Cancel Your Disney Plans—Indiana's Building A Gravy-Themed Coaster

Holiday World has announced the 2024 opening of Good Gravy!, a Thanksgiving thrill ride.

Divert our flight to Denver, because we don't need to travel all the way to Casa Bonita to experience a themed food adventure anymore. All we need is to take a drive to Santa Claus, Indiana, population 2,586, and patiently wait outside the gates of Holiday World for the upcoming unveiling of a new Thanksgiving-themed roller coaster dedicated entirely to gravy. May 2024 can't come soon enough.

Local NBC affiliate 14 News reports that the new family coaster, Good Gravy! (hey, that sounds familiar), will be debuting at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari theme park next year; it will be housed, appropriately enough, in the park's Thanksgiving section. The "story" behind the ride is that you have to race against time to help Grandma make her famous gravy and save Thanksgiving dinner. Here's how 14 News describes the 1,500-foot-long coaster experience, sharing details gleaned from a Holiday World press release:

Officials say guests will board a train shaped like a giant gravy boat, which will be pulled backwards uphill before flying forwards through the station onto cranberry-colored track, hitting a maximum speed of 37 miles per hour. The train will fly through a giant cranberry jelly can before narrowly avoiding giant kitchen accoutrement, such as a 20-foot-tall whisk and an 18-foot-tall rolling pin before flying up a 77-foot-tall spike and repeating the journey backwards.

Lest any seasoned theme park fans start worrying preemptively about delays, construction on the coaster has already begun, with 14 News noting that the tracks are scheduled to arrive this November.

Here's how Holiday World itself announced the upcoming coaster on YouTube, and we have to admit the production value is, for a regional theme park, pretty stunning:

There's so much to love about these renderings: the decorative curvature of the gravy boat spout at the head of the ride vehicle. The detailed marketing copy on the cranberry jelly can that forms a giant tube through which the cars hurtle. The way the giant whisk and bottle of cream form sculptures to be enjoyed by riders of the coaster as well as passersby (reminiscent of the statues at Little Debbie Park). The midcentury elegance of grandma's house, where the ride appears to begin and/or end. And, of course, the mere fact of a ride dedicated to Thanksgiving dinner in the first place, a coaster whose development process I strongly suspect landed on the name first and worked backward from there.

Good Gravy! will be the sixth coaster at Holiday World, a theme park that's been in continuous operation since 1946. The current lineup boasts The Howler (a dog-themed ride), The Legend (a wooden coaster themed to Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman), The Raven (a tunnel coaster that swoops down toward the water), The Voyage (a pilgrim-themed coaster with one of the steepest drops of any wooden coaster), and the Thunderbird (a steel coaster with loops, barrel rolls, and other thrills).

The Owensboro Times reports the new coaster, which will reportedly cost $10 million, is designed to appeal to the whole family—just like Thanksgiving dinner. Kids over 38 inches tall can ride, and it's intended to be a smooth track experience for older people who'd like to join in the fun, too.

"We took every detail seriously," said owner Lauren Crosby. "We added stroller parking, and a play area for kids who aren't quite big enough to ride yet, and benches with shade for the family members who prefer to watch. The best detail is that the queue building is air-conditioned, and themed elaborately to Thanksgiving at Grandma's house."

Unlike the fiberglass food promised on the new coaster, the real edible offerings at Holiday World sound pretty appetizing. Like any good theme park, Holiday World serves Dole Whip in multiple flavors, as well as thinly holiday-themed fare like Goblin Burgers, Freedom Funnel Cakes, and a Thanksgiving meal at the Plymouth Rock Cafe. The Candy Cane Confectionery, meanwhile, serves up old-fashioned fudge and dipped apples.

I've never been to Holiday World, but due to its decision to dedicate an entire section of the park to Thanksgiving and even spin a whole new ride out of the holiday's greatest condiment, I have to say I trust it implicitly. With Disney prices on the rise, maybe a trip to Santa Claus, Indiana is the way to usher in summer next year.