HOLIDAY WORLD & Splashin’ Safari
Santa Claus, Indiana (Abbreviation: HW)
Park News - (4/22/13) Timberliner Update Below.
(4/10/13) A Screamscape reader passed by Holiday World the other day and spotted the new Timberliner trains testing on Voyage. Cross your fingers that we’ll see them in action this season.
On a sad note for Holiday World, it was announced that Will’s brother, Philip Koch, CEO of the Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort next to Holiday World had passed away. Our thoughts go out to the Koch family as they mourn their loss.
(4/2/13) As expected, the battle for control of Holiday World isn’t quite over yet as Dan Koch now has an appeal filed over the case in December that handed control of the company over to Will’s widow, Lori Koch. No word on when any decision can be expected on this issue.
(3/27/13) If it hasn’t been mentioned before, Holiday World has removed four old attractions from the Splashin’ Safari waterpark for the 2013 season. Gone this season are: AmaZOOM, Bamboo Chute, Congo River and Crocodile Isle.
(2/25/13) A detailed article all about Matt Eckert, the new President and CEO of Holiday World , can be found here.
(1/11/13) The situation is not all rosy at Holiday World these days it seems. Ongoing strife has been going on behind the curtains ever since the tragic death of Will Koch in June 2010. A verdict passed in December from a civil lawsuit that has been ongoing for the past two years has now left the controlling interest in Holiday World in the hands of Will’s wife, Lori Koch. Shortly after the verdict was handed down on December 3rd, Lori fired Dan Koch, who now remains only as a minority shareholder in Koch Development Corp, though he is appealing the verdict.
Lori Koch is now serving at the Vice President of Holiday World, and appointed Matt Eckert as the new President, who will begin his new duties starting this Monday. So what was this civil suit all about? According to this article, Koch Development Corp and Dan Koch failed to abide a purchase agreement in which the company was obliged to purchase Will Koch’s shares in the company after his death. According to Lori Koch, the shares were worth over $32 million, but Dan Koch who had assumed control of Koch Development at the time valued them only at $26.5 million. The judge’s verdict that ruled in favor of Lori Koch has freed her from any legal obligation to sell Will’s shares to either Dan Koch or Koch Development, keeping her intact as the majority shareholder.
Apparently the original buyback agreement was signed back in 2002 between siblings: Dan, Will and their sister Natalie Koch, who at the time held an equal number of shares. The agreement included some pre-set formulas for determining the value of the shares, as well as the timing and method of how the payments would take place, which is where things also fell into disagreement. Things also became interesting when both Dan and Will purchased shares from their sister Natalie just months before Will’s death.
I’ve also heard rumors that the sudden formation and demise of the Bluegrass Boardwalk company by Dan Koch, Natalie Koch, their cousin Kathy Kamp and her husband Michael Kamp, who pitched to revive Kentucky Kingdom may have been a reflection of the background power struggle that was taking place.
However this plays out, it is nice to see that Holiday World will remain owned by the Koch family, and I hope they can work this all out. At the time of Will’s death, his three children were all working at Holiday World as well, so it would be nice to see them all stay with the family business. So far there has been no word on where Pat Koch stands on the issue at hand.
(1/9/13) Holiday World has announced that Dan Koch has stepped down as CEO and will return to his law-firm in Florida. Matt Eckert will step up as the park’s new President and CEO. According to Lori Koch, “Matt was hand-picked by my late husband, Will, to be in a leadership role at the park; I know he would be pleased with our choice. As President and CEO, Matt will work closely with our board to keep our family’s park flourishing.” Matt started at Holiday World in 2000 and has been serving as one of the park’s two General Managers from 2007 through 2012.
2013 - Hyena Falls / Giraffica - (4/3/13) Holiday World has posted a construction video showing off the progress on Hyena Falls this week. Check it out below.
(2/8/13) Holiday World has posted a construction update on their new Hyena Falls. Click here to check it out.
(1/10/13) I checked on the new “Hyena Falls” name dropped by Matt Eckert, and Paul Werne has confirmed that RhinoBlasters name will be changed to Hyena Falls when the park opens. They are currently worked on the artwork for the new logo and will release it when it is ready. While no reason was given, I believe that there is a company who markets a line of sandblasting products under the name Rhino Blast who may have objected to Holiday World’s usage of the name as well as a chemical clearing solution called Rhino Blast designed to remove graffiti.
(1/9/13) I’m a little confused, but the new Holiday World CEO, Matt Eckert, called the new four-slide project being added to the waterpark “HYENA FALLS” instead of RhinoBlaster in an interview yesterday. The park’s website still lists it as RhinoBlaster however.
(11/14/12) The Coaster Crew hit IAAPA and spoke with Dan Koch and Eric Snow of Holiday World at the ProSlide booth to show off the new RhinoBlaster slide they are building for 2013.
(10/24/12) The highlight of Holiday World’s 2013 announcement was a large new four-slide complex being added to the waterpark named RhinoBlaster. The tower features a series of four colorful but dark tube slides, including one that features a half-pipe style element half way through.
In other news, the park will extend the run of Happy Halloween Weekends to last six weeks, starting things off in mid September. Keeping guests happy after dark in the park during the summer will be a new laser light show. A new kiddie tea-cup ride called Kitty’s Tea Party will be added in Holidog’s Funtown. A new and improved Dive Show venue will also be added. The park will also add more shade, misters, fans and seating throughout the park, as well as build a new entry plaza into Splashin’ Safari. Speaking of the water park… Pilgrims Plunge is making a virtual move out of Thanksgiving to now become part of the waterpark, where it will be renamed Giraffica.
