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Countdown to Opening Day for the 2021 Season: May 15th 11:00 AM!

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I love the direction Holiday World is taking to really put themselves on the map. Thunderbird looks to be a fantastic ride and I'm excited to hear about the new near-misses (I think it has something to do with that windmill shown in the animation videos). Can't wait to see this thing fly!

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The thing I like most about this coaster is probably something many haven't noticed or may have overlooked. It has nothing to do with the track, trains, elements, launch etc. It has everything to do

A few observations- 1. LSM launch 2. Like the interaction it has with the launch and first inversion around the area and then has a part that finishes with a terrain section, nice. 3. I'm surprise

Truly did anyone expect Holiday World to spend $22 Million? That is twice as much as any capital expenditure in the past. The potential reopening of an SLC will not be much competition next year. B

  • 2 weeks later...

Holiday World has extended their hours during the summer. Saturdays during the summer will have HW open until 10pm, while the rest of the week HW will be open until 9pm.

http://www.holidayworld.com/holiblog/2015/01/05/moonlight-becomes/

I like the idea because I always felt HW closed too early. This way you can possibly ride the rides at night during the summer without having to go to Holiwood Nights.

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My guess why they extended their hours- they are expecting a lot more guests in 2015 (Big New Coasters usually cause attendance spikes at smaller parks) and thus wait times will be increased, especially during the peak summer season. Hence guests may need that extra time to get in all the rides/attractions they may want to do, especially if they will be hitting the packed waterpark. The ability to ride your choice of the 4 coasters at night will just be a nice bonus though I think it will be VERY difficult to get all 4 in one night due to how crowded it'll likely be most nights.

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Give the place ten years under current management and it will be indistinguishable from the average corporate chain park. Heck, it is HIGHLY likely to belong to one of the big corporate chains sometime in the next decade.

Terp, who really wishes the park would stand pat for its unique selling propositions...but strongly suspects that it now won't.

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To be honest, it's probably been heading that way for a while- at least since The Voyage was added in 2006 and the entire Thanksgiving Plaza was made. (TBH I actually thought about adding this discussion in my first post before this) If you compare that area to the older sections of the park, it feels very different- the other areas are all nicely shaded, with lots of trees and the buildings and stuff at least had some effort put into their theming. Then you go back to Thanksgiving and it's kinda like KI's Action Zone (granted 2014 additions really helped AZ seem nicer)...a open concrete lot for the most part with mostly generic-looking buildings with some tacked-on theming. At least there is SOME foliage towards the back near where Thunderbird will be though- hoping that area ends up looking better than Voyage's, but I'm not holding my breath. The new-for-2014 buildings I have yet to see in person did look nice in the renderings though so I could have some hope at least there.

Another aspect of how Holiday World seems to be approaching "corporate" status would be the recent push for record-breaking rides. The Voyage was pushed HARD for its records, even when El Toro at NJFTP had broken one of them. Pilgrims Plunge/Giraffica was heavily pushed for its status as the tallest water ride while it lasted. Wildebeest was pushed hard as the world's longest water coaster in marketing...and then got one-upped by its own park a mere 2 years later with Mammoth. And now Thunderbird's status as the first launched wing coaster in the US...this is the kind of stuff Six Flags and Cedar Fair do. While small parks do occasionally add a world record breaking ride (like Steel Phantom or Chang) the rate at which Holiday World has been doing it does not line up with a small park.

And then the recent big change- the 2013 "family feud" which removed Pat Koch from the Holiday World picture, and put the people running the park behind-the-scenes like any other major corporate park. In 2012 and earlier, this was at least one way Holiday World was different than most major chain parks. But now? You have some regular cheesy TV ad's, management isn't shown in any of them. And there's just some regular worker out in front greeting guests. (Meanwhile, the "old" guys who were forced to "relocate" to Alabama Adventure seem to still use Holiday World's old policy and they show themselves front-and-center in most advertisement I have seen on their web page...)

