When your 6-year-old emails your boss

My James absolutely loves to email.

He’s only six. He’s in Kindergarten.

You may recall he is one of those “Coaster Crazies.” He can’t get enough.

Remember Ralphie from A Christmas Story …how when he’s describing the Red Ryder BB gun he wants for Christmas, it’s all one word?

James is the same way when he talks about The Voyage. To anyone who will listen, he announces:

DidyouknowTheVoyagewasgoingtohavetwo90-degreebankedcurvesthatgolikethis…
(he demonstrates dramatically with his little hand) …butthenWilldecidedtoaddanothersonowtherewillbethree?

Most adults just nod, their eyes growing wider.

The latest thing in Kindergarten is “stretching.” The children are taught that sounding out words and spelling them phonetically is the way to go.

They’ll worry about spelling some other year.

I was skeptical at first. Actually, the word horrified is far more appropriate.

But I’m beginning to see the light.

According to the experts, too much emphasis on spelling tends to block the tots’ creativity glands. They get so worried about i-before-e that they just don’t bother.

So we stretch.

And James emails.

The lad is quite independent. He wants to do it all by himself.

So after a bit of tutoring, he now opens the computer program, double-clicks on the appropriate name, taps out a message, and clicks on “Send.”

My folks in Connecticut hear from him almost daily. Other recipients are scattered throughout nearly a dozen states.

I’d forgotten Will was in my email address book at home. James discovered it over the weekend.

“Mom, I wrote an email to Will.”

You didn’t send it yet, did you?

“Oops.”

I held my breath as I clicked on the “Sent” folder. Stretching, after all, can lead to words that don’t always mean what you intended.

Here’s what James wrote to my boss, word for stretched word:

dear Will,
hey how much
do you like
rollercoster?
cood it be u thousins
is that how much you like
rollercosters?
james the littol
giy
that
cam owt of
paulas
beley
so
by
Will
james
werne

What a relief he was able to help Will avoid any confusion by describing which James Werne he is!

I wasn’t really all that worried, as Will has three children of his own, and is genuinely a nice guy.

So nice, in fact, that he replied the very next day:

James, I really like roller coasters. I love to ride them, but I really
love to work with designers/engineers to create new ones. Like a lot of
people, I can’t wait to ride The Voyage!

– Will

Speaking of stretching, here’s a look at James stretching out on a hillside with The Voyage rising up behind him.

Going to work with Mom on the weekend has its perks, after all.

Plus it gives him something to write about.

Separated at birth?

Jon emailed over the weekend to point out how our storyteller for Gobbler Getaway…

…bears a striking resemblance to the Arthur Carlson character of WKRP TV fame…

The “Big Guy’s” granny, perhaps?

If you’ve been around long enough, you’ll remember the famous turkey-drop fiasco episode from 1978.

In it, Mr. Carlson cries out: “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!”

Further research reveals the frightening fact that a “turkey drop” may actually have occurred back in 1946.

Sixty years ago.

The very year our park opened.

Hmmmm…

So what about that other ride?

We haven’t forgotten about Gobbler Getaway, don’t worry.

Our dark ride is being created in sunny Florida.

Now remember, since this is a dark ride, there’s lots of black light used, so the colors look a bit extreme in natural light.

This is part of one of the scenes as we search for the escaped turkeys.

Next we show a portion of the “practice” area, where you can try out your turkey call.

The storyteller who will explain how to play the interactive part of Gobbler Getaway is being created. Thought we’d give you the heads-up:

She…oh, did I not mention the gender? She will explain the background story to the riders, and will encourage good behavior.

There, that’s better.

And finally, a familiar looking fellow from a colorful fall field:

Mr. Scarecrow is also only partially complete. He has quite a profile.

Construction of Gobbler Getaway’s building will begin soon. It will be located to the east of the area between The Voyage’s station and the lifthill.

Don’t let on that I mentioned this, but in just a few days the “countdown clock” takes us down into double digits.

But who’s counting?

If you pick up TV news from Evansville

… you might want to watch WFIE this evening.

