Podcast: The One with the Hanging Chad

Chad & Matt

When you’ve got a friend named Chad, you’ve got to hang with him, right?

Chad & Matt

WBKR’s Chad Benefield has been our pal for years. In fact, he was the emcee on the night we announced Thunderbird back in 2014, remember?

We asked Chad to join us for a podcast, and today was the day:

Right before the podcast, we invited Chad to take a ride on Firecracker with our full-time staff.

He and Matt gave it a whirl:

Those USA Today polls are here for Best Amusement Park and her for Best Outdoor Water Park. Thanks for your votes!

So happy Ol’ Saint Mick is recovering well:

We must show you Bob Green’s hometown mascot:

Beanie the lima bean

Chad mentioned his love of dance.

Here he is:

The Coaster Crew is still making us laugh:

…and for Easter:

Want to use that promo code? Enter it here and check out our Pick Your Price calendar.

Thanks – as always – for listening. We hope to see you in the park this season!

A clear career path

Brandon on Career DayThis little guy, from Bowling Green, Kentucky, lit up our Facebook page yesterday morning.

His mom, Emily, posted this excruciatingly cute photo, along with: Today is career day for my youngest in preschool. I think he chose a great career!

I screen-captured the post and emailed it to our full-time staff. Little Brandon is the perfect reminder of what it’s all about – why we all work extra hours to get the park ready for Opening Day.

That smile says it all.

Our collective HoliHeart melted. I heard back from quite a few (and not just the moms) who said the photo made their day.

Upon further investigation (and while gathering Emily’s permission to use this photo), we discovered Brandon is five years old and his favorite attraction is Frightful Falls (with Kima Bay as a close second).

Brandon just reached the very important height of 42 inches tall, so there are all sorts of bigger rides in his not-too-distant future.

Thanks, Brandon, for wanting to work here. You’ve got a few more years to go before we can accept your application, but we’ll be watching for it in 2027!




Firecracker: Before & After

It’s so exciting this time of year to see our rides come back to life.

And it’s extra special to see Firecracker, since it had been sleeping for nearly a decade.

Here’s a photo from last fall, when our crew traveled to northern Indiana to disassemble the ride, which had been SBNO* since 2008.

Calypso ride - before restoration

The story of this classic ride starts in April of 1972, at LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park near Cincinnati.

Called simply “Calypso,” this ride delighted untold thousands from 1972 to 2002 when, sadly, the park closed permanently.

A few years later, Calypso was moved to Fun Spot in northeast Indiana, where it remained after the park shuttered in 2008 until 2016, when we purchased the ride with plans to restore it.

*By the way, SBNO means Standing But Not Operating.

Third time’s the charm, right?

This afternoon we got a call that Tony was operating Firecracker, so we headed that way and went live on Facebook:

There’s still some work to do on Firecracker and throughout the park. But rest assured we’ll be ready to go at 10am CDT on Saturday, April 29!

Still need tickets? You can save up to $20 per ticket with our new Pick Your Price online ticket deals!

Podcast: Ready, Set, Go!

With two weeks to go till Opening Day, the #PodSquad has a lot to do and a lot to talk about:

Here’s the video Redbook magazine put together about Cesilie, from our 2015 high-dive team:

We’re tickled by the joy these “replacement windows” have caused.

First at Goblin Burgers:

New Soft Drink windows

… and also at Hot Diggity Dogs (or, as “auto correct” prefers, Hot Dignity Dogs):


Here’s that Attractions Management selfie from the top of ol’ Voyage:

Attractions Management

We mention the Thrill Factor shoot (you know, the episode of that Travel Channel show when Matt was on the losing team – the way Leah’s smiling, I think she already know the females won):

Thrill Factor shoot

Here’s a look at the two autographed Thunderbird shirts we’ll have up for auction during HoliWood Nights in June, signed by Tory and Kari of MythBusters (and Thrill Factor) fame:

Thrill Factor shirts

All proceeds from our HoliWood Nights auction will go to Give Kids the World.

Vanessa, our Retail Director, joined us for a bit to talk about what’s new in our shops.

