Podcast: The one with the year of feedback

We’ve missed out on a lot of feedback in one year. In fact, we dedicated an entire episode to feedback.

We heard about bacon hour at McDonald’s. We don’t want to brag, but every hour is bacon hour at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

We heard from the Coaster Crew. A few times.

Including this wonderful Airtime GIF that isn’t the Tweet we deserved, but is the Tweet we needed.

And Theme Park Families Podcast posing as the Coaster Crew:

Those may be the highlights, but there’s lots more, so give it a listen:


INTRO with energetic music

Man’s voice: You are next in line for the Official Holiday World Podcast.

Man Speaking through a P.A. system: Welcome to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

Man’s voice: Dropping in from Santa Claus, Indiana

[Tech sounds, sonar, typing]

Man Speaking through P.A. system: Riders will experience swift acceleration, high-speed turns, and sudden stops

[roller coaster break sounds]

Man’s voice: With park president and CEO, Matt Eckert.

Matt Eckert: After that bacon soda, I’ll try anything.

Man’s Voice: Fourth Generation Owners, Lauren Crosby…

Lauren’s voice in a short clip: I came back, I’m here

Man’s Voice: and Director of Communications Leah Koch

Leah’s voice in a short clip: ha ha ha ha uhhhhh [drawn out]

Man’s voice: Now still your loose articles and buckle up, keep your hands and legs inside the car at all times.

[Rock music intro music and roller coaster ride sounds]

LEAH: ANND WE’RE BACK! Welcome back to season two of the Official Holiday World Podcast! We haven’t talked about this but season one was a really long season!

MATT: I was wondering why this was “season two”. Wasn’t our first season like seventy-seven?

LAUREN:  Yes, yes it was

LEAH: It was through seventy-five episodes technically, but we decided since it’s a fresh format we would take time to say “It’s season two now”. So.

MATT: It’s like the rebirth

LAUREN:  Yeah!

LEAH: And then also depending on how the calendar goes, you know, I hate to say it, but if we fall off at the end of the year or something like that, then we can start fresh and see what kind of season works for us. Everyone’s got full disclosure here.

MATT: It’s our podcast we can do whatever we want!

LEAH: This whole thing is an experiment, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. You’ll tell us I’m sure. SPEAKING OF!

MATT: We love feedback!


LEAH: Speaking of you telling us, we are Holiday World and we love feedback, okay it’s not holiday’s

LAUREN:  Nope!

LEAH: This is Season 2 Episode 3, “The One With the Year of Feedback”. We’ve officially announced the return of the podcast so we can start a new concept-one in every three episodes is going to be a feedback/Q&A episode. We are trying it, we’ll see how it goes.


MATT: We reserve the right to change it.

LEAH: We got a bunch of compliments on Facebook, SO, this is all feedback, yeah..shall we begin? We have a lot to cover!

MATT: Let’s dive in!

LEAH: Let’s start off with Bob Green, @bob05, “Thinking of our friends @HolidayWorld with what we found in the store #howopo”. This was back to the 26th of December in 2018 and there’s a whole bacon display, it’s kinda hard to see. But it’s a whole display of bacon flavored products. Guys, we can’t escape the bacon!

MATT: This is the fourth episode, and this is the first time that bacon has been said.

LEAH: But it’s in one of the spots we’ll be recording AFTER this. Sorry to everyone, because everything is a little bit out of order. BUT.

LAUREN:  For US, but not the listener

LEAH: No, I’m sorry it’s just in our teaser, not in the ads. So this is..

MATT: This is the first time we brought up bacon, this is like a record for us


LAUREN:  We’re you counting?

LEAH: It’s like the podcast B-Word, we don’t use any other words that start with that. The next one [feedback post] is from Lindsay-Sir Graffis, I’m sure I butchered that, my apologies, @LY_Entertainment from December 30 of 2018 she said “@HolidayWorld Happy Bacon Day #HoWoPo”.

MATT: Is that really bacon day? I feel like we’ve had lots of bacon days.

LEAH: I feel like bacon day is every day.


LEAH: That said, there are two different bacon days isn’t there? We’ve always had this issue.

LAUREN:  I don’t know, maybe bacon day should be when you bust out the holiday bacon, versus the casual bacon

LEAH: I feel like bacon day though, there is a tweet that I live my life by, “You don’t let a recipe tell you how much garlic to put in, you heart tells you how much”.

MATT: That’s awesome!

LEAH: It’s literally my favorite thing in the world.

MATT: To validate that everyone loves bacon. We had a breakfast for our employees this morning and by the time we got to the food all the bacon was gone.

LEAH: It was a bacon-less day for us. We were all at the end of the line.

MATT: The three of us around the table here…didn’t get bacon.

LAUREN:  I had bacon.


LEAH: Did you have it this morning?

LAUREN:  No, I went to Wendy’s and got bacon fries.



LAUREN: NO! After!

LEAH: Can you see me seething from here?

MATT: Because you didn’t get your fix in

LAUREN:  Yeah-I didn’t get my bacon for breakfast so…

LEAH: Can you get just a side of bacon at Wendy’s? What would they do to you if you just asked? Just curious, asking for a friend.


MATT: They give you a cup full of crumbles.

LEAH: Probably.

LAUREN:  Take it like a shot.

MATT: A shot of bacon.

LEAH: Kevin Wilson on December 31 said “5 MONTHS UNTIL HOLIWOOD NIGHTS!!!! @holidayworld #HoWoPo” Thank goodness we’re reading it now.

MATT: It did happen. It did happen, Kevin. I think congratulations are in order, Kevin just got married recently. So, congratulations.

LEAH: Aww, he did! Congrats! That’s awesome! Next, we heard from Ribsin Bacon, Baken, Bacon, I’m already trying to take bacon out of the conversation. On January 1 he said, “@holidayworld Happy New Year! Can’t wait to drive down in my new car in the spring to get those passes activated before Holiwood Nights! #HoWoPo”

LAUREN:  Allllll riiiiight

LEAH: More of the Holiwood Nights feedback, thank goodness we are getting to it now, but the important thing is we are getting to it.

MATT: You haven’t been forgotten.

LEAH: Alex Wheeler, @_alex_wheeler said “I’m all caught up on the #HoWoPodcast…@HolidayWorld is @MattEckert caught up on twitter?

MATT: It’s funny you say that because I still have twenty little unread, what do you call them? Tweets?

LAUREN:  Notifications?

LEAH: Notifications! That red dot

MATT: Yeah that was January 1, so that was last year, I’m still not!

LEAH: [continues reading tweet] Ready for another season of laughs and sun, can’t wait to see the new Merry Marketplace and how the H.R. Lobby area looks with the new offices.

LAUREN:  It’s pretty.

LEAH: It’s been really nice

LAUREN:  Both are pretty!

LEAH: Alex I’m sure you’ve seen it by now.

MATT: So, tell us what you think!

LEAH: hopefully you like it! Next, we heard from Alex Chubokas, we always struggled with that, @Alexc-h-u-b-o-k-a-s there we go, on January 5th, “@HolidayWorld Listening to old #howopo and wondering if Eric ever got his tattoo? Working the inaugural crew at Steel Vingance this past summer I had to make sure I made my mark” He’s got a Steel of Vengance tattoo. That’s pretty cool!

LAUREN:  That’s fun!

LEAH: To our knowledge, we just asked Lori Cotton, because things are all out of order here, so Lori Cotton will be featured on our next episode which we have already recorded, welcome to the time warp everybody.

MATT: The next episode which was our last episode.

LEAH: YUP! Annd we asked Lori Cotton our director of attractions now and she does not believe that Eric ever got his tattoo

LAUREN:  Tisk! Tisk!

MATT: This raises my blood pressure.

LEAH: Everybody, he’s still on Twitter, so you know where to find him

MATT: He’s caught up


LEAH: He’s probably all caught up too on Twittter. We’re still harassing him, he tries to get away, but we still harass him on social media.

MATT: That’s hilarious

LEAH: That will never go away! Alex Sabatka, @magnumxl89 on January 7 said, “It’s big, it’s bad, it’s what you’ve been cravin’. Hang on tight and enjoy your ride on The Raven. @HolidayWorld.”

MATT: Awwww, I like it! I like his last name, that’s a cool name.

MATT & LEAH: Sabatka

LEAH: That’s fun to say.

MATT: Yeah, mine’s not.


LEAH: We may have taken a hiatus, but The Coaster Crew, thank goodness was still around, so I hope you all read this one

MATT: I miss them so much.

LAUREN:  I know[sadly]

LEAH: I tried to actually reach out to them ahead of time, but I don’t know if the message got to them in time, so there’s nothing on Twitter last I checked.

LAUREN:  Rude.

MATT: I wouldn’t know.

LEAH: Hopefully we’ll hear from the big green foot soon.

LAUREN:  Okay [starting to read]

LEAH: I’m sorry did you want to read something, or do I just keep stepping…


LEAH: Read it, I’ll shut up

MATT: She was just kidding, not really……GO!


LEAH: We’ll stop now.

LAUREN:  Just got back from using my Trans American Airlines points to fly around the world (Thanks Kareem)


LAUREN:  Searching for the missing #PodSquad & look what came in the mail! Gues they needed a break to work on the flyer for the best event of the year! #HoWoPo #HoWoPoNo @HolidayWorld

LEAH: With a crying emoji, I love that it’s addressed to, I know I shrank the image so this is my fault partially, but I love that it says “Mr. Big Green Foot”

LAUREN:  That is hilarious

LEAH: I think it does, I need a vision check.

LAUREN:  It’s from the Ho Wo Postal Service


MATT: Coaster Crew, please come back!

LAUREN:  Ohhh, because, okay. Sorry I have to describe, I’m out of practice.

LEAH: This is on January 16th, by the way.

LAUREN:  Yeah, sorry. So kitty is dressed up like a mail woman, with her little hat and on her little bag it says HOWo Postal Service and she’s got a letter in the bag and I believe George the Eagle is on the stamp in the bag. With the Big Green Food holding his letter, there’s an Airtime poster in the background.

LEAH: Oh yeah, by the way. We mail flyers out to enthusiast, so we, where do we get that list? Is that past attendees?

LAUREN:  Past purchasers, because that’s the only data we currently collect.

LEAH: I’m sure if you want to be added to the list, we might be able to find a way, maybe not for this year, but next year. So let us know on that, but yeah, thank you to the coaster crew for that.

LAUREN:  Yes, as always

MATT: We came back so you do too!

