Nov 152019
 

I’ve been putting off writing this Part 2 post because it could very well be the LAST AMUSEMENT PARK POST OF 2019 unless I get my Thanksgiving Miracle and Henry takes his loving family to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.

Earlier that day, some broad told me at Target that she loved my sweater, and Chooch quickly mumbled, “I don’t.” He hates it when I get compliments in front of him. And then when we arrived at Dorney, the guy at the security check told me he liked my phone case. EAT IT, CHOOCH!

We didn’t do any of the haunt stuff because we didn’t stay late enough on Sunday for when they began, but I will say that of the three Cedar Fair parks we visited during the Halloween season, Dorney was the least decked-out. However, the Street Drum Corps – Blood Drums were performing at one point when we were walking to Demon Drop so that was pretty cool!

Pumpkins make everything better. It’s such a mood. Peter Pumpkin Eater’s wife was so lucky that she got to live in a pumpkin shell.

Wait….did he put there and then eat here?!

I HAVE NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT THESE WORDS BEFORE.

The last time I rode Demon Drop was in like…1992 when my family went to Cedar Point and it was one of the worst family trips ever and my stepdad and I fought the whole time and my BFF at the time was with us and my parents (and brothers) liked her so much better than me so I had to deal with that shit the whole time on top of feeling like I was going to die on the Demon Drop, so riding it again in 2019 really brought back some feelings.

IT WAS HORRIFYING. As soon as our stupid cage reached the top, I started shrieking about how I made a mistake, I didn’t want to do it anymore, and coincidentally, these are the same things I screamed when I was admitted for my dreaded C-Section.

This is why I don’t do drop towers.

One of the things I liked about Dorney is that they had veggie nuggets at one of their food places, and also the Beyond Burger. Granted, it was an exorbitant price ($17 for Chooch and me to each get one burger, no fries, no drink) and the “fix-in’s” were self-serve, but it was still a nice chance from the standard slice of pizza that I usually end up eating at vegetarian-unfriendly amusement parks.

Guys. You know what time it is.

Family Carousel Selfie time!

I love this new tradition! I never gave a shit about carousels before but now it’s like “WE CAN’T LEAVE WITHOUT RIDING THE FUCKING MERRY-GO-ROUND, BITCHES.”

Chooch was on the deer until he realized that it didn’t go up and down so then he switched to a horse and I was so afraid he was going to get yelled at because it was right when the carousel alarm sounded, and I hate getting yelled at by ride attendants!! This stems from the time I was 7 and my shoe fell off on the Paratroopers and the ride attendant (I can still picture her!!) yelled at me afterward and made me cry and my friend Amy’s mom was like, “BITCH, DON’T YELL AT THIS CHILD” and then the ride attendant probably cried because Amy’s mom could be really mean and loud.

Also, I never wore sandals to an amusement park ever again after that.

Alsox2, this is probably the 12th time I’ve told this story on my blog, but look – it really shaped who I am, OK?!

Carousel mirror selfie.

One ride I consistently skip at amusement parks is the bumper cars.  I love the look of the bumper cars, and how they’re attached to the weird wire-mesh ceiling and it creates sparks as it moves. I love how it sounds, and how it smells. It’s very nostalgic, but I never feel compelled to get in line.

SHOULD I RIDE IT NEXT TIME?!

MAYBE I WILL.

It’s still my dream to replace my couch with vintage, refurbished bumper cars.

Chooch was excited because one of the dumb claw machines was full of the same exact generic “air pods” he won by selling cookie dough. Those good-good TWSI7s.

This year, we managed to go to 12 different amusement parks. 12! That’s not a lot for hardcore coaster enthusiasts, but it’s a record for my family and I can honestly say that I am living my best teenage life. It has been so much fun riding roller coasters with my family! We’ve had mostly excelsior experiences at each park—I’d easily rank Tokyo Disney Sea as my #1 and drop-kick Cedar Point straight down the elevator shaft—and I’d say that Dorney was a solid middle-ground. I really don’t have any complaints about it, and the only low point of the day was caused my own lack of nourishment and has zilch to do with Dorney’s operations.

We only stayed at Dorney until around 3, because we had a 4 hour drive home, which of course always ends up being way more than that. I really liked our time here and I’d like to go back next summer when the water rides are open, because I love me a good log flume and I think they have one there?!

Nov 142019
 

Chooch told me last night that people might actually read my blog if I was more relevant. “You need to like, write about boomers or something,” he said, suddenly becoming my blogging manager. Well sorry, but here I am with another post about amusement parks for the 1%! Enjoy!

On our second day of the Weekend Whiplash tour, we visited Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. It’s part of the Cedar Fair chain so we were able to use our passes. This was actually how I convinced Henry to make this autumn amusement park trip – “Oppa-yaaaaaaaaa, we won’t have to pay for the park! It can just be a day trip! I’ll help drive! I won’t eat anything!” but once he agreed, I launched my signature manipulation move by “negotiating” a/k/a whining and crying until he agreed that we could also add Lake Compounce in Connecticut.

“We’re going to be right there!” I cried, and by “right there” I meant 3.5 hours and three states away.

Anyway, you already know this! Now we’ll chit-chat about Dorney, which is a park that I’ve wanted to go to numerous times in the past when we’re on our way home from somewhere else and I see a sign for it, but then forget all about it once we get back to Pittsburgh. It’s definitely on the lower-end of the Cedar Fair chain, as far as size and coaster collection go, but it’s still worth a visit if you’re into amusement parks!

Like most (all?) of the Cedar Fair parks, their kids area is themed to Snoopy so enjoy that, I guess. Chooch certainly did.

We took these pictures while Henry was in the bathroom. Literally, we had just gotten there after stopping at like 87 gas stations and even a Target (I NEEDED TAMPONS OK GOD WHY DO YOU HAVE TO PRY INTO MY BUSINESS) but he still has to immediately bee-line for the nearest rest room upon entry to any given amusement park.

OK, Chooch.

The first coaster we rode was Talon, and it was a walk-on. I didn’t think I would care much for it, but this was a real pleasant surprise, my friends! It was smooth, the first drop was thrilling, and I didn’t get a head-banger’s headache afterward.

I watch this one theme park YouTube channel called In The Loop, and when my favorite vlogger of the crew, Legend, reported from there with his girlfriend Molly (my actual favorite) and talked about the “jojo roll” on Hydra, I completely latched on to that for some reason. I mean, first of all, “jojo roll” is a ridiculous name for an element so of course I’m going to start obsessing over it. It’s actually just a heartline roll, but it’s specifically when that element happens before the lift hill, and on Hydra, it happens as soon as you leave the station.

So we were all, “YEAH JOJO ROLL!” but then after that, it was just “a ride.” Nothing super spectacular, but it’s a really beautiful coaster nonetheless – I loved the color scheme and the Hydra sign! Also, I believe this is the only floorless coaster in Pennsylvania, which seems weird that Hershey doesn’t have one, but there you go. Something to seek out if you’re in PA and a floorless aficionado.

After this, we ran to the main attraction (for us): Steel Force. This was actually going to be Chooch’s 100th coaster before we added Lake Compounce to the mix, because we love us some hypers. I don’t think anything will ever replace Phantom’s Revenge in my heart, because it’s a homepark sweetheart and that second drop is unlike any other in the world, but this one was REALLY FUN.

Chooch and I went straight for the back and Mr. Defiant Henry was like, “THEN I AM GOING TO THE FRONT.” You can see in that picture up there how much of a crowd we had to contend with.

Steel Force line selfie!

I wouldn’t rank Steel Force above Magnum at Cedar Point, but holy shit this was a sweet ride! I think I spent most of the time out of my seat. It wasn’t too painful either, whereas I do experience some back-crunches on Magnum. Yeah, this ride is pretty fucking beautiful. My co-worker Megan told me that she was there one time when people were getting married on it!

I guess it used to be a world record-holder when it was constructed in the late 90s, and it still holds the record for being the longest steel coaster on the east coast. I’m sure this part of this blog post will not age well.

I was annoyed because the one ride attendant who looked like the world’s biggest David Draiman fan made Chooch and I get off the dumb train and run all the way back around and get back into line when we asked if we could just stay on – THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE IN LINE. Ugh, parks and their rules. Whatever. So we had to run like maniacs because we wanted to get on the same one as Henry, since he was still standing in the only line that had anyone in it – the front. We didn’t make it though because a dumb slow couple got in front of us and we were soooo angry.

Anyway, this tiny moment manifested into this huge internal drama where I fucking hated the ride attendant and I was so annoyed because he kept jovially talking to all the people who were in the front row and I was like STOP TRYING TO ACT COOL and then I tried to accuse him (behind his back, because that’s how I do) of not checking my seat belt on our second ride but Chooch said he actually did come back there to my side but I wasn’t paying attention. PROBABLY BECAUSE I WAS SEEING RED.

