A brief panic

Driving home last night, there it was …

By the side of the road.

On the shoulder.

On its side.

A sneaker.

Tennis shoe.

Casual footwear.

Left behind by someone.

How do you lose a shoe on the highway?

Do you fling it out the window because the Odor Eater finally gave out? Does it slip off your sweaty foot during your morning jog?

How does this happen?

This made me think of something else I found recently. In the water park.

Underwear.

A grown man’s pair of underwear–abandoned–in the middle of a walkway.

How did this happen?

I was finishing up a tour of Splashin’ Safari with yet another travel writer. She’d already remarked about how clean the park appeared. We’d passed a napkin and I’d quickly scooped it up and disposed of it in one of the zillion trash cans Mrs. Koch has spaced evenly throughout the park.

And there they were.

Up ahead.

Gleaming, snowy-white in the brilliant sunshine.

A pair of … tighty whities.

Oh, no.

While explaining our Free Sunscreen to the writer, my eyes dashed wildly about, hoping to find …

What? Someone looking for an errant pair of undies?

Well, you never know.

As we got closer, the decision-making time had arrived. Gotta do it. Gotta pick those puppies up.

“Goodness! Look at this! Someone lost something here … I’ll bet they had just changed into their swim trunks and lost these on their way back to their locker.”

Can’t just leave them lying there. Pick them up. Now! Grimacing only slightly, I used my fingernails to gingerly snag the edge of the still-springy elastic waistband.

Now what?

They didn’t look … well … used.

Rather a shame to throw underwear out. But who in their right mind will call a park the next day, “Um…did you find my … um … well, you know …” I consulted the employee closest to me — over in Locker Rental: Anyone report a missing pair? No? Hmmmm … okay, thanks.

Now, socks, I’ll put on top of the nearest trash can. If they’re still there at close, into the dumpster they go. But isn’t a trash receptacle topped with someone’s unmentionables rather … unseemly?

The travel writer started to get quite interested in my dilemma. Shifting focus in this way is not advisable. Flip went the flap on the trash can. Gone. Whew!

I do apologize to the poor man who undoubtedly experienced chafing on his way home that night. If, sir, you also lost a sneaker on your drive home, please send me an email and we’ll get it back to you — it’s the least I can do.
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It’s HoliHint time again …

Holiday World LogoReady for another HoliHint?

At last, we know: On Wednesday, July 13, we will announce the 2006 expansion project.

It will be held in the Hoosier Celebration Theater at 11:00 am CDT.

Anyone visiting the park as a guest that morning is welcome to listen in and cheer with us.

So, which holiday will be announced?

Can’t tell you which one till 7/13, but we can tell you it’s one of the following (included are some rather remarkable suggestions for rides that have been suggested to us through emails and posts on Internet forums).

These HoliHints are presented in alphabetical order:

April Fools … “…with a bunch of queues with no rides.”

Arbor Day … “Will Koch likes trees – doesn’t this make sense?”

Arbour Day … (one of our Canadian neighbors suggested this one)

Easter … “How about a family/kiddie coaster called the Cotton Trail?”

Groundhog Day … “…part of a ride could go underground and pop up again…”

Mother’s Day … “Name a ride The Stork.”

New Year’s … “A coaster could be named The Countdown.”

St. Patrick’s Day … “Lots of rides for the little people.”

Thanksgiving … “Free unlimited gravy!”

Valentine’s Day … “What about The Heartbreaker?”

Only two more HoliHints to go!
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Let the good times roll

Skeeball: Games crew after hours

The Lifeguard crews aren’t the only ones having fun after-hours.

The Games crews recently got together for a friendly little competition:

Skeeball: Games crew after hours

According to April, their Director:

The eight teams were paired up and they each got to play three games of Skeeball in the first round, with the winner advancing to the “Final Four.” Five games were played in the “Final Four” and then the championship game consisted of seven games each from our final two teams. The scores were tallied by the number of tickets won by each team.

Everyone had a blast – some coming up with cheers and chants, dressing up, and then some serious competing.

The final game came down to the “4 Hot Mamas and their Sugar Daddy” team and the “Sign Up w/Me” team.

Here is the Mamas/Daddy team in all their finery:

Games crew party

Those who are still in uniform have made the traditional “I’m off the clock” fashion statement by untucking their shirts.

Back to April’s report: We didn’t let anyone know the score of the final round until the last game – this, of course, was driving everyone crazy. In the end, Sign Up w/Me pulled out an upset over the heavily favored 4 Hot Mamas and their Sugar Daddy with a final score of 292 to 261.

