April foolin’

When you work at a place named Holiday World, you take your holidays very seriously.

Lauren R.’s job description even includes searching for off-beat holidays and commemorating them on our Instagram page.

So as March came to its lamb-like conclusion yesterday, we wondered about a fun April Fool’s Day joke for social media.

Spoiler alert: #EpicFail

Here’s what happened:

There’s nothing like food to catch your attention, we know that. Food and coasters. And food.

And we know many of you get a big kick out of some of the unusual food offerings we’ve played around with during the off-season.

So we thought maybe we could come up with a list of food ideas that are so gross-yet-intriguing they’d be hard to dismiss as April Foolishness.

Thing is, it sort of backfired.

Nathan, Lauren and I tossed around ideas – each trying to outdo the other on the ick-meter:

  • Funnel cake walking taco
  • Doughnut stuffed with bacon and dipped in maple syrup
  • Funnel cake drizzled with nacho cheese
  • Baked beans in a waffle cone

Then Lauren suggested a funnel cake with scoops of ice cream on top. That stopped us cold.

Poor Nathan: “This is making me hungry. Are there any treats over in the main office?”

Lauren reported there were doughnuts left over from Dee Ann’s birthday breakfast.

And then there were two.

By the end of our “blue sky” session, what at first sounded ridiculous started to sound worth taste-testing at least once.

Even the idea of a funnel cake topped with pulled pork and barbecue sauce. You know … a BarF Cake. Mmmm.

It seems the joke was on us. Ten minutes of silly and nothing to show for it.

But April 1, 2015? We’ll be ready with something great. Just you wait …

First, the Headless Horseman …

And now … the headless roofer?

The headless roofer?

Well, it made us take a second look!

The roofers are getting Safari Outpost ready for opening.

And what are these fellows up to?

Mrs. Klaus' Kitchen re-do

Take a hard-hat tour with James and Matt, in this week’s installment of the Hard Hat Chronicles:





Hoosier dummy?

Our test dummies are ready to roll!

They look like a rowdy bunch, don’t they?

Hoosier dummy?

Here’s a video of our water-filled dummies from a few years ago:

We open for the season on May 3 – these dummies get the run of the park until then!

Put them in a pumpkin shell …

As most of our staff is scurrying around preparing for the start of the season, there are some whose job it is to plan ahead.

For example, plan for Halloween:

Eric, Ashley and Lauren at the St. Louis Halloween show

Eric, Ashley and Lauren are scoping out ideas for Happy Halloween Weekends at the Halloween show in St. Louis this week.

Who could resist the temptation to step inside a huge pumpkin shell? (Especially when there’s a gruesome zombie coming down the aisle …)

Happy Halloween Weekends admission is included with Season Passes again this year. We hope you can carve out some family time and join us!

Santa: As seen on TV

So what’s the deal with Santa in our new television commercials?

You know, this guy:

Santa in Holiday World's TV commercials

He gives a tour of our headquarters

… he chairs the boardroom meeting

… and holds his sizable head in his hands when the Pilgrim suggests offering Free Butter Churning Lessons at the park:

Free Butter Churning Lessons?

What’s the deal? The deal is, our iconic Santa Statue has come to life!

You know – this statue:

Santa Statue at Holiday World

Chances are, you’ve taken family photos in front of our Santa Statue more than once over the years.


Santa’s been here a long, long time. This photo is from 1956, during our Santa Claus Land days:

Iconic Santa Statue at Santa Claus Land

We take really good care of this iconic symbol of our park’s legacy. Tommy, our paint shop manager, makes sure of it!

Painter Tommy giving Santa a new coat

Not everyone smiles for the camera, though; four-year-old (in 2009) cutie Avery Lee chose to make a silly face for her mommy’s scrapbook photo.

Avery Lee and the Santa statue

Here’s a fellow who is nearly tall enough to reach Santa’s ear for a good whisper:

Mick Foley whispers in Santa's ear

Yep, that’s our pal Mick Foley. A bit of an icon himself.

Since our commercials were produced just weeks before Christmas (when Santa is busier than busy up at the North Pole), our beloved Santa Statue stepped up to the plate.