Then, on our third ride, Chooch and I opted for the front row that time so I sadly had to stand near him.

“OK, I gotta ask,” he started to say to me and I got SUPER TENSE because I DID NOT WANT TO TALK TO HIM AFTER THE INCIDENT*. “Did you get your coat the Cruella DeVille store?”

*(Chooch was over it way before I was. But I didn’t like the way that guy shook his head at us and said, “You have to get off and go back around.”)

Literally, I went years and years without anyone but the one homeless lady who sits outside of the gay bar Images on Liberty Avenue making any type of comment about this jacket when I wear it, but this particular weekend was rife with comments and compliments. (The young girl at Dorney’s gift shop was like I LOVE YOUR COAT and probably thought I was going to say I got it from Forever 21 and not some years-defunct clothing boutique for young sluts. (Contempo, lol.)

I didn’t even bother coming up with a witty retort. Instead, I fake-laughed and said, “Yeah you would think” because YOU WOULDN’T LET US STAY IN THE BACKSEAT AND RIDE AGAIN, YOU DIME STORE ANDRE AGASSI.

I’m sure he’s otherwise a very nice guy. Henry seemed to get along fine with him. But, that’s Henry, the White Knight for all Thoughtless White Men.

Other coasters rode but not shown: Possessed, which is an inverted impulse that I want desperately to call “Possession” instead, like it’s based off pf some imaginary 1980s film noir prequel to “Fatal Attraction” starring Glenn Close. Anyway, it’s a smaller version  to Wicked Twister, a/k/a Spaghetti Noodle, at Cedar Point. We rode this one in the back and it was straight-up terrifying. Henry didn’t ride it because he’s a big baby when it comes to launch coasters, wah wah wah.

We never pass up the vintage cars! Unless the line is long. We don’t care that much.

When we were in line, we witnessed a legit pile-up. First of all, I don’t care how many signs there are posted that say NO BUMPING and STOP HERE – when you’re letting small children zoom off unsupervised, what do you expect is going to happen when they roll up to the station and there is no ride attendant there yelling for them to step on the brake? THEY’RE GOING TO KEEP GOING. And this is exactly what happened when some, I don’t know, 1st grader I guess, came zooming around the bend, ignored the STOP SIGN because he’s like 6, and crashed into the line of cars waiting to go. There was a woman in the process of getting out of the first car in line, and she nearly fell out of it when the crash happened, and then one of the ride attendants was all, OH SHIT, and had to run over to step on the brake because kids are dumb.

I was super worried this was going to happen to us when we were sitting in line waiting to go!

Anyway, the course was really short, but at least we got to ogle some jacks.

Look at dumb Henry, watching us like a proud parent. He also took a video of us cruisin’, which offends me and I cannot post it here because his Instagram account is private like anyone cares enough to creep on him.  People who hate him just lash out at him through me, anyway, so what’s it matter?!

Meanwhile, some Monster Truck event was happening, because Dorney has an entire Monster Truck Thunder Alley which replaced some roller coaster that was probably way better than Monster Trucks but whatever. Anyway, the Grave Digger guy was there and only a few kids were talking to him so I was like, “You should go over there” and Chooch was like, “But I don’t care about Monster Trucks” and I was like, “Yeah, but that guy is here so we should at least pretend.” And that’s how Chooch got stuck having a conversation about the weather with the Grave Digger guy because he had nothing else to say to him.

Nice guy though!!

By now, we were entering the Hunger Zone, and I was starting to sporadically growl the word “CUNT” while spewing demonic pea soup, but instead of sitting down to eat, I decided  to get in line for the last coaster we needed – the stupid Wild Mouse. I guaranteed Chooch earlier that day that it would be the longest line we’d stand in all day, AND I WAS RIGHT. A while whopping 15 minutes. I entertained myself by emasculating Henry via KakaoTalk. The picture above is him reading my texts while his dick folds in on itself in humiliation.

But you guys! All the cars were mice except one, which was a CAT, and we got the cat! That was enough to make me block out the hunger pains!

Yeah boi! View from the top! Look at all those fall colors!

Here you can see “Possession Starring Glenn Close” in the background, and also part of the woodie, Thunderhawk, which was A-OK. I literally don’t remember anything about it.

One last ride on Talon (!!) before leaving and starting the 4 hour drive home. What a great weekend!

Nov 092019
 

When I first started looking at information on Lake Compounce, their “haunted graveyard” was an optional event so if you just wanted to go to the park without doing the haunt, you could. I thought that would be a good way to get Henry to agree to, um, extending our road trip because he is a Halloween Scrooge and just doesn’t enjoy haunted attractions that much (“no one ever tries to scare the old guys!” he whined once, so there’s the truth).

But then on the way there, I went to their website to buy the tickets and that option was gone. Now the tickets were one price, and it included the haunt. Henry grumbled about this because he’s a tightwad who is always trying to save a buck, but….TOO LATE TO TURN BACK NOW.

When we got there, there were little day-glo clown vignettes set up here and there and I was like, “Oh wow, I’m so glad we paid extra for this.”

Was this it? The Haunted Graveyard?! It was just a small plot of land dotted with tombstones, and apparently there were several scheduled performances of “Thriller” over there during the course of the night too.

It did make for a really cool photo op, though!

Eventually, we found the area where the actual haunt was. Our tickets said that our time slot was 9:30, and we almost didn’t stay that long because it was SO COLD, but then I was like, “Well, it’s included in our ticket, and it’s not that crowded here, so we might as well just go and check it out.”

HOLY SHIT. Thank god we did, because this ended up being the BEST haunt we went to all season, maybe even the last several seasons. In some little amusement park in Connecticut, no less!

We only had to stand in line for about 15 minutes, where I was harangued by a clown who was obsessed with questioning me about my jacket. Do you know that I have had this jacket since…maybe 1999 or 2000? And this was the first time anyone has ever made Cruella DeVille comments?! And it happened again inside the haunt when someone growled in my ear, “How many dogs do you have?” and I missed the perfect opportunity to say, “I brought two of them here with me.” Then a butcher said he wanted me and mooed, haha.

I’m getting ahead of myself though! The organization of the line outside of the haunt was fantastic – they split everyone into corrals so it kept the line moving faster. There was an older couple in front of us (the guy reminded me of Nicholas Cage and had really dorky commentary throughout) and a larger group of friends behind us so I was originally worried that there were too many of us. The lady at the door of the “church” was like, “Enjoy your 45 minute walk through” and we looked at each other, like, “There is no way we’ll be in there for 45 minuutes” BUT WE WERE and every single second of that time counted. I have to save the details for my haunted house journal but the Haunted Graveyard took us through a myriad of different scenes and themes, and each one was filled with scare actors who gave a shit about their roles.

It was le magnifique, you guys. I was sweating by the time we got out of there, and also, the large group we were paired with was hilarious without being annoying and I loved them.

I asked Henry the other day what his favorite part of the weekend was, and without hesitation he said, “Being there with you” JUST KIDDING he said, “The Haunted Graveyard.” That is really saying something!!

Now, please enjoy some photos of our time at Lake Compounce once the sun went down.

Y’all know we can’t go to a park without a carousel selfie.

We didn’t like Henry’s attempt so we got back on again after it stopped. “Who even re-rides the carousel?” Chooch mumbled.

Us, clearly!

Chooch always takes the best ones so we put him in charge.

But that means we have to take the whole “Chooch’s Carousel Photo Package” which always includes a picture of him patting his horse’s butt and usually a close-up of him forcing himself to have triple-chins.

There were only two downsides to the whole experience at Lake Compounce: it was really cold and I was woefully underdressed (I only let Henry get this close to me because I was that cold) and the s’mores stand, which cost us $12 for two s’mores while a group of morons shuffled around behind the flames, half-assedly toasting marshmallows, running out of Hersheys bars and then leaving their station without telling the customers what was happening, and then serving up s’mores that had no semblance of gooey, melty, campfire goodness. I took one bite out of mine and gave it to Henry. “I’m not wasting calories on this,” I said, and then pouted for a few minutes but I recovered quickly because everything else about the park was so nice and inoffensive.

No line-jumpers!

No weirdos!

No broken down rides!

They even had this county fair food trailer thing that apparently was seen on Stranger Things, Season 3!

The kiddyland area was closed for the season, but it was appropriately clown-themed and I was obsessed.

WTF lol.

DID YOU KNOW that Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously-operated amusement park in the US? Well, now you know, thanks to my blog and my mediocre Wiki-reading skills.

I love riding the little cars in amusement parks to begin with, but it’s even better during the Halloween season!

