As seen on TV

When we launched our "#1 Fan" video contest last fall, we never dreamed we’d end up with a new TV commercial.

But there’s something about Mark…

Mark’s dad submitted this video, which was voted the best of the many we received:

Mark’s determined message and Linus van Pelt voice clinched it with our staff. Dan Koch emailed: Get that kid on our commercials–he’s adorable!

And so young Mark, from Bloomington, Indiana, is part of our 2011 advertising campaign.  Here’s the :30 spot:

If you think you recognize Mark in the park this summer, be sure to say hello. He’s sort of impossible to miss; he’s 42 inches tall after all.

Mark is our #1 Fan!

Domo takes a dry run

Did you figure it out?

Last week’s "Prize Pics" contest showed Domo taking a dry run on a wet ride.

Our email box has been flooded with hundreds of guesses.

Where had Domo had run off to? (Domo is a prize at one of our Games this season) Somewhere green and blue…


Turns out he had taken a "dry run" on one of the eight new water slides at Safari Sam’s SplashLand.

Congratulations to our winners this week who will each receive two one-day admission tickets:

  • Amanda R. of Rockport, Indiana
  • Mariam T. of Frankton, Indiana
  • Jeff B. of Martinsville, Indiana

Watch this week’s newsletter for another opportunity to win tickets plus a coupon for Season Pass discounts!

“Wow, am I impressed!”

First-time guest of your park today…drove kids in school on reward trip. 

Wow, am I impressed! You all need to take over Kentucky Kingdom and make that place the same kind of winning business you have in Santa Claus. 

All staff were very professional, helpful, and courteous, many going out of their way to say hello and to see how I was doing.

The park was impeccable in its appearance. Clean areas, well manicured, and bathrooms were all clean. 

Today was a great day for you all because you were prepared, dedicated to do a great job for your patrons, and were all seemingly committed to a common goal of ensuring each person had a fabulous day for their money spent. 

My lunch (a grilled chicken salad) was well above the quality I expected and was reasonably priced. 

I was most taken and completely thrilled to see your Lincoln exhibit.  You can effectively incorporate these astounding museum pieces with a theme park. 

I am 54 and not a big fan of these parks, but I will recommend yours to those who do enjoy them and do want to compliment you all on an obviously well-managed park.  My wife and I will likely make a return visit this summer–thanks for your care and hospitality!  


Major Pat A., USAF (Ret)

Minions with opinions

Last week, we asked a pair of Minions where they'd like to dine in the park.

We took a photo and included it in our e-newsletter, with the challenge to identify their location.

Minions in Plymouth Rock Cafe Here's that photo, in case you missed it.

Our wide-eyed Minions trotted like turkeys into the Thanksgiving section (they'd heard about our new entrée: prime rib).

They were all smiles as they enjoyed the brand new booths in our latest addition to Plymouth Rock Café: air-conditioned, indoor seating.

Now you, too, can be even more comfortable as you sit down to your Thanksgiving favorites.

Pumpkin Chess Pie, anyone?

Here's a link to the menu at Plymouth Rock Cafe.

Congratulations to our winners who guessed correctly where the Minions were:    
   Jai J. of Jacksonville, North Carolina 
   Tara & Justin of Ontario, Canada
   Don K. of Kirksville, Missouri

If you haven’t already signed up for our newsletter, please do so before Wednesday so you can play for a chance to win tickets in our "Prize Pics" contest. And remember, both parks are open daily beginning Friday, May 13!

Schwartz or Hitch? You decide…

While Nathan was editing this video of Voyage‘s first test run of the year, he naturally started thinking of an educational television program from his youth.

For me, though, in the next office over, it was the movie Psycho that came to mind.

Since this is Nathan’s first season with us, he’d never seen a test run. It was one of those first-test-ride-of-the-season-when-you-wish-it-was-ten-degrees-warmer kind of runs.

For an old-timer like me, the intricacies of a test run (meaning: what can possibly go wrong) were far less interesting than: What the heck is that NOISE?!

That noise, as it turns out, was the klaxon.

And what is a klaxon? It is an electromechanical horn. For warning.

And annoying.

While Nathan was editing the video, the klaxon reminded me of a certain sound effect from the shower scene in Psycho.

Yes, that scene.

(If you’re a Hitchcock fan, you might want to read this HoliBlog post from nearly three years ago. Still makes me grin.)

