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Holiday World announces “Thunderbird” roller coaster for 2015

After a protracted, sixty-six day tease campaign, Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN announced late last night their latest addition, “THUNDERBIRD,” the world’s first launched “wing rider” coaster (and first fully B&M designed launch coaster EVER).

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Can we get in line NOW? Photo courtesy of Holiday World, Paula Werne.

It’s sure to bring out the coaster faithful, and the thrill seekers to this once tiny park in the middle of Indiana. It also continues a meteoric rise in rise to fame to a park that most others could only dream of getting a whiff of.

Under the brilliant marketing guidance of the brilliant Paula Werne as well as operations and management from the Koch family, Holiday World has grown some a small, regionally known park – to a destination resort, complete with award winning rides and water park that are now internationally known.

The "keyhole" element on the wing rider is one of it's greatest elements. Photo courtesy of Holiday World, Paula Werne.

The “keyhole” element on the wing rider is one of it’s greatest elements. Photo courtesy of Holiday World, Paula Werne.

And they did it without changing their core values or sacrificing their soul.

“How?” You might ask…let me count the ways:

1.) They don’t charge for parking:

It’s one of the easiest streams of revenue for a park – pay just to arrive. Yet this one doesn’t – and still is able to add incredible rides. Makes you wonder where exactly that $25 at Six Flags is going, huh?

2.) Their admission is decently priced:

$39.99 is quite a bargain when parks such as Disney World and Universal continue their race to $100. Considering you parked your car for free, it looks even better. Count in all the discounts for Military, First Responders, etc – and it makes you regain hope for the family owned, American amusement park.

3.) The employees are some of the best in the business, despite being young:

You would think you were at a Disney park with the level of friendliness you’ll experience here. Their operations are fast, they’re always smiling – and I’ve never had a bad experience to report. On the contrary, each time I’ve visited – I’ve filled out a compliment card – and it’s always filled with names. Says a lot about their training.

4.) They offer FREE sunscreen in the water park:

This is no joke. They’ve got large vats (like ketchup dispensers) at strategic locations inside the water park – so you can ‘screen up. They also offer sunscreen for sale, if you’re looking for a more specialized SPF or tan.

5.) The water park is included in park general admission:

Others may have done it in recent years, but Holiday World was first to offer their water park as part of the general admission. No separate gate here, folks!

6.) They offer FREE, unlimited soft drinks throughout the park:

You read right. The veritable cash cow for any food-based establishment, soda is given away here. The catch? There’s soda

7.) They speak coaster:

It’s not easy satisfying a group of people who are always in search of the “next big thing.” Speaking the language isn’t too easy, either. With phrases such as “block brake,” “chain dog” and “Zamperla” – it can get pretty confusing for rookies.

But the staff at the park not only learned the language – they excelled at it. The park has become a destination for coaster-holics around the world, because the park was always active in the online community.

So for everyone who says a family-owned amusement park can’t exist with the likes of Six Flags and Cedar Fair these days? Just point your GPS to Santa Claus, IN. Because they just proved you wrong. Oh, and they’re building a B&M – you can’t get much bigger (and better) than that.

What do YOU think? Is “Thunderbird” enough for you to take a trip to Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari? Do you think this park competes with the chains – and how does it stack up? Tell us in the comments section, below:

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Logo courtesy of Holiday World, Paula Werne.

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Disney Bans Unaccompanied Kids

After over 55 years in business, “the Happiest Place on Earth” is no longer a playground for unsupervised tweens.

Sorry tweens, Disney Parks are for families, not you!

Sorry tweens, Disney Parks are for families, not you!

Disney yesterday, announced that they would no longer allow children under the age of 14 to roam the park without parental accompaniment.

At first, it SOUNDS terrible, borderline insane. I mean, how could a Disney Park ban KIDS? Wasn’t that the point they were built, so we could all be children at heart? But then, after reading into it a bit more, not only can I understand the move – I APPLAUD IT.

Consider for a moment, the last time you went to, say a Six Flags. Their marketing is heavily focused on the under 18 market, especially for season pass sales. Remember all those annoying tweens in the park – blasting their cell phones on speaker so that EVERYONE in line could hear their favorite song? Cutting in line, being generally “rebellious” (or at least what that generation thinks is rebellious?).

After you’ve just paid $119 per PERSON to experience the Disneyland Resort for JUST ONE DAY – do you really want to have that same experience?

I didn’t think so. And neither should you.

For some Disney parks are going to be harder to get into than Club 33!

For some Disney parks are going to be harder to get into than Club 33!

Let’s face it, some parents use amusement parks as a de-facto babysitter. It’s apparently a $600 investment (Annual Pass approximate cost) in sanity it’s much easier for the Mom and Dad to dump you off at an amusement park for the day, than deal with your pre-pubescent problems. This is exactly what Disney wants to stop, even if it means sacrificing a few Annual Passholders to Knott’s Berry Farm, a few miles up. “the 5.”

It’s rare that a park will turn down easy money (Holiday World in Indiana does it all the time by offering free parking, free soda and free sunscreen) but considering how much The Walt Disney Company made in the time it took you to read the word “DISNEY” in this sentence – they can afford to purge themselves of such a small (but noisy and noticeable) market group.

And hey, since you can’t dump your kids off at the park anymore, you’ll just have to buy a ticket for yourself and – GASP – try to enjoy a little together-time as a family. Ahhh!

Remember when that was the point of going to Disneyland?