Podcast: The one with the Pyrotechnics

Fireworks through Thunderbird Steven Weedman

We mixed it up today, with only two original podsquad members.

That would be Lauren and me.

And VP Matt, back again.

But we needed a fourth …

Who ya gonna call? Steven from IT!

I somehow neglected to snap a photo of Steven while we recorded the ‘cast this morning.

Until he sends me a more recent photo, we’ll flash back to this pic from his seasonal years with us.

We pulled Steven into today’s conversation so he could explain how we sync themed music with our fireworks.

(“What fireworks” you ask? Well, we have Friday Night Fireworks through the end of July, plus our 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza on July 4 & 5.)

We hope you enjoy this episode:

Before I forget – here’s that photo of the smashed cell phone, to help illustrate Steven’s story about not bringing your phone on roller coasters with you:

Broken Smartphone

We chatted about last night’s employee event: the Holimpics.

In my continuing theme as a bad photo editor today, I can only say I think this is our winning team. I lifted this from Facebook and hope it’s safe to assume that they’re not testing the indoor wind speed.


Either way, what a great looking bunch, right?

Yes, a milestone was reached over the weekend:

We’re so proud of our lifeguards’ achievement!

And here’s the promised video of WGN’s Marcus Leshock, and all the shade his co-anchors forced him to endure:

Amazing accomplishment, Heather Hall!

Here’s that Jo Dee Messina tweet:


Plus here’s Jo Dee’s review from the Nashville Gab.

We’ll get that Red, White & Blue Fudge video up early next week; meanwhile, here’s VP Matt’s props from the shops:

VP Matt and shirt Red, White & Blue Shirt

And we talked about pickles.


Here’s that blog post about frozen pickle juice from a few years back.

The moment you’ve been waiting for: little Dacio!



And, of course … The Coaster Crew!


Thanks so much for listening! One postscript … after we finished up, Stephen Rutherford entered the room and told me sternly:  I am so disappointed in the four of you – in fact, I’m angry! While you gushed over William Daniels playing John Adams and Mr. Feeny, you defiled the most important role of his career!

To which I replied, “What? You mean that stupid car?”

Hope you’ll join us for the next 60 episodes!


Making the grade


Does the word “test” still make your blood run cold, even though you’ve been out of school for weeks, years, or (like me) decades?

Here’s one better: audit.

Well, our lifeguards just got the results of their first third-party safety audit of the season …

… and they received an A+!

Lifeguard Training

We’ll have a full crew photo to post soon, but didn’t want to let another moment go by without sharing the news and saying CONGRATULATIONS!

Kaitlyn guarding at Watubee

Splashin’ Safari is 25 years old this season.

We never dreamed back in 1993 that our water park would someday be voted one of the best in the world again and again.

Bahari lifeguard

Or maybe we did …

No matter how many awards we win, though, it’s today that counts – it’s this very moment.

It’s correct posture (leaning is appropriate), it’s scanning your water, it’s being prepared with your rescue tube.

And yes, it means blowing a whistle once in a while. Sometimes we need to get your attention quickly to keep you and others safe.

They’re sort of like the Queen’s Guards at Buckingham Palace (you know, the ones with the tall fuzzy hats?). Our guards are ever on the watch. If you need to ask them a question, please just know ahead of time that although they can answer you, they have to keep watching their water.

We have a long history of outstanding lifeguards. Congratulations to the “class” of 2018!




Lemon Shakin’ it up!

Lemon Shake Ups

When life hands us a lemon or two …

Lemon slices

… we make Lemon Shake-Ups!

Lemon Shake-Ups

Meet Nick.

He’s a master shaker-upper:

Where can you find Lemon Shake-Ups?

Nick (and others) hand make Lemon Shake-Ups in our 4th of July section, right next to the Alamo.


Watch us on Travel Channel!

Travel Channel host Jason Zone Fisher

We’ve just received word that our Coaster Quest episode will air again on Travel Channel!

