A Chase of the Mondays

Kenny on Cheetah Chase

…get it? A “case” of the Mondays, but it’s for Cheetah Chase?

Sorry to kick things off with a bad pun. But I have to share what a Monday in the office can look like at a theme park. 

The crowd watching adam watching cheetah chase

I promise this will make sense if you keep reading

Today we had a town hall meeting

that involved our entire full-time staff.

Dave, our Director of Sales, has a shiny new VR headset to take with him to trade shows so he can brag about Cheetah Chase to anyone who might be interested in booking a company picnic for 2020. (Shameless product placement for Dave: Interested in a company picnic, a group outing, or a private party? Fill out this form)

We have a super cool 360 animation (we’re saving that to share in a few weeks) that goes perfectly with the headset and we let our full-time staff try it out first. 

We went back to work

That is, until our VP Eric got the Cheetah Chase boat out of his office and set it down in the hallway.

Adam, one of our Attractions Managers volunteered to take the boat in the attractions office. He said they’d inflate it and keep it there. 

Someone made a joke about inflating it and using the VR headset to simulate a real ride. 

Things LAUNCHED out of control from there 

Attractions came with the pump for the raft. Stephen–who helped edit those incredible Cheetah Chase animations you’ve seen so far–came upstairs with the VR headset ready to go with the 360 animation (those are his cables floating around the right side of the frame).

Also in case you’re wondering, the ridges in the sides of the boat are for catching water to power the first-ever flat launch on a water coaster (and the regular uphill parts like other water coasters have). 

Adam was our first brave contestant. Stephen set him up, and thus began the first official VR ride of Cheetah Chase.

Stephen setting Adam up with VR headset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adam was the perfect first virtual rider–he was leaning into the turns…

Adam leaning in

…checking out the sights…

Adam looking around

…and generally a great sport about me taking his picture. 

Adam after the first true VR ride on Cheetah Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, President Matt took a turn:

 President Matt "riding" Cheetah Chase

He made sure to take his shoes off to make the experience more realistic. To add more realistic elements, someone grabbed a fan to help blast him with some air…

President Matt takes a ride

… he said it happened right as the boat launched in the video so it was perfect. 

Next Kenny from IT took a ride…

Kenny on Cheetah Chase

As did Alan (another of our attractions managers)…

Alan on boat

…IT Director Casey also helped spray him with a little water. So Alan gets credit for the first “ride” on Cheetah Chase with H2O. 

Finally our attractions management team got together for a team pic:

Attractions Management in the same boat

The moral of this story is: we’re really not sure what normal people do in offices on Mondays, but I’m pretty sure today we’ve got you beat. 

#OurOfficeIsBetterThanYours #BusinessAsUsual

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The scoop about Waffle Cone Lights

Rick making Waffle Cone Lights

This time of the year (gulp – we’re just two weeks from Opening Day!), changes happen so quickly that it’s a challenge to catch them all for you to see. So we were delighted to hear from Rick, our Graphic Artist, that he was working on creating the Waffle Cone Lights for the new Sugarplum Scoop Shop.

Stephen grabbed the video cam and captured the DIY

There’s something new to see each day in Santa’s Merry Marketplace – the elves (in hard hats) are hard at work!

Among the elves is fourth-generation owner Lauren, who’s very involved in the park’s theming.

Lauren with Fireplace Decor

Here she is taking a look at some of the finishing touches for Candy Cane Confectionary, which is part of Santa’s Merry Marketplace.

Lauren with Candy Cane Confectionary Decor

Both the Candy Cane Confectionary and Candy Cornucopia (a new candy shop in Thanksgiving) will stock Salt Water Taffy.

Judging from the response on Facebook, this was a very good decision.

Ready for a look around?

Here’s a 360-degree look at Santa’s Merry Marketplace from what will be the seating area.

And just because it’s an irresistible option, here’s the Tiny Planet version of the above 360:

Tiny Planet look at Santa's Merry Marketplace

Lest there be another second wasted worrying about our iconic Santa Murals (Rick created them, too, back in 1991), here’s proof positive that they’re a jolly part of Santa’s Merry Marketplace.

Lauren with Santa Mural

Would you like to be among the first to experience Santa’s Merry Marketplace? We have a sneak preview planned for Platinum Season Passholders on May 3. The deepest discounts for Season Passes are available until that date.
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Some assembly required

Tembo Falls Being Assembled

Think of Tembo Falls as a REALLY big toy construction set. First, pieces of fiberglass are delivered to us and then we assemble them on site.

There’s still work to do before the slides are moved into place next to Kima Bay, but for now we’re combining the smaller pieces into larger pieces. I took a trip to our Carpenter Shop yesterday to watch Tembo Falls’ racing slide start to come together.

The racing slide has 27 smaller pieces that will be assembled into three large sections over the course of two days.

Do you like numbers?

Here are a few numbers about Tembo Falls:

437

Tembo Falls Being Assembled

Feet long. If you were to place each of the slides from Tembo Falls back to back, they would stretch 437 feet. That’s longer than a football field!

