Cheetah Chase Sweetheart Update

In January, Josh highlighted the balance tank’s role in making Cheetah Chase come to life.
Since then, progress has been in RocketBLAST mode!

Our belated Valentine’s day treat was seeing six GIANT pumps got placed into the balance tank!

Check out the latest episode of our Hard Hat Chronicles series for a more in-depth update on Cheetah Chase.
We caught up with Andrew B., Project Manager, who gave us a Cheetah Chase update!

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Podcast: The One with the Voyaging Cheetah Carousel

The Official Holiday World Podcast

It’s the off-season, but construction and maintenance are in full force all around the park!

The PodSquad was joined by Sean S., Maintenance Planner, and Anthony V., Maintenance Manager to get an update on all the work being done on Voyage, Cheetah Chase, and the Star Spangled Carousel.

We are so fortunate to have so much talent on our team!

Cheetah Chase Balance Tank as seen from The Voyage
Cheetah Chase Balance Tank as seen from The Voyage

Sean discusses what it takes to keep our coasters in excellent shape.
SPOILER: We go above and beyond industry standards to care of our coasters!!

Anthony gives us an update on Cheetah Chase Construction, specifically the balance tank and what the final phases of construction look like. As a reminder, you can follow along at home with our Splash Cam that is pointed right at the construction site.

Before the podcast we also interviewed Tom H. who shares about the work being done at the Star Spangled Carousel.

The same week we recorded this podcast, Stephen also created a Hard Hat Chronicle for a visual update:

Season 2 Episode 6 is available now!

Please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and tell all your friends. 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, or by reaching out to us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

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LEAH: And we are back welcome back to season 2 of the official Holiday World podcast this is season 2 episode 6 the one with the voyaging cheetah carousel. Lauren is just shaking her head.

LAUREN: It just deserves a headshake

MATT:  it deserves something

LEAH:  today is Friday January 17th but we are hoping to air this on February 17th again hope because you just never know what’s going to happen in especially in the amusement park world. Today we are here to give you updates on all of the major attractions projects that we are working on. So today in the studio we have song Sean Strahl and Anthony VanCamp.  Sean you go first why don’t you tell us about your history at Holiday World.

SEAN:  okay well started in 1999 in rides at Holidogs Funtown and then I started working seasonally on the coasters helping with maintenance. In 2003, I was hired full time on the coaster crew and then a few years later I became the coaster manager. Now currently I am the maintenance planner so I work with all the shops now.

LEAH: Sean is our go to coaster Guru since he has been working on the coasters since like almost the beginning. He’s very knowledgeable and we are very lucky to have him.  Anthony, how long have you been with Holiday World tell us about it.

ANTHONY: I actually started the spring of 2011 in the coaster shop and I was there for a couple years and then I moved to the maintenance shop and now I am at the Thunderbird with water parks.

LEAH: So now we have our classic Icebreaker question that we start with  everyone and Sean I’m going to start with you. If you could add one section or attraction to the park what would it be? And why?

SEAN:  I have never really thought about a section but I have always wanted to add a family coaster. We have the thrill rides, but I would like to add you know preferably would because it’s what I worked on. But a family coaster that pairs could are with their smaller children I think that would fit very well and I always thought about 4 up in Fourth of July in that Plaza there.

LEAH:  we are kind of coasterless up there in fourth of July.

SEAN:  and it would maybe draw some people up into Thanksgiving and  Fourth of July.

LEAH: Nice.  that would be cute I like that, okay Anthony same question.

ANTHONY: that is a tough question since I do water park and ride maintenance so I would have probably have to go with a new steel coaster in the Thanksgiving section. I think it’s if I really fun ride and I would just like to see more of them.

LEAH:  I hear maintenance on B & M’s are pretty nice am I right?

ANTHONY:  It’s very nice! It’s all straightforward we never have any issues it’s just fun to work on.

MATT: We like that, we like not having many issues. 

LEAH: All right in this first segment we are here to talk about all of the work we are doing on the voyage this season. Sean would like to tell us more about where that work is going on.

SEAN:  yeah, so on the voyage we decided it to redo a large section on the back turn. It’s a spot we worked on in the past but that was back in 2011.

LEAH:   that’s it sounds like it was just a couple months ago and it’s been years now

SEAN: that section has held up really well but it was our first redo on the voyage and so from that time we have learned a lot working with gravity group so we’ve improved so we went to work look at that section again and make it smoother.

LEAH:  So that is what, roughly eight hundred feet of track?

SEAN:  I think combined yes, they are going all the way through the first 90 it’s a pretty large section

LEAH: It’s  a huge section and Anthony you’ve worked on The Coasters before and you can attest.

ANTHONY:  he was talking about that work they did previously and that’s actually when I started.

LEAH: So you are a part of that last project that’s really interesting.

LAUREN: That’s cool

LEAH:   Any insights from the last time?

MATT: Did  You forget everything? 

LEAH: He’s like I am working on B & M’s now,  I’m done. 

LAUREN: We’ve been through this in the last episode, everyday you do something different. How could you remember something you did almost 10 years ago?

MATT:  I don’t remember what I did this morning, so

SEAN: Luckily this time with that section we don’t have to do anything with the structure. Last time you know we had that section was really low to the ground which was causing our problems so we actually raised it last time and that made a huge difference. This time it is just track.

LEAH: I think I make a point of those every time but I think people think you just cut out a cross section of stretch. But that’s not how it works at all in a wooden coaster. They are living and breathing so you have to stagger it, it’s layers on layers, so you start the track work at an additional 40 feet to do all eight layers of track.

SEAN: Yeah by the time you stagger it

LEAH:  it’s incredible! Just how much effort goes into replacing just 20 foot section of track when you have to do all eight layers you add in either direction to get all the way down to the bottom in to just really just anything it’s a long process. So they would just arrived this year. In the beginning of January so you have, it’s 105 days to opening day. So how are you guys doing? Working hard?