I'll make it clear I do still love Holiday World. Not EVERY aspect of the old family park has died- the main thing I could think of would be the fudge shop which was awesome- and they do have the unlimited soft drinks with admission (not free as claimed though) and free parking promos still, 2 things I doubt either Cedar Fair or Six Flags would do though they could shock me. But it's mostly because the rides they have are great, they have one of the best waterparks around, and they do keep it safe and clean- though to be fair, a good corporate chain park will usually also do most of the above except maybe the waterpark part. But they are not without flaws, and the gap they claim to have between the big corporate parks and them really isn't as big as they say it is.

This review- from 2009 when Will Koch was actually still alive & in charge- isn't mine at all but it hits a lot of these issues on the head...

http://www.rollercoasterphilosophy.com/2009/holiday-world/

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I pray that the Kochs are able to put the feuding behind them and re-unite as a family not for our sake but for theirs. I am still heart broken over the whole thing and I know that Will would never want it to turn out like it has. Long live Holiday World and Alabama Splash Adventure. May they some day be united under one strong family ownership.

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^
"And thus, with the reunion of the Koch Family, Holiday World and Alabama's Splash Adventure become one company- Koch Amusement Corporation was born in the year 20XX...(XX since I have no idea if/when this would happen)"

Hey, if it did happen, it could go places. Cedar Fair got started when Cedar Point joined forces with Valleyfair, so if the Koch family did re-unite and join these two parks under one roof...it could start a whole different chain of parks to compete with Cedar Fair and Six Flags and the like. Though that would EASILY put Holiday World itself into the corporate parks category since being part of a chain is a factor in that...

Though first, the Koch family needs to re-unite and all that. I do hope it does one day happen...

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Sadly, that is true...if this feud goes long enough, even if it does end, it could be too late for Pat Koch. Even if she is still alive, she might not be healthy enough to return to her old job greeting guests at Holiday World (and everything else she was doing there prior to 2013 as I'm pretty sure she did more than just that)- something I am very sure she'd love to be doing again.

Hopefully it does happen sooner rather than later. Though there sadly is a chance the grudges could last too long...

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To be honest, it's probably been heading that way for a while- at least since The Voyage was added in 2006 and the entire Thanksgiving Plaza was made. (TBH I actually thought about adding this discussion in my first post before this) If you compare that area to the older sections of the park, it feels very different- the other areas are all nicely shaded, with lots of trees and the buildings and stuff at least had some effort put into their theming. Then you go back to Thanksgiving and it's kinda like KI's Action Zone (granted 2014 additions really helped AZ seem nicer)...a open concrete lot for the most part with mostly generic-looking buildings with some tacked-on theming. At least there is SOME foliage towards the back near where Thunderbird will be though- hoping that area ends up looking better than Voyage's, but I'm not holding my breath. The new-for-2014 buildings I have yet to see in person did look nice in the renderings though so I could have some hope at least there.

Another aspect of how Holiday World seems to be approaching "corporate" status would be the recent push for record-breaking rides. The Voyage was pushed HARD for its records, even when El Toro at NJFTP had broken one of them. Pilgrims Plunge/Giraffica was heavily pushed for its status as the tallest water ride while it lasted. Wildebeest was pushed hard as the world's longest water coaster in marketing...and then got one-upped by its own park a mere 2 years later with Mammoth. And now Thunderbird's status as the first launched wing coaster in the US...this is the kind of stuff Six Flags and Cedar Fair do. While small parks do occasionally add a world record breaking ride (like Steel Phantom or Chang) the rate at which Holiday World has been doing it does not line up with a small park.

And then the recent big change- the 2013 "family feud" which removed Pat Koch from the Holiday World picture, and put the people running the park behind-the-scenes like any other major corporate park. In 2012 and earlier, this was at least one way Holiday World was different than most major chain parks. But now? You have some regular cheesy TV ad's, management isn't shown in any of them. And there's just some regular worker out in front greeting guests. (Meanwhile, the "old" guys who were forced to "relocate" to Alabama Adventure seem to still use Holiday World's old policy and they show themselves front-and-center in most advertisement I have seen on their web page...)