I’d like to go back sometime during the summer and see what the park’s like during the day, maybe ride some water rides, but I think we got a pretty good feel for Lake Compounce during our 6 hours there last weekend and I would definitely recommend it, ESPECIALLY if you’re a ho-bag for wooden coasters like myself. Boulder Dash is just really on another level and I would even say it’s worth the price of admission—I think we paid $32/person because we had a $5 off code, but prior to the day we were there, I saw on their website that you could pay $29.99 if you were only going to the park and not attending the haunt, so I’m not sure what their regular season deals are like. Plus, it’s in a general proximity to other parks, like Dorney in Allentown, PA, and Six Flags New England in Massachusetts.

Another unusual thing is that there was no one there that pissed me off. Usually, at every park, there is THAT ONE PERSON that acts a fool in line or makes loud nose-noises or whatever I deem offensive at that point in time. And then naturally I see them 87 more times throughout the course of the day. But I guess Connecticut has OK peeps.

(Except for that Sandy Hook motherfucker. We passed signs for that town on the highway and it made me incredibly sad.)

Goodbye, Lake Compounce!

After we left, we drove for about an hour and stayed at some Super 8 in Danbury, and the hotel itself was actually fine and clean but since Henry is the king of waiting the last minute to book a room, the only thing they had available was a room on the smoking floor and Henry took it, thinking it would be fine, but my whole entire overnight bag still reeks of cigarette and I had to mouth-breathe until I eventually fell asleep because it felt like the pillow was smothering me with smoke.

I really liked the blue walls, though…?

Nov 082019
 

We already had decided to go to Dorney Park in Allentown during the first weekend in November, because it’s included in our Cedar Fair passes, still open for Halloween festivities, plus we were on a quest to get Chooch to 100 coaster credits by the end of the year. This was a pretty easy one to convince Henry of, because Allentown is only about a 4 hour drive.

But you know what’s only another 3 hours away from that?

LAKE COMPOUNCE in Connecticut!

My reasoning was that we were already going to be out “that way” so why not tack on a second park!? Henry was like, “THEY ARE NOT CLOSE TO EACH OTHER AT ALL.” But I just kept nagging and harping and whining and then I had that really Bad Halloween which wasn’t even really that bad but you know me, Queen of Hyperbole.  Finally Henry declared defeat and so we went to Lake Compounce on Saturday, yay! I’m a spoiled brat!

The reason I wanted to come here is all because of one roller coaster – Boulder Dash. It always comes up in various lists for the best wooden coasters and everyone knows wooden coasters are my favorites. But then Chooch apparently watched a video about Boulder Dash on his own, so he started to bug Henry about wanting to go here too and Henry was convinced that I put him up to it (I didn’t, but that’s definitely not something that’s beneath me); sorry, Henry, you live with two coaster enthusiasts. You lose.

Anyway, we rolled up to the park about 30 minutes before they opened at 5:00pm and there were only about 20 other people there. This was our first time ever coming to Lake Compounce, so I wasn’t sure what kind of crowds to expect, but as it turned out, it never really got very crowded as the night went on and most rides were a complete walk-on.

Some young guy in line with us had on navy pants imprinted with sail boats. Oh, Connecticut.

Chooch wanted Boulder Dash to be his 100th coaster, so we had to go on two other coasters first.  Phobia was first on the list and we were the very first ride of the day! And we were the only people on it too which was creepy. This coaster was pretty much exactly like Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and I forgot how terrifying it is.

Even Henry rode it because I think he’s going through some sort of midlife crisis where he’s trying desperately to be more a part of our lives and less of a bench-sitter? I mean, he even has his dorky safety-strap for his glasses just so he can ride coasters with us, what a team player.

Ugh, the second coaster of the evening was Zoomerang, the park’s Vekoma boomerang. We were also the first people to ride this one, and Chooch and I were the ONLY ONES ON IT which made it all the more terrifying. Henry sat this one out because he knew it was going to be a rough one, and boy was he smart to do so. This piece of shit was so rattly and jerky that I was honestly unsure if we were going to make it around for our return trip to the station.

I posted this on Instagram and my friend Veronica was like, “Girl you know it’s true” and a more perfect comment has never been crafted.

But yeah, there’s a fun fact for you guys! Who knew?!

OK, finally it was time for Chooch to snag that #100 so we ran over to Boulder Dash which was honestly the only ride in the park that had any semblance of a line that we had to stand in. Chooch and I immediately got in line for the back row because back row is the best row, le duh.

This was a bucket list coaster of mine and I couldn’t believe I was getting a chance to ride it! Boulder Dash is famous for being a terrain woodie – the lift hill is flush with mountain. On the way up, you have beautiful views of the actual boulders that dot the terrain, and the rest of the ride is practically a collision-course down and around the side of the mountain. Hence the name Boulder Dash, y’all.

I definitely felt out of control on it, and the train seemingly jumps the track through the entire ride so the danger-factor is there in full force.

This wasn’t my favorite wooden coaster but it’s definitely earned a spot in my heart for being unique and just flat out wicked!

The sun was already starting to set so it was hard to get any pictures of Boulder Dash, but you can see part of the track on the hillside over there.

We rode it 4 times that night – twice in the back, once in row 5, and I think the longest we stood in line was probably 25 minutes when we wanted to sit in the front seat. I always recommend the front row for night rides, because there is really nothing like seeing an expanse of utter darkness whirling past you, totally throwing off your orientation and bearings.

I think the peak ride for me was when Henry and I rode together in the back at night and the climax of Zedd’s “Clarity” was playing in the station when we came back in. I was so pumped!

Also freezing. It was very cold in Bristol, Connecticut on that November night and I needed approximately 4 more pairs of socks and to swap out my cute-yet-thin cow-print jacket with an Alaskan parka.

When Chooch and I were in line for the front, he decided TO TAKE OFF HIS JACKET to prove to me that it wasn’t that cold and I was like “YOU ARE CRAZY AND ALSO EMBARRASSING” because it was fucking knit-hat weather that night, you guys. I was kicking myself for leaving my gloves in the car (Henry said I wouldn’t need them!!) and here’s my weird kid flexing his hot blood in line for a roller coaster. Everyone there was bundled up but then I stupidly pointed out that some kid who was currently in the train waiting to go was only wearing a t-shirt, so that inspired Chooch to ROLL UP THE SLEEVES OF HIS SHIRT SO IT LOOKED LIKE HE WAS WEARING A TANK TOP. I can’t with this stubborn kid. I just can’t. He kept his shirt like that during the entire frigid ride in the front seat too.

Anyway, here he is on his 100th coaster! Also, I was too cold to put my arms all the way up. And could Henry look any angrier?

One of the times Chooch and I rode without Henry, there was a young couple in front of us in line and the girl said to the boy, ‘I appreciate you” and then was trying to get him to wear her gloves because she was so concerned that he was too cold. I remembered this last night and was telling Henry about it.

“I was like, ‘WTF is happening right now.’ It was so weird.”

“It’s called LOVE,” Henry spat and then gave me his signature “what is wrong with you” look that, now that I think about it, everyone seems to keep in their back pocket, ready to slap on, when they talk to me.

Chooch thought the left seat of the fifth row was the best for some reason, so he rode there alone while Henry and I waited for the back. I don’t know what he’s doing in this picture – pantomiming putting on exam gloves?

The only other coaster at Lake Compounce is Wildcat, a smaller, family-friendly woodie. It was….OK. Not as rough or painful as I thought it would be, but it also didn’t have us running back in line either.

Henry thinks he’s so cool.

I really liked Phobia a lot, and it was a walk-on every time we rode it (one of the times they let us just stay on). But I think Boulder Dash was just wonderful and it was a solid, classic #100 for Chooch!

Going to amusement parks became so much more fun once Chooch finally came around to the idea of keeping track of his coaster credits. Now it’s like a game, one that even Henry likes to play!

Oct 312019
 

I think that King’s Dominion really flies under the radar with the general public. Its coaster lineup is definitely worth the trip no matter where you live, and we had no qualms about driving 7 hours to stuff our asses on rides like Dominator, Intimidator 305, and Twisted Timbers.

Let’s talk about Twisted Timbers first, because this was my most anticipated ride and the first one we ran (fast-walked – running is against park laws at King’s Dominion!) to on our first day. You might know by now that I am an RMC fan girl through and through and it JUST SO HAPPENS that this is an RMC! Originally, the park had a wooden coaster called The Hurler, which was themed to Wayne’s World back when Paramount owned the park. I never rode this (this was my first time here), but from what I heard, it was painful, rough, and just all-around not great.

Then Cedar Fair decided to give it the RMC treatment, which means that they hired Rocky Mountain Construction, now notorious for refabbing pieces of shit woodies and turning them into mind-bending works or engineering wonders, to come in and re-track the damn thing, converting it to steel and adding in elements that are just inexplicable, even after you’ve experienced it for yourself.