147

Pieces. We have 147 pieces of fiberglass that have to be assembled to complete Tembo Falls. Think of each piece as a giant Lego, which will fit together with the next piece perfectly.

30

Which slide has the most pieces? Our yellow bowl slide, which has 30!

54

That’s under-54-inches tall, the maximum height limit for a rider to go down these junior slides alone. Tembo Falls and Tembo Tides were designed with the little ones in mind. That doesn’t mean grownups have to watch from the sidelines, though, because parents and taller siblings are welcome to ride with their under-54″ family member.

Here’s a sneak peek at what Tembo Falls and Tembo Tides will look like once they’re completed.

Tembo illustration

If you happen to have a young artist in the family, they might want to check out our downloadable Tembo coloring page. (Please tag us if you share their finished artwork on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, so we can share it.)

Speaking of social media – be sure to watch the HoliBlog later this week (subscribe here for emailed updates), as our crews plan to start assembling the yellow bowl slide (a miniature version of Bakuli) tomorrow!

Service: more than a cornerstone

2017 Veterans

At Holiday World, we have four cornerstones: Safety, Service, Cleanliness, and Friendliness.

Today, we’re thinking about one of those cornerstones just a bit differently.

Service.

More specifically, we wanted to take a moment to honor those on our staff who have served in the military.

Continuing with a tradition here at the park, it was time to get a photo of our veterans to share. This year, I got to take that picture.

When I asked them to put their hands at their sides for the photo, at least one started searching for the seam on his jeans to properly stand at attention.

The Armed Forces are well-represented here. Our veterans have 35 years of service between them.

2017 Veterans

2017 Veterans

Our veterans from left to right:

  • Elmer, one of our Maintenance Technicians, served 3 years in the Army
  • Korey, one of our Painters, served 4 years in the Navy
  • Josh, one of our Roller Coaster Maintenance Technicians, served 4 years in the Marine Corp
  • John, our Director of Safety & Security, served 16 years in the Coast Guard
  • Billy (not pictured), one of our Maintenance Technicians, served 8 years in the Army.

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

A Frightful restoration

Frightful Falls Boat After Painting

Note: The title of this post refers to the name of the ride in question, not the quality of the work!

Yesterday, I found myself taking the short walk over to the Paint Shop to get an update on “boats.” Since it’s almost the middle of October, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

One of the logs from Frightful Falls is being restored.

I snapped a picture to serve as a “before” shot and returned this morning for the “after.”

Look at how much progress our painters made in just a few hours!

Before & After:

Frightful Falls Boat Before Painting
Frightful Falls Boat After Painting

The work isn’t quite finished; “boat restoration” can take up to four days.

Is Frightful Falls still open? Yes, as long as the temperature is at least in the 60s (which hasn’t been a problem this fall).

Only three weekends remain for Happy Halloween Weekends this year – we hope you can join us! Best ticket deals are online: Just $33.99 each for Saturday and $29.99 for Sunday and even less for Guests-under-54″ and Seniors (60+).

Get lost (on purpose!)

Holidog in Corn Maze

Check out this HoliDrone photo:

Holidog in Corn Maze

At first, I didn’t believe it was a real photo. It had an almost-too-perfect quality that made me think it was a computer-generated image.

The Activity Trail that’s been set up for Happy Halloween Weekends includes two corn mazes (both are available at no additional charge). I’d never been in one before, so I jumped at the chance to explore one. Full disclosure: I may have lost my way in the middle of the maze, but I still conquered it and would do it again.

First of all, let’s tell you how to get there: There are two different ways you can get to our corn mazes from Hyena Falls Plaza. We have a path set up between the plaza and the mazes, so you’re free to simply walk over to them. We also have a hay ride you can take. You’ll come across our hand-painted round hay bales on the trip. (Have you seen the time-lapse video of Kitty Claws being painted?)

Our mazes are scare-free as well, so the whole family can enjoy them.

You Corn Do It With These Tips!

Thank you to Lori, one of our Attractions Managers, for helping me put this list together to help solve our maize!

  1. Wear comfortable clothes. Our corn mazes cover 12 acres, so you’ll be walking quite a bit. Having comfortable shoes and a light sweater or jacket on a cooler day might not seem like a necessity at first, but you’ll be glad you have them if you’re in the maze for a while.
  1. Stay hydrated. We’re the park that’s known for having free drinks, so don’t pass that up right before you make your way into one of our mazes. We have cups of water available at the entrance. If you have a souvenir cup, you’re free to take that into the maze with you.
  1. Decide which maze is best. We have a large and a small maze. Take your pick! If you’ve never been in a corn maze before or you’re venturing in with children, our smaller maze might be best. If you’re in it for the long haul or already a corn maze pro, the larger maze is perfect for you.
  1. Holiday World logo in Corn MazePlan yourMazed and Confused Station escape route. One of the first things you’ll do in our large maze is come to a huge opening in the corn field. If you looked straight up and waved, a HoliDrone or a satellite image would show you standing right in the middle of the Holiday World logo (top photo). Take a minute to identify what one of our Mazed & Cornfused stations looks like (bottom photo), since you should immediately spot one (more on what those are in a minute) and plan your preferred escape route!
  1. Keep everyone together. Think navigating a corn maze is tricky enough on its own? Try tracking down a group member who got separated without losing your place. That being said, if you have a large group, you can always break into smaller groups and see which group solves the maze faster.
  1. Maintain your sense of adventure. Don’t let any defeat or backtracking get you down. You’ll probably get turned around at some point and not know where you are. I did. Try using references outside of the maze to get a sense of where you are. You can look (or listen) for Thunderbird to try to get yourself situated or use a high-point in the maze to look for the nearest Mazed & Cornfused station.
  1. Don’t panic! If you truly do feel like you’ve become disoriented or lost in the maze and want out, we have employees who will help. Find the nearest Mazed & Cornfused station and pull the rope on it to raise the flag. One of our employees will meet you shortly.

