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.


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

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.

Postcast: The one with the Coastershack

So the cat’s out of the bag.

Or perhaps I should say … gopher.

During today’s podcast, we reveal the 2018 theme for our HoliWood Nights event for coaster enthusiasts.

No, it’s not Yellow Submarine, but this photo from our HoliWood Nights Facebook Group is too cool not to post:

Groom's Cake

Our theme is … Coastershack!

Be sure to enter our Season Pass Sweepstakes daily before November 14!

And the very next day – night, actually – is the deadline to catch our best discounts for 2018 Season Passes.

Want to be among the first to receive notification of What’s News for 2018? Subscribe to the HoliBlog and you’ll receive our News Releases, too. How? If you’re using a desktop computer or tablet, look for the “Subscribe to Blog” sidebar at the top-right corner of this page. On a smartphone? Simply head over to our Connect page to sign up.

That recipe for Voyage Extreme Brownies? You’re welcome.

In our #HoWoPo Feedback section, we learned videos help some make it through the long, cold winter:

And we were delighted to see these then-and-now photos of little Kevin:

Oo-la-la! Coaster Crew made a trip to France!

…and now they’re home, already writing to Santa:


Well, I was hoping to end this post with a photo of Frieda and her cat, but I don’t seem to have one.

However, here she is – back in 1984 – with a macaw. (Yes, we used to have a Macaw Show, long ago.)

Frieda & Macaw, 1984

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We’ll be back with another podcast episode on December 1.

Sweepstakes: Win Season Passes!

Suddenly it’s November! The park is closed until May, but we full-time staffers are already up to our elbows preparing for the new season.

Does that phrase – new season – make your heart beat just a little bit faster?

Sounds like you need Season Passes for 2018!

We’re giving away two Season Passes in this sweepstakes, along with two overnights in a Christmas Cabin, provided by our friends and neighbors at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort.

Rudolph's Christmas Cabin

We’ll have one winner, chosen at random.

Enter daily and you could win!

Before you enter, 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, 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, tweeting about this sweepstakes, following us on Pinterest, and visiting us on our Facebook page.
  • If you win, please note you must be at least 21 to phone in your Rudolph’s Christmas Cabin reservation at Lake Rudolph. Here are the dates the cabin will be available for reservation: May 1-24 and May 28-June 7, 2018.
  • 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).
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us which ride, slide, show or treat you’ll miss the most during the “off season.” (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)
  • Did you know you can subscribe to our HoliBlog so that you receive all of our posts (including contests) by email? If you’re using a desktop computer or tablet, look for the “Subscribe to Blog” sidebar at the top-right corner of this page. On a smartphone? Just scroll down a tiny bit more to find it.

Ready to enter?

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 Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at 2:30pm CST, when we’ll choose one winner at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interested in learning more about the perks of owning Season Passes (or, better yet, Platinum Season Passes)? Be sure to check out all the details here.

Good luck to all!

Podcast: Saint Mick

Saint Mick book cover

During last episode’s SWOT analysis, we decided our biggest “O” was the opportunity to bring more guests on board.

And so, we turned to our pal, WWE Hall-of-Famer Mick Foley.

The “old bear” has penned a memoir – or, as he tells us, a love letter to his children – about his journey to wearing the Red Suit.



Mick spent several days here in Santa Claus working on Saint Mick last fall:

Mick Foley writing "Saint Mick"

Mick offers some sage parenting advice for very-soon-to-be-mommy Lauren (pictured here with her sister, Leah):

Lauren and Leah

Mick’s book signing (and more) begins at 6pm CT on Tuesday, November 7, at the Santa Claus Museum here in town.

Saint Mick book cover

Saint Mick is a great read! (Can’t get enough of Mick’s stories? He was our guest on a podcast episode back in September of 2016, too.)

Hope you got to catch Coaster Quest on the Travel Channel. Jason Zone Fisher is a lot of fun as host of the show.


How could the contestants not know this Jeopardy answer, er … question?


That fabulous photo from last weekend:

And … the Skunkin:

Skunkin (skunk pumpkin)

I believe it was at this point that Matt admitted his own pumpkin carving talent was “less than stellar.”

Thunderbird Pumpkin

(Not that I have any room to talk. I didn’t even try.)

Happily, others on staff got the hang of it rather quickly …

Mascot Pumpkins

The Coaster Crew cracked us up once again …


Halloween came early for the #podsquad, thanks to Mr. Rentz:

Kit Kat bars

Here’s a look at that Thunderbird “tiny planet” photo Stephen created:

Thunderbird Plaza - Tiny Planet

… and don’t miss Josh’s HoliBlog post about his first night rides.

Reminder: 2018 Season Passes are at their deepest discounts right now (including our monthly payment plan).

Thanks for listening – Happy Halloween to all!

Night flights

Voyage At Sunset

Last Friday, I wrote about our Lights Out! show. The next day, I got to experience a few of our coasters with their lights out.

This past Saturday we hosted “Quoth the Raven, Ride Some More,” a coaster-enthusiast event with the Midwest chapter of the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE).