The theming on this was meant to insinuate that something had fallen from the sky, like a meteor, into the middle of an apple orchard, which was like, strange. But I appreciated that the queue had some shit in it and wasn’t just like a slab of asphalt (that was my only gripe about Kentucky Kingdom – their coaster collection is INSANE but they have absolutely no theming and the park just isn’t very attractive). We had to wait about 30 minutes for our inaugural ride, so it wasn’t utterly bad, considering this is still a pretty new ride for the park.

My initial review was, “……OK. That was….good.” This is my 4th RMC and the other three are real forces to be recognized with: Storm Chaser, Lightning Rod, and Steel Vengeance. I think Steel Vengeance (Steve<3) is my #1 but I only got to ride it twice. Lightning Rod is definitely my #2 but could go back to #1 RMC for me at some point, we’ll see how much Cedar Point fucks us next season. And Storm Chaser is #3 because it is just sheer insanity, so forceful, actually scary.

If I hadn’t already ridden those three, I think I would have been way more impressed with Twisted Timbers.

But, this was only my first ride, and we would go back the next day and revisit it.

But first….

Intimidator 305!

OK, I shouldn’t like this ride because it’s themed after some Nascar dummy, but I like the Steel Curtain and that’s so fucking Steelers-themed that the only way it could be even more Steelers-related would be if the track was modeled after Ben Roethlisberger’s intestines.

God I hate football so much.

Anyway, this beast is a hyper, which means is stands at over 300 feet. I daresay, I liked it much better than Millennium Force and after riding it, I now get why the enthusiasts call Millie “Millennium Forceless” – Intimidator is so much crazier and I had such wicked greyouts each time I rode it that I was actually concerned I might pass all the way out, lol.

(We were telling Janna about this the following weekend and she was like, “IS THAT GOOD?!” Lol, what a n00b.)

I started referring this bad boy as “Daddy” for the rest of the weekend and it made Henry uncomfortable I think, but possibly less so once he realized that I wasn’t calling him Daddy.

Because, um, that would not be something I would do. Ever.

This kid was literally one of the slowest ride operators I have ever watched. This picture is from day 2, but he was also there the night before, when Chooch and I made a very poor life choice by deciding to get into the line for the front row, which has its own queue and I don’t really get it because the back seat is by far the best, however – we wanted that dramatic front-row night ride.

And that is how we ended up standing in line for 90 minutes (maybe 2 hours??) for a ride that only had a 30 minute standby time for every other row. The line didn’t look that long, OK? And it probably wouldn’t have been so bad if ride ops weren’t slower than Trump’s reading comprehension skills and we weren’t behind a quad of ultra-annoying boys who I would guess to be 9th graders

The people behind us were like, “THIS WAS THE WORST IDEA WHY DID WE GET IN THIS LINE” but honestly, at the time, it seemed like it would be OK because the main line was moving so quickly and the line for the front seemingly only had about 50 people in it and they were running two trains…

But goddamn it was so slow. I would place a large portion of the blame on the riders though because it was insane how many people just don’t follow directions. “Oh, there aren’t any bins here in the station? OK well, I’ll just hand all of my shit to the ride attendant – OMG the ride attendant won’t take my personal belonging and claim responsibility for them? ARE YOU KIDDING?”

Yeah seriously. So then all the restraints have to be unlocked because of one dumbass who has to now try and stuff all his shit in a pocket or whatever, and then all of the restraints have to be RECHECKED by two employees who do not believe in living a fast-paced life and are clearly mistaking this ride platform for a Louisiana bayou on a hot summer day. They were professional meanderers.

Chooch was so angry and kept saying, “Let’s just slip under the railing and get back in the regular line” but I wouldn’t budge. We had already wasted enough time in our quest for the front row and BY GOLLY I was going to slam my fat ass in that seat and enjoy the sensation of the wind drying out my contacts.

And it was worth every goddamn second we stood in line. There is nothing better than a motherfucking night ride on a roller coaster, especially one as threatening and, well, intimidating as Daddy. This ride is EVERYTHING.

Meanwhile, Henry wasn’t even concerned that we had been engulfed in the bowels of a passenger queue for nearly 2 hours and was just like, “Eh, I figured you chose the front row,” and shrugged it off. He was probably just happy to sit on a bench and read Reddit threads about wives being caught cheating on their husbands in Costco parking lots.

DADDY!!!!!

We rode it several more times the next day and I honestly cannot say enough good things about this ride. In fact, Henry made it onto an earlier train than us, and actually got back in line to ride it again afterward! And when he realized that he would be able to snag the second row right behind us, he actually RAN to claim his spot.

This is a first. Henry NEVER runs. Especially not at amusement parks! I think we’re like actually becoming a real family now or something. All of this bonding we’ve been doing has practically turned us into the Waltons.

(They were wholesome, right?)

Stupid Nascar shit.

Anaconda was pretty forgettable but I thought the ride itself was really striking. The colors were so vibrant and I liked that it was basically hovering over top of some weird swamp area.

Look at it!

We only rode this once, but the thing that sticks out the most to me is that we had a super annoying family in line behind us who let their kids do gymnastics on the railings and that the guy in the queue next to us had really cool Nikes that looked like the 1980s in shoe form so when we got off the ride, Chooch worked up the nerve to approach him and ask him what style they were and the guy had to actually look at the bottom of his shoe to answer him and now I already forget what they are but they started with a P I think in case you’re really like, “OH NO DON’T LEAVE US HANGING OVER THESE MYSTERY SHOES.”

Racer75 was MY SHIT. After riding the Racer at King’s Island, I had very low expectations for this one, but it was an airtime machine! It was so much fun, and we rode it at night so you can see Intimidator looming in the distance and it was really menacing and, you know, intimidating.

Even Henry was like “THIS WAS A GOOD RIDE. I LIKED IT.”

Apparently, it was recently retracked which explains why it was so smooth. The only downside is that they were only running one side so the racing element was missing, which was a real bummer. It wasn’t running the next day either so maybe they just shut down one side after the regular summer season? I DO NOT KNOW. I DO NOT RUN A PARK.

The next day, we were there for early entry and only one old man was able to beat us to Twisted Timbers, but then a handful of fast lane douches encroached on us and made it to the front row before us. I think we ended up being on the third train of the day because we insisted on trying out the front row while it was still early and the line was short but of course that’s where all the fast lane douches went too. Henry thought he was so great because he got in line for the third seat and was like, “BYE SUCKERS” when he got to ride before us. Whatever Henry.

This ride was so much better than the day before! So much so that we got off and walk-ran right back on and got the back row this time. We unfortunately were in line with some know-it-all coaster enthusiast who was like, “Just so you know, the fifth seat on the left side of the blue train has tighter restraints than any other row” and then kept talking about all the times he’s been on Steel Vengeance and in my head, I was like, “WHO ARE YOU EVEN TALKING TO?” He had a dumb hipster beard so I immediately discredited everything he was saying.

Anyway, after three rides on this bad boy, I can now say with much satisfaction and confidence that it is a GREAT RIDE. It has wicked airtime, barrel rolls, trick tracks, hangtime – it was worth the drive to Virginia and makes me do some daydreaming about how Kennywood could add an RMC to their lineup. I don’t think they would give any of their current coasters the RMC treatment since they’re all legit classics, nor would I want them to, but it would be so amazing to see how RMC could work with the limited space and crazy terrain that Kennywood has, much like they did with Lightning Rod at Dollywood. Can you imagine a quad-down hugging the side of a West Mifflin ravine??

I’m not a super big fan of floorless coasters but B&M’s Dominator really won me over. We only rode it twice – once at night in the back row, and once first thing in the morning on our second day (it was the only ride aside from the kiddy coasters that opens right away) in the front row with Henry, and I have to say, I enjoyed both rides very much!

And here we have Chooch and me on the backseat of Racer75 on our second day!

In total, we rode every coaster except for the dumbest of the two kiddy ones, so: Twisted Timbers, Apple Zapple, Grizzly, Flight of Fear (which Chooch hated at King’s Island but loved at King’s Dominion even though they’re identical but this one didn’t break down three times while we were in line, so maybe that’s why), Backlot Stunt Coaster, Avalanche (a really cool bobsled ride but not as fun as Flying Turns at Knoebel’s), Intimidator 305, Dominator, Woodstock Express which killed my knees, and Anaconda. This brought Chooch’s coaster count up to 97! So if this weekend pans out right, he should have 100 in no time. Fingers crossed!