Here he is, side by side: Statuesque Santa and As-Seen-On-TV Santa:

Side-by-side Santas

We ho-ho-hope you’ve enjoyed previewing our 2014 television commercials and entering our Reel Picks Sweepstakes (enter daily now through 2pm CDT on March 31, 2014)!

The first turkey of spring?

Turkey Whirl assembly for 2014Do you watch carefully for the first robin of spring each year?

Here at Holiday World, it’s the first turkey of spring that makes our hearts leap with joy!

The Turkey Whirl is a classic tilt-a-whirl ride, themed for our Thanksgiving section, of course.

And yes, we’ve heard you call it “Turkey Hurl.” We don’t miss much …

Watch our maintenance crew thaw out these birds from their winter’s nap and reassemble our ride lickety-split in this time-lapse video!

Getting our ship together

While our crews are working hard to prepare the Mayflower site:

Mayflower construction

… other crews, hundreds of miles away, are assembling our new ride.

Mayflower, being assembled

In the above photo, they’re attaching the boat ends to the long keel.

Getting our ship together, as it were.

Here’s James with a Hard Hat Chronicles update:

Here’s another look at our glorious Mayflower:

Mayflower, under construction

No “I’m king of the World!” scenes planned with Holidog and Kitty Claws (not yet, anyway …).

Boat ends added to Mayflower's keel

The decorative shields, which will be seen along each side of Mayflower, await paint.

Decorative shields for Mayflower

Back at the Mayflower construction site, I couldn’t help but think we were playing life-size Whac-A-Mole when I saw the photo. Thank goodness for hardhats, right?

Mayflower construction

We’ll have another episode of the Hard Hat Chronicles in a week or so, as our park president, Matt, takes a construction tour with James.

In case you’re keeping count, we open in just seven weeks!

Who says turkeys can’t fly?

Good question!

There were several flying around these here parts yesterday.

And yes, we put our toys away for the winter months – and out they fly in the spring, ready for the new season.

Watch out – here comes another one!

Turkey Whirl set-up at Holiday World

And another:

Turkey Whirl set-up at Holiday World

Then safely secured in place by Tom and Anthony, Turkey Whirl is nearly ready for riders, starting May 3.

It's Turkey Whirl time!


After the winter we’ve had, Spring Fever has definitely struck all of us here at the park. The first glimpse of sunshine and temperatures above freezing sends just about everyone heading for the outdoors.

And when you step outside of the office on these days, you never know what you might discover!

Thursday just happened to be one of those beautiful days, and as I was heading out to get lunch, I noticed something was happening in the Raven Parking Lot. After getting into my car, I had a better look at the situation. There it was … the Tram!

Tram training at Holiday World

After returning with my lunch, I ate quickly hoping the Tram would still be there, grabbed my camera and headed toward the parking lot. You can imagine my excitement when I passed through the gate and it was still there. As I got closer, I noticed there were two people sitting inside the cab. The first was Rides Lori, and she was with Tram Driver-trainee Stephanie. I had only planned on taking a few photos and heading back to my windowless office, but when Lori asked if I wanted to hop on board for a “spin,” it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

The first trip around the empty parking lot, Lori drove and reviewed all the “Do’s and Don’ts” of driving the Tram.

Then it was Stephanie’s turn.

She navigated the turn-around by the front gate and headed down tram pathway. She practiced making all the necessary stops through the empty lot, but then came the hard part: the turn around the circle at Stop 3.

Stephanie listened intently as Lori gave her instructions on how to master that circle. As she began to make the turn, I held my breath half expecting to hear the thump of the back part of the tram hit the curb, but as we continued around the circle, that sound never came. Lori looked back in amazement as she said, “I think you are the first person I have trained who didn’t hop the curb on their first try!”

Tram driver training at Holiday World

Stephanie smiled and finished the route flawlessly before letting me back off at the front gate.

Great job, Stephanie!

Stephanie won’t be our only Tram Driver this season; we hire 35 to 40 each spring. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have worked at the park for at least one season. After completing classroom training and passing the written test, it’s time to hit the road (er, tram lane …) before becoming an official Holiday World Tram Driver.

Interested in becoming a Tram Driver or learning about other opportunities with our Rides Department? Be sure to visit our Jobs page!