Pomp and circumstance

When an editor from the Indiana State University Magazine contacted us with an interest to write a feature about our park president, we started wondering about how many other ISU grads we had on staff full-time.

It turns our we have five "Sycamores" here: from left, that's Brandon, Lori, Matt, Ashley and Jennifer.

Five grads from ISU are part of Holiday World's management team

According to this article, all five enjoyed their time at ISU and feel their education prepared them for success here at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.

Do you know a recent grad who's pounding the pavement? We have several full-time openings posted right now, plus we've still got some seasonal availability for this year. It's a fun job, but somebody's got to do it, right?

Clickety clack

This is one of those Good News/Not-So-Good News stories.

Let's start with the good news:

Holidog has his own train coming to Holidog’s FunTown!

We hope you’ll enjoy making memories with your family as Holidog Express takes you through Mother Goose Land, starting in early June.

This is the photo of what the train will look like.

Holidog Express will look like this

So what's going on with the Freedom Train?

Since our very first season as Santa Claus Land, the Freedom Train has provided countless rides for children of all ages. It started out as the Santa Claus Land Railroad and became the Mother Goose Land Train when the nursery rhyme statues were added in the 1950s.

Santa Claus Land Railroad

When Santa Claus Land was re-named Holiday World in 1984, the train also received a new name. To match the theme in its new location – the 4th of July section – it became the Freedom Train.

During off-season maintenance this past year, it was discovered that the Freedom Train needed restoration work. When that is completed, it will be on display in the park.

We realize quite a few families enjoy the tradition of riding the Freedom Train together each year, and want to thank you in advance for your understanding.

Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy riding Holidog Express this season!

A bit of a stretch …

Okay, I admit I chose this photo so I can razz Josh about his uniform shirt not being tucked in properly.

Stretching video for Holiday World's Hosts & Hostesses

He's our Director of Human Resources Management and those HR types tend to notice untucked shirts, missing name badges, and not-quite-white shoes quicker than the rest of us.

Josh is a sports nut who likes to stay fit. (I won't tell you which team he is crazy about – to the point of having retired baseball stadium seats in his office – so that we don't ignite a flame war here on the Happy HoliBlog.)

So Josh was the natural choice to lead this stretching/warm-up video. We want our Hosts & Hostesses to start their workday all limbered up, to help keep them comfortable and injury-free.

We in Communications agreed to produce the video for him if he'd agree to choose some good tunes to stretch with and to record the video on the beach of Bahari.

And to let us post it on YouTube.

Josh is a pretty good sport. He chuckled through most of our proposal. But he drew the line when we tried to get him to stretch to The Safety Dance.

I guess you could say we were stretching the limit of Josh's good humor. "It's too cheesy!" he insisted.

And so, we proceeded with a lactose-free selection of music. Hope you give these warm-ups a try, too, before you visit us this season.

Will you giggle, laugh or chuckle?

… when you try out Hyena Falls for the first time?

Our new water-slide complex opens May 10.

And have you entered our Laugh Like A Hyena Contest yet? There are four ways to enter and we'll have three winners.

The deadline is looming, so hop right on it!

Hyena Falls

‘Twas the day before Opening

'Twas the day before Opening and all through the park …

Not a worker was idle, from dawn till past dark.

Decorations were hung from the manlift with care …

But no one had time to stand still and stare.

Decorating the Christmas Plaza

When what to our GoPro cam did appear …

Than our hard working crews prepping our best-ever year.

From the top of the tree to the tips of our toes …

We decorate, clean and plant flowers in rows.

And so we exclaim as we count down this rhyme …

Happy Season to All and to All a Fun Time!

Tidying up for the new season

This week was filled with the sights and sounds of preparation as the town of Santa Claus got ready for the start of the new season.

INDOT trimming and cleaning for opening

Thanks to INDOT's crews for manicuring our highways and byways!

A fulfilling task

So now that the very long to-do list is being whittled down to a very short to-do list, what still needs to be accomplished before opening day?

