“Up, up, up!”


Family is what it’s all about.

No one’s going to argue with that statement, right? Whether we look toward the older generation or the little ones just getting started, there’s nothing like the memories we have of our moments together.

And so I tell you this story as a happy grandma.

My little grandson is named Cameron. He was born on April Fools Day, which is so fitting considering how holiday-centric we tend to be around here.

Since very early on, he’s been a talker. Non-stop. Thing is, we grownups just weren’t sophisticated enough to understand his rapid-fire patter.

For months, his language seemed oddly familiar. I finally figured it out one day.

CaminionI announced to my husband,

“Cameron’s a Minion!”

Gary’s reaction? “You’re right, that’s it!”

That little fellow has regaled us with many stories and opinions.

No doubt there were a few orders along the way, too.

Cameron knows his letters and his numbers. He knows the Swahili song at the start of the Lion King movie. But for the most part, he prefers to speak his native tongue: Minion.

The cadence of Cameron’s voice as he chatters away always gives us the feeling that we’re missing a really good tale.

That boy’s a storyteller.

Last night, I received a text from Cam’s mommy. Melissa said she’d just shown him this Instagram video post, marking the two-month countdown to our Opening Day.

Cameron was enthralled, coaching the Thunderbird train throughout the video, first “up, up, up!” and then “down, down! down!”


Launch is just 2 months away! #LetsDoLaunch #LaunchingApril25 #Thunderbird #holidayworld #video

A video posted by Holiday World (@holidayworld) on

Suffice to say there was much cheering among our households as parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents throughout the land rejoiced in the breakthrough.

Until it suddenly hit me, “But – now he’s going to want to ride!”

One step at a time, little guy. And one coaster at a time.
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Rayvon Owen

Rayvon Owen, a Holiday World entertainment alum, is making his way into America’s living rooms with American Idol! (Okay, once his audition video was available online, I kind of figured he was going to make it to Hollywood … and it will be incredibly exciting to see him perform tonight!)

We’re proud of all of our Holiday World entertainment alumni, and it’s especially exciting when the rest of the world (well, in this case: JLo, Harry Connick Jr., and Keith Urban) figures out what we’ve known all along: these performers that come to Holiday World are incredibly talented, and they’re also wonderful people.

When he first came to the stage of Hoosier Celebration Theater, we knew Rayvon’s voice was incredible. We knew he could make any song sound amazing.

We quickly discovered that Rayvon was more than just his voice, or even his incredible performance abilities. He fit in easily at Holiday World because he had character. And also a sense of humor.

The 2011 cast of Rejoice!He isn’t afraid to poke fun at other people (but he’s always good-natured about it). He’ll poke fun at himself too. When I went to go take photos of Rejoice, the cast (but mostly Rayvon) would tell me about the funny things one of the girls (Felicia—whom they lovingly renamed Felicity) had said, and then share something ridiculous Rayvon had done.

I think this post on Facebook says everything you need to know about Rayvon: he’s humble, he’s dedicated to God, and he’s good-natured (in case you missed his audition, Keith Urban thought Rayvon Owen said his name was Rayvono—that’s why he signed it that way).

From Holiday World to Hollywood!

What I really hope America gets to see is Rayvon’s character. I hope they see that he’s got a big heart, and that he’s nice to everybody. I hope they see that he’s respectful, polite, and genuine. I hope they see that he’s the kind of person who has worked hard for this and deserves every bit of the attention and recognition he’s about to get.

Because he does.

Also as a side note, I love “Brand New Day” and I kind of hope everyone can hear it and enthusiastically join #TeamRayvon.

Our Experts’ Best Tips for Landing a Theme Park Job

Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that I was on my way to my first Job Fair with my dad.

Talk about being a nervous wreck; I had no idea what to expect. As a shy 14-year-old, I was worried I didn’t have “what it takes” to work at a theme park.

