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Sunday, January 16, 2011
Holiday World: Home To A Thanksgiving Dark Ride And Much More!
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, Indiana! There you'll find Holiday World, a popular theme park that got its start back in 1946.
Holiday World was originally called Santa Claus Land, celebrating all things Christmas. The park changed its name and added sections themed to Halloween and The Fourth of July in 1984.
George the Eagle, Holidog, and Safari Sam are Holiday World's mascots. Here they are standing in front of "The Voyage", a wooden roller coaster in the park's newest section, Thanksgiving, which opened in 2006.
In 2007, Thanksgiving got a new tilt-a-whirl ride called "Turkey Whirl." I love the ride's logo.
Holiday World may be the only theme park in the world with a Thanksgiving themed dark ride. "Gobbler Getaway" debuted with the opening of the Thanksgiving section in 2006. The ride vehicles in this attraction are equipped with "turkey caller" devices. The turkeys in the town of Autumn Falls have gone missing, and riders must round them up for Thanksgiving.
This interactive adventure was created by the Sally Corporation, which has installed similar dark rides at other theme parks (like "Scooby Doo Ghostblasters" at some Six Flags parks). "Gobbler Getaway" ends happily for the turkeys. The animated people of Autumn Falls decide to serve pizza for the Thanksgiving meal, which results in a turkey celebration extravaganza for the ride's finale. I think this concept is brilliant in its "outside the box" thinking. Bravo, Holiday World and Sally Corporation!
"HalloSwings" in the Halloween section is one of the best themed swings rides I've seen. It is designed to look even better at night!
It's great to see such a creative version of a standard amusement park ride. "HalloSwings" is in good company with "Silly Symphony Swings" at Disney's California Adventure and "Gotham City Crime Wave" at Six Flags Over Georgia.
Holiday World has received quite a few Golden Ticket Awards for outstanding attractions from Amusement Today over the years. The park is also an International Applause Award Winner. This "honors a park whose management, operations, and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry through foresight, originality, and sound business development."
Holiday World's Park brochure notes that Holiday World "is proud to be included among the previous winners, including Disneyland, Hersheypark, Cedar Point, EPCOT Center, Universal Studios Florida, Silver Dollar City, Europa Park, and Efteling." Holiday World won the Applause Award in 2005, and was the smallest park to do so.
In 2000, Holiday World started offering free unlimited soft drinks (courtesy of Pepsi) with park admission. Parking is free, too. It's no wonder they won the Applause Award.
Holiday World added a water park called Splashin' Safari in 1993.
Splashin' Safari continues to expand its thrilling selection of water attractions. Splashin' Safari also has free sunscreen stations!
I have not yet been able to visit Holiday World, but saw it from the car during a trip from Jasper, Indiana to Louisville, Kentucky in 2008. It looked like a fun place to visit.
I'm thinking it would be great if Holiday World had an Easter section. It could be sponsored by Peeps, the marshmallow treats made by the Just Born Candy Company. There are now Peeps for Easter, Christmas, Valentine's, and Halloween, so it would be a nice fit for Holiday World.