The woods are ablaze with fall colors

Such a pretty time of the year!

The trees are brilliant with red, yellow, gold and …

Thunderbird prepares to cross Voyage

Yes, there’s a pop of orange out in the woods by The Voyage this year.

Where exactly? Thunderbird will cross Voyage once right here:

Thunderbird will soon cross The Voyage

As you can see, it’s between the second and third hills on Voyage.

Of course what goes up must come down. Likewise, what crosses over must cross back.

We’ll be sure to show you that, too, when it happens.

Meanwhile, we’re feeling a little loopy after all the rain this week, but it looks like our Thunderbird crews will be busy tomorrow.

Thunderbird's track, crossing The Voyage

Did you know that at 125 feet, Thunderbird’s vertical loop is the tallest on any wing coaster?

It’ll take a 200-ton crane to top it.

Two toppings in two weeks? That’s keeping us right on track with construction.

Did you catch this video from last week’s Immelmann topping?

Kudos to our Thunderbird construction team – lifting that nine-ton piece high in the air and placing it gently right where it was meant to go. Amazing. And right after a big storm (yes, Thunderbird, we know you’re in charge!).

Orange you excited about tomorrow? Follow us on Twitter for updates and be sure to tune in on our live webcams to see all the action.

Which element of Thunderbird are you most eager to experience? Please post a comment and let us know!

Hoosier favorite zombie?

Ah, but actually our talented troupe of undead are from all over … er, under.

This year’s Graveyard Smash zombies hail (and wail) from as close by as Santa Claus and Jasper and as far away as New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Honolulu!

They sing like a bunch of ghouls:

We hope you’ll join us for Graveyard Smash and all of Happy Halloween Weekends.

We think you’ll dig it.

Perks for processing early

Did you know you can purchase your 2015 Season Passes for $20 a month using our Easy Pay Plan? This offer runs through November 15, 2014.

And as a special incentive, we have two perks for you if you get your 2015 Season Passes processed here at the park during this year’s Happy Halloween Weekends.

We’ll let Holidog fill you in on all the details:

The ultimate #TransformationTuesday


Thunderbird's Immelmann loop is now complete! #transformationtuesday #thunderbird #HW2015

View on Instagram

Weather permitted

From before the sun was up this morning, we were all grabbing our phones to check the weather apps.

I even bugged our morning weathermen:

But the #WeatherPermitting phrase continued to haunt us.

Reporters called one after another: Are you still planning to do this?


I dashed between the raindrops to capture this photo. Then the sensible voice in my head out-shouted the excited voice and proclaimed: That 140-foot-tall track is one heck of a lightning rod!

The storm was intense, but didn’t last long.

And then it was time. Swing that beautiful track!

… and the second half of the video:

And then …

We’ll have a new Hard Hat Chronicles to post later today, with lots of footage from the topping.

Thanks to our hard-working Thunderbird Construction teams for making it all look so easy.

A Tuesday Topping for Thunderbird

Been using this hashtag a lot today: #WeatherPermitting

That said, we’re excited about what tomorrow may bring:

We won’t know for sure until tomorrow morning, but a big ol’ piece of track (weighing nearly nine tons) is expected to “top off” Thunderbird’s highest point.

If you can’t watch live on our ThunderbirdCam, please check back here and on our social media later in the day for updates.

Considering that the topping will put into place Track Piece #21 (out of 77), we’re feeling rather lucky that we’ll get to lift it into place on October 7.


Magic in the air

When you visit us for Happy Halloween Weekends, be sure to include our Halloween Magic Show on your don’t-miss-it list.

Unless, of course, you don’t like to laugh.

Or hear children laugh.

Happy Kellems (and Mrs. Kellems) performing at Santa Claus Land

Happy Kellems (and Mrs. Kellems) performing at Santa Claus Land

Don Baggett’s magic skills extend far beyond sleight of hand. He has the gift of extracting giggly, irrepressible laughter from youngsters.

You know, that kind of laughter that would be called raucous if it came from adults.

But we’re usually too dignified to erupt with that much unbridled glee.

Earlier this year, I asked Don when the magic bug bit him and was touched by his reply:

The very first magic show I ever saw as a child was at Santa Claus Land (now Holiday World).

It featured Gene Smith and Happy Kellems.