Our morning started before the park opened with a round of friendly competition on Gobbler Getaway before moving up to Thunderbird Plaza for the first rides of the day.

Our friends from ACE Midwest joined us today for their event “Quoth the Raven, ride some more”

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In addition to those first rides of the day, the group also got the last rides of the night: Pitch black night rides on both Thunderbird and The Voyage.

After Thunderbird Plaza had been cleared at closing, the group headed up for their evening ERT (Exclusive Ride Time). The lights on Thunderbird’s brake run were turned off, and one of the trains ran with its LED lights completely shut off.

That was the train I chose for my first night ride on Thunderbird.

Once out of the station, everything went dark. There’s nothing quite like flying through Thunderbird’s Immelmann loop and seeing all of the stars in the sky. It’s exhilarating to fly past trees when you can just barely make out their silhouettes as you soar through the woods.

I told myself that one ride would be enough. Four laps later, I realized I’d been kidding myself.

Up next was The Voyage. We raced through the night, weaving in and out of The Voyage’s massive structure. It was a perfect way to end the evening.

It’s your last chance to ride!

Purchase tickets for Happy Halloween Weekends online for the best prices. Tickets are discounted to just $33.99 each for Saturday (when you can ride after dark) and $29.99 for Sunday.

Bundle up and come see us for your last rides of the season as we wrap up Happy Halloween Weekends this Sunday!

Remember to turn the Lights Out!

Lights Out! | Happy Halloween Weekends | Holiday World

Lights Out! This is what you came for…

Back for a second season with all new songs and choreography, Lights Out! takes over the Hoosier Celebration Theater every Saturday and Sunday during Happy Halloween Weekends. Our long-abandoned troupe of circus performers comes back to life for one final show.

This high-energy show features 21 “spookified” songs by artists ranging from Guns N’ Roses to Lady Gaga.

I saw the show last Saturday and loved the mix of classic and current music. The cast – which hails from four states – brings the show to life with their vocals, costumes, and personality.

Hint: Be sure to arrive early if you like to sit close to the stage.

Check out these highlights from the show:

The show runs about 25 minutes and was designed with the whole family in mind – nothing too scary. It was also designed by the whole family – park owners and siblings Lauren Crosby, Leah Koch, and William Koch created Lights Out!

You might even get some costume ideas from the cast. Some of our youngest super-fans certainly have:

After the show, stick around to meet the cast, snap some great photos, and share them on social media (please tag us!).

Lights Out! is just one of the shows featured during Happy Halloween Weekends. Catch one of Magician Don Baggett’s final magic shows over the next two weekends before he retires. Carve out some time for a chat with Gourdon, our talking pumpkin. And be sure to listen for the crazy rhythm of our wandering Dead Beats drum line. Plan your day’s fun by getting all our showtimes right on your phone.

Online tickets for Happy Halloween Weekends are discounted to just $33.99 each for Saturdays and $29.99 for Sundays.

We hope you’ll join us before we turn the Lights Out! on another great Halloween season!

That “Harper Valley PTA” Girl!

Jeanie C. Riley ad

What in the world does Jeannie C. Riley have to do with Holiday World?

The Grammy Award winner’s connection is with Santa Claus Land, actually; she performed her hit Harper Valley PTA in concert here on Monday, June 11, 1979:

Jeanie C. Riley "That Harper Valley PTA Girl" ad

This ad is from our archives.

Something else in that folder … an article that ran in “Santa’s Country” weekly newspaper. In it, Ms. Riley is quoted as saying, “I’ve never seen anything like [Santa Claus Land]. I didn’t know there was a place where kids could go to sit on Santa’s lap and talk to him.”

Her husband, Mickey, chimed in: “This place could really grow into something big. The countryside around here is beautiful. I love it. And the hospitality is unbelievable.”

Today is Jeannie C. Riley’s 72nd birthday, and we wish her many happy returns!


Watch us on Travel Channel!

Travel Channel host Jason Zone Fisher

Get ready to start seeing this face on your TV this fall:

Travel Channel host Jason Zone Fisher

Jason Zone Fisher is the host of a new Travel Channel show called Coaster Quest. Jason visited us back in July and we’re part of that show’s premiere episode – which will air on Saturday!

According to Travel Channel’s website: Host Jason Zone Fisher journeys across America on a quest to ride the biggest, fastest roller coasters the country has to offer. He dives deep into each amusement park, going behind the scenes to see how it all comes together and sharing insider info on the best rides, the must-have foods, and the quirkiest attractions.

Jason spent two days riding rides in both Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari and even went behind the scenes to learn from an expert how to prepare a signature menu item:

Travel Channel - Jason & Lavina

And just who is Jason Zone Fisher?

According to his website: Hey, I’m Jason; a storyteller, an adventure seeker, a sports fanatic, a BBQ connoisseur, a pizza bagel, a political junkie, and a man on a mission.

After spending two long days with him, we can add … and one heck of a nice guy! We all enjoyed working with him and the crew from the West Coast.

Travel Channel's Jason Zone Fisher

The title of Saturday’s episode is The Midwest’s Best Roller Coasters. It premieres at 1pm CDT on Saturday, October 21 on Travel Channel. For the best of all possible worlds, set your DVR to record it, and join us Saturday for Happy Halloween Weekends!

