Maybe we need a warning sign?

Udderly Blue ice cream

Have you discovered the Udderly Blue gift that keeps on giving?

Lynn is a grandma who visited the park recently and plans to come back again soon. She and I have exchanged emails several times over the past week.

Apparently, we’re now close enough buddies that she felt comfortable sharing this proud family story:

Udderly Blue ice creamI have a teen grandson, Logan. When he was around four, we took him to the park and bought him one of those Udderly Blue ice creams. He really got into that thing! Had a blue face all day long. Ha!

But the next day, I was at his house watching him, and he went into the bathroom and was in there for a little bit, and came out of there screaming and crying in a panic that his “poop” was blue!

The kiddo thought something was wrong with him! Ha ha ha! I like to have died laughing! Ha ha!

Every time we talk Holiday World, I kid him about the “blue poop” and the panic he went into!

Umm … don’t worry, Logan. If Grandma Lynn emails me any baby pictures of you in the tub or on one of those bear rugs, I’ll send the files back unopened.

There are some lines we just won’t cross.
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Envelope, please …

Today’s the day … the announcement of the 2005 Golden Ticket Awards.

We’ve been honored with several awards over the years. It’s gotten so we include the Golden Ticket logo on our brochure.

2005 Golden Ticket Award
One fellow made our Call Center ladies smile a month ago; he was charmingly confused about those golden tickets.

Apparently a particular movie remake this summer got him to thinking he needed to consume a massive amount of candy bars before visiting us.

He wasn’t completely wrong, though … the Golden Tickets are definitely, well, sweet!

We received two of the top honors this year:

  • Friendliest (for the 8th year in a row) and
  • Cleanest (for the 6th consecutive year)

Splashin’ Safari took the #2 water park award again, and our coasters and water rides received high rankings as well.

Mrs. Koch was on hand in San Antonio, Texas, this afternoon to accept the awards and to announce that the 2006 Awards Ceremony will be hosted by her family’s park in Santa Claus, Indiana.

Our news release, with all the particulars, is posted in our online News Room, if you’d like to take a peek.

And to see how all the parks did, click on over to the Amusement Today website.

Thanks to all who voted for us!

Most of all, thanks to all of our Hosts and Hostesses who earned these awards day after day, all season long.
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Who dumped this stuff?

Who dumped this stuff?

culvert

… and does Mrs. Koch know what a mess they made?

The grassy area to the south of our employee parking lot is full of very large, shiny, cylindrical objects.

When I went up close to take this photo, I got dizzy (how embarrassing):

culverts

These two, together, looked like a huge pair of binoculars.

Alien binoculars, perchance?

They’re each seven feet in diameter, by the way.

Any idea what they are? And who dumped this stuff? 

A quick call to Will and we have the answer.

Culverts.

They’ll go under the new walkway that, in 2006, will connect The Wave to the new Bahari River.

They’ll also be used in the area going upstream to Bahari.

culverts

After studying the above photo I must admit I’m not convinced space aliens aren’t involved.

Very messy aliens.
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CBS correspondent discovers ‘fun’ at The Raven

CBS News crew

I remember back when The Raven was under construction. It was during the fall and winter of 1994-95. We took a magazine writer on a construction tour and some coaster enthusiasts came along (for color commentary, so I learned).

I must admit to initially thinking those people were nuts.

By just looking at the positioning of the footers and the beginnings of the structure, they already knew what kind of ride we were all in for the next spring.

“Look at that!” one cried out, pointing down into the woods. “The G-forces there will be incredible!” Another gasped: “Laterals!” (I caught him wiping away a bit of drool and quickly looked the other way.)

What were we getting ourselves into?

Happily, those folks gradually grew on us. Many of them really do know a lot about coasters–the history, the engineering, the physics. And their gushing (minus the escaping saliva) really is contagious.

Over the years, I have been asked repeatedly if I’m a coaster enthusiast. My response has always been the same: I’m really more of an “enthusiast enthusiast.”

Does that make sense?

I really get a kick out of these folks. (Well, most of them, anyway.) They have endless questions, boundless enthusiasm, and countless recommendations.

Most of their conversations with us start with the following: “Do you know what would be really cool?”

The first “special event” we hosted for enthusiasts was held on May 19, 1995. (I remember the date simply because it was my birthday. How old was I? A decade younger than now; let’s leave it at that, shall we?)