Tune in Sunday, June 24, at 6pm CDT

Here’s a photo from the shoot:

Coaster Quest with Jason Zone Fisher


This was originally posted on October 18, 2017.

Get ready to start seeing this face on your TV this fall:

Travel Channel host Jason Zone Fisher

Jason Zone Fisher is the host of a new Travel Channel show called Coaster Quest. Jason visited us back in July and we’re part of that show’s premiere episode – which will air on Saturday!

According to Travel Channel’s website: Host Jason Zone Fisher journeys across America on a quest to ride the biggest, fastest roller coasters the country has to offer. He dives deep into each amusement park, going behind the scenes to see how it all comes together and sharing insider info on the best rides, the must-have foods, and the quirkiest attractions.

Jason spent two days riding rides in both Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari. He even went behind the scenes to learn from an expert how to prepare a signature menu item:

Travel Channel - Jason & Lavina

And just who is Jason Zone Fisher?

According to his website: Hey, I’m Jason; a storyteller, an adventure seeker, a sports fanatic, a BBQ connoisseur, a pizza bagel, a political junkie, and a man on a mission.

After spending two long days with him, we can add … and one heck of a nice guy! We all enjoyed working with him and the crew from the West Coast.

Travel Channel's Jason Zone Fisher

The title of Saturday’s episode is The Midwest’s Best Roller Coasters. It premieres at 1pm CDT on Saturday, October 21 on Travel Channel. For the best of all possible worlds, set your DVR to record it, and join us Saturday for Happy Halloween Weekends!

The Great Turkey Chase

The Great Turkey Chase Stunt Show


We have a stunt show?

You could’ve knocked me over with a feather.

A turkey feather.

Happy Turkey at The Great Turkey Chase stunt show

Now, before we move on … I have to ask:

That shirt.

An avocado shirt?

Holy guacamole!

Back to the show: The Great Turkey Chase is now performing daily.

The Great Turkey Chase stunt show

It’s silly. And fun.

And high energy:

The Great Turkey Chase is performed at Pilgrims Plaza (close to the Mayflower).  Except in … uh, fowl weather.

Podcast: The British are Coming

Marcus Returning on Voyage

It is always a joyous day when we’re joined by the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain!


After lunch, the group’s fearless leader sat down to be our guest on this week’s podcast:

That’s Andy on the left, with WGN-TV’s Marcus Leshock on the left. Thunderbird, of course!

Dig that coaster hair!

Marcus and Andy Returning on Thunderbird

Here’s that video Marcus shot at the end of the day:

What’s a Nanocoaster, you ask? Check two out here on our HoliShop.

Shout out to Coaster Radio for their fun coverage of both HoliWood Nights and the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain’s 30th Anniversary Tour.


Yes, we have a great sweepstakes underway. Enter daily!

Something to think about …

And, The Big Green Foot is back:

Plus … a Big Green Hand!

The Big Green Hand

We’ll end this with another photo from the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain. That’s Voyage-tattooed Ryan in the front seat with Marcus.

Marcus & Ryan Returning on Voyage

And finally, the promised 360 video:

Enter our Be Cool Sweepstakes!

Tembo FallsCongratulations to our winner (chosen at random): Stacy D. from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Thanks to all who entered!
The start of summer is just around the corner – let’s celebrate with a new sweepstakes!

But first, a public service announcement:

Please take some steps to Be Cool this summer and you’ll be glad you did!

It’s fun to plan a family day in the sun – but you’ll want to avoid getting overheated, sunburned, or dehydrated. Because that’s just … not cool.