LAUREN: It was a hundred and five in January so if you’re listening in February it’s way less MATT: Thanks Lauren.

LEAH: For us in this moment it is a hundred and five how are you guys feeling?

SEAN: The guys are setting all the ledgers now and then next week they’ll start putting the first layer down. Our plan is for Gravity group to come out next week and survey for a set everything is where it’s supposed to be before we start building the track. That just helps us make sure it’s going to be as smooth as it can. 

LEAH: That’s awesome.  Now part of this is part of regular season maintenance is it not? We always take out a couple layers of track and redo them every year?

SEAN: Yeah so every year since 2011 we take out a large section, that was one of the planes we came up with of course when we’re working on the other coast as well but we always concentrate on one large section every year.

LEAH:  I just find it amazing every time. I think it is so cool that we oh, I believe they say you rebuild a wooden coaster every 10 years?

SEAN: I would say that’s pretty accurate. 

LAUREN: That is Crazy.

MATT: they take a lot of TLC
LEAH:  we take a lot of time  and energy. We Believe our family believes a lot in wooden coasters and keeping them up right so. You know, hopefully you guys have all the time you need to do that because we are very proud of those.

SEAN:  In my experience, Everything we have I ever asked for in the coasters we have been able to get and been able to do the work we wanted to do.

LEAH:  Also before we head out to the break can you tell us about some of the work that goes into the coaster trains in the off season? Because the track isn’t the only thing that gets to work.

SEAN:  Yeah so this year the voyage trains were sent back to PTC. That happens every other year because they set a time limit in hours and that is two seasons for us so the trains go back every other year.  In the off-year if they don’t go back we still work on them here so they will still tear the trains down, not as much as PTC would but they still go through the wheels and check everything and make sure everything is ready for next season. So they are being worked on every single year.

LEAH: So you’re getting a reassembled train every year that you come in. Sean thank you for coming and joining us. We are going to take a short break and when we come back we will talk about cheetah Chase.

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Male voice 1: Do you like dipping your feet in the water?

Female: In the water park!

Male voice 2 Do you like pushing buttons?

Female: On ride control panels!

Male voice 1: How about long walks on the beach?

Female: Of our Wave pools!

Male voice 2: Or beautiful hills?

Female: From the top of coaster hills!

Male voice 1: Do you have experience cannonballing into pools?

Female: I believe those are called compact jumps…

Male voice 2:Do you have experience buckling seat belts?

Female: That one kind of speaks for itself…

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Male Voice 2: Our slogan is “Two parks-One Team-One Mission”. That mission is to be a safety and efficiency-driven team offering top-notch operations at two world-class parks

Female: Come join the Attractions Team at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari.

ALL: We want YOU to be part of our Attractions Family!

LEAH: We are back and this time we’re focusing on Anthony because we have questions about cheetah Chase. How is the construction coming?

ANTHONY:   it’s actually going really well even with the rain we’ve moving forward. We are pouring like pouring the walls for the balance tank and the station.

LEAH:  Can you explain what a balance tank is?

ANTHONY:  A balanced tank is a fancy word for a big concrete pit that you fill with water. It is somewhere for all the water to go.

MATT: How many gallons of water are going to go in it?
ANTHONY:  I believe it’s 70800 for a completely full pit.

MATT:  That is a lot of water.

LEAH:  That is so impressive.  And so and so I’m trying to find a way to ask this, does this mean that the water is going to be cool because the water is located below the station?

ANTHONY: It probably will, like the mammoth that water is some of the coolest water in the park.

LEAH:  Refreshing on a hot day and Punishment on a cold day.

ANTHONY: Since a lot of it is underground it’ll be about the same so I imagine it’s going to be chilly.

LEAH: And this is going to be probably the wettest ride we have built in the water park. 

ANTHONY:  from what I have seen I think it’s going to be for sure

LAUREN:  I will never forget riding with a news person of course in early morning whenever we were already chili and she was like how wet do you get? I’m like on a scale from 1 to 10 or 11 like a 10. And she was like oh, okay.
LEAH: News people always make it the last thing they do because they always come back looking a little

MATT: they don’t look very newsworthy at the end.

LAUREN: At the end she was drenched. She was like oh my gosh I didn’t expect this! And I was like I told you!

LEAH:  so this is going to be a continuous loop so basically you’ll take off from one location and you’ll you’re not into know it let me know I’m correct this is a question I’m promise that you’ll come into the station the same place you left it except wetter. Honestly I’m saying all this is a Segway to go back to that day that Lauren and I rode the mammoth with a news personality because fun fact if the conveyor belt stops while you’re starting to stand up be careful.

LAUREN: I mean it’s not a fast moving conveyor belt.

LEAH:  No it is not it just so happened on that ride we had the vice president of marketing. the standoff happened to stand up in the timing just happened just right that he, I shouldn’t laugh

MATT:  yes you should.

LAUREN:  it was amazing

LEAH:  he fell. On to that Mammoth conveyor belt. It was very bouncy.

MATT: He wasn’t hurt

LAUREN: No he definitely wasn’t hurt.

LEAH:  I just needed a reason to come back to that story. Because that image stays in my head. Those conveyors are very comfy to walk on, very bouncy.

MATT:  We do not recommend that though.

LEAH:  so if anyone is watching our web cam or seeing any of the pictures they notice there is only about two-thirds of the track in right now. What’s happening right there?

ANTHONY:  Yeah so we have to Halt the track work until the station is finished. But here in the next few weeks, you should see progress with fiberglass, we just have to stop so they can get in and do their jobs.

LEAH:  so we can get in and finish the station, the essential parts of the station.

