Photo TR: Holiday World & Santa Claus, Indiana

June 30 & July 1, 2008
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Photo TR: Holiday World & Santa Claus, Indiana

Postby Electerik » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:17 am

Santa Claus, Indiana is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. Why? Well, Holiday World is a pretty good start. But there's more to it than that. Virtually the whole town, you see, is themed.

This was to be my fourth visit to this little town and its no longer quite so little park. But my girlfriend, Misty, had never been before. Would she like it? Read on....
005 Tower.JPG
You know it's going to be a long TR when I start with the parking lot.
010 Gate.JPG
Every one of my previous visits had been during a month of May.
012 Christmas.JPG
And here are the crowds I was worried about here at the end of June. But the park handled them very well, especially on the coasters.
013 Theater.JPG
I don't do shows. Nice theming on the building, though.
017 Kringles.JPG
Kringle's Kafe opens before the rides and closes after they do. Because the Kochs are smarter than corporate bean counters.
020 Cafe.JPG
The interior of Kringle's Kafe.
021 Pizza.JPG
Little Known Holiday World Fact #1: Holiday World has very good pizza.
022 Touching.JPG
I really enjoy unusual signage. This one is in the glass blowing shop. I'm thinking of having a shirt made up that says this.
025 Skeeball.JPG
Misty proves her prowess at Skeeball. (I helped a little.)
030 Raven Sign.JPG
Okay, on to the good stuff. On my first visit to HW, The Raven blew me away.
040 Raven Station.JPG
Unfortunately, on my next two visits, it was rather blah, and had almost no airtime.
045 Entry Raven.JPG
So I am happy to report that that trend has been reversed, and that The Raven is once again in my top ten.
047 Raven Drop.JPG
Misty liked it, too. In fact, it's now her favorite coaster anywhere.
050 Raven Hill.JPG
Like all of HW's coasters, though, it's a bit tricky to photograph.
052 Raven Turn.jpg
Little Known Holiday World Fact #2: The Raven has a turn out over Lake Rudolph. I believe I am the first person to ever get a photo of it.
055 Raven Woods.JPG
Did I mention that Raven was running well? And that it's hard to photograph?
058 Falls.JPG
Frightful Falls is the park's log flume. And like much of HW, it is a triumph of minimalism.
059 Counter.JPG
Hooray for ridiculous signage!
060 Scrambler.JPG
A pretty good overview of the park's Halloween section, if I do say so myself.
065 legend Drop.JPG
The Legend was running pretty well, also. Though it remains a bit of an odd duck, it still has some great moments.
067 Legend Layout.JPG
Including one of my favorite elements on any ride anywhere: The mid-course camelback that rides like a double down, even though it isn't one.
070 Legend.JPG
Still, it's a bit too lateral-y for my taste. Interestingly, its main claim to fame used to be its pure wildness. But The Voyage has upstaged it a bit.
080 Oasis.JPG
Little Known Holiday World Fact #3: Holiday World offers its guests free soft drinks throughout the day.
090 Swings.JPG
I love the theming on this ride. I could have included ten pictures of it, but it would have thrown the whole report out of whack.
095 Trail.JPG
And now we leave Halloween for 4th of July.
100 Taco.JPG
And a quick stop off for a Walking Taco! (Yes, it's a bag of Fritos with some taco meat and cheese thrown in it.)
105 Gifts.JPG
You know you're in trouble when the best part of a park section is a gift shop. (It is a really good gift shop, though.)
110 Launch.JPG
The 4th of July is where most of the park's flat rides are, but there's really no "anchor" attraction, and the theming here feels thin and random.
115 Doll.JPG
The town's original post office now houses a doll collection. Odd, but at least they preserved it.
120 Star.JPG
HW's new carousel. I hadn't realized that it replaced the bumper boats. It seems a bit small. A Christmas location and theme might have been better.
130 Fun Town.JPG
Holidog's Fun Town has a pretty cool sign.
140 Holidog.JPG
Proof that HW is not embarrassed by this statue's pose: You can actually buy hats and key chains with him standing this way.
150 Howler.JPG
Nothing too special about this kiddie coaster--except for the train, which is pretty cool.
155 Doggone.JPG
I don't think I ever even saw this kiddie jeep ride on my previous visits. "I'm the fittest guy on the track."
160 Train.JPG
The "Freedom Train," as it's now known, is the only original attraction left in the park. Here's some of the Fairy Tale stuff you see while riding it.
200 Voyage Tunnel.JPG
And now on to the park's newest section, Thanksgiving.
210 Turkey.JPG
Hooray for the Turkey Whirl!
215 Whirl.JPG
We rode it twice, just because it was so cute.
220 Gobbler.JPG
Gobbler Getaway adds so much to this park. At least, for me. Yes, the wood coasters are awesome. But you're just not a complete park without a dark ride.
230 Granny.JPG
The only animatronic in the park, and it could scarcely be better placed. However, if you listen carefully, Granny is actually a witch!
240 Getaway.JPG
Hunting for turkeys. Hmmm, well, I found a horse.
250 Rock.JPG
I was disappointed to find that this gigantic eatery had no inside seating. How odd.
260 Lunch.JPG
Especially considering the slightly more upscale style food. Still, the price was right: less than $20 for everything you see here.
263 Voyage Turn.jpg
A view of Thanksgiving from Voyage's station.
265 Voyage Drop.JPG
Two years in, and Voyage is still running great. (Also pictured is the new attraction in the water park, Kima Bay.)
275 Voyage Station.JPG
However, for me, it's just a bit too long, and the ending seems repetitive. I think maybe more straight bunny hops back to the station would have been better.
280 Voyage End.JPG
Still, it's a spectacular ride, and I'm skeptical that any other park would be behind it like HW is. I don't think I could marathon on it, though.
290 Voyage Gifts.JPG
It was Wacky Hat Day in The Voyage Gift Shop. I really do like the ride. It's even in my top ten. I'm just ready to get off about halfway back to the station.
295 Rainbow.JPG
Did Misty like the park? Hmmm, seems like. In fact, she has declared it "the best park ever." (I might not go quite that far, but it's definitely one of them.)
300 Statue.jpg
Ah, but there's more to Santa Claus than just Holiday World! This was (apparently) the first Santa statue in the town.
310 Castle.JPG
On my last visit, this was still being restored. It was worth the wait.
320 Candy.JPG
Among other things, they have over 30 different flavors of candy canes.
330 Museum Outside.JPG
The Santa Clause Museum is well worth checking out--if for no other reason than to see early plans for Holiday World expansion.
340 Museum Inside.JPG
A view of the inside. There are displays dedicated to the park, the town, Santa, and Christmas in general.
350 Museum Idiot.JPG
Hey, who's that handsome and non-idiotic fellow?
360 Foods.JPG
Even the grocery store is themed (if, you know, a name can be considered theming).
365 Fun Center.JPG
I'd never been able to play the mini golf here on my previous visits, but it looked pretty cool.
370 Frosty.JPG
Sadly, it needs better upkeep. The greens are worn through in spots, scenery is broken or missing, and Frosty seems to have mange.
380 Lodge.JPG
The inside of Santa's Lodge. A bit overpriced, but worth it to me to stay in town (since it's the only hotel in Santa Claus, that is).
400 Santa Claus.jpg
Goodbye, Santa Claus! We'll be back. (When is that Holiwood Nights thing again?)

