Hugs across the miles

You never know what will come in the mail.

Look at what Mrs. Koch received:

Here’s a closer look.

It’s a hug from her little friend Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s family lives several hours away. Whenever they visit, Elizabeth looks
for her friend Mrs. Koch and gives her a big hug. Then they have a chat.

It’s tradition.

Mrs. Koch tried her hug on for size…

…perfect fit!

When I commented on the hugging hands’ bling and upscale manicure, Mrs. Koch laughed.

“That’s Elizabeth! Isn’t it wonderful?”

Mummy want a cracker?


Tell me this parrot doesn’t look like he’s ready for a sarcophagus!

Actually, he’s ready for a lovely paint job, the addition of a colorful umbrella, and a trip to Santa Claus for installation in Splashin’ Safari’s Crocodile Isle.

Meanwhile, as you may have noticed, our webcam is off to rehab (no, not the same place Britney went to) and should be back in two or three weeks.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow!

Open wide!

One of the new slides for Crocodile Isle appears to be in a perpetual yawn.

They’re still working on the new slide, of course; surely we’ll see a more colorful version soon.

He was kind enough to also pose for a profile shot:

Meanwhile, the zebra slide is ready to go.

Your assignment at the supper table this evening is to solve that age-old question: black stripes on white or white stripes on black?

Wrangling the start tub

Start tub.

That’s the pool you get into right before you ride Zinga, ZOOMbabwe, Watubee … and now, Bakuli.

It was the last piece to be added, a full 73 feel above the splash pool.


The start tub is down there, on the lower right. All hooked up.

Waiting to fly.

But first, there’s a bit of prep work up top.


That’s Randy smearing on the Super Glue.

Meanwhile, Will chats it up with John Simpson from Channel 7. Will talks with his hands a lot … in fact, if he had a scrap of paper and pen handy, he’d probably be sketching out something for John.

It’s an engineer thing.

For some reason, we all got a kick out of this, on the side of one of the cranes:


At last, it’s time for the topping.

Recognize that fellow up top?


It’s Craig! (Remember Craig?)

He’s ready to wrangle.

When that last piece is up high enough, Craig will grab the tether and guide the start tub into position.


Closer….closer…


A light spring breeze can be very pleasant when you’re still wearing a jacket, but we were all willing to sacrifice a little comfort if it made the job easier.

Grab it, Craig!


…and hang on tight!


Ahhh…nearly there.


Something like a hundred bolts now need to go into place.

Still a lot of work before we turn on the water, but Bakuli is all in one piece.

One big, huge, twisting, colorful piece.

Top o’ Bakuli!

It's not quite time for fake Irish accents, but nonetheless we'll wish each other, "Top o' Bakuli!" this afternoon.

We've invited the media to come by at 1 pm CT, as we lift high the final piece of Bakuli. (Well, not actually "we" … a 100+ foot crane will do the heavy lifting.)

The height difference from the top of Bakuli to the splash pool below is 73 feet. That's seven stories.

If you'd like to watch, take a look on our webcam.

Swinging ‘glass

It’s been a little too windy for this sort of work the past few days, but on Monday morning there was a whole lotta swingin’ going on down in Splashin’ Safari.


It’s a painstaking process, getting that piece of fiberglass to fit perfectly onto the rest of the slide.

Bakuli, as you may recall, starts seven stories up.


Not sure why the sky disappeared from the above photo. When I compressed the file, the blue sky vanished. Weird.

Thankfully, the sky returned in this next shot.


Here’s the other end of the ride. Remember, “bakuli” is the Swahili word for “bowl.” Bakuli starts as an in-the-dark water slide and then drops the riders into this 60-foot-wide bowl.

Around and around you’ll go. And where you stop…


…is right here, which will eventually be a pool.

Put it all together and you get this gigantic flying saucer.


Let’s widen that shot and put Bakuli in perspective.


That’s The Voyage in the background and Monsoon Lagoon in the front-right corner. There’s Bahari River in the middle.

Just don’t anybody come up with the brilliant idea that our new water ride looks like a snake.

We know.

We’re in denial.

Surely you remember the Queen of de Nile … she wasn’t much of a snake lover, either.

Food for thought

Once a week, we have a staff meeting.

All the park directors meet with Will for an hour or so.

The final item on each week’s agenda is a round-the-table status report.

Each director gives a little update. It’s sometimes amusing and always informative.

Here’s a sample from this week.

Mike (Director of Maintenance & Safety): I’m working on ’08 Capital.

(Translation: I know top-secret stuff about what ride(s) Will is looking to maybe/possibly add for the 2008 season.)

Wayne (Director of Food Services): I’m working on ’06 Capital.

(Translation: When push came to shove last season, construction of The Voyage took
priority over the Plymouth Rock Cafe. But we’ll get ‘er open this year!)

We’ve received some emails asking about the menu for the new restaurant. Wayne is getting close, but it’s not quite ready.

We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we have the menu posted on our Restaurants & Food Outlets page. Meanwhile, here are some interior shots of what the PRC will look like:


The new restaurant will be cafeteria-style, with a selection of Thanksgiving goodies.

No doubt these fellows are working up an appetite.


Can’t you just imagine the lovely aromas wafting from this building in just a few months?

Just like grandma’s kitchen around the holidays.

Digest this

Anyone out there get this magazine?

Can't wait to read the America's Top Amusement Parks article.