LAUREN: Details.

LEAH:  I just think that it is so interesting that in order to get this just right we have to stop on one side.

ANTHONY:  yeah we are working together To make a big plan.

LEAH:  it’s a lot more than just everyone does their own thing, you have to coordinate proof.

MATT:  it’s all about teamwork.

LEAH:  so how excited are your guys for another attraction?

ANTHONY:  They are super excited. They love all of the water park rides in the water coasters so I think it’s going to be great. They are excited to test ride it for sure.

LEAH:  I was about to say are they going to be among the first ones?

ANTHONY:  I’m sure they will be parked! Official for sure!

LAUREN:  I know I’m excited I may not be able to write it right away because you know I’m having a child but my children do have outfits.

LEAH:  They do, she’s already got outfits all cheetah outfits. 

LAUREN:  They have cheetah outfits for when they come to visit.

MATT:  do you have a matching one?

LAUREN:  no I don’t, it’s just them. But they’re really cute, it’s not cheetah print it’s just little cheetahs on it it’s adorable.

LEAH:  how are you guys going to celebrate when it’s done? Aside from riding it?

ANTHONY:  Probably just take a couple deep breaths. 

MATT: Take a nap..

LAUREN:  I can appreciate that.

LEAH:  Now there are still some other projects  I know we don’t have the resident experts neccisarily, but have you guys  been keeping up with the carousel like we have?

SEAN:  I have been up there the last few days working with Tony, so they are installing new lights on the Carousel. And we are installing the electrical part of the lights because they’re lower the voltage.

LEAH: I love that I am really excited about what is going on with the Carousel

LAUREN:  In addition there’s it’s getting a fancy new paint job.

ANTHONY: It looks really good

LAUREN: Like the actual structure of the Carousel and some horses are also getting a makeover. So it’s going to look like a brand new ride it is exciting.

LEAH: I am very excited about all of this!  Annex we’re going to hear a little audio report from Tom Hart who has been working on the carousel project.

TOM: We are changing over all of the lights to LEDs. Just upgrading it, changing the horses to a more consistent theming with the 4th of July. So far we have stripped it down to the bare bones of the ride we have taken all the overhead and side panels out. We’ve taken off all the horses that need to be refurbished as time goes. We only do three at a time so this will be an ongoing project throughout the year. There are over 1,324 lights give or take a couple. It takes half of an hour to 45 minutes to do each panel, if you can just stay with it. There are 12 ceiling panels then you have the outer panels which are also 12 oz then you have the little panels inside there’s numerous panels. We are a Family theme park and of course a carousel is for all ages and you know a park isn’t a park without a carousel. We just want to take really good care of it so it last for generations to come.

LEAH:  and what else are you guys, I think everyone has this perception that we close the park down for the season and we just sit around on recliners

LAUREN: Wouldn’t that be nice.

LEAH: What other projects especially Sean since you’re the Maintenance Planner, what other projects do you have going on?

SEAN: We are working on Raging Rapids we are updating the whole system. Putting in some smaller cabinet separating some high voltage and low voltage back when it was built and put together there were no I guess anything to protect you from touching the light components. 

LEAH: Different day and age, am I right?

SEAN: We’re going to put in at least three different cabinets so we’ll know the different voltages
LEAH: The joys of a seventy-year-old theme park everybody. 

SEAN: It’ll be easier for the guys to troubleshoot usually you usualyonly have to get into the PLC the low voltage so it’ll be completely separate now. And we are putting the pumps on drives so we’ll be able to control the water flow a lot better we are also working  on log flume lowering the voltage on some of the parts of the control system they’re so it’s easier for the guys to work on. 

MATT:  so they stay plenty busy

LEAH:  yeah we’re running out of projects, does anyone have any ideas out there? Anyone want to submit any?

MATT: Anthony is going to punch me in the face if I say one more thing.

LEAH:  he’s like I appreciate sarcasm but I will slap you across this table let me put words in your mouth. congratulations you have bulldozed your way through another episode!

Sweepstakes: We Love Dippin’ Dots!

Congratulations to our winner, Tina from Louisville, Kentucky!

Dippin’ Dots can be found all over Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. They joined us on the Official Holiday World Podast in 2018, and we even opened a Dippin’ Dots Sundae Shop in 2019.

Needless to say, we LOVE the remarkably fresh and flavorful beaded ice cream!

We love them so much that we want to share some with you.

Enter our latest sweet sweepstakes for your chance to win:

• Four one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
• Two overnights in Rudolph’s Christmas Cabin at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort!
• a certificate from Dippin’ Dots for one free Dippin’ Dots home delivery (includes one gallon of Dippin’ Dots and ground shipping)

Before you enter our Giveaway, 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, Dippin’ Dots LLC employees and family members, 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 Recommendation 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: May 1-June 11, 2020.
  • 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 what your favorite Dippin’ Dots flavor is. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)

Ready to get started?

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 Friday, February 21, 2020, at 1:00 pm CST. Then we’ll choose one winner at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sweet Deal on Tickets

As an extra bonus, we’re offering a sweet deal for Valentine’s Day. Save $5 on Anyday tickets through Friday, February 21 using promo code HOLIDAY. Click here to purchase tickets with the promo code automatically applied.

Good luck to all!
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Extra Season Passholder Perks

Cheetah Chase Head-to-Head

We’re racing toward the 2020 season and are eager to debut Cheetah Chase, the World’s First Launched Water Coaster.

Our Season Passholders will have the the most opportunities to ride this splashy new attraction this year, but that’s not the only benefit to having a Season Pass with us.

Passholders get tons of great perks to use all season long, like discounts on food, merchandise, and discounted Bring A Friend tickets on select dates.

