Podcast Season 2 Episode 24: The one where a star is born

This episode is so special in my heart. As a past performer, I know how much our entertainment department geeks out over seeing our alums “make it.” And I know the craziness that comes out of live entertainment at theme parks–we could sit around and exchange stories for days. 

So I brought three past Entertainment Directors (Lori Koch–aka “Mom” to Lauren and me, Sandi Fortune–aka “Mama” to a lot of past performers, and Lauren… who you already know) to talk about the success of one of our past performers, Kelsie Watts, who is currently on Season 19 of “The Voice.”

Also what happens when you put that many creative people in one room together? The Icebreaker question steamrolls out of control…

 

Listen as we gush about Kelsie and all our performers, talk about some of our other up-and-coming performers, and even hear updates from performers throughout the year (little hint? they build so many life skills on the stages at Holiday World that they go on to do anything). 

I would normally take a lot more of this blog to talk about what we discussed, but I can’t stop bragging about Kelsie Watts, who performed in ’80s Rewind in 2013. She was our “Madonna” and… when she opened her mouth to sing, I couldn’t believe she was on our stage. And somehow, she’s gotten even better since her days here! 

The Part Where I just go on about Kelsie

I’m going to start by letting her blind audition speak for her: 

 

 

I mean. After Kelly got Kelsie on her team, she had this to say:

 

How far in the contest has she made it?

Kelsie obviously made it through Blind Auditions and onto Team Kelly and then she made it through the battle rounds, though we didn’t get to see much of her audition. 

 

The Voice released Kelsie’s Knockouts match-up for this next round. 

 

We’ll be watching tonight and tomorrow night for the Knockouts and to hear Kelsie’s powerhouse voice. Join us in wishing her well!

Oh and may I recommend that you follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (Reminder: she’s her own artist now so her opinions don’t reflect ours as a company)Kelsie Watts Performing in 2013

…Oh, and I’ll try not to do this too much, but I had to share at least one picture of Kelsie when she worked here (if you want to know more, I highly recommend you give this episode a listen). She’s a dynamite performer and a dynamite person. No matter what happens with Knockouts and beyond, she’s going places! I’d go on a lot longer, but I want everyone to have plenty of time to watch her–possibly tonight!

GO KELSIE!!!

 

 

 

 

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Sweepstakes: Christmas came early (Vote now!)

First of all, we never want to miss a chance to thank our fans for supporting us this summer. It meant the world to us that people continued to visit us even in the middle of a pandemic.Vote for Cheetah Chase!

We launched Cheetah Chase this summer, knowing that it wouldn’t bring the crowds a new attraction normally would, but also knowing it was the right thing to do for everyone who wanted to visit. And of course, we couldn’t delay becoming the Water Coaster Capital of the World! 

USA Today Nominated

This year Christmas came early when we learned Cheetah Chase was nominated by USA Today as one of the best new attractions in 2020! We’d love your vote (you can vote daily, and on different devices, if you really want to join in the fun). Voting doesn’t help you win, but we really appreciate it! We’re up against some huge parks this year, and it would mean the world to us to win. 

Sweepstakes

Here’s what you’ll win:

We’d love your vote!

For our contest, you may also Tweet daily…

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, 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 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 Christmas Came Early Sweepstakes, 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: May 1-June 17, 2021.
  • 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 a present that meant the most to you, or your favorite present  (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 Saturday, December 28 at 3:00 PM CST, when we’ll choose a winner at random.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Again, voting doesn’t impact your chance of winning, but we sure appreciate your support!

Because this poll runs so long (and so does our sweepstakes), we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a warm and bright Holiday Season. 

Good luck to all!
___
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The Raven Evermore Project

If you’ve driven through Santa Claus, Indiana recently, you’ve seen it.

We had discarded pieces of track in the parking lot for all to see. 

After many years of comments from our Guests and especially from Coaster Enthusiasts, it’s finally happening: The Raven is getting its moment. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Raven project if my sister, Lauren, didn’t weigh in… it is her sister coaster after all (it’s a long story). When I asked her to comment, she said, “It’s about time. These past few years it’s been ‘Legend this’ and ‘Voyage that.’ The Raven was starting to feel like the new middle child coaster. Rude.”

We’ll have a Hard Hat Chronicles episode for you next year, but until then, we just want to give you a preview. There’s so much work in this project, we’ve decided to call it The Raven Evermore project. 

The Lake Turn

As you can see in the panorama below, all of the track is gone from the lake turn. Track ties, ledgers, walk boards, and of course, all eight layers of wood are being replaced for about 530 feet. 

Shows coaster without track in panorama

Before demolition began, this turn still had some of the original lumber from when the attraction was built in 1995. 

That’s right. Some of the lumber in that turn was 25 years old. 

Rebuilding this turn is going to be a total game-changer for The Raven. 