Podcast: SWOT analysis

Sad Eric with 4 lattes

With a couple of SWOT enthusiasts sitting around the #podsquad table, you knew it was only a matter of time:

That Corn Bin photo posted on the Book of Face: Don’t those kiddos look like adults at a coffee shop … or a spa?

Our Facebook frame for Happy Halloween Weekends is only a click away.

The #PodSquad’s celebration of International Podcast Day was so jubilant it took two days.

As you may remember for Podcast Episode 043, Eric offered to treat the #PodSquad to Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Mrs. Klaus’ Kitchen that Saturday.

He had it all planned out, until …

Saturday text


One Eternity Later


Sunday text

And so, the saddest photo ever taken in the history of Holiday World:

Sad Eric with 4 lattes

While talking about Carnival Chaos, we mentioned “The Man Who Knows” …

The Man Who Knows

Can anyone possibly look at this and not crave Pringles?

Well, now that I look at their logo, maybe they’re not exactly identical twins …


… yet the craving lives on.

Here’s that cute squirrel photo Angie took this week:


… and the rainbow photo:

Oh, Coaster Crew, your creativity knows no bounds:

When it’s everyone’s favorite game time, we clown around a bit.

Happy Kellems at Santa Claus Land

Here’s Happy Kellems (and his wife, Lillian) performing for a Santa Claus Land audience long ago.

And finally, in our “thank yous” at the end of this neverending episode, we thanked Stephen for mixing up a peppermint oil concoction to help convince wasps to reroute their flight plans out of sniffing distance from our webcam.

Because this is like something out of a horror movie!

Wasp on webcam

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back again in two weeks with the return of our pal, Mick Foley!

Halloween “boos” and don’ts

Eek! Happy Halloween Weekends are halfway over! Boo-ginning today, you have just three more weekends to visit before we turn the lights out on another season.

You haven’t checked us out yet this fall? Here’s a list of Boos & Don’ts for your visit …

Make the most of Happy Halloween Weekends

Boo: Enjoy the extra sleep!

During Happy Halloween Weekends we open at 11am. (That’s Central time.)

Don’t: Pack the beach towel

Splashin’ Safari is closed for the season. Weather-permitting, though, Frightful Falls and Raging Rapids will be open.

Boo: Catch the shows

Enjoy our singing and dancing Halloween characters in Lights Out!, the Wild & Wacky Halloween Magic Show, and hear Gourdon’s Tales from the Patch.

Check show times right from your phone.

Let Gourdon tell you all about Holidog’s 3D Halloween Adventure. Stop by the Holiday Theater to check it out!

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Don’t: Miss the magic

Magician Don Baggett is back for one last season of fun with us. Stop by Kringle’s Kreepy Kafe to catch one of his final kid-friendly shows.

Boo: Play in the corn

Ghosts less than 54 inches tall are invited to play in our huge sandbox full of corn, located right across from Plymouth Rock Cafe.

Don’t: Get lost in the corn

Explore our 12 acres of corn mazes – but fear not! If you get to feeling lost, just raise the flag at one of our “Mazed & Cornfused” stations and we’ll help you get back out again. (Check out more in-depth tips here.)

Mummy's Treasure Maze from Happy Halloween Weekends

Boo: Explore our seasonal attractions

Holidog’s 3D Halloween Adventure, Carnival Chaos, and Mummy’s Treasure Maze are only open during Happy Halloween Weekends!

Don’t: Forget about Mummy

Mummy’s Treasure Maze is in the Good Old Days Picnic Grove just past “Eagles Fright.” Look for the Mummy signs around the park to guide you!

Boo: Enjoy our dance party

Kitty Claws hosts a dance party (5pm CDT each Saturday and 4pm each Sunday) in Splashin’ Safari Plaza. Dance your tails off with Kitty and friends before taking children 12 and younger along our Trick or Treat Trail!

Don’t: Worry about food allergies

We’re part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, so children with food allergies have fun and safe options when Trick or Treating. (We also have allergen-friendly menus at Kringle’s, Plymouth Rock Café, and George’s Gluten-Free Pizza & Snacks.)

Boo: Get your picture with Holidog

… plus Kitty Claws, George the Eagle, and Safari Sam. They’re all decked out for the season in their costumes. You can catch them in the Christmas Plaza throughout the day and then in Splashin’ Safari Plaza in time for Kitty’s Dance Party (5pm CDT each Saturday and 4pm each Sunday). Please be sure to tag us on social media!

Don’t: Miss our Facebook photo frame

Facebook will send it to your mobile device when you click here.

Boo: Visit for free

Purchase a 2018 Platinum Season Pass (and pay in full), and you can visit free on Sundays for the rest of this season. Also, tell us here what your favorite fall food is and you will be entered to win two Happy Halloween Weekends tickets!

Don’t: Forget about 2018

Get the lowest prices on 2018 Season Passes (including Easy Pay monthly payments) through November 15. Then join our Season Passholder group on Facebook and share tips year-round with other Season Passholders.

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+).