Here’s the “character shirt” she was describing:


And Eric peered into one of the new beverage receptacles Vanessa brought, wondering how the heck they keep hot liquids so hot and cold liquids so cold:


Get back with us about that, won’t you Eric?

Our Guide to Ride for 2017 is posted at last, the same week as the Easterseals Telethon (here’s our post about Andy, their Adult Ambassador, who was our first IT intern).

We had great fun yesterday morning with Amanda and Blake from WEVV-TV:

When we talked about Look Up at the Sky Day, memories of cloud formations used to tease our Thunderbird announcement abounded: 66 Day Cloud

Doesn’t that look like a Thunderbird?

Mmmmmm. Pretzel Day. And this pretzel’s gluten-free (available at George’s Gluten-Free Pizza & Snacks):

Gluten Free Pretzel  

Here’s what Chase from Washington State sent us:

Thanks, Chase! And Matt really didn’t mean for a piece to end up in Eric’s chocolate dipping sauce …

Chocolate dipping sauce

But WAIT – isn’t that how Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were discovered? Or invented … or something like that? You might have something there, Rentz …

And speaking of bacon, Matt’s “Ice Cream vs. Bacon” discussion inspired Stephen to coin the word “Baconflation.”

Justin brought us Churro Bites to sample and they were delicious.

And crunchy.

Churro bites

And finally, the Coaster Crew delighted us yet again; first for April Fool’s Day:

… and again for Barbershop Quartet Day:  

We’ll end this post with one of those Firecracker photos as our painters “hit the deck” with their talents:

Firecracker deck painting

“It’s about action”

Will's Way Playground with Koch family

It’s not about where you were born. Or what powers you have. Or what you wear on your chest. It’s about what you do … it’s about action. – Superman

Yesterday afternoon, the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center in Evansville raised more than a million dollars during their annual telethon.

We have a special tie with the Rehab Center. We’ve hosted Play Day with them for 25 years and at the same time raised (and donated) more than $400,000 to help ensure that no one who needs their services is turned away.

Some of the Play Day funds from the past few years have gone toward this wonderful therapeutic playground for pre-schoolers.

Will's Way Playground

The playground is named Will’s Way Playground in honor of the late Will Koch, our longtime president and friend, who green-lighted Play Day so many years ago.

Will's Way Playground with Koch family

That’s Will’s family, laughing with some of the children (from left, William, Lauren, and wife, Lori; daughter/middle-child Leah is working on her MBA at I.U.).

Lauren made an appearance on yesterday’s telethon. (No, that’s not some bad filter; this photo was taken while standing in front of my TV screen at home.)

Easterseals telethon

Lauren was presented with the Mayors Award by an extra special fellow – Andy Imlay.

Andy worked here at Holiday World seasonally from 1999 to 2003. In fact, he was our first IT intern. (I must add that I have a clear memory of Andy boisterously asking me “NOW what did you break?!” as he entered my office one morning. Cheeky fellow, that Andy.)

This spring, Andy was chosen to be the Easterseals Adult Ambassador. And that’s his fiancee in the photo. Oh, and Wayne Hart from WEHT-TV, the station that hosts the telethon each year. Thanks for the beautiful weather, Wayne!

Easterseals Mayors Award

WEHT produced a video about Andy that brought tears to my eyes more than once. (Watch it to “get” the Superman reference from above.)



In case the video choked you up, let’s end this with a smile.

Last fall, when the Will’s Way Playground was dedicated, several of the children were fascinated with the microphones and cameras.

This fellow in particular, captured our hearts:

Through the camera's lens

And – one more for you, Andy – let’s close with another Superman quote: Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear … until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share – I’ll never stop fighting. Ever.

Will's Way Sign


Twelve years ago, on April 7, 2005, we launched the HoliBlog.

Blogs weren’t really a “thing” yet, so we had some explaining to do (just as we’ve had to explain the concept of a podcast to the uninitiated over the past year). In fact, we were the first park in the world to have its own blog.

Here’s the original header (pre-Kitty Claws):

Original HoliBlog Header

What was going on back then?

April 7 was exactly a month before we opened for the season in 2005. That year, we added Bahari, our second wave pool.

Twelve seasons ago, the Roundhouse was replaced by Revolution.

That was also the year we added a second train to The Raven.

We were also getting ready to announce The Voyage.

That’s why we started this blog!

Voyage construction in 2005

Back in 2005, we used far fewer photos. And video? Just a futuristic dream.

Looking at the posts from a dozen years ago, I see we mentioned “digital camera” several times. Because digital was sort of a big deal back then.

Who else is feeling old right about now?

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first 12 years of the HoliBlog – and will stick around for the next dozen.

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.

Meanwhile, please post a comment if there’s a story you’d like us to tell – either from our history or present day.

‘Hurry Up, Summer!’ Sweepstakes

Congratulations to our winner – Shelley M. from Boonville, Ind. – and thanks to all who entered!
Mother Nature loves to mess with us, doesn’t she? Just when spring feels solidly here, she sends a cold wind and October skies to remind us who’s really in charge.

Here’s what we want, right?

Wildebeest and Mammoth Water Coasters

Ultimately, spring will turn into summer and the wonderful smell of sunscreen (made even more glorious because it’s free!) will fill the air here at the park.

Meanwhile, it’s chilly enough outside that we feel the need to chant, “Hurry up, summer!” and and offer this sweepstakes to help warm everyone up!

Who wants to win four one-day park tickets plus two overnights over the Memorial Day Weekend in a Holiday Cottage at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort?

Before you enter, please read through these instructions and rules:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter and you must not have won tickets from Holiday World in the past six months.
  • 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.
  • By entering, you agree to be added to our e-newsletter list (you may unsubscribe at any time by following the directions in your email).
  • 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 pages. If you win, please note you must be at least 21 to phone in your Holiday Cottage reservation at Lake Rudolph. Here are the dates the cottage will be available for reservation: May 26-29, 2017.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us your favorite sign that summer is finally here. (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? Simply enter our sweepstakes here from a mobile device; or if you’re on a desktop, enter by using the widget, below. And not just today – enter daily through Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 2:30pm CST, when we’ll choose one winner at random.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Holiday World’s Opening Day is April 29 we hope you’ll join us! With our new Pick Your Price ticket discounts, you can save up to $20 per ticket!

Podcast: Countdown!

Wednesday was the official “one-month-till-Opening-Day” mark on all of our calendars.

And so the #PodSquad counts down our 10 most anticipated sights, sounds – and even smells (Rentz!) of the new season:



Here’s the Thunderbird photo from 2015 that Eric mentioned: Williams, Lauren, Lori and Leah’s first ride:

Koch Family's First Thunderbird Ride

When we moved into the Holidays segment, we learned Lauren has a favorite crayon color – Razzmatazz!

Lauren's favorite crayon color

Next, a surprise appearance by a new cotton candy flavor:

Dole Whip Cotton Candy

You heard that right – Dole Whip Cotton Candy! It will be available at Santa’s Snacks this season (and if you’re a Platinum Season Pass Holder, you’ll be able to buy this treat for just 99 cents as your May perk).

For Cherish an Antique Day, we learned dozens of the Firecracker cars’ original lights will be up for auction during HoliWood Nights (auction proceeds will be donated to the wonderful Give Kids the World organization:

Firecracker cars' original lights

And finally … two tweets from The Coaster Crew:


Thanks so much for listening to episode 030 – we’ll be back again in two weeks!

Turkey talk

As we prepare the park to reopen (five weeks from tomorrow!), you never know what you’ll see:

Did you check out our new Pick Your Price ticket deals yet? Visit on select days and save up to $20 on General Admissions Tickets!

The Hard Hat Chronicles return

Coaster Cats on Voyage

March came in like a lion and is going out like an incredibly busy lamb.

(Baa-a-a-d pun alert) … but VP James isn’t a bit sheepish in his update for this latest Hard Hat Chronicles:

Here’s another look at the Alamo restaurant‘s new look:

Alamo re-do

And our Coaster Cats, who are happy working in their office without a roof:

Coaster Technicians on Voyage | Hard Hat Chronicles

Recognize this coaster?

Coaster Technicians on Voyage | Hard Hat Chronicles

Opening Day is April 29 – and we’ll be ready! Check out our new Pick Your Price online ticket deals and start planning your visit!