It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Santa's Merry Marketplace Decorations

I’ll plead guilty to any accusation of a cheesy Christmas-lyric subject line, but …

Come on!

Santa's Merry Marketplace Decorations

Decor and more for Santa’s Merry Marketplace!

The chandeliers (all 23 of them) are hung by the chimney with care.

Register Stations at Santa's Merry Marketplace

Hold on – what chimney?

This chimney!

Santa's Merry Marketplace's Fireplace

Love these rustic doors for our Party Rooms.

These private rooms are reservable for groups of 15+ who want catered meals. And to celebrate Christmas a bit early.

Party Room Doors

Here’s one more view.

Let’s call it Santa’s Messy Marketplace for now. But in just a few weeks, it will be our Candy Cane Confectionary.

Candy Cane Confectionary

If you peer into the background of this photo, you’ll see some of the beloved Santa Claus Murals already decorating the walls.

Come see Santa’s Merry Marketplace for yourself on Opening Day, May 4 (or, if you’re a Platinum Season Passholder, on May 3).

We ho-ho-hope you’ll join us!
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Whatever happened to the Santa murals?

Santa murals

They’re back!

Santa murals

Sort of looks like a Santa Claus Art Gallery, doesn’t it?

The murals, which originated in 1991, were carefully preserved over the winter months. It’s time, though, for them to claim their space in Santa’s Merry Marketplace.

I’ve got to admit, we were stunned by the many accusations that we’d abandoned these works of art.

O ye of little faith

Another question asked with great emotion all winter concerned our pizza. We weren’t at all surprised to learn you loved Kringle’s Pizza. But we couldn’t quite fathom that some might think we’d throw out the recipe along with the murals!

Indeed, the first pizza for Santa’s Merry Marketplace slid into the oven just minutes ago:

first pizza

What else will we serve in Santa’s Merry Marketplace? Let’s see … Pizza & Pasta, Asian Cuisine, American Grill, Deli Sandwiches, and Kids Favorites. Here’s the full menu.

The Marketplace will also include:

  • Candy Cane Confectionary
  • Sugarplum Scoop Shoppe
  • Polar Expresso

And all of this deliciousness will be surrounded by Santa artwork.

Santa's sleigh mural

Santa’s Merry Marketplace will be ready to go for Opening Day, May 4.

Whether it’s pizza you’re craving of some General Tso’s Cauliflower Bites, we’ll be ready!

Santa murals

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Top, Tour, Taste

We tasted both General Tso's Chicken, as well as this delicious vegetarian version:

Yesterday’s media event for the Tower Topping at Santa’s Merry Marketplace was a ho-ho-whole lot of fun!

To begin with, the weather was just perfect and the trees were awakening.

Water tower

TV crews, newspaper reporters, radio personalities, and the HoliDrone were on hand to watch the topping of the six-story tower at Santa’s Merry Marketplace.

Want to see more? Cameron from Eyewitness News later tweeted this great time-lapse:

 

What next?

After the “topping,” we took a construction tour throughout Santa’s Merry Marketplace (remember, we’re a month away from Opening Day):

Fabric on Ceiling | Santa's Merry Marketplace tour

Lauren and Matt led the tour, pointing out locations for Candy Cane Confectionary, Polar Expresso, and Sugarplum Scoop Shoppe.

Matt and Lauren with TV reporter

They also described the food-court area, where we’ll serve the following menus:

  • Asian Cuisine
  • Pizza & Pasta
  • Kids Favorites
  • American Grill
  • Deli Sandwiches

… and then strolled over to our three new Party Rooms, for groups of 15 and more to have catered events.

Then on to the Mother’s Nursing Room, two family restrooms, and our themed …

Green and white tiling in restrooms

… restrooms!

The tiling work is underway. And the bathrooms are quite roomy – with double the, er, seating capacity as we had last year.

Back outside, the tour ended across the plaza in St. Nick’s, where our Foods crew had spread out samples of a dozen or so of the new menu items for this season.

The reporters were a bit shy at first:

WBKR's Chad eating enthusiastically

WBKR’s Chad Benefield enthusiastically samples the vegetarian version of General Tso’s Chicken … er, Cauliflower

This gluten-free choice was particularly popular.

Empty plate

Cameron from Eyewitness News explains why in the video below. (I came across the video on his Facebook page; this is used with his permission.)

The tasting concluded with two of our new Festive Flurries:

Festive Flurries

Want to check out all the menus? We will offer 110 new items, with half in Santa’s Merry Marketplace alone.

With just four weeks until Opening Day, here’s your reminder that the best discounts for Season Passes disappear once we open for the season. This much food could take all summer!
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Legend rides again!

