Beyond CaliFlorida: Who's up for an ice cream run?

March 26, 2014, 10:18 AM · Welcome to all who are joining us for a new season and a new name!

To those of you who don’t know me, a short introduction is probably in order. I have been reading TPI nearly since the beginning and decided to remove myself from “fly on the wall” status to participate in a TPI contest. By the end of that contest, I had started up a nearly weekly article to summarize the news with harsh amounts of sarcasm and enrolled in a new contest. My luck must have been with me because I won both contests and am still writing the column some three years later.

I am what you could call an expert on Amusement and Theme Parks, while there are others that know more than me, I would consider them experts as well. I have never worked at a park, but I have visited many, while highly interested in what goes on behind the scenes. At the same time, I have a pretty good sense of humor, particularly when I am writing it down or having a conversation with other funny people. I am the type of person who says what everyone is thinking but unwilling to say. I am also the type of person who can turn a problem around and make snide comments from the other side of the equation. I could be helpful, and sometimes am, but it doesn’t make for an entertaining article.

I get to do what few people get to do on the front page of TPI, by talking about rumors and forming ideas. We just need to understand that a rumor is just a rumor until the shovels are in the dirt. Also, we need to understand that humor comes from overstatement, understatement, reveling in the obvious, talking trash, being unpleasant, and occasionally, jokes. Sometimes I will make things up to prove a point. If it is in doubt, please ask the question in the feedback, where I usually get off my soapbox and behave like a normal human being. The word supposedly, is supposedly mentioned right around the time that I start wildly making things up.

Feel free to add your own news in the talkback. I also accept complements, or probably more warranted, brutal criticism. I like all of it and find the criticism particularly funny, just realize that any problem you have with tone, content, or me personally is probably going to fall on deaf ears and the defensive posts by people who actually like this article. But feel free to knock yourself out and vent if it will make you feel better.

And despite the title, that is only a guideline, and I will talk about whatever I feel like, and merely concentrate my efforts on topics that don’t concern a mouse, a wizard, or a whale. But frankly, if something gets my goat, it is going to receive a verbal “treatment.”

…and now on with the news.

* * *

SeaWorld San Antonio – Six college students from the University of Houston drove to San Antonio and broke into SeaWorld in the middle of the night. The gentlemen appeared to be on a routine late night beer run for their fraternity, when they were somehow sidetracked and found themselves “completely accidentally” in the Dippin' Dots storage area on SeaWorld property some 200 miles away from where they should have been. While I understand the delicious allure of Dippin' Dots, it seems that a pint of ice cream from the nearest grocery store would on the surface seem like a better use of your time and gas. I don’t know what kind a fraternity seems to think it is a good idea to go swimming with the killer whales in the middle of the night, but it might be a good time to point out the obvious word “killer” in the name killer whale. Something with the name of killer whale should not be expected to dribble unicorn tears of healing on your skinned knee or play with a ball of yarn. Just like it is a bad idea to eat a poison frog, messing with a killer whale is probably not the brightest of ideas. You might not believe this, but names actually have a tendency to mean something. By the way, when your fraternal brothers said to “flog the dolphin” they didn’t mean for you to break into SeaWorld. The security guards who just happened to be between hands of rummy two hours after the students broke in managed to actually chase down and catch two of the kids between hysterical fits of wheezing and donut recharges, although they did not collect enough coins to make the leader board. It was later reported that the two men who were caught of the six had been kicked off of the school’s track team.

Dollywood – FireChaser Express is now open. For those of you who have been on the ride already, is it poor design or management cutbacks that somehow put a rollercoaster in the middle of a fireworks factory? And where did the fire come from? Are they inspecting these rides? It just seems a little dangerous to me.

Walt Disney World – Walls are starting to come down around the Seven Dwarves ride, supposedly because the lumber was needed to set up a new meet a greet area for the stars of Frozen. Why they can’t be in two parks at one time I have no idea, but apparently Epcot is unable to deal with long lines and sudden popularity. From what I am seeing of the Seven Dwarves coaster is that they completely shed themselves of the unhealthy relationship that they had with some random dame that wondered into their place one evening. Good for you guys! Good luck finding shorter women, and more of them.

Universal Studios Hollywood – The park has filed for a trademark for Fast & Furious: Supercharged for theme park use. This could be the rumored replacement of the dancing cars exhibit during the tram tour. It could also be something much more exciting and an answer to the question: what’s next after Potter opens?

