Video: Will takes a seat…

Considering that The Gravity Group is based in Cincinnati, and we're here in Santa Claus, one would think Will wouldn't have to go all the way to Las Vegas to try out the feel of a Timberliner car.

But since the IAAPA Expo was in Vegas this year, it does sort of makes sense.

The folks at Theme Park Review were kind enough to edit a video interview with our Will and Gravity Group's Korey:
 

Don’t know what it is, but it’s up for auction

Walking down the aisles of auction items with Kris from Channel 13, the questions were rapid-fire.

What is this?

And what’s that? Why would you have that at a theme park?

Between Safety Craig (whom I now call Auction Craig) and me, we could identify just about everything.

We knew this was an antique oxen yoke:

Why do we have an oxen yoke? Good question!

And we knew this antique was a sign. Double-sided, even.

And there are two flat-top trunks purchased long ago from a traveling circus. Unfortunately, a typo in an online article referred to it as a "circus truck." Not such a big deal till the Associated Press picked up the article and spread the word about our "circus truck" auction. Oops.

But not everything’s an antique.

Here are some parking lot lights:

…and the ever-practical bumper boats:

And everyone’s must-have gift this season.

The HoliPig:

If memory servers, this pig was part of the stage decorations for one season’s country show.

And finally, the mystery item.

Definitely an antique, but that’s all we know.

Perhaps a spinning wheel of some sort?

More photos are posted on our Facebook Fan Page.

Gates open at 8:30 am CT tomorrow morning, November 21. Hope to see you there!

The family that rides together…

Will is a happy guy.

He’s in Las Vegas at the IAAPA Expo, where a sample Timberliner car just happens to be on display.

Looks pretty comfortable, doesn’t he?

Front row, from left: Lori Koch (Will’s better half), Will, brother Dan and mom, Pat. The back row, from left: Chad Miller and Larry Bill from The Gravity Group.

“World’s Toughest Fixes”

Well, Riley and crew can fix just about anything.

All except the weather.

We're drying off (and warming up) after a rainy two-hour tour of the various sites for this seven-day shoot for National Geographic Channel's World's Toughest Fixes.

Molly is the director, Peter is associate producer, Eric's on camera, David is soundman. And Sean Riley (who goes by "Riley"), is the host.

If you're not already following us on Twitter, you're welcome to do so. We'll pass along stories all week long.

Is it really *that* steep?!

Nearly screamed when I saw this Wildebeest construction photo.

Lori, our water park director, snapped it on her iPhone and dinged it over to me.

Gah!

But wait. Look closer.

 That’s right, look at the background.

The horizon is, uh … skewed.

Whew.

Here’s another view.

We saved a few key pieces so that Riley from National Geographic Channel’s World’s Toughest Fixes can jump in and help next week.

Expect lots of tweeting from the field starting Tuesday. Seven days of shooting should produce lots of great stories (don’t worry, we won’t give away the ending — you’ll have to watch it for yourself in June.)

Santa Claus pays an early visit

This is so "hot off the presses."

When we heard from the engineers who designed The Voyage that they wanted to also design coaster trains, we were intrigued.

As you may remember, we provided The Gravity Group with a testing ground for their Timberliner prototype last spring.

And today we announce that indeed we will have the first set of Timberline trains on The Voyage in time for the start of the 2010 season.

Here's the news release:

‘VOYAGE’ ENGINEERS DESIGN NEW COASTER TRAINS

SANTA CLAUS, IN—–The #1 Wooden Roller Coaster in the World will feel faster and a lot smoother in 2010, thanks to a new set of trains, engineered by the same team who designed the record-breaking coaster.

“When the engineers at The Gravity Group told us they designed Timberliner trains with The Voyage in mind, they definitely got our attention” says Holiday World & Splashin' Safari president Will Koch. “The Voyage is extreme and we want to keep it that way season after season. These new trains will help a lot.”

Koch says the Timberliner’s wheels are engineered to steer through curves as they move along the coaster track, creating a smoother ride and less wear and tear on the track. The seats are ergonomically designed for greater comfort, including an exclusive seat-suspension design. The padded seats will also accommodate wider-hipped and longer-legged riders.

“Since the trains will ‘track’ better, riders will experience a much smoother Voyage,” says Koch. “That also means there will be less ‘rolling friction,’ so the ride will quite possibly be even faster when it reopens in May.” The Gravity Group’s engineers tested a prototype Timberliner at Holiday World last spring.

The Voyage is 1.2 miles long and provides a record 24.2 seconds of “air time.” This steel-structure wooden coaster, ranked the #1 Wooden Coaster in the World by Amusement Today for three years running, includes a record five underground tunnels (some are double, creating eight “underground moments”), a series of dramatic drops (including a 66-degree angle of descent on the first drop), three 90-degree banked turns, and multiple track crossovers.

The Voyage’s two new trains, which will each seat 28 riders, will be manufactured in Indianapolis. The Gravity Group is headquartered in Cincinnati.

“Mrs. Koch, please open Holiday World!”

Any time we ask our 2-1/2 year-old what her favorite part of the day was—she answers, “Holiday World,” even though we went months ago. 

We keep trying to explain to her that Holiday World is closed for the season!  So we’re passing along this note to Mrs. Koch that Ivy would really like her to open Holiday World now.
       
Thanks for another great season at the friendliest, cleanest, and most family-oriented park around!
       
Rebecca B.
Newburgh, Indiana

 

P.S.  Ivy has asked that we watch the HallowSwings now.
       

 

“Twenty-four years and love it”

We have been coming to your park for twenty-four years and we love it.

The water park is great and free drinks and parking and all.  As long as we have been going we should get a gold pass. LOL, just kidding.

Just wish you guys had a chair lift that would go through the park.

Thanks again and keep up the good work.  

 

Kendell P.

 

P.S. Have a great holiday!
 

Tomorrow’s news release, tonight

Why not?

I'm working late and feeling a bit giddy and light-headed. Let's do it!

Let's give our HoliBlog readers a sneak peek at what's going to the news media before sun-up on Thursday.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL TO FEATURE RIDE CONSTRUCTION

SANTA CLAUS, IN—–When construction crews for the Wildebeest water coaster hoist a huge piece of rounded fiberglass four stories in the air to “top the lifthill” in a few weeks, a crew from the National Geographic Channel will be on hand to capture the moment.Wildebeest construction at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.

“We just got word that Wilde- beest construc- tion will be the focus of a one-hour episode of the show World’s Toughest Fixes,” says Holiday World’s president, Will Koch. “We’ve been talking to their producers for two months and it’s tremendously exciting to get the thumbs up.”

World’s Toughest Fixes is a host-driven show, with “engineering enthusiast” professional rigger Sean Riley taking part in the task at hand. While on location at Holiday World, Riley will help top Wildebeest’s lifthill and also place the final piece of the water coaster’s fiberglass.

"We’re told Riley is game for just about anything, especially at great heights,” says Koch. “We’re talking about sending him to the top of The Voyage’s 163-foot lifthill and the summit of Pilgrims Plunge’s 135-foot elevator tower.” The host will return to Holiday World in the spring to ride Wildebeest, the world's longest water coaster. The episode is scheduled to air in June.

World’s Toughest Fixes is one of National Geographic Channel’s most-watched shows, second only to The Dog Whisperer. The popular channel is available in more than 140 countries, seen in over 160 million homes and in 25 languages.

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari are closed for the season following a record 63rd year. Holiday World will open for the season on May 1, 2010; Splashin’ Safari’s opening day, with the premiere of Wildebeest water coaster, is May 14. For more information, visit www.holidayworld.com or call 1-877-Go-Family.