New Roller Coaster's '1st Flight Auction' to benefit 'Give Kids The World'

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America's first launched wing roller coaster premieres April 23 at Holiday World Theme Park, with first rides auctioned off to benefit Give Kids the World.

Thunderbird is the nation's first launched wing roller coaster

Thunderbird is the nation's first launched wing roller coaster

“Helping these families make precious memories – both in Florida and here at Holiday World – is near and dear to all of our hearts.” Matt Eckert, park president

One month before the nation’s only launched wing roller coaster opens to the public, Holiday World officials launched a charity auction for the first public rides.

“For these historic first rides on our new roller coaster, we decided to auction the specific seats to the highest bidders,” says the park’s president, Matt Eckert. “Thunderbird’s First Flight Auction will benefit a very special organization – Give Kids The World.”

The 20 winners of Holiday World’s auction – which runs now through April 8 – will each claim a pair of seats on Thunderbird’s first public rides. For more information and to place a bid, visit HolidayWorld.com/FirstFlight.

Give Kids The World Village is a 70-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort, located near Central Florida’s attractions, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to week-long vacations. Following their vacation, families are issued a World Passport for Kids, which provides them a year of visits to theme parks and other attractions; Holiday World is a charter member of this program.

“Supporting Give Kids The World’s mission is very important to our park’s owners and employees,” says Eckert. “Helping these families make precious memories – both in Florida and here at Holiday World – is near and dear to all of our hearts.”

Thunderbird features a zero-to-60 miles-per-hour launch in 3.5 seconds, followed by multiple inversions including a 14-story launch, loops, rolls and overbanked turns.

Continuing Holiday World’s tradition of sending roller coasters through its thickly wooded and hilly terrain, Thunderbird at first soars and loops high in the air and then hugs the ground, with rapid-fire “near misses” such as a fly-through barn, stone chimneys, and other rides.

Holiday World opens for the season on April 25; Splashin’ Safari opens May 13. For more information about the parks, visit HolidayWorld.com or call 1-877-463-2645.

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Paula Werne
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