LAUREN:  I love Kitty as a mailwoman

LEAH: Then we heard from Kevin Wilson on January 20 said, “I know it’s too early to pack for Holiwood Nights at @HolidayWorld, but I can still make my “to pack” list and not seem weird, right? #HoWoPo #flightplan”. I think it’s too late now, sooo

LAUREN:  I thoroughly support that though

LEAH: So, go ahead and start making your list for next year.

MATT: Kevin, you do whatever you want.

LAUREN:  I make packing lists for every single trip

MATT: Do they ever change?

LAUREN:  Yeah.

MATT: Or are they pretty much the same?

LAUREN:  I mean there’s parts that stay the same but they’re, like I take different clothes

LEAH: I have a packing app

MATT: You have a packing app, really?

LEAH: Yeah, it puts, you check off little things that say, you know, leisure, business, and then you say if you’re going to go swimming, running, things like that so it gives you lists for the things you might do. It’s kinda handy.

MATT: I feel like my wife would like that, she makes lists of lists she needs to make. Like she is a list maker

LEAH: Yeah, I like a list, mostly because my brain only half-functions at any given point in time and also, I have a scattered brain and that’s just my reality. ADD its great guys!

MATT: But you’re self-aware, so that’s great.

LEAH: Yeah, so I’m self-aware, so I do that, and the packing list helps me a lot it just helps me forget things, like the basics.

LAUREN:  I make my own.

LEAH: A lot of times, the toothbrush

MATT: So, you’re saying she’s lazy

LAUREN:  No, I just like to be really thorough and have my own lists, where I literally outlines, “Monday I will wear this”, “Sawyer will wear this”, I am thorough.

MATT: And you stick to that?


LEAH: Meanwhile, I’ve forgotten toothbrushes.


LAUREN:  If it makes you feel any better, this last trip I went on, granted I went on, granted it was just a few weeks ago, so pregnancy brain, I forgot a number of things even thought they are on the list. My bad was that I put baby monitor on the list, as in the unit, not the separate pieces of the baby monitor. So PART of the monitor made it, not all of it.


LAUREN:  Nailed it!

LEAH: And that’s why you make a packing list, so smart call. Start early and work at it often, am I right?


LEAH: Next we heard from Seamus Heaney, @heaney_seamus on January 22, “A worthwhite visit if you haven’t been-what a year ahead for #Youghal @youghalonline ….” I could finish this but ya’ll, we got cheeseballed again on Twitter.


MATT: We haven’t been cheezeballed in a while have we?

LEAH: We have not, but I wanted to include this because we responded, “Greeting from Santa Claus, Indiana! Thinking you tagged us by mismake” …. mismake….you know, it’s been that kinda day. Winky face, but the theme park families podcast came in and said, “Don’t think so. People in Ireland LOVE @HolidayWorld and are coaster starved with only one park”. I just needed Theme Park Families in this section for that one. Then we responded with, “….and so the eternal-and international-cheezeballing continues. #HoWoPo


LEAH: In case you guys don’t know what cheezeballing is, because you know we may have some first-time listeners tuning in

LAUREN:  That’s fair

LEAH: And there’s seventy episodes to go back to, seventy-one episodes.

MATT: You HAVE to go listen to them.

LEAH: Yeah, some of them are pretty long, so I’m going to warn you now, but cheezeballing is something that happened to our past Communication Director, Paula Werne. She had the fun@holidayworld.com email and she had from one of our emails, accidentally responded to that email instead of another family members email and responded that THEY would be bringing the cheeseball. So it’s become kind an inside joke that we share with everyone on the podcast that when somebody accidentally tags us wrong or sends us the wrong message, that’s a cheeseball. Coaster101.com @Coaster101 Tweeted on January 23, “Is there a @McDonalds in Santa Claus, IN? Asking for our friends at @HolidayWorld! #HoWoPo #Bacon” and it is a special called “bacon hour”.




LEAH: It was January 29, so we missed out


LEAH: They’ve got bacon coming out of an Oreo McFlurry


MATT: Can we take this back to our McDonalds and say, “Hey we missed this”



LAUREN:  I don’t even know what I would put bacon on at McDonalds. [gasps in surprise} THE BREAKFAST SAUSAGE BURRITO’S!

MATT & LEAH: OHHHHHHHHH! [both intrigued]

LEAH: Taco Bell’s burrito’s with bacon are the bomb.

MATT: I wonder if you could ask them to add bacon to it if they would.

LAUREN:  You might be able to do that. Do it!

MATT: I’ll do it and see what they do.

LEAH: Do it and report back, I expect a full report on our next recording date

MATT: Which will be last week but tomorrow.

LEAH: Next we heard [ laughter], Alex Chubokas  tweeted @LeahsOboe #howopo  I don’t know how I feel about this, but I still included it. Apparently January 28 was Kazoo day and he was thinking of my oboe and the podsquad. I’m a little offended.

LAUREN:  Same thing!

LEAH: I’m a little offended.

MATT: Has the oboe tweeted lately?

LEAH: The oboe hasn’t tweeted lately

MATT: That’s good, so I’m all caught up

LAUREN:  I mean, same thing.



OUCH, OUCH, ouch, ouch! I’m just going to be leaving the podcast.

MATT: The kazoo can be your new sound bite since you lost your squeaky toy.

LEAH: HOW are they going to be able to tell the difference in an oboe and a kazoo??

LAUREN:  [laughing] Because they sound the same

LEAH: RUDE! Sorry to steal your tagline, Lauren. Next, we heard from Bob Green, “This post made me laugh on the air plane yesterday but I struggled in explaining why it was so funny. I told them to download the @HolidayWorld podcast #howopo

MATT: Word of mouth advertising

LEAH: It (a tweet) says “Yutzy’s Farm Market, it’s going to be a SUPER weekend! Why not add a cheese ball to your festivities? Zach Yutzy made a fresh batch this morning! Get them while we got them! With a lovely cheeseball spread, it looks great with the pretzels and crackers. A cheeseball sounds lovely right now.

LAUREN:  It’ does, with bacon.

MATT: It’s been a while since we’ve eaten, so.

LEAH: Ain’t that the truth.  Lindsay-Sir Graffis @LY_Entertainment we have “No @HolidayWorld podcast would be complete without #howopo” and it’s a picture of Degrees of Separation and we’ve a fire queen and….

LAUREN:  No, just no.


LEAH: I’m sorry to you, but we plan to discontinue the game BUT you do have a chance to reach out and suggest a new game


LEAH: We’re looking for a new game.

MATT: I do love to win.

LEAH: Sure, we’re looking for a new game and it cannot be seventy degrees or 100 degrees or whatever degrees of separation, that’s my only rule.

LAUREN:  Yes, we were thinking Pictionary.

LEAH: Something visual, if you’ve listened to the first episode already you get it, you know. Bob Green tweeted to us on February 20th, eating dinner, oh @bob05 by the way, “eating dinner in Columbus, OH wearing a @HolidayWorld hoodie and get stopped by a non coaster fan who asked how e knew about the park being 4 hours away. We explained that we are coaster crazies. #howopo”.

MATT: Fair enough.

LEAH:  I love it, I appreciate it, and thank you for representing.

LAUREN:  I love that’s the entire tweet. I feel like there should be another sentence to it, but I love that that’s it.

LEAH: That explains enough

LAUREN:  Thank you.

LEAH: CoasterRadio @Coasterradio on February 20 said, “This week, EB talks with Paula Werne from @HolidayWorld to hear stories about how they decided upon the names for classic rides like The Voyage, The Legend, The Raven and Thunderbird.” And this is an episode of CoasterRadio obviously with Paula in it and the Theme Park Families Podcast said #howopo and Coasterradio at the same time? Coaster minds around the world might” and It was gif, but it’s a head exploding type of gesture going on. Chris @s-c-h-n-e-i-daddy,[snicker]

MATT: Schnei-Daddy?

LEAH: “I just happened to see an official holiday world company car in Seymour today and got so excited. I hope big things are coming and we can’t for you guys to open! I check daily for new #howopo”


LEAH: Next Sammy Naas @naas_samuel on February 25 said, “Hey @holidayworld, listening to Episode 061: The One with the Sharkey from #howopo and cinging because its not a tuba 9it’s a sousaphone).” I had to include this one out of correctness, they’re talking about ROY G BIV I believe and they’re right, tuba is the upright thing and the sousaphone is thing that wraps around you.

LAUREN:  Ohh, oops.

LEAH: It’s a common mistake I believe, but

MATT: Now we know, I like that hashtag band geeks.

LEAH: yeah, “ #bank geeks, #imabandstudent #c’monman, #ineedtocatchuponthepodcast”. We’ll we gave you plenty of chances, so I hope you got caught up. Trent Burton on February 28th tweeted, “Whatever happened to the podcast? I’m having withdrawals”.

MATT: We’re here for you man, we’re back.


Matt: We won’t miss seventy or twenty-five or however many degrees of separation. But we will be accepting new game ideas.

LAUREN:  Want to make a suggestion? Or have questions for the podsquad? There are more ways than ever to reach out to the podcast!

8: Find @holidayworld on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use hashtag H-O-W-O-P-O to let us know you’re talking about us.

Matt: You can now CALL US! Dial 812-937-4401 and type in extension 8081 to get the HOWOPO voice mailbox

Lauren: Leave your questions and feedback for us there OR you can email us at podcast@holidayworld.com either with a written message or with a voice memo

Leah: again, reach out on social media to @holidayworld and use the hashtag HOWOPO, or call us at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or send us an email to podcast@holidayworld.com

LEAH: When’s the best time to buy a Season Passes? Right Now! You can sign up for easy pay options through February 15. For more information about our passes and perks go to holidayworld.com/passes


LEAH: On April 6 we heard from Theme Park Families Podcast @themeparkfam, replying to @coasterradio and @lisavclarkshow, “SO proud of EB with his answer for favorite theme park which was of course @HolidayWorld! Indiana representing! #howopo” We are proud to be that for ya. This person’s name is all emojis, looks like a unicorn, an octopus, a carousel, and a candle @akweihe.

MATT: Is that Alyssa?

LEAH: It must be Alyssa, but @Akweihe on April 21 said, “I spotted my favorite sign of spring the other day, but couldn’t get a picture til today @HolidayWorld #howopo #bigredicee (which we didn’t get to have last year, Icee wouldn’t let us have that) #canseeitfromsixflagsparkinglot

LAUREN:  That’s funny!

LEAH: We do enjoy that, I’d like to say we don’t, but we do. Matthew David @Shagalang said, “Pigs in blankets I the UK are wrapped in bacon…seems more fitting based on #howopo”.