Luna Park @ Coney Island – Thunderbolt construction is underway. They have posted a new video that has AC*DC wannabe music and animation that looks like the people fired from the Lego Movie did it for them. The video then goes on to point out ridiculously obvious elements like a “loop”. Watch at your own risk.

Roller Coaster Tycoon 4 – I’m still scratching my head on this one. After the latest coaster simulators, why would they come out with a game that looks cartoonier than all of the previous games in the series? I hear that there is a PC version on its way as well, but that just might be grumblings of the fan base.

Tip of the week: If you are illegally in a park after it has closed, don't order pizza delivery.

If you have any other tips or news, please feel free to join the conversation below.

Replies (45)

March 26, 2014 at 10:29 AM · Good to read your articles again Jeff. Great to see your sense of humor and keeping us up to date on all the rumblings of the theme park industry.
March 26, 2014 at 10:42 AM · Glad to see you back, my friend. And VERY glad to see that you're keeping your tongue-in-cheek sarcastic sense of humor! I wouldn't want it any other way.
March 26, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Jeff said: By the way, when your fraternal brothers said to “flog the dolphin” they didn’t mean for you to break into SeaWorld.

Are jokes about self-pleasuring really appropriate for TPI? This is one of the few sites I have always felt safe letting my older son look at by himself, because Robert runs it as a clean site for families. I think Jeff's article could have been fine without the need to jam in a "joke" like this.

I thought the bit about the new Roller Coaster Tycoon game was interesting. That's something new I hadn't heard about. I kind of expected a column called "Beyond CaliFlorida" to not have anything about WDW in it, since that's in Florida, but I did like how Jeff weaved little jokes into his bit about the Frozen meet and greet situations. It is strange that EPCOT gets something that people really like and they take it away, like EPCOT didn't know what to do with something popular.

I just don't understand the focus of this column, though, if it's supposed to be things outside of California or Floria but the column includes Disney things as well.

I loved the fact that Jeff didn't go to any dark places in this column but it would have been nice to not have the self-pleasuring reference.

March 26, 2014 at 10:48 AM · "... supposedly because the lumber was needed to set up a new meet a greet area for the stars of Frozen. Why they can’t be in two parks at one time I have no idea, but apparently Epcot is unable to deal with long lines and sudden popularity."

Thank you for this. The LOL just made my day!

March 26, 2014 at 10:58 AM · Wonderful as always, Jeff! Thank you! The parts about the frat boys and WDW were especially chuckle-inducing :-)
March 26, 2014 at 12:26 PM · Classic Jeff Elliot. Just classic. You made my day, bro.

PS I didn't know what "flogging the dolphin" was until one of the posters explained it to me (and to any kids who might have missed the reference as well). Thanks for clarifying Jeff's double entendre.

And by clarifying, you are, of course, defeating the porpoise....

March 26, 2014 at 12:18 PM · Also loved the Dwarfs/Frozen bit. That will be a classic remembered many years. Missed the "dark side" though. We need more of those Disney owned Star Wars Darth Vader references...
March 26, 2014 at 12:52 PM · I think James Rao is really funny. Clever puns like that are really funny and appreciated. I don't always agree with James but I like his sense of humor.

I just don't know why Jeff had to put a very adult "joke" into a story that was not about that at all. He was actually telling a good story about these kids breaking into the park, but then there was the adult joke. It made no sense.

Actually, that would have been a good time for him to mention to readers the time that some guy got killed at a Sea World (I think San Diego) in the night because he snuck in and went swimming with one of the whales. They found the guy in the morning and Sea World said he was drunk and fell in and got hypothermia or something. But, it seems that the animals killed him. This could have happened to those college boys who broke in if what they really wanted to do was swim in the tank.

March 26, 2014 at 1:05 PM · "Clever puns"? Is there such a thing? ;)
March 26, 2014 at 1:46 PM · "If you are illegally in a park after it has closed, don't order pizza delivery."

Huh? It's a joke, but your description above talked about "late night beer run", Dipping Dots and Donuts and Dolphin Flogging. There was no mention about pizza until you just stuck this line in there. So there!!!

You're coming from left field. So far left. It isn't funny because there is no relationship to what joke you're making.

March 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM · I thought the comment was hilarious all on its own and required no further context. In fact, further context would have ruined the joke.

