The hunt for clues is on

Teaser 03 - Mark Your Spot SQUARE

If you’re a Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari super-fan, you’ll remember what today is. 

It’s the five year anniversary of our announcement of Thunderbird. I can’t believe it’s been five years.

 

It seems appropriate to reflect today on the fun we had over those 66 Days at Sea, and our upcoming announcement. 

That might have been my favorite time ever. I felt like a cat playing with a mouse. A few of us formed a small coalition and kept watching the coaster enthusiast forums and used them to craft our next round of clues.  

Admittedly we’re not on the level of the past tease… and don’t expect that level of announcement. 

But. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been teasing. A lot. And I’m pretty confident NoBody has caught all of them. 

#HoWo2020 Hints

 Teaser 01 - Hold Tight SQUARE Teaser 03 - Mark Your Spot SQUARE 

So if you’ve missed it on social media or on our e-newsletter, it’s time we tell you: we’re making an announcement on Tuesday, August 6 at noon CDT (we’ll announce the location of the event at a later point). 

The gift that keeps giving: 

Christmas in July is fast approaching, and I’ve got news for you: Santa might be bringing a big hint. 

Sign up for the e-newsletter if you want to catch the hint before anyone else. Otherwise, it’ll be on our social media platforms tomorrow afternoon. 

Merry Christmas in July!

___

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

Birthday rooms for epic parties

Party Room Candles 2 Leah's Birthday Party with Holidog

When people find out I grew up in a theme park because it was my family business, they often ask me expectantly: Did you have the COOLEST birthdays?!

The answer is sometimes. 

My sister and I were born in September and October, respectively, so we “got to” share our birthday party every year. So yes, we had a few birthdays at Holiday World (see exhibit A: adorable photo from party with all of us hugging Holidog circa early 1990s).

No. We didn’t get to run like crazy through a closed theme park.

No. We didn’t get to take prizes from the games or the shops.

Mostly there was just cake and pizza and Holidog. 

As we built Santa’s Merry Marketplace, we thought it might be nice to include a space for parties, so kids could throw some epic birthdays that surpass the ones I shared with my sister because–let’s be honest– the park is way cooler now than it was in the 1990s. 

Party Rooms Conversations

Interested in throwing an epic birthday party?

Party Room Candles 2

Now, we have party rooms available to maximize the coolness of a kid’s party at Holiday World. Here’s what you’ll need to know:

  • The rooms are FREE for Pizza Parties
  • We have two party packages available, including the option of an all-you-can-eat buffet
  • All birthday packages include breadsticks, dipping sauce, cookies, and free unlimited soft drinks
  • Salads can be added onto your package
  • Parties are available for groups between 15 and 49 Guests

You can also add on some other perks:

  • ¼ Sheet cake with Holiday World logo
  • Face painting
  • Caricatures

These birthday parties are putting my childhood ones to shame (sorry, Mom!).  

If you’re interested, please fill out this form for more information and pricing. 

Don’t forget! If you’re coming to celebrate a birthday, stop at Guest Relations for a birthday button! 

___

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

#HoWoHacks: Handle the heat

Mammoth water coasterWe’re introducing a blog series of tips and tricks we’re calling #HoWoHacks.  We’ll give you some extra insider tips on how to handle the heat and more as we go. 

Everyone knows Splashin’ Safari is a great place to cool off on a sweltering day.

Naturally there’s Bahari River and Bahari Wave Pool, not to mention Kima Bay and Tembo Falls in the shadow of Bakuli for the little ones. And of course, if you want to build your way up to Mammoth and Wildebeest, we have the two best water coasters in the world–especially Mammoth with that chilly water. 

Doesn’t that all sound amazing right now?

Unfortunately, a refreshing dip won’t help you stay hydrated on a sweltering day, so we worked with our safety department to bring you some advice. 

Quick Tips for a hot day:

  • Start with a healthy breakfast
  • Bring an empty water bottle so you can keep a lot of water around all day
  • Free unlimited sunscreen is unlimited–take advantage of it!
  • Go light on the soft drinks–stick to mostly water and add some Gatorade 
  • Make sure you keep eating (check out our menus page so you can pick out some food that looks more appealing on a hot day such as a wrap or fruit salad at Wildebeestro)
  • Slow down your pace a little to avoid exhaustion 

Pro Tips for a hot day:

If you still find yourself feeling unwell in the heat–please notify a member of our staff so we can provide assistance from our EMT staff. 