When it came time for my interview, my dad gave me one last bit of advice, “Just be yourself, and you will do just fine.”

He was right. Soon after the Job Fair, I received my offer letter in the mail. And, well, the rest is history.

Attractions TeamSo what does it take to work at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari? And what does our management team look for in a seasonal employee?

We decided to ask the experts themselves.

Our Attractions team (aren’t they a fun looking bunch?) replied with this:

 In Attractions, we want to put on a show for our Guests while providing them with a safe and enjoyable experience at our rides, slides, and pools!

Prospective Hosts/Hostesses should be excited, outgoing, engaging, and ready to have a great time.

Above all, safety is our number-one priority. We are looking for people who are cautious, prepared, responsible, alert, attentive, and will always use good judgment.

 Rob with Minion Dave

Rob, our Games Manager, along with his friend Minion Dave, give two thumbs-up to applicants who are excited by the idea of working at a theme park!

After all, who wouldn’t want a chance to work with Minions?

Guest Services Angie



Next, we talked to our new Guest Services Manager, Angie.

She looks for applicants with a good work ethic who are eager to learn, have the willingness to participate in conversation, and the ability to smile even if they don’t feel like it.

Energy and enthusiasm, as well as a positive attitude is what our Jason, our Foods Director, looks for when hiring seasonal employees.

Jason at Wildebeestro Inside

Dilan, one of our Foods Managers, adds he is looking for those with confidence and the willingness to learn. Foods Dilan

He adds, It is no secret that this job is like no other and we’re proud of that! So being able to take initiative to consistently learn something new is how one can get the most enjoyment out of their employment here.


HR HeatherLast but not least is Heather, our HR Director.

Heather says she’s always looking to find someone who is interested in making memories for our Guests whether that be through excellent service or through a friendly smile.


So do you think you have what it takes to help us launch into the 2015 season? (That’s right, we can’t forget about Thunderbird – did you know our employees will be among the first to ride?)

No need to be shy, head on over to our Jobs Page and apply now! In the wise words of my dad, Just be yourself, and you will do just fine!

Flick? Who’s Flick?

Isn’t it funny how the mind works?

(Advance apologies to anyone who isn’t an A Christmas Story aficionado.)

This morning, Matt and I had a pre-dawn appointment to head to Owensboro, Kentucky, to join Chad and Brett for a half hour on their WBKR morning show.

So at 4:45am, I was getting a cup of coffee and trying to resist looking at the weather app on my phone.

Because the number wasn’t positive.

If you know what I mean.

And rather than forcing my mind to think of something other than the brain freeze I was about to experience, suddenly the thought of just how cold Thunderbird‘s steel structure must be sent a chill down my spine. Surely no one would pull a Flick*!

*Another reference from A Christmas Story

You know, after some smart-mouthed kid “triple dog dared” him

A photo posted by Holiday World (@holidayworld) on

We had fun chatting on the air with Chad and Brett. Chad even modeled his new “Orange is the New Track” shirt and asked how soon he could personally replace one of our test dummies:

We’re 65 days away from Opening Day. Which are you more excited about: A ride on Thunderbird or a big piece of fu-u-u-u-dge?

Roller coaster countdown

Everybody loves a good countdown, right?

And when you’re building a launched roller coaster, it’s even more appropriate.

Confession time: Back in the summer, toward the end of our 66 Days at Sea teaser campaign leading up to our big Thunderbird announcement, I slapped this title on one of Leah’s blog posts without running it through the usual eight thousand or so filters noisily housed in my feeble brain: “T-minus 12 days” Seemed like a fun reminder that in less than two weeks all would be revealed. Only moments later, though, someone chirped up online with: “It’s a launched coaster! That’s the countdown to a launch!”


Following a moment of great discontent, though, I realized there had been so many clues mixed with so many red herrings over the two previous months that one person’s definitive clue would be another one’s proof that “they’re just messing with us again.”

