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Holiday World (HW) Discussion Thread

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I had the pleasure of attending the Platinum Season Pass Preview day at Holiday World this past Sunday. A couple of things to note before I get this trip report started. Indiana has a pretty aggressive plan to reopen their economy and are pretty lax on their social distancing guidelines and masks. The state just entered phase 4 of reopening and wearing masks is not a requirement anymore. Therefore, Holiday World does NOT require a mask to attend, but they're strongly encouraging their guests to wear one. They're requiring all of their staff members to wear one. As of now, Holiday World will be operating at 50% capacity and will be allowed to go up to 75% capacity on July 4th in the state's plan.


So how has HW changed now that they're operating in a pandemic? The first change you'll notice is as you walk up to the front gate. They've installed a ton of switchbacks that have feet marking every 6 feet leading up the security check. They'll ask your group to keep it at 2 people per marking. Instead of bag search's this year, they've installed metal detectors so there's less contact between their security staff and guests. After the security check, they installed another round of switchbacks with the social distancing markers that lead to the admissions area.


Once you've had your ticket scanned, and go through the entrance gate, you'll be handed a wristband for their new inLine Reservation System for virtual queuing which will be used on all of their attractions. It's the same kind of wristbands you used for their lockers if you're familiar with them. The instructions on how to use it are on the wristband. You'll set it up on your smartphone by going to HolidayWorld.com/inLine. You'll have to setup an account on your phone with an email and password. You can use a fake email too and it's a one step simple process. I suggest setting it up before your visit so you don't have to worry about it once you get there. When your account is setup, you'll have to register your wristband by entering the QR code on it. You can do this for multiple people on one account.


Once you've registered your QR code, you're able to start reserving rides and riding. Once you select a ride, it'll give you a 15 second count off before your entered into the virtual queue. You will have to keep track of your time. It'll give you a countdown bases off how long the queue is. So if Thunderbird is a 15 min wait, it'll have a 15 min countdown clock and once those 15 mins are up, you will then have 15 mins to report to the queue or you will lose your reservation. Once you arrive at the attraction, their will be a ride host standing behind a Plexiglas stand at the entrance with a phone. They'll take a picture of the QR code on your wrist with that phone and it will then pop up on their screen on if you had a reservation for that time and how many people are in your group. They'll then tell you can enter the queue. All the queues have social distancing foot markers 6 feet apart. It appears that the parts of queues they're utilizing will be the same all year long. They'll ask you to keep to 2 people per marker in your group.


At the ride, there will be another host who will ask you how many people are in your group and if you need a basket to put your belongings in. They will then assign you a seat. All rides are like this now. They will keep your group together. On the roller coasters, once they assign you a row, you'll enter the station and see social distancing markers that are placed 6 feet away from the train at the gates. You have to stand behind these markers and they were enforcing it. The woodies will be hurt the most on capacity. They're not blocking off any rows, so they can allow groups to ride together, but they will space a row in between groups. The most they'll be able to get on one train is probably 20 people depending on the group sizes. Thunderbird will actually be able to operate at full capacity because the span between seats on the wing coaster trains are actually 6 feet.


Periodically throughout the day, they will shut down attractions to do a complete deep clean on them. They went as far on Voyage at one point to deep clean the train, then transfer on the second train and take off the train they just cleaned, and then deep clean the new train before opening it back up.


There is hand sanitizer or as the park is calling it "Santatizer" available throughout the park. It's available at all restrooms, drink stands, and the entrances of restaurants and food stands. It's also available at the exit of most attractions although it seemed the employees at the bottles pulled more toward where they were working most of the time.


There are also social distancing markers in what seem to be high traffic area's, but none really at all in the rest of the park.


Pros about my visit:


First of all it wasn't busy at all and we were able to ride everything multiple times.


I loved the new inLine Reservation system. It worked without a single issue for me and I really enjoyed being able to plan my day. I'm curious though to see how works when there are more people in the park,


There was a strong upper-management presence in the park ALL day. I talked to a couple of VP's, saw one of the owners at least 4-5 times walking around and observing how things were operating throughout the park. I also saw the park president and CEO doing the same a couple of times.


Everyone was as friendly as ever and happy to see guests again.


The park looked GREAT with all it's landscaping and it didn't look like they cut anything out of the budget because of Covid-19.


They were enforcing all of the social distancing policies they've put in place to the best of their abilities.


Cons about my visit:


Food service is going to be an absolute nightmare this year. Their two biggest and only indoor restaurants are setup to be run cafeteria style. That doesn't really work in a pandemic. They've tried to come up with the best solution they can. At Santa's Merry Market Place, you'll go in follow the signs to the food.They're limiting their menu options this year. They've put in a makeshift order stand. There will be employees there that will write down your order on sided thermal paper. They'll hand you paper copy and give the thermal copy to a host, who is going to go get your food. You'll walk to the pickup area and wait for them to bring it over there. They'll hand the trays over to the hosts at the pickup area and they'll call all your ticket number and give you your food and then you go pay. This idea seems good on paper, but people getting the food kept getting confused and mixing up tickets. Their gonna have to figure out a better plan or smooth out the one they've got, because will be a disaster if this continues once more people are in the park.


Most of HW's clientele have no regard for anything to do with social distancing or CDC guidelines. Counting my group, I probably only saw 10 people wearing masks. The majority also spent most of their time complaining about the new inLine Reservation system while they let there kids walk as close as humanly possible to other people. The number one complaint I heard several times and have seen several times online "Why should I have to reserve a spot if no one is standing in line and they have empty seats on trains" . I also found it hilarious at the amount of Karen's who are complaining because they just can't let their kids run off and do what they want anymore. Now they have to sit with them and make reservations for them to ride rides and actually watch them instead of letting the park do it for them. Simply, HW had to implement this system or none of their guests would have ever socially distanced.


