“M” is for Mud

Voyage station construction

Chad from The Gravity Group was here on Tuesday to check up on Voyage construction

But who knew?

After tromping about the construction site, catching up on the progress made over the past several weeks, Chad was so muddy he just headed back to Cincinnati.

“The mud was up to my knees, so I didn’t even come up to the office.”

Happily, Chad didn’t get any mud on his camera.

Voyage station

Here’s a look at the station on the left and the lift hill on the right. You may notice a bit of fish-eye distortion; some of the photos Chad took were in a panoramic setting.

And here’s another view of the station, also looking to the north.

Voyage station

Next, Chad heads to the far northern end of The Voyage, gathering mud all the way.

The turnaround is growing rapidly.

Voyage turnaround

Here’s a closer look:

Voyage turnaround

Voyage construction continues, no matter what the weather. We can’t wait to ride it!
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A dusting of snow

Voyage Station construction

Here’s The Voyage‘s station on Saturday, with the lift hill off in the distance and a dusting of snow on the ground.

Voyage Station construction

You can see the second hill and a bit of the third.

At the bottom of the third hill, down we go …

Voyage construction in the snow

… underground. Amid the snow.

We’re making good use of the tunnels; we’ll fly through several of them on the way out and the way back.

Let’s zoom out and take a wider look:

Voyage construction in the snow

Here’s another double-wide tunnel, heading in and out of the turnaround.

Voyage construction - tunnel

And now let’s go back to the other side of the station.

Remember, the trains will make a wild swoop back around the station at the end of the ride.

Voyage turnaround - construction

 

 

 

 

The temperatures are rising and the snow is melting.

March is just a week away.

Wanted: 1,500 smiling faces

1995 seasonal employees

This time of the year, I must admit I find myself murmuring, “I’m so glad I’m not in Operations” on a daily basis.

Not loudly, though. It would get on the Operations Staff’s last nerve.

For the 2006 season, we plan to hire 1,500 Hosts & Hostesses.

That’s a lot.

Especially considering that the first “hiring” news release I wrote (back in 1992) called for 450 seasonal employees.

Operation’s “head hunters” hit the schools the week prior to the start of Job Fairs.

recruitment

Jennifer is manager at Splashin’ Safari. What are the chances she recruiting a lifeguard?

Continuing on the then-and-now theme, it’s hard to believe that just a decade ago, we could hold Orientation for our employees with all of them here at the same time.

In 1995, we had everyone gather ’round that new coaster of ours (notice the queue area hadn’t been built yet) for a group photo.

1995 seasonal employees

This year, we’ll take two weekends to orient everyone.

Funny, the park tour takes longer and longer each year, too.
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Will’s favorite ride

Pleasureland

When you saw the subject line of this post, you probably assumed the top was going to be coasters.

Right?

That’s a reasonable assumption, but truth be told there’s another ride from Will’s childhood that is right there at the top.

Pump cars.

Pleasureland

See them there, in the middle of the photo?

This is the Pleasureland ride section of Santa Claus Land. 

When asked by reporters over the years, Will and his four siblings are unanimous in their delirious memories of the pump cars.

They. Were. The. Best.

The reason why they were the best, though, explains why they’re no longer here.

“You could pump really hard, build up some speed, and then crash off the track when you came to a curve. It was great!”

I won’t credit that quote to a particular Koch. I believe I’ve heard all three of the male siblings say it.

When preparing the above photo for this post, I emailed a piece of it to Will. My question was regarding whether the pump cars were individual cars, or connected, as it looks here:

pump cars

Will’s reply: Yes, they are the pump cars. They are individual units. However, if the person in front is going too slow…
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Sweet, sweet photos

Voyage construction

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” sang out the joyous voice through my phone line.

“I took some more pictures — I’ll drop by your office later.”

These sweets from Craig may actually have the opposite effect of the usual Valentine’s Day fare.

Surely we’ll burn a few calories when viewing these photos.

Can’t you just feel your heart rate accelerating?

Voyage construction - first drop

Above is a POV shot (point of view) of The Voyage‘s first drop.

Sixty-six degrees.

Looks straight down, doesn’t it?

After we arrive at the bottom of the first drop, let’s turn around and see from whence we came.

 

Voyage construction

Yikes!

You can count the layers of the wooden track.

As long as we’re up on the structure, let’s take a glimpse over at the Gobbler Getaway building.

It’s going up quickly.

And it’s huge!

Gobbler Getaway construction

And now a look at our happy photographer.