Stay cool and stay safe!

___

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

Sweepstakes: Water Coaster Family Getaway

Mammoth & Wildebeest4 sml

Congratulations to our winner: Madi M. from Shelbyville, Kentucky! Thanks to all who entered. More giveaways coming up soon!
—–

With the warm weather moving in this week, we know the best place to be is Splashin’ Safari! 

Whether your speed is more water coaster or more lazy river, you can kick back with a free soft drink (or on those especially hot days, don’t forget Gatorade and lots of water). 

We have 30+ slides, three kids’ play areas, two (and a half at Tembo Falls for the kids) wave pools, and a lazy river. There’s a reason USA Today named us the #1 Outdoor Water Park in the nation

If you want water coasters, no one can top us. Last year at the Golden Ticket Awards Wildebeest and Mammoth were named #1 and #2 Water Park Rides in the world, respectively, and Mammoth even made the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest water coaster.Wildebeest Family

Plus, if you’re looking for a pro tip for cooling off: Mammoth has some of the chilliest water in the park. 

So if you’re ready for some awesome water coaster action with your family, we’re hosting another sweepstakes!

  • Four one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
  • Quick Access Passes for your party (valid for four people on Wildebeest and four people on Mammoth… or whatever two attractions you’d like)
  • Two nights in a Holiday Cottage at Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort

Be sure to enter daily to win!

Mammoth & Wildebeest4 sml

But first, 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 12 months.
  • Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Koch Development Corporation, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, Sun Communities, Sun RV Resort, and Dippin’ Dots LLC (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 contest. You can also follow us on Pinterest, and visit us on our Facebook page. (We’d love it if you’d leave us a Facebook Recommendation while you’re there!)
  • If you win our Water Coaster Family Getaway, please note you must be at least 21 to phone in your two-night Holiday Cottage reservation at Lake Rudolph. *Here are the dates the cottage will be available:  August 9 – September 8, 2019.Mammoth Boat Going Over Hill
  • 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). Tickets to Holiday World must be picked up at Holiday World.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us which is your favorite–Wildebeest or Mammoth. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)

Ready to enter?

Simply enter by using the widget, below. Be sure to enter daily through Tuesday, August 6, 2019, at 12:15pm CDT, when we’ll choose a winner at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck to all!

___

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

Stranger than us?

1985 (probably) Map

I’ve already watched Season 3 of Stranger Things. 

NO SPOILERS I PROMISE. 

“Where did you find the time to watch now that you’re over communications?” asked no one. (But if you are wondering… I simply gave up on that sleep thing)

In the fourth episode of the third season, Will talks about “You know when you drop on a roller coaster?”

In fact, Josh pointed out on our Season Passholder Facebook group that we might know a place in Indiana with coasters…

And it got me thinking

Did we have a roller coaster for the residents of (fictional) Hawkins, Indiana to ride? 

Our classics (Raven, Legend, Voyage, and Thunderbird) weren’t around yet. The Raven opened in 1995. 

But before Raven, we had Firecracker. Not our new Firecracker (our lovingly-restored classic Calypso ride). The roller coaster that used to stand in the spot where Holidog’s FunTown is today.

Now I want to paint a picture for you

Stranger Things Season 3 is set in the summer of 1985. 

In 1985, the park map looked like this (well we’re not 100% sure but we think this was our 1985 map): 

1985 (probably) Map1985 (Probably) Map Back

You may not be able to read it, but on the back you can see that the Fright Chasm Overlook (literally just the area to watch Frightful Falls) was listed as its own attraction. 

Santa Claus Land had just been renamed in 1984 to Holiday World and the Halloween and 4th of July sections had just been added. We had the Scarecrow Scrambler, the Virginia Reel, Eagle’s Flight, Rough Riders, and many attractions that have either found new homes or have been retired. 

We were just a year away from adding Banshee (and for the record, I was mad at my dad when we removed it so don’t start with me…I don’t like that we removed it either).

Our brochure had just changed from this in 1984:

1984 brochure front1984 brochure back
New in 84 Logo Shirt

Shameless plug: If you’re as obsessed with this logo as I am, you can buy it on a shirt in the gift shops today

To this in 1985 (did you notice that classic rebrand?):

1985 Brochure Front
1985 Brochure Back

Look at those jazz hands!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to my mom, Lori, it was the first year for the high-dive show. 

My dad, Will Koch, was 23. He and my mom got married in May 1985, and they had moved to California by summer that year.

