Tubular, baby!

Charlotte was kind (and, rightly so, proud) enough to send us these photos of Abbey …

and Eli.

Rolling out the red carpet

Only two more days.

Mr. Lincoln looks like he can barely contain his excitement, don’t you think?

And the real estate agents are showing their support.

These awards have unlocked incredible community spirit.

And, oh yeah…

Inside the park, too…

Here we are at the theater…

Joan Rivers just called … she’s got some gig in Hollywood Sunday, so you can have her seat.

Snakes on the brain

Been wrestling all season about whether to share this story.

Snakes, after all, cause many people to get the vapors. And here I am, fresh out of smelling salts.

But in light of the movie that’s getting so much attention these days, it’s time to unleash.

Back in late April, before The Voyage opened to the public, we held a photo shoot of the new coaster in action.

I hung out with the photographers, partially as an escort but also to pick up any tips about the best place to stand for photographing The Voyage.

The bottom of the second drop is a really good spot. You can get close enough to it that the train full of screaming riders is in the foreground and you can also show the enormity of the coaster with the first drop in the background.

Sounded good to me. When the photographers moved on to their next angle, it seemed silly not to snap off a few of my own.

Although The Voyage is basically out in the dense woods, there’s a nice little access road just to the west of the structure. An occasional butterfly will flutter by, but that’s about it as far as wildlife encounters.

Feeling safe, I assumed the standard photo-taking position. I could hear the train click-clicking up the lifthill. Standing perfectly still and holding my breath, I was ready for that train to soar down the first hill, sail up the second, and I would take that perfect photo just as it filled the frame.

But it was not meant to be.

As the train was still heading up the lifthill, I felt the bottom of my left pant leg shift slightly.

Hmmm.

A little low-ground breeze, perhaps?

Stalwart and determined, I continued to squint through the viewfinder.

Seconds later, another sensation at the bottom of my slacks.

Must be standing near a rogue clump of grass growing up through the gravel road. Yes, that must be it.

The train was just about to crest the lifthill. No time to check out the weeds.

But then…

My ankle started going numb.

At that point, it was time to check out the woman-eating plant.

But it wasn’t a plant.

Looked like a long, bright-green shoelace, actually.

How in the world did a shoelace make it all the way out here? Doesn’t look like something one of the construction guys would have worn.

And even Lord Chadwick doesn’t get that carried away in his dress.

But it wasn’t a shoelace.

Shoelaces, after all, don’t have little hissing tongues. Not even the bright green ones.

Snake?

SNAKE!

A snake, wrapped snuggly around my left ankle. With enough snake left over to extend another 15 inches or so, doing a poor imitation of a discarded shoelace.

So, I did the snake dance.

Frantically shook my foot and leg so that Sir Snake would come loose and slither off, never to be seen again.

The snake would have none of it. Must have been enjoying the ride. And the slight hint of Bounce Ocean Breeze on my white anklet.

Time to step up the dance.

In one fluid moment, my left foot returned to the ground and my right foot stomped on the hissing end of the beast.

Get OFF!

With a mighty yank of my left foot, I managed to rip my leg free of the reptilian embrace.

Not to worry; my stomp did no harm. May have knocked a bit of sense into the serpent, actually, as he quickly slithered toward the edge of the path.

Ah, but I was quicker.

The fun was not yet over.

“Get back here you so-and-so! No one will ever believe this; I’m taking your picture!”

Like a madwoman, I chased after my tormenter and snapped the following:

Ah, but he got the last laugh.

Just before he disappeared into the woods, the fiend posed for one final shot.

It was not until I’d returned to my office and got a good look at the photos that it became apparent.

The little asp somehow knew the first letter of my last name:

Or perhaps the long and lanky fellow has a coaster design all his own?

In good hands

Ah, good … Craig’s on the scene.

You remember Craig, right?

Tom’s there, too. Griping that the sound of the drill reminds him of going to the dentist.

Ugh. He’s right.

We’re still Santa Claus Land to some

Wow.

Whoever wrote this headline not only took a time-machine ride back to the 1960s … they also physically moved the park to the south and west! (In that case, shouldn’t it be Evansville Land?)

You may notice the article was written by Mrs. Koch’s pictorial history book co-author. Poor Jane is beside herself. First her oldest heads off to college, and now this.