I'll make it clear I do still love Holiday World. Not EVERY aspect of the old family park has died- the main thing I could think of would be the fudge shop which was awesome- and they do have the unlimited soft drinks with admission (not free as claimed though) and free parking promos still, 2 things I doubt either Cedar Fair or Six Flags would do though they could shock me. But it's mostly because the rides they have are great, they have one of the best waterparks around, and they do keep it safe and clean- though to be fair, a good corporate chain park will usually also do most of the above except maybe the waterpark part. But they are not without flaws, and the gap they claim to have between the big corporate parks and them really isn't as big as they say it is.

This review- from 2009 when Will Koch was actually still alive & in charge- isn't mine at all but it hits a lot of these issues on the head...

http://www.rollercoasterphilosophy.com/2009/holiday-world/

I just want to play devils advocate here. I agree with most of your points but I don't think this is just a Holiday World thing.

I feel like all small parks tout their rides as world class or record breaking because it is what draws the general public in. How many people in the general public think TTD is without a doubt the best ride at CP? Why? Because its the biggest and fastest ride in the park and it is touted as such.

-Silver Dollar City touts Outlaw Run as "the world's most daring wood coaster, with the steepest drop" and the only wooden coaster that "goes upside down 3 times." Also they tout it as the 2nd fastest wooden coaster and the first and only 720 degree barrel roll.

-Mt. Olympus touts Hades 360 as the worlds first upside down wooden coaster (Even though that is not true)

The advertising list goes on and on. Records, even the ones that aren't quite true records bring people in. Without paying customers there is no park. So you have to advertise your park as the best and brightest even when it is not. (Too bad KK can't seem to wrap their heads around that one... but anyway)

As for the expansion of HW, I believe that was a given. I believe that Will wanted the Thanksgiving section to be the main focus of the park. I cannot find the interview but he also stated that he wanted HW to be a destination park. I believe he mentioned that he wanted HW to be viewed as a place where a family would spend 2-3 days there during the summer. Unlike some of the smaller parks HW is very large and will continue to grow. They are twice the size of SDC so they have room to expand. Even when they run out of room they basically hold Santa Claus, IN's economy together so they will be able to buy land if they see fit. They have averaged over 1 million guests the past 5 years. They are not a small park anymore. I still feel that the park is family friendly though. The prices for food are cheap, they have an extremely solid lineup of rides, and you still see the behind the scenes people walking around all of the time. Every time I have been there I have run into Paula, Matt, Lori, Leah, and Lauren. Every time I say hello they stop and have a conversation with me. The ride ops are by far the best and most polite crews around. They love their jobs (or at least do a very outstanding job of putting on the facade that they love their job.) To be honest outside of the enthusiasts community most people have no idea of the background stuff that has been going on.

Change is inevitable. I hate the way that this whole thing went down but according to the courts this is all of the Koch Development Corp's fault. If they (and I say they because we truly don't know who's idea it was to do such a thing) never shorted Lori what was legally her's, this would've never happened. I feel as if this expansion of HW was going to happen. Will Koch was an ambitious man and I feel he had this all planned out. I truly believe that the Koch family (Minus maybe Dan, but that's a whole other story) is welcomed back to the park. I just feel like the divide is too much for them now to reconcile at this moment. I do truly hope it happens sometime soon because you never know how much time anyone has left in this world. I would hate for something to happen to someone and a family member be filled with regret because they didn't reconcile their differences.

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Excellent points...yeah, I'd have to agree on them. Like it or not, Holiday World isn't going to stay a small park forever- especially not at this pace- and they clearly don't want to forever be a small park (in fact I'd agree they have already broken that wall down) as big parks make more money. But they have to keep some of their small-park values even as the park grows larger or they risk losing what made them so good in the first place.