MATT: That would be pretty good.

LEAH: I think that sounds like an amazing idea, apparently it was also brought up on our facebook page but the European bacon lovers were out in force that day.


LEAH: Someone responded, “PROVE IT”.


LEAH: To which Matthew David sent us a picture of in fact little tiny hotdogs wrapped in bacon.

LAUREN:  Interesting

LEAH: And the same guy, Jonathan @lepolt said, “ I thought you were great already but that solidifies that feeling”. I’m with ya! I think we’ve been doing it all wrong! On April 29, Ribsin Bacon @RibsinBacon tweeted “R.I.P. #HoWoPo?” WE’RE BACK! Only several months later, it’s fine! Arielle tweeted @Coastergirl23 on May12 “@HolidayWorld is #howopo coming back?” to which we replied “#HoWoPoDunno”.


LEAH: Sorry it took so long, we were trying to make some decisions and that took a while. We had to dream up the new format, but we’re excited to be back.

MATT: It’s like Sally Field, “They love us, they really love us!”.

LAUREN:  All five of you……kidding!


LEAH: RaptorGirl @RaptorGirl94 on May 15 said in response to our newest Made to Thrill design from our gift shops said, “That’s so on my shopping list for #HolliwoodNights #HoWoPo”.

MATT: Right there with you RaptorGirl!

LEAH: I don’t know if many people know this, but we collaborated with this artist Made to Thrill to create a T-shirt, and we’ve got, [whispers] SPOILER ALERT, we’ve got some more stuff coming from them. We’ve got some incredible art.

LAUREN:  It’s pretty awesome!

LEAH: They’re incredibly talented and they created a shirt that says, “Land, Sea, Airtime” and I just love it so much. ThemeParkfam from Theme Park Families podcast on May 24 said, “After a long off season, the five buddies, including the Big(brown)foot are making travel plans to get to Airtime at @HolidayWorld’s Holiwood Nights! They’ve secured two planes but might need a few more! Who’s psyched to go? @Coastercrew #howopo And they got, I don’t know, Lauren, I know it’s not the coaster crew but, if you want to describe the picture they’ve got a little big foot in there. They’ve got their little kitty stuffed animal who is in an orange dress.

LAUREN:  Yes, there’s a dalmatian and I think there’s an alligator…

LEAH: They did their best of a Holidog, I think that’s a but a duck maybe but eagle, we’ll call it an eagle, their best version of the Coaster Crew and I really like that.

MATT: A for effort!

LAUREN:  There’s an Airtime! Poster and a park map, and a brochure. It’s so cute!

LEAH: It was so good to see the Theme Park Families at Holiwood Nights this year. I love it. Annnd next, I have this image but it’s actually a gif that I’m going to slide across the table for Lauren to describe. Do you want me to read it while you watch the gif and describe?


LEAH: The Coater Crew on May 29th tweeted, “Excited for #HoliwoodNights? Yes! First Time? No, we’ve been excited for HoliWood Nights lots of times! Just practicing a few Airtime! Moves. What our parody lacks in parity, we make up for with sincerity. With a airplane and coaster emoji #HoWoPO and #HoWoPoNoMo with a little sad face. Ummm but in this gif we have some disco dancing going on

LAUREN:  Yes, I think I actually did see this prior to this. So yes, we have Kitty and the Big Green Foot are dancing in his seventy’s suit/vest something. They’re on the dance floor with a disco ball and they’re dancing away and Kitty flies ….

LEAH: Flies away, just like an airplane.

LAUREN:  And she returns and lands on the Big Green Foot, very à la airplane  

[Group laughter]

LEAH: Looks like we heard from Alyssa @Akweihe on June 30th, “I didn’t know something like this was a option, I expect them at every drink oasis @HolidayWorld this summer #howopo #bigred #freesodaparkingsunscreen. It’s like a Big Red Tap!

LAUREN:  That’s what I was going to ask!

MATT: It looks like Big Red on tap, which I support.

LEAH: Oh, yeah, I didn’t include the whole picture, it’s a screen shot.

LAUREN:  That makes A LOT MORE sense-It IS Big Red on tap!

MATT: I wonder where she found this-where is this?

LEAH: We’re going to need more details on this, Alyssa please!

LAUREN:  The two of you are probably deeply moved by this, I’m like gross.

LEAH: Next we heard from Thrilling Moments Photography on July 19th, “Racing the hills of the Voyage”. And we’re going to have to include this photo in the podcast blog about the episode, but the paper doesn’t do it justice. It’s a lovely photo of The Voyage. Next we heard from Coaster Dean @CoasterDean on August 16th, “Today is national rollercoaster day so I’m sharing my favorite from @holidayworld The Voyage” and he shared our POV video, so thanks for calling The Voyage your favorite. Then we heard from Bob Green @bob05 on August 30, “It’s back! The Bacon vending machine has returned and has a new home at Ohio Stadium A new product idea for @Holidayworld? That bacon machine is there. That sure is a picture of one.

MATT: That is ridiculous and awesome at the same time.

LEAH: They also have  a hashtag of we miss the podcast.


LEAH Dean Chauvin @CoasterDean on September 5th tweeted “Goodbye Paula” because Arthur Levine wrote a lovely tribute to her and we just retweeted and said, “There are no words for how much Paula Werne shaped our industry and Holiday World, so all we can say is, “Thank You.”” We already did our podcast tribute to Paula, but we miss her. We miss you, Paula!

LAUREN:  Very much.

MATT: I was laughing at this picture already

LEAH: Dean Chauvin, @CoasterDean shared our picture, it’s like an award show picture…

MATT: OF all the pictures.

LEAH: All of my pictures from the Golden Ticket Awards look like this…HERE’S what’s happening. I’m accepting the Golden Ticket Award for Best Water Park Ride out at Silverwood Amusement park out in Idaho and I have so many chins.


LEAH: I have multiple chins, I have nothing left. It’s all neck, straight from teeth to neck.

MATT: I’m trying to figure out what you are doing here?

LEAH: It’s just multiple rings around my neck. What’s happening..

MATT: It’s not THAT bad…

LEAH: someone took a picture, Lauren and I received our 5 year service awards TODAY and if someone took a picture of me doing that today accepting that award, you would see me with 18 chins. It’s what I DO when I’m being recognized because I’m very, I’m not, If I’m not myself, if I’m acting in a show I’m all about being the center of attention. When I’m just me and getting recognition, I do not like that, I do NOT want to be the center of attention. So I tend to scrunch up my chin. In that situation, it was SO AWKWARD! Some people had been accepting awards at the center of the stage, then all of a sudden they were like “Come over here to the podium”, and I was just like I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where to take the picture, I don’t know where to stand, I don’t know what’s happening. People were changing it up and it and God Bless the Amusement Today staff tried so hard to have that organized and then WE industry people come through whatever they plan and wreck it, no matter what they want us to do. Whatever.

LAUREN:  To make matters worse…

MATT: I can attest, she did not look like this in real time

LAUREN:  To make matters worse, your eyes are closed.


MATT: That’s why, I don’t know what you were doing here.

at you were doing here.

LAUREN:  Did you already say that Dean said “Yaay”

LEAH: and now we have come to our announcement where we had Stephen create our same Cheetah Chase graphic.

MATT:  Which was great.

LEAH: With the hashtag HoWoPo and we posted it in a few places with “Season 2 Coming Soon”. And David Weihe tweeted at us “I miss #HoWoPo” and so we got to share that it was coming soon. So, her responded “YAY!!!” with a Rapunzel from Tangled GIF with “I promise, I’ll behave”. Ribsinbacon tweeted at us, “@HolidayWorld Did I hear correctly? The Podcast is coming back!?” and we responded “A little birdie told me that you can expect Season Two soon. But don’t tell Matt about the bird. He hates birds”.

MATT: True Story.

LEAH: We have to share this one because this one cracked me up we heard on November 29 from Carlos Arney Jr. said, “I’ve been asking for months and keep getting the same response of “No decision has been made” Time to make a decision. It’s been almost a year since #HOWOPO last entertained us. Why did you quit it? Why hasn’t it been brough back? Is it dead?” And I just responded with a simple “Stay tuned” with a little winky face.

MATT: Nice.

LEAH: That’s a year’s worth of feedback guys. Congratulations, you’ve feedback..fed back..retweeted your way to the end of another episode of our podcast. You’re listening to the final of our special binge-worthy drop of three podcast episodes. Please join our next episode which will be season 2 episode 4: The One With the Shiny New Toys, which we already recorded. It’s fine.


LEAH: It’s great, you’re going to love it! Thank you also to all of our behind-the-scenes podsquad: Stephen Rutherford for making us sound good and telling us all the new technology available for podcasting. Josh Moore for helping me collect questions and feedback, and Sabrina for creating the schedule that we WILL follow. Someday. Special thanks to Josh, Sabrina, and Stephen for pretending my jokes have been funny this week. It won’t be getting better anytime soon. And thanks to all of you for listening! Please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and tell all your friends. On behalf of our PodSquad-Matt, Lauren, and myself-thank you. Please be sure to send us your feedback and questions by calling us at 812-937-4401 and dial 8081 or emailing us at podsquad@holidayworld.com or reaching us the traditional way on social media by using the hashtag HOWOPO

 [Rock music much louder]

Outro music: You’ve been listening to the official Holiday World Podcast, 

Man on Speaker: Welcome back! Did you enjoy your flight?

Man Speaking: A production of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. Check out the latest episodes at HolidayWorld.Com/Podcast

Thanks for taking a ride with us and please come back to see us again soon.

[music fades out]

LAUREN: Did you know if you pick our pick your own price tickets online, you can save money? You can save a little bit more by using the official Holliday World podcast promo code HOWOPO. Simply go to Holidayworld.com/save and drop in HOWOPO and let the savings begin!

If you’d like to reach out, send us an email at podcast@holidayworld.com, leave us a voicemail at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or tag us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published.

Podcast: The one where we missed you too

The Podsquad is back in action! We’ve missed hearing from everyone and we’re so glad to be returning to your commutes, cleaning sessions, etc.

We kicked things off with a tribute to Paula, who retired in June this year. She was our long-time Director of Communications and creator and host of the Official Holiday World Podcast. We miss her a ton already.

Paula and my father, Will Koch.

Thanks, Paula for your years of service!

We then went on to talk about the new podcast format.

Most importantly, we’re excited to announce that we’re looking for a new game to play. Because while we love Paula, as long as she’s not hosting, we’re coming up with a brand new game. And we want to hear your suggestions.