Oh. Should I mention how much I appreciate our coaster maintenance team?

Because I’m kind of their biggest fan (actually I’m a huge fan of our entire maintenance team). I applaud when I get to re-ride coasters after the coaster techs have worked their magic in the off-season. I love following their progress on each project every year. And I love their work.

Wooden roller coasters are fun because they’re alive. They contract and expand in the weather. Depending on what time of year you visit, the time of day, how many trains are running, where you sit, the experience can be totally different. They have a mind of their own. This is why our coaster techs deserve a round of applause. Wooden coasters are demanding and high-maintenance, and frankly just outright cranky sometimes. They do small repairs and big repairs depending on the year, but the coasters essentially have to be rebuilt every five to ten years. 

Our coaster maintenance program doesn’t happen by accident. We’re really proud of our excellent “track” record (get it?) of major coaster projects in the last several years. We have a dynamite team that works hard to make sure our coasters are more than just intense thrill machines. I mean, we want them to be intense thrill machines. But we also want them to be enjoyable and re-rideable. We make sure the team–even in the middle of a global pandemic–gets the time and resources to take on projects like this as often as we can. 

Back to The Raven Evermore. Nearly 25% of our track is being repaired. 

Did I mention there’s still more work being done? It’s hard to make out, but if you look closely you can see fresh lumber in the track below. Another 120 feet of track are getting work done on the top two layers. Total, that makes for more than 650 feet of work this season, which for The Raven means nearly 25% of the ride is going to be smoother. 

Shows coaster track with fresh lumber

It’s about time. 

Oh. And there’s another surprise in this project that we’ll share about another day. 

Calm down. It’s not another element. We’re just going to roll this announcement out later. 

 


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Thanksgiving To Go Instructions

Box comes with turkey, dinner rolls, green beans with butter and seasoning, pie, and sides

Thank you to everyone who purchased our Thanksgiving To Go Meals! Here’s everything you need to know about picking up your Thanksgiving To Go Feast. If you want the short version, bring a cooler and some ice packs if it’s a long drive, drive up to our “Raven Lot” at the time you picked, and we’ll be ready and waiting with your order.

Our Food & Beverage team is hard at work baking turkeys and prepping your meals for pick-up this week. In fact, we got a sneak peek at the boxes today. Take a look! 

We know you might have questions over the next couple of days, so we’ve got a little reference guide for you. Oh and here’s a link to the instructions.

If it’s a bit of a drive for you to get here, be sure to bring some ice or coolers to keep your food nice and cold until you get home!

Don’t forget, we operate on CENTRAL TIME! 

Holiday World Thanksgiving To Go

Pick-up Instructions

Set up / Change Time 

If you didn’t specify a pick-up time in the notes, our Food & Beverage team should have called you to set up a time. If you haven’t heard from them, or wish to change your time, or forgot that we’re on central time, please call our Food & Beverage office at (812)-937-3333.

Arrival Instructions

When you arrive, please pull in our “Raven Lot” (the one right next to the roller coaster and across the street from the water tower–see map below) and pull all the way up to the turnaround. Our team will be waiting for you there.

 

Just in case you need them, here are our Easy Heating Instructions

As a reminder, here’s what comes in the box:

Each meal feeds up to 8 people and includes:
• One 12-14 pound Turkey, pre-baked, with herb butter finish (and there’s the herb butter being prepared to the right)
• Turkey Gravy (32oz) 
• Mashed Potatoes (3 lb)
• Stuffing (2.5 lb)
• Macaroni and Cheese (2.5 lb)
• Holiday World’s Famous Green Beans (2.5 lb) with butter and seasoning containers
• Cranberry Sauce (2.5 lb)
• Yeast Rolls (1 dozen)
• One Pumpkin Pie

All our sides will have a tamper seal as pictured below. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Please let us know how your Thanksgiving To Go Meal turned out in the comments below!

 


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Veteran’s Day 2020

As a country, we observe November 11 as a day to thank the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
We want to acknowledge our very own team members who have answered the call to serve our country. Thank you!

Our veterans from left to right:

  • Elmer, Maintenance Technician, United States Army
  • Joe, IT team member, United States Air Force
  • Ethan, Maintenance Technician, United States Army
  • Billy, Maintenance Technician, United States Army
  • Jeff, Director of Human Resources, United States Army
  • Todd, Roller Coaster Maintenance Technician, Army National Guard
  • Josh, Roller Coaster Maintenance Technician, United States Marine Corp
  • Not Pictured: John, Director of Safety & Security, United States Coast Guard

Thank you to these – and all other veterans – for their service to our country.


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Podcast Season 2, Episode 23: The One with the Big 7-5

We feel it’s safe to assume that nearly everyone is ready to move on from 2020 so for Episode 23, we welcome Ashley our Director of Marketing, and our Creative Manager Stephen to join us to talk about our plans for our upcoming 75th Anniversary Season! 