Craig, our camera-carrying Cupid:

 

Craig on Voyage track during construction

It looks like he’s sitting on the 90-degree banked track. If it’s not that third 90, it’s mighty close.

Okay, Craig … enough lounging around.

We want a closer look at that perpendicular track.

Voyage 90-degree track

Enough eye candy — back to work!
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What the birds see

park aerial from 2006 park aerial from 2006

Want to take a look at what the birds see?

Not sure I caught all the details about how we got this aerial shot …

But it goes something like this:

One of our directors went to visit his doctor recently.

Someone who worked in the doctor’s office saw that he worked at Holiday World.

She showed him a photo her daughter had taken. (Her daughter is taking an aviation class.)

And the daughter was kind enough to give us a copy.

That new Voyage roller coaster changes the look of the place from every angle, doesn’t it?
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Brown Dog’s Day

Excuse me – Brown Dog’s Day?

This just in from our traveling friend, Holidog:

French Creek Freddie, Shubenacadie Sam, Claude the Crawfish, and, of course, Punxsutawney Phil.

All famous prognosticators.

And now, after receiving my training through a Sally Struthers online course, I’m one too.

In fact, I’m the world’s first dog-nosticator.

I replaced Gator-nosed Gus, the previous prognostigator for Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Apparently, he started snapping at the onlookers during last year’s festivities.

In the Sunshine State, the celebration determines how much longer before the Snowbirds begin their migration back north.

On February 2, 2006, at precisely 6:30 am, I embraced my role, celebrating Brown Dog’s Day.

Here is my official prognostication poem:

Holidog's voyageThe sun will shine
And starting in May
A Thanksgiving summer
Is coming our way
It won’t be long
Until Pepsi will flow
I have no shadow
So go, Snowbirds, go!

I’ll send more photos from Florida soon. And then I’m off for even more adventurous travels before heading home to Santa Claus in time for the opening of The Voyage!

We truly don’t know who is helping Holidog send us these photographic updates. Perhaps he’s relying on the kindness of strangers …

We thought we had it all figured out a few months ago, but discovered we were barking up the wrong tree.

When the pup returns from his travels, we’ll see if we can get his tongue to wag.
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Could it really be?

A while back, we gasped at the thought of so many future stars having appeared at Santa Claus Land many, many years ago.

By golly, it’s happened again.

We’re working with a publishing company in producing a pictorial history book of Santa Claus Land and Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari for this, our 60th season.

(Can you believe it? Our 60th Season!)

Our offices are awash in sentimentality.

And look at what we discovered in our archival photo files just this morning:

Mr. Sixty at Santa Claus Land

Could it be?

Is it really…?

Could that just-retired dancing guy from the-commercials-we-have-all-seen really have gotten his start here at our park?

Honestly, the photo is of the late Gene Smith, our tap-dancing magician.

His slogan was too good: “Feats of Hand and Feats of Feet.”

But in honor of our upcoming anniversary …

… let’s just call him Mr. Sixty.
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Waxing poetic

waxing the floors

“Come on in — I’m stripping!”

Samantha, what a shock!

This may be the “off” season…

… but you’re still on the clock!

Our cleaning manager laughs out loud

… and continues with her chores.

“Carlene and Sally are stripping, too —

It’s time to wax the floors!”

waxing the floors

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Back in the woods

Voyage construction

Thanks to The Gravity Group, we have a few more photos from out in the Voyage woods from this week.

Let’s start with a look at the turnaround. To get there, we must traverse yet another underground tunnel.

 

Voyage construction

Korey got artistic with this one. The structure will be very close to the ground here.

Voyage construction

And here’s another view of the turnaround. It looks rather gloomy right now, but when the trees leaf up in the spring, just imagine how lovely it will be.

I guess, though, all we’ll see is a massive blur of green.

And that’s if you ride with your eyes open

Voyage construction

The third hill is nearly done.

Nearly.

Voyage construction

Heading back toward the station, there will be lots of speed and a few surprises left to the ride.

The roof on the station is coming right along.

Did you notice the track? Look in the lower left-hand corner.

That is track, isn’t it?

Voyage construction

After flying past the station, we’ll swing around back and into the final tunnel.

…and out again.

Voyage Construction

I spoke with Tom at PTC the other day. He promises to send photos of our three Voyage trains soon.

And John is getting ready to order the flags that will fly up above the top of the lift hill. Feel free to discuss among yourselves which three colors we might have chosen.