Meanwhile, here’s Nathan’s Sherman Schwartz version of the fateful trip…

The Claus that refreshes

Not that we like keeping secrets, but sometimes we just have to…

For example, last fall we were contacted by folks representing a soft-drink giant.

They were contacting communities all over the nation which help Santa answer children’s letters each December.

When they found us, they knew their search was over.

Not only has the town helped Santa to answer children’s letters for nearly a century, we’re home to the Santa Claus Museum and a group called the Santa’s Elves.

The head elf, of course, is our own Pat Koch.

The premise for this project was to discover "forgotten" letters to Santa written long ago.

Our challenge was to find the adults who’d written the letters decades before and to get their permission to share their contact information with the production crew. All this without spilling the beans about what was about to happen.

It took several weeks in December and some sleuthing, but we got it done!

And now we can talk about it. The soft-drink giant wanted to produce a video called "Santa’s Forgotten Letters."

Here’s the video, just released on YouTube. (Might want to grab a tissue before clicking the start button.)

If you enjoy watching it, please "like" it, post a comment, and help us spread the word.

Wouldn’t it be something if this video would turn out to be just the first episode in a series?

We plucked three contest winners

Hundreds of you proved we didn't go a-fowl in this week’s "Where Are We? Wednesday" photo.

Our heads are still whirlin’ with all the entries that winged their way into our inbox within 24 short hours.

This week’s photo showed the grinning mouth of one of our fine-feathered friends on the Turkey Whirl in the Thanksgiving section of Holiday World.

Who couldn’t feel a little gibblity coming face to face with one of these guys?

What could it be?

Here are our winners (each received two one-day tickets) who gobbled this week’s opportunity right up:

  • Maggie B. of Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Kirk Y. of Kansas City, Missouri
  • Jessica H. of Williams, Indiana

Did you enjoy playing "Where Are We? Wednesday"? Maybe we should come up with another contest…

Stay tuned to our newsletter for details about future contests and opportunities, as well as other great deals and insider tips at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

Turkey Whirl!


Do you ever feel like…

…you're being watched?

During a recent walk-through of the Games Warehouse, it sure felt that way.

These Minions' eyes are sort of like the Mona Lisa's … their eyes follow your every move!

Sometimes if feels like ... somebody's watchin' you...

These fine fellows will be available as prizes in the Big Crane Game again this season.

That other “ho-ho-ho!” guy

As a child, growing up far, far away from the town of Santa Claus, it just didn't seem right.

There was some other guy claiming "ho-ho-ho" as his own on TV.

Remember him?

I had to go back and find the commercial and double-check:

Indeed. That Green Giant canned vegetable guy stole Santa's iconic line …er, laugh.

And that's the answer, sort of, to this week's "Where are we? Wednesday" photo contest.

Here's the closely cropped photo:

The giant from Jack & the Beanstalk

Most of you thought our photo was taken from the Freedom Train in Mother Goose Land in the 4th of July section. Guesses ranged from some trim on Little Bo Peep’s dress (unbelievable she’s still looking for those sheep after nearly 65 years) to the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe (some kids just never grown up!).

This week’s photo was actually a close-up of some trim on the giant’s jacket in the Jack and the Beanstalk tableau.

Just for fun, here's a photo of the giant from when we were Santa Claus Land (pre-1984),

And look in the background, see the old water tower? It was so cute in those days, with Santa's face painted on it and the vertical center pipe was painted like a candy cane. But it's been out of service for a number of years and was dismantled this week.

From the Santa Claus Land days...

Back to our contest…

Congratulations to our three winners, who each receive two one-day tickets:

  •  Kim M. of Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Jennifer L. of Lamar, Ind.
  • Shawn B. of Louisville, Ky.

We have one last "Where Are We? Wednesday" challenge coming up in our newsletter next week. Good luck!

Pulling strings to win

Whenever we hold any sort of contest, we are happily bombarded with legions of hopefuls.

Our "Send us Your Audition Video or Email 'Audition' to Ride with Bert the Conqueror" casting call was no exception.

This one made us laugh out loud: 

Dry your tears, Julienne — you and your family are coming to Holiday World!

We're still choosing the other winners — you'll hear from us either way by the end of the week. Thanks to everyone who submitted an audition video or emails!