Ashely did a great job explaining the look of our 75th Anniversary, but she also shared a few photos to show the effect that we’ll be adding to our photos to help us tell the story of where we started and where we are now.

First up, Prez Matt:

Director of Entertainment & Events, Lauren, also known on the podcast as Momma Lauren:

 

Director of Communications, Leah: 

Also as promised here is a photo of sweet Elfie who is VP to Lori Koch, Executive Vice President.

Please be sure to send us your feedback and questions with us by calling us at 812-937-4401 then dial 8081, or by emailing us at podcast@holidayworld.com, or by reaching out to us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

Be sure to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and tell all your friends. 

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

 

Sweepstakes: Win a treat for our 2021 Season!

We are Holiday World and we love holidays!
Our full-time staff submitted photos of their families to share with you.

Comment below with your favorite Halloween memories or traditions.
Each submission gives you a chance to win a family 4 pack of tickets for our 2021 Season!

The daughter of Casey our Director of Information Technology, whipped 
up a purrrfect sweet treat!

 
 Lori, Director of Revenue Administration, and her family including Mason
who is one of our seasonal team members, camping at Lake Rudolph!

Audrey, Regional Sales Representative shared this spooky picture of her kids’ costumes.

Our Human Resources and Payroll team dressed as a Pepsi Oasis!
Left to Right: Payroll Manager Karen, HR Manager Vanessa, Director of HR Jeff, and
HR administrators Michaela, Breanna, and Anna.

Luna in her WonderWoman costume, submitted by Josh our Digital Communications Strategist.

How fitting for our Food Operations Manager, Lisa to be a cup of Dippin’ Dots!

Bryan our South Regional Sales Representative and his wife in their finest Goonie Gear!

Food Operations Manager Madeline shared this photo of her sweet pup.

Our Attractions Team dressed as the characters from Wreck-It Ralph!
Left to Right: Attractions Manager Adam, Director of Attractions Lori, and Attractions Manager Alan.

Sabrina our Media Relations Manager shared pictures of her daughters in her favorite Halloween costumes and
a picture from 2019 with her sister Shelby who works in attractions.

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(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!)
  • 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, comment below with your favorite Halloween memory. (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 Friday, November 6, 2020, at 1:00pm CDT, when we’ll choose a winner at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

Podcast Season 2, Episode 22: The One Where Lightning (Hopefully) Strikes Twice

Episode 22 marked the grand return of Matt E. and Mama Lauren!
Matt starts strong with a new response to the icebreaker question that everyone can agree on!

Listen here on anywhere podcasts are found (now Amazon Music too!) or clicking below:

In May, we created Digital Opening Day, which was therapeutic for us and well received by our online community. 

As the title implies, we’re going to try to recreate that magic with Kitty’s Digital HoliWeen!

We have three Saturdays packed with online activities, food videos, and more!
Check the page on October 10, 17, and 24 to see what fresh Halloween fun Kitty has added!

Please be sure to send us your feedback and questions with us by calling us at 812-937-4401 then dial 8081, or by emailing us at podcast@holidayworld.com, or by reaching out to us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

Be sure to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and tell all your friends. 

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

 

 

Sweepstakes: Kitty’s Digital Scavenger Hunt

Kitty’s hidden stickers

Kitty has been very busy lately.

Halloween is her favorite time of the year, and she’s put together all sorts of fun activities for her friends to celebrate Kitty’s Digital HoliWeen. It brings all of the magic of Halloween right to your house.

She can’t wait to see everyone back at Holiday World next year, so she’s created a game to give away two Season Passes for 2021. Plus, the prize includes two overnights in a Christmas Cabin next door at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort.

Just solve her game and you’ll be given the option to enter to win.

Kitty will be hiding several stickers around our a few individual pages around our website between now and October 24. If you can solve any one of a series of riddles she gives you to help track them down, you just need to click on the sticker that you find and you can enter for a chance to win.

For Kitty’s younger fans, you will need a trusted grown-up to help finish your entry once you find a sticker.

Here’s Kitty’s full list of clues. We’ll update it with more clues through Saturday, October 24.

  • Clue 1: Here Kitty, kitty! But not too fast, you’ll spill the tea. To find my first sticker, just look for an attraction – it’s named after me!
  • Clue 2: Holiday World shows are magical, and best enjoyed with your friends. For this sticker, search for my friends and I before the Scavenger Hunt ends.
  • Clue 3: Start on this page and you can plan your stay. Using these instructions, you won’t lose your way!
  • Clue 4: Splashin’ Safari is packed with so many slides, it never ends. But this brand-new one lets you race against your family and friends!

Still stuck? Click here for Kitty to take you right to the page to enter the sweepstakes!