Some other notes to pass along coming from a VP:


The inLine reservation system WILL be used in the waterpark and they expect all attractions to be open in the park. They're still trying to figure out how they're going to use inLine in the waterpark, which is why they haven't made an official announcement yet. He also thinks this is the future of the industry and it's here to stay at HW.


The waterpark WILL be open by July 4th.


Cheetah Chase will open with the waterpark and one of the VP's I talked to has ridden it and says it the best ride in the water park which is some pretty high praise.


Final parting thoughts:


First, I wanna give a shout out to HW's maintenance and the people at PTC. PTC wasn't able to go back to work in Pennsylvania until this past Monday and Voyage's trains were still there awaiting final assembly and shipment. PTC got the trains finished and sent to HW by midweek. HW was able to get them on, connect all of them and have all the test laps complected for certification by state by Saturday.


All coasters were riding good. You can really tell the difference in the work they've done on Voyage over the last 2 years. I think they've finally found a solution using IPE wood as the top running boards.


It was good to finally get out and go to a park again and ride roller coasters. I'll be back on opening day and I'm curious to see how everything works with a bigger crowd. People are gonna moan and groan, but it's going to be the new normal.





















Edited by ZeroGravity55
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I also found it hilarious at the amount of Karen's who are complaining because they just can't let their kids run off and do what they want anymore. Now they have to sit with them and make reservations for them to ride rides and actually watch them instead of letting the park do it for them. Simply, HW had to implement this system or none of their guests would have ever socially distanced.

I also find it hilarious that parents are upset that they actually have to be parents now.

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Thank you for the report! It sounds like they have a very good system set up for the queuing. I hope the GP get with the program quickly, because it could work out really nicely. Virtual queue the next coaster as you get off one, and by the time you leisurely walk to the next one, it would be time (or close to time) to ride.


It's a shame more people aren't wearing masks and social distancing, though. They don't get that if people aren't doing it and another wave of virus hits, the parks are just going to close again. No thanks. Put on your damn mask and stand away! Some coaster enthusiasts won't have to worry about people naturally standing away from them... their odor and "winning personality" are already enough to repel people.

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Fantastic detailed report! Loved hearing management were out and about checking out how things were running, and especially happy that it wasn't overwhelming in terms of crowds. Will look forward to hearing when they open to the daily ticket guests and how that handles.


That praise about Cheetah Hunt certainly makes me more excited about it too, as well as your report on Voyage's conditions!


I'm not surprised at all at clientele reactions. The park can only do so much to keep safe guidelines and hope people will understand. Hopefully they'll be able to iron out their ends enough for the newer crowd.

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I’m happy to hear they have moved forward with many changes that will benefit the park long term. The Karens having got watch their kids is so unfortunate, isn’t it?... I’m very interested to see if Cheetah Chase will actually live up to his acclaim for it. It looks very fun so it’s possible, but with two of the best water rides in the world it’ll be tough to beat them! It’s really good that HW has invested in a large addition in the back of the water park to help draw crowd’s out more. That should help the lines across the park. I’m curious to see what’s next for them in 2021, but we gotta make it through this season first!


Also, thank you for practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. I know there are many opinions out there, but it is always better to be safe than sorry, if not for yourself than for others. Keeping people healthy through social distancing policies will be tougher in rural southern Indiana, but with all that HW has implemented per your report, they’ll at least be doing their part and then some

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Drove up here Saturday. No problems getting in. The wristband and the virtual queue system was easy enough. Needs some tweaks but it seemed to work well for coasters and the more popular rides. Wait out the clock, scan in, and then wait 5-20 minutes in line. It varies a bit. Some of the staff assigning groups to rows are better than others.


They were loading groups together. Then they skip a row and load the next group. This gets more people on than the Six Flags every other row method.


Employees were all great. No problems getting food.


Merch selection this year is much better. Better Tshirts, posters, all kinds of good stuff.


Great to get back on Voyage and the others. Great weekend.

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At SDC they were also doing the method of loading groups and leaving an empty row behind the group, makes sense. At SFSTL not only are they leaving every other row empty they are sanitizing the train AND running it empty between each group.


Glad to hear they have upped the merch, I always thought that was a weak area at HW

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I'm sure Holiday World is planning for it, but has anyone thought about how they'll deal with the minimum weights on the water coasters once Splashin Safari opens?


It's probably less of a big deal on Wildebeest, where the minimum weight (according to HW website) is 200 lbs per raft, but Mammoth has a minimum weight of 500 lbs. (Couldn't find any data on Cheetah Chase, but those are only 3 person rafts).


I could easily see groups of three or even four that wouldn't reach Mammoth's minimum weight by themselves, and very few groups of two that would.


Now all this is with the assumption that there will be social distancing on these attractions, and separate groups will not be able to ride together.


This thought came up from my thinking about visiting HW once SS opens, but just by myself, and whether or not they'd even allow single riders on the water coasters.

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Made to Thrill teamed up with Holiday World, which is really awesome because they don't make your typical merch. https://shop.madetothrill.com/


I could maybe see predetermined rafts keep the water dummies in them to allow the necessary weight for each raft and to help space people out. I don't know if straps to keep them in would get in the way of people's feet or not but you could probably place one in the back of Wildebeest and be ok? Curious if they will go that route or not.

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For those that don't know the reservation site is available to see outside the park:



I've been using it periodically to check wait times. Today is the first time they've moved some of the rides into a "reservation not required category". (Meaning you can have a reservation for say Voyage and be able to ride another ride while waiting). My guess is they can easily move attractions around, and good to see HW adapting to concerns that people have had.

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