Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Roller Coaster Road Trip 2014: Holiday World

One of the places I was looking forward to visiting the most was Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana.  I'd first heard of this place from an old roller coaster VHS I'd bought about 20 years ago and I've wanted to visit it ever since.  The place is a holiday-themed amusement center that is still family owned and operated, a rarity in this day and age.  It first opened in 1946 as Santa Claus Land and changed to its current name in 1984. There are four sections to the park, each themed after a major holiday...Christmas (of course!), Halloween, 4th of July and Thanksgiving.

Holiday World  Splashin' Safari was the first destination on our roller coaster road trip.  (The "Safari' refers to a water park that is situated within the confines of the place.) We visited the park on Monday, July 7th. I'd mentioned in a post the next day that this was my first time ever in Indiana and so being the music nerd I am, the three of us listened to John Mellencamp, a famous Indiana native, along the way just to get us in an Indiana state of mind.

The Park

All in all, Holiday World was a wee bit of a disappointment, probably because it was much smaller than I expected it to be, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a good time.  Though it was bigger than some of the smaller parks I know like Playland in Rye, NY or Adventureland in Farmingdale, NY, it didn't quite have that big, amusement park field like a Six Flags or a Disney. That was cool, though, because I had anticipated a shorter visit than say, Kings Island, and we wanted to check out Louisville at night anyway.

The park is picturesque, and the holiday theme is a really unique one that can be found throughout.  There's Dasher's Seahorses (a merry-go-round), Rudolph's Roundup and Mrs. Claus's Sweet Shoppe in Christmas, Gobbler Getaway, Turkey Whirl and Mayflower in Thanksgiving, the Lewis and Clark Trail and Liberty Lunch in 4th of July, and Frightful Falls and Scarecrow Scrambler in Halloween, and much more.  You get the idea.

One thing that struck me the most in Holiday World was that is was so much different than anything we see here on the East Coast, where capitalism runs supreme.  Where parks like Six Flags in New Jersey, Busch Gardens in Virginia and Hersheypark in Pennsylvania all charge an arm and a leg for practically everything, Holiday World was not like that at all.  Case in point, the park gives free soft drinks with every admission...all day, every day!  Unheard of in these parts!

Santa Claus

What would a place like Holiday World be without Santa Claus?  Upon visiting Mrs. Claus' Sweet Shoppe, which served the savoriest of sweet indulgences, including chocolate covered bacon, Rich had noticed an area towards the back of the store which was decorated with presents and wrappings and candy canes and so on.  Lo and behold, behind all of that was Santa, sitting in a chair, jolly as all heck, and just itching for some company.

Rich found this all so amusing and became giddy as soon as Santa noticed him.  The next thing you know, Santa was asking him what he wanted for Christmas and when Rich said that he wanted money, Santa offered to oblige, but the dough had to go to a charity of Rich's choice.  Once their little conversation was over, Rich asked if he could get a picture and before you knew it, Santa's assistant was snapping away as we all did some pretty cheesy poses.  Awesome!

The Coasters

Of course, my main reason for visiting Holiday World was its coasters.  The park has three of them, all renowned around the world of the coaster enthusiast.  Raven, Legend and Voyage are all coasters worthy of more talk, so I will be posting on Holiday World's roller coasters real soon.  Stay tuned!

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