Photo Courtesy of Jason Martin, Holiday World Food and Beverage Director
On June 16th, a water main broke in the small town of Santa Claus, Ind., home of Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari. The local water was considered unsafe for consumption until the Health Department had time to test it and find it potable (drinkable).
For Holiday World, this posed quite the problem. Like all amusement parks, the park needed water for cleaning, cooking and water fountains, and other daily use. However, Holiday World had an additional pledge to uphold to its guests. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Holiday World provides free soft drinks for all guests. Normally, the soft drinks are available in beverage dispensers at every restaurant and various locations throughout the park.
Due to the break, however, the park had to quickly reduce its water consumption. Although it has a water tower, those reserves were used up within a day and it soon became necessary to shut off all ice machines, water fountains, and beverage dispensers. To continue operations, the park closed its Alamo restaurant to use it as a boiling center for cooking and cleaning water. What is most impressive, however, is how the park upheld its free soft drink promise.
Instead of changing the park’s policy, if only temporarily, Holiday World’s management team responded quickly to ensure that guests and employees would continue to have access to beverages free of charge. The food and beverage department purchased 56 pallets of drinks. That is equivalent to 137,000 servings of soft drinks, Gatorade and bottled water!
Once the pre-packaged beverages had arrived, Holiday World staff were shifted from other locations throughout the park to distribute the drinks at most of the usual distribution points. The park also called in extra staff to assist with the logistics of carrying 137,000 packaged beverages around the park and sharing them with guests.
“[T]he only way days like today are possible is through the hard work and determination of many people that I am fortunate to be surrounded by,” said Jason Martin, the Food and Beverage Director of Holiday World & Splahin’ Safari, on his personal Twitter account. “[I have] witnessed nothing short of a miracle this weekend… possible only due to a great team.”
A few guests have complained that the park is not currently offering its complete line-up of soft drinks. Still, according to Paula Werne, the park’s Director of Communications, “[t]he reaction from most Guests… has been very positive and appreciative.”
In a time when some parks are more focused on profit than guest satisfaction, it is truly wonderful to see that others are still willing to go the extra mile to make a guest’s day. Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari’s customer service is a shining example of what theme parks, big and small, should aspire to provide for their guests.