If you’re looking for help, we discussed Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity (but safe for work), and Pictionary for those listening at home. So, anything you can come up with is better than what we have.

Along the way, we discussed Disney (of course), the last podcast I hosted and our 70 Degrees of Separation soundmakers.

Leah's oboe and Lauren's squeaky toy
Archival Photo: Leah’s Oboe with Leah (me) and Lauren Crosby with her squeaky toy soundmaker (may it rest in pieces).

If you have a new game idea, send us an email at podcast@holidayworld.com, leave us a voicemail at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or tag us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

ALSO NEW! Our podcast will now have transcripts. Here’s the transcript for Episode 1:

Episode 1 Transcript

INTRO with energetic music

Man’s voice: You are next in line for the Official Holiday World Podcast.

Man Speaking through a P.A. system: Welcome to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

Man’s voice: Dropping in from Santa Claus, Indiana

[Tech sounds, sonar, typing]

Man Speaking through P.A. system: Riders will experience swift acceleration, high-speed turns, and sudden stops

[roller coaster break sounds]

Man’s voice: With park president and CEO, Matt Eckert.

Matt Eckert: After that bacon soda, I’ll try anything.

Man’s Voice: Fourth Generation Owners, Lauren Crosby…

Lauren’s voice in a short clip: I came back, I’m here

Man’s Voice: and Director of Communications Leah Koch

Leah’s voice in a short clip: ha ha ha ha uhhhhh [drawn out]

Man’s voice: Now still your loose articles and buckle up, keep your hands and legs inside the car at all times.

[Rock music intro music and roller coaster ride sounds]

LEAH KOCH: And we’re back! Hey, welcome to season 2 of the official Holiday World podcast, this is season two episode one, the one where we missed you too.


LEAH KOCH: Joining us today are Lauren and Matt. Lauren and Matt, Have you guys missed the podcast?

MATT ECKERT I have missed the podcast (reminiscently)

LAUREN CROSBY: A little bit

LEAH KOCH: A little bit??

[All pod squad laughter]

MATT ECKERT I see the two of you everyday so not so much you guys but yeah the podcast

LEAH KOCH: Thanks. First of all I was to start by explaining we will have a couple changes coming your way. But before we dive into all of those changes coming your way, I want to acknowledge what I’m calling the 800 pound gorilla in your ear. I’m totally speaking very clearly today. We are off to a great start. I’m not Paula.

MATT ECKERT That’s a big gorilla

LEAH KOCH: It’s the 800 pound gorilla or the elephant in the room

MATT ECKERT I like the gorilla, let’s do it

LEAH KOCH: Yeah, 800 pound gorilla seemed appropriate


LEAH KOCH: and it’s in your ear, so figure that one out. Paula retired this summer and we so happy for her but we miss her a lot. But I want to take a minute to appreciate Paula, so what are you guys miss the most about Paula

MATT ECKERT Lots of things, but you know how I am, I always have more than one. So for me professionally, Paula is and always will be a legend when it comes to..

LEAH KOCH: Careful where you step, I have her job now

[All pod squad laughter]

MATT ECKERT So you have big shoes to fill

LEAH KOCH: I definitely do and we have two people filling them now.

MATT ECKERT There you go, yeah, she’s just legendary within our industry, within the theme park industry she is very well known. She was with us for a number of years throughout our massive growth history and she was there every step of the way. She came up with innovative ideas to put us on the map when it comes to the PR world. Personally,  I will miss her and we are acting like she’s gone forever, I still talk to her

LEAH KOCH: I know! Like we don’t text her all the time.

MATT ECKERT I miss her wit. Paula and I had some very sharp witted conversations and texts back and forth. We would be texting well into late in the night things. She and I just got each other really well and we were able to give each other very open and honest feedback. Sometimes her feedback was more honest than I wanted it to be, but she would give that to me and I appreciate that

LEAH KOCH: As her writing intern, back in the day as her blogging intern, she held nothing back

MATT ECKERT But you know I appreciate that

LEAH KOCH: Owners daughter? No one cares!


MATT ECKERT: If you have something to say to me, say it and let’s move on

LEAH KOCH: I was about to say I’m definitely better for it, for having Paula in my life

MATT ECKERT:  So I will miss that, so you guys need to step it up and start giving me more flack I guess

LEAH KOCH: Challenge accepted [in laughter] Lauren how about you?

LAUREN CROSBY: I have a few things as well, sorry.

MATT ECKERT: So I’m not the only one

LAUREN CROSBY: You’re not the over achiever today, you are just an achiever

LEAH KOCH: It’s hard to limit it to just one when it comes to Paula

LAUREN CROSBY: well, I think the number one things, well I can’t even rank it, but anyway one of the things I’ll miss the most is Paula’s sass towards Matt.


LEAH KOCH: We’re going to have to step it up on the podcast alone, cause, well and now is a good time

MATT ECKERT: I don’t have Rentz here either to lay it back on him, so I have nobody!

LEAH KOCH: Yes, now is a good time to introduce the fact that now Stephen will no longer just be a voice in our ears. Stephen will be an official unofficial host of the podcast.

MATT ECKERT: So he can be my person

LEAH KOCH: So he can be your person, so he can come in and you don’t even get to see him. He’s down stairs on the soundboard

Stephen: Yeah, I don’t mind being the lackey

LEAH KOCH: That also means we get to yell, STEPHEN! Anytime something’s wrong


LEAH KOCH: Sorry I cut you off

LAUREN CROSBY: There was more, there’s obviously many many things we will miss about Paula, but I think one of the other things I will miss the most is just how much she cared for and fought to preserve our history and our story. As someone who wasn’t family but still was like family. You know, she cared an awful lot about Holiday Worlds story and making sure we kept the story alive

LEAH KOCH: Where we came from

LAUREN CROSBY: Yes, all of that. I appreciate that greatly.  AND her grammar!

LEAH KOCH: Personally, first and foremost, I’m going to miss having the likeminded person at the table. And now it’s going to be me instead of Paula going, “Paula, Paula, please come back.” Every episode.

LAUREN CROSBY: That’ll be your new little voice thing

LEAH KOCH: That’ll be my new little thing, “Paula, Paula, please come back.” With a nice little shake to my voice. I’m going to miss Paula and her grammar sense of course. I’m going to miss her wit of course, but I feel like she was such a leader to me and such a personal mentor to me.  When I did my internship with her years ago and I just feel like anytime she could tell me about her job and how to do it she would pull me aside and go, “Here’s another little tip, just in case you ever want to know and just in case you want to be in PR one day.” And now, I’m taking over her job [let out air laugh] Doing my best, but I was trained by the best. So yeah. Before we take a quick break, I wanted to say thank you to Paula for her nearly three decades of service to Holiday World. We’d be a very different park without her, and she’s changed us for the better in every way. I will do my best, I wrote down this little pledge to make sure I have it exactly right, I will do my best to uphold her impeccable grammar, her journalistic integrity, and her wit and biting sense of humor. And I promise to miss you in every episode

MATT ECKERT: I must add that Leah held her hand over her heart while she read that. I think that’s important for listeners to know.

[rock music cuts in for commercial break]

Matt: We won’t miss seventy or twenty-five or however many degrees of separation. But we will be accepting new game ideas.

LAUREN CROSBY: Want to make a suggestion? Or have questions for the podsquad? There are more ways than ever to reach out to the podcast!

LEAH KOCH: Find @holidayworld on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use hashtag H-O-W-O-P-O to let us know you’re talking about us.

Matt: You can now CALL US! Dial 812-937-4401 and type in extension 8081 to get the HOWOPO voice mailbox

Lauren: Leave your questions and feedback for us there OR you can email us at podcast@holidayworld.com either with a written message or with a voice memo

Leah: again, reach out on social media to @holidayworld and use the hashtag HOWOPO, or call us at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or send us an email to podcast@holidayworld.com

[rock music fades back in with a funky beat]

LEAH KOCH: In addition to new ways to talk with us, we have some other big changes coming to the podcast. First of all, we are talking to you from the past

[ghost noises]

MATT ECKERT: That’s kinda creepy!

LEAH KOCH: Today is December 6, and Stephen when are we releasing this episode?

Stephen: That is a great question


MATT ECKERT: Some time after December 6

LEAH KOCH: I meant to put that in my notes and I put it

Stephen: I believe this is going to be our first episode of 2020

LEAH KOCH: first Monday in January

Stephen: In 2020!

MATT ECKERT: Wow, so we’re in next year already, but we’re not


Stephen: We are speaking from last decade

LEAH KOCH: There’s a reason we aren’t necessarily talking about Christmas during these episodes we are recording today.

MATT ECKERT: You just made me feel really old Stephen

LEAH KOCH: Ohh, also a note to make, we are now recording multiple episodes in one day. So this is our first time doing this, please forgive us if we stumble a few times or try to jump into other episodes a few times. But yeah, so today we’ll be recording four episodes, we’re doing a three episode drop if you are listening to this you already see that there are three episodes now on your feed.


MATT ECKERT: We’re all about efficiency

LEAH KOCH: Are you excited?! So there will be two more episodes we’re dropping and we’re recording today and we’re recording one more so we can drop it while Stephen is away on vacation at the start of the new year. And we’ll be going with a new schedule, we’ll be dropping late Sunday night slash early Monday morning, again I can talk and I have things in my brain I promise. Well be dropping those so you’ll have them for your Monday morning commute or whatever you do on Monday first thing in the week and we’ll be doing every other week again. We are taking pauses so you can actually look at your phone and we don’t have to marathon into potty breaks. That was the most stressful thing for me, if you needed a potty break

LAUREN CROSBY: That was stressful

LEAH KOCH: In the middle of a two hour podcast you had to sneak out and hope you didn’t miss anything.

Stephen: Personally I’m glad I don’t have to edit a two hour podcast after recording a two and a half hour podcast.



MATT ECKERT: it’ll be more efficient now, we’ll be doing more and giving more at a time.

Stephen: I think our time management on this round is going to be great

LEAH KOCH: and we’ve got Sabrina Jones who is our Media Relations Manager who is being our other half of Paula for me, because it takes two people to be Paula, lets be real about tht.

MATT ECKERT: She’s keeping us on task.

LEAH KOCH: She’s our time keeper.

MATT ECKERT: and LEAH KOCH: : She just flashed us ten minutes now

LEAH KOCH: That was such perfect timing

MATT ECKERT: That was!

LEAH KOCH: so anyway, what else are you guys excited for?

MATT ECKERT: I’m excited we won’t be playing that game anymore.

