S.O.S.: Save Our Stomachs!

Here in the Public Relations department, we sign up for all kinds of e-newsletters from various social media gurus.

It’s simply not possible to read every advice column, but one caught our eye a month or so ago.


Well … it involved a competition (we’re very competitive) and food (we’re always hungry, too).

The concept was simple: round up your interns and have them come up with a clever begging-for-breakfast photo to submit to the Little Debbie’s "Intern Heroes" contest.

The program’s slogan is: "go from Intern to WINtern." Sounded a bit Charlie Sheen-esque, but we went for it.

And we won!

Holiday World interns beg for goodies

Our marketing interns were delighted. (PR Intern Leah took the winning photo, by the way.)

And the goodies arrived this week.

Not only a bunch of Little Debbie’s breakfast treats, but … cool swag!

Swag from Little Debbie's

Little stress-ball trophies, tiny frisbees, notepads … look how happy the interns are!

And then on to the real prize:

Goodies from Little Debbie's

Congrats to our interns – and all the interns around the country who played, too.

A tip of the fan to our Hosts & Hostesses

Talk about the dog days of summer.


Just saw a post on our Facebook page, praising the helpfulness and friendliness of our staff, even in this tough weather.

I feel like a bum, sitting here in my air-conditioned office while hundreds of our Hosts and Hostesses are out in the park doing the real work. But at least I can use this place of comfort to praise the efforts of the good folks who are out in the heat taking care of our park guests.

Here’s a little something Lori, our water-park director, does to help her staff:

Cooling off

Or actually, she’s sharing with a Foods employee in the above photo.

Here’s one of her crew members:

Cooling off!

Something as simple as a frozen ice pop can make such a difference on a hot day.

Especially when you get a choice of flavors.

Cool it!

So who’s watching the water while the lifeguards take a cool-it break?

Lori and her other managers step in to guard.

Here they are at Bahari Wave Pool:

Cooling off at work

Please remember if you visit during these "dog days":

  • Eat breakfast
  • Drink water and Gatorade (don’t wait till you feel thirsty)
  • Use sunscreen and rub it in -reapply often
  • Pace yourself and be sure to take breaks in the shade and air-conditioning


A hair-raising photo

When we launched our “Coaster Hair” photo contest last week, we made a point of stating that “creative simulations” were acceptable and even encouraged.

Lisa A. from Greenwood, Indiana, took us at our word. Take a gander at the head-o-coaster-hair her daughter Kenna produced!

Coaster Hair contest winnerKenna’s wild and wonderful Coaster Hair is full of souvenirs from her last visit to the park.

Let’s see …

…there’s a park map…

…a little Holidog beanie…

…some sort of HoliBug

…and a green smear of ick that we’re better off not identifying.


For their colorful sense of whimsy, Lisa and Kenna win a pair of tickets to visit the park so they can see how crazy their hair gets when they ride our Raven, Legend, and Voyage!

So, how does your coaster hair grow?

Sign up for our email newsletter to find out how to submit your own entry into next week’s contest. You might just win yourself a pair of tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari!

Introducing … our very own HoliBug

Our HoliBlog is all about pulling back the curtain.

We like to show our readers some of the behind-the-scenes sights and activities here at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

Even when it’s a bit creepy…

Now to be fair, one person’s "creepy" is another person’s "awesome."

…so we’ll let you decide.

Our grounds manager, Tim, discovered this little fellow here in the park recently.

One of the reasons it caught his eye was the little colored nubby things (no, I’m not an entomologist) matched our logo colors: blue, yellow and red.

And so, our little HoliBug was asked to pose for photos while munching on a few blades of grass.


Truth be known, this is actually a Hyalophora cecropia.

But to us, he’ll always be our slightly creepy, sort of cute, HoliBug.

Got good “coaster hair”?

Years ago, we were hosting a Discovery Channel crew, here to shoot footage of coaster enthusiasts riding The Legend roller coaster.

The field producer had a very specific request: "Find me riders with good coaster hair for the front seat."

….uh … excuse me?

That was the first time I’d heard the term.

But not the last.

Fast-forward six years and we decided to name extreme coaster hair "Voyage Hair."