The hillside over past Pilgrims Plunge (aka: Giraffica) will not only be come to RhinoBlaster, but also be the focal point for all the major new additions and expansions to the park coming over the next several years.
As for The Voyage… well… any announcement regarding the long awaited new Gravity Group Timberliner trains coming to The Voyage was missing in action for this current announcement. As one reader mentioned to me, it’s becoming almost a bit of an odd race now to see which will open first: Timberliners on The Voyage or if Knoebels will open The Flying Turns.
2013 -Timberliner Trains added to The Voyage - (4/22/13) A little bad news from Holiday World came out late Friday afternoon from the park’s guru of Communications, Paula Werne. Paula tells us that while they “have made progress testing the new Timberliner trains designed for Voyage, they were not delivered to us in time to complete testing. We intend to resume Timberliner testing following our daily season. We thank everyone for your patience, and promise to post updates when testing resumes in late August. Meanwhile, we plan to run PTC trains on Voyage during our daily season this year.”
(3/23/13) With the 2013 Holiday World season quickly approaching many of you are wondering what’s going on with The Voyage and the long prorposed Timberliner trains. I reached out to Holiday World’s own Paula Werne for a status update on this:
“We’re in daily communication with Chad, Michael and Korey at Gravitykraft and continue to look forward to Timberliners on Voyage. The trains are not here yet, although we expect them to be delivered before the end of the month. We’ll post updates on the HoliBlog when we resume testing and determine which trains will be on Voyage this season.”
(10/25/12) Paula from Holiday World did confirm to Screamscape that GravityKraft was bringing a Timberliner train to the park for testing on Voyage next week.
(10/23/12) It seems Holiday World has something up their sleeve planned for the 2013 season after all. The park has been teasing in social media circles that a new announcement video will be coming out later today showcasing projects in both Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari as well as plans to rename on of the park’s major rides. If I had to guess, I wonder if we’ll see The Voyage get modified name to go along with those long awaited new trains. Or perhaps we’ll see some kind of added change to Pilgrims Plunge. We’ll know soon enough…
(4/18/12) Bad news for Voyage fans hoping for a little Timberliner goodness this season. According to an official post on Facebook by Holiday World, “The new Timberliner trains for The Voyage will not be delivered to us in time for pre-opening testing this spring. Unfortunately, that means we will have to wait until the fall for testing. It is our intent to fully test the new trains and have them on the track for the 2013 season.” Better safe than never… and The Voyage has undergone some extensive off-season tender love and care and is reported as running very smooth by those lucky enough to have been given a preview ride. Check out the video below.
(9/7/11) With the news that Gravity Group’s Timberliner trains were no longer going to be used on the wood coaster in China, I checked in with Holiday World to see what their plans for the Timberliner trains were. According to Paula Werne, Holiday World is “still planning off-season testing with the intent to get the Timberliner trains on Voyage in 2012.”
(3/21/11) Screamscape has received an official statement from Holiday World regarding the status of The Voyage and the Timerliner trains for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
“In 2011, The Voyage will use two seven-car PTC trains (The Raven will have two six-car PTC trains).
The Timberliner models tested here in 2010 will be upgraded after similar models are used at other parks this season. Because of the extreme speeds and forces on The Voyage, we feel it is better to wait until there has been a full season of Timberliner-use elsewhere (on less extreme coasters which were designed with Timberliners in mind). GravityKraft will then refurbish our trains so that we’ll have the most up-to-date models.
We intend to introduce Voyage’s Timberliner trains at the start of the 2012 season.”
(11/8/10) The first human “test riders” finally took a spin in the Timberliner trains on The Voyage this past week. Check out the video here.
(8/24/10) Holiday World has posted a new video showing of the delayed Timberliner trains making a great test run on The Voyage.
(7/12/10) Holiday World has issued an update on the Timberliner status for The Voyage. The Gravity Group are continuing the final test and adjust process on the new trains but as the park is in the middle of the busy summer season, there just isn’t enough spare time to devote to testing the trains on the track right now. On site testing will begin again after August 15th once the park goes back to weekend only operations.
(5/18/10) A few new pictures from Holiday World showing off The Timberliner train as well as some Wildebeest can be found here.
(5/17/10) You can find a great close up photo of the new Timberliner train at Holiday World on The Voyage on the Coaster Warriors Facebook page.
(1/27/10) Holiday World has posted a new piece of artwork showing off the colors that have been chosen for the new Timberliner trains coming to The Voyage this season.
(11/10/09) Holiday World has confirmed that the first set of Timberliner trains from The Gravity Group will be added to run on The Voyage in 2010. In addition to this new train design built to allow for a more smooth and extreme ride on The Voyage, they were also designed to put less wear and tear on the track. Even better, the padded seats have been ergonomicially designed for greater comfort as well as being designed to accommodate riders with wider hips and longer legs! Two new 28 passenger trains, will be made in Indianapolis and should be ready to roll when the park opens in the spring. You can see the artwork showing off the new train design at the HoliBlog.
2014-2016 - Future Attraction Plans - (10/10/12) Holiday World talks to the local news about their new Happy Halloween Weekends event and also confirms that they will likely not have a new project for 2013. But they also mention that they have big projects in the works for 2014, 2015 and 2016 already.