LEAH KOCH: What kind of game do you guys hope for? We’re going to crowd source this. We are going to ask people for advice.

MATT ECKERT: It doesn’t matter.

LEAH KOCH: If you could pick one?

MATT ECKERT: because I’m going to win whatever it is.

LEAH KOCH: Uh-huh, sure!


MATT ECKERT: As long as it’s not degrees of something.

LEAH KOCH: What do you want Lauren?

LAUREN CROSBY: I honestly don’t know

LEAH KOCH: I was hoping for like a cards against humanity of some sort, but like appropriate version, or an apples to apples but all theme park, so if someone wants to make a theme park, fully family appropriate apples to apples

[Lauren laughter]

LAUREN CROSBY: That’s highly specific

MATT ECKERT: that is highly specific, market that on!

[all pod squad laughter]

LEAH KOCH: Guys I have a game called Charty Party now

MATT ECKERT: Called what?

LEAH KOCH: Charty Party.

MATT ECKERT: Charty Party?

LEAH KOCH: It’s kinda like one of those “What do you meme?” Or Cards against humanity but instead of pulling a meme or a word, like in “What do you meme?”, it’s a chart of something and it explains one axis. So the X axis will be age, so it’ll show really high for teenage years and really low for adult years

MATT ECKERT: I like this game already

LEAH KOCH: and you have to pick through a bunch of cards to say what it describes, so it’ll be my level of energy. You know really high when I was young and really low now with a sharp drop off. I haven’t even got to play it yet, but I’m so excited about it.

MATT ECKERT: That sounds so fun, I saw a game at Target the other day, it was Pictionary but you draw in the air. So you like hold some kind of device that I don’t know..

LAUREN CROSBY: So it’s like the old school Disney commercials


MATT ECKERT: right, that’s exactly what I thought of, with the ears just magically appeared

LEAH KOCH: aren’t there videos where they just trace that? I have never watched one of those but I feel like that would be the best.

MATT ECKERT: That would be a cool job, “what’s your job?”, I draw Mickey Mouse ears for TV

[all pod squad laughter]

LEAH KOCH: I just want to see one of those video’s because you know they used to have all the little teen celebrities do something with that wand.


LEAH KOCH: Half of them would just swish it in a big circle or do something crazy like that

LAUREN CROSBY: I don’t think they actually wanted them to draw anything. I think they just wanted them to be cute.

LEAH KOCH: some of them worked hard, you could see them kinda making the mouse ears and everything and some of them were just PEACE, little jab of the wand and we’re good.



LEAH KOCH: So anyway, that’s our new game, huh?


MATT ECKERT: Our listeners wouldn’t like that very much, I don’t think they’d be able to play along.

LAUREN CROSBY: Can you see this?

MATT ECKERT: This is what we’re drawing, really!

LEAH KOCH: Let’s just play Pictionary the whole time

MATT ECKERT: Okay, I’m done

LEAH KOCH: Take a nice visual game and really put it on audio

MATT ECKERT: We should do Charades too

LEAH KOCH: I like this, I think we’re on the right track. I think we’ve definitely got this. So that’s why we’re crowdsourcing guys. So if you have any ideas or [cough cough sound] if you like the game I made up in the episode whatever that was when I hosted. You guys can also add a note about that..

MATT ECKERT: Is it sad that I don’t remember what that was?

LEAH KOCH: uhhh, it was called “What’s my name?” and it was based on “That’s not my job? From Wait, Wait, don’t tell me. I asked you specific questions about ravens and mammoths

MATT ECKERT: Oh, yes. I remember

[deafening silence]

LEAH KOCH: SOO, the popular feedback from this table is telling me a lot right now. So I’m pretty

MATT ECKERT: I just said I remember, that’s all I said.

LAUREN CROSBY: I just remember it being really complicated or it seemed complicated.

LEAH KOCH: It was not the easiest game, yes, but I had a ton of fun with it, so I don’t know what you guys are complaining about

[Lauren breaks out in laughter]

MATT ECKERT: So back to Pictionary

LAUREN CROSBY: Isn’t that all that matters? I’m pretty sure that’s Paula’s philosophy.

LEAH KOCH: It’s all that Paula wanted out of Seventy Degrees of Separation or however many degrees of separation it was just as long as she was having fun.

[all pod squad laughter]

MATT ECKERT: At our expense

LEAH KOCH: Yes! Uhhh, but yeah at some point I’m going to have to bring the oboe back. I didn’t bring the oboe with me today.

LAUREN CROSBY: Speaking of….

LEAH KOCH: Oh, yes! An ode to a squeaky toy. Yes, about a month or two ago the infamous, it got a few too many holes in it and it stopped squeaking.

MATT ECKERT: Now it’s just a toy

LAUREN CROSBY: Well, it went to the garbage. In the arms of an angel.

MATT ECKERT: okay ,Don’t sing, moving on

LEAH KOCH: We don’t want to pay for that music ques, so moving on. You picture it and you picture that squeaky toy in the trash. I’m trying to think of anything else, we’re going to get around to a lot in the next couple episodes. Is there anything else that’s changed that we need to update? Oh, I think there might be one thing in Lauren’s personal life that’s changed a little bit?

MATT ECKERT: A little bit? One thing? That’s a big thing!

LAUREN CROSBY: I’m having another baby! Wooo! Surprise!

LEAH KOCH: So Lauren will be in the podcast for what, maybe two or three months, and then she’ll be back out for a little bit, but we’re going to have a rotating cast of characters I think so.

MATT ECKERT: They grow up fast, Lauren. I have a Senior.

LAUREN CROSBY: I know, my first one is TWO already!


LAUREN CROSBY: It seems like just yesterday we were sitting in this room with a lamp because I had vertigo during my pregnancy with Sawyer.

MATT ECKERT: That is correct!

LEAH KOCH: Poor thing!

MATT ECKERT: And he keeps bringing you joy everyday.

LAUREN CROSBY: He does! Some days, mind dizzying joy.

LEAH KOCH: Sawyer is two now, I can’t believe it. And yeah Abby is a Senior. How does that feel?

MATT ECKERT: Awful! It seems unreal, it seems like we just had her, like just, its why I say it happens so quickly, she was two just yesterday. She liked me a lot more then.

LEAH KOCH: Now she’s kicking footballs and soccer balls

MATT ECKERT: Yeah she’s kicking footballs,

LEAH KOCH: I can’t believe it

MATT ECKERT:  had a good year, had a good season.

LEAH KOCH: we’ll we have plenty more to catch up on in the next few episodes but I just wanted to say congratulations, you’ve brought us back by semi-popular demand! And you’ve made it to the end of the first episode of our reformatted podcast. You’re listening to the first of our special binge-worthy drop of three podcast episodes. Please join us now or during your next commute, cleaning session, etc. for our next episode, Season 2 episode 2: The one with the kNights Who Say “Whee!”


LEAH KOCH: That’s the only way I can say it, sorry. Thank you to all of our behind-the-scenes podsquad: Stephen Rutherford for driving this glorious return to the podcasting realm AND for dreaming up our special 3-episode drop. Thanks to Josh Moore for sharing the article that rebirthed the podcast. And special thanks to the newest member of communications, Sabrina Jones, for being our timekeeper and for leading the charge on our grand return. And thanks to all three of you, Stephen, Josh, Sabrina for letting me pretend like half of these things were my idea. Much appreciated


LEAH KOCH: And thanks to all of you for listening! Please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and tell all your friends. On behalf of our PodSquad—Matt, Lauren and myself—thank you. Please be sure to send us your feedback and questions on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

[Rock music much louder]

Outro music: You’ve been listening to the official Holiday World Podcast, 

Man on Speaker: Welcome back! Did you enjoy your flight?

Man Speaking: A production of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. Check out the latest episodes at HolidayWorld.Com/Podcast

Thanks for taking a ride with us and please come back to see us again soon.

[music fades out]

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published.

Podcast: The one with the kNights who say “Whee!”

In Season 2: Episode 2, the Podsquad takes on HoliWood Nights 2020: The HoliWood kNights Who Say “Whee!” The squad welcomed two guests: Director of Marketing Ashley Blankenbaker and Creative Manager Stephen Rutherford.

For those who aren’t familiar HoliWood Nights is our annual event where we loosely parody a movie, and this year’s theme is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The HoliWood kNights who say Whee!

We covered the Book of the Event (a movie we made with a fake book based on the movie illustrated by the remarkably talented Ashley.

Left to Right: Stephen, Sabrina, and Josh recording the “Book of the Event” video.

We talked a little about creating the movie of the “Book of the Event,” which involved our communications and marketing departments working together with very careful timing.

We tried to remember all our old themes from HoliWood Nights events past, and likely failed. Some highlights include Track to the Future:


Airtime! HoliWood Nights 2019

…And many more.

If you’re not familiar with the event, check it out here. And watch the movie to see that the map spells out “HWN” because I missed it entirely.

If you’d like to reach out, send us an email at podcast@holidayworld.com, leave us a voicemail at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or tag us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published.

Leah:  And we’re back, welcome back to season 2 of the official Holiday World podcast. This is Season 2, episode 2 The One with the kNights who say Wheeee! Say I have to I’m sorry we’re live on tape for Santa Claus Indiana today is December 6th for us but I believe January 6th for you.

MATT:  Isssh?

LEAH: We are talking now about Hollywood Knights in joining us to their course Matt and Lauren but also director of marketing Ashley Bank Blankenbaker…did I say it right?

Ashley: It’s a mouth full, when we make reservations at restaurants we just say baker so much easier.

MATT: Do you really?
ASHLEY: It’s so much easier

LEAH: That’s a really good idea, I just tell them Koch and let them spell it Cook

Annd also Creative Manager, Stephen Rutherford, Ashley and Stephen, welcome. Stephen, you’re at the table.

STEPHEN:  again this is my second time of the table it’s, it feels like Thanksgiving year after year can you get that year where you move up to the adult table and you don’t have to sit at the kids table anymore but yeah I know as soon as this

LEAH: Does this mean  we have to yell at Josh now?
STEPHEN:  yes, Josh Josh Josh! Get back

MATT:  It’s sad to think that we’re the adult table

STEPHEN:  and then but right after this is done I have to go be demoted back to the Kids Table

LEAH:  Aunt Pearl came back and she wants her seat back

MATT:  Aunt Pearl?

LEAH:  I’m just trying to think of an aunt name.

MATT:  everyone has an Aunt Betty I think

STEPHEN:  That’s my grandmother’s name.