I remember sitting there watching the show several times that day, wanting to know and do the magic that was being performed for me. I also knew that someday I, too, wanted to perform on a stage at Holiday World.

My love for magic and Holiday World have always gone hand in hand.

Here’s a small sampling of Don’s magic and the wonderful laughter that always accompanies it:

Don sent us some tips for young magicians; please check them out over on our Halloween Magic Show page.

Sweepstakes: How Halloween are you?

Thanks to everyone who entered our Happy Halloween Weekends Sweepstakes! Our winners were chosen at random from thousands of entries.

Congratulations to:

  • Heather B. of Lexington, Kentucky
  • Kathy D. of Bardstown, Kentucky
  • Tina C. of Cecilia, Kentucky

All three winners receive two one-day tickets to this year’s Happy Halloween Weekends!

Graveyard Smash at Holiday WorldSo just how Halloween are you?

By that I mean, do you decorate?

Do you carve a pumpkin (and roast the seeds)?

What about costumes – do you have a favorite memory of making your own?

Let’s celebrate the start of October with a sweepstakes! Three lucky winners (chosen at random) will receive two one-day tickets to this year’s Happy Halloween Weekends.

Graveyard Smash is back and so is Holidog’s 3D Halloween Adventure. Our 12-acre corn maze is Thunderbird-themed this year. And we still have hayrides, pumpkin funnel cakes, and a fun area for smaller children to play and trick-or-treat.

Oh, and rides. Coaster rides after dark? Every Saturday night through October 26!

And what’s new for Happy Halloween Weekends this year? Something that may startle and will definitely amaze. Carnival Chaos, as our barker will tell you, is not for the faint of heart!

Okay, then. Let’s get you registered for our sweepstakes.

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, and following us on our Facebook page.
  • Three winners – chosen at random – will be emailed on October 9.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, just tell us what you like the most about Halloween. (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 Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 11am CDT.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all!

Orange you glad we take lots of photos?

Because, you know, just about everybody is wanting to see the latest construction pics of Thunderbird.

A deer visits the construction site

I half expected that a coaster enthusiast (you know who you are!) might have strapped a video cam on Dasher there and sent him in for a DashCam exclusive.

Yes, Thunderbird’s track is heading skyward!

Thunderbird track

We had some fun recently with this trompe l’oeil on Twitter:


And today we posted a brief construction video on our Facebook page:

But right now it’s time for a history lesson.

It’s about the launch into Thunderbird’s first loop.

The Immelmann loop.

Here’s the start:

The beginning of the Immelman loop

When I was first included in those top-secret meetings (aka the Cone of Silence) late last year, those in the know kept listing the elements of BT-15.

Including the Entenmann’s loop.


Remember, I grew up on the East Coast – and to me, Entenmann’s means crumbly, cinnamonny coffee cake.

You know:

Entenmann's coffee cake

Wow. Now we’re talking!

After about the third meeting I similarly interrupted, a quick lesson in military history got me straightened out.

It’s Immelmann, not Entenmann’s.

Thunderbird’s first loop is named for Max Immelmann, a German pilot. A World War 1 flying ace, actually. He is said to have invented this half-loop, half-roll maneuver.

And that is why this first inversion is called an Immelmann. It’s a half-loop, half-roll. No coffee cake involved (although I’d venture to say he enjoyed a good piece of apple strudel more than once).

From Thunderbird’s launch, we’ll fly into our Immelmann.

Thunderbird's launch

The top of the Immelmann is 14 stories up.

From there, the track rolls over toward The Voyage.

The photo below shows where the end piece of the Immelmann loop will connect.

The start - and end - of our Immelmann

Topping a roller coaster is a really big deal.

So what will we do when we get there (sometime next week, we think)? Have a celebration of course!

To start the celebration, we’ve moved the SplashCam and renamed it the ThunderbirdCam. It’s located along the Snowy White Gravel Road and is interactive.

That’s right. Interactive.

Views you can choose. (Surely I’m not the first to come up with that phrase.) Have fun playing with this new toy.

Lauren R. took this view because to her it looked like the track pieces were forming one of our HoliSmiles.

Thunderbird's HoliSmile

We’ve got room for one last Thunderbird photo in this post, with promises of many more to come.

Thunderbird's track

Thunderbird’s track count is 17 out of 77 as of today.

Ain’t it beautiful?