CBS News crew

The event was coordinated by the folks with the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) and included a little gift for me: Richard Schlesinger and a crew from 48 Hours. The CBS show was focusing on thrill seekers (that’s Lucy from Florida being interviewed in the photo), and they found more than a few riding The Raven that day.

My favorite moment was taking Mr. Schlesinger for a walk out in the woods so he could see The Raven’s wild layout close up. (We never did get him to ride it.) Mrs. Koch was back in the station, helping the ride ops dispatch trainload after trainload of deliriously happy ACEers. She was on the microphone, joking around with them. We could hear her jovial banter through the trees.

I could tell he was listening

So I hushed up.

Our esteemed network reporter, who had finally loosened his tie and was now even carrying his tailored suit jacket, at long last cracked a smile and murmured, almost to himself: “This is fun.”

YES, Richard, yes! It’s FUN! You get it! (Don’t worry; I was still in “hush” mode at this point. Didn’t yell at the nice reporter.)

Richard Schlesinger and Lucy

The 48 Hours segment didn’t air until that August. In fact, it almost didn’t air at all. As I recall there was a dreadful hurricane that threatened the Eastern Seaboard that week.

We were nearly pre-empted. But it did air on CBS. And then made its way over to cable. I caught it on The Learning Channel a few times. Just thrilling!

Ever since that first event for enthusiasts, we’ve looked forward to their happy gatherings. There’s one coming up in June, actually. If you think you might be an enthusiast, you’ll want to consider signing up for our HoliWood Nights special event.

Because, if you’ve made it to the end of this tome … you just might be an enthusiast.
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A dollar for your thoughts

A dollar for your thoughts: Want to make Dee Ann blush?

Pay for your party’s admission in cash.

And use all $1 bills

This is Dee Ann’s second year as Director of Admissions, and she is never short of a good story.

A few weeks ago, during our weekly directors’ meeting, she mentioned the stack of “ones” she had to count one morning over the weekend. In telling us, her face was already taking on a pink glow.

“…there were three young men at my window; they purchased three one-day admission tickets together and handed me a pile of dollar bills. I counted them, and then they handed over another stack. And then another. Trying to make friendly conversation, I asked without thinking, ‘Oh, my … where did you get all of these?'”

Without missing a beat, Bobby Beefcake replied, “We’re exotic dancers.” Bobby and his buddies, Alan Absamighty and Steven Sikzpak, burst out laughing.

Dee Ann, concentrating mightily, continued counting those bills. At the completion of the transaction, she looked back up and told them with a smile, “Well I must say … this is a first!” Dee Ann may never have to buy blush again; those three pranksters have had a lasting effect!
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Pilgrim’s progress

We’re seeing progress! It’s really starting to look like a coaster.

Just ask Craig …

Craig on Voyage

This next shot (thanks, Rachel) is where, on The Voyage, you’ll fly down the first drop and charge up the second hill.

Voyage construction

This next photo shows part of the structure where we’re on our way back to the station.

Breathless.

Just look at the angle of the ledgers. (You do remember what a ledger is, don’t you?)

Voyage construction

And here’s the view of The Voyage (coming and going) from Raging Rapids in our 4th of July section:

Voyage construction

By the way, we got a quick note from Holidog, who made the most out of the park being closed yesterday and today.

We’ll have more about the progress of his travels next week.
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A catty email

When it comes to email, we receive all kinds.

Most of them are remarkably nice.

And thanks to Joe and our spam filter, the majority are clean.

But once in a while, there’s a message that gives us pause.

“dffff”

Pardon me, what’s that?

Dffff?

What does that mean?

Is it code?

Or some of that instant-message lingo?

Happily, the sender quickly followed with a second email:

Sorry about previous email cat hit the send button.

Yes, of course.

Since there were no further instructions from the sender, I forwarded the message on to the appropriate staff member.

Holidog.
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‘You have the nicest workers’

A kind note from a family who visited recently and wish to praise our employees as the nicest:

We visited your park on August 10 and 11; this was a great place to go.

We really loved the free pop and sunscreen and the reasonably priced food and lockers. Also the free parking.

What a top of the line park

You have the nicest workers. We were riding the Otorongo in the water park. My son, who is autistic, lost his purple toy out of his pocket.

Now it’s just a 50-cent toy, but to an autistic child, this toy was the world to him.

