Thursday, June 30, 2005

Oof.

So, yeah. Holiday World. We went yesterday with another family, and had such a great time. If you've never been, you should really try to go at least once. It's worth the trip. We're lucky enough to live an hour away, so it was a day trip for us. Tickets are fairly reasonable, and discount coupons are more ubiquitous than AOL discs.

This place is the cleanest, friendliest amusement park, I swear. And not in that glossy, hey-I've-wandered-onto-the-set-of-a-promotional-video way of DisneyWorld. (Although that's awesome too.) It's just a friendly, homey place. Pat Koch, the...um...matriarch? Maven? Co-founder of Holiday World, is still around. She hangs around at the front gates, greeting arriving guests here and there. She also patrols the park, doing what's needed: picking up trash, scrubbing toilets, whatever. Most of the staff is high school kids and college students, and they've got the best additudes towards the guests. Even at the end of the day, about an hour before the park closed. I was taking in one last coaster ride, and the employee at the exit was clearly exhausted. She mustered up genuine smiles and "have a great evening"'s for departing guests. Poor kid. I just wanted to fetch her a chair and a cool drink.

Highlights of our day:

*Elizabeth's best friend Katie as my thrill ride buddy. Of the nine of us that compose the two families, we're the only ones willing to ride pretty much anything in the park. We hit the two roller coasters in the park (The Raven and The Legend) five times. Katie's dad likes thrill rides too, but can't handle the spinning rides, so I did those with her too.

*The chocolate-coated turtle cheesecake on a stick at Kringle's Kafe. My gosh, heaven on a stick.

*Catherine closing down the ball pit in the kiddie ride area by peeing in it. [dies of embarassment] She'd done so well all day. Katie and I were riding the Legend one last time, and everyone else was waiting for us in the kiddie section. Kev said Catherine was playing in the ball pit, and hollered to Kev that she had to go potty. She started his way so he could take her to the restroom, but she just didn't make it. The employees immediatly closed off the attraction so they could get it all cleaned up.

*Alexander nearly losing his swim trunks in the wave pool. He didn't realize it, but they'd slipped down on one side, exposing one cheek. I was running after him, yelling "WAIT!!", leaving a trail of people behind me who were dying laughing. It did look pretty funny.

*The professionalism of park staff on several occasions. In the water park, Alexander did that thing where you turn your head for a second and he was just GONE. Susan and I have developed the habit of doing headcounts pretty often when we've got all the kids together. Just a quick 1-2-3-4-5 to make sure we've got everyone. I was doing that. Alexander was "1". I turned around to do 4 and 5. Turned back, he was nowhere to be found. We scouted around yelling for him for a few minutes, no luck. Susan kept an eye on the other four while the dads started looking for him. I dashed to the nearby "lost parent" stand, and the girl there was on the ball big time. She whipped out a notebook, fired a few questions at me, and got on her radio to deploy the "lost kid" troops. In the end, Kev tracked him down a few moments later, we did the hug-spank-hug thing and moved on with our day. (He'd snuck off to the kiddie pool and was having the time of his life. Stinker.)
At other points, someone fainted while in line for a ride. Staff had obviously rehearsed/dealt with this a few times, because everyone knew exactly what to do.

*That first foray into the water at the water park after the excruciating heat all day. Ahhhhh...

*Our evening picnic at the end of the day. Everyone was tired, mildly sunburned, and waterlogged. We collapsed at a bunch of picnic tables, broke out the coolers, and started passing food around. Chips, sandwiches, fruit, yum. Just sitting down, taking our time, and enjoying that the weather had cooled off was heavenly.

Man, that was fun. Now I need to rest up from our relaxing day. ;-)


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