Podcast: the Town named Santa Claus

PolarBears: Will, Lauren, Leah

For the last podcast episode of 2018, Lori Koch (Lauren and Leah’s mom) joined us as we delved into the history of the town of Santa Claus:



A visit from The Today Show last weekend resulted in a wonderful feature story that aired this week.

Here’s that link to the Santa Claus Visitors Bureau, if you’d like to plan a visit to enjoy the cheery activities in December.

Look what I found!

Here is the Polar Bear photo from long ago we talked about, with Will Koch and his daughters, Lauren and Leah.

Polar Bears: Will, Lauren, Leah

Here’s the photo of Matt Scott’s three monitors displaying our frosty photo from earlier this week (and all sorts of Star Wars mementos):

three monitors of coaster photos


When we started digging in on the history of the town’s famous post office, we revealed that for a decade, starting in 1947, it was located inside Santa Claus Land.

Post Office in park

In 1957, the Post Office moved to this free-standing building. Today it hosts Holiday World’s Call Center and a few business offices.

Santa Claus Post Office

The Coaster Crew got all holly-jolly on us this month:


Before we sign off, here’s that 360 photo of the future Santa’s Merry Marketplace:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! As we mentioned on the ‘cast, the #podsquad will be on a break for a while. Please be sure to subscribe to the HoliBlog to stay in touch with our off-season news, photos, and videos!

One photo, three monitors

The other morning, when the frost was on the pumpkin-colored coaster, Stephen and Josh bundled up first thing and took some gorgeous photos.

Including this panoramic view:

Voyage and Thunderbird Frosty Panorama

I remember standing in the doorway that connects our three offices and asking:

How can we possibly use this photo?

It is so lovely. Breathtaking, even.

But so … wide!

The answer came from our HoliWood Nights Facebook Group. Specifically, coaster enthusiast Matt Scott:

three monitors of coaster photos

Matt is a Mechanical Engineer at McCarthy Engineering in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. He designs HVAC systems for all kinds of buildings.

Matt says: I’ve lived in Pennsylvania since November 2007. I’m originally from Des Moines, Iowa. I’ve been a roller coaster enthusiast since I was a kid in the ’80s and have been visiting Holiday World since the Stark Raven Mad event in 1998.  

By the way, he’s known as AV Matt or Acoustic Viscosity in the online roller coaster enthusiast community. He’s that guy on CoasterBuzz who came up with the name for our annual HoliWood Nights event for coaster enthusiasts.

Thanks, Matt! We’re glad you don’t mind us getting a little frosty now and then.
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Before we all roam … a Christmas poem

2018 Ugly Sweaters at Christmas breakfast

As Christmas fast approaches, we pause to celebrate the season of Claus.

Last Friday’s full-time staff breakfast was the celebration of a job well done.

2018 Christmas Breakfast Staff Photo

Our HR Team even rewrote and recited this Christmas poem to those gathered:

   ‘Twas the Night before break and all through the park

   Our teams were scurrying, not losing their spark

   The walls of Kringle’s came down and were bare

   In hopes that the Marketplace would soon be there

   Candy Cane Confectionary all painted in red

   While visions of Sugarplums danced in our heads

   The new office building is now on the map

   After all the construction some could use a nap

   Through all the updates, arose quite the chatter

   About how much we appreciate you

   You’re the team that matters.

During this holiday season – no matter where you roam – please be safe.

Be jolly, too. Everyone loves an over-the-top Christmas sweater, right?

2018 Ugly Sweaters at Christmas breakfast

And please know that we’re greatly looking forward to seeing you again when we open in May!
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The Today Show comes to town!

Today Show Interview with Ashley

It probably comes as no surprise to hear that our town gets a lot of attention this time of year.

Over the weekend, a crew from The Today Show paid a visit.

Their holly-jolly feature aired this morning:

And yes, that’s our marketing director, Ashley, interviewed mid-way through:

Ashley on The Today Show

… plus a lovely scene with the Santa’s Elves at the Santa Claus Museum toward the end. (There’s still time to send children’s Letters to Santa. Here’s the address: Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus IN 47479. Be sure to include a return address.)

Merry Christmas to All!

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A visit from Jack Frost

When Jack Frost visits, he doesn’t just decorate the windows.

He goes a little crazy out in the park.

We hope you enjoy these springlike photos, taken by Josh and Stephen on this chilly morn.

Voyage and Thunderbird from Picnic Grove

Is that frost … or cotton candy?

Frosty Mammoth

Mammoth seems to enjoy the return to the Ice Age.

Legend and Water Tower

The sun soon melted this look of spun sugar in the trees.

Tembo Falls with Voyage and Thunderbird Raven Station and Legend Helix Thunderbird Vertical Loop and Crows Nest

Stay warm!

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Podcast: The one with the Retiree

Mike and Joe

Mike Johannes has certainly never been thought of as a retiring sort of person. But after 26 years with us, it seems our Director of Sales is heading off to make some new adventures.

We invited Mike to join us for this podcast episode, and he brought with him tales of golfing with Santa, chasing escaped critters through the park, and the evolution of Free Unlimited Soft Drinks.

Here are Bill Koch and his eldest, Will, back in 1995. Mike enjoyed working with both of them immensely (but I’m pretty sure he never found time to try out The Raven).

Bill & Will Koch

Here’s Mike in the early 2000s, flanked by his son Christopher and the late Joe Hevron.

Christopher, Mike and Joe

Further into the podcast, Matt, Lauren, and Leah shared some stories about their week in Orlando for the annual IAAPA Expo.