Here's some context for ya: How do you make a handkerchief dance? Put a little boogie in it. Pbbbbftttt....

March 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM · James: So subtle of an adult reference that few of us even understood it. Never heard the phrase myself.....So now you're clever. Never would have thought. But I guess your comments did have an ulterior porpoise..LOL
March 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM · Without porpoise, people perish.
March 26, 2014 at 1:57 PM · Anon Mouse, I noticed the pizza comment also. In Jeff's defense, he was up until after midnight finishing this article due to a situation at his employment that has him working 12+hr/day. He's also dealing with a sick toddler and a dog recovering from emergency surgery.

Jeff, was there something that you can fill-in for us to make the pizza comment a bit clearer?

March 26, 2014 at 2:18 PM · The minute you start explaining jokes, they really lose their humor. I would just let sleeping "Jeffs" (and their sick kids and dogs) lie.

Until Robert starts publishing Anon And Annette's Laughter Is The Best Medicine column, we really have no choice but to accept the obviously inferior humor Jeff provides. It is a cross we all must bear.

March 26, 2014 at 2:19 PM · To answer Annette's comment:

"I just don't understand the focus of this column, though, if it's supposed to be things outside of California or Floria (sic) but the column includes Disney things as well."

Please reread this part of Jeff's introduction to the article:

"And despite the title, that is only a guideline, and I will talk about whatever I feel like, and merely concentrate my efforts on topics that don’t concern a mouse, a wizard, or a whale. But frankly, if something gets my goat, it is going to receive a verbal “treatment.”

March 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM · Careful, Mr. K, I wholeheartedly believe "gets my goat" is a double entendre as well.

A mouse, a wizard, and a whale walk into a bar. The bartender, we'll call him Hagrid, looks up and says, "Is this some kind of joke?"

March 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM · Thanks a lot, I have to clean my keyboard again. I just spit my Pepsi all over the place!
March 26, 2014 at 2:38 PM · I don't even want to think about what Spit My Pepsi really means!!! Ewwwwww!
March 26, 2014 at 2:45 PM · @James Rao: You posted 5 times since my post and you explained twice why you won't explain a joke. You must think this is just hilarious. I can care less.

At this point, whether I get the laugh doesn't matter. The sentence didn't make sense. The joke is irrelevant.

Comedians do this all the time. They blow a joke. I can still appreciate a message that works. Many comedian do observational humor. The dearly departed David Brenner, who appeared on The Tonight Show, was the master of observational humor.

The humor displayed here is... ???

March 26, 2014 at 2:47 PM · ...funny?
March 26, 2014 at 2:48 PM · ???
March 26, 2014 at 2:52 PM · You win... I have to go...uh...catch my bus... heh heh heh.
March 26, 2014 at 3:38 PM · I'm beginning to think that Annette & Anon are the same poster. Similarities galore!!!...LOL
March 26, 2014 at 3:42 PM · I'm beginning to think that Annette & Anon are the same poster. Similarities galore!!!.OMG, so many humorless people...Ooops, the dark side just got me. I'm melting...LOL
March 26, 2014 at 4:07 PM · Rob: Okay, shall I call you not very smart? Annette expressed offense to the jokes. I said I didn't understand the joke. There's a difference. There is no similarity.
March 26, 2014 at 4:23 PM · Stop it!

You're going to get me in trouble! I'm at work right now and I can't stop myself from bursting out in repeated fits of uncontrollable laughter because of this comment stream.

Some of it because it is intended to be funny, and...some of it because it is taking itself WAY too seriously.

Weird, weird day on TPI. Thanks for the chuckles, all.

March 26, 2014 at 4:40 PM · Anon & Annette: Just trying to confuse us, eh. Worked pretty well. I wasn't smart enough to pick up on the subtle difference. My belief is that the world is tough enough without having a good sense of humor. And I'll laugh at myself if it takes that. Heck, this is theme parks we're talking about. Why bring the dark forces (whatever the hell that means) of the world or other world into it. Sounds like a Marvel comic. And how the heck can someone be so against bringing up the dark side when they're big fans of Harry Potter, the "resurrected" boy wizard, and Voldemort, "Lord of Darkness". A bit of hypocrisy there me thinks.
March 26, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Rob: Your last post is a joke!!! Forgive me for laughing.
March 26, 2014 at 5:52 PM · I hope that Fast & Furious: Supercharged ends up being an attraction. With the new minion attraction, & potter on the way, USH is making it happen!
March 26, 2014 at 6:37 PM · Fast & Furious could be a fab attraction if done as an E ticket. If they do it at Hollywood, hopefully it will make it's way to Orlando..... Jeff: Your column must be an unqualified success. It gets way more comments than the average column. Keep doing what you're doing.
March 26, 2014 at 6:41 PM · Nothing to do with Jeff, Rob. I was just a little.. you know... bored at work today. **wink, wink, nudge, nudge** If you know what I mean.

