“Fusion of Fun”

Show of hands: Is anyone else sick, sick, sick of the word "fusion"?

Over the weekend, a little "cooking moment" came on the radio. The lady with the soothing voice explained how simple it is to make Hot Cocoa…with a fusion of cinnamon.



Since when is digging around in the cabinet for the tin of cinnamon, checking to make sure the expiration date is from this century, and then sprinkling a little too much in the mug (and scooping it back out, hoping the kiddos don't notice) called fusion?


Even my shampoo is in on the act.

I nearly dropped the bottle on my toe when I read: (name brand) Shampoo … with a fusion of acai berries and satin.

There's satin in my shampoo? I don't think so…

Now that I have the bottle under suitably bright light, I can attest after carefully examining the long list of ingredients, neither acai berries nor satin made the cut.

But tretrasodium did.

Tetra means "four," right?

Buy our shampoo — now with four times the sodium!

So…my shampoo is going to give me high blood pressure. Or make me retain water, even in the winter?


There's a happy ending to this. For me, anyway.

Will utterly detests buzzwords. Especially if they're overused and sound corporate.

So at our next marketing meeting, I'll build up to this exceptional idea I have for a new slogan. I'll get John and Mike in on the act, so they can grunt their approval when I admit to Will we've already conducted synergistic interfaces of this new brand concept. Notwithstanding. (It really helped us leverage our strategic relationship collaboratively this way.)

"Here it is Will: At Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, we serve up a fusion of fun!"

Then we'll sit back and watch his eyes grow round as saucers as he tries to figure out whether we're joking. He'll be wishing there existed integrated metrics to help him benchmark our, well … innate ability for rotten-ness.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

He’s dreaming of a …

safe Christmas.

Craig's Safety Tree

This is Craig. He’s our Director of Safety.

Leave it to the new guy to decorate his office with a Christmas tree (and theme it nonetheless).

Feeling completely inadequate, I glanced around my office. Come to think of it, I do have a small tree, a Santa wreath, a Santa wall hanging, an assortment of Christmas ornaments (including two Santas in bumper cars) and a framed print of Santa riding a cow.

I guess I’m safe.

We’re humbled, no fooling

Rick at The Motley Fool writes amazing columns about the amusement industry.

Of course, as a Fool, he writes nearly exclusively about publicly traded, corporate parks.

Yet somehow, we get a mention every once in a while.

Before we shot our YouTube announcement video on Wednesday, we were all giddy in anticipation and nervousness.

"Let's just try not to make fools out of ourselves," was the rallying cry.

But maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.


It’s that time of year when leftovers aren’t a burden. They’re appreciated. Cherished, even.

So I knew you wouldn’t mind a leftover story from this summer.

It was when “Deal or No Deal” came back to town.

More than a year ago, the GM over at Santa’s Lodge was chosen to be a contestant. Surprise! It was to air on Christmas day.

Skip is normally a pretty quiet guy. Pleasant, but not someone who seems to crave attention.

Until he’s under the kliegs. Then he comes alive.

Skip won a heap of money, but he couldn’t tell us till the show aired. (He’s on the County Tourism Commission with me; we all noted he was wearing a nice leather jacket the week after he taped the show and nodded at one another knowingly.)

But that was 2006 and this is 2007.

Well, back during the season a crew from “Deal” came back to town. It seems our Skip is one of their most popular contestants ever, so they wanted to shoot an update of Skip here in the town of Santa Claus.

So he brought them to Holiday World.

Deal or No Deal
That’s John on the left. He works for the show. You know the guy in the middle. That’s Skip on the right.

And then it was off to ride some rides.

Skip “whoo-hooed” his way through the day. It was unbelievable the energy he put into this shoot.

Waving. Laughing. Shouting. Whoo-hooing.

It was exhausting.

Skip on Lewis & Clark
Uh, sir … please keep you arms, legs, hat, and enthusiasm inside the ride at all times.

Next, over to Raging Rapids.

Skip was still full of pep.

And he got the entire family, plus John, in on the act.

As the boat headed off toward the rapids, guess who was still whoo-hooing?