My absolute favorite Santa Claus Land headline was back in 1992, when the park had been Holiday World for an entire decade.

It was my first season with the park and we’d had great fun with the bungee show and rides we offered. It was located where the high-dive show used to be (and still exists). If you look around behind the high-dive seating, you can still see the footers that were put in for the bungee tower.

The plan was always to offer bungee jumping for a single season. Then back to the high-dive show.

But when, toward the season’s end, a newspaper article ran about the bungee show, the big hook was that we were not going to continue it in 1994.

Never planned to.

Told you.

But it was more exciting to write about the “big decision,” apparently.

The wire service picked up the story and it ran all over the place.

My budget nearly exploded as the clipping service mailed us boxes and boxes of clips.

The headlines varied wildly as those are written by someone on each paper’s staff. But the one I’ll never forget, for its absurdity, was:

Santa Claus Land Rids Self of Bungee Nightmare

Now that’s creative writing!

Does anyone use this phrase anymore?

"Put on the dog."

I seem to remember learning that phrase from my Grandma Cassidy, an adorable leprechaun of a woman. But I'm not sure I've heard it in the last 20 years or so.

Until yesterday, when I said it to Rich Davis and he used it in this article about the upcoming Golden Ticket Awards.

Perhaps some will now expect a Holidog appearance.

Or maybe we'll have it covered when the winners take a bow.

… wow.

Close one.

Best time ever

Our family had the BEST time ever when we came to Holiday World July 6-8, 2006!

We have told hundreds about how friendly, clean and affordable the park truly is.

We already have June 2007 marked on our calendar and cannot wait to return to Santa Claus, Indiana.

Blessings to each and every one of your workers because they were a blessing to us,

Stormy M.

Family-friendly atmosphere

I just wanted to write to express my appreciation for the great time my family and I experienced at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

We visited on August 15th and had an excellent time.

The park was clean, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. I especially appreciate the family-friendly atmosphere. Our children range from ages 2-9 and all had an excellent time.

Holiday World will be an annual trip for us now.

Thanks Again,
Justin D.
Delphi, Indiana

The colonel and the coaster

It’s been nearly a week since we hosted the “Partnership for Peace” exchange group from Slovakia.

It was fun to see that speaking different languages doesn’t really get in the way of fun.

Or coaster riding.

Oh, how I wish I could remember his name.

He’s the Colonel.

It was obvious he was in charge as the group made their way across our parking lot.

Slovakians like to give gifts. Something else we have in common.

The Colonel presented Will with a Slovakian flag and a thank-you plaque.

(Will gets all the cool gifts. Have you noticed?)

We walked the group down to Thanksgiving for their first ride.

A quick announcement in the station, cheers all around as we Americans welcomed them, and they were off.

And they were back.

What’s this?

Shock and awe?

I did notice he didn’t join the group that later rode The Raven.

Their wonderful translator told us that Indiana and Slovakia are close to the same size, geographically and by population.

But Slovakia doesn’t have any roller coasters.

Not even a single theme park.

They know who Santa is, though.

“We’re ‘homesick’ for Holiday World!”

We love your park!

BEST decision you ever made was to make your park “non smoking.”

Your prices in your park make it affordable for me to take my family on a decent vacation again, for that I truly thank you!

Your park is the cleanest, most well-kept park in the world.

We have purchased season passes to a lot of theme parks over the years and this year was Holiday World for the season pass. I can assure you of this next year will be Holiday World also for season passes, we love this park!!!

We do have one suggestion, could you consider staying open just a little later, the roller coasters are just so neat to ride at night for a different experience.

Funny thing, since we have been home from Holiday World we have become “homesick” for Holiday World! Your employees all treated my family with respect and kindness,so much so that we feel like we have a whole new group of friends in Santa Claus, and we miss them! I had the pleasure of meeting Will Koch at closing one night and was so impressed that he took the time to chat with me and my son especially with as busy as he was. I also want to tell you that the hard work and expense you take in keeping your park “freshly painted” is very much appreciated, by this I know that the mechanical aspect of your park is kept up as well!

“WE LOVE YOU GUYS!”

Thanks Again!

Mark W. and family
Mentone, Indiana