And so, when I glanced at my wall calendar (which doubles as a countdown calendar) today, the number “66” jumped off the wall at me.

What’s your take on 66 days? For the Pilgrims on board the Mayflower it must have seemed interminable. For our 90 full-timers here at Holiday World, it feels like a just a few blinks away. And for all of us in the deep-chill of winter, each day closer to spring is the promise of hope for the return of budding trees, blossoming flowers and short-sleeved shirts!

A sneak peek

Rayvon Owen

If you follow the HoliBlog, you already know we’re busting with pride over Rayvon Owen, who was in our shows back in 2011.

He auditioned for American Idol and got his Golden Ticket.

Each week our friend takes another step toward his dream.

This performance hasn’t aired just yet, but since American Idol posted this clip on their YouTube Channel, we’re thinking it’s only fair to share it.

That’s Rayvon in the green shirt. The one who can really, really sing.

Good luck to all the contestants this week. (And if you know anyone who’d like to audition for our shows, please refer them to our Auditions page for details about our March 1 try outs. You never know what a summer at Holiday World could lead to …)

Barn-again coaster

If you’ve watched our Thunderbird animation, you already know that our new roller coaster doesn’t exactly sputter to a lackluster ending.

Not hardly.

In fact, we save not one – but two – of the most amazing “near misses” for the end of the ride.

Thunderbird's fly-through barn

We call this our Fly-Through Barn.

Here’s a slightly more dramatic angle:

Thunderbird's fly-through barn

Fear not! This is perfectly safe, as VP James explains in our newest edition of the Hard Hat Chronicles:

We have a feeling this particular pair of “near-misses” will be Thunderbird’s most popular, hands down.

Thunderbird's fly-through barn

Or, rather, hands up.

Thunderbird's fly-through barn

Opening Day is April 25. Can’t wait that long? Our Season Passholders get to ride the evening before. Check over here for details about our Easy Pay option, which is available through February 15.

Made in Germany

No, we’re not referring to the Koch family, although they certainly carry a strong heritage from their Germanic ancestors.

We’re talking about something called a flywheel.

One of Thunderbird's flywheels

Two, actually.

VP James explains in this edition of The Hard Hat Chronicles:

Thunderbird, our new steel roller coaster – the first launched wing coaster on the continent – opens April 25, just 77 days from today. Oh, you prefer to ride in 76 days? Be sure to line up some Holiday World Season Passes for you and your family and you get an invitation to ride April 24. And if you’d like an easy payment plan, but sure to get started in the next week, as our Easy Pay option goes away after February 15. Make your launch plans now!

Cabin Fever Sweepstakes

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

Congratulations to:

  • Grand Prize Winner: Melanie M. from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who wins two nights in a Rudolph’s Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort plus four one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
  • Runner-Up Winner: Janelle A. from Lakeview, Indiana, who wins two one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Truth be told, we haven’t had it too bad so far this winter.

This morning there was just a dusting of snow on the ground.

… and on the roof of the loading station for our new roller coaster, Thunderbird:

However, our brethren to the north and to the east have received a load of snow, with more to come this weekend. And so, there is no argument from us that it’s time for a Cabin Fever Sweepstakes! Here’s what you could win:

    • Grand Prize: Two overnights in a Rudolph’s Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, plus four tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari


    • Runner-Up Prize: Two tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari


Rudolph's Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph How to enter? Let’s start with a few necessaries:

    • You must be at least 18 years old to enter.


  • Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, Sun Communities, and Sun RV Resort (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 visiting us on our Facebook page.Two winners – chosen at random – will be emailed the afternoon of February 13. If you win the Grand Prize, which includes overnights in a Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph, please note you must be at least 21 to phone in your reservation; also, the dates the cabin may be reserved for are May 1 – 21 and May 25 – June 11, 2015.



  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us your best cure for Cabin Fever. (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, February 13, 2015 at 1pm CST. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all – winter won’t last forever!