Exhibit A:

Steve and Will on Voyage

That’s Steve and Will (with GM Mike in the second seat) taking the first human test rides in Voyage back in the spring of 2006.

So … have you ever experienced Coaster Hair? Or have you even imagined it? Then you could win a couple of park tickets…

We’re looking for the craziest and most creative photos of what your hair would (or does) look like after riding one of our coasters. Have fun with this!

We will pick our favorite photo each week and the winner will receive two one-day admission tickets. Entries are limited to one per person per week, please (in case we decide this is fun enough to continue into additional weeks). Deadline for submissions is Monday, July 18, 2011 at 1pm CDT.

To enter:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old to enter (photos of youngsters must be submitted by a parent or guardian) and not be an employee of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari (or the immediate family member of one).
  2. Winners from other contests conducted through our e-newsletter in 2011 are not eligible.
  3. On-board photos taken by the park are not eligible.
  4. Please send us a photo formatted as a JPEG (.jpg) showing your craziest or most creative coaster hair.
  5. Please keep the file size under 1 MB.
  6. By entering this contest you agree to give Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari ownership of your photo for other uses as we see fit.
  7. Judges’ decision is final.

Here’s the email address to use: contest@holidayworld.com. Be sure to include your name and mailing address (we won’t share it with anyone).

We will announce our first winner in an upcoming HoliBlog post. Good luck!

When your sister is … a roller coaster

Leah's sister coaster

Today, we introduce our PR intern, Leah, as a guest HoliBlogger.

Leah will be a junior this fall at Indiana University; she’s majoring in journalism.

… she has an interesting “sister” to tell you about:

Mom used to joke that this park was “the other woman” when it came to my dad.

Being Will Koch, my dad sort of had a lot of work to do on a daily basis: planning and arranging for the next five to ten years, keeping things going smoothly daily, not to mention his regular walks around the park. When he greeted guests in the morning and closed the park at night, we occasionally went an entire day without seeing him, but we always got to tease him for it.

Anyway, if Holiday World was indeed “the other woman” then I can’t help but notice he had three “babies” (just as his three babies in real life: my brother, my sister and me). These “babies,” of course, “wood” be: The Raven, The Legend, and The Voyage.

That would make these coasters my half-siblings

Leah and her "sister coaster"I prefer, however, not to think of these “babies” as being a separate family. I like to think of Holiday World as some sort of unconventional extension of my family (of course, the staff is already my family, but I’m talking about rides, slides, the kitten who returns to Hoosier Theater every winter, etc., in this case). Basically, everything in the park is somehow a part of my family, but those coasters held a special place in my father’s heart, which makes these coasters my siblings.

As the middle child, I prefer the “middle coaster”: The Legend. My Aunt Barbara would likely add at this point a comment that the middle children tend to be the easy-going ones (though I believe our coaster maintenance technicians might disagree).

After my visit to The Legend earlier this season, I feel comfortable stating that the Legend is a true middle child. The Legend is riding so smoothly this season and the double helix has really clicked.

You know, the two of us sort of matured together: from my childhood days of the Legend’s original painful lap bars (anyone remember Legend Legs?) to the ride’s current older, wiser – yet still awesome – controlled excitement (have I mentioned I’m humble?).

For anyone who hasn’t ridden The Legend, or for those who haven’t paid attention, The Legend grew around the existing park, and has since allowed the park to grow around it. From its early days dwarfing Frightful Falls and providing a lovely (albeit noisy) background to our Dive stage, to the growth of Splashin’ Safari through and around the Legend, it has threaded Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari together. I would say The Legend and I share this rooting in the park.

I grew up in Holiday World, and I remember realizing I could no longer ride the “little kid rides.” I had my first job here. At the age of 20, and five departments later, I get to watch the park continue to grow around me. Most importantly, I think the both of us are here for a long time. The Legend certainly won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and I have always loved Holiday World too much to plan a future anywhere else. I always planned to come back and help run Holiday World one day and with the recent death of my father I want to more than ever.

I should add that I only recently realized this subconscious closeness to The Legend when Alex, one of my many wonderful managers in Rides, commented that The Legend was sort of the red-headed stepchild of the three coasters. After clarifying that he has always been sort of partial to The Legend, I realized I was getting ready to be deeply offended that Alex might prefer another coaster in our park. It was only as I told another boss of mine (you get a lot when you work in so many departments) about my “sister coaster” that I realized we shared so many personality traits.

