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.


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.

Swinging ‘glass

Bakuli construction

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.

Bakuli construction

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

Bakuli construction

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.

Bakuli construction

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…

Bakuli construction

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

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

Bakuli construction

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

Bakuli construction

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.

The first sign of Spring

Raven car waiting to be placed onto tracks

No, it’s not a robin.

Instead of a sweetly tweeting bird, it’s a loudly roaring crane.

The Raven’s two trains are back from their winter vacation in Pennsylvania. They weren’t exactly at a fancy foo-foo spa, but let’s just say their inner workings were well oiled and massaged.

Bob, Elmer and Lee are readying each car for its return to the tracks.

It’s a little freaky to see, from elsewhere in the park, a bright red Raven car flying through the air.

And then settled gently back on the coaster tracks.

The remaining cars look pretty mellow.

Or maybe they’re huddled together for warmth. Spring may be on its way, but it’s not here yet.

CPR = Chilly Preview Rides

Will and William weren’t the only Turkey Whirl riders last week.

When asked if he enjoyed that inaugural ride, Will replied proudly, “Yes, I did. I enjoyed the first half tremendously.”

Poor Will gets a little woozy. He’s more of a coaster guy.

I share Will’s … um, affliction. Which reminds me, thanks to Tori for taking these photos. I was conveniently indisposed during the turkeys’ first whirl.

So who did ride?

Let’s start with Sean and Nathan. They’re two of our Coaster Maintenance crew members.

Next, Roger; he’s on the Grounds crew.

Mrs. Koch shares her turkey with Erin and Vanessa, from our Merchandise department.

Painters Matt and Kyle are used to stirring things up.

Joe is our IT manager.

Matt, Dee Ann and April look cold, don’t they? I don’t think Matt’s hood is to keep his ears
warm, though; it’s a disguise. He’s hoping his two little girls don’t find out Daddy already got to ride the new tilt-a-whirl.

Meanwhile, CPR Training for our full-timers was conducted last week.

Jodie, our warehouse manager, needed no convincing to “save” her assistant manager, David.

And here’s Rachel “saving” Mrs. Koch.

Our Countdown Clock says 73 days till opening. That news is enough to give any of us heart palpitations.

Snow sculpture

No, we still haven’t had any snow to speak of, but doesn’t it look like we have been outside playing in the white stuff?

Here are the zebras from another direction.

Take a good look; which is their best side?

This summer we can ask the little ones: Which is their best slide?

In Jeopardy

Jeopardy Teen Tournament slate

Thanks to Steven, our marketing coordinator, we have some screen grabs from yesterday’s episode of Jeopardy.

Let’s start with the week’s exciting theme … it’s Teen Tournament Week!

Jeopardy Teen Tournament slate

Our category popped up right away, during the first round:

"Theme Park Fun" category

It took our Teens a while to summon the courage to go to the Theme Park Fun category. They were more comfortable and confident, apparently, with Vice Presidents, Geography, and even Fast Food.

But finally, a rather timid Heidi took the plunge.

“Theme Park Fun for $600.”


Jeopardy contestant Heidi


Somewhere along the way, the dollar amounts have been adjusted up.

Back when Art Fleming was running the show (in the … ugh! … 1960s) a $600 answer would have been in Double Jeopardy.

Even the Jeopardy board gets a cost of living increase.


$600 category slate

And what is that answer, Alex?

Jeopardy answer: Get Away to Holiday World in Indiana to Ride the Gobbler Getaway in the Area Named for this Holiday

Frank from Chicago was quick on his feet and buzzed in right away.

“What is … Thanksgiving?”

Jeopardy contestant Frank

Clever lad. Send him some tickets.

(Actually, I emailed the Jeopardy Question Researcher who has been our liaison and she was pretty sure we couldn’t do that, according to Jeopardy Law. Don’t mess with Alex.)

Here’s the fellow who won:


Jeopardy contestant Stephen

Stephen clocked out with more than $34,000.

He can buy his own tickets.

Cool new critters for Crocodile Isle

Something we didn’t include in the New for 2007 news release is the batch of new water-play animals for Crocodile Isle in Splashin‘ Safari.

They will replace the original animal slides, which were part of Splashin‘ Safari premiere season in 1993.

Let’s start with the upper pool:

This zebra slide (shall we call them Zippy and Zappy for now?) replaces the turtle.

Zippy and Zappy make up a “dual slide” for added capacity, and will “load” from outside of the pool.

Next the children may splash about in the pool and then slide down one of
the body slides and into the lower pool, where they’ll find…

This happy parrot (let’s call her Pandora) is replacing the elephant slide.

Pandora’s pretty umbrella will spray cooling water down on the happy tykes below.

Can you just imagine the toddler happy dances that will ensue?

And the shrieks of delights?

(Please, though, no crackers in the pool.)

And what may we have chosen to replace the popular crocodile slide?

Another crocodile! …er, alligator.



Hmm. Let’s just say we’ll call him … fun.