LEAH: or  Barbara or Aunt Barbara I feel like everyone has one Lauren and I have one

LAUREN: Or an  Uncle Bob

MATT:  I have an Uncle Bob.

ASHLEY:  I don’t have an Uncle Bob

LAUREN:  so close!

ASHLEY:  I am missing out.

MATT:  Just start calling your uncle that.Don’t tell him why just do it. 


LEAH:  anyway we are here today to talk about Holiwood Nights! Who’s excited?

Stephen: Weeee!

MATT: No one does it quite like Leah, sorry. So it’s The kNight’s who say, then I’ll point at you.

STEPHEN: It’s like when Lauren did that spot where she said I need more caffeine.

LAUREN: I was just listening to that podcast stuff episode earlier today and it to get me back in the mood and remind myself a Paula and I did not realize how many times in an episode you inserted the audio of me saying that.

STEPHEN: I still have it.

MATT: It might show up in this one.

LAUREN:  I was listening and I was like the fifth time and we’re only 15 minutes into this

 LEAH: Drop it right here….

[Audio clip of Lauren saying: Because I need more caffeine!]

LEAH: Anyway, does someone want to explain what Holiwood Nights is for listeners who might not know.

ASHLEY We are throwing this to Lauren.

LEAH:  we are all looking across the table at you so.

LAUREN: So Holiwood Nights is our Annual coaster enthusiasts event so, if you are a member of a coaster Club you, because you have to have a

LEAH:  and if you want to know if your Club counts go to www. Holidayworld.com clubs and we have multiple clubs

LAUREN:  yes you have to have a member of your party and the member can bring as many guests as you want and there is a record.

LEAH: Is it Tyler Campbell?
LAUREN: Yes. His goal is to bring 30 people

LEAH: His goal is to always bring the largest group And he achieves every year.

LAUREN: He succeeds! So this happens annually generally around the end of May and beginning of June, so the week after Memorial Day, yes, sorry my brain was like wait which holiday is that?

LEAH: It’ll be May 28  & 29 this year, correct?

STEPHEN: Correct.

LAUREN: So It’s an event like I said we might a coaster enthusiasts, there’s ERT

STEPHEN: Which is?? Sorry.

MATT: Watch the lingo.

LEAH:  there’s a podcast that I listen to that has a jargon Bell that people are allowed to bring it when people say something that is to jargony.

LAUREN: That would’ve been nonstop for our last episode

ASHLEY:  we should just do the weeeeeee!


LAUREN:  So yes there is lots of ERT for the Waterpark and the dry park. There is lots of food, lots of food! There are Walk Backs where you take photos up close of coasters there is generally some sort of game competition and there is always a movie theme. There’s always a movie theme.

MATT: and we never disappoint.

LEAH:  if you haven’t seen any of our social media, I don’t know how we get any better than this year, this year’s theme is Monty Python  and if ishal title is Monty Python and the Knights who say weeeee! I’m never going to get out of saying that now. 

LEAH: Don’t worry I already clipped it it’s  going to be right up there with I need more caffeine. 

 who wants to talk about how we came to this year’s theme?

LAUREN: I  heard Amanda Kaiser talk about it the last Hollywood nights. I thought shoot that would be a really good idea.

LEAH: I had a couple of other people say that to me otherwise though and I can’t remember who did it. 

MATT:  Amanda came up to me and was like we have to do that you have to do this.

LAUREN:  I heard it first from Amanda even if other people said it, but then I was like is there any other option after that?

LEAH:  After Airplane I was kind of like is this the last thing left? I don’t know what else to do!

STEPHEN:  But we say that every year and we always went up ourselves.

LEAH:  This is true.

MATT:  2021 will be good

LEAH:  I know I just I don’t know how we get better than this, I feel like this year theme came along so well so.

MATTIf you haven’t seen the movie then go watch it

ASHLEY:  it’s actually on Netflix right now too so they just added it like within the last 2 weeks

LAUREN:  watch it, it is a treasure!

ASHLEY:  It’s like they added it just for us, they knew we were doing it .

MATT: that’s right! It’s like gold

LEAH:  So every year we do a movie theme we have had, those who aren’t familiar with the event let me trace a few steps back we’ve had airplane in the past so we called it AirTime, we had Back to the Future which we called Track to the Future what were some of our other ones?

AS A GROUP: Jurassic Park, you’re Classic Park, instead of Caddyshack it was Coaster Shack,  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Holidogs day off. One year we did E.T. There was a Ghostbusters year. There was Claus the year of wildebeest and it was Jaws. Coasters of the Corn. 

LEAH: We have probably hit on everything but one and everyone is screaming at us, that is our favorite one! Get it, we have wooden coasters, so we call it Holiwood? The point is we’ve had a lot of ton of fun themes and we call it Holiwood. 

STEPHEN: It’s not Hollywood it’s also not Hollywood. 

LEAH: Yeah that’s an odd thing 


MATT:  Of course they made me do the spot about birds I hate birds. Anyway! Did you know that with our early bird special you can save on your tickets for Hollywood Nights if you book now? Simply go to Holiday World. Com clubs for more information on the events don’t forget you will need a valid membership card for one of our partner clubs if you show up in Maine for the event but you can bring as many non-member events as you’d like the early bird event only last year January 8th so act fast. What is the airspeed of an unlaiden  roller coaster enthusiasts with a few more dollars in my pocket? You’ll have to tell us.

 LEAH: Weeee! All right and we are back from break Ashley would you like to tell us a bit about the book?

ASHLEY: The. book. 

MATT: I feel like that needs to be in quotation marks.

ASHLEY: I feel like we need to make a cover  over it that says that.

LEAH:  we’ve officially moved all of the drinks off of the table so no one steals anything on it.

MATT:  Ashley has threatened everyone with our lives.

ASHELY: It is one of a kind. I don’t even know how we decided on the book was this your idea, Stephen?

STEPHEN  I feel like it just evolved from group discussion, and we were like hey that would be cool.

Leah:  I feel like I was gone away from a for a week and the book just happened. Ashley texted us a Picture and I went oh my gosh I have no idea what happened but this is amazing!

STEPHEN:  Yeah there was like one week where you and Eric weren’t there for our creative meeting, our Monday morning meeting and so Ashley Josh and Sabrina and myself or all around the table and we were just spitballing ideas and it was just a lot of just what about this, what about this, what about this and by the time We got done we were like well we’re making a book, that’s happened. And it was going to be our video.

LEAH:  I love that it was like well duh this is what we’re doing and I just showed up and was

MATT: We should have known

STEPHEN: but like almost mirrors what Lauren was saying about the theme, LIKE well of course that what we’re going to do.

LAUREN: for those of you There is a part in the movie where they’re flipping through pages just setting up the movie right?


STEPHEN:  it’s called The Book of the film.

ASHLEY & LAUREN: yes!  The Book of the film.

LAUREN:  so we decided to make a book of our own, the book of the knights or something.

LEAH: Book of the kaaaanights

STEPHEN: Yeah, book of the knights. Again, please go watch the movie.

LAUREN: Yes, please!

ASHLEY:  there is also a clip on YouTube of just the book that is totally worth watching 

LEAH: And so Ashley went through in like page-by-page recreated this

ASHLEY:  and I’m going to flip through this because it helps me and it’s been a few weeks.

LEAH:  yeah tacos through it and we can always share the video when we post this.

ASHLEY:  so do we have the trait of meeting with side of your going to do it and then we sat down with Lauren and Amanda to discuss the event and all the collateral that we needed and so that’s when we started really developing the book. Stephen’s like I really want to do it but I have no idea who can do this and Amanda was like, have Ashley do it.  And I was like okay!

LEAH:  By the way Ashley is an incredible artist

MATT: I was about to Brag on her she is a pretty incredible artist.

LEAH:  That one year that you wrap the family’s Christmas presents I still have that tag. 

ASHLEY: how do you remember that? 

LEAH: because I still have the paper you wrapped it in, because she wrote “Be Merry”.  I cut it out and I kept it and I’ve got that like I cut it out and I’ve kept it because it’s just so pretty and I will never be able to make anything that looks like.

ASHLEY: I love that!

MATT: She has made some epic birthday cakes for my kids too. We just talked about that this morning.

ASHLEY:  We did talk about that today..

MATT: She’s got mad talent.

ASHLEY: awwww, thank you, guys! Well, we called  It the book of the night and the book kind of walks you through the event and what it’s going to feature. And Stephen came up with really fun names for all of the rides in the book so we have sir Voyage the maiden, sir the wilde the beest.

LEAH:  I love On that one that Ashley just drew a multi-eyed wildebeest.

ASHLEY: That was Stephen’s idea too! He was like can you make the wildebeest with a million eyes? It turned out really fun and this one has an utterly blue ice cream border I’ve tried to put little parts of the park too. This one we took a little bit too far it’s Ur Legend The Headless I drew in the night and he chopped his head off instead of all of the limbs. So we just took that one to another level. I thought this may be a bit morbid, but we are going there.

MATT: Just mildly.

STEPHEN:  there’s not a lot of blood, it’s okay.

ASHLEY: So then on the Legend we Do the water cup challenge, so we have Sir Legend The Headless where you can personally wet yourself at the water cup challenge.


LAUREN: And many do.

MATT: With the water cup


LAUREN: Details.

STEPHEN: I have to interject the photo for this we, the water cup challenge typically happens  at night and it’s hard to get good photography in a darker station in people are coming and going so we put out a plea and nobody had anything. So, we decided to Stage something so Josh and I volunteered as tribute and what we decided was we both had a coaster sack shirt from 2018. So then I was like we have to make it look like we were in 2018. So we had to ask Amanda what size cup we use and if she had a band we can wear so it looks like 2018. So she had one wristband left for 2018 so I use that so we can take the picture. So Sabrina took the photo and it had to have been what 20° when we took this picture? So  we were frozen and so I was going to dump water on myself and then when we get out there I was like I’m not going to do that so I actually photoshopped water swatches on my shirt so we didn’t have to get wet in 20 degree weather so yeah, a lot went into that one little picture.

MATT:  You look just like you did in 2018 in that picture as well
STEPHEN: Yeah,  I’m a little grayer

ASHLEY: That reminds me that all of the photos were taken from different Holiwood Nights,  that was the only one that we couldn’t find but the rest are from photos.

STEPHEN:  except for the ones that we took of Matt but we’ll explain those later.

ASHLEY: Yeah we are not there yet.


ASHLEY:  yeah, that was a spoiler. Then we have Sir Mammoth the Lengthy, We have a little hamster hanging from some elderberries. That was for you.  Sabrina is sitting in she is our timekeeper I had to.