Be sure to follow along with Kitty’s Digital HoliWeen for tons of great fall fun!

A Correspondence for the [k]Nights who say ‘Wheeee’

The HoliWood kNights who say Whee!

Dearest [k]Nights,

There were days when we thought this event might be impossible, but we’re so excited that the most fun weekend of the year will soon be upon us! The HoliWood kNights who say Whee!

Since many of you are coming from around the country, we want to make sure everyone understands the guidelines that we have set forth in light of COVID-19. If you haven’t already, please check out our 2020 visit page for more information. We have some specific guidelines we’d like to ask of you as well:

    • RUN AWAY! If you’re not feeling well. Seriously, before you hop in your car, set foot on a plane, mount up on horseback (come along, Patsy!) take a second. Are you feeling off? Did someone just tell you that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19? Are you living in a COVID-19 hot spot and are unable to quarantine? Call us! We’ll move your tickets to next year or refund them. Our event is good, but it will still be here next year. Please don’t risk exposing other Guests and our Team Members by coming. (Also we have a Digital HoliWood Nights page from May if you’re not able to make it this year… it’s like Diet Pepsi… not really desirable, but it gets you by).
    • If ye weigh less than a duck… or less than a large yellow boat would require… we will not accuse you of being a witch, but we won’t be able to help you find a friend to join either. Assemble your [k]Nights of the round table before you enter the queue, and you shall pass. (Translation: we do not have a single rider line and if your group doesn’t hit the right weight, we will not mix parties together—if you’d like to ride, you’ll need to join together and work out your ideal riding arrangement. If you aren’t comfortable riding with another group, you may need to sit this year out, but just on the water coasters! Please make smart choices and stick to the same party as much as possible.)
    • You are not to leave this spot for any reason… from time to time. We’re going to do our best to help you get the seats you want, but we can’t have a ton of people clogging the queue waiting on the back seat. Trust that we’ll let you have your seat at some point, but please know that we’re grouping to try to maintain social distancing. So please go to the row we ask you to take. If you’re about to take a milestone ride, let the grouper know and they’ll allow you to wait for the seat you want. Otherwise, please be patient with us. 
    • Slot 1, Slot 2, Slot 5… Slot 3 Mylord… If  you haven’t heard, you’ll need to reserve a spot for our walkback this year. We’re trying to avoid the overwhelming crowd at Plymouth Rock Cafe this year.  There are still spots available, but if those fill up we’ll add more so please stay calm. Please wear your face covering during walkbacks because social distancing isn’t always possible at the perfect photo spot. 
    • None Shall Pass! One more thing about the walkback: we’re only doing The Voyage/Thunderbird walkback this year, and the additional part we’ve added recently in the Thunderbird enclosure will not be a part of the walkback. You’ll still be able to walk that full path along The Voyage and hang out under the last barrel roll, but you won’t be allowed in the section that takes you under the Zero-G Roll. We hope to bring that back next year, but we want to make sure the crowds keep moving during that time. 
    • Prefer to accelerate your check-in velocity? It’s easy! Make sure you have your valid Coaster Club Membership Card ready along with your voucher (we will accept cards that expired after May 29 & 30, because that’s when the event was supposed to be). Reminder: we only need one valid membership per reservation… everyone in your group doesn’t need to have a card out. If you really want to speed up your processing time and save on unnecessary contact, please print out your voucher before you arrive (if you have the voucher on your phone, our Team Members will need to borrow your phone for a second to get the information they need, and in light of COVID-19, we’d rather not have that happen if we can avoid it). Also, we’re not going to put wristbands on for you this year, but our Admissions team would like to remind you to leave about two finger-widths of space as you put the wristband on–we only have so many replacement bands this year. Due to the expected rainy weather, we have moved our traditional Bahari Beach hors d’oeuvres to Santa’s Merry Marketplace from 3PM- 5PM. Yes, you may check in starting at exactly 3PM CENTRAL TIME. If you come earlier we’ll be impressed, but we won’t be able to let you in. 

 A final reminder–we know our HoliWood Nights crew is full of theme park experts, so we hope you’ll model your expert COVID-19 behavior both during ERT and during regular park hours. We expect to see our HoliWood Nights crew wearing masks indoors and where distancing isn’t possible, and we expect to see exemplary social distancing from you. We also hope you’ll consider wearing masks on the coasters–while it’s not a requirement, we hope you’ll consider the people around you on the train, and the Team Members checking your restraints. They’ll have more contact with you than the average Guests, after all. 

We hope you’ll agree that this will still be a fantastic event if we all work together in an autonomous collective. 

If you think this all sounds really weird… watch the movie already. If you’re offended by all the mixed quotes and bits from the movie… so are we. We just had to make it fit the message. 

Good Morrow,

Leah Koch

Lord of the Messengers, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari