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Holiday World Amusement Park Pours on the Good Gravy in 2024
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Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana, is bringing home something better than bacon. It's the “gravy” – Good Gravy that is, a uniquely named new roller coaster coming to the park in 2024. Appropriately placed in the Thanksgiving section of the theme park, Good Gravy will make its debut as the first Vekoma boomerang coaster in the U.S. next summer.

With a planned opening of May 2024, the family boomerang ride will board its guests on a train that's shaped like a giant gravy boat. The train will have two coaches, each able to carry 10 riders. It will be pulled uphill backwards, and then fly rapidly forward through the station along a track that is colored the shade of the cranberry sauce one would expect to accompany the holiday gravy.

Traversing that vibrant track, the coaster will reach a maximum 37-miles-per-hour speed along 1,500-feet of track. The train will plunge its riders through a giant cranberry jelly can, rocket past and thrillingly avoid an enormous kitchen implement or two, including a 20-foot whisk and an 18-foot rolling pin. And if that isn't enough, the ride will soar up a spike 77-feet-tall, and then repeat this rollicking journey again – backwards. The ride's queue line will feature an old-fashioned theme of Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's house. This family fun feast of a ride is costing Holiday World $10 million dollars. Construction has started on the station and ride footers; the track is scheduled to arrive by early November.

The ride's thrills are geared to the whole family, with the coaster sporting a 38-inch height requirement, so that in many cases, young children can ride with their families. Guests would expect nothing less inclusive from Holiday World, which has been family owned since 1946. The park's director of communications, Leah Koch Blumhardt describes the coaster as not “the tallest or fastest coaster being built in 2024, but…the family-est coaster.”

The park has been family oriented since its inception, billed as the first American theme park, then called Santa Claus Land. Since that time, the park has expanded, adding multiple sections, including the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving themed areas, earning the park its new name of Holiday World.

Regardless of the season, the park offers a bevy of family value to its attendees, including bonuses such as free parking for guests, free unlimited soft drinks and sunscreen, and free pre-K age passes for kids who qualify.

Vekoma Rides V.P. of Sales & Marketing, Richard Tonding Etges, says that Good Gravy will be “a coaster experience for everyone…a ‘family-thrill' experience with a fantastic blend of elements including two drops, exciting speed and maneuvers, and a stretched-out layout that interacts nicely with the ride area.”

The area around the ride itself will be called Stuffing Springs, and will include shaded benches, for those who would rather watch than ride; a children's play area for kids too young to ride the coaster, and a Dippin' Dots ice cream stand housed in a revamped 1964 Airstream Camper. There's also stroller parking for riders. The queue line will be air conditioned.

Tonding Etges predicts that visitors will be delighted with the attraction. “The theme of the coaster cars is the icing on the cake,” he says. Or perhaps, the gravy on the mashed potatoes? “Vekoma is extremely excited about the project,” he relates, citing their “excellent collaboration” with the theme park.

The park's Koch-Blumhardt attests “We're proud to be building our first Vekoma roller coaster…as for the theme, this coaster might be a little corny, but that's exactly who we are.” She states that the park will be “stuffing this ride full of puns,” which will continue the whimsy and family vibe that the park has been known for since its inception.

She adds that “We're excited to add a coaster to our lineup that caters to the entire family, just like Thanksgiving dinner,” and describes the ride experience as “smooth and gentle enough for grandparents and younger children” yet exciting enough for those chasing thrills.

The attraction's initial concept began as a water ride, with a title of the “gravy boat,” that amused the park planners, according to Koch Blumhardt. She said the original ride name started as a joke that “cracked us up so much, we fell in love with it.” The name more or less remained, but the ride concept changed to that of the Boomerang. Holiday World asked Vekoma to make the train shape into that of a big gravy boat.

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Vekoma marketing spokespesman Carin Davits noted that “The marketing and the theming fits perfectly in this section of the park. Holiday Word did a great job on the teaser video.” The final step came in conceiving the ultimate name of the ride. With the attraction now a coaster rather than a water ride, Gravy Boat was out, and Gravy Train seemed too crass. Good Gravy proved the perfect titular fit, even as the ride itself neatly fits a needed niche between a kiddie coaster and extreme coaster thrills at the park.

According to Vekoma's Tonding Etges, “Good Gravy is a coaster for the entire family. With a low rider height restriction, it is accessible for kids, but it will always attract older riders due to its unique and fun experience...”

The family boomerang style coaster is already a big seller in Europe, but Good Gravy will be the first to pour out this experience in the U.S. when it officially opens May 11, 2024. Season Passholders can get an early taste of the ride on May 4 and 5; passes are currently on sale, starting at a discounted $155 through October.
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