I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
August 15, 2022
One of my favorite things to do before I travel is find out all the best secrets about the place I’m headed. Is there a restaurant the locals love? A time of day or week to visit an attraction and beat the crowds? A tour with the best guide ever? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT. Yes, I realize it’s a little nerdy, but i have to say this kind of research has led to some pretty amazing discoveries — and then I get to share them with you!
That’s why I wanted to write a post spilling all the best secrets on how to make the most of Holiday World, my absolute favorite theme park 2 1/2 hours from Nashville in Santa Claus, Indiana. We’ve been visiting the park for over a decade now and most of the tips I give friends and readers are pretty obvious to anyone who’s visited Holiday World a time or two:
But for this post, I wanted to go a little deeper. I wondered what kinds of secrets Holiday World employees and superfans had to offer.
So I asked them!
Here are their responses.
“If you’re approaching the park from the west (Coming from US-231) and think you’ve passed the parking lots, FEAR NOT! You can find the Legend Lot by turning right at the traffic light. No U-Turns necessary!” – Stephen R, Park Employee
“Park in the Legend lot on the bathroom side. Perfect for a bathroom stop before entering and just before starting that trip home.” Michaeline C, Season Passholder
“[The Legend lot is] also a great place to quickly change clothes before the drive home. My son and I pack light. We wear our swim trunks into the park, we leave dry clothes in the vehicle and do not change out of our water park clothes until we get to that restroom.” – Mark S, Season Passholder
“Happy Halloween Weekends are the perfect time to visit with smaller crowds, cooler temperatures, and new attractions.” Ashley B, Park Employee
“Buy your meal for the day after 3pm. The lines are shorter.” – Susan M, Season Passholder
“Start your day in Splashin’ Safari as soon as the ropes drop, instead of starting in Holiday World. Most Guests start in Holiday World and then head to the water park. By doing Splashin’ Safari first, you beat the crowd and then you can do the dry park while everyone else is in Splashin’ Safari.” – Ashley B, Park Employee
“The Polar Expresso is a MUST. When they make it, they toot the choo choo whistle! Fun for everyone.” – Britney W, Season Passholder. (You’ll find the Polar Expresso inside Santa’s Merry Marketplace)
“You can bring in snacks. Our secret lunch spot is inside one of the buildings marked as a tornado shelter, in between Muziki Bay and Sam’s BBQ. It’s air-conditioned, has bathrooms, soda fountains, tables and chairs, and is always empty. It’s marked as a tornado shelter, but it’s always been indoor dining for the water park. You can use it anytime the water park is open.” – Valerey H, Season Passholder
“Best family dining deal – family pizza deal at Santa’s Merry Marketplace, located by the entrance fountain. Especially if you have a season pass discount!” – Tricia S, Season Passholder. (The meal consists of a 16″ pizza, eight breadsticks, and four dipping sauces. You can also find it at Safari Pizza in Splashin’ Safari)
“Season Passes go on sale the year before. The cheapest prices are usually in September the year before.” – Ashley B, Park Employee
“If you are looking to save money, you can bring your own lunch and get your hand stamped and use one of our shelter houses in the parking lots to eat a meal. Then return to the park with your hand stamp.” – Ashley B, Park Employee
“Buy a mystery box! You can get shirts, beach towels, cups, magnets, kids toys, anything in the gift shops they have. They are definitely worth the value. And they are wrapped up like a Christmas present. My kids love it!” – Lara H, Season Passholder
“Buy the Games Playbook! You get a fast pass to one ride with it. It costs $20 but you get $15 in coupons, a $25 game voucher and 1 fast pass!” – Lara H, Season Passholder
“If a family member has trouble walking, arrive early or bring their wheelchair or scooter if they have one. The scooter rentals go quickly.” – Brooklyn G, Season Passholder
“For nursing moms looking for an air conditioned and quiet place to feed, check out the nursing mother rooms! Near the park entrance, Santa’s Merry Marketplace has a room with a rocking chair, outlets, sink, and changing table. The second space is in First Aid at the entrance of Splashin’ Safari, it includes a refrigerator, outlets and lockers for pumps (at no additional cost!), rocking chairs, and fans. Moms can feed wherever they choose in the park, but sometimes I preferred to have a quiet place to feed an undistracted baby so we could both get back to the fun!” – Sabrina J, Park Employee
“Charge your phone in air conditioning at Santa’s Merry Marketplace or Plymouth Rock Café.” – Tammy J, Season Passholder
“There are dog kennels!” – Ashley B, Park Employee (The Holidog Inn is located just inside the Front Gate at Holiday World Services, and is first-come, first-served. Air-conditioned kennels are $20 for the day; outdoor kennels are $10 for the day in 2022)
Some secrets have been lightly edited for clarity.
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