It was a fun couple of nights and everyone enjoyed the friendly competition – so much so they are asking when the next tournament will be.

Here’s the “Sign Up w/Me” team after their win with the “Bob the Rock” trophy.

Bob the Rock

Bob the Rock?

Yes, of course. Bob the Rock.

It seems Bob the Rock once took up residence in Tori’s office.

It’s not a large office, and Tori decided one day it was time to downsize her … um … decor.

Although surely some items were permanently removed from the office building, Bob the Rock simply moved across the hall.

Into April’s office.

A few minutes ago, April told me that when she realized she needed a trophy, she looked around her office. Bob the Rock seemed to be the natural choice.

Yes, of course. Why have all that cool, colorful plush from your office serve as a trophy?

Not when Bob the Rock is available.

I never thought to keep a rock in my office, much less to name it.

Must be a generational thing.
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Bahari baby

Such a cute Bahari baby!

A local mom gave us permission to show you her little Savannah, enjoying ice cream at Bahari wave pool:

Bahari baby, eating ice cream

Not a bad way to spend a June afternoon.

Not bad at all.
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HoliHint of the week

Alrighty, class, let’s review a bit before presenting the HoliHint of the Week:

1. The capital expansion budget for 2006 is $13.5 million;

2. The expansion will include both Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari;

… and last week’s HoliHint promised to answer the following question:

Which themed-section will host Holiday World’s portion of the ’06 expansion?

Let’s see…

Christmas?

Ho, ho … no.

Halloween?

Scary concept.

Nope.

What about 4th of July?

Hmmmm.

Don’t think Will is going to put his “John Hancock” on that one.

So, what’s left?

A new themed section?

A new holiday?

The first in 22 years?

YES!

Which holiday?

Yeah, right. Did you really think I would give out that many details in this HoliHint of the Week?

I think we’ll save that for the big announcement.

And when will that be?

There’s a good chance we can let you know the date when we gather again for next week’s HoliHint.

Kelli’s wish

Kelli and friends

If you could invite your closest friends to spend the day at Holiday World, would you be able to come up with a list of 20 friends for your wish list?

30?

40?

Well, a sweet teen named Kelli was granted a “Make A Wish” today, and her list of friends tops 150!

And Kelli has already made a few new friends:

Kelli and friends

We wish you a wonderful day with us, Kelli. 

It may be a bit cloudy today, but your beautiful smile will make the sun shine through!

When emails go bad

About once a week, an email reply comes back to me, marked:

The e-mail account does not exist at the organization this message was sent to. Check the e-mail address, or contact the recipient directly to find out the correct address.

How frustrating!

Now the person who emailed us thinks we gave him or her the brush off!

That we didn’t care enough to take the time to send a reply.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

(I really do hear that voice in my head in such situations. I know, I know. I’m teetering on the edge.)

One time (yes, I remember the particulars; it bothers me that much) it was someone asking about our accessibility. Another time, a question about food allergies. A third about our kennels. All valid questions. I had the answers and sent them out.

Anyone else hear Elvis crooning?

Return to sender … address unknown

Anyway, it just happened again. A sincere email from a teen from Michigan. His name is Jeremy and he’s visiting early next week. An obviously intelligent fellow — rather intense, actually. (I went into Mommy-mode and reminded him to have *fun* during his visit.)

Jeremy … if you’re out there … your email address isn’t working. Sorry! I saved the reply and will send it again if you email me back with a working address.

Okay, now I have to get Elvis out of my head …

Bad hair day

Tori and Will

This Bad Hair Day photo of Tori, our hard-working rides director, is brought to you courtesy of Will:

Tori, Rides Director
Now, how nice is that?

Tori was trying to lighten the mood in the office and grabbed a (brand-new-and-unused, I hope!) mop-head and tossed it on her noggin.

Kind of a Raggedy Ann/punk look.

Will’s immediate reaction was, “Is that hair legal?” (Uniform standards, after all, must be met.)

He snapped off a few photos of Tori (red from embarrassment, not sunburn) and gleefully emailed them to me with the note:

HoliBlog her, I say!

Like … real mature, Will.

The thing is, though … Tori gives as good as she gets.

She and Will have this big-brother/little-sister teasing relationship that makes me want to run and hide. Those two are relentless and, at times, ruthless!

So it didn’t surprise me when Tori emailed me this photo:

Tori and Will

This is from last week’s Rides Night, an after-hours party for our employees. Tori decided Will shouldn’t get away with not riding our new Revolution just once at night.

Apparently, Will gave in and gave it a spin.

I’m glad no one realizes I have yet to give Revolution a whirl.

Oops.

Excuse me while I go lock my office door.

HoliHint

Ready for more hints about our “new for 2006” expansion? 

First, let’s begin with a few housekeeping items.

1. It’s pronounced Hol-i-blog (not holly-blog). Just like hol-i-day and Hol-i-dog

2. Sorry, but the new ’06 Announcement Date hasn’t been set yet. We’ve invited a VIP to attend and are waiting to hear which date (if any) that State Official would be able to attend. When we have the date set, it will appear immediately here on the HoliBlog

3. And finally … we love to get your emails, but we don’t plan to release unannounced ’06 information through email replies. Good try, though.

Okay, down to business…

In this HoliBlog post from last week, we promised to address where next year’s $13.5 million capital expenditure budget would be spent.

Holiday World?

or…

Splashin’ Safari?

or…

Both?

(Gosh…my heart is pounding just writing this. I need to calm down. Deep, cleansing breaths …)

Last-minute hint: We do not plan to put all our eggs in one basket. So to speak.

The answer is …

Both!

Feel better? Is this relief … or more stress? Do you need some air? Maybe you should go lie down.

Okay … so what’s for next week?

We will answer the following question:

Which themed-section will host Holiday World’s portion of the ’06 expansion?

Park of Doom

Liberty Launch | Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

Just about the most important part of my job is giving tours of the parks to reporters and travel writers.

The PR department focuses on getting writers to visit; presumably, they will have a great time and will eventually write an article or two about their experience. So when they’re here, we like to tour the hundred acres and tell stories. (That was where the idea for the HoliBlog came from, in case you came late to class.)

I just returned from one of the most enjoyable tours ever. Laura and her four boys were a blast.

Laura’s from northern Indiana. She writes for newspapers and magazines. She was interested in learning more about our southern Indiana theme and water parks.

Her sons, though, they already know this business.

They’re Roller Coaster Tycoons.

I grew up with three brothers. I have three sons. So I feel right at home among the ruckus. All the talking at once, untied shoelaces, interrupting with far more important questions – plus the singing of silly songs – are nothing but fun in my book.

We could hardly take a step without a question or comment.

Liberty Launch | Holiday World & Splashin' SafariHey! Is that one of those free-fall tower rides?

Yes, it sure is. It’s called Liberty Launch

We’ve got one of those in our park. We call it “Tower of Doom.” When the line gets long, we jack up the price to make more money.

Oh? Do you charge at the front gate and charge again for individual rides?

Sure! We make $27,000 a day! That helps us pay off our big bank loan.

Next, I pointed out one of our Pepsi Oasis buildings.

What are you giving drinks away for? When it’s hot and humid at our park, we jack up the cost of soda an extra buck. We jack it up to $4.

Don’t your guests complain?

Sure, but we don’t care. When it’s hot, we also jack up the price of sitting under an umbrella.

You guys know Donald Trump?

Hey! Have you got a log ride?

Sure do … it’s called Frightful Falls.

We’ve got one in our park —

(It was my turn to interrupt) Let me guess — Flume of Doom?

Not quite. It’s the “This Log Should Be Burning Flume of Doom.”

When I pointed out the Free Sunscreen kiosks, they sensibly helped themselves and slathered it on.

At our park, we charge for sunscreen. It’s 50 cents per glob. But when it’s extra sunny, we jack up the price.

I shamed them when they admitted they only pay their maintenance crew members $55 a month.

We’ve got to pay off our loan!

And they shamed me for not charging for inner tubes.

Hey! When it gets really hot, you could …

I know, I know … jack up the prices.

This went on and on and I could barely contain my laughter. I resisted the urge to group-hug those tycoons.

Before we parted so that they could ride The Legend, they made a solemn promise to pay their employees better (We couldn’t afford to pay the staff, so we drowned a bunch of them!) and to rethink their pricing structure.

We talked short-term versus long-term strategy and I think they were coming around.

Time to finish this and post it — I have a meeting with Will. I’m proposing this idea I just came up with: Since we’re giving away so many soft drinks, I think we should start charging for toilet paper. And for the restrooms closest to the Pepsi Oasis buildings, we could jack up the price …
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