In addition to your normal perks, we’ve loaded a few extra perks onto your Pass that can be used once during the 2020 season. Here they are:


  • Additional 20% off Cheetah Chase Water Bottle
  • Item subject to change based on availability and this discount can be used in addition to your regular Season Pass discount.
Cheetah Chase | The World's First Launched Water Coaster


  • Additional $1 off Smoothie at Bahari Wave Shaved Ice
  • Additional $1 off Fully Loaded Snacks at Santa’s Merry Marketplace
  • These food offers are subject to availability and menu substitutions


  • 10 Balls for $5 at Milk Cans
  • $5 “Fedora Full o’ Rings” at The Raven’s Ring Toss
  • 5 Balls for $3 at Wacky Cats

To claim each deal, please mention it to the cashier and present your Season Pass to be scanned.

Still haven’t purchased your 2020 Season Pass yet? Take a look at the full list of perks for each Pass type now! If you already have your Pass and want to upgrade, you can do so for $30 for each level it’s upgraded at the park or by calling 1-800-467-2682.

These deals are available once per passholder per season and are subject to change. We’ll keep this post updated with any permanent changes to these offers.

Podcast: The One Where We’re Seeing 2020

Sabrina here!

I’m in the room during all of the podcast recordings, but I play the silent role of timekeeper, guest arranger, and other duties as assigned role to keep the podcast rolling.

Well, there was that one time they pulled me in so I could brag about the progress on the Star Spangled Carousel. But that’s beside the point.

During this episode, we dive into all things hiring and working at Holiday World. With less than 100 days until we open our gates for the 2020 Season, we will need around 2,000 people to make the magic happen!

The incredible Vanessa B. joined us to discuss her Holiday World journey.
She discusses how she has gone from a shy lifeguard in 2009 to be our current Human Resources Trainer.

If you have worked at our parks in recent years, you have had the pleasure of either working or being trained by Vanessa. She brings great energy to her role! When you listen, you’ll hear it for yourself.

One of my favorite nuggets from Vanessa was, “It’s not a matter of if you should work at Holiday World, it’s a matter of WHERE at Holiday World you should work”.

Which is a nice transition to recap the second half of the episode, where we give listeners an inside look into all the different opportunities we have around the park. We absolutely have something for everyone and our leadership here is second to none. Every leader here is passionate about recruiting and developing their teams to their best potential.

If that doesn’t entice you to listen in as a bonus: We hear the story behind Leah’s first-ever infraction point…on her first day!

If you’re interested in joining our team, be sure to check out our Jobs page for more information and to submit your application.

This podcast episode is available now!

Please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and tell all your friends. 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, or by reaching out to us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

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Podcast Transcript

Intro with energetic music

Man’s voice: You are next in line for the Official Holiday World Podcast.

Man Speaking through a P.A. system: Welcome to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

Man’s voice: Dropping in from Santa Claus, Indiana

[Tech sounds, Santa, sonar, typing]

Man Speaking through P.A. system: Riders will experience swift acceleration, high-speed turns, and sudden stops

[roller coaster break sounds]

Man’s voice: With park president and CEO, Matt Eckert.

Matt Eckert: He’s incredible

Man’s Voice: Fourth Generation Owners, Lauren Crosby…

Lauren’s voice in a short clip: Why don’t we stick a performance venue in this space?

Man’s Voice: and Director of Communications Leah Koch

Leah’s voice in a short clip: This is how we do it here.

Man’s voice: Now still your loose articles and buckle up, keep your hands and legs inside the car at all times.

[Rock music intro music and roller coaster ride sounds]

LEAH: annnnnnd we’re back! Welcome back to season 2 of the official Holiday World Podcast, this is Season 2, Episode 5 The one where we’re seeing 2020. This is Friday, January 17, but we hope to air this..I always add the “hope too” juuuuust in case, because you never quite know. Annnywayy, today we’re discussing recruiting because we are already in hiring season, can you guys believe that?

MATT: That’s crazy, here we go!

LAUREN: It’s time!

LEAH: Guys, there’s 105 days until we open.

MATT: You didn’t have to say that out loud.

LEAH: I did the math yesterday and …

MATT: You know I like math, but still..


LEAH: I want to kick things off by introducing Vanessa Bye, she is our HR Trainer.

VANESSA: Helloo!

LEAH: I also wanted to add if you aren’t geographically close to us and you aren’t going to be working for us, stay tuned because we’re going to have a lot of behind the scene’s information for ya. Welcome, Vanessa!

VANESSA: Thank you, thank you!

LEAH: You may have heard her voice on the podcast before if you’re a fan, but you know if this is your first time tuning in. Welcome back. Welcome.

VANESSA: I’m excited to be here

MATT: You are always excited

VANESSA: I know, it’s like who I am

MATT: You’re like excited Vanessa, that’s like your thing

VANESSA: Sunshine

MATT: Sunshine Vanessa

LEAH: That’s why she’s over training! She has to train seasonal every year, about how many?


VANESSA: About 2,000 every year

MATT: You touch THAT many lives every year.

VANESSA: That’s why I do what I do, I love it

LEAH: And she brings all of her energy, every time.

LAUREN: And she has ALL the patience.

LEAH: Okay Vanessa, I want to start off, we’re going to start with a new icebreaker question that we’re going to start asking guests on the podcast. It is: If you could add one section to the park or one attraction to the park, what would it be and why?

MATT: ooooh!

VANESSA: Sooo, since I’m a water parker native, I would have to say add an artic section to the water park since we have the safari and go the opposite way

LEAH: Call it the North Pole.

VANESSA: Call it the northern lights, maybe have a fill off of that, maybe have a few moose themes. Love some moose

LAUREN: Love a good moose.

MATT: With the Indiana weather you artic theme could apply


VANESSA: You never know sometimes!

