The name game

The “name game” sounds like loads of fun, doesn’t it?

Believe it or not, it can be an agonizing process!

You start out with the theme of the park section, add details about the ride or slide (or, in this case, restaurant), and then start churning out ideas.

You generate long lists and then start to cull.

You search online to make sure this isn’t a name already in use. Does it rhyme with a naughty word – or if it can be shortened, is the nickname G-rated? Will it sound good in commercials and will park Guests remember the name?

Splashin’ Safari names have been particularly interesting, as we try to stay with a safari theme. We’ve used safari references (such as Jungle Racer and Hyena Falls), Swahili words (such as Bakuli, Bahari and Zinga) and we even made up a word: Watubee.

The safari animal name Wildebeest was tossed on the table year after year. By me. Time after time, it was scratched off the list early on in the process. It got to be sort of a joke; whenever we needed to name anything (including staff members’ children and grandchildren), someone would suggest Wildebeest and everyone would have a good laugh.

As you know, eventually everyone else warmed up to Wildebeest and our first water coaster was named after that stampeding safari animal. (Which, looking back, was even more fitting than we could have dreamed; have you ever seen the stampede toward Wildebeest when we “drop the ropes” at park opening each morning? Lori (our water-park attractions director) and her staff had to institute a “pace car” entry to keep eager riders from running and pushing.)

Wildebeest debuted in 2010. Fast-forward to present day and F&B Jason challenged his management team to come up with a few good names for Splashin’ Safari’s new restaurant.

Since Wildebeest was the late Will Koch’s final ride project, Jason suggested the water coaster as a starting point for ideas.

There were some great suggestions: Wildebeest Feast and WildeFeast. Then Wildebeest Bistro.

Suddenly, Katie S. came up with a combo:

Katie names WildebeestroWell done, Katie!

Well done … just like the Philly Steak & Cheese sandwich planned for Wildebeestro.

And what else will be on the menu, you ask?

Wraps! We’ll have a Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap, a Hummus Wrap and a Black & Blue Wrap (that’s foodie code for roast beef and blue cheese – I got to sample one last week – scrumptious!).

And, let’s see: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Salads, Popcorn Shrimp, Hot Dogs, Giant Turkey Legs. And more. (The full menu will be posted on our website in early April.)

Side dishes will include Corn on the Cob, Fresh Fruit Cups, and Steak Fries.

Desserts? Oh, my. Yogurt Cups, Whole Grain Jungle Animal Crackers, Butterfinger Pie, Giant Cookies, and more.

And, yes … brewed sweet tea as part of our free soft drinks offering.

And what will Wildebeestro look like? Here’s the designer’s rendering:

Wildebeestro design

Here’s a closer look at the wildebeest carvings on the posts out front:

Wildebeest carving

And here’s a side view:

Side view of Wildebeestro design

And exactly where in Splashin’ Safari is Wildebeestro located?

Follow the magic blue arrow:

Wildebeestro construction (location)

We sure hope you’re as excited as we are about the new restaurant and new menu items. We expect Wildebeestro to open in time for the Memorial Day Weekend.

And if you’d like to help us with another naming project, be sure to enter this contest by Tuesday, March 11 at 10am CDT.

A Mammoth #FlashbackFriday

Were snowflakes flying in your neighborhood today? They were swirling wildly for a while here in Santa Claus.

Two years ago this week, it was Mammoth fiberglass that was flying. We thought this would make a fun #FlashbackFriday photo.

Oops, wrong nest

For years we’ve joked that Splashin’ Safari is a showroom for ProSlide Technology.

After all, the majority of the “cool stuff” in our water park is from them.

Let’s see … Zinga, Bakuli, Hyena Falls, Otorongo, Mammoth … the list goes on and on.

So when another park wants to shop around for a new water-park ride, they just may want to drop by here and kick the fiberglass (so to speak).

A week or so ago, one of these test drives – with reps from a very well-known park that I really can’t mention – took a turn that you’d only expect to find in a cartoon.

Here’s what happened:

Maintenance Director Tony had Wildebeest tested and ready to go early for our guests-from-another-park. (We really do all get along well – this industry is like a club.)

As our visitors took off in a Wildebeest boat for their test ride, oops … it didn’t make the full circuit.

When a “fault” occurs, it’s a good thing (for those concerned about safety). It means the system detected two of the boats were too close together and told the linear induction motors to halt so that the boats would stay put.

But how could just one boat cause a problem?

Rocket J. SquirrelRemember the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons?

This might help shake out the cobwebs: Bullwinkle: “Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.”
Rocky: “A-gain?”
Bullwinkle: “Presto!”
Lion: “ROAR!”
Bullwinkle: “Oops, wrong hat.”

