A chilly perspective

Dan’s like a kid in a candy shop when he stops by the Mammoth construction site.

He just can’t help himself.

This morning, he dragged his mom along with him.

The first few pieces of Mammoth tunnel are already assembled up in the woods. It’s not exactly a stretch to say this is one of many, many building blocks for our second water coaster.

Not that Wildebeest is suddenly a little squirt, but … well, you make the comparison:

Want to watch Mammoth construction? Take a look at our live ConstructionCam (during daylight hours, of course).

Dan gets the “boot”

Are you one of those people who easily takes on another’s accent?

It has something to do with empathy levels, I think.

Or maybe it’s just fun.

I remember, years ago, getting on an elevator with a person from the UK (England, that is … not an institute of higher learning in a bordering state).

He and I started chatting and all of a sudden I realized I was putting a bit of Brit into my conversation. I was mortified, concerned he’d think I was making fun of him.

Either he was used to it or just didn’t notice. Or perhaps he was just more polite than I appeared to be at the moment. An international incident averted.

A number of us have spent the week in Orlando, at the huge trade show for theme parks.

A group called the Coaster Crew asked to meet up with Dan at the ProSlide booth, to talk about Mammoth. When Dan came bounding over, ready for the video interview, it became immediately apparent he’d taken on ProSlide’s Canadian accent, eh?

Suddenly "about" was "a-boot" and our Mammoth "boats" were "boots."

And speaking of "boots," we’re curious to know your preferences. We’ve ordered six-passenger round boats, as pictured below, and there may also be an eight-passenger version – tobaggan-style, like on Wildbeest, but with riders positioned two across. Which do you think you’d prefer?

Please "vote" in our poll, below:

Pillars of length

Forgive the pun in the subject line, but looking at the photos from the Mammoth construction site this week, it becomes apparent that these pillars are all lining up to create the world’s longest water coaster.

We’re expecting colorful fiberglass to arrive soon.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, no doubt.

Indeed, is this surveyor writing down coordinants, or a grocery list …

Meanwhile, it appears we decided against parquet floors for the Mammoth pump pit.

Here’s the slightly stronger materials that will be used:

Did you know we have a Mammoth ConstructionCam here on our website?

Remember, when it’s dark out, there’s nothing much to see. But during daylight hours, there’s lots to watch as Mammoth comes alive.

The key: Wiggly, but not floppy

We first posted this recipe nearly four years ago, and it is by far our most requested HoliBlog entry, so here it is again.

With a photo and video, this time.

When we opened Plymouth Rock Cafe in 2007, we chuckled all summer long as emails came in requesting the recipe for our green beans. And as the park closed for the season, folks weren’t just bemoaning the long cold winter without Kringle’s pizza … they were wailing about the lack of, um, green beans. That’s right, the green beans were a big hit.

One newly engaged woman even asked for the recipe so she could serve our green beans at her wedding reception.

And so, here’s our recipe. It calls for a lot of beans, but is easily reduced by half or even fourths for a smaller appetite.

Plymouth Rock Cafe’s Green Beans

 10 lbs of green beans
  1 lb of butter
  1 oz of seasoned salt
  1 oz of garlic herb seasoning

  1. Melt butter in skillet.
  2. When butter is melted add green beans, then both seasonings.      
  3. Continue sautéing while flipping green beans until thoroughly heated but still crisp; they will continue cooking once you take them out of the skillet.
  4. Tip: You want them to wiggle just a little when you take them out. If they are floppy they will be very soggy when you are ready to eat. They only take a few minutes to cook and the closer you make them to the time you are ready to eat the better they will be.

Would you like to watch a cooking demonstration? Michelle takes you into our kitchen (please note she is making five pounds in this demo – but uses the full amount of butter due to the pan being so large; at home, half a stick of butter plus a squirt or two of olive oil should do the trick):

And no matter what time of the year you fix this dish: Happy Thanksgiving!
 

Is “off season” really “slow time”?

If you ever want to get an immediate reaction out of any of us full-timers, innocently pose this question from November to April:

"So, do you all head to Florida when the park’s not open? Do you even go into work?"

The answers are "no" and "heck yes." About 80 of us stay plenty busy during the cooler months.

Here, for example, is a photo of Eric’s desk.

Eric is our Special Events & Projects Director. He’s the guy heading up our Happy Halloween Weekends event for 2012.

…but you could probably figure that out on your own.

Are you starting to look forward to next October’s event? Please tell us what you’re looking forward to and we’ll let Eric know. And if you have any ideas not on this list, please post a comment below (click "Add new comment").

A gloomy day

When the November forecast calls for rain – all-day rain – it’s awfully hard to even think about getting out of bed in the morning.

But sometimes, between the raindrops, there’s beauty.

Thanks to Nathan for taking this photo.

Travel tales

November is IAAPA Expo time around here.

Several of us head to Orlando as speakers, committee chairs, or buyers.

It’s an incredible trade show.

Here’s a series of HoliBlog posts from November 2007’s trip to the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions Expo:

Destination: Orlando. 

The night before I left, I told my youngest son, eight-year-old James:

Me: James, honey, I will be gone the next several days on a business trip.

James: Where are you going?

Me: My trip is to Florida. I’ll be at a convention in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.

James (suddenly very concerned): Mom… be very, very careful. O.J. lives there. (Note: he wasn’t expressing an aversion to the freshly squeezed breakfast beverage.)

Later on, James wanted to know more.

James: What’s a convention?

Me: It’s a big meeting. People from all over the world who work at theme parks and water parks and zoos and aquariums get together to talk and learn.

James: Is there cake?

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, and Eric had already gotten a start on their week. Matt flew out earlier that morning; Marketing Director 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 else 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!"

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?"

Hmmm?

"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 communication is 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…

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?

(It’s okay; I know the answer.)

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."

Wow.

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.

For this last story, we have to get back on the plane and up in the air again.

We’re high in the sky and I have to pull the shade since it’s so sunny as we head south.

John is suddenly more animated than usual. "Oh, boy! Here comes the cart!"

The cart?

Yes, the beverage wagon the poor flight attendants have to ram down the aisle inch by inch.

John was craning his neck, hanging over in the narrow aisleway. Looking, looking. "I think we get … yes! Cookies!"

Ah, the childlike wonderment of a grown man getting excited over cookies.

Prepackaged airline cookies.

John, you can have mine.

"No! I wouldn’t think of it! These cookies are great!"

No, really … they obviously mean something special to you. You’re welcome to mine.

"But just think about it for a minute. If you don’t want them, bring them home to James as a gift. I’ve done that for years — my girls just love it." At this point, he was trying to shove some in my purse. "Trust me. They make great gifts!"

I can only imagine what it looks like under John’s tree on Christmas morn. "Oh, Daddy. thanks! I love my shower cap! Oh, and Mommy got a shoe-shine-kit-in-a-bottle! You’re the best!"

To make matters worse, John then struck up a conversation with the flight attendant. He wanted to know about additional inventory. She admitted to stashing some cheese crackers and promised to bring some back later. Once off the plane, we and our crumble of snacks headed over to the convention center. First stop was to search for my presentation room, since IAAPA had asked me to speak about communications.

Up on the third floor, a bit more lost than we’d have ever admitted to each other, I let out a tiny scream. Coming toward us was a lady on stilts.

Really, really high stilts.

We were on this kind of balcony thing and she was way far away from the edge, but it still made me woozy. The stilted lady was in a Mardi Gras outfit. And we were the only other people around. Although she was fairly far away from us, it only took a few steps for her to be, well, in our faces.

Her knees, anyway.

She asked us if we were going to an awards event that evening. I was about to thank her for the invitation and explain we already had plans, but John jumped in, "Well, why don’t you tell me more about the event?"

That’s the big difference between the two of us. I say "no thanks" and move on; he likes to talk for half an hour and make sure an exchange of business cards takes place.

I guess they call that networking.

I wandered away, calling behind me, "John I’m going to look over here for the room…"

Wait! They have beads! What color do you want? He was suddenly ecstatic again. Free beads. All sorts of pretty colors.

Stocking stuffers.

"No thanks," I said, forcing a weak smile. When John caught up with me, I detected a slight hint of admiration in his voice.

Wow. It’s sort of impressive that you can be this grouchy a thousand miles from home.

Later on, I caught up with Matt in the vast convention hall. He was shopping for scooters, on behalf of Vanessa. I tried to stay out of range, but a second sales guy approached me, pitching a new style of strollers. When he found out I wasn’t there to buy, he quipped: "Well, maybe Matt can buy some and then you can write a news release about it."

Okay then.

Happily, soon after we ran into Will and Mrs. Koch. He’d done it again. Stopped by looking for Mr. Bigfoot, but to no avail. "They told me to come back tomorrow. They say he works all night and sleeps all day, so he doesn’t show up until late afternoon."

Will was stoked.

When I asked him this week if he’d ever found Sasquatch’s creator, Will’s face fell. "No, and I stopped by their booth three times."

Ah well, there’s always next year.