By Leah Koch
Published

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! 

 

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3 Responses to “Stranger than us?”

  1. Rachel

    Um, yes! Banshee was the BEST! I also definitely miss Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride and Thunder Bumpers.

    Reply
  2. Liibby McCreight

    Love!Love!Love! This tweet/story! I too just binged watched Season 3 (sleep?!? What’s sleep?) Thank you for bringing Hawkins, Indiana just a little closer to home! Actually I am writing this from Santa’s Lodge after enjoying Holliday World yesterday with husband and grand-daughter and getting ready to go back today and meet even more family! I haven’t had time yet to have withdrawals from Stranger Things but wondered how long it was going to be until we find out … oh yeah… no spoilers. Thanks again for the insightful story on where the kids might have enjoyed a break from being heroes! We might see you on the flip-side! I mean the upside down!

    Reply
  3. Joanna

    I was born in ‘84, I love Stranger Things and Holiday World….I NEED that shirt!!

    Reply