This week’s HoliHint

The two-week countdown has begun. On Wednesday, July 13, at 11:00 am CDT we’ll all know which new holiday will be added to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari for the 2006 season.

So how exactly will we get to the New Holiday Section?

The new walkway’s exact beginning is still to be determined. We do know, however, that one of the waterslides will get an interesting bit of cosmetic surgery.

Sort of a face-lift for the Bamboo Chute.

Only one more HoliHint to go!

A call from Afghanistan

We don’t get many phone calls from Afghanistan, but a very special one came today.

Joe Yeager is stationed there. He was supposed to be home by now, but there was a delay.

And today is his wedding anniversary.

Joe had plans to bring his family to Holiday World to celebrate. His question: Could we somehow get a greeting to his bride and children? (Now before everyone else starts planning signboards and announcements: we do not do this. There are so many birthdays and anniversaries, it would be pure insanity trying to satisfy everyone.)

But Joe Yeager is serving our country. And his family sacrifices daily; they miss him a lot. They had plans to be together today, their special day.

So Joe figured out the NBT (Next Best Thing). Rick, our graphic artist, whipped up a quick sign and affixed it to the back of a “sandwich board.” It was placed by the entrance gate in the hopes Joe’s family would see it as they left for the evening.

And they did.

That’s Deborah and one of the kiddos. (He looks kind of shy, doesn’t he?)

Here’s her story: We met several years ago, right after my dad and I moved to Corydon (Indiana) from California. I went into a store to rent a movie and asked the clerk, “What’s fun to do around here?” Her future husband replied, “Absolutely nothing — except Holiday World. Wanna go?”

Real smooth, Joe!

Back to Deborah: I told him I had a boyfriend, but thanks anyway. A year or so later, I was working at Subway and he came in. We each thought the other looked familiar, but it took us a minute to remember. All of a sudden, we both said, “Holiday World!” and started laughing. This time I said “yes” when he asked me out. So Holiday World has always been “our place.” After we got married a year ago, we even honeymooned here. Joe left for Afghanistan soon after. He’s due home any day.

And guess where they’ll be heading soon after? (We couldn’t possibly make this stuff up!)

God bless our servicemen and servicewomen all around the world. And the families who love them. And miss them.

And happy Independence Day to us all!

Overheard in Houston

This story comes from Kathy, from our Bavarian Glassblowers shop.

Kathy was in Indianapolis visiting family. The neighbor lady ran over to tell her:

I was on an airplane in Houston, Texas, last week. Two cute little girls sat in front of me – they looked to be about seven and eight years old.

As more and more people came on board, one girl remarked to the other:

“Wow! This plane is filling up! I wonder where all these people are going?”

The other lass didn’t miss a beat, “I bet they’re going to Holiday World!”

Petal pushers

How nice is this?

Heading out to the Front Gate to meet with yet another travel writer last Friday morning, I saw two nice-looking fellows standing by the Group Sales building, holding a bouquet of flowers.

How sweet. Maybe someone’s getting engaged. Or meeting up with old friends.

Well, I was half right.

It was Chip and Tom. Two coaster enthusiasts from Atlanta.

Bringing flowers for Mrs. Koch.

And me!

For once, I was speechless.

How very nice. We had a fun chat and then they were off to ride our coasters. And we were off to find vases before the flowers wilted in the humidity.

And the greatest gift of all?

They didn’t even ask about what we’re adding for ’06!

HoliBribes

Kathy, who is one of our Bavarian Glassblowers, told me that lately she has been offered sugary bribes on a daily basis:

They want to know what we’re adding for 2006! Mrs. Klaus’ Kitchen is right next to us, and they try to bribe me with all kinds of fudge!

Wow. That’s fighting dirty.

If we’d gone to school together …

…I would have picked Will to be my partner in science class.

We had an email yesterday from a woman who was concerned about the notation on our website stating that the average water temperature in Splashin’ Safari is currently 85 degrees.

She asked if that water temperature was too hot to be comfortable.

I forward all emailed comments to Will and our directors. Usually I’ve already responded to the email by then, but sometimes I ask for help.

I emailed back that hot tubs are usually set at 100-101 degrees, so 85 degrees was considerably cooler. Quite refreshing, actually.