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Postby Teacups Make Me Sick » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:59 am

Great report!

In the last photo it looks like santa is saying that:

"Voyager is about ya high."

Or he is trying to "crush" the coaster.

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Postby Electerik » Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:07 am

^ Thanks. =)

One thing I forgot to mention: We saw Pat Koch walking around the park at one point, but in the moment we were too chicken to stop her to say hello, since she looked like she was in a hurry. I kind of wish we had, in retrospect.

Later, we talked to a foods employee that mentioned that Pat had helped out in their kitchen that morning, and then ate there.

To me, the important part of all that is not so much that the owner is willing to work in the kitchen (as much as that might show her character), as that she actually experiences the park in a hands-on way, instead of just looking at a report that gets emailed to her each morning in her office across town or something.

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Postby Erik Johnson » Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:24 am

Wow, this is one of the best Holiday World trip reports I have seen. Thanks for posting this, as there is a great collection of photos here.

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Postby TheRapidsNerd » Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:32 am

Well done TR! This is another 'must do' on the list, especially after witnessing the pure awesomeness that is The Walking Taco. What a cool idea!

Thanks for including some of the unique town as well. =)

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Postby ElToroGirl84 » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:18 am

Great trip report! One of the best for this park I've seen.

Sure hope I can make it to this park someday.

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Postby Groteslurf » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:25 am

I love your TR and pics.
Aahh, memories :b Whenever will I make it over there again :cry:

I so much liked the woodies, the friendly staff and the free soda.

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Postby Reon » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:11 pm

I think I saw you guys when I went up on the 1st. I remember seeing that MM shirt in line for Voyage (I was wearing my long sleeved Phoenix shirt.)

Anyways, about the park: EPICLY AWESOME wooden coasters (Voyage put up a good fight and now tops Phoenix as my fave), but the flat selection is sort of meh. They have a few fun ones, and I liked Frightful Falls, but the park seems to be lacking in inverted rides. It could really do with a top spin of sorts I think. Oh well, Free unlimited drinks and some of the greatest wooden coasters I've been on made up for that.
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Postby Electerik » Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:35 am

Reon wrote:I think I saw you guys when I went up on the 1st. I remember seeing that MM shirt in line for Voyage (I was wearing my long sleeved Phoenix shirt.)

I didn't spot you, sorry. If I'd seen the shirt, I would have said hi or something. :mickey:

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Postby CoastersNSich » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:56 am

I noticed in the Legend Lot "the auxilary lot" that they now have trams. Surprising at first, but not quite so now knowing the park's growth in size and attendance.

About Kringle's Kafe opening before the rest of the park... there aren't a lot of fast food places near the park that I know of. The reasonable prices for food also soften the blow.

And I have to admit I'm bummed they took out Thunder Bumpers... even though it had low capacity. At least the water park keeps growing.
It's a livin' thing. It's a terrible thing to lose.


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