The Legend logo

Whatever you do, don’t look back! – Legend rides again

The Legend logo

This afternoon we got the call that The Legend was about to head out on its first rides of the season.

Around here, that’s a big deal

Stephen grabbed his video gear and headed down Halloween Hill to catch the start of Legend’s 20th season:


How unfair is it that test dummies get the first rides around here?

The Legend rides again – along with the rest of Holiday World – starting on May 4. We hope you’ll join us!
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The Calming Room

Calming Room

We post this photo of our pal Mick Foley on Twitter annually for Autism Awareness Day. He wears that Autism Acceptance band in honor of his son Mickey and the many others who deserve acceptance.

And each year, a number of people tweet their thanks to Mick, on behalf of their children.

Mick Foley - Autism Acceptance

… because it’s a wide spectrum that touches many families.

Did you know we have a Calming Room?

It’s available for our Guests with special needs who will benefit from a quiet, relaxing break from the park’s sensory stimulation.

Calming Room

The room, which includes bean bag chairs, a small tent, rocking chair, couch, plus adjustable lighting, is located inside our First Aid building  (the red-roofed building in Splashin’ Safari’s plaza).

Here’s a video tour:

Park Guests may reserve our Calming Room for 30-minute sessions on a first come, first served basis at Guest Relations or First Aid.

The Accessibility page on our website includes a variety of information. For example, is your arm or leg is in a cast?  You can check which attractions are safe for you to ride. We even list where our manual-flush toilets are located (thanks to the mom who asked us for this).

Here’s the link to our 2019 Accessibility Guide. There’s lots of information included in the guide, to help with planning your visit. Please take a look there for height and weight limits, health restrictions, cast information, pool-water depth, and more.
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Season Passes: 6 Perks You Might Not Know About

Reindeer Games Family

Still on the fence about Season Passes for this year?

Here are six perks you might not know about:

1. Visit when you want: As a mom (and now a grandma), I have to say this is my favorite. There’s nothing like the feeling of being able to visit when you want – and for as long or short as you’d like. You can plan a visit or just drop by on a whim. I’ve even spoken with some moms who bring their smaller children over a few mornings each week for Santa’s Storytime and lunch before heading home for nap time. And if you don’t get everything done in one visit? No worries! The “leftovers” will keep till your next visit!

Season Passholders quickly realize that a less-than-perfect weather forecast can be a great day to visit. Fewer families tend to visit when stormy weather is predicted, so lines are shorter – and often much shorter. If the day does include a storm, you won’t mind cutting your day short or waiting for rides to reopen, because you know you can come back again and again!

Season Passes and Platinum Season Passes offer unlimited visits during the season; Summer Fun Card provide Sunday through Friday admission through Labor Day.

2. Discounts: Use your Platinum Season Pass in the park for 20% savings in our shops and restaurants. Plus, you can add HoliCash to your Season Pass – no need to wear a wristband! If you have regular Season Passes, your discount is 10%.

Reindeer Games Family3. Platinum Preview Party: Everyone who has a Platinum Pass is invited to our Platinum Preview Party on May 3, with rides, prizes, and new food sampling. Platinum Passholders also receive a monthly 99-cent treat offer.

4. Extra Savings: Season Passholders and Platinum Season Passholders receive even more deals for Food, Games, and Merchandise.

5. Are you a scrapbooker? The head shots on our Season Passes provide a sweet way to keep track of the years as your little ones grow from riding Dasher’s Seahorses to Scarecrow Scrambler and from The Raven to Thunderbird. (They grow up so fast!)

6. Bring a Friend for $25: Season Passholders can bring a friend with them for $25 on Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and Sundays during Happy Halloween Weekends. Platinum Passholders get an additional six days of their choice (Sundays through Fridays) to use the Bring a Friend discount.

Bonus Tip: Consider either keeping your Season Passes in your car, so you don’t forget them at home on the counter, or spend an extra $5 per Pass to have a second copy made. This is also handy if you want your babysitter or grandparents to keep a set on hand.

Here’s the link to the full list of benefits for Season Passholders. If you’d like to upgrade Season Passes to Platinum (or Summer Fun Cards to Season Passes), it’s $30 per pass. Just call us at 1-800-467-2682 or make the upgrade when you have your passes made. The dates Early Processing for Season Passes start soon!
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#ThrowbackThursday: Ski Show

Human Pyramid

Did you know we used to have a water-ski show?

It was a long time ago. Sixty years, actually.

It was called the Willie Bartley Water Ski Show and was performed on Lake Rudolph.

