“M” is for Mud

Chad was here on Tuesday.

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.

Here’s a look at the station on the left and the lifthill 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.

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

The turnaround is growing rapidly.

Here’s a closer look:

Chadwick, by the way, will be pleased to know his British friends will be able to watch “Building the Biggest: Coasters” on the Discovery Channel on March 29 at 10 pm. The next evening, the show will air in Canada.

We still don’t have the U.S. air date; rest assured it will be posted here as soon as we get the good word.

A dusting of snow

 

Here’s The Voyage’s station on Saturday, with the lifthill off in the distance.

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

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

…underground.

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:

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

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.

The temperatures are rising and the snow is melting.

March is just a week away.

Where can you get a Leap Year when you really need one?

Wanted: 1,500 smiling faces

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.

This year, we plan to hire 1,500 Hosts and 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.

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.

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

Funny, the park tour takes longer and longer each year, too.

Will’s favorite ride

When you saw the subject line of this post, you probably assumed the subject 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.

See them there, in the middle of the photo?

This is the Pleasureland ride section of Santa Claus Land. (Yes, we’re working on our pictorial history book again today.) The pump cars are also featured in the Vintage Footage of Santa Claus Land, which you’ll find on our streaming video page.

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:

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

Sweet, sweet photos

“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?

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.

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!

And now a look at our happy photographer.

Craig, our camera-carrying Cupid:

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.

And finally, here’s another look down the first drop. This shot is cropped so that it includes more of the track heading back toward the station.

Enough eye candy — back to work!

What the birds see

 

Not sure I completely caught 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 she was kind enough to give us a copy.

That new coaster changes the look of the place from every angle, doesn’t it?

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:

The 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.

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:

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, “Feats of Hand and Feats of Feet.”

But in honor of our upcoming anniversary…

…let’s just call him Mr. Sixty.

Waxing poetic

“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!”

Calculating the countdown

Oh, my.

Marc and Julie were visiting friends over the weekend and decided to swing over to Santa Claus to take a look for themselves at what all this fuss is about.

The little jaunt from their friends’ house involved crossing state lines, but they just couldn’t wait any longer.

Can you read the caption?

“I wonder if they would let us get in line yet…”

Just three months minus one day. You’ll make it…

Remember, February is a short month.

(And it’s not a leap year.)