Oct 232019
 

HENRY RIDES ALONE

Being a family of three makes going to amusement parks kind of annoying because someone always has to ride alone (lol usually Henry, come on now). Usually, we try to arrange it so that we’re at least all riding at the same time, which involves basic math and sometimes social skills when you have to ask the people behind you if they want to go ahead so that you can match the riders with whatever line your other party is in. Such a hassle!

However, we counted incorrectly when in line for Grizzly and Henry ended up going on the train after us and was surly about it because, for some reason, the line for this was SO SLOW. Operations were awful, one of the ride attendants was wearing an eye patch and we thought it was for Halloween but Henry said he saw him take it off and his eye was all fucked up, so that’s cool. People were bailing the whole time we stood in line for this, but we were committed because Henry expressed interest in riding it and he NEVER suggests deviations from my airtight amusement park agendas.

Agendae?

Agendi?

Agendas.

Also, some asshole kid behind me had NO concept of boundaries and his parents certainly didn’t care to teach him, so he kept jabbing me in the back with his faux-hawk so when it was our turn to ride, we waved smugly at Henry as our train departed the station and then I don’t remember a single thing about the ride because my little dickhead son pretended as though my phone fell out of his pocket and I didn’t know he was joking until the end of the ride so I spent the whole duration screaming ARE YOU SERIOUS until I eventually burst into tears.

Anyway, I think this ride awakened something inside Henry because, after that, he didn’t try to ride anything with us anymore – he just went and sat where ever he found an empty seat instead of trying to line up with whatever seat we were in line for.

Henry’s Journey To Independence.

Here’s our favorite manservant standing alone to ride Racer 75. He had some kind of camaraderie with the guys behind him and wouldn’t tell Chooch and me what was going on which I thought was rude and I hate it when Henry has interactions with people that don’t involve me. I monitor him pretty tightly and I need to know these things so that I can someday in the future twist them around into some accusatory pretzel of paranoia.

By the next day, he was fully emancipated from Chooch and me and rode Twisted Timbers once in a seat that we didn’t want him to sit in and then again on a train that we weren’t even on! HERE HE IS WITH HIS NEW FAMILY.

(Side note: the guy in front of him was the sweetest! He was talking to us when we waited for the  gates to open Sunday morning and has gotten Chooch all gung-ho about Planet Coaster, but true to dude-form, he was subtly condescending when we were talking about the new ride at Hershey and I said, “It’s called Candymonium” and he said, “Yeah…I’m not sure what it’s called” because I’m a GIRL and like most places in life outside of Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood, THERE IS LITTLE ROOM FOR BROADS IN THE COASTER COMMUNITY but that’s OK I’ll just surf my way out on a wave of testosterone.

Later, we rode Intimidator and Henry was like, “Deuces, you losers” as his train pulled out of the station while we were still in line for front row (the back is arguably the best row but you gotta sit in the front too at least once for the experience), leaving Chooch and me gaping in his wake. We were still in line when he got off the ride and he actually walked all the way around and got back into line, and even RAN when he realized that he could snag the seat behind Chooch and me right as the train was loading! HENRY IS BECOMING…SOMEONE WHO GETS EXCITED!

JANNA’S FUTURE HUSBAND

OK how to even start this story. Well, I guess it starts the same way they all do: I became obsessed with this one YouTube channel that features a group of guys who go to amusement parks and carnivals and vlog about it, but sometimes, the friend of one of the guys shows up and for some reason, I have really taken to him.

In an effort to keep my blog out of search engines, let’s just call him Fleece Radkins.

Now, Fleece sometimes shows up in the vlogs of his friend, Flint Yesvac. Their home parks are King’s Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and actually, one of the Busch Gardens vlogs was the first time I saw Fleece. I liked him because after every ride, he would stoically and confidently state, “That’s my favorite ride in the park.”

So then Janna was visiting one time and Chooch was like “JANNA WATCH ME PLAY FORTNITE CAN I HAVE YOUR GAMING COMPUTER” and I was like, “JANNA CHOOSE AN NCT127 BIAS AND WATCH THESE ROLLER COASTER VIDEOS!” so I showed her one of the vlogs that featured Fleece and yelled, “ISN’T HE FUNNY” and she was like, “I guess?” and I was like, “OMG JANNA LIKES FLEECE!” and then Chooch abandoned Fortnight in an effort to help me harangue Janna mercilessly like any other Saturday night in Hell House and we decided that we needed to hook them up.

So the first step, naturally, was to find him on Instagram. I did, but his profile is private and he doesn’t have a lot of friends so I didn’t want to request him.

“I feel like he’s much too young, though!” Janna pointed out, which means that she was at least considering it.

Anyway, on our first day at King’s Dominion, we were walking to Grizzly when Henry casually asked, “Hey, wasn’t that one of the guys in those videos you watch?” and I was like, “Huh? Who? Where? Why?” because I am the most unalert when it comes to other people while I’m walking. I mostly keep my eyes on the ground so that I don’t trip.

However, when I turned around to look, even from the back and with eyes as jacked as mine (and I do not mean jacked as in muscular, my eyes are basically saggy orbs that are close to serving as just facial decoration) I recognized one of the passersby as FLEECE RADKINS.

“Holy shit!” I screeched to Chooch, and we were frozen, watching him walk away with his group of friends.

“Was it really him?” Chooch asked, and there was only one way to find out: CHASE HIM SUPER STEALTHILY AND STARE AT HIS FACE FROM CLOSE RANGE.

We caught up with him just as he walked up to the Wayside Grill, so I stood right next to him and said, “HMMM, LOOKING AT THE MENU” while,  you know, looking at the menu. Then Fleece walked away and sat down on a wall while his friends stayed in line, and at that point, I was 99.9% confident that it was him so I made Chooch pose for a fake picture.

FLEECE RADKINS, ladies and gentlemen!

I sent the picture to Janna.

She was a bit less enthused than I expected her to be. I guess I wanted her to be upset that she wasn’t there but she seemed pretty flippant about it, what a bitch!

YOU GUYS, TWO HOURS LATER, WE SAW HIM AGAIN IN THE SAME SPOT!!

Henry didn’t know that Fleece was behind him, so Chooch ran up to Henry and whisper-screamed, “DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU BUT FLEECE RADKINS IS RIGHT THERE” and I was standing behind Fleece close enough to see that Fleece’s eyes were honed in right on Chooch and he totally had to have known that he was the subject of their DON’T TURN AROUND conversation.

I never did approach the guy because he’s not even a part of that YouTube channel, he’s just kind of like an occasional tag-alonger so I would have felt uncomfortable being like, “HEY I HAVE SEEN YOU IN THREE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE AND I HAVE CLEARLY WATCHED THOSE THREE VIDEOS ENOUGH TIMES FOR EVEN MY BOYFRIEND WHO ONLY HALF-WATCHES THE VIDEOS TO RECOGNIZE YOU CAN I GET A SELFIE?”

Yeah, no thanks.

Back at work (a/k/a The Place Without Roller Coasters), Glenn thought this was such a great story that he made me tell it in our weekly meeting and absolutely no one was shocked that I was stalking some guy that I kind of know from 3 YouTube videos. So, your typical Tuesday meeting.

Oct 212019
 

We’re* on this quest to get Chooch to hit the 100 coaster milestone by the end of the year because I love living my life like a rabbit in a perpetual chase with a carrot on a string so I always need some type of inane goal to strive for — and now I’m dragging Chooch down into my, well, rabbit hole with all the strung-up carrot medals I’ve caught over my lifetime.

*(And just so you know, that “we’re” up there does not even remotely include Henry.)

It’s really cute though because Chooch has a legit Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the coasters he’s ridden, and we’re all nerdy about manufacturers and all that extraneous information that normal people don’t give a shit about. Additionally, Chooch has quickly learned the nightmare that is Excel, so welcome to the club, sonny boy!

So what happened was: two weeks ago, Chooch off-handedly mentioned that he didn’t have piano lessons that coming Sunday, and I didn’t have my language exchange hang-out that Saturday, which meant: FREE WEEKEND! Not that either of those things are drags, but since we didn’t have any obligations, I yelled, “WE SHOULD GO SOMEWHERE!” *looked at list of Cedar Fair parks within driving distance* “LET’S GO TO KING’S DOMINION!”

Henry was very “…………………” about this impromptu plan, and then used his frown as a jump rope when I said, “I’ll help you drive” because he knows THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN. How can I liveblog or look for the faces of Kpop idols in the clouds if I’m stuck behind the steering wheel?! But then he eventually came around because he wants nothing more than to see his precious family happy. LOL, also he’s afraid of us.

Anyway, we had a wonderful weekend at King’s Dominion! Buying those Cedar Fair Platinum Passes was the best idea ever and I’m so glad it was mine (sike, it was actually Henry’s if you can believe it). Here are some pictures of the scenery and our dumb mugs! Ride recap will be separate.