The Fastest Escape Route

Now that you know what it takes to become a corn-maze pro, here’s a time-lapse video showing you the fastest route through the maze from start to finish.

Thanks for getting lost with me – hope you’ll soon be outstanding in our field! (Best discounts are online, with Saturday tickets just $33.99 and Sunday’s only $29.99!)

 

Spot-on fun

Thunderbird Commercial Shoot

It wasn’t just those beautiful Thunderbird trains flying around the skies of Thanksgiving this week.

Thunderbird commercial shoot

That’s right. One of those new-fangled drones was hovering, equipped with a camera (plus two licensed/certified flyers).

Because it’s commercial-shooting time around here!

Thunderbird commerical shoot

Thunderbird was in fine form and Mother Nature cooperated most of the time.

And the riders had a blast.

The drone camera wasn’t the only video-collecting contraption on site. Back in Thunderbird’s station, it looked a little bit like a Hollywood sound stage.

Thunderbird commerical shoot

Our new TV commercial (or “spot” if you want to sound like you’re in the biz) will be on the air in just a few weeks.

In the meantime, here’s our current “Meet Thunderbird” spot:

Want to ride Thunderbird this weekend? Click here for e-tickets at a special discounted rate of just $28.99 each. Don’t be late for launch!

A very Brady coaster

There’s no denying, Thunderbird is getting a lot of love and attention this fall.

It’s the new coaster on the block, and there’s lots of interest in how construction is coming along. (Spoiler alert: it’s coming along really, really well – stay tuned for more next week. Maybe even watch the Thunderbird ConstructionCams. On Monday.)

And so, the “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” wail from Jan Brady echoes in my head.

Keeping in mind that we’re already planning two more Hard Hat Chronicles in the next two weeks – both about Thunderbird – we just had to first turn our attention (and cameras) over to our other favorite children.

Because we love them all equally.

The Voyage gets an early Christmas present, delivered by a crane.

The Voyage is thankful for this new sprocket

What is it?

A sprocket.

A 1,400-pound sprocket. Normally, it’s located just past the top of the lift hill. The lift chain wraps around it.

So it’s very important.

Out with the old; in with the new.

Voyage's new (and old) sprocket

The Legend gets some track work …

Track work on The Legend

And, The Raven scores some off-season maintenance, too (did you catch the pun? hint: Raven is 20 years old in 2015):

The Raven gets some track work, too

Want to know more? Of course you do … so here’s a Wooden Coaster Hard Hat Chronicles:

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Now more than ever, it’s a very special holiday for us all.

A hard-hat tour for 14News

Deanna from 14News in Evansville is an early riser.

She sort of has to be; it’s her job.

We met up with VP James at 5am to check out what goes on here during the off-season.

First in the Maintenance Shop …

James and Deanna in our Maintenance Shop

Our Turkey Whirl turkey sure looks happy to be on camera. Or maybe just to be inside and warm. (We had snow flurries last night. Already!)

Next we stopped by our Paint Shop …

How’s this for a unique setting? Deanna is swimming with the seahorses:

Deanna and the seahorses

At long last, the sun came up and we headed down the hill to the Thunderbird construction site for one last hit. (That’s TV talk.)

James and Deanna, with Kirk on camera and Thunderbird in the background

James told me earlier he’d been dreaming of heading up construction of a roller coaster since he was a wee lad of just eight years old. He wrote a letter to a designer – and received a reply! That letter is now framed and hanging in James’s office.

Not that he’s in his office all that often; James has too many fun things to attend to out in the park.

This morning, James revealed that approximately 75 percent of Thunderbird’s track is now in place. At last count, 57 of the 77 track elements were in place (that number may have increased over the past few hours).

Take a look here to see Deanna’s reports.

Here’s a reminder that Season Passes are at their best prices right now ($20/month with Easy Pay) through Saturday night at midnight. The big perk for 2015 (besides that whole thing about being able to visit every day we’re open to the public and all) is that we will hold a Season Passholders’ Thunderbird Preview Night – five full hours of rides – the night before we open to the public. Orange you glad we thought of that?