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PGAV Destinations Provide Theming Design for Thunderbird Coaster at Holiday World


The buildings, theming and site development for Holiday World’s newest attraction, the Thunderbird wing coaster, have been designed by PGAV Destinations.

PGAV Destinations Provide Theming Design for Thunderbird Wing Coaster at Holiday WorldPGAV Destinations took inspiration from the Thunderbird name and the $22 million thrill coaster design to create the visual theming of a powerful flight through the farms and forests of southern Indiana.

Ned Diestelkamp, vice president at PGAV Destinations, says, “With the attraction being situated in the Thanksgiving section of Holiday World, we’ve designed Thunderbird’s landscaping and structures to reflect rich, beautiful farmland.  The attraction’s main building will be a two-story traditional barn, complete with vertical lap siding, wood shake shingles, and beautiful stonework throughout, exemplified with a massive stone silo.”

The landscaping around the ride includes year round crops and flowering plants. Being in the Thanksgiving section of Holiday World, Thunderbird’s color scheme is browns and oranges with the design incorporating natural materials and aged farm equipment.  The barn itself will bear the scars of the Thunderbird with gouged claw marks in the walls and burns left from lightning strikes. 

PGAV Destinations Provide Theming Design for Thunderbird Wing Coaster at Holiday World

Explaining the design process Mike Linenbroker, PGAV attraction designer said, “As with many of our designs, Thunderbird started with a rich story about the origin of the ride and facilities.  We leveraged a number of the principles found in our recent Storytelling publication, and seamlessly wove a tale into every aspect of the experience.”

PGAV Destinations has a design tradition to provide immersive theming for all attraction visitors and so all park guests near to Thunderbird will be able to see views of the coaster bursting through the trees during some of its most thrilling loops and barrel rolls.

The queue line for the thrill ride will loop around an antique wagon, with the coaster launching overhead, building anticipation for the riders.

PGAV Destinations Provide Theming Design for Thunderbird Wing Coaster at Holiday WorldThe Thunderbird attraction also includes two other significant structures.  The “Will Power” building is the flywheel building and also a tribute to the late Holiday World president Will Koch.  The coaster will race through the “double fly through barn” sending wood splinters flying before making an incredibly tight turn and crashing back through the barn’s roof and walls.

Thunderbird will be the third record breaking wing coaster design for the St Louis based design firm.  PGAV-designed Chimelong Ocean Kingdom opened earlier this year with Asia’s first wing coaster, Flying over the Rainforest.   In 2012 PGAV designed the Wild Eagle coaster at Dollywood, America’s first wing coaster, which won Amusement Today’s “Best New Amusement Park Ride of 2012” Golden Ticket Award. 

PGAV Destinations has previously worked with Holiday World as the concept and attraction designer behind new themed dining and retail outlets at the theme park: a reimagining of Mrs. Klaus’ Kitchen; the brand new Safari Outpost retail outlet in the Splashin’ Safari waterpark; and the new Wildebeestro café.

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