LEAH:  I’m telling you I want something Elderberry in our food, I love me some Elderberry elderflower whatever. Lauren, write that on the list. As Lauren pretend writes.

LAUREN:  Amanda already has a lengthy list that has elderberry is on the list she puts together these  amazing list then I have to go to the foods team and ask what’s possible? And then they scale it down a little bit.

LEAH:  I have told Matt Bloomhart and a few people that I want ham and jam sliders. Because ham and jam in spam in Spamalot like ham and fake Jam.

LAUREN I’ll have you know that I want to show up at the event with my child in a stroller and have someone say I have to push the pram a lot.

LEAH: also side night note as a parody I think we need a full group number of knights in the round table.

LAUREN:  a song is fully expected this year

LEAH:  oh yes, I don’t think there’s any getting around that and now I’ve committed us to it. I will choreograph in the offseason and through the back anyway, Ashley, you were saying about the book

ASHLEY: this is the start of Matt’s feature. So we realize that the movie and our Parks has a lot to do with birds so and also Matt hates them.

LEAH:  Is it especially Birds of Prey? Or just birds in general

MATT: All of them

STEPHEN: Pidgeons. Parrots. Everything.

LEAH: Well at least you don’t discriminate Within Birds.

STEPHEN: Equal opportunity hate.

MATT: If it has a wing just stay away.

ASHLEY: So sir Raven the claw and featuring the little rabbit here, he’s so pretty with his bloody mouth. 

MATT: This is a really morbid book you’ve made here. 

LAUREN & ASHLEY: Have you watched the movie?

LAUREN: Not a lot of blood and It is very obviously fake blood

ASHLEY: Blame it on the film.  So these photos, as Stephen said these do not feature Holiwood Nights guests, this is Matt being absolutely terrified of all of the attractions named after Birds.  So and it says and who’s really good at saying this cuz it isn’t me. Leah again.

LEAH: Let  me say it straight first, it says run away. However in the film if you hear there is one particular runaway that sounds very stressed and short that would be me because at the end I say runaway!

MATT:  I want to hear it again.

LEAH: Runaway!  Stevens got the recording of all of us saying Runaway, Runaway, Runaway. and I’m one of them I just did Runaway, Runaway, Runaway, Runaway(faster).obviously that one made the cut

STEPHEN:  because everyone else was done but Leah and Leah was still going. Just Leah’s solo.

LEAH:  I had one more in me and I could feel it coming so I just let it go.

ASHLEY:  and it’s the most prominent one in there when you watch the movie oh, it’s great. So then we have a raven with a coconut flying away.

STEPHEN:  which he did Google to scale how big a raven would be to coconut so that she could draw it in proportion

LAUREN: That is amazing.

ASHLEY: I did. I was Like how big is a raven compared to a coconut? I had no idea

LAUREN Who does?
ASHLEY:  So I had to look it up!

LAUREN & LEAH IN UNISON:  what is the airspeed velocity of an unlaiden raven??
ASHLEY: Then we have Thunderbird who we call Sir launch a lot which is just appropriate and that’s that’s a little more scared of that one. Then there is Sir not appearing in this Event which is the Banshee which I think everyone is sad about.

LEAH:  For the record, Banshee she is the falling star ride that we had years ago not the Kings Island roller coaster. I want to make them clear that it’s not because it’s not at our park, well it is because it’s not in our park but anyway

ASHLEY:  then there is introducing Sir Cheetah the Chase 


ASHLEY:  then we created a little map that goes through the actual path of the map into an h w n that was A little hidden treasure and that was Sabrina’s idea.

LEAH:  oh my gosh, how have I not seen that I have seen this movie so many times. Isn’t she pretty?

STEPHEN: I actually highlight the hwn if you notice.

LEAH:  I watched you follow it

STEPHEN: but if you notice there’s very strategic brakes when you’re ending one letter and beginning the next.

LEAH: no I did not pay attention. Oh, I would love to pretend that it was totally obvious to me the entire time but, that’s not what this podcast is about.

STEPHEN: that’s okay we’re real here

ASHLEY: The next page was really  the most fun and it was an afterthought.

STEPHEN:  it was terrifying actually.

ASHLEY:  so we made Holidog, so we have a Holidog appearing in the clouds andHe said can you do this can we add this page I said yes but when you do the video we have to make him talk. He must say what is your quest. He did it but he said it’s terrifying.

STEPHEN : well what was terrifying was Ashley was going out of town, and this page was only about three-quarters finished and she said here can you finish this for me. And I was like what you want me to touch this after you’ve done this masterpiece and I get one shot and not screwing this up? So here I’ll give you my color pencils. My truck was completely full of art supplies when she gave me at least two dozen sets of markers and crayons and all the stuff. And I was like this is amazing, you are the person who should have gotten to do this. This is your calling right here.  This is your crowning Jewel.

LEAH:  this is your life purpose, how does that feel?

ASHLEY:  I love it.  And this little picture says reserve your seat at the round table and we drew I guess I drew several nights are on the table and added in all of our mascots which is really cute. And they all have little Pepsi cups. So you have to go to Holiday World.Com/clubs to look up your Club and seek the early bird discount and we have Matt really terrified at Eagle’s flight. I mean absolutely terrified. I think that’s it and we’re going to put this book in the auction. 

LEAH: Have we mentioned the auction?
LAUREN: We have not! 

MATT: Will there be just one book?

ASHLEY:  Well we had talked about recreating it

LEAH:   I keep saying that we need to create a glossy small coffee table version because I would pay a certain amount of money and have that donation go to Give Kids the World, just to have that as a memento.

LAUREN: Just as a rewind the auction, so during the event we hold an auction and now it’s transformed into an auction on Friday and one on Saturday. For Friday, we auction off experiential items like a walk to the top to the Voyage lift Hill

LEAH: a walk of the new track work on Voyage

LAUREN: Well basically look around and decide what’s interesting that we auction them off. We find many many things. On Saturday we auction off physical things like,so the book will be one of them. All proceeds directly go to Give Kids the World, which if you are not aware of them, go look them up. They have a village in Orlando where they get to stay and enjoy the parks and be a normal kid for a while. It is a wonderful place you should follow their social media I follow LEAH: Oh, I need to do that, I don’t do that. I need to. That is exciting stuff is there anything anyone else wants to add to Holiday we nights. Who is going to be Galloping around with Pepsi cups?

[clapping and horse clopping sounds ]

MATT: it’s just exciting it’s a fun event.

STEPHEN: This one is been fun to put a lot of the little detail touches to

MATT: I think we’re going to be able to do a lot of fun things during the event to really enhance it

LEAH:  I am really proud of my tag for the early bird online special And on our little promo segment that we’re about to do in the early promo section is “what is the airspeed velocity oven, unladen coaster enthusiasts, with a little bit of extra cash? You’ll have to tell us”. Got to say I nailed that delivery. 

ASHLEY: Did you want to mention the credits?

LEAH:  Oh the credits!  I almost forgot about the credits. So, in the video

LAUREN: Which is an amazing video.
LEAH: amazing video you need to check it out will post it on the blog post about all of this but also it’s on the Holiwood Night’s page we’ve shared it some places, but I just want to share some of these titles because Steven and Sabrina you guys kind of helps do this. Sabrina especially helped write all the captions and looked up actual Dutch worlds to make sure everything was actually appropriate for families in there. And also wasn’t is Sinter Klaus in there?

ASHLEY We got the flyer back and Andrea call me, Andre runs our print shop for those of you who don’t know, and she called me and she says these are already printed and I already found a typo. I said what are you talking about? She said it says “also wik”.


ASHLEY: I told her, you need to watch the video,  watch a movie you need to watch all of the credits in the movie. She said, “I have seen the movie!”,  I said then you haven’t seen the 30-minute long credits then.

LEAH:  yeah I just want to call out some of our job titles in here so we have King and head of the round table as president met, I Am Lord of The Messengers for director of communications, Lauren is Lord of the minstrels for director of entertainment, Ashley is Lord of creativity for director of marketing,  Steven is minion of creativity for Creative manager.

STEPHEN: I’m the only minion in the Kingdom so I like that.

LEAH:  Sabrina is my media relations manager is Herald of kingdom of relations, I just have to call out Josh more as our digital communication strategist I had to focus to make sure I get that he is our virtual correspondence advisor. Well done Steven you need to go through and just to check out all the names and maybe take a guess at what our actual titles are because that’s just a short translation of everything. 

STEPHEN: I will give you a hint that if anyone is a Lord that is a director and if anyone is a knight they are a manager there’s a little hint for you there.

LEAH:  Unless you are a minion

STEPHEN: Unless you’re a minion, I got to name myself and I wanted to be a minion, so.

LEAH: Congratulations you galloped your way to the end of another episode of our podcast. You’re listening to the second episode of our special binge-worthy three podcast episode drop. Please join us now for the next episode which will be Season 2 Episode 3 The One with the Year of Feedback. Thank you for guests today, Ashley Blankenbaker also to our behind the scenes by Pod Squad, Josh for babysitting the soundboard thank you, and Sabrina for keeping us on time and creating the best caption credits ever with actual Dutch. Thank you to all of you for listening 

Podcast: Three for the Price of One

We’ve been plotting the return of the podcast for a while. If you haven’t listened yet, I highly recommend you check out some of our old episodes, available at www.holidayworld.com/holisounds (or wherever you get your podcasts).

Lauren Crosby
Lauren, checking out new food during a previous podcast episode.

We decided that we wanted to try some new things with this next version of the podcast, so if you’re an old fan, you’ll notice some major changes such as:

Most importantly, we’re kicking off HOWOPO Season 2 (yes, we realize Season 1 had 70+ seasons) with a new format and a new sound. We’re going to try out some new things. Some will work, some won’t. We trust that you, our listeners, will help guide us along the way.

If you want to provide comments or suggestions, send us an email at podcast@holidayworld.com, leave us a voicemail at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or tag us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published.

The Holiday World Podcast is coming back!

You read that correctly!

After a one-year hiatus, the pod squad has been working
hard to bring you quality content and a new format!

Shortly after we kick off the new year we will be rolling out three fresh
podcast episodes to enjoy during your morning commute

To hold you over while you wait, It felt right to re-release Episode 072
from Season 1 that we shared with you a year ago; The One with the
Town Named Santa Claus.

In this episode, the pod squad discusses the history of
Santa Claus and some lesser-known towns with the same name.

Santa Claus Post Office
Santa Claus Post Office

You can check out the full podcast from The Town named Santa Claus, here .