And re-reading that review, something I noticed: he did have a complaint about the main waterpark entrance being too cramped up...and then in 2013, they went and fixed that. Had to remove some of their older waterpark rides but the area is now a much better entrance hub for the waterpark. So they have been trying to fix what flaws they do have (though stuff like the crazy layout they currently have can't really be fixed- HW has to work with the terrain they have...).

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Re-iterating what I said before posts were lost (at least to some extent):

The big change for Holiday World in my opinion came in the late 90s and early 2000s. The Golden Ticket Awards started in 1998 and the internet began taking off around the same time. Holiday World scored big from the start with the GTAs, beating out SFoT and BGW for "Friendliest Park" and having Raven place 2nd on the "best wooden coasters" list. In 2000, The Raven moved to the top of its list and the park also added Legend. This is likely when the enthusiast community took notice. The park had an award-winning wooden coaster and had just added a 2nd. Rides that size are not typical of small family-owned parks in the middle of nowhere. Sure, Beech Bend has Kentucky Rumbler, but this wasn't even added until 2006 and it doesn't even make sense where it is (though Raven likely didn't make sense at Holiday World when it opened in the late 90s).

Thunderbird though is on a completely different level than their wooden coasters, so it will be interesting to see what happens with the park the next few years, as Thunderbird certainly isn't the type of ride you'd expect from a park like this.

Also, I'm a bit curious as to what lead the park to add Raven in the first place, considering their only coaster at the time was an 18-year-old used Galaxi that they'd gotten from Geauga Lake in the early 80s (and which was removed just 2 seasons later and ultimately scrapped after a brief stint at a park in Maryland). How do you go from something like a Galaxi to a large custom wooden terrain coaster like Raven?

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For people who weren't following the park back when Raven was announced and built, what was that situation like? How did people react? How did the park handle announcing that huge step forward? What was the general feel, if you will, of fans of the park and enthusiasts at that time, both before and after the announcement and building?

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People were STUNNED by Raven. It was a ferocious CCI in a little, family park. More so, they were stunned by the courtesy and closeness of the Holiday World staff. It was like a family, with Pat as the matriarch.

It felt great to support Holiday World, and to spread the news far and wide what a great little happy place it was.

The first few Stark Raven Mads were truly incredible events. Close friendships were made, alliances formed. Pat even gave tours of her house. Yep.

It was a very special place.

For some of us, it will now never be the same. And forget the park, the grandkids lost a dad, an uncle, and now this.

Money, and the love of it, does strange things to people.

It's truly sad.

Perhaps Thunderbird can bring a Holiday miracle.

I sure hope so.

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How do you go from something like a Galaxi to a large custom wooden terrain coaster like Raven?

In addition to the two factors that The Interpreter mentioned, I believe there were two more.

1. Water Park profits

2. Fiscal conservatism

3. Will Koch was a coaster fan. A serious coaster enthusiast. I read he was a fan of The Beast. I'm quite sure building a great wooden coaster at his own park was always a goal of his. In fact, back when Voyage was being built, I remember hearing a podcast where Will reminisced about hiking with his dad through the Holiday World woods and property, dreaming of someday building big, amazing wooden coasters there.

4. An affordable proposal from Custom Coasters Inc. I read an article describing the initial meeting between the Kochs and CCI at IAAPA and how both parties worked hard to arrive at a price tag of around 2 million dollars. Both parties were trying to make a name for themselves, and both parties swung for the fences to create a great, affordable coaster. Unlikely that another vendor at the time could create a similar coaster for that price.

Without any of these four factors, I think its unlikely that anything as revered as the Raven gets built at Holiday world in the mid '90s.

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If they invite coaster clubs I'll definitely try to make it out there for media day, since it's on a Thursday and I'm off on Wednesdays and Thursdays right now. That could change by April of course, especially once baseball season starts again, but we'll see how things go...

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Hopefully they will actually invite some coasters clubs at all...I mean they may end up foregoing any coaster clubs all together. But I am hoping for a chance to attend and hoping that GOCC will be one of the clubs invited.

Anyone order any Thunderbird gear yet from the Holishop?

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