Over the last few weeks we have covered the most well known theme park chains in the world. And, although they are undoubtedly some of the best parks imaginable, this week we are very excited to be sharing with you a park that may not be as well known as the others, but has just as much heart. We’re taking you to Santa Claus, Indiana to tell you all about one of the greatest and most uniquely themed parks we have ever been to: Holiday World!
Family man and father of 9, Louis Koch, founded Holiday World after he and his children visited Santa Claus, Indiana in the 1940’s. Upon arriving in Santa Claus, the family was quickly let down when they realized that the town was not as well-themed as they’d hoped based on its name and that Santa was nowhere to be found. Thus, an idea was born. Fast-forward to present times and you’ve got a fun, family-friendly park themed to four major U.S. holidays! Holiday world features distinctive sections of the park themed to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 4th of July, all of which offer food, drinks, and rides themed to their particular holiday. There are so many great things to write about each section, and we will review all of it eventually, but for the sake of not writing a novel here we want to focus on one particular holiday this week. Considering we are a theme park food blog, it seems only fitting that we start with the holiday whose main activity involves eating until you can’t breathe, and literally stuffing foods into other foods. We are of course talking about Thanksgiving!
The Thanksgiving section of the park offers a few different options for hungry guests. There is a stand called The Smokehouse with a wide variety of paninis, loaded fries, and hand-dipped ice cream waffle cones. The Smokehouse is more of a refreshment stop rather than a restaurant, but it’s still a great option if you’re looking for something delicious but quick.
However, the main star of this section of the park has to be Plymouth Rock Café! This restaurant is one of the larger dining options in the park and features classic Thanksgiving meals. You can choose from fried chicken, pulled pork, chicken and dumplings, and of course TURKEY. An adult meal comes with your choice of two sides, or you can opt for the Pilgrim’s Feast which comes with three sides! We, of course, went with the feast and chose turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and mac and cheese (we really loves carbs!) Overall the meal was really good, and was the perfect amount of nostalgia to get you missing the holidays. The only concern here is maybe that heavy, starchy food like this isn’t exactly ideal when you’re planning on riding rollercoasters and walking through a park in the heat. But, for us, we ended our day with this meal, so it all worked out. If you save room, don’t forget to add on a piece of pumpkin or pecan pie for dessert!
The coolest thing about the Thanksgiving area is that not only can you get what feels like a home-cooked meal; it is also the newest section of the park and features the two largest roller coasters! The skyline is shared by The Voyage, a long wooden roller coaster, and Thunderbird, a first-of-its-kind launched wing coaster.
The Voyage was built in 2006 and was one of the first coasters ever created by The Gravity Group. Until this ride was built, the largest roller coasters the park had to offer were Raven and The Legend, which pale in comparison to the size of this beast. Although those two coasters pack a punch, building Voyage definitely put Holiday World on the map as a contender in the coaster game. Holding the record for most airtime on a wooden coaster, this epic ride keeps you out of your seat for a whopping 24.3 seconds! It also features 5 underground tunnels, and a 154-ft drop making this roller coaster one of the most intense wooden coasters in the world. If you’re a die-hard fan of wooden coasters, you will definitely appreciate this 2 minute and 45 second thrill ride; just be prepared to collect a few bruises along the way!
For those looking for a smoother ride, not far away is the park’s newest roller coaster: Thunderbird. Holiday World is mostly known for building amazing wooden coasters, so when the park announced that they would be adding a major steel coaster, enthusiasts everywhere were extremely excited to see what they would come up with. Thunderbird is a wing coaster, meaning that riders sit along the side of the coaster track, rather than on top of it. The thing that makes this wing coaster so unique, is that it includes a launch, making it the first of its kind. It also features the largest loop on a wing coaster in the world! This roller coaster is definitely one of our favorites and we can’t wait to see what Holiday World will come up with next.
All in all, Holiday World is one of the best parks in the country, and we hope that this post has given you just a small sample of all the park has to offer. We will definitely cover the other park sections and world-class water park in a future post, but until then, Happy Holidays!
Parker and Brittany Ruhmel- Lovers of all things food and theme park related!