A full transcript of this episode is also available, here

We have missed you dearly and are very excited to be back in your ear!
Please subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, YouTube, Facebook, to get notified when we drop the newest episodes!

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Sweepstakes: Coolest Time to Visit

Congratulations to our winner, Brooke W. from Evansville, Indiana!


Have you visited Holiday World during Happy Halloween Weekends?

Wacky Workshop of Wonders:
Professor D.R. Holiday and his assistant, Otto

Normally we can comfortably say that the lines are shorter and the weather is cooler.

Well, the first of those two has been true this year. It’s still been pretty warm these past few weeks.

But it looks like fall weather might actually arrive just in time for this weekend’s festivities!

October is the perfect time to visit.

You can still enjoy your favorite rides, and we have tons of great Halloween-themed fun, activities, and food.

We have 12 acres of corn mazes, three funhouses, tons of seasonal treats on our menus, plus scary good shows!

You won’t want to miss the Wacky Workshop of Wonders with Professor D.R. Holiday, the LOL Comedy Magic Show, or The Monster Mash – where you help us choose the “Monster of the Year!”

The cast of The Monster Mash!

The cast of The Monster Mash!

There’s so much fun to be had that we thought we should have a new sweepstakes and give tickets so you can come experience it for yourself!

Here’s what you could win:

  • 4 one-day tickets to Holiday World
  • $20 HoliCash

We’ll choose one winner at random.


Before you enter, please read through these instructions and rules:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter. You must not have won tickets from Holiday World in the past 12 months. Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Koch Development Corporation, 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.)
  • Winners will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends.
  • Use the widget, below, to enter. There are several options, so you can earn extra entries. For the “Leave a blog post comment,” simply answer this question: What is your favorite part of Happy Halloween Weekends? (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)
  • Tickets are non-transferable and not for re-sale. Winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prize(s). No purchase necessary.
  • 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.
  • Not eligible if you’ve won tickets from us in the past 12 months.

Happy Halloween Weekends run Saturdays and Sundays through October 27. Check out our full calendar here!

Ready to enter? Simply enter by using the widget below. You can enter daily through Friday, October 11, 2019, at 3:30pm CDT, when we’ll choose a winner at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

Birthday rooms for epic parties

Party Room Candles 2

Leah's Birthday Party with Holidog

When people find out I grew up in a theme park because it was my family business, they often ask me expectantly: Did you have the COOLEST birthdays?!

The answer is sometimes. 

My sister and I were born in September and October, respectively, so we “got to” share our birthday party every year. So yes, we had a few birthdays at Holiday World (see exhibit A: adorable photo from party with all of us hugging Holidog circa early 1990s).

No. We didn’t get to run like crazy through a closed theme park.

No. We didn’t get to take prizes from the games or the shops.

Mostly there was just cake and pizza and Holidog. 

As we built Santa’s Merry Marketplace, we thought it might be nice to include a space for parties, so kids could throw some epic birthdays that surpass the ones I shared with my sister because–let’s be honest– the park is way cooler now than it was in the 1990s. 

Party Rooms Conversations

Interested in throwing an epic birthday party?

Party Room Candles 2

Now, we have party rooms available to maximize the coolness of a kid’s party at Holiday World. Here’s what you’ll need to know:

  • The rooms are FREE for Pizza Parties
  • We have two party packages available, including the option of an all-you-can-eat buffet
  • All birthday packages include breadsticks, dipping sauce, cookies, and free unlimited soft drinks
  • Salads can be added onto your package
  • Parties are available for groups between 15 and 49 Guests

You can also add on some other perks:

  • ¼ Sheet cake with Holiday World logo
  • Face painting
  • Caricatures

These birthday parties are putting my childhood ones to shame (sorry, Mom!).  

If you’re interested, please fill out this form for more information and pricing. 

Don’t forget! If you’re coming to celebrate a birthday, stop at Guest Relations for a birthday button! 


Would you like to receive HoliBlog notices – along with news releases and sweepstakes – by email? Sign up here and you can choose whether to receive the emails weekly or the same day the blog posts are published. Thank you!

HoWoHacks: Handle the heat

Mammoth water coasterWe’re introducing a blog series of tips and tricks we’re calling #HoWoHacks.  We’ll give you some extra insider tips on how to handle the heat and more as we go.  Everyone knows Splashin’ Safari is a great place to cool off on a sweltering day. Naturally there’s Bahari River and Bahari Wave Pool, not to mention Kima Bay and Tembo Falls in the shadow of Bakuli for the little ones. And of course, if you want to build your way up to Mammoth and Wildebeest, we have the two best water coasters in the world–especially Mammoth with that chilly water.  Doesn’t that all sound amazing right now? Unfortunately, a refreshing dip won’t help you stay hydrated on a sweltering day, so we worked with our safety department to bring you some advice. 

Quick Tips for a hot day:

  • Start with a healthy breakfast
  • Bring an empty water bottle so you can keep a lot of water around all day
  • Free unlimited sunscreen is unlimited–take advantage of it!
  • Go light on the soft drinks–stick to mostly water and add some Gatorade 
  • Make sure you keep eating (check out our menus page so you can pick out some food that looks more appealing on a hot day such as a wrap or fruit salad at Wildebeestro)
  • Slow down your pace a little to avoid exhaustion 

Pro Tips for a hot day:

If you still find yourself feeling unwell in the heat–please notify a member of our staff so we can provide assistance from our EMT staff.  Stay cool and stay safe!
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Sweepstakes: Water Coaster Family Getaway

Mammoth & Wildebeest4 sml

Congratulations to our winner: Madi M. from Shelbyville, Kentucky! Thanks to all who entered. More giveaways coming up soon!

With the warm weather moving in this week, we know the best place to be is Splashin’ Safari! 

Whether your speed is more water coaster or more lazy river, you can kick back with a free soft drink (or on those especially hot days, don’t forget Gatorade and lots of water). 

We have 30+ slides, three kids’ play areas, two (and a half at Tembo Falls for the kids) wave pools, and a lazy river. There’s a reason USA Today named us the #1 Outdoor Water Park in the nation

If you want water coasters, no one can top us. Last year at the Golden Ticket Awards Wildebeest and Mammoth were named #1 and #2 Water Park Rides in the world, respectively, and Mammoth even made the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest water coaster.Wildebeest Family

Plus, if you’re looking for a pro tip for cooling off: Mammoth has some of the chilliest water in the park. 

So if you’re ready for some awesome water coaster action with your family, we’re hosting another sweepstakes!

  • Four one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
  • Quick Access Passes for your party (valid for four people on Wildebeest and four people on Mammoth… or whatever two attractions you’d like)
  • Two nights in a Holiday Cottage at Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort

Be sure to enter daily to win!

Mammoth & Wildebeest4 sml

But first, 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, Koch Development Corporation, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, Sun Communities, Sun RV Resort, and Dippin’ Dots LLC (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 and tweeting about this contest. You can also follow us on Pinterest, and visit us on our Facebook page. (We’d love it if you’d leave us a Facebook Recommendation while you’re there!)
  • If you win our Water Coaster Family Getaway, please note you must be at least 21 to phone in your two-night Holiday Cottage reservation at Lake Rudolph. *Here are the dates the cottage will be available:  August 9 – September 8, 2019.Mammoth Boat Going Over Hill
  • 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). Tickets to Holiday World must be picked up at Holiday World.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us which is your favorite–Wildebeest or Mammoth. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)

Ready to enter?

Simply enter by using the widget, below. Be sure to enter daily through Tuesday, August 6, 2019, at 12:15pm CDT, when we’ll choose a winner at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck to all!


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Stranger than us?

1985 (probably) Map

I’ve already watched Season 3 of Stranger Things. 


“Where did you find the time to watch now that you’re over communications?” asked no one. (But if you are wondering… I simply gave up on that sleep thing)

In the fourth episode of the third season, Will talks about “You know when you drop on a roller coaster?”

In fact, Josh pointed out on our Season Passholder Facebook group that we might know a place in Indiana with coasters…

And it got me thinking

Did we have a roller coaster for the residents of (fictional) Hawkins, Indiana to ride? 

Our classics (Raven, Legend, Voyage, and Thunderbird) weren’t around yet. The Raven opened in 1995. 

But before Raven, we had Firecracker. Not our new Firecracker (our lovingly-restored classic Calypso ride). The roller coaster that used to stand in the spot where Holidog’s FunTown is today.

Now I want to paint a picture for you

Stranger Things Season 3 is set in the summer of 1985. 

In 1985, the park map looked like this (well we’re not 100% sure but we think this was our 1985 map): 

1985 (probably) Map1985 (Probably) Map Back

You may not be able to read it, but on the back you can see that the Fright Chasm Overlook (literally just the area to watch Frightful Falls) was listed as its own attraction. 

Santa Claus Land had just been renamed in 1984 to Holiday World and the Halloween and 4th of July sections had just been added. We had the Scarecrow Scrambler, the Virginia Reel, Eagle’s Flight, Rough Riders, and many attractions that have either found new homes or have been retired. 

We were just a year away from adding Banshee (and for the record, I was mad at my dad when we removed it so don’t start with me…I don’t like that we removed it either).

Our brochure had just changed from this in 1984:

1984 brochure front1984 brochure back

New in 84 Logo Shirt

Shameless plug: If you’re as obsessed with this logo as I am, you can buy it on a shirt in the gift shops today

To this in 1985 (did you notice that classic rebrand?):

1985 Brochure Front

1985 Brochure Back

Look at those jazz hands!












According to my mom, Lori, it was the first year for the high-dive show. 

My dad, Will Koch, was 23. He and my mom got married in May 1985, and they had moved to California by summer that year.

 Will & Lori Koch Wedding Day














But… if I could cast a dream episode of Stranger Things at Holiday World and could pretend my parents had been around the summer of 1985, I’d say my dad probably would have been a secondary engineering or math mentor to the Hawkins AV club kids, and my mom would have been the cool performer who caught one of the teenagers’ attention for a little too long while some government authority came running around the corner. (For the record my dad was an engineer and my mom was a performer… they were just in California so my dad could get his masters degree in engineering)  

In the midst of my parents’ newlywed bliss the Hawkins, Indiana kids would trash the rides defeating the demogorgons… so maybe not… 

But it’s cool to think that simultaneously while the action centers around the mall in this season, somewhere not too far away, Holiday World was there. And you just know Mike, Will, Dustin, and Lucas would be coaster enthusiasts. 

We hope after all of that fighting evil, ALL of those kids (and the few adults) got to have a fun day here. They deserved it! 


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