You have two young ladies who went out of their way to make sure they found it at the bottom of the pool. Their names are Allison and Andrea. They should be commended for doing this.

It’s hard to find good employees like this.

Thank you very much to these two young ladies. Also for the wonderful vacation.

Six Flags needs to take lessons from your park because they sure don’t compare to your park.

We will be back.

The K. Family
LaPorte, Indiana
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The Travel Channel cometh

… on Saturday!

A crew from the Travel Channel will be here at the park with yours truly, shooting interviews and park footage all the live-long day.

Will you be here on Saturday?

And it’s always been your dream to appear on national television?

… if only for a fleeting moment?

This may be your chance

Your one moment in time.

Just in case, let’s take a moment to review some helpful tips:

1. The wild-eyed wave into the camera lens, accompanied by, “Hi, Mom!” at the top of your lungs is appreciated by exactly one person. And she’s not producing the show.

2. Continuing on the theme from #1, don’t ever look directly into the camera lens unless you’re specifically told to do so by the TV crew. It looks weird. And you’ll end up on the cutting-room floor.

3. Saluting with any number of fingers is not appreciated. Nor are bunny ears behind the person being interviewed (especially when it’s my boss).

4. Usually, the people who vigorously demand to be interviewed (“Talk to me! I wanna be on TV! Awww, come on!”) aren’t chosen. It’s an incredible coincidence.

5. If you are asked to be interviewed (and you’re interested in doing it), just take a deep breath, look at the person who is asking the questions, and talk normally. Remember, this is not live TV, so if you need to think a bit or want to start over, that’s fine.

6. Don’t forget to give the microphone back. Especially if you’re heading to the restroom next.

Ready for more?

7. Don’t worry about spinach in your teeth or that smear of ketchup on your cheek. I’ll let you know before the camera starts recording. (I hope you don’t mind me asking, but exactly how old is that spinach? We don’t serve spinach at any of our restaurants.)

8. If they ask you to walk and talk at the same time, don’t freak out. You can do it. Just think of all the empty-headed stars who’ve done it with Baba Wawa over the years. Piece of cake. Just don’t cry, okay?

9. Don’t bother asking for a free Shrek doll. However, you can probably talk me out of a complimentary soft drink. And I’ll validate your parking.

10. I don’t know what the show will be called or when it will air. 

Okay, I know a little more. But not much.
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Back-to-school blues

I have a serious question.

Has there ever been a documented case of a parent having a nervous breakdown while in the middle of back-to-school shopping?

I come pretty close each year.

There’s something about standing in a crowded discount store with a long list of items to buy.

And they’re all crammed in two narrow aisles, along with many, many harried parents and their frenetic offspring.

The heaviest items are, of course, placed on the highest shelves.

And it’s impossible to purchase just one highlighter. They now come in packs of eight.

Why do we have to buy a new protractor each year? (You’d think by now, I’d review the list ahead of time and we could locate last year’s protractor. I’ll bet we have a dozen or so stuck in the back of desk drawers throughout the house.)

How many protractors does one family really need?

If you don’t get that shopping done early (as in two days after school ends in the spring) all of the “good stuff” is pretty well picked over.

“Look, John!” I loudly called to my eighth-grade son. “These folders have My Pretty Pony on them — aren’t they cute?”

That’s how I cling to my sanity in times like these — I humiliate my children.

Today, the local school system begins the 2005/2006 year.

My James was so excited about his first day of Kindergarten, he could hardly sleep.

John, on the other hand, didn’t eat breakfast due to a stomach ache. He’s mourning the ending of summer, poor lad.

Here at the park, we’re swiftly approaching our final day of “daily operation.”

It’s Wednesday, August 17. Two days away.

We try our best to get the word out through our brochure, website, and other means. Maybe this will help, too.

We’re not open on Thursday. Or Friday. Or next Monday … well, you get the picture.

The good news is we’re done with the “extremely busy” weekends. From here on in, we have three excellent weekends to visit. After Labor Day, we don’t open to the public again until October 1.

For the complete schedule and hours, please take a look here on our website.

Well, I’m off to take James to his first day of school. He packed his Spider-Man backpack yesterday with his Spider-Man folder and Spider-Man notepad.

The children also needed a box of ziplock bags. Wonder what that’s for?

Maybe to hold all their older siblings’ protractors.
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