A very Brady coaster

There’s no denying, Thunderbird is getting a lot of love and attention this fall.

It’s the new coaster on the block, and there’s lots of interest in how construction is coming along. (Spoiler alert: it’s coming along really, really well – stay tuned for more next week. Maybe even watch the Thunderbird ConstructionCams. On Monday.)

And so, the “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” wail from Jan Brady echoes in my head.

Keeping in mind that we’re already planning two more Hard Hat Chronicles in the next two weeks – both about Thunderbird – we just had to first turn our attention (and cameras) over to our other favorite children.

Because we love them all equally.

The Voyage gets an early Christmas present, delivered by a crane.

What is it?

A sprocket.

A 1,400-pound sprocket. Normally, it’s located just past the top of the lift hill. The lift chain wraps around it.

So it’s very important.

Out with the old; in with the new.

The Legend gets some track work …

And, The Raven scores some off-season maintenance, too (did you catch the pun? hint: Raven is 20 years old in 2015):

Want to know more? Of course you do … so here’s a Wooden Coaster Hard Hat Chronicles:

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Now more than ever, it’s a very special holiday for us all.

A hard-hat tour for 14News

Loops and Turns

Deanna from 14News in Evansville is an early riser.

She sort of has to be; it’s her job.

We met up with VP James at 5am to check out what goes on here during the off-season.

First in the Maintenance Shop …

Our Turkey Whirl turkey sure looks happy to be on camera. Or maybe just to be inside and warm. (We had snow flurries last night. Already!)

Next we stopped by our Paint Shop …

How’s this for a unique setting? Deanna is swimming with the seahorses:

At long last, the sun came up and we headed down the hill to the Thunderbird construction site for one last hit. (That’s TV talk.)

James told me earlier he’d been dreaming of heading up construction of a roller coaster since he was a wee lad of just eight years old. He wrote a letter to a designer – and received a reply! That letter is now framed and hanging in James’s office.

Not that he’s in his office all that often; James has too many fun things to attend to out in the park.

This morning, James revealed that approximately 75 percent of Thunderbird’s track is now in place. At last count, 57 of the 77 track elements were in place (that number may have increased over the past few hours).

Take a look here to see Deanna’s reports.

Here’s a reminder that Season Passes are at their best prices right now ($20/month with Easy Pay) through Saturday night at midnight. The big perk for 2015 (besides that whole thing about being able to visit every day we’re open to the public and all) is that we will hold a Season Passholders’ Thunderbird Preview Night – five full hours of rides – the night before we open to the public. Orange you glad we thought of that?

Chillin’ with the Thunderbird

We just finished up two hours of “live shots” with Deanna from WFIE-TV and boy, is it cold out there today!

After a look inside our Maintenance Shop and then the Paint Shop, the sun came up and we visited the Thunderbird construction site.

Anyone who works outdoors for a living has my undying respect and admiration. This gentleman is cutting rebar for the Thunderbird Pepsi Oasis building.

As my fingers slowly thaw and that cup of coffee does its magic (sorry though, Deanna, there’s no hope for our hard-hat hair!), let me remind you we’re up against a deadline for 2015 Season Passes. At midnight Saturday night, the current discount disappears, so if you’ve been meaning to do a little early Christmas shopping, you’ll save more by purchasing them now (and, with Easy Pay, the price is $20 a month) and we can all look forward to warmer days and five hours of Thunderbird Preview rides for Season Passholders on April 24!

Season Pass Sweepstakes!

Turkey Whirl

Thanks to everyone who entered our Season Pass Sweepstakes! Our winners were chosen at random from thousands of entries.

Congratulations to:

  • Amy R. of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, who wins two 2015 Season Passes
  • Donna H. of Lanesville, Indiana, who wins two one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
  • Candi J. of Beech Grove, Indiana, who wins a $50 HoliCash Gift Card

——

It’s November. That means Thanksgiving is just weeks away and Christmas is not far behind.

We’re closed for the season, but are as busy as ever – time for these cold turkeys to head inside for the winter!

Time to tuck away the turkeys before the winter snows swirl.

And so we’re in that holly-jolly mood that inspires us to launch a sweepstakes.