LEAH: Sometimes in the middle of Summer it applies, it’s fine!

MATT: So Vanessa tell us a little bit about your history with Holiday World, you implied that you were with the water park, but when did you start?

VANESSA: I started at Holiday World in 2009, I was 16, started out in the water park as a seasonal slide attendant. I worked my way through high school, so I stayed seasonal all the way up until I finished college actually. Started out in lifeguarding my second year, worked my way through management, and then when I graduated college I decided I could not leave.

[All pod squad laughter]

LEAH: We GOT you!

MATT: It happens to a lot of people.

VANESSA: You know, I couldn’t do it. So I became the HR trainer.

LEAH: Cool, Nice! I have a question for the entire table, not just Vanessa. Why should someone work at Holiday World?

LAUREN: Why shouldn’t you work at Holiday World?


MATT: Not to answer your question with a question.

LEAH: You know if we’re talking to a lot of our employees who are high school students. Why do you think they should pick Holiday World over somewhere else?

MATT: You want me to go?


MATT: I think it’s a great first job for any teenager or any older person as well, but for teenagers, we teach our kids. I say, kids, we teach our team members a lot of really soft skills that are going to help them a lot not only while they’re here at Holiday World, but beyond. So I hear from other employers that when they see on a person’s resume that they worked at Holiday World, they’re like “Oh, they’ve got a good work ethic, they know hospitality, they know what needs to be done to get a job done”. So I think it’s a great starting ground for everyone.

LEAH: Now, Vanessa the other day that you started to think you weren’t a good fit for Holiday World.

VANESSA: Yeah, when I first started, believe it or not, I know it’s really hard to believe, but I used to be quiet and shy. 

MATT: No way!

VANESSA: I swear. I was labeled quiet and shy and I was a worrywart. My fifth-grade teacher told me that. 

ALL: Awwwww

VANESSA: They were like, Vanessa, You worry too much and you are way too quiet. So when I started at Holiday World, I’d gotten to a point where all the friends I started with had started to fizz out, they were ready to do it anymore. But my Dad actually pushed me to stay, and I’m really glad I did because it changed my confidence, I gained so much confidence in who I am. I found out who I was at the park, you know? You work with so many different people that it gives you the opportunity to kinda grow in your own skin. It’s not an opportunity you can get elsewhere. I always tell people whenever we’re out recruiting that it’s not whether or not you should work at Holiday World it’s what you should do at Holiday World because we can find a place for anybody depending on your personality type. Depending on what kind of work you want to work with. We can find that, we have such a  broad range that other employers can’t.

LAUREN: We sure do.

LEAH: I love that. I have to say that I’m working on a blog post talking about my first day of work because fun fact. Did you know that Lauren and I’s Dad, Will Koch, gave me my first infraction point? My first day of work he was late to come pick me up, so I got a half infraction point and I would  NOT let him forget it.

MATT: On your VERY first day.

LEAH: On the very first day of work. But you know I came in.

MATT: No special treatment, you were late.

LEAH: Exactly, Yes! I was ticked at him, but you know I came in and was working in food and beverage and was working at the water park and my first shift was planned in the middle of lunch rush. So I came in, no one could coddle me, no one could help me, they were just like “Get on a register and open up a window”. And I was bad at it, I mean like, plain and simple.

MATT: Looking back, you can say that now.

LEAH: Plain and simple, I was bad at it, BUT you get better, you work at it, you learn perseverance and you learn how to make eye contact with people because that’s not a skill kids know how to do these days. It isn’t necessarily have a skill you have had anyway back then because you are 14 years old and you’re dealing with an adult who expects you to act like an adult. It’s kinda scary sometimes, but it’s also, it makes you grow, and grow fast because you don’t have another option. 

LAUREN: I have to say, I don’t know, I’m sure you can find it elsewhere, but I don’t know. I feel like it’s truly what happens for us, this job is you could have technically the same job every day but it’s completely different every day. 


LAUREN: So if you are one for like, stuff like that, then this is the place for you. Then again we also have other departments that are a little more predictable, but I thoroughly enjoy my job because it is, I do something completely different, I deal with different problems every single day. Like it’s the middle of the summer we’ll get faced with something and we’ll never thought I’d have to deal with this! But it makes it so fun, I respect who do jobs that are the same every day, but I don’t know-how, would not be able to do it. I can’t. So. 

LEAH: I got some ADD, I can’t do the same thing day in and day out. I don’t know about you.

MATT: It’s because we deal with so many different personalities but it’s also, we have thousands of guests every single day with different personalities, so you’re going to encounter different situations because of that. That’s why it’s fun.

LAUREN: I know, I love it!

LEAH: Well it teaches you things like how to adapt to situations like I don’t know Vanessa if you have any crazy stories?

VANESSA: I have TONS of crazy stories. 


LEAH: While you are thinking, I’ll tell you mine. That I was a ride operator one day and again. This is a story of a time when I completely failed at working at Holiday World. A kid got their leg stuck in the gate, the ride enclosure for the drop tower, I’m panicking completely, Reindeer Games. We’re having a day, guys, we’re having a day!! they got their knee stuck, they stuck their leg in and got their leg stuck and I started full-on panicking. I forgot there was a phone in my ride console. Ran over, closed the ride officially, ran to another console, made a phone call and was like I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Ran back…

MATT: Meanwhile a kid is stuck in the gate. 

LEAH: The kid is stuck in the gate. So other parents were thinking on their feet, one got sunscreen and got the leg out. I melted down completely, you know. At the end of the day, I looked back at it. Hilariously, we were getting secret shopped in that moment and I got nominated for team member of the day for my quick thinking with the sunscreen. I’m like, nope, that was not me.

LAUREN: But thank you.