Those much-coveted socks from ProSlide?

Pretty snazzy:

Socks from ProSlide

Here are links to our posts about SpongeBob and Tom’s four generations of hidden graffiti.

The funky art that Lauren created for our new Conference Room wall:

Conference Room Wall Art

Here’s the address for writing a letter to Santa:

Santa Claus
PO Box 1
Santa Claus IN 47579

Love this tweet!


Here’s that map from @TerribleMaps


Chandler, this made our HR staff very happy!


One mom. Four kiddos.


And speaking of Thanksgiving, young Sawyer made a strong fashion statement about his menu choice:

Sawyer on Thanksgiving

And while dining at West Baden with his family, the dome captured his rapt attention:

Sawyer looking up

Coaster Crew is at it again!


Click over to our Clubs page for more information about HoliWood Nights, “Airtime!” and our Partner Clubs.

Thanks for joining us for this podcast episode! We’ll be back for one final 2018 chat in December.

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“Being of sound mind …”

Demolition work is underway in preparation for the new Santa’s Merry Marketplace.

Kringle's Kafe demolition

As fast-paced as this work is, we occasionally pause.

Lauren and Tom

That’s Tom, who’s our Carpenter & Facilities Manager, proudly holding a piece of wood.

That’s a two-by-four, right?

Whatever the measure, it’s a piece of history. #HoWoHistory

Because, like all great artists, Tom likes to sign his work.

Tom Berg's Signed Piece of Lumber

Can you decipher it?

It reads: I, Tom Berg, being of sound mind and body, declare that on this day, Jan. 12, 1981, I helped reconstruct this establishment and anything that pertains to it. 

After 37 years, that piece of lumber returns to Tom as a souvenir.

Tom Berg with Signed Lumber Mr. Berg has been with the park for four decades and has been … uh, defacing our property for nearly as long.

Some of our carpenters, while replacing the roof on a building by the Lewis & Clark Trail recently, found a similar relic. There it was: Tom’s name and the date of the long-ago work.

Tom remembers signing his name on the top of the Boston Tea Party games building. (The late Will Koch used to tease Tom about the validity of the “sound mind” part.)

When Stephen met up with Tom to take this photo, our graffiti artist waxed poetic:

It’s neat to go to the top of one of the rolley-coasters and look out and see your life’s work laid out before you

Sometimes, though, your work needs to be replaced after a number of decades.

Such is the case of Kringle’s Kafe, which opened in 1991. It will be expanded and reopen as Santa’s Merry Marketplace in May.

But where did we feed folks back before Kringle’s was around?

We just happen to have the answer available in this newly-digitized film from back in the 1950s.

Take a look back to our early years – our Christmas Dining Room days – at Santa Claus Land:

Before we get too teary-eyed revisiting the past, here’s another look at what we have to look forward to in the spring.

We’ll all make merry then!

Santa's Merry Marketplace | Coming 2019!

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Treeboy meets SpongeBob

Santa SpongeBob

“Absorbant and yellow and porous is he” has to be one of the best cartoon theme-song lines ever written.

It was so sad to hear that SpongeBob SquarePants’ creator passed away yesterday. Stephen Hillenburg was just 57.

Santa SpongeBobThinking of SpongeBob took me back to the summer of 2002, when a plush version of the gap-toothed goofball was a highly sought-after prize at one of our games.

That July, a television reporter – with the rather unusual name of Treeboy – visited us for a feature story.

Treeboy had never heard of SpongeBob SquarePants, but wanted to bring the yellow fellow home as a gift for one of the morning show’s anchors. But he just couldn’t get the hang of that name.

“What’s his name again?”

SpongeBob, Treeboy. It’s SpongeBob SquarePants.

“What does that mean?”

Well, Treeboy … some people like silly names

The next morning (very early) we met up again, this time at the top of ZOOMbabwe for live shots. Treeboy told me he’d brought SpongeBob along with him to a nice restaurant the night before.

“I asked our waitress if she recognized SpongeBob and she said, ‘Oh, I know who that is!'”

Treeboy looked alarmed, “I thought you’d tricked me and he was something really bad.”

That was so long ago, I guess it was understandable that not everyone had yet been introduced to SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward. Oh, and Eugene H. Krabs.

We dusted off this recording of Treeboy’s report:

Rest in peace, Mr. Hillenburg. Thanks for all the great laughs.

Warm memories

Marcus Returning on Voyage

The first snowstorm of the season has come and gone – and it’s only November 15!

Our pal Marcus Leshock found a way to warm our hearts, though, by posting this YouTube video. It’s from when he visited this summer on assignment with WGN-TV in Chicago:

Be sure to un-mute the video …

’cause Marcus is a world-class screamer

Marcus Leshock and Andy Hine Returning on Thunderbird

Marcus also took a ride on Thunderbird when he was here in June.

That’s Andy Hine, president of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, sitting next to him.

Are you “coaster crazy”? Then you might want to look into joining a Coaster Club. And if you are a memeber of one of our ten Partner Clubs (listed on our HoliWood Nights page) you’ll be eligible to register for our special event for enthusiasts: HoliWood Nights! (Check out our movie theme for 2019 – surely you won’t want to miss it!)

Not exactly monkey business

Kima Bay bucket

And to think some people assume we just monkey around during the off-season …

What does it take to get voted the #1 Cleanest Park in the World a full 19 years in a row?

This sort of attention to detail:

Kima Bay bucket

Anthony and his crew are spiffing up the bucket from Kima Bay, which includes … yes, brushing the monkey’s teeth.

We’ll be sure they remember to floss.

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