Here are some tips:

  • Eat breakfast! Get something good in your stomach before you start your day. And don’t skip meals, even when it’s hot out.
  • Start hydrated and stay hydrated. Water is your best bet – four cups an hour is the recommendation. Gatorade is great, too, but balance with lots of water. (Both are free, along with lemonade, ice tea, and carbonated beverages, throughout both parks.) If you aren’t needing to visit the restroom as usual, you’re not drinking enough.
  • Pace yourself. In Splashin’ Safari, we have large water slides (you’ll stand in line for these), and also attractions where you can get right into the water with minimal or no wait: Bahari Wave Pool, The Wave, Bahari River and, for smaller children, Safari Sam’s SplashLand, Hyena Springs, Kima Bay and Monsoon Lagoon.
  • Apply sunscreen thoroughly and often. Our free sunscreen is 30 and 50 SPF; if you need a higher level of protection, please bring your own.
  • Super-short haircut (or a little thin on top)? Be sure to run sunscreen on your scalp. Or wear a cap.
  • Wear swim shoes. They may not be the most stylish of footwear, but they’ll protect your feet from hot pavement.

What is your best tip? Post it below and you could win four free tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari plus two overnights in a Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in July!

And that winner will be chosen at random.

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

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter. Also, you must not have won tickets from Holiday World in the past 12 months.
  • Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Koch Development Corporation, 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 and tweeting about this sweepstakes. Earn even more entries by following us on Pinterest, and visiting our Facebook pages (we’d love it if you’d leave us a Facebook Review while you’re there!).
  • If you win, please note you must be at least 21 to phone in your two-night Rudolph’s Christmas Cabin reservation at Lake Rudolph. Here are the dates the cabin will be available for reservation: July 1 – 31, 2018.
  • All prizes are non-transferable and not for re-sale. Each winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prize(s). Each sponsor will distribute respective prizes.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us your favorite tip detailing how to Be Cool this summer. (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, June 27, 2018, at 2:30pm CDT, when we’ll email our winner, chosen at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all!

Au revoir, gopher!

CoasterShack: HoliWood Nights 2018

If you visited us last weekend, you probably noticed: We had a gopher problem!

All in good fun, of course, as roller-coaster enthusiasts from across the land gathered for our annual HoliWood Nights event.

Characters and Gophers

The gophers were part of the theming, as this year’s movie choice was the classic Caddyshack.

Our twist? Coastershack!

Complete with themed food, starting with “Birdie Wings” …

"Birdie" Wings

… and ending with Golf Ball cake balls, which suited the group to a tee.

Golf Ball cake balls

Members from about a dozen coaster clubs delighted in the behind-the-scenes tours.

Coastershack event shirt with Thunderbird Vertical Loop

From well-traveled grown-ups …

Photos as Thunderbird Swoops By

… to little Hannah, who wasn’t even the youngest attendee.


Both evenings, we held silent auctions to raise money for a cause that is near and dear to our hearts.

Thanks to the enthusiastic response to everything from used coaster flags and a Thunderbird seatback to zen rides and lift-hill climbs, we’re sending $1,430 to Give Kids the World.

Does HoliWood Nights sound like your kind of fun? Check out the list of our partner clubs on this page and be sure to join one in time to register for next year’s event.

Podcast: Homecoming

Leah's graduation cap

After a month-long hiatus, the #podsquad is back.

With a dazzling guest star

What a treat!

Congratulations to Leah, for successfully completing her MBA!

Here’s how she decorated her graduation cap:

Leah's graduation cap

The Big Green Foot has a colorful – if mysterious – history.

And an even more colorful wardrobe.

In keeping with the Coastershack theme for this year’s HoliWood Nights event for roller coaster enthusiasts, the Big Green Foot came dressed ready to golf. He even brought along his caddy, Jon.

The Big Green Foot and Jon

And yes, we are in Golf Digest.

We tell the story of our wonderful Play Day event.

That new inner tube that Matt abandoned?

There it is in the background

Missing Tube

Here are the links to the Insider listing of each state’s best waterpark as well as CNN’s review of the world’s best water-park rides.

The USA Today “10 Best” polls? Oh, how we’d love your votes!

And finally, the last few Coaster Crew tweets starring, of course …

The Big Green Foot.