Well, it appears old Rocket J. Squirrel has retired to the hills of southern Indiana. And he must have heard that Wildebeest is a ProSlide Hydromagnetic Rocket ride.

Yes, it’s all starting to make sense now.

That’s right, a flying squirrel was the culprit. Our little Rocky was looking for a new place to build a nest and managed to cross in front of one of Wildebeest’s sensors at the just the right (er, make that wrong) moment.

Tony informed the winged creature that far happier and quieter places exist in our woods.

He then returned to the waiting riders with a quote from that classic cartoon:  “And now, here’s something we hope you’ll really like!”

Fashion forward?

Fashion forwardA flower pot on the head and a pink “grass” skirt.

Now that’s a fashion statement.

But one person’s flower power is another person’s …

Fashion forward

…well, I’m not sure.

But there’s plenty of attitude.

 

The swimming grasshopper

Don’t worry, there are not bugs in the water.

The “grasshopper” is Jason.

We have a company-wide “coaching” program that involves park directors coaching full-time managers.

It’s fun. Especially for bossy know-it-alls like me. (Is it fun for you, too, Jason? Yes, of course it is …)

From the start, I’ve called Jason my “grasshopper.”

He was so disappointed to find out, months later, that I was referring to a TV show, not some spiritual character from a folk tale of yore.

Anyway, usually my grasshopper is the manager of our Human Resources department. But next week, he’s the swimming grasshopper.


That’s Jason in the middle, flanked by Jordan and Justine. They’re refreshing his lifeguarding skills so he’ll be ready for next week.

Because next week, our staff shrinks considerably. Not some new diet, alas. It’s back-to-school time in southern Indiana.

To prepare for next week, some of the office staffers are dusting off their various in-park skills so they’ll be ready to join operations folks to help next week go swimmingly well.

Here’s Jason “saving” Justine:


If you visit during the latter half of the next week (Wednesday through Friday) it might help to know ahead of time that The Wave will be open (and Bahari wave pool closed), Bahari River will be open (and the Congo River plus Bamboo Chute and AmaZOOM will be closed).

And remember, no raising Caine in the water park. A grasshopper is watching.

“Are you out of your mind?!”

Lovely.

My seven-year-old just hollered, “Are you out of your mind?!” to his teacher.

Teachers, actually.

Swim teachers, to be precise.

They laughed and encouraged James to try.

And off he went, paddling away. Still “beating up” the water too much, but a vast improvement from a week ago.

Some of the Splashin’ Safari lifeguards are teaching swim lessons this summer.

Somehow we lucked out with our schedule, and James has his own private swim tutor.

Two tutors, actually.

James and his swim teachers
That’s Jennifer on the left and Leah on the right. James likes Jordan, too, who has conducted a few of the lessons.

Jordan passed along a conversation he had with my son the other day:

James: Jordan? May I ask a personal favor?

Jordan: Sure, James.

James: Would you please call it my bottom instead of my butt?

Bless Jordan, he has complied with the rather Victorian request. “Come on, James — keep your bottom up! Breathe through your nose! You can do it!”
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Lights…camera…vote!

We like to give HoliBlog readers a peak behind the curtain.

Today you get a glimpse behind the water curtain.

Faithful readers already know how Lori and Jennifer like to theme each season with their lifeguards and slide attendants.

For 2007, it’s all about the red carpet. (Hooray for HoliWood?)

One of the team’s “challenges” so far this season was for each crew to choose a movie theme and pose for a silly photo. I guess this provided a bonding experience for all involved.

The next step is for Lori and Jennifer to select the winner.

But this year, you get to have a say.

Take a look at the eight photos that follow and, if you’d like to, send us a quick email (fun@holidayworld.com) by Monday (July 2) at 10 am CDT with your vote. Please use the photo number to help in the vote counting.

Ready? (Can anyone else hear Bugs Bunny? Overture…curtain…lights. This is it … the night o’ nights…)

Photo #1:


The theme is Black Hawk Down.

Photo #2:


They call themselves the Blue Diamonds.

Photo #3:


The Blue Guardians.

Onward to Photo #4:


Dude, Where’s My Guards? (Not to worry, these photos weren’t taken during operating hours.)

Photo #5:


Gold Member. (Gotta watch which cut-rate brand of sunless tanner you buy, dude.)

Photo #6:


At long last, a movie I’ve seen: Greased Lightning and the Pink Ladies.

Photo #7:


Ogre Achievers. (I guess lifeguards have layers…)

And, last but not least, Photo #8:


Wave Heart.

Remember, we need your vote by Monday. And no stuffing the ballot inbox, please.