Our Super-Fan Family contest Finalists!

Thanks to all the great families (some of which included friends, too) for all the great videos and photos. We enjoyed reviewing them all.

So who won?

Only the Travel Channel knows for sure.

They'll let us know very soon and we'll, of course, pass along the announcement.

We can tell you who our Super-Fan Family finalists are – we have five families who are on pins and needles, hoping to be chosen for the top prize.

Meanwhile, the four families who are finalists, but don't get chosen by Travel Channel producers still get to come ride Mammoth on May 12 and serve as extras for the Travel Channel shoot!

Below are the videos from our five finalists. Which one do you think Travel Channel should choose as Mammoth's featured family? (Cast your "fan favorite" vote below.)

This family is from Louisville, Kentucky:

This family is from Rockville, Indiana:

This family is from Lawrenceville, Illinois:

This family is from Paducah, Kentucky:

And this family is from Evansville, Indiana:

Let's take a poll and we'll give our Fan Favorite a little something extra on May 12, too!

Good luck to all the finalists – and thanks again to all who entered!


We’re still Santa Claus Land to some

… and that's okay.

But somehow, it seems fair to expect the news media to get it right.

My absolute favorite Santa Claus Land headline was back in 1992, when the park had been Holiday World for nearly a decade. It was my first season with the park and we'd had great fun with the bungee show and rides we offered. Bungee 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 we'd go back to the high-dive show.

But when, toward the season's end, a newspaper article ran about our bungee show, the big hook was that we were not going to continue it in 1993.

Never planned to. Told them so.

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. Although the article was the same, the headlines varied wildly — as they are written by someone on each paper's staff.

The one I'll never forget, for its absurdity, was: Santa Claus Land Rids Self of Bungee Nightmare

Now that's creative writing!

Originally posted 8/22/06

A Mammoth water coaster …

… needs a mammoth sign:

Mammoth sign

Testing on Mammoth continues – we should have video to show you next week. The test dummies are pleased to hear temps are predicted to get close to 90 by mid-week.

This guy seems rather pleased, too … not to mention eager.

Mammoth sign

Mammoth opens May 11.


It takes a special person …

… to be featured on the HoliBlog.

And it takes a very special person to be feature twice!

Almost exactly two years ago (April 23, 2010 to be exact), we told you about Caleb. We've reposted his picture and story, below.

Well Caleb was back this week for another tour; this time, it was Mammoth.

And, because he's such a nice guy, he brought along his younger brother, Slade.

Caleb and Slade at Mammoth

Caleb has been taking vitual rides on Mammoth all winter (as often as his mom, Beth, lets him; he has homework, chores and sleep to accomplish, too!).

Thanks to Caleb and Slade for letting Lori, our water-park director, take your photo for this blog post. Try to get some sleep, guys, between now and May 11 when Mammoth opens!

Here's Caleb's story from 2010: Wildebeest's #1 fan

Our water park director, Lori, just sent me this:

This is a photo of Caleb, he lives just down the road from here. His teacher at Nancy Hanks Elementary told me this winter that Caleb talks about the Wildebeest constantly and he is on-line watching it whenever he gets a chance.

I told her that I would give him a tour.

His mother, Beth, brought him by today after school and the three of us enjoyed an extensive Wildebeest tour.

Caleb tours Wildebeest

Caleb  was so excited! He cannot wait to come and ride it.

He will be here on Play Day this year (a special day when Holiday World is open just for children with disabilities); his principal, Mr. Schneiders, has promised to ride The Voyage and Pilgrims Plunge with him.

2012’s maiden Voyage

The call came out mid-afternoon – it was time to ride Voyage for the first time this season.

The test dummies were the first to arrive in the station.

They kicked up their heels with joy.

Happy, happy dummies

A few stretches before riding is a great idea.

Ummm … Pilates for Dummies?


At last it was time to ride.

And ride they did:

First rides!

Have you ever seen such happy faces?

Happy faces

Just look at that shiny new track – all reports are: Smooooooth!


See for yourself. Here's a compilation of the first handful of test rides.

Please note: this video is the result of several test runs being edited together, with a different combination of riders each time. No dummies or humans were harmed in the making of this video!

Voyage – and the rest of Holiday World – opens for the season May 5.

Should the dummies save you a seat?


The search is on for Travel Channel’s “Super Fan Family”

Let's cut to the chase – this is the biggest contest and casting call we've ever held!

The winners get to star in the Mammoth episode of Travel Channel's Extreme Water Parks.

Other stuff, too. Season passes, cabana, HoliCash, Mammoth towels and shirts, overnights in one of the new Rudolph's Christmas Cabins at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort

Wildebeest and Mammoth

What's not to love? Well, not everyone would love being shown on world-wide television soaking wet in their swimsuits, but if you're okay with that, read on …

Our Mammoth water coaster opens in May and the Travel Channel is coming to film the first riders experiencing this record-breaking ride.

While setting up this shoot a few months ago, the producers kept asking me, "Who are your super fans?"

Our super fans? Good question.

We hear from lots of families who've been visiting us for years. Generations, even. Huge fans.

And we hear from those who are particularly excited about Mammoth, since it's the world's longest water coaster. They already love Wildebeest and can't wait to try Mammoth's round boats, since you could end up riding forward, backwards or even sideways at any given time. Plus there's that 45-degree drop.

We also hear from the roller coaster enthusiasts who've caught wind that there will be air time on Mammoth. 'Nuff said.

Here's a photo of a recent test. Don't those dummies look happy – even without heads and limbs?

Mammoth testing

We have so many super fans. But who's the most super?

You tell us. On video, please.

Here's what we're looking for:

  • Our Super Fan Family needs to enthusiastically "prove" to us on video that they have more Mammoth love for our new water coaster than anyone else;
  • A family can be any combination of at least four (and up to six) folks who want to ride Mammoth on camera for the Travel Channel on Saturday, May 12;
  • You don't have to be blood relatives, but please be good enough friends that you consider one another to be "like family";
  • Mammoth riders must be at least 42 inches tall;
  • At least one of the Super Fan Family members must be at least 21 years old; any minors must have signed permission from their parents/guardians to participate if chosen;
  • Our Super Fan Family must commit to take part in our Travel Channel shoot on Saturday, May 12, 2012 and ride Mammoth and possibly other water rides in Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.

Still interested? Here are the rules:

  • Videos must be no longer than 60 seconds long;
  • Videos must include your entire Super Fan Family (at least four and up to six persons; minimum height of 42"; multi-generations prefered, with at least one "family" member 21 years or older);
  • Post your video on YouTube or another video-sharing site no later than 12 noon CDT on Friday, April 27, 2012, and email us the link, along with your Super Fan Family members' names, ages, and addresses;
  • Sorry, employees of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari and our vendors are not eligible (no immediate relatives, either);
  • Your Super Fan Family must include at least four (and up to six) persons, each of whom is available (and willing) to ride Mammoth on camera (in swimsuits) repeatedly for the Travel Channel on Saturday, May 12;
  • Producers for the Travel Channel's Extreme Water Parks will choose our Super Fan Family – their decision is final. They may wish to interview candidates via email, telephone, and/or Skype prior to making their decision. Please note members of the winning Super Fan Family will be required to sign an Appearance Release; there will be no financial compensation for appearing on the Travel Channel or any related publicity or promotion.

Here's what we're offering our Super Fan Family:

  • Opportunity to appear in the Mammoth episode of Travel Channel's Extreme Water Parks;
  • 2012 Season Passes for all (up to six) members of your Super Fan Family;
  • Bahari River Cabana use for one day of your choice during the 2012 season;
  • Overnights for your Super Fan Family in one of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort's new Rudolph's Christmas Cabins on May 11 and 12;
  • Mammoth beach towels and shirts for your Super Fan Family;
  • $20 HoliCash wristband for each of the six members of your Super Fan Family.

Mammoth's 45-degree drop1If you don't win Super Fan Family status, but we're crazy about your video, you could still be chosen to attend the shoot, possibly appear on Extreme Water Parks, definitely get lots of rides on Mammoth, and receive free one-day tickets to return for another visit in 2012.

Don't have access to a video camera? No worries. You can also send us a current photo of your Super Fan Family along with the script you would have used if you could have made a video (no more than 165 words).

We're looking forward to passing along a bunch of entertaining videos to the producers of Travel Channel's Extreme Water Parks.

Any questions? Please post them here; chances are, others are wondering the same thing.

Good luck!

Voyage cameo on GMA

Received this nice email this morning from Tina:

I was watching Good Morning America this morning. They did a segment on performing surgery under zero gravity. When they explained how the Vomit Comet worked they showed a video of The Voyage going down one of the hills. Thought you would really enjoy the comparison between the Voyage and the Vomit Comet.

(Originally posted on 9/28/06)

Free unlimited compasses

(First posted on 6/24/05)

While heading back to my office through the 4th of July section, I noticed two women walking slowly and studying the park map with a perplexed look on their faces.

One commented to the other: Gosh, if they'd just put a "You Are Here" marker on these maps, they'd be so much easier to read!

And yes, I did offer my assistance.

A Friend from ’62

Wow. It's not just my Mom reading this thing.

An email came in late yesterday afternoon from a lady asking about discounts. When I emailed her back with the information, she replied with this sweet story (I have her permission to post this):

I remember my Aunt Deanie (who had come home from California for a couple of weeks with her kids) reading about the "new park called Santa Claus Land." She piled all of us kids in the car (she must have been crazy!) and we headed all the way down there. Long drive then, but less traffic, too. So, I was 8 years old and we were there one of the first years it opened. I almost cried when I saw on your website showing the very first sign! I ran the video and I swear I saw myself, but everybody back then had pony tails and white blouses. Ha! I would love to see some more old pix!! Thanks! K. Flynn-Spires

(Originally posted 4/8/05)

Frank, Vamp, or Pumpkin Head?

As our Director of Special Events, Eric is having a blast planning our Happy Halloween Weekends. His office is overflowing with Halloween paraphernalia and his brain is at the point of leaking, what with all the ideas for our family-friendly event.

Eric is big on consensus-building and does a lot of opinion-gathering with our staff.

Often, all it takes is some fact-finding and lively discussion to arrive at good decisions, but sometimes an issue is so subjective we have to take a vote.

Once in a while, the vote ends in a tie. Dan, as our president, is always available as a tie-breaker, but when we hit an impasse regarding which combination of trick-or-treaters to use for our Goblin Grove logo, we thought it would be fun to poll our readers and let you make the decision for us.

So what exactly is Goblin Grove? Geared to families with children under the age of 12, Goblin Grove will feature pumpkin decorating, hay-bale mazes, face painting, magic shows, and a trick-or-treat trail during our Happy Halloween Weekends

So here are Graphic Artist Rick's three designs, and the opinion poll is beneath them. Voting runs through (when else?) Friday the 13th!

First there’s Little Vampire:

Little Vampire

Next, ol' Pumpkin Head:

Pumpkin Head

And finally, Little Frankenstein:


Thanks for voting!