This morning, Will sent me a slightly more sophisticated explanation:

Most people don’t understand that because of water’s high specific heat capacity, water of a given temperature (say 85 degrees) can cool a guest much more effectively than air at the same temperature. Eight-five-degree water feels cool to us humans while 85-degree air feels hot (our bodies are at 98.6, of course). We are all constantly giving off heat, and the water is better able to “absorb” it than the air around us. Seventy-degree water feels downright frigid. Anything below 78 to 80 would be described as “cold.”

Who says working at a theme park isn’t an educational experience?

Play Day memories

I’ve been meaning to write an email to all of you nice people at Holiday World to say thanks for the great time we had at Play Day this year.

I am the father of two boys who both have autism (older son is very autistic, the younger has a lesser case) and once again we attended Play Day.

It is hard to say how nice of a thing it is that Holiday World does by closing the park to allow kids that might not otherwise get to enjoy the park to have a good time.

We look forward to it every year.

My youngest son asks daily to go to “Holiday World and Splashin” because he loved the fountains in Holidog Town (he was one of the kids in blog picture).

We are going to try and go this coming week and take in the water park.

Anyway, it is a great thing that you guys do and I just wanted to let you know that we appreciate that special day every year.

It speaks volumes about the people of Holiday World for this to be your favorite day because it’s also our favorite day. We look forward to it every year. The fact that you guys donate so much money, time and effort to the community of the disabled shows what kind of people are involved in your great park. I am sure that you guys will keep up the great work!

By the way, my youngest son and I check out the Holiblog almost daily, as he wants to see the pictures and I want to read the latest hint on the future park addition! Can’t wait to see what it is!

Please send our thanks to all of the Holiday World staff and also thanks to the Koch family for opening their hearts along with their park to these great kids.

Thanks,
Derek
Boonville, Indiana

Free unlimited compasses

While heading back to my office through the 4th of July section, I noticed two women–walking slowly and studying the park map with a perplexed look on their faces:

Gosh, if they’d just put a “You Are Here” marker on these maps, they’d be so much easier to read!

And yes, I did offer my assistance.

A brief panic

Driving home last night, there it was…

By the side of the road.

On the shoulder.

On its side.

A sneaker.

Tennis shoe.

Casual footwear.

Left behind by someone.

How do you lose a shoe on the highway?

Do you fling it out the window because the Odor Eater finally gave out? Does it slip off your sweaty foot during your morning jog?

How does this happen?

This made me think of something else I found recently … in the water park.

Underwear.

A grown man’s pair of underwear–abandoned–in the middle of a walkway.

How did this happen?

I was finishing up a tour of Splashin’ Safari with yet another travel writer. She’d already remarked about how clean the park appeared. We’d passed a napkin and I’d quickly scooped it up and disposed of it in one of the zillion trash cans Mrs. Koch has spaced evenly throughout the park.

And there they were.

Up ahead.

Gleaming, snowy-white in the brilliant sunshine.

A pair of … tighty whities.

Oh, no.

While explaining our Free Sunscreen to the writer, my eyes dashed wildly about, hoping to find…

What? Someone looking for an errant pair of undies?

Well, you never know.

As we got closer, the decision-making time had arrived. Gotta do it. Gotta pick those puppies up.

“Goodness! Look at this! Someone lost something here…I’ll bet they had just changed into their swim trunks and lost these on their way back to their locker.”

Can’t just leave them lying there. Pick them up. Now! Grimacing only slightly, I used my fingernails to gingerly snag the edge of the still-springy elastic waistband.

Now what?

They didn’t look … well … used.

Rather a shame to throw them out. But who in their right mind will call a park the next day, “Um…did you find my … um … well, you know …” I consulted the employee closest to me — over in Locker Rental: Anyone report a missing pair? No? Hmmmm … okay, thanks.

Now, socks, I’ll put on top of the nearest trash can. If they’re still there at close, into the dumpster they go. But isn’t a trash receptacle topped with someone’s unmentionables rather…unseemly?

The travel writer started to get quite interested in my dilemma. Shifting focus in this way is not advisable. Flip went the flap on the trash can. Gone. Whew!

I do apologize to the poor man who undoubtedly experienced chafing on his way home that night. If, sir, you also lost a sneaker on your drive home, please send me an email and we’ll get it back to you — it’s the least I can do.