LEAH: That’s 100% the story of the time I failed BIG, but thank you for the credit. I much appreciated it, but I mean that just everything is different every day. You have I mean, especially when you work the kid rides. I don’t know about that.

VANESSA: I think as everything changes, I think the one thing that doesn’t change is the teamwork atmosphere that we have at the park. That was always a really big deal for me when I first started out. You know, being quiet and shy and not confident. I knew I had a team behind me that would really stick up for me and would help me in any situation that I needed. I never felt alone. So it gave me that freedom to grow, but it also gave me that confidence that okay, if I don’t know what to do, there’s a person in yellow shorts right down on the other side of the river and they can help me. So it was really a great thing to have. 

LEAH: What do you think are some misconceptions that people have about working at Holiday World?

LEAH: Cause I feel like I hear a lot of things and I’m trying to think. You hear that it’s too hard, you’re going to stand in the sun all day, and I think that goes back to what Vanessa said, it’s not a matter if you should work at Holiday World, it’s what job. There are plenty of jobs.

MATT: Earlier I said kids, but it’s not just kids. Like we have a lot of retirees, a lot of people who are looking for second jobs. It’s a great fit for teachers, retirees, they’re some of our best workers. So I think that’s a misconception that it’s just kids that work at Holiday World and that’s not true. 

LEAH: And most of our jobs anymore aren’t even out in the sun. We’ve got shade structures for people we’ve got shade for our indoor jobs as well.

VANESSA: I think another misconception would be that you have to work like 40 hours a week, every week, and that’s not something we require. We work with your vacations, your schedules, your extracurriculars whatever that may be. Whether you have a family vacation that you have planned that you’re going to be gone for two weeks. We work with that. Or if you only want to work a few days a week, two to three days a week, we can accommodate. 

LAUREN: 11:43We will still take that.

ALL: Absolutely!!

VANESSA: We’ll take anything! 

LEAH: We have 2,000 people coming our way, but that doesn’t mean that we have the right amount of people for a Saturday or something like that. We’re always going to take you whenever we can have your help.

LAUREN: I’ve had several people over the years in my own department that could only work Saturdays and Sundays and I was like “Great! That is PERFECT, please!” 

MATT: We LOVE Saturday and Sunday workers!  

LEAH: Even if Saturday and Sunday isn’t your day, that means someone else can have Monday and Tuesday off, if you come in Monday and Tuesday that means someone else can have that day off so they can work Saturday and Sunday. So it’s a huge team effort and managing the schedule. Managing that schedule, Vanessa is also a superstar who helps manage all the schedules for our park that she doesn’t even talk about. So let’s get into more of the nitty-gritty. What are some of the things coming up this year that are going to be different for employees?

VANESSA: The biggest change, the base rate has changed for 18 plus.

LAUREN: Exciting!!

MATT: That’s a big deal!

VANESSA: So it is a huge deal, especially at our parks, I believe it starts out at 10 per hour for 18 and plus and now, so that’s awesome. So that competitive wage. Also two free uniforms are coming out for all of our new employees, so when you come to work for us you’re going to get your uniforms.

LEAH: That’s pretty coooool!

VANESSA: Yes, it’s the one thing. Everyone’s like, “Oh, I have to get a polo”, so I think that’s a really good benefit that they’re going to have. And we always have, well what we call HoliParties. Essentially our seasonal events for the entire season are coming up, so we’re going to have you know talent shows, my favorite is the dive-in so it’s literally the take a bunch of inner tubes, we throw them in the wave pool and we watch a movie. So you think Drive-In movie theatre, dive-in movie theatre, so it’s a blast. So we have a ton of different events coming up and

MATT: Don’t forget Holilympics!

LEAH: Holilympics is the best!

VANESSA: Tradition! It is essentially Holiday World Olympics, I always tell people that no athletic ability is needed.


MATT: This is true.

Vanessa: Because I am not athletic at all and I love participating. It’s a bunch of team activities, you really, the comraderie of Holiday World comes out. We’ve got the big opening ceremonies, free food, so it’s always a really good time. We always have something for you to do outside of just work. I think that, while work is fun, like you said it’s different every day. The after parties are always a really good time as well.

LEAH: And we should note for any coaster enthusiast who might be listening that the water cup challenge came from the Holilympics back in the day. This is a time honored tradition at Holiday World and the water cup challenge actually started there. 

LAUREN: Leah and I may have helped our team win that two years in a row. We may know how to do that really well.

LEAH: Second place and then first place. Wut-Wut!

LAUREN:  We won the event two years in a row.

LEAH: Umm, we also have new employee spaces. We’re giving a fresh coat of paint to all of our employee spaces, trying to focus on our employees and 

MATT: Improving the employee experience

LEAH: Yeah, making their experience just a little bit better. But yeah, tell us about the bus routes. If someone lives in Evansville, does that mean they can’t work here?

VANESSA: Absolutely not! 


LEAH: Did that sound like a setup?


VANESSA: We have bus routes all over the southern Indiana and even into the Kentucky area. So in Evansville we pick up at Evansville Day school, North High School, we’re looking at adding a route towards the southeast side to pick up kids on the West side to add a little bit less commute time. We pick up at Castle High School, we are in Booneville, we go all the way to Owensboro, Kentucky. Chances are if you are in a bigger city near us we have at least a bus route we’re looking at coming at you, but we need that interest. So and it’s really inexpensive to ride, it’s less than $3 a day to get on the bus, so it’s very inexpensive. You can buy a Season pass where you don’t have to pay, and it’s really convenient. It’s a sure way to get to and from work. If we’re open our busses are running.

MATT: That’s right.

LEAH: So now, let’s talk about the hiring process. If we’ve got someone at this point that’s interesting or knows someone who may be interested. I remember back in my day you came into the park, you filled out a paper application and you went through something that was like speed dating where you went to the different departments and did a short couple minute interview with the different departments.

