a new world.

Holidog's voyage
I’ll be sure to write and send you lots of pictures.

I’ll be back in time for the launch of The Voyage in May.

Holidog's voyage
Well … I’m off!

Chow, Holidog

Holidog's signature

The email message came to me as a PDF file, so I asked Holidog to please email me the individual jpeg files, as his voyage would certainly be HoliBloggable.

Holidog complied, even though PDF (Puppy Dog Format) is his favorite format.

Don’t worry, children of all ages, Holidog won’t head out too far until after the season is over. He’ll still be up at Holidog’s FunTown with lots of hugs and dancing.

Sigh!

Our little Holidog … taking a new leash on life!
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Sometimes it’s best to ask an expert

Suffering from feelings of extreme inadequacy while creating yesterday’s HoliBlog post, I realized it was time for me to ask an expert.

After all, this watching-The-Voyage-grow-and-grow will only get more complicated in the coming weeks, right?

Happily, Chad at The Gravity Group is more than happy to educate us:

Most of what the guys are doing right now (when they’re not pouring concrete) is digging holes and trenches, bending and tying up rebar cages (the steel reinforcement that adds strength to the concrete foundations), forming up the holes and trenches (so that the concrete that’s above ground is nice and square or round), and setting the anchor straps in place (the lower portion of which get buried in the concrete). Each foundation has to meet up perfectly with the post that will attach to it, so position along the ground is important as well as the top of concrete elevation.

The foundations we are using on this job are different than the other two coasters – but not completely – due to the fact that we are using steel structure. It also has to do with new ASTM requirements, site and soil conditions, and The Gravity Group’s evolving design philosophy.

Thanks, Chad. We’ll check in again with you soon.

No doubt you’ll keep us right on track.
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A case of the piles

Here’s another discussion about footers. It seems they’re also called piles.

This is from our old pal DJ, you remember him, right?

What the man in the photo is drilling into is typically referred to in the construction industry as a “pile.”

A pile is a vertical shaft made of concrete. It is created by drilling a hole into the ground, putting a circular form inside the hole, and pouring concrete inside the form. It typically has reinforcing steel inside the concrete to make the pile stronger.

The purpose of a pile is to prevent the structure above it, in this case, a roller coaster, from sinking.

(Oh, thank goodness!)

In the construction of buildings, piles typically go deep enough to hit bedrock beneath the soil. However, in the case of many coasters, which are lighter than buildings, the piles often do not need to go that deep. This all depends on the soil on which the ride is built. This is the type of information a geotechnical engineer can tell you.

The large, flat holes in the ground that the workers are creating and filling with concrete and steel in other photos are called “spread footings.” These serve the same purpose as a pile. They make sure a structure doesn’t sink, but instead of going deep vertically to gather its support, a spread footing stays closer to the surface and depends mostly on the soil beneath it to support itself.

Each patch of soil has specific properties. Some can support more force (weight) per square foot than other soil. Once the engineer knows the properties of the soil, and how much force the ride puts on the ground, he can design a sufficient spread footing.

Just remember that without careful consideration of a roller coaster’s foundation, the ride will likely start sinking in many areas soon after being built. This is why you often don’t see much vertical construction early on when a ride is being built. The creators are making sure the ride doesn’t sink for future park patrons to enjoy for years to come.

There’s something quite likable about engineers

They may not be the flashiest individuals, but they’re smart. And they like to explain what it is they do.

And I’m surrounded by them! (Will has an Electrical Engineering degree from Notre Dame, his dad had an engineering degree from Purdue, and my oldest son is an EE/Math major at my husband/his dad’s alma mater.) And then there are our pals at The Gravity Group.

I must admit, my eyes roll back in my head fairly often.

But it’s always a learning experience.
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