We’ll have three winners:

  • First Place wins two 2015 Season Passes
  • Second Place wins two One-Day Tickets
  • Third Place wins a $50 HoliCash Gift Card

How to enter? Let’s start with a few necessaries:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
  • Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari employees (and the immediate family members of employees) are not eligible to enter.
  • Use the widget, below, to enter daily. There are lots of options, so you can earn extra entries by posting here on our HoliBlog, tweeting about this sweepstakes, following us on Pinterest and visiting us on our Facebook page.
  • Three winners – chosen at random – will be emailed on November 14.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us what you’re thankful for this year. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)
  • Did you know you can subscribe to our HoliBlog so that you receive all of our posts (including contests) by email? If you’re using a desktop computer or tablet, look for the “Subscribe to Blog” sidebar at the top-right corner of this page. On a smartphone? Just scroll down a tiny bit more to find it.

Ready to enter? Of course you are. Simply enter our sweepstakes here from a mobile device; or if you’re using an immobile device, enter by using the widget, below. And not just today – enter daily through Friday, November 14, 2014 at 1pm CST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you know we added an “Easy Pay” option for Season Passes this year? Order yours here by Saturday, November 15, 2015, and your monthly payment will be $20 per Season Pass (and even less for Guests-under-54″ and Seniors 60+). Season Passholders get an extra special perk – they’re invited to ride Thunderbird – the nation’s first launched wing coaster – the night before it opens to the public. Can’t wait!

Painting a picture

Well here’s a different view of Thunderbird:

These photos were taken by Tommy, our Paint Shop Manager. He and Joe were up in a 150′ manlift yesterday morning.

Painting.

That’s right. Here’s why: After Thunderbird track pieces are joined and bolted together, the next step is to smooth that area so that the transition from one track piece to the next won’t be felt by riders. Once the steel is nice and smooth it’s time for a paint touch-up; and that’s where Tommy and Joe enter the picture.

They painted Thunderbird’s highest spot yesterday – at the top of the Immelmann loop.

Here’s the view to the northwest:

There’s the vertical loop on the right, which transitions into the elevated horseshoe while crossing over The Voyage.

Oh, and Voyage is getting some love, too. This is the drop on the second hill, so that crew is up pretty high as well.

Now let’s turn and check out the view due north.

We’re looking back toward Thunderbird’s station and launch track. They’ve got a good start on the silo, too.

If these photos get your heart pounding (in a good way) and you think Tommy and Joe have the coolest jobs ever, you might want to check here on our website and apply online to be one of our full-time Painters (we have several full-time openings in  a variety of departments).

Meanwhile, if you’ve been meaning to get Season Passes for next year (remember, Season Passholders get ride time on Thunderbird before it’s open to the public), wanted to pass along that our $20/month Easy Pay offer is around for just one more week.

The long and short of it

We’ve received a number of emails from VTPs.

That would be Very Tall People.

These VTPs really want to ride Thunderbird and are wondering about height limits.

Oh, and we’re hearing from the other end of the scale, too: How tall does my child have to be to ride Thunderbird?

Before we reveal those numbers, here’s a look of the two managers who will supervise our Thunderbird crew.

Meet our Theme Park Attractions Managers:

Lori and Andy, ready to ride Thunderbird!

My goodness, Andy is quite tall, is he not?

Or is Lori quite untall?

Well, both will be able to ride Thunderbird in the spring.

As long as Andy doesn’t grow any taller, that is. Because he’s 6’6″ tall, and that’s the maximum.

Lori is safe, she’s 5’3″ and that’s plenty tall. (The minimum height to ride Thunderbird is 52″, which is 4’4″ tall.)

Meanwhile, how is construction coming along? At the risk of jinxing the whole process, we’re a week ahead of schedule. There are so many people who have worked so hard to accomplish this that I’ll take my chances.

Here’s VP James with our latest episode of the Hard Hat Chronicles:

Have you watched our live Thunderbird Construction Webcams yet? If it’s during the day when you read this, please take a look and even play with the interactive one, which lets you choose the views. If it’s after dark, though … well, take your cue from Annie (the sun’ll come out … tomorrow!). I learned this the hard way, by the way. Years ago, someone emailed at night that our webcam was broken – embarrassing as it is to admit, it probably took me a good hour or two to figure out it was just really dark out.