MATT: She’s not kidding, that’s literally what it was.

LEAH: It was speed dating. Uh, now its a little different. It’s less one on one, so if kids aren’t comfortable with that don’t feel as much pressure. So tell us about the hiring process nowadays.

VANESSA: So it’s pretty easy, you just go to and you fill out an application, it will literally take you less than 5 minutes. It’s very mobile friendly this year, so you can pull it up on any smartphone, tablet, fill out the application and submit it. You hear back from us within 3-5 days. We’ll send you a link where you can schedule your own interview, so work with your parents, friends if you want to set up a carpool to the park to set up your interview. The one thing I really love about the interview process now is we definitely set them up for success. We want to teach you how to interview because we learn this is a learning process for a lot of people. So the interview is going to look like no other interview you are going to sit through. You’re going to come in, you’re going to be greeted by a lot of our leadership staff. So different departments, they’re going to talk to you about why you might want to work for their department. Kinda give you a sneak peek, all of the applicants for the session get to come to me for 30 minutes and we kinda shake out the nerves. We do some team building activities, we learn a little about Holiday World and what that means and what we can do for them. Then the go and do a group interview session so you’re with about 20 other people by then you’ve already built a team, that’s what we encourage them to do. Then you just interview, takes less than an hour. Very quick and easy.

LEAH: That’s awesome and very different from the high-pressure speed dating.


VANESSA: Very different, and we understand, most of the hiring managers we understand that a lot of people this is your first time you’ve interviewed or this is the first time getting back into an interview setting. They’re very patient, respectful, and kind so you always have those kind faces that are smiling. I mean that’s Holiday World, that’s who we are. We sit in a room and we smile  at you and we’re like, “You’ve got this!” and we help you if you need a little assistance. They’re never thrown to the speed dating world.

LEAH: When I’ve walked with the groups for those group interviews, I would always tell them, “We’re looking for, we want to hire you. At the end of the day, we just need to see that you have energy and you are going to put what you have into this. It’s not like another job interview that there is only one position and we’re looking for reasons we shouldn’t hire you. We’re looking for every reason to hire you. Once we find it, we want you”.

MATT: And we’re looking for the best fit for you.

LEAH: We’re looking for the best fit, we’re excited to bring you one and we want to get you there, and we want you to succeed at the job even once they get started. I guess we should explain why the title of the episode is 2020.

VANESSA: Oh yeah! Our whole theme this year is based around…

Matt: That.

LEAH: Ohhh, that! I’m a great podcast host what can I say!

MATT: We’re having a day.

LEAH: We are having a day.

VANESSA: Our whole theme around training and bringing on our employees this year is the perfect vision, or a 2020 season is to have you on our team. We may have not met you yet, but if you are interested in working at Holiday World, we know that we want to help you, we want you to be here, we just want to find the right home for you and how you’re going to be successful. At the end of the day, if you are with us for one season or like me, I’m working on my 13th season, whatever that may be, we want to make sure whenever you depart from us that you have a great experience and you’ve grown and you can really share that to those around you. That is the one thing we do hear, we make a difference each and every day and that’s not just with our guests, but with our employees. We’re going to build you and we’re going to help you do what you want to accomplish. So we start with the whole process.

LEAH: Cool. So yeah, I think we’re about to take a short break but Vanessa, do you have anything else you want to add.

VANESSA: I don’t think so, if you come to work at Holiday World, you’re going to see me from start to finish, so you’ll meet me at your interview and you’ll see me through your training process. So I hope to meet everyone that comes out.

MATT: And throughout the season, because you are always out and about.

VANESSA: Yes! I’m very very present in your employee experience.

LEAH: I have to add, one of the competitive advantages to working at Holiday World is that you get to make a memory. Maybe if you work at a mall you can help people pick out a piece of clothing, but you are one piece of someones day and that is so meaningful to so many people that they plan their year around this trip and you are a part of that. I think that is so important and so much more fun I think than other jobs.

MATT: Agreed.


LEAH: When’s the best time to buy a Season Passes? Right Now! You can sign up for easy pay options through February 15. For more information about our passes and perks go to

Matt: We won’t miss seventy or twenty-five or however many degrees of separation. But we will be accepting new game ideas.

LC: Want to make a suggestion? Or have questions for the podsquad? There are more ways than ever to reach out to the podcast!

8: Find @holidayworld on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use hashtag H-O-W-O-P-O to let us know you’re talking about us.

Matt: You can now CALL US! Dial 812-937-4401 and type in extension 8081 to get the HOWOPO voice mailbox

Lauren: Leave your questions and feedback for us there OR you can email us at either with a written message or with a voice memo

Leah: again, reach out on social media to @holidayworld and use the hashtag HOWOPO, or call us at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or send us an email to

[rock music sfx]

LEAH: Now we’re trying something a little different. Like we’ve said, the new podcast format is very experimental. This is definitely the definition of experimental. Last week I gave a task to any director who hires 10 or more seasonal team members to write a little radio ad for the podcast of why you should for that department. So you’re about to hear a lot of personalities, a lot of directors, a lot of managers too because Lauren…

LAUREN:  I thought it was a little weird as someone on the podcast to write my own ad and record it so yes. I reached out to my manager Amanda and said, “Would you like to do this?”. And she jumped on it.

MATT: That is awesome.

LEAH: Does it make you feel better that before we broached this whole topic that it maybe Amanda should do it since you are a voice on the podcast?

LAUREN: Did you really?


 LEAH: That was a good idea when it came down to that and we realized you guys were going to do that we were like, “YES, perfect!”. 

LAUREN: That’s the voice you should hear.

LEAH: Exactly, so you’re going to hear from some managers, some different people in different departments, but the point is you’re about to hear a lot of really exciting ads about why you should work at different departments at Holiday World. 