I was obsessed with the fake chandeliers hanging from the fake Eiffel Tower so I took a picture of it pretty much every time we walk by.

Don’t mind me.

Coasterhead sefie. I think this was when Henry was in the bathroom because he immediately had to pee as soon as we got there which was annoying since we hate waiting for him.

It was such a beautiful day! The temperature was perfect pumpkin patch autumn degrees, whatever that would be. High 60s? Sure! Let’s go with that.

So, King’s Dominion is the sister park to King’s Island, but I thought this one was much prettier. Maybe it was the heavy Halloween-vibes that helped but it was just a really pleasant atmosphere. Also, Virginians are grossly nice so that really added…something.

CANDY APPLE GROVE! How fucking adorable. I love apples and I love candy but I do not love candy apples. However, this area of the park was just too precious, even with all the killer clown shit set up.

(Clowns don’t scare me, sorry!)

This area was really cool at night.

Unlike Cedar Point though, their Halloween soundtrack was NOT great. I’ll let that slide though because I’m feeling generous.

“Stand over there by the cartoon penises, Son.”

I mean, “mushrooms.”

After this picture was taken, I mentioned that we had basically gone all day without fighting but then Chooch was like, “You and dad literally fought the moment we got here” and that wasn’t a real fight, that was just me talking to Henry in the tone that I always talk to him with: exasperation in a coat of disgust topped with a beret of repulsion.

But honestly, it was because he took a dumb picture that I didn’t like so I had to take some time out of the day to berate him. It wasn’t a fight!

You would think that the combination of haunted houses and amusement parks would be like the ultimate October orgasm for me but honestly, when I’m at these parks, the rides win out! I do enjoy experiencing the foggy atmosphere at night though, but not enough to wait in 2-hour lines for so-so haunts. I’m really picky when it comes to haunted houses!

I do wish that the line for the antique cars wasn’t a billion years long though because they had actual scare actors along the track!

Chooch wasn’t impressed with Grizzly the coaster but he loved Grizzly the Stuffed Bear in the gift shop and demanded that I take his picture even though I was trying to hide from Henry, but whatever.

Ugh, I love it.

LOL hey look who’s back.

Some weird musical performance called Heads Will Roll which was cool for a second but then felt a bit too High School Musical for me and I realized that I was wasting precious rollercoaster-riding time standing there.

Oh snap, I forgot that I got mad at Henry here too for not being able to take pictures in the dark.

Me firing off death threats at Henry through gritted teeth.

OH HELLO AGAIN. I loved how sinister it looked at night!

DAY TWO

WE WERE THE FIRST ONES IN THE PARK!

Waiting for one of the sections to open so we could not-run to Twisted Timbers. There’s a “no running” policy at King’s Dominion and people ACTUALLY OBEY IT!? Chooch and I actually got yelled at by a janitor when we were fast-skipping to the Bad Apple ride.

“No running,” she mumbled so we slowed to a walk for a second until she was past us and then continued running because we’re hoodlums.

I don’t why but this picture makes me laugh because we look like robots that just had their batteries die.

I LOVED THIS PARK SO MUCH.

“So, if you lean, you automatically win?” Chooch mused out loud when we walked past this game.

“What?” I asked, trying to figure out how he got that misinformation.

“Like, if I just go over there and lean over the side, I’ll win?” he asked.

“No!” I laughed. “Is that what you think ‘forfeits’ means?!”

WHY IS MY KID SO SMART YET SO DUMB.

That clown in the white dress on the see-saw looks just like some bitch I went to school with.

On Day One, Henry was wearing one of his super ugly Rip-It work shirts and I was so embarrassed. On Day Two, he wore a plain blue long-sleeved shirt, Michael Myers-approved, so I was much less embarrassed to be seen with him.

Had to make time for our traditional carousel ride.

I don’t know how this started, taking family portraits on carousels, but I think it’s so much fun and I’m glad that we do it!

I only started riding carousels a few years ago because I’ve always had a fear of getting stuck on the horses. In fact, when we went to Dollywood in 2011, I was paralyzed with fear when the ride stopped and Henry had to practically pull me off the horse. I honestly thought I was going to fall off on my head.

We get along sometimes.

What a great weekend! I’ll be back with more pictures of some coasters and some highlights but honestly, aside for ridiculous food prices (I had a garden salad at one of the pizza places that cost $12 and it was the same kind that Henry buys me at Aldi’s for $3), I have no complaints about this park. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to go back next summer too!

A few days later, I tried to gaslight Henry into thinking that I drove home for an hour that day and he was like, “…..no you didn’t” and I said, “Yeah, I did, you just don’t remember because you were sleeping in the passenger seat” and I think he actually started to believe me for a split second but then came to his senses.

Oct 162019
 

Hello and welcome to my love story about Millie and Steve, two rollercoasters that the general public may know as Millennium Force and Steel Vengeance. I will try to keep this PG, only because I couldn’t get Fabio to pose for the cover.

I’ve always been super into amusement parks (and county fairs until I almost died at one) but even though I like roller coasters, I never really considered myself an ENTHUSIAST. Then I rode T-Express at Korea’s Everland and, for a wooden coaster, that thing impressed me more than any crazy-ass steel multi-inversion Jojo-rolled contraption ever has. It made me want to seek out other crazy wooden coasters, because up until then I equated wooden coasters with rickety old back-breakers. I started binge-watching rollercoaster videos on YouTube, becoming more and more obsessed. That’s how I started learning about the different manufacturers, but the one that stuck out the most to me was Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC). I was fascinated by the way they take old, rough woodies and refurbish them into these head-spinning feats of engineering magic. The first one I got to ride was Lightning Rod at Dollywood and it was a game changer for me, I have been on a mission ever since to ride all of the RMCs. I am an RMC fan girl all the way.

Look. When I find something that I like, I don’t just LIKE IT: I LIVE IT, I BREATHE IT, I DREAM IT. And, I watch YouTube videos until my Roku crashes, I read Wikipedia and personal blogs, I search Instagram hashtags, I adjust our budget so we can do weekend amusement park road trips (STOP GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE, HENRY – WE DON’T NEED FOOD WE NEED COASTER CREDITS. THIS IS THE GREATEST DIET EVER). It becomes my driving force, the thing that gets me through the work week and gives me something to anticipate.

I never had much of a burning desire to go to Cedar Point until last year, when RMC refurbished the old Mean Streak into Steel Vengeance. So when we finally went a few weeks ago, I was practically salivating on myself at the thought of riding this bad boy.

Because this coaster is still new-ish and world class to those who know some things about the coaster scene, the line for this was between 90-250 minutes all weekend. We kept putting it off and putting it off, but finally, around 8:00pm on our first day there, I told Chooch, “Look, if we want a night ride on this bad boy, it’s now or never, bud.”

I think it said it was an 80 minute wait when we got in line, because by that point, all the haunt attractions had opened so most of the people in the park were in line for those things. Well, 80 minutes was a lie. They must have changed the sign to 120 minutes as soon as we walked past, because we stood in that queue—which winds around underneath the tracks so you’re like, majorly cut off from the rest of civilization when you’re in that line—for so long that I started to forget what Henry looked like (he opted out) which is either good or bad depending on what kind of day I’m having when you ask me.

Luckily, they have TVs in the line, so we got to watch clips of horror movies, fight with each other over trivia, and watch random music videos while eavesdropping on people around us playing Heads Up (this one girl was SO LOUD and also extremely stupid—some of the things she couldn’t figure out were maddening to us bystanders). There was a mom in front of us with her elementary school-age son and an older boy who I think was in college and also may be have been a Spanish exchange student? Look, we had a lot of time to spy on people.

So yeah, after standing in line for…I lost track but I want to say it was about 90 minutes, then it happened.

I will never forget it because we had made it to the last part of the serpentine path, all the twisty-windy parts of the queue were behind us, and we were finally on the lone path to the station. (Granted, that lone path still had some turns, a metal detector, and steps, but still!) We were standing right next to the giant billboard that had the Steel Vengeance character on it along with all the record-breaking stats.

This is where we were standing when the dreaded THIS RIDE IS CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE announcement came out of some hidden hell-speakers and we could barely hear it over the loud roar of idle conversation around us, but it didn’t matter because we KNEW.

“Huh, that train didn’t have anyone in it,” the guy behind us noted as an empty train soared past us. We were in the part of the line now that had an excellent view of the first drop.

Yeah no shit asshole, if you would stop talking about dumb video games for a second, you’d have heard the announcement! As people finally started to figure out what was going on, a small exodus happened and because of this, we kept moving further up in line.

Chooch and I kept waiting for the other to cry uncle and suggest to leave the line, because neither of us wanted to make that call. All I kept thinking was that it would be our luck that it would start running again after we got out of line.