(What the heck do I mean?)

March 26, 2014 at 6:48 PM · James, James and Rob -- thank you for adding yet more hilarity to a wonderful post. This is why I read TPI!!
March 26, 2014 at 6:51 PM · Sorry!! The anonymous post with kudos to James, James and Rob was from me.... Didn't realize I wasn't logged in.
March 26, 2014 at 6:55 PM · Logged in? What exactly do you mean by logged in? How rude!
March 26, 2014 at 7:24 PM · Oh, James, you are bad, just bad.... Hilariously freaking funny, but bad.... :-) Seriously, without a sense of humor, I don't know how I could live....
March 26, 2014 at 7:30 PM · Why is there a picture of Tim Curry in a chef's uniform at the top of this column? Or is it at a college graduation? Either way, now I want to watch Clue again.

March 26, 2014 at 7:33 PM · Melanie; You get it, you really do. Heh, have a great day at work tomorrow. I smile every day when I awaken and look outside at the great outdoors, it makes life so much easier. And yes, laughter cures many ills.
March 26, 2014 at 7:39 PM · Indeed. Fun day. Jeff's column has great power to cure many ills. Nite gang!
March 26, 2014 at 7:42 PM · It is been a rough week. James didn't mention a very good friend of mine in the hospital and 2 hour visits per day to go see him and give his wife a break...on top of everything else.

When I sat down to write this week's article, the only thing I had already written was the pizza comment, and thought it was pretty funny, so I kept it even after I researched the real story and it went off in a different direction.

I could have used the terms "boxing the clown" or "making number 3", but they wouldn't have had the right SeaWorld connection. I actually spent some time looking for the clinical term for "excessive amounts of love toward sea mammals", but couldn't find it. I am currently reading "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove" by Christopher Moore, so not saying something along those lines was like trying to stop an avalanche with a stern voice and hateful gaze.

The picture was from graduation for my masters degree. And I'm not from Transylvania.

March 26, 2014 at 8:35 PM · Great to see these longer fun discussions starting to come back to the site. And, yes, ladies & gentlemen, we need to generate more discussion on the "Discussion Forum" like we used to. The forums have really died in the past year or so. It would be nice if we could restore the TPI discussion forum to its former glory. The past week has been a step in the right direction, and Mr. Niles has been doing a good job of keeping a couple of the topics flowing. There's a lot of good people on this site that are very well versed about the theme parks and their inner workings. Lets keep the momentum going.
March 26, 2014 at 8:40 PM · I've been gone most of the day, but someone tell me *how* this article got to 40 (now 41) comments.
March 26, 2014 at 9:04 PM · 42 now James. Guess you'll just have to read the whole gruesome tale. At your own risk of course.....LOL
March 28, 2014 at 6:40 AM · Another great column, Jeff! Thanks for the laughs! You and some of the commenters cracked me up. Even the complaint about the risqué humor made me smile because it got me reminiscing about the double entendres in one of my favorite childhood TV shows - Batman. As a kid, it was serious business, but I never understood what my parents were chuckling about.

Pussycat: "I wanna be alone with you, Robin."
Robin: "Alone with me? But why?"
Pussycat: "I can see a very important part of your education has been grossly neglected."

Robin: "Her legs sort of reminded me of Catwoman's."
Batman: "You're growing up, Robin. Remember, in crime-fighting always keep your sights raised."

Thanks to Hulu, now I understand.

March 28, 2014 at 8:12 AM · From Orlando Informer today; "Universal Studios is closing early for private events and Diagon Alley preparation basically March 30th through April 12th.....The good news is that these cancellations show how Universal is throwing more resources at Diagon Alley to get it opened in June"...........Robert Niles prediction of soft openings in mid May is looking even better with that news.

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