 Will & Lori Koch Wedding Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But… if I could cast a dream episode of Stranger Things at Holiday World and could pretend my parents had been around the summer of 1985, I’d say my dad probably would have been a secondary engineering or math mentor to the Hawkins AV club kids, and my mom would have been the cool performer who caught one of the teenagers’ attention for a little too long while some government authority came running around the corner. (For the record my dad was an engineer and my mom was a performer… they were just in California so my dad could get his masters degree in engineering)  

In the midst of my parents’ newlywed bliss the Hawkins, Indiana kids would trash the rides defeating the demogorgons… so maybe not… 

But it’s cool to think that simultaneously while the action centers around the mall in this season, somewhere not too far away, Holiday World was there. And you just know Mike, Will, Dustin, and Lucas would be coaster enthusiasts. 

We hope after all of that fighting evil, ALL of those kids (and the few adults) got to have a fun day here. They deserved it! 

 

___
Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

Top of the World

View from the Top of Voyage
View from the Top of Voyage

View from the top of The Voyage

On your average day at Holiday World, thousands of guests take in the spectacular views from the top of The Voyage‘s lift hill.

Not many get to experience it for more than a few seconds though. They’re typically enjoying the ride, getting ready for that first drop, and deciding if they want to throw their hands in the air or not.

On my most recent trip to the top of the hill, I wasn’t riding in the train. I took the stairs.

Maybe I should back up and explain.

This year, we started offering premium Keys to the World tours a few days a week. It includes a walk to the top of The Voyage’s lift hill and behind-the-scenes tour at Thunderbird.

I got to tag along with a writer who was working on an article about our EarlyBird tour. As a coaster enthusiast, nothing could have delighted me more.

The journey

We leave the station heading out beside the track that I’m so familiar with. The lift hill looks a little taller than I remember it being.

As we start our ascent, I quickly learn that Voyage’s trains makes the climb look so effortless. When you take the 310 steps to the top, it’s a little more challenging. Our group stops half way up the hill to take in the views, and, more importantly, catch our breath. Before I know it, we arrive at the top.

My legs may feel rubber, but all that effort was worth it.

Okay, back to the tour.

Rainbow over Splashin' SafariWhen you’ve reached the highest point on any attraction, you really are on top of the World. The whole park is sprawled out below you. You’re in the company of those iconic flags proudly waving in the wind. I snap a picture of the first drop while still clutching the handrail beside me.

The unexpected part of the view that morning? A rainbow appeared over Splashin’ Safari.

After a few minutes and lots of pictures later, our group started the trip back to the station. Thunderbird was calling us.

The EarlyBird tour also included a look into the Will Power building to learn about the flywheel that launches Thunderbird’s trains, a look around the ride’s maintenance bay, plus the first flight of the day!

Maybe I’ll share some of those details and pictures later.

You can still book an EarlyBird tour for 2019. It’s available on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays through August 4!

___
Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

 

Power Problem… Solved

Voyage Fuel Rod Closeup

If you’re like me, you can drain your battery in a day at a theme park.

Between taking photos, browsing the web waiting in line, checking show times, and looking up ride stats, even the best phone batteries cave under the pressure. 

So I charge my battery overnight and bring a power bank. But I’m not always the best at making sure that power bank is fully charged. 

Enter my BFF, Fuel Rod

If you haven’t heard of them, Fuel Rod has kiosks available in airports, train stations, theme parks, etc. They sell you a one-time rechargeable power bank for your phone (plus cables so you don’t have to bring your own).

After that, you can use the power bank until it dies and then pay only $1 to exchange it for a fully charged power bank.  

So if you’re a textbook battery-drainer like me, you’re in luck. 

We have four locations across Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari:

Christmas

St. Nick’s Trading Company

Located in the first section (or the section to the far right)

St Nicks Fuel Rod Close

 

Splashin’ Safari

In Safari Outpost

Outpost Fuel Rod 2

Thanksgiving 

Voyage Gift Shop

Turn right after you enter the gift shop when you’re finished riding The Voyage

Voyage Fuel Rod Closeup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hevron’s Mercantile (By Thunderbird)

Hevron's Fuel Rod

Located to the far right wall as you face the entrance of the store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So next time you’re visiting, if you find your phone battery dying, pick up a Fuel Rod. 

Oh and helpful hint: if you download the Fuel Rod app, you can get five exchanges for free!

Now if you need me, I’ll be looking up ride stats on my phone…

___
Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!