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In the Kitchen with the Foods Team at Holiday World

By HoliBlogger Barb W.

Blue ice cream and funnel cakes, pizza and turkey legs. Mocktails and nachos, pretzels and candy sweets. These are all a few of our favorite Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari eats!

Where do all these delicious wonders come from? It’s fun to picture Santa with a team of kitchen elves creating each morsel with holiday magic. While this fantastical picture is pure conjecture, there’s an element of truth.

It may not exactly be Santa and mythical elves delighting us with all the foods we’ve come to love at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, but there’s certainly a magical team behind the scenes. In fact, the Foods team has nearly as many staff members as the Attractions team at the park.

How does a theme park best plan food service for the enjoyment of park-goers? There’s certainly a lot of planning behind-the-scenes, but often, it’s more about flexibility and ability to adapt quickly to trends.

HoliBlogger Lexi, In the Kitchen with the Foods Team, Coffee

Planning the Perfect Theme Park Menu

Lexi Hartman, Director of Food & Beverage at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, oversees the food service throughout the park. Hartman says the first consideration for selecting food options is portability. All food choices are designed to be easy to eat and walk through the park with.

The goal is to not interrupt the theme park experience, it’s to enhance it in all ways. Guests can certainly opt for sit-down meals throughout the entire park, but the freedom for each person to have flexibility with food options is first and foremost.

Many of the food selections are based on the past year’s trends. For example, pizza is by far the most popular guest option. In the 2021 season, guests purchased a combined total 28,129 whole pizza and 139,621 individual slices of pizza (equivalent to 17,453 more whole pizzas)!

New ideas for future food offerings come from guest feedback, food conferences, market research, and insights from food vendors.

Despite the amazing efforts of the Foods team, trends and weather are not always predictable. Hartman says both can have a huge impact in trying to keep up with food production. Really great communication between team members is key.

And that’s where the magic of the Food service team comes in. There’s a lot of adaptation behind the scenes to ensure guests have all the favorites they crave!

HoliBlogger Lexi, In the Kitchen with the Foods Team, Sweet Treats

Considering Individual Dietary Needs

Keeping up with dietary needs and trends can be challenging for a theme park food crew, as well. From gluten-free to allergies and low-carb dieting, the Food service team takes it all into consideration when developing menu options.

Prior to visiting, guests can check out all dietary information on the “Food & Snacks” page of the Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari website. There you will find nutritional information, a gluten-free menu guide, a healthier options menu guide, an allergen-friendly food guide, and much more.

Each stand at the theme park also has nutritional guidelines for Guest. There’s a special gluten-free stand in the park – George’s Gluten-Free Pizza & Snacks in the 4th of July section. More allergy-free food options are also in the works as the food service team continues to increase options to meet all guest’s needs.

If you have food sensitivities, do ask staff members questions, and give the team feedback. All park members can help navigate you towards information on food options that suit your dietary needs.

Hartman encourages park visitors to reach out to Holiday World regarding feedback, special needs, and other dietary concerns prior to, during, or after visiting the park. They are always eager to help!

What’s New? What’s Next?

While it’s important to keep fan favorites like pizza, funnel cakes, and chicken tenders available, introducing fun new food options is an awesome treat for all park guests.

It’s exciting to see the new Goblin Portobella Burger at Goblin Burgers in the Halloween section. Guests love to discover the newest surprise drink option each year at the drink fountains. (Hint: this year it’s Mountain Dew Spark). And the ever-changing variety of handcrafted fudge options is a joy to discover.

HoliBlogger Lexi, In the Kitchen with the Foods Team, Portobello Burger

The upcoming Happy Halloween Weekends will include an awesome array including Halloween-themed cupcakes, Chicken Enchilada Soup, and a special Haystack Burger.

Another fun new fan-favorite, ThunderBIRD Bowl, can be found in the Thanksgiving section at The SnackHouse. This delectable bowl full of goodness includes chicken and fries with nacho cheese, bacon, ranch, and chives.

In addition to introducing new food options, Hartman shared that the park is dedicated to finding new ways to be more eco-friendly. The free drink program is part of this effort as it dramatically reduces plastic waste. This year new trays for pizza were introduced to help reduce paper waste.

The Foods team also loves to offer guests fun specials. Before your visit to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, be sure to check out the Daily Deals and Exclusive Platinum Season Passholder Perks. Both are great way to save a little money during your visit while enjoying a new treat.