Liza and Aaron came up for a two-fer a little bit ago.

The first story is Will’s reaction to the Time Zone Decision. Somehow, Will managed to maintain his composure and not break into a little dance-of-joy while on camera.

As you may recall, Indiana has been in a state of flux, as the Federal Government has held hearings to determine which counties will be on Eastern and which on Central. The State has already decided we’ll all be on Daylight Savings Time.

Without going into all the details, let’s just say we’re part of a slightly larger cluster of counties in the southwest part of the State which will be on Central Time from here on in.

Next, Liza asked Will about The Voyage.

Another grin as big as the sky.

I should have taken a photo or two, but I didn’t think to grab the camera before heading down to the construction site. Happily, we still have some of Craig’s to show from the top of the lifthill.

Here’s what’s going on in Splashin’ Safari:

This is the location for Bahari River. See the Bahari wave pool at the top of the picture?

Craig took a closer look:

The Tiki-carving crew is back this year, so we’ll have some nice looking theming.

Here’s a front-to-back look of the park. That’s The Wave in the foreground and our other two lovely wooden coasters in the background.

Liza just moved to the area a few months ago, so this was her first look at the park.

She assured us that, growing up in Ohio, she loves riding coasters.

When I asked if she had a favorite, she said she didn’t really have a #1 Coaster.

Just wait till May…

On top of the ‘World

It’s after lunch here, so I think it’s safe to post the next batch of Craig-on-the-lifthill photos.

(Those in Mountain and Pacific Time–you’ve been warned!)

Let’s join Craig for a glance up the lifthill. This is what you’ll see when you ride The Voyage. (Of course, by then, Craig et al will have added little things like the top layer of the track, plus the all-important lift chain).

Ready for a second view?

Up to the top he climbs.

Then Craig takes a peek over the top for a look at The Voyage’s 154-foot drop at a 66-degree angle.

Dessert, anyone?

Home for the Holidays

Remember that coffee commercial, in which the college lad returns home for Christmas vacation early one morning, with only little sister awake to greet him?

To prove he’s put the tuition money to good use, said college student proceeds to brew a pot of coffee that’s so strong the aroma awakens his parents.

Holidog nearly did the same thing.

Now the java, of course, but all that emotional stuff.

If you’ve followed his travels, you’ll know Holidog has been visiting all sorts of big cities.

But for Christmas, his heart and home found their way back to Indiana.

Don’t you just love what’s he’s done with the place? There’s a portrait of Safari Sam and Holidog on the wall, just next to a graphic of The Voyage. And that’s his TV next to the Christmas tree.

The prodigal pup enjoyed himself immensely, catching up with all our full-time staff.

But the visit was not strictly social; Holidog made sure to check in with Will.

We thought we heard a whimper from Will’s office and took a look.

Not sure who actually did the whimpering.

The odds are pretty even, though.

It’s budget time, after all.

Next, Holidog helped out Santa and Mrs. Koch with the last few Letters from Santa. It took dogged determination on the part of all of Santa’s Elves, but they got all the letters sent out.

After that all-too-brief paws here at home, Holidog embarked on the next leg of his journey: due south.

His next update should come to us from sunny Florida. Lucky dog!

Meanwhile, anyone else in the mood for a nice cup of coffee?

The Santa game

Our web designer wondered if my ears were burning on Christmas morning:

My daughters received two identical games (one was actually a "deluxe version") for Christmas. One game was from Santa and the other game was from cousins.

My oldest was so excited to play the game, that she opened the standard version. We had planned to try to exchange the standard version for another toy at a local toy store.

When I realized that she had opened the wrong game, I explained that we could not exchange it now that the plastic was removed.

My youngest thought a moment, and then said, "Can't we call your friend Paula at Holiday World and have her ask Santa if he could put new plastic wrap on the box?"

I told her that we could not do that as she would then get the same request from thousands of other children with the same problem.

Her reply was, "Not if she doesn't tell anyone!"

The powerful connections you have there in Santa Claus, Indiana.