Before we launch into 2015 …

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it?

Here are just a few of our favorite moments from 2014:

Happy New Year from all of us here at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari!

Hard Hat Chronicles XII

When we started the Hard Hat Chronicles video series early this year, it was to start revving up for Thunderbird construction updates.

Only we couldn’t tell you that back then.

Here we are at the end of the year as we bring you another episode – number 12, actually – as we throw another curve into Thunderbird’s construction.

Crow's Nest

It’s been loads of fun putting these together (even VP James now agrees, although at the beginning he was a bit hesitant about appearing on camera).

Here’s Episode 12:

Do you have any ideas for other video series – or topics for future videos? Please post them here and we’ll sure try to make it happen.

We’re building more than a coaster …

… we’re also building an incredible team for 2015!

Friendliest Staff!

As corny as that may sound, check out our TripAdvisor.com reviews and it won’t take long to see how important our employees (we call them Hosts & Hostesses) are to our Guests’ experience. So often, Moms and Dads post about how impressed they are with how friendly our sweepers are, how safe our ride operators are, how attentive our lifeguards are, how quickly our foods staff prepare their meals. And when we fall short – we hear about that, too, and we make it right. So our goal each year isn’t just to add great new rides and slides, it is to hire smiling faces, helping hands, and good people with a true desire to help families make wonderful memories while having fun.

And who leads our team of hiring specialists? That would be HR Heather:

You read that right – we’re launching the search for 2,200 seasonal Hosts & Hostesses. And with that new launched wing coaster of ours, we have a feeling it won’t take long to fill those job openings – because, you know, our employees get some awesome perks, such as early rides on Thunderbird. So if you’re thinking about applying, please don’t delay.

This video tells you more in less than a minute:

Please check out even more videos, photos, and information about our seasonal job opportunities (some full-time, too) on our website’s Jobs page.

We open for the season in less than four months – it’s time to get to work!

All I want for Christmas is my two front seats!

The first train for Thunderbird is now here!

Thunderbird opens April 25!

Car by car, they were lifted into Thunderbird’s Maintenance Building.

Thunderbird opens April 25!

At four seats per car, this train is huge!

Thunderbird opens April 25!

And yes, Thunderbird’s trains include what coaster enthusiasts refer to as “big boy” seats. So if you’re built a little like Santa, you’ll be happy to know the middle row of each train will include four seats which offer more room for the big-and-tall among us.

Here’s a look at what we got for Christmas (a little bit early) – including our two front seats!

Thunderbird opens April 25 – Merry Christmas to all!

A cup of Christmas cheer

Hint: Don’t miss the coffee mug at the beginning.

Who says IT types don’t have a sense of humor?! (Thanks, Steven!)

We’ll have a Blue(print) Christmas

Thunderbird Blueprint Product Gallery - Twists and Turns | HoliShop

Since adding our Limited Edition Thunderbird Blueprint to the HoliShop yesterday afternoon, we’ve had orders from New York to California, Minnesota to Florida!

In all, Thunderbird Blueprints are heading to good homes in 12 states plus the District of Columbia. So far.

This is a pre-sale, with delivery in mid-January.

Thunderbird Blueprint Product Gallery - Logo

Poor Retail Manager Rob is catching it from all directions – now we all want a Thunderbird Blueprint Throw, a Thunderbird Blueprint shirt, a Thunderbird Blueprint beach towel, and even a Thunderbird Blueprint shower curtain (that one was my idea; don’t judge me).

Do you have any ideas for new products? Please post them below. The sky’s the limit!

Crow’s Nest: A bird’s-eye view

Thunderbird and Crow's Nest | Holiday World

Well, you figured it out, didn’t you?

We moved Sparkler this week from 4th of July to Thanksgiving and re-named it Crow’s Nest.

Before we move any further with this, we’re not talking about a physical nest where Mama Crow lays her eggs. No.

We’re speaking in nautical terms.

Crow's Nest and Thunderbird

See that bucket-looking gold-rimmed brown cone beneath Crow’s Nest’s flag? That’s a crow’s nest. It’s a lookout point near the top of the main mast of a ship.

And lookout! What a view!

Crow's Nest and Thunderbird

Since we revealed Sparkler’s move, we’ve been asked a number of questions.

So here’s a Crow’s Nest FAQ:

Q: What is Crow’s Nest’s color scheme?

A: The seats will be brown, as will the base of the ride. The white tower and yellow sweeps will remain the same. The mesh between the sweeps will have a nautical design.

Q: How close is Crow’s Nest to Thunderbird?

A: Don’t worry – they’re close, but not too close. We have a tool for measuring the “envelope” needed for each ride – and they do not intersect. We will always put your safety first.

Q: So what’s replacing Sparkler in 4th of July?

A: For 2015, we’ll add some extra seating in that area. For 2016? Too soon to tell.

The ride’s move took about a week. Sparkler was removed, parts were repainted, and Crow’s Nest was set in place a few days later.

Take a look:

Here’s another view – the one you’ll see if you can manage to keep your eyes open during Thunderbird’s launch:

View of Crow's Nest from above

Do you have any other questions about Crow’s Nest? Please post them below and we’ll try to get you answers. I have to stop writing now, though – that last photo is making me dizzy!

Travel Channel takes Santa on a wild ride

Christmastown, USA on Travel Channel

Back in May, Santa was tickled pink when a Travel Channel crew visited us to shoot a new holiday special.

Of course, it was a tad warmer back then …

Santa on Travel Channel's Christmastown USA

Did you notice in the photo – in front of Santa’s face? They used that little clapper thing to sync the footage with the audio. I really wanted to ask if I could play with it – since it’s all digital and really makes a cool sound when “clapped” – but somehow managed to control myself. Sigh. Maybe I should ask for one for Christmas …

The Travel Channel show – Christmastown, USA – airs this Sunday, December 14, at 6pm CST (which is 7pm EST). We don’t have the inside scoop on exactly what might have ended up avoiding the cutting room floor, but here are a few possible spoilers:

Matt Eckert on Travel Channel's Christmastown USA
That’s park president Matt Eckert. Does he look like he’s singing? Yes, as a matter of fact, he burst into song with a rousing chorus of Jingle Bells when asked.

Because that’s what park presidents do in Santa Claus, Indiana.

During Santa’s chat with the Travel Channel, he compared a ride on The Voyage with that famous sleigh ride he takes each December 24.

One thing led to another and before you know it, we’d morphed from Christmas to Thanksgiving …

Santa riding The Voyage
Upon closer examination of Travel Channel’s website, we came upon this photo in a Christmastown, USA slideshow, which gives us hope they’re planning to include Santa enjoying his second-favorite sleigh ride of all.

Santa riding The Voyage at Holiday World

Santa hooted and hollered joyfully throughout his ride. If you’ve ridden The Voyage, it should come as no surprise that he had to run a comb through his snowy-white beard upon return.

We hope you enjoy the show!

Christmastown, USA on Travel Channel

Dreaming of an orange Christmas

Transitioning from Hall of Fame wrestler to one of Santa’s jolliest helpers may seem like quite a leap, but for Mick Foley it was a natural progression.

… because Mick has always loved Christmas. And Santa Claus parks. And helping children (his first visit here was in 2002 and he brought along two young Wish friends).

Mick was in town this past weekend for some of the Christmas festivities and was happy to point out that Santa visited us early this year.

Santa's Helper, Mick Foley

Something I learned yesterday? Although Mick has lived most of his life as a New Yorker, he was born in Bloomington. Guess that makes him a Ho-Ho-Hoosier!