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!






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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. 


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 our sweepstakes runs so long (we’re giving you a whole week after the poll ends!), 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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