Long story short (LOL yeah like my stories are ever short), we opted to stay in line and after about 30-45 minutes, the damn thing started running again and everyone cheered and fuck if it didn’t feel like we were REALLY A PART OF SOMETHING, you know? Like, the Donner Party.

No, not the Donner Party.

Maybe a hostage situation, though. But then the hostage guy ends up having a squirt gun so we can all laugh about it later as the popo haul his soiled ass away.

Something like that.

Anyway, we rationalized that we had moved up in line just as far as we would have if the ride hadn’t broken down, so it was all the same, really.

The ride attendant at the top of the steps was assigning people seats but we thought, Look, we stood in line for this long, what would it hurt to just ask if we could snag the back row?

So we asked.

And the broad was all, “Eh, sure go ahead.”

And we had the most epic, glorious, whirlwind night ride on what is now my TOP ROLLERCOASTER BAE OF ALL TIME. I’m not even going to try and describe it other than it whips you around with ungodly force and everything happens so fast that you can’t even wrap your mind around the logistics of it and then when you think you’ve gotten your bearings, you’re suddenly being lurched through an inversion that makes you feel like dish water being sucked down a drain, and then suddenly you’re back in the station, fingerbrushing knots out of your hair and looking at your riding companion like, “IS MY FACE IN ONE PIECE!?”

Chooch actually ran his hands through his hair and made this wild-eyed I’VE HAD AN EPIPHANY expression like he was about to convert to the Kabbalah or some shit, and honestly, I personally nearly wept.

It was that good.

I felt like Steel Vengeance had actually rescued me from a burning building or something and then, oh god, oh no, was I getting a crush on Steve?!

Meanwhile, Henry was sleeping on a bench like a regular old back-alley wino, just kidding, he was actually awake and not at all concerned even though we had been missing in action for two and a half hours and he had our phones so we had no way of telling him what was happening, but since this was Cedar Point, he assumed that the ride had broken down because that’s what rides do at Cedar Point. So I guess he probably just ate a bunch of soft pretzels and scrolled through Reddit on his phone, because somewhere along the way I didn’t pay enough attention to him and he turned into the type of person who loses himself in asinine threads of Internet memes. Coo-coo-cool.

We were just like, “O-M-G YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW FUCKING SICKENING THIS RIDE IS, HENRY! YOU MISSED OUT BIG TIME! GOOD LUCK SLEEPING IN THAT BED OF REGRET TODAY!”

The next day, Henry wanted to see if Steve was all that we made it out to be, but as you might be aware, our plans of getting in a morning ride on this bad boy before the crowds rushed in was dashed when Steve was closed during early entry.

And then he proceeded to be down for most of the day it seemed. We kept tracking him through the Cedar Point app and sprinted over to him as soon as the status changed to “open.” It said that the standby time was 45 minutes.

LIES. LIES LIES LIES.

We 100% stood in line for nearly as long as Chooch and I did the night before. This time, right as we shuffled past the Steve billboard thing, an announcement came on.

WE FROZE.

But it turned out that it was just a “slight delay” while they added another train.

We exhaled.

Not more than 10 minutes later, another announcement cut through the gaggles of groups engrossed in Heads Up and the weird mom and son who were arguing with each other the entire time they were in line.

IT WAS FUCKING DOWN AGAIN.

“You have to be fucking kidding me!” I cried dramatically. I could actually feel the synapses firing inside me and I imagined peeling my skin off and shooting into the air using nothing but the sheer force of my anger.

“You guys can leave, you’ve already ridden it,” Henry said calmly, but I noted a twitch in his ‘stache. “I’m invested at this point.”

Well, I wasn’t leaving! I had major FOMO just thinking about Henry riding Steve without me. So we all opted to stay in line. People started exiting in small waves. A ride attendant walked past us, en route to the entrance where a CLOSED sign needed to be erected (lol). “Just so you know, this isn’t just a small problem,” he monotoned to everyone within earshot. “It’s probably going to be at least an hour.”

We all exchanged looks. Even more people left, so we moved up significantly in line and shrugged.

Henry and Chooch argued about every single thing.

Arguing.

But then, less than 30 minutes later, they sent a test train. Everyone cheered. Then, they sent a fully-loaded train, and everyone REALLY CHEERED. The line started moving for real. Of course, they opened the Fast Lane right so loads of people filed through on that side and I was SO PISSED because the rest of us had demonstrated extreme levels of patience and endurance by waiting this out and Cedar Point could have rewarded us by at least keeping that line closed off for a few more minutes, goddammit.

I have never been the type of person who would stand in line for THAT LONG for a RIDE so I must really be thirsty for Steve and his wood. Henry and I snagged the back seat and as we buckled ourselves in, I yelled, “YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THIS!” and he was just like, “WE WILL SEE ABOUT THAT” because Henry does not know how to have fun or display any sort of emotion aside from exhaustion, irritation, and disgust. Maybe envy whenever he sees someone wearing a better beverage t-shirt that him.

But when we hit the midcourse break run, he looked at me and mouthed, “WHAT THE FUCK” and I was like, “RIGHT?!!!?” Holy shit, this ride. It’s everything. I was so fucking annoyed every other hour during our weekend at Cedar Point, but THIS RIDE was redemption. I would go back to Cedar Point every fucking weekend and be jerked around by the shitty operations if I knew I could ride this at least once each time.

It’s that good.

It’s world class.

There is a reason why so many of the experts and enthusiasts rank this as #1.

I AM TEARING UP JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU, STEVE. WAIT FOR ME! I’LL BE BACK.

Meanwhile, Chooch’s favorite ride that weekend was actually Millie, a/k/a Millennium Force, though he said it was difficult to choose between the two. The first time we rode Millie, on our first day at Cedar Point, we had the back row and I experienced a pretty good greyout, to the point where I ran down the exit ramp in search of Henry, who had ridden on the train before ours, just to excitedly scream, “I GREYED OUT, DUDE!!!”

I have never greyed out on a ride before, and it was so awesome!

Millie is pretty fucking beautiful. My favorite things about her, aside from that wicked first drop, was the cool 1970s space-y soundtrack that plays in the station, and the killer views of Lake Erie that the lift hill offers. Honestly, for as many times as that park let me down that weekend, I can’t deny that the atmosphere is unbeatable. I mean, it’s not at DisneySea’s level of beauty, but it is pretty fucking close. Oh, and the ride operators on Millie were phenomenal. They were entertaining (on our second ride, one of the operators asked, “Who knows the manufacturer of this ride?” and Chooch and I screamed, “INTAMIN!” before anyone else could answer even though we knew there wasn’t a prize but we were born to be first, OK; the ride operator was like, “FRONT ROW GOT IT!” and we rode that wave for a good 45 minutes) and super efficient. They had three train ops down to a science.

Chooch and I had a good ride in the front row on our second day, but I think I preferred the back. We are definitely backseat riders for the most part, on most coasters, but I do really love front row at night. We unfortunately didn’t get any night rides on Millie, so clearly we have to go back at some point. Like, this weekend. OK, probably not this weekend. I think Henry will murder me with his eyeballs if I even ask, lol.

I think I actually might be in love with Steve. Sorry, Henry.

Chooch just ran by and I said, “Chooch is there anything you want to say about Millie?” and he said, “Uh yes!” in a way that I expected a saccharine sonnet to come wisping out of his mouth, but instead all he said was, “It was good.”

WOW. Just so you know, he teared up looking at it from the car window when we drove away, so.

Oct 112019
 

The title of this blog post was Chooch’s idea and he was so pleased with himself when he came up with it. “Get it? Because it has two meanings?!” Yes, Chooch. We get it.

I woke up that Sunday ready to go with my G-Dragon shirt. My only goal for the day was to get one more ride in on Steel Vengeance, so we strategically parked in a different lot by the water park, which is near an entrance to the park that’s closest Steel Vengeance.

We arrived a bit after 9, so we had some time to look at the lake. Chooch found some little yellow Nerf ball thing in the sand and, I don’t know, imprinted on it or something, and that motherfucker stayed with him ALL DAY LONG. Which wouldn’t have been a problem if he kept it in his pocket but HE HAD TO FUCK AROUND WITH IT IN EVERY LINE WE STOOD IN and the number of times he dropped it was staggering. At one point, I hissed, “If that fucking thing rolls onto the track, the whole goddamn ride is going to shut down and everyone is going to hate you, me most of all!”

Wish a seagull would have swooped down and pecked it out of his hand.

After this, we got in the short line at the entrance. They had us spread us into four lines, and we were in a line behind a family. I was fucking READY TO GO. The pee-jigs were imminent. My pulse was steadily increasing.

