A visit from royalty

It’s hard not to have a suspicious mind when a rumor runs through the park.

The king is here.


Surely they’re pulling my leg.

But if there’s a big hunk-a burnin’ love out in the park, by golly, I was going to snap a photo.

But where to look? On The Freedom Train? At the glass-blowers’ shop? In with Santa?

I stopped short of calling on the two-way radio: All units on Channel 1: Has anyone seen Elvis?

But I did consider it.

I saw a friend over by Eagle’s Flight and he tipped me off: Elvis is eating at Plymouth Rock Cafe.

My heart was pounding (yes, I was all shook up) as I approached the Thanksgiving section.

I scanned the group of diners, and didn’t see the promised star … when suddenly the glare of sunshine reflecting off a sea of rhinestones nearly blinded me.

I’d found him.

A little known fact: Elvis takes off his rings while dining. He was quite courteous when I asked if I could take his photo — even put his rings back on.

His outfit is quite impressive. The zebra belt is remarkable.

It seemed a little too rude to ask Elvis to interrupt his meal to give me a full-body pose, so I thanked him and walked away.

Luckily, I saw him again later. So I did the stalker thing and took a shot from afar.

Elvis has left the gift shop.

Look at those slacks!

Those bell bottoms!

That belt!

Bless him, Elvis put a smile on everyone’s face.

I kept an eye on him to make sure he was getting plenty to drink. It
would be easy to get dehydrated on such a warm day, all dressed in

And I was hoping, frankly, I could earn some brownie points by bringing him a refill.

But that, of course, would have made me … a pop-a-razzi.

Hey, Hey … It’s Kima Bay!

Okay, so by now you’ve checked this out, right?

And maybe you even got a chance to watch Will do his thing with our groundbreaking this morning, courtesy our Kima Bay Construction Cam (or…The WebCam Formerly Known As SplashCam):

Oh, it’s been so dry lately, the dust was flying. (Laura from our county Visitors Bureau, commented “it’s so dry the grass is crunchy.”)

The news media turned out casually dressed (they’ve learned over the years, thank goodness, that suits and high heels are not the proper attire for a park announcement). I risked chigger bites by ducking into the woods for this artistically-framed shot:

And yes, the reporters eventually got Will to say it.

Planning for Kima Bay is … more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

By the by, three of the four clues in this post were pretty easily seized upon and pounded into the ground by numerous folks who like to email us.

But the “I’m a believer” hint proved to be more slippery than a banana peel. (Did anyone consider a “monkees” theme?)

The very best thing about Kima Bay? Will has agreed to add Monkees songs to Splashin’ Safari’s musical lineup.

I, Yappa…

…being of sound mind and …

No, that’s not it.

When you get involved in this industry, it doesn’t take long to hear about “I, Yappa.”

Or actually, IAAPA.

The International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions.

You know, I-APPA. Or, as some say, I-double-A-P-A.

It’s our mighty trade organization.

And they just happen to have a slick and shiny monthly magazine.

…which just happens to include a feature this month entitled “Creative Communicator.”

And that just happens to be about me.

All humility aside (and a little humiliation, actually), here’s a link to that fine article.

The “humiliation” part is that photo. You’ll know it when you see it.

It was meant to illustrate a story I told the reporter. (I tell the same story–about my first amusement park experience–here in a much earlier HoliBlog post.)

The story was left out, but the photo remained.

Matt gave me his copy of FunWorld so I could send it to my folks in Connecticut. Then he asked for it back, since the photo makes him laugh so much.

Too bad, Matt. I’d already mailed it to Mom and Dad. The next day Mom called to let me know Tim O’Brien really “captured my essence” and she was so proud.

In the background, I could hear my Dad hollering (a la George’s parents on Seinfeld): What’s all that about the sun in your eyes? You were ticked off about something! Why would you tell them the sun was in your eyes?

“Uh … gee, Dad, because I called Mom a month ago and asked her and that’s what she told me.”

Well that’s a bunch of garbage. Your mom only remembers the good stuff. I remember it clearly … you were ticked off about something. You were always ticked off about something.

“Thanks for the memories, Dad. Gotta go now. I’m driving, and … uh … the sun is in my eyes.”