3rd water coaster puts Holiday World in the ‘Chase’

Photos courtesy Holiday World & Splashin' Safari


SANTA CLAUS — Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari announced Tuesday its plans to build the world’s first launched water coaster, marking the latest attraction for the theme park’s nationally recognized water park.

After a series of cryptic social media posts, park officials announced they will begin construction on the attraction, dubbed the Cheetah Chase, this fall. They expect the attraction to open for the 2020 season.

“Holiday World prides itself on being the first of a lot of things, so this is another first for us,” Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari President Matt Eckert said. “We are introducing the first launched water coaster. It’s very new and innovative technology, but we want to bring that to our guests as a way to show them that we appreciate all of them.”

The Cheetah Chase is the largest park attraction since the Thunderbird opened in 2015, and will be the third water coaster along with the park’s Wildebeest and the Mammoth.

The water coaster will include more than 1,700 feet of track and will feature two Proslide RocketBLAST slides. Traveling at a speed of 30 feet per second, Cheetah Chase races two, three-person rafts through two flying saucer elements, a head-to-head dueling zone, and two other points where the rafts will synchronize with each other.

The $7 million coaster has a total of five RocketBLAST sections, including a flat launch at the beginning and one at 27 feet.

“I think it looks awesome,” said Nathan Bigham, a park guest from Nashville, Tennessee. “I’m really liking the new technology. I’m really excited to get back out here in 2020 and check it out.”

Bigham, who said he comes to Holiday World about twice a year, is more of a roller coaster fan, and enjoys the park’s mainstay attractions, such as the Voyage and Thunderbird.

Splashin’ Safari’s two other water coasters, the Mammoth and Wildebeest, have claimed prestigious titles since opening in 2012 and 2010, respectively. The Mammoth is the world’s longest water coaster, according to Guinness World Records, and the Wildebeest has been named the No. 1 water park attraction by the Golden Ticket Awards for nine consecutive years.

Holiday World officials hope Cheetah Chase continues the park’s trend of successful water coasters.

“Now with Cheetah Chase, I am proud to say that Splashin’ Safari will officially be known as the water coaster capital of the world,” said Leah Koch, director of research and development at Holiday World.

Cameron Edwards, a security crew leader at the park, said he correctly guessed what the ride would be before it was unveiled.

“I think it will be a great addition to Holiday World,” he said, sporting his green cheetah socks along with many of his co-workers in honor of the reveal. “I think it will really put us on the map again and bring our attendance back up like it did in 2015 when we launched the Thunderbird.”

Edwards has worked at the park for two years, and believes the friendly atmosphere is what keeps visitors coming back.

Director of Safety and Security John Adkins echoed Edwards’ sentiment and said it’s the quality of the park that has kept it successful.

“The fact that Holiday World is willing to step out and take those risks is really cool,” he said. “The (Koch) family is very interested in bringing excitement to our guests, and I think it’s really cool that they are willing to do that.”

Holiday World is open weekends through October and Splashin’ Safari is open weekends through Sept. 14. Tickets are available on the park’s website at www.holidayworld.com.

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