After passing through security, we made it to the early entrance and we were IN FRONT FOR THIS. More and more people kept arriving though and the line was getting jacked, but I was like, “BITCH YOU’LL HAVE TO STAB ME DEAD STEP OVER MY LIFELESS BODY TO GET IN FRONT OF ME.” My feet were PLANTED. I had to endure some jackhole nastily snorting and sniffling, but I was like, “YOU GOT THIS ERIN. THIS IS WHAT YOU TRAINED FOR” and when they finally pulled aside the gates, the Running of the Bulls commenced and I am PROUD TO SAY that I was the only broad among a gaggle of coaster bros running like maniacs toward Steel Vengeance and I held my own. Even Chooch eventually fell back a bit, and Henry didn’t run AT ALL. But I was like, “I WILL NOT GIVE UP” and then I started laughing because, as I mentioned in my last post, my co-worker was running a 10K that day, and I GUESS I WAS RUNNING SOME TYPE OF A K TOO.

I don’t know what the actual distance was, but it wasn’t short and sweet. So when I finally reached the area of Steel Vengeance and saw the Cedar Park girl sitting in a chair and holding a sign that said DELAYED FOR MAINTENANCE, I literally felt sparks shooting out of my ears.

WHAT THE FUCKKKKKKK?!!?!? It was me and a bunch of dudes, pacing in a circle with our hands on our heads, screaming.

OK, Plan B – Maverick, which is Steel Vengeance’s neighbor.

SAME!!!!

FUCK YOU, CEDAR POINT!!! WHAT THE FUCK?!!?!?!? By now, Henry and Chooch had caught up and I flipped out. “This park FUCKING SUCKS!” I screamed. “I HATE IT HERE!” and I felt validated in my feelings because literally everyone around me was shouting the same thing so take that, Roller Coaster Capital of America. Pfft.

Before I publicly bitched about this though, I checked social media. “I’m going to feel like a fucking asshole if they said it wasn’t going to be available for Early Entry,” I said, even though we checked their website for the list numerous times before leaving that morning.

Oh, they posted alright.

TWELVE MINUTES AFTER EARLY ENTRY STARTED!

We were already en route to Millennium Force by then. I was so pissed because Chooch and I wanted to run to it but Henry wouldn’t run with us, so I started calling him Deadweight Dad and he was like, “FUCK YOU, GO BY YOURSELVES NEXT TIME!” I mean, we might as well!

He didn’t want to ride Valravn so I was like, “Take pictures of us on it” and he did pictures of the WRONG TRAIN so good job, Deadweight Dad.

WE’RE NOT ON THIS!!!

He was too busy taking selfies on my phone!!

Then we got off Valravn, which was just OK and I’m glad that the line was only about 30 instead of the 60 minutes that the standby time was posted at and also broke down literally RIGHT WHEN WE WERE WALKING DOWN THE EXIT RAMP (I like Griffin at Busch Gardens Williamsburg better), AND HENRY WAS GONE! He had our phones so we couldn’t check the app to determine were to go next and we were stuck standing in the middle of the walkway like two lost puppies and I was SO ANGRY when I eventually saw him meandering over to us from a distance.

“I had to go to the bathroom,” he shrugged. OMG DO THAT ON YOUR OWN TIME!!

Then he did it again when we were on Raptor (it was a walk-on!!). We got off the ride and he was gone for EVEN LONGER THIS TIME. I was fuming. Five minutes later, he came strolling over to us with a big fat sugar cookie, which I wrenched from his paws and took a huge, greedy bite because that’s what he gets for deserting us and not bring anything back for us!

OK, I got all the complaining out of the way. The rest of the day (save for ANOTHER Steel Vengeance break-down) was actually pretty fucking great. We were able to get a bunch of coaster creds in spite of half the park being broke down at any given point during the weekend (Gatekeeper was actually down for pretty much the whole day). The only coasters we didn’t get to ride were Maverick (this is the only one I was really bummed about), Blue Streak, Iron Dragon, and the two kiddie coasters (they count as credits so we ride them, shuttup!).

Dumb me and Deadweight Dad.

I wanted to go back to wherever Henry got that glorious hunk of a sugar cookie because I wanted my own, but instead I opted for this iced candy corn sugar cookie which was OK but not as good as that original one, I always choose poorly! I think the process of buying cookies was just as frustrating as trying to ride a damn ride in that park. There were what seemed to be enough people working there, but there was NO ORGANIZATION and people just entered the line form whatever end they felt like it and we kept getting skipped over and then someone finally helped us and left our stuff next to the register and that was another whole process of trying to flag someone down to just ring up our fucking cookies already WE WERE RUNNING OUT OF TIME AND I WANTED TO RIDE MORE THINGS BEFORE WE HAD TO LEAVE, GOOD GOD PEOPLE RING A BITCH UP!

This derby-esque carousel ride is one of the few memories I have of previous trips to Cedar Point. I remember the first time I rode it as a kid, I thought it was just a regular carousel and was completely startled at how fast it actually goes.

Chooch accumulated a fork at the cookie place after asking to try a sample of fudge, so now his stupid yellow Nerf ball thing had a friend.

Anyway, I’m obsessed with collecting family carousel photos now, lol.

Broke-down Gatekeeper.

I had to laugh because when we decided to go to Cedar Point, I distinctly remember saying, “Oh and since we have passes and can go back whenever, we can just take it easy and enjoy ourselves without rushing around trying to fit everything in.”

You guys, have you met me, though? This is the complete opposite of what happened. From the moment we parked the car, I was in RACING MODE. Adrenaline was already pumping, my arms were akimbo so I’d be ready to elbow linejumpers (there were A LOT OF THEM at Cedar Point), and I kept screaming WHERE IS THE MAP?!?! I live everyday like I’m on an episode of Amazing Race (if I were actually on that show, I would probably have a stroke during the first challenge because my entire body consists of nerves, impatience, and competitiveness). There was no way I was going to stroll about this park beneath a lace parasol, stopping to sniff the Halloween gourds.

Sigh. It’s not easy being me.

Henry was concerned about how wasteful this was and probably started dreaming about all the soups and purees he could make with Cedar Point’s October decor.

Henry makes some REALLY GOOD SOUPS, you guys. I once tried to get him to open up a soup stand in our front. He could refurbish one of Crazy Larry’s dead cars into a walk-up immobile food-truck type thing. Daily vegan options, too!  Buy a serial killer greeting card while you’re here!

If it weren’t for Steel Vengeance and a small handful of others (Millennium Force and Magnum, and probably Maverick if I had had a chance to ride it), I’m not sure I’d be in much of a hurry to go back. I’m about to start gushing about Steel Vengeance but I will stop myself here because as I mentioned before I want to have a separate post for that and Millennium Force, which were the two main highlights of an otherwise up-and-down experience.

I have to say though, for as many frustrating moments that the weekend held for us, I still left this park anxious to come back because of the aforementioned short-list of perfect rides and also being next to the lake was so scenic and those views from the coasters were breathtaking. The whole experience felt like being in an abusive relationship, though! All it took was one ride on Steel Vengeance and I magically forgot about all the shittiness that this park had delivered prior to that. I can’t hate you, Cedar Point.

Oct 102019
 

I was looking forward to our Cedar Point weekend for, well, two weeks because that’s all the advanced planning we did with this one. Typically, I would NOT go to a park of this caliber on a weekend, let alone during a holiday event, but we purchased Cedar Fair platinum passes for the 2020 season and they’re available to use for the remainder of the 2019 season too. You have to go to one of the parks to get the physical cards and CP is only 3 hours away so we figured why not just go, make a weekend of it, and even if it’s super crowded, we can just go back whenever we want since we have the passes (which includes free parking and early entry too!).

I was fully anticipating a park at capacity but look, we’ve been to three Asian theme parks at this point and you do not know the true meaning of “park at capacity” until then let me tell you. I mean, a three hour wait for the Viking ship at Lotte World is next level.

And that was just on a random Monday!

Fair warning: my moods swung faster than any of the pendulum rides there that weekend, but I didn’t want this blog post to be all stabby & crabby so I waited a bit to sit down and collect my thoughts, and I realized that the good outweighed the bad and I’m already jonesin’ for a return trip!

Instead of dwelling on the negative, I’ll just get it over with before diving into the pictures and good times: rides were breaking down left and right all weekend long, starting with the very first one we were in line for! Look, I understand that it was late in the seasons, the rides were tired, the mechanics of modern rides are so computer-driven that the slightest deviation will shut down operations — I APPRECIATE THIS BECAUSE “SAFETY FIRST” AMIRITE? But when it happened 5 times to us on the first day (Maverick, Blue Streak, Magnum, Gatekeeper, Steel Vengeance), it was just very frustrating. I didn’t have a problem with waiting in lines for these rides, but when I’m 45 – 60