This was back when Lake Rudolph was called Rudolph Lake. And it was smaller then than it is now.

I kid you not. The late Bill Koch told me this years ago; he chuckled when I expressed shock. It’s still amazing to think that there would have been enough room for all the stunts and thrills the show provided.

This photo is from 1959

Lake Rudolph with American Legion in background

See where those people are gathered? That’s where The Raven‘s lake turn is now.

(If you’re local, you’ll probably recognize the American Legion in the background.)

Ready to see some photos of the ski show?

This one’ll knock your socks off: The Human Pyramid!

Human Pyramid

The Water Skiers’ Ballet required a tremendous amount of poise. And balance!

Water ballet at Santa Claus Land

The water skiers looked like they came out of central casting. I half expect to see them in a classic flick on TCM tonight!

Double's Act

People watchers will enjoy taking a gander at the audience members’ stylish dress, below.

Meanwhile, that’s not one, but two boats flying off the ramp!

Crowd Watching Flying Boat Full Size

A brochure from the year 1960 is an absolute hoot to read: Whether your interest lies in the talented and thrilling performance of the comely lasses of the Willie Bartley Troupe or in the men’s masterful handling of the powerful boat and motors, you’ll enjoy every moment of the show.

The Mad Men vibe continues with this commercial (don’t forget to crank up the volume):

We had fun reading the reaction to this commercial when we posted it on our Santa Claus Land Facebook page a few weeks ago – and even connected with the daughter of one of the skiers, who couldn’t wait to show it to her mom! It’s always amazing to hear from those who remember our early days.
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A visit 20 years in the making

Santa Claus

Do you remember what you wanted for Christmas a few months ago? (I’m here in Santa Claus, Indiana, and I sure don’t!)

How about 20 years ago?

This brother and sister, now grown, crossed a visit to Holiday World off their Santa-inspired bucket list after 20 years of dreaming.

The brother blogged about their story – and it’s too charming not to share!

Santa will be back in town in just a few weeks, getting ready for Opening Day. (He’s still got a nice place up at the North Pole, you know.) We can’t wait to see the look on his face when he sees Santa’s Merry Marketplace! Visits with Santa will take place in St. Nick’s Gift Shop, and Santa’s Storytime Theater will continue to be the place to be for Christmas stories and jolly songs.
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Mermaid mystery

Mermaid ICEE

Did you know there’s a new ICEE flavor called Mermaid?

Well, there is:

Mermaid ICEE

When we put together our ICEE Mix It Up Sweepstakes, we wanted to include a list of the 12 flavors we’ll offer this season. The three new flavors are Warheads Strawberry Grape Smashup, Strawberry Lemonade, and … Mermaid.

Mermaid?

A quick check around the office resulted in a list of (mostly unhelpful) ideas:

  • Fishstick
  • Sardine
  • Seaweed
  • Cotton candy (already exists)
  • Bubblegum, but green
  • Pineapple and blue raspberry

Thankfully, the cavalry crested the hillside in the form of an email from our ICEE Guy (yes, we have an ICEE Guy) moments later, revealing the true flavor profile:

Mermaid ICEESo now we know it’s a lovely teal color.

And the taste?

It’s “mixed berry,” meaning a combination of Strawberry, Raspberry, and Blueberry.

It’s been interesting to note that quite a few of the people who’ve entered our sweepstakes are eager to try Mermaid. A few asked, “What flavor is Mermaid?” but most didn’t.

Our sweepstakes runs through Tuesday, April 9 at 2:30pm CDT. You’re welcome to enter daily. Good luck to all!
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Snow on the first day of spring?

Snow Globe, featuring Wildebeest

Snow? No, thank goodness, we’re talking about the arrival of snow globes on the first day of spring.

The Vernal Equinox, if you will. One of only two days each year when day and night are equal. Tomorrow, the days grow just a little bit longer.

We’ll have two new snow globes in the shops this season.

Here’s the Santa Statue Snow Globe:

Santa Statue Snow Globe

Our second design is a swirling blizzard of iconic Holiday World rides and symbols.

You may remember this photo from Social media a few months ago:

We were really tickled with all the comments that it looked good enough to eat! From waffles to peanut butter to brown sugar, that tweet set off some powerful cravings.

Here, at last, is the final look (front and back):

Snow Globe, featuring Mammoth

This side of the snow globe features Mammoth, Thunderbird, and our water tower, with Voyage in the background

Snow Globe, featuring Wildebeest

This side of the snow globe features Wildebeest, The Voyage and Thunderbird, plus our iconic water tower

Watch for these snow globes in our shops when we open in May.
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