Skip on Raging Rapids

“Who is that?” I was asked over and over.

People were amazed when I told them it was the GM from Santa’s Lodge.

“We’ve been there for three nights and haven’t heard a single whoo-hoo.”

That’s probably because he was saving himself. By the end of the day ol’ Skip was getting mighty hoarse.

Too many candy canes, maybe?

I whispered to John and Josh several times that I’d be glad to take them all to lunch. A nice grilled-chicken salad would have hit the spot by mid afternoon.

But we pressed on.

When Skip finally ran out of steam, we stopped for a snack. Four orders of deep-fried Oreos.

And then we were off and running again.

Santa had agreed to join Skip on The Voyage.

Skip on The Voyage
And all these months later?

John and Josh finished their road trip and got to work editing.

Just this week, they posted their video on Deal or No Deal’s website. Click here if you’d like to watch their high-energy report.

Trip report, Part C

Okay, so this is even more embarrassing than the mascara incident.

John and I sat behind the cutest pair of grandparents and grandchildren. A ducky little boy and girl who behaved perfectly on the long plane ride.

As we stood in the aisle ready to get off the plane, I couldn't resist.

Are you going to see Mickey?

"Oh yes!" the darling children chirped in unison.

That's wonderful! I'm sure you'll have lots of fun! …and maybe next summer, Grandma and Grandpa will take you to visit us at Holiday World.

Be honest. Was that tacky of me?

Mrs. Koch told us today she was recognized in the Orlando airport, "Hey, Mrs. Koch! Is it really you?"

And Matt stayed behind in Florida a few extra days with his lovely wife. In the Mission: Space queue, a family sported Colts Football shirts, so he started up a conversation with them.

"Sure, we love Holiday World! In fact, the kids just said yesterday they would rather have spent four days at Holiday World instead of here in Orlando."


The love-fest, sadly, did not extend to my feeble outreach program.

Grandpa turned with a pleasant, yet quizzical, look on his face.

"Holiday World? Never heard of it!"

I quickly surmised they must have stopped in Louisville en route from some foreign land.

Yes, of course, that must be it.

Oh, sorry. So you're not from Louisville?

"Sure, we used to live there. Now we live in Florence."

Judging by his accent, I really don't think he meant Italy.

"Now, where is that park?"

Okay, by now it was getting embarrassing. And John was right behind me, snickering.

Oh, we're in the town of Santa Claus, Indiana — isn't that fun?

Grandpa smiled kindly and nodded, then turned to follow the rest of his family off the plane.

After all, Mickey was waiting.

Trip report: Part 2

The subhead for this post should perhaps be:

Lesson learned: Don't travel on the same day as the President

Although a number of us attended the IAAPA Convention this week, we all seemed to have different schedules. By Tuesday, Will, Mrs. Koch, Eric and Wayne had already gotten a start on their week.

Matt flew out earlier that morning; John and I had a very reasonable flight time out of Louisville: 10:30 am EST.

So we're flying out of Louisville Tuesday morning … remember who was flying in that same day?

(Cue: Hail to the Chief music.)

That's right, Mr. Bush had a speech to give in nearby New Albany.

The gate crew was all a-twitter.

They told us they hoped we could get out ahead of Air Force One's approach, but if we didn't make it, the entire airport–including our flight–would shut down for about 15 minutes. (I later heard her say 30 minutes; it was 45.)

John was all excited to see Air Force One land. I think he'd already had too much coffee, as he couldn't sit still.

"Is that it? Is it landing over there? I can't wait to see it again!"


It suddenly hit me I hadn't put on mascara yet, so I dug it out of my purse.

The nice gate lady came by to put a pink tag on my carry-on luggage.

"You got that by Security?"


"Security let you through with that?"

I looked around and realized she really was addressing me with her question.

This? Mascara?

"Yes, it's a liquid."

A liquid? It's goop!

"Well, maybe it's a gel then."

No…it's more like tar. What kind of threat is mascara?

I foolishly pointed the wand in her direction and joked, Am I going to poke someone in the eye?

That really wasn't smart of me; since she wasn't a Security Agent I didn't get in trouble. The nice lady left me in peace and moved on to tag someone else's bag.

John was quaking with laughter. My dangerous mascara became the theme of the trip.

We settled back, waiting to hear if we'd get to board our plane before the president arrived.

It was not meant to be.

I was checking emails on my cell (we don't have Blackberries; I call mine a Hollyberry, given the location of our park).

Suddenly, the screen went blank. Then, in place of the email, up popped two words in unusually large type: ACCESS DENIED.

Access denied? What the…? How did John get me fired over the mascara incident so quickly?

We later figured out that when Air Force One is approaching, all wireless communications are halted. Makes sense. Good idea.

Once onboard, we had another delay. Ten minutes later, though, the pilot got on the horn:

"Ladies and gentlemen, Dub-ya has left the premises."

So we got to taxi past Air Force One.

"Nice paint job!" John commented, admiringly. "Can you see it? Look! You don't want to miss it! Isn't it something?!"

Yes, yes, I see it. Very nice. Ugh. You are such a guy.

"At least I don't smuggle make-up past the security guards. I don't think I want to travel with you again. You're a loose cannon."

I started digging in my purse; maybe I could do some damage with that stick of L'Oreal goop after all.

Coming soon

As a public service, we offer the following rather startling information:

Thanksgiving is two weeks from today.

How did that happen?

Actually, it’s the earliest that Thanksgiving comes. It’s always on the fourth Thursday of November, and since this month started on a Thursday, it moves the holiday up as early in the month as possible.

The calendar finally caught my attention on Tuesday.

I screamed.

Augh! Thanksgiving is two weeks and two days away!”

Rachel and Lisa looked concerned. I never did figure out if they too were caught unaware–or, perhaps more likely, if they were wondering how in the world it took me this long to notice the gigantic wall calendar located mere inches from my desk.

I quickly called my husband so that he could invite his older sister and her husband to our house for the annual feast.

Gary reported back that Sharon said she’d let us know, that there was plenty of time for making plans.

“…and then I told her, Thanksgiving is in two weeks

…and then she screamed.”

I’ll be sure to set two extra places at the table.

James already brought home a Thanksgiving theme paper this week. Bless him, he filled a page with his gratefulness.

In particular, he’s thankful for the sense of smell, “…so I can smell cow manure and wet dogs.”

He’s an eight-year-old boy.

Thankfully, girls still smell like cooties to him.

It will be shortly after Thanksgiving when we finally fill in the rest of the blanks here at the park. As you surely remember, Kima Bay may be at the top of the list, but it’s just the beginning of our plans for 2008.

Now, excuse me … I’ve got a menu to plan.
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Monkey see, monkey do

It’s that time of the year when there are a lot of park-related conventions.

IAAPA will host a huge one in Orlando in a few weeks.

The World Waterpark Association held theirs last month in California.

Jennifer and Lori were delighted to run across a few familiar faces.

Kima Bay Monkeys

Yes, it was a last fling for those imps before they head for their new home at Kima Bay.

It appears this was a typical convention.

Tsk. Tsk.

Just look at the expression of guilt on Mr. Hear-No-Evil.


True story from closing day

'Twas the end of the season
And all through the park
Families were leaving
(It was getting dark)

The children were so sad
To see the day end
They nearly missed the sight
Just around the bend

For Santa had left
Just moments ago
But while packing his sleigh
He cried out, "Oh, no!"

It seems he'd left behind
In the park's Kringle Haus
From which he'd just left
As quiet as a mouse

…his bells! Those that jingle
When shaken or held
(Those happy noise-makers
Should never be shelved)

Santa needed his jingles
Up yonder, at the Pole
To be ready for Christmas
Was his only goal

So back to the park
Saint Nicholas did creep
In through the back gate
Not making a peep

For he'd changed to his civies
Into jeans and a "t"
Packing up a sleigh
Is dirty work, you see

Despite his tip-toeing
And skulking about
Some children discovered him
And began to shout

"It's Santa! It's Santa!
What in the world goes on?
There's Santa, he's back!
Without any clothes on!"