66 Hours to See

If you are one of the rabid fans who counted down the days with us before we announced Thunderbird in late July, you’ll either laugh – or more likely grit your teeth – when you read the subject line of this post.

We. Just. Can’t. Help. Ourselves.

In last week’s edition of the Hard Hat Chronicles, Leah let slip that we have at least two more surprises concerning the Thunderbird ride experience.

She mentioned that we’re taking an existing ride in the park and moving it close by to Thunderbird’s launchpad.

You know, here:

Readying for the ride move

Regarding the existing ride, it will be rebranded.

And that takes paint.

And Rick.

Rick painting a new look on an existing ride

Our “66 Hours” reference above isn’t an exact countdown, but we hope it comforts those who are already missing sleep over this.

You’ll know soon.

Probably Tuesday.

Any guesses as to what it was and what it will be?

Here’s a little more of the color scheme:

Rebranding a ride

Speaking of “schemes,” there are lots more stories to be shared, including more information about the trains, the intriguing Will Power building and what it now contains, plus an added “near miss” pair of elements.

Stick with us through the colder months (subscribe to the HoliBlog so you don’t miss anything) and we’ll fill you in little by little.

The winter will just fly by!

“He roller coaster, he got early warning”

As a rule, I don’t do mushy.

Especially not in front of others.

And especially not while blogging.

It’s like I always say, “Friends don’t let friends blog and get sentimental.”

Okay, I’m kidding. I think we all know I’ve had a few sappy blog posts.

So, what’s one more mushy story?

Let me set the scene for you: Yesterday we placed the final piece of track for our new Thunderbird steel roller coaster. (Fun Fact: yesterday was also the one-year HoliVersary of James, our VP of Development & Maintenance. We think he intentionally scheduled that one.)

James did his usual interview for the Hard Hat Chronicles with Stephen (he’s the man behind the Hard Hat Chronicles).

Lauren and I then headed over to the construction site for interviews, which we nailed.

By saying we nailed our interviews, I actually mean Stephen had a lot of work to do with editing. Sorry Stephen!

After we finished our interviews, Lauren and I took a second to admire the unbroken ribbon of orange track winding through the woods before heading back.

Thunderbird, Voyage, Trees

Looking at the full coaster for the first time and seeing the elements pop in and out of the woods reminded me of just how proud my dad would be if he could see what we’re doing.

And that we’re three weeks ahead of schedule.

My train of thought was suddenly interrupted by a song playing over the radio: “Come Together” by the Beatles.

For those who don’t know, my dad was a HUGE Beatles fan. He was also an avid bass player, and “Come Together” was one of his favorite songs to play (Lauren actually hated the song for a considerable amount of time simply because Dad used to practice within earshot during homework and sleeping hours).

I looked at Lauren with a laugh and commented, “How appropriate.”

Last Piece of Thunderbird Track

We listened for a moment and smiled.

I think it’s exactly the song Dad would have picked for such an occasion.

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.

The Voyage is thankful for this new sprocket

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.

Voyage's new (and old) sprocket

The Legend gets some track work …

Track work on The Legend

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

The Raven gets some track work, too

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

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 …

James and Deanna in our 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:

Deanna and 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 and Deanna, with Kirk on camera and Thunderbird in the background

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.

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Chillin’ with the Thunderbird

Cutting rebar for Pepsi Oasis

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!

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!

Removing Turkey Whirl's turkeys for maintenance.

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:

From on top of Thunderbird's Immelmann

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


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 our paint shop enters the picture.

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

Here’s the view to the northwest:

Thunderbird construction

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.

Voyage's second drop

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.

Thunderbird's station and launch track

If these photos get your heart pounding (in a good way) and you think our painters 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.