AD 1: Are you an entertainer or sound tech? Love to sing, dance, act or all of the above? Then the entertainment crew may be a perfect fit for you! We are looking for costume characters and sound technicians for our shows. Join the costume character crew and help bring our mascots to life. Never performed before? That’s okay! We have specialized training for our team members! Auditions are held at the park on February 15. Check out our jobs page for more details.

AD 2: If you have a desire to help people and ensure their safety, a spot on our security team may be for you! Security team members interact with employees and guests from the time they arrive until everyone goes home. Candidates typically enjoy being active, outdoors and are naturally aware of their surroundings. Many of our security team members have went on to have careers in the military or law enforcement. Positions are available on first, second, and third shifts to assist with parking, bag checks, and patrolling the park.

AD 3: CAlling al roamers, busybodies, early risers and hard workers! The role of park services team member is perfect for folks looking for flexible hours and who love to be active. Park Services has a position for everyone! You have the opportunity to arrive early and leave before guests arrive or clock in later and leave after closing. Our department covers a wide range of positions including, but not limited to morning cleaning, morning grounds, table bussers, and sweepers.

AD 4: Holiday world is known for being number one in family fun, it’s only fitting that the Admissions team calls each other “Framily”, where coworkers become friends and family. We are currently looking to add framily members who would enjoy getting guests into the park as quickly and friendly as possible, selling tickets, and don’t mind enforcing the rules. If you value working hard and having fun while you do it, Admissions may be the team for you!

AD 5: Calling all outdoorsy people! Our warehouse team members love being outdoors when they’re home and at work. Our team is responsible for receiving and stocking our park to ensure that all food areas have everything our guests could want or need. Shifts are available for both day and night working behind the scenes. If you get a thrill from driving ATV’s and are not afraid of hard work, we have a job for you on the warehouse team.

AD 6: Are you the type of person who likes to be on the move and always be on your toes? The type of person who likes to get one on one interaction with our awesome guests? What about working with your hands to get a project done the way YOU think it should done? If you answered YES to any of these questions then food and beverage has a job that will fit you perfectly. No matter the person, food and beverage will guarantee you have the best Summer you’ve ever had.

AD 7: Have fun all Summer long working in the gift shops department. Experience smiling, laughing, triumph, togetherness, friendship, and creativity. Every day is different and full of happiness and excitement to work as a team to create a fun and enjoyable atmosphere for co-workers and guests. You will gain knowledge in new ways to be creative while doing your daily duties of putting away and rearranging products, straightening, cleaning, and serving our guests. Join us for an exciting season full of FUN where every day is full of camaraderie and something new to make you smile every day.

AD 8: Step right up for you your chance to join the fun as a games team member! We’re looking for people who aren’t afraid to speak up, encourage guests to play, and have fun with them along the way! Our department has a variety of games around Holiday World from skeeball in Christmas, Raven’s ring toss in Halloween, Goblet pitch in Fourth of July, and The Big Game in Thanksgiving! If you like having fun while interacting with people and enjoy putting smiles on other’s faces. Come join our team this season!

AD 9: What do lockers, cabanas, lost and found, AND pet lodging have in common? They’re all managed by guest services! Our team members range from young teens in their first job to seasoned school teachers who return year after year. Our team enjoys six to eight-hour shifts standing in sheltered environments. Most of our positions operate to ensure that guests have every convenience met that they have the best visit possible. If you love assisting other guests, Services would love to have you on our team!

AD 10: 
Male voice 1: Do you like dipping your feet in the water?
Female: In the water park!

Male voice 2 Do you like pushing buttons?
Female: On ride control panels!

Male voice 1: How about long walks on the beach?
Female: Of our Wave pools!

Male voice 2: Or beautiful hills?
Female: From the top of coaster hills!
Male voice 1: Do you have experience cannonballing into pools?
Female: I believe those are called compact jumps…

Male voice 2:Do you have experience buckling seat belts?
Female: That one kind of speaks for itself…

Male Voice 1: This summer pick the job that creates memories and fun for you, coworkers, and our guests! The Attractions department offers positions for Ride Operators, Slide Attendants, and Lifeguards.
Male Voice 2: Our slogan is “Two parks-One Team-One Mission”. That mission is to be a safety and efficiency driven team offering top-notch operations at two world-class parks
Female: Come join the Attractions Team at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari.

ALL: We want YOU to be part of our Attractions Family!

 LEAH: Congratulations! You’ve worked your way to the end of another episode! Get it? I hope you all enjoyed our commercials from our directors, I know they put a lot of hard works and energy into them. I’m proud of them. Please join us in 2 weeks for Season 2, Episode Six, The One with the Voyaging Cheetah Carousel. Any guess what that means? I think it’s pretty obvious! Thank you to all of our behind the scene pod squad, Stephen for not quitting when I asked for help editing our spots and to Josh for telling me to not use the title I originally proposed for this episode, and last but not least to Sabrina for helping write a ton of the spots and for turning your office into a recording studio this week. Guys, she’s amazing. And thanks to all of you for listening.  Please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and tell all your friends. On behalf of our PodSquad—Matt, Lauren and myself—thank you. 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, or by reaching out to us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

[Rock music much louder]

Outro music: You’ve been listening to the official Holiday World Podcast, 

Man on Speaker: Welcome back! Did you enjoy your flight?

Man Speaking: A production of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. Check out the latest episodes at HolidayWorld.Com/Podcast

Thanks for taking a ride with us and please come back to see us again soon.

[music fades out]

LAUREN: Did you know if you pick our pick your own price tickets online, you can save money? You can save a little bit more by using the official Holliday World podcast promo code HOWOPO. Simply go to and drop in HOWOPO and let the savings begin!