Fill the Applause Fountain, of course!

Filling the Applause Fountain for the season

Here's a time-lapse video of the process. We had our hands full, didn't we?

Holiday World opens for the season this Saturday, May 4. Hope to see you then!


Familiar faces

It's a question we hear fairly often: Which famous people have visited Holiday World over the years?

It's an interesting collection of names. A future president, a wrestling legend, professional football players, a television host, to not name a few.

The list is long enough that we created a Pinterest board called Famous Visitors to Holiday World.

We'll have to add this photo to the group:

Ethan Zohn of Survivor

This is Ethan Zohn, the winner of the third season of Survivor. When he visited us in 2006, it was a month before our season started, so he wasn't able to ride Voyage (which was new that year), but we gave him a tour and he posed for this fun photo.

Ethan is a survivor in many ways. We're proud to know him!

“Laugh Like A Hyena!” contest

Unless you've just awakening from hibernation, you know one of our fun new attractions is this wild and crazy water-slide complex called Hyena Falls.

Here's the design:

And here's a photo of the nearly-completed slides, including a "wave" slide that starts five stories up:

Hyena Falls

Does looking at this photo, in anticipation of riding Hyena Falls, tickle you just a little bit? Causing you to giggle, guffaw, chuckle, even howl with laughter?

Then you should enter this contest. Bigtime.

If you win, here's what you get:

Rudolph's Christmas CabinTwo days of family fun at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari for a family of four, plus …

Two cozy nights in a Rudolph's Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort (they're even throwing in a S'mores Kit for a gooey late-night treat).

Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort is located right next to Holiday World – and even provides free shuttle transportation!

Ready to enter our "Laugh Like A Hyena" contest?

Here's how:
1. Make a video (30 seconds or less) or draw a picture or take a photo or write a poem showing us how you plan to Laugh Like A Hyena on Hyena Falls.
2. Email your entry to us at contest@holidayworld.com no later than 8pm CT on Monday, May 6, 2013. (If you choose to make a video, post it on YouTube and email us the link.) Attachments must be jpegs and no larger than 1MB.
3. Later that week, we will post our three favorite entries here on the HoliBlog, and everyone is invited to vote for their favorite. The voting will last until 2:00 pm CDT on Monday, May 13, 2013.
4. The Grand Prize Winner (the entry with the most votes) will receive four two-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari plus two nights (subject to availability during the 2013 season) in a Rudolph's Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort. The second-place winner will receive four one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari and the third place winner receives two park tickets.
5. Must be 21 or older to enter. No more than one entry per email address, please.
6. Videos 31 seconds and longer will be disqualified. Attachments exceeding 1MB and/or not jpegs will not be considered.
7. Just like the park … keep it clean and friendly! And please have fun with this!
8. By entering, you are giving Holiday World and Lake Rudolph permission to post your entry on our blogs and other social media along with your first name and last initial, plus city and state.
9. Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari and their immediate family members are not eligible. Neither are employees of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort and their immediate family members.
10. Winners of Holiday World contests over the past six months are not eligible.
11. Judges’ decisions are final.
12. Good luck!

Hyena FallsPlease read the above instructions and rules carefully before entering.

And please-oh-please have fun …

This guy sure is!

Blame Canada

Look who sneaked into Splashin' Safari a little early!

Canada geese in Bakuli

Hmmm … Canada geese.

Do you know that ProSlide – whose designers created the likes of ZOOMbabwe, Bakuli, Mammoth, Bahari and Wildebeest – is based in Canada?

Canada geese in Bahari

Oh, and they are also the crazy creators of our new Hyena Falls.

Perhaps these two waterfowl (who promised not to befoul the water – which will be filtered, treated and tested as always for a pristine opening day) are ProSlide's pets? Mascots? Sidekicks?

Canada geese at Bakuli

Ah, we'll never know. After a brief float, these two lovelies took the to air again, heading north to their summer home.