Leah blows a kiss to her "sister coaster"But I’m not entirely sure I can attribute my love of The Legend solely to our commonality. Any time I walk through the park or ride any of the coasters; I can’t help but feel just a little bit closer to my dad.

The Legend, however, is extra special for me. I remember Dad picking us up at school one day, insisting that we come to the park to watch The Legend. It was almost ready for riders. (I was not going to ride—I was having coaster issues at the time). It was close, but not quite ready. The train needed to go a few more times around without riders. I had to go to karate. I remember, though, as soon as I finished karate, I got to go back to the park. Just to watch, though. After watching Dad go around one time… and return, Dad persuaded me to try it.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget riding my first ride on The Legend with my dad.

It was just me, my dad, and my sister coaster.


On assignment: Find the fun!

When Rand McNally and USA Today announced they were searching for the Most Fun Small Town in the U.S., we immediately thought of … well, us.

Not to be too full of ourselves, but over the past 65 years, we’ve pretty well figured out how to havefun.

When Santa Claus was named a Finalist Town and we were notified that our pair of judges was a Mother/Daughter Team from Denver,  it simply jingled our bells.

Traveling Jules & Joan came to see us last week. What a blast!

Joan was a great sport, valiantly trying to keep up with her energetic daughter.

She impressed us all by riding Voyage with Jules (who was delighted to learn she has great coaster hair) right after enjoying a Thanksgiving feast at our Plymouth Rock Cafe.

Traveling Jules & Joan

…and from Voyage, on to Wildebeest.

Here’s their Santa Claus, Christmas in July video showing our two new friends enjoying all the fun our town offers:


Our limerick contest winners

There was a great campground and park
Which decided to, quite on a lark…
Call out the rhymers
Both young and old-timers
To compete for a really cool mark.

Many thanks to the thousands (yes thousands) of HoliBlog readers who sent in their limericks. Your creativity (not to mention the ability to rhyme Safari with Ferrari!) amazed us.

Thank you also to Laura from Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort plus Nathan and Leah from here at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari for reading every last rhyme and arriving on our two winners.

And the winning limericks are…

The Raven over Lake Rudolph

Congratulations to Curtis Y. of Crawfordville, Florida! His limerick:

   While riding the Raven one day,
   I spied a campground ‘cross the way.
   With campfires glowing,
   It entered my knowing
   Lake Rudolph’s a great place to stay!

Way to go, Curtis! You win two nights at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in one of their fun rental RVs plus four sets of two-day tickets for here at the park!

We also chose a runner-up: Katie S. for Neoga, Illinois, wins two one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

Here’s Katie’s limerick:

   Forty-eight inches is the vertical goal
   Of my Holiday World coaster-lovin five year old
   He’s been eatin broccoli and pears
   And sayin all his prayers
   Just to rise above the infamous measuring pole

Thanks again to all who wrote limericks – hope it was as fun for you as it was for us!




What does the fireworks shooter-offer see?

Two years ago, we hosted a production crew from National Geographic Channel.

They were here from the show "World’s Toughest Fixes" to document construction of Wildebeest, which became their "Ultimate Water Ride" episode.

Every half-hour or so the field producer, Pete, would ask the crew, "Do you want to use the GoPro?

Eventually, I just had to ask, "Pete … what the heck are you talking about? What’s a GoPro?"

Pete was like a kid in a candy shop. "Oh, you’ve got to see this — it’s the coolest thing! You need one of these."

A GoPro is a tiny camera that can be used to shoot point-of-view footage. You can strap it on a hat or helmet, on the front of a ride, vehicle or person … the possibilities are endless.

Another crew used a GoPro to shoot this Wildebeest video when we opened the world’s longest water coaster last season. Cool, huh?

It’s kind of handy working at a place where you have access to Santa every day. And for Christmas, the PR department did, indeed, receive our very own GoPro.

We’ll be using it a lot this season. Here’s the results of the first use … we asked the professionals who provided our fireworks extravaganza on the 4th of July if one of them would be okay with us strapping our GoPro on their hardhat.

And here are the results: