A Merry SnowMouse by Theme Park Foodie
Location: Indiana, USA
Happy Holidays from the Midwest! Although I’m normally located in Orlando, I stopped by my family home for the holidays and had the pleasure of being caught in a blizzard. While making a snowman, I couldn’t resist bringing a little bit of Orlando to my home in Indiana!
Photo Courtesy of Holiday World
Holiday World is committed to high quality not only because it is family owned, but also because it is the primary tourist attraction in the small town of Santa Claus, Ind. The history of the park and the town are interwoven; Louis Koch, the original founder of “Santa Claus Land,” opened the park to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in the town. The original Santa Claus at the park, Jim Yellig, and his wife Bella Yellig were legends in the town, known for their friendliness and for Bella’s cooking.
In 1960, the son of Louis Koch and the daughter of the original Santa Claus Land Santa were married. Bill and Patricia Koch had five children, and the family has continued to own and operate the park.
Now, in order to preserve the history of the town of Santa Claus, Pat Koch and Holiday World have developed a fundraiser that delights the taste buds. The “Santa Claus Museum Cookbook” is a compilation of recipes from the Koch family, Bella Yellig (the original Mrs. Claus), Holiday World employees, Santa Claus residents, and even features a few recipes from Arthur Levine of About Theme Parks and Robb and Elissa Alvey of Theme Park Review.
We recently received a review copy of the cookbook, and all we can say is “mmm.” A few of our favorite recipes include Santa’s Cherry Jubilee, Voyage Extreme Brownies (“as extreme as the coaster itself!”) and the Country Style Green Beans (served in the parks Plymouth Rock Cafe).
A word of warning to the eager chef, however; the recipes by Bella Yellig are mostly from scratch, and can be time consuming. One recipe’s first step requires the cook to catch a rabbit; we’ll pass on that one!
The cookbook can be purchased from the Holiday World Shop for $14.95, and funds raised from the book will be used to maintain and improve the Santa Claus Museum and Village. At the request of the buyer, the cookbook can even be signed by Mrs. Pat Koch herself.
If you would like to purchase the cookbook, click here for more information.
TPF would like to extend a special thank you to the Communications Director at Holiday World, Ms. Paula Werne, for sharing the cookbook with us. We’re looking forward to trying many of the recipes in the future!
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.
Photo Courtesy of Holiday World
Holiday World, a family-owned park located in Santa Claus, Ind., opened for its 2012 operating season last week. In preparation for the season, the park’s public relations team released details about this year’s dining options including full menus, prices and nutritional information.
Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari is known across the country (and around the world) as a family-oriented, high quality park that emphasizes customer service, and that commitment shows in the park’s food offerings. Unlike at other parks, where soft drinks can cost up to $4.00, soft drinks are free and unlimited! Holiday World also offers allergen friendly items, including pizza, chicken nuggets and Isabella’s Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Although Holiday World does offer the typical theme park fare of burgers and fries, a number of more unique entrees are also available. The Plymouth Rock Cafe, located in the Thanksgiving section of the park, offers fried chicken, prime rib, baked ham, roasted chicken, roasted turkey, and other Thanksgiving-style fare (including pumpkin pie). Other locations throughout the park offer barbecue, tacos, breakfast items and more.
One of my favorite things about the Holiday World dining menu is its focus on the family. Many of the major restaurants offer Family Meal Deals that include enough food for a family of four at a discounted rate.
If you’re planning on taking a trip to Holiday World or are just interested in learning more about their food offerings, be sure to visit their website here. I highly recommend both the park and the food!