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Podcast: The one where we missed you too

The Podsquad is back in action! We’ve missed hearing from everyone and we’re so glad to be returning to your commutes, cleaning sessions, etc.

We kicked things off with a tribute to Paula, who retired in June this year. She was our long-time Director of Communications and creator and host of the Official Holiday World Podcast. We miss her a ton already.

Paula and my father, Will Koch.

Thanks, Paula for your years of service!

We then went on to talk about the new podcast format.

Most importantly, we’re excited to announce that we’re looking for a new game to play. Because while we love Paula, as long as she’s not hosting, we’re coming up with a brand new game. And we want to hear your suggestions.

If you’re looking for help, we discussed Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity (but safe for work), and Pictionary for those listening at home. So, anything you can come up with is better than what we have.

Along the way, we discussed Disney (of course), the last podcast I hosted and our 70 Degrees of Separation soundmakers.

Leah's oboe and Lauren's squeaky toy
Archival Photo: Leah’s Oboe with Leah (me) and Lauren Crosby with her squeaky toy soundmaker (may it rest in pieces).

If you have a new game idea, send us an email at, leave us a voicemail at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or tag us on social media using the hashtag #HOWOPO.

ALSO NEW! Our podcast will now have transcripts. Here’s the transcript for Episode 1:

Episode 1 Transcript

Man’s voice: You are next in line for the Official Holiday World Podcast.

Man Speaking through a P.A. system: Welcome to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari.

Man’s voice: Dropping in from Santa Claus, Indiana

[Tech sounds, sonar, typing]

Man Speaking through P.A. system: Riders will experience swift acceleration, high-speed turns, and sudden stops

[roller coaster break sounds]

Man’s voice: With park president and CEO, Matt Eckert.

Matt Eckert: After that bacon soda, I’ll try anything.

Man’s Voice: Fourth Generation Owners, Lauren Crosby…

Lauren’s voice in a short clip: I came back, I’m here

Man’s Voice: and Director of Communications Leah Koch

Leah’s voice in a short clip: ha ha ha ha uhhhhh [drawn out]

Man’s voice: Now still your loose articles and buckle up, keep your hands and legs inside the car at all times.

[Rock music intro music and roller coaster ride sounds]

LEAH KOCH: And we’re back! Hey, welcome to season 2 of the official Holiday World podcast, this is season two episode one, the one where we missed you too.


LEAH KOCH: Joining us today are Lauren and Matt. Lauren and Matt, Have you guys missed the podcast?

MATT ECKERT I have missed the podcast (reminiscently)

LAUREN CROSBY: A little bit

LEAH KOCH: A little bit??

[All pod squad laughter]

MATT ECKERT I see the two of you everyday so not so much you guys but yeah the podcast

LEAH KOCH: Thanks. First of all I was to start by explaining we will have a couple changes coming your way. But before we dive into all of those changes coming your way, I want to acknowledge what I’m calling the 800 pound gorilla in your ear. I’m totally speaking very clearly today. We are off to a great start. I’m not Paula.

MATT ECKERT That’s a big gorilla

LEAH KOCH: It’s the 800 pound gorilla or the elephant in the room

MATT ECKERT I like the gorilla, let’s do it

LEAH KOCH: Yeah, 800 pound gorilla seemed appropriate


LEAH KOCH: and it’s in your ear, so figure that one out. Paula retired this summer and we so happy for her but we miss her a lot. But I want to take a minute to appreciate Paula, so what are you guys miss the most about Paula

MATT ECKERT Lots of things, but you know how I am, I always have more than one. So for me professionally, Paula is and always will be a legend when it comes to..

LEAH KOCH: Careful where you step, I have her job now

[All pod squad laughter]

MATT ECKERT So you have big shoes to fill

LEAH KOCH: I definitely do and we have two people filling them now.

MATT ECKERT There you go, yeah, she’s just legendary within our industry, within the theme park industry she is very well known. She was with us for a number of years throughout our massive growth history and she was there every step of the way. She came up with innovative ideas to put us on the map when it comes to the PR world. Personally,  I will miss her and we are acting like she’s gone forever, I still talk to her

LEAH KOCH: I know! Like we don’t text her all the time.

MATT ECKERT I miss her wit. Paula and I had some very sharp witted conversations and texts back and forth. We would be texting well into late in the night things. She and I just got each other really well and we were able to give each other very open and honest feedback. Sometimes her feedback was more honest than I wanted it to be, but she would give that to me and I appreciate that

LEAH KOCH: As her writing intern, back in the day as her blogging intern, she held nothing back

MATT ECKERT But you know I appreciate that

LEAH KOCH: Owners daughter? No one cares!


MATT ECKERT: If you have something to say to me, say it and let’s move on

LEAH KOCH: I was about to say I’m definitely better for it, for having Paula in my life

MATT ECKERT:  So I will miss that, so you guys need to step it up and start giving me more flack I guess

LEAH KOCH: Challenge accepted [in laughter] Lauren how about you?

LAUREN CROSBY: I have a few things as well, sorry.

MATT ECKERT: So I’m not the only one

LAUREN CROSBY: You’re not the over achiever today, you are just an achiever

LEAH KOCH: It’s hard to limit it to just one when it comes to Paula

LAUREN CROSBY: well, I think the number one things, well I can’t even rank it, but anyway one of the things I’ll miss the most is Paula’s sass towards Matt.


LEAH KOCH: We’re going to have to step it up on the podcast alone, cause, well and now is a good time

MATT ECKERT: I don’t have Rentz here either to lay it back on him, so I have nobody!

LEAH KOCH: Yes, now is a good time to introduce the fact that now Stephen will no longer just be a voice in our ears. Stephen will be an official unofficial host of the podcast.

MATT ECKERT: So he can be my person

LEAH KOCH: So he can be your person, so he can come in and you don’t even get to see him. He’s down stairs on the soundboard

Stephen: Yeah, I don’t mind being the lackey

LEAH KOCH: That also means we get to yell, STEPHEN! Anytime something’s wrong


LEAH KOCH: Sorry I cut you off

LAUREN CROSBY: There was more, there’s obviously many many things we will miss about Paula, but I think one of the other things I will miss the most is just how much she cared for and fought to preserve our history and our story. As someone who wasn’t family but still was like family. You know, she cared an awful lot about Holiday Worlds story and making sure we kept the story alive

LEAH KOCH: Where we came from

LAUREN CROSBY: Yes, all of that. I appreciate that greatly.  AND her grammar!

LEAH KOCH: Personally, first and foremost, I’m going to miss having the likeminded person at the table. And now it’s going to be me instead of Paula going, “Paula, Paula, please come back.” Every episode.

LAUREN CROSBY: That’ll be your new little voice thing

LEAH KOCH: That’ll be my new little thing, “Paula, Paula, please come back.” With a nice little shake to my voice. I’m going to miss Paula and her grammar sense of course. I’m going to miss her wit of course, but I feel like she was such a leader to me and such a personal mentor to me.  When I did my internship with her years ago and I just feel like anytime she could tell me about her job and how to do it she would pull me aside and go, “Here’s another little tip, just in case you ever want to know and just in case you want to be in PR one day.” And now, I’m taking over her job [let out air laugh] Doing my best, but I was trained by the best. So yeah. Before we take a quick break, I wanted to say thank you to Paula for her nearly three decades of service to Holiday World. We’d be a very different park without her, and she’s changed us for the better in every way. I will do my best, I wrote down this little pledge to make sure I have it exactly right, I will do my best to uphold her impeccable grammar, her journalistic integrity, and her wit and biting sense of humor. And I promise to miss you in every episode

MATT ECKERT: I must add that Leah held her hand over her heart while she read that. I think that’s important for listeners to know.

[rock music cuts in for commercial break]

Matt: We won’t miss seventy or twenty-five or however many degrees of separation. But we will be accepting new game ideas.

LAUREN CROSBY: Want to make a suggestion? Or have questions for the podsquad? There are more ways than ever to reach out to the podcast!

LEAH KOCH: Find @holidayworld on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use hashtag H-O-W-O-P-O to let us know you’re talking about us.

Matt: You can now CALL US! Dial 812-937-4401 and type in extension 8081 to get the HOWOPO voice mailbox

Lauren: Leave your questions and feedback for us there OR you can email us at either with a written message or with a voice memo

Leah: again, reach out on social media to @holidayworld and use the hashtag HOWOPO, or call us at 812-937-4401 extension 8081, or send us an email to

[rock music fades back in with a funky beat]

LEAH KOCH: In addition to new ways to talk with us, we have some other big changes coming to the podcast. First of all, we are talking to you from the past

[ghost noises]

MATT ECKERT: That’s kinda creepy!

LEAH KOCH: Today is December 6, and Stephen when are we releasing this episode?

Stephen: That is a great question


MATT ECKERT: Some time after December 6

LEAH KOCH: I meant to put that in my notes and I put it

Stephen: I believe this is going to be our first episode of 2020

LEAH KOCH: first Monday in January

Stephen: In 2020!

MATT ECKERT: Wow, so we’re in next year already, but we’re not


Stephen: We are speaking from last decade

LEAH KOCH: There’s a reason we aren’t necessarily talking about Christmas during these episodes we are recording today.

MATT ECKERT: You just made me feel really old Stephen

LEAH KOCH: Ohh, also a note to make, we are now recording multiple episodes in one day. So this is our first time doing this, please forgive us if we stumble a few times or try to jump into other episodes a few times. But yeah, so today we’ll be recording four episodes, we’re doing a three episode drop if you are listening to this you already see that there are three episodes now on your feed.


MATT ECKERT: We’re all about efficiency

LEAH KOCH: Are you excited?! So there will be two more episodes we’re dropping and we’re recording today and we’re recording one more so we can drop it while Stephen is away on vacation at the start of the new year. And we’ll be going with a new schedule, we’ll be dropping late Sunday night slash early Monday morning, again I can talk and I have things in my brain I promise. Well be dropping those so you’ll have them for your Monday morning commute or whatever you do on Monday first thing in the week and we’ll be doing every other week again. We are taking pauses so you can actually look at your phone and we don’t have to marathon into potty breaks. That was the most stressful thing for me, if you needed a potty break

LAUREN CROSBY: That was stressful

LEAH KOCH: In the middle of a two hour podcast you had to sneak out and hope you didn’t miss anything.

Stephen: Personally I’m glad I don’t have to edit a two hour podcast after recording a two and a half hour podcast.



MATT ECKERT: it’ll be more efficient now, we’ll be doing more and giving more at a time.

Stephen: I think our time management on this round is going to be great

LEAH KOCH: and we’ve got Sabrina Jones who is our Media Relations Manager who is being our other half of Paula for me, because it takes two people to be Paula, lets be real about tht.

MATT ECKERT: She’s keeping us on task.

LEAH KOCH: She’s our time keeper.

MATT ECKERT: and LEAH KOCH: : She just flashed us ten minutes now

LEAH KOCH: That was such perfect timing

MATT ECKERT: That was!

LEAH KOCH: so anyway, what else are you guys excited for?

MATT ECKERT: I’m excited we won’t be playing that game anymore.

LEAH KOCH: What kind of game do you guys hope for? We’re going to crowd source this. We are going to ask people for advice.

MATT ECKERT: It doesn’t matter.

LEAH KOCH: If you could pick one?

MATT ECKERT: because I’m going to win whatever it is.

LEAH KOCH: Uh-huh, sure!


MATT ECKERT: As long as it’s not degrees of something.

LEAH KOCH: What do you want Lauren?

LAUREN CROSBY: I honestly don’t know

LEAH KOCH: I was hoping for like a cards against humanity of some sort, but like appropriate version, or an apples to apples but all theme park, so if someone wants to make a theme park, fully family appropriate apples to apples

[Lauren laughter]

LAUREN CROSBY: That’s highly specific

MATT ECKERT: that is highly specific, market that on!

[all pod squad laughter]

LEAH KOCH: Guys I have a game called Charty Party now

MATT ECKERT: Called what?

LEAH KOCH: Charty Party.

MATT ECKERT: Charty Party?

LEAH KOCH: It’s kinda like one of those “What do you meme?” Or Cards against humanity but instead of pulling a meme or a word, like in “What do you meme?”, it’s a chart of something and it explains one axis. So the X axis will be age, so it’ll show really high for teenage years and really low for adult years

MATT ECKERT: I like this game already

LEAH KOCH: and you have to pick through a bunch of cards to say what it describes, so it’ll be my level of energy. You know really high when I was young and really low now with a sharp drop off. I haven’t even got to play it yet, but I’m so excited about it.

MATT ECKERT: That sounds so fun, I saw a game at Target the other day, it was Pictionary but you draw in the air. So you like hold some kind of device that I don’t know..

LAUREN CROSBY: So it’s like the old school Disney commercials


MATT ECKERT: right, that’s exactly what I thought of, with the ears just magically appeared

LEAH KOCH: aren’t there videos where they just trace that? I have never watched one of those but I feel like that would be the best.

MATT ECKERT: That would be a cool job, “what’s your job?”, I draw Mickey Mouse ears for TV

[all pod squad laughter]

LEAH KOCH: I just want to see one of those video’s because you know they used to have all the little teen celebrities do something with that wand.


LEAH KOCH: Half of them would just swish it in a big circle or do something crazy like that

LAUREN CROSBY: I don’t think they actually wanted them to draw anything. I think they just wanted them to be cute.

LEAH KOCH: some of them worked hard, you could see them kinda making the mouse ears and everything and some of them were just PEACE, little jab of the wand and we’re good.



LEAH KOCH: So anyway, that’s our new game, huh?


MATT ECKERT: Our listeners wouldn’t like that very much, I don’t think they’d be able to play along.

LAUREN CROSBY: Can you see this?

MATT ECKERT: This is what we’re drawing, really!

LEAH KOCH: Let’s just play Pictionary the whole time

MATT ECKERT: Okay, I’m done

LEAH KOCH: Take a nice visual game and really put it on audio

MATT ECKERT: We should do Charades too

LEAH KOCH: I like this, I think we’re on the right track. I think we’ve definitely got this. So that’s why we’re crowdsourcing guys. So if you have any ideas or [cough cough sound] if you like the game I made up in the episode whatever that was when I hosted. You guys can also add a note about that..

MATT ECKERT: Is it sad that I don’t remember what that was?

LEAH KOCH: uhhh, it was called “What’s my name?” and it was based on “That’s not my job? From Wait, Wait, don’t tell me. I asked you specific questions about ravens and mammoths

MATT ECKERT: Oh, yes. I remember

[deafening silence]

LEAH KOCH: SOO, the popular feedback from this table is telling me a lot right now. So I’m pretty

MATT ECKERT: I just said I remember, that’s all I said.

LAUREN CROSBY: I just remember it being really complicated or it seemed complicated.

LEAH KOCH: It was not the easiest game, yes, but I had a ton of fun with it, so I don’t know what you guys are complaining about

[Lauren breaks out in laughter]

MATT ECKERT: So back to Pictionary

LAUREN CROSBY: Isn’t that all that matters? I’m pretty sure that’s Paula’s philosophy.

LEAH KOCH: It’s all that Paula wanted out of Seventy Degrees of Separation or however many degrees of separation it was just as long as she was having fun.

[all pod squad laughter]

MATT ECKERT: At our expense

LEAH KOCH: Yes! Uhhh, but yeah at some point I’m going to have to bring the oboe back. I didn’t bring the oboe with me today.

LAUREN CROSBY: Speaking of….

LEAH KOCH: Oh, yes! An ode to a squeaky toy. Yes, about a month or two ago the infamous, it got a few too many holes in it and it stopped squeaking.

MATT ECKERT: Now it’s just a toy

LAUREN CROSBY: Well, it went to the garbage. In the arms of an angel.

MATT ECKERT: okay ,Don’t sing, moving on

LEAH KOCH: We don’t want to pay for that music ques, so moving on. You picture it and you picture that squeaky toy in the trash. I’m trying to think of anything else, we’re going to get around to a lot in the next couple episodes. Is there anything else that’s changed that we need to update? Oh, I think there might be one thing in Lauren’s personal life that’s changed a little bit?

MATT ECKERT: A little bit? One thing? That’s a big thing!

LAUREN CROSBY: I’m having another baby! Wooo! Surprise!

LEAH KOCH: So Lauren will be in the podcast for what, maybe two or three months, and then she’ll be back out for a little bit, but we’re going to have a rotating cast of characters I think so.

MATT ECKERT: They grow up fast, Lauren. I have a Senior.

LAUREN CROSBY: I know, my first one is TWO already!


LAUREN CROSBY: It seems like just yesterday we were sitting in this room with a lamp because I had vertigo during my pregnancy with Sawyer.

MATT ECKERT: That is correct!

LEAH KOCH: Poor thing!

MATT ECKERT: And he keeps bringing you joy everyday.

LAUREN CROSBY: He does! Some days, mind dizzying joy.

LEAH KOCH: Sawyer is two now, I can’t believe it. And yeah Abby is a Senior. How does that feel?

MATT ECKERT: Awful! It seems unreal, it seems like we just had her, like just, its why I say it happens so quickly, she was two just yesterday. She liked me a lot more then.

LEAH KOCH: Now she’s kicking footballs and soccer balls

MATT ECKERT: Yeah she’s kicking footballs,

LEAH KOCH: I can’t believe it

MATT ECKERT:  had a good year, had a good season.

LEAH KOCH: we’ll we have plenty more to catch up on in the next few episodes but I just wanted to say congratulations, you’ve brought us back by semi-popular demand! And you’ve made it to the end of the first episode of our reformatted podcast. You’re listening to the first of our special binge-worthy drop of three podcast episodes. Please join us now or during your next commute, cleaning session, etc. for our next episode, Season 2 episode 2: The one with the kNights Who Say “Whee!”


LEAH KOCH: That’s the only way I can say it, sorry. Thank you to all of our behind-the-scenes podsquad: Stephen Rutherford for driving this glorious return to the podcasting realm AND for dreaming up our special 3-episode drop. Thanks to Josh Moore for sharing the article that rebirthed the podcast. And special thanks to the newest member of communications, Sabrina Jones, for being our timekeeper and for leading the charge on our grand return. And thanks to all three of you, Stephen, Josh, Sabrina for letting me pretend like half of these things were my idea. Much appreciated


Outro music: You’ve been listening to the official Holiday World Podcast, 

Man on Speaker: Welcome back! Did you enjoy your flight?

Man Speaking: A production of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. Check out the latest episodes at HolidayWorld.Com/Podcast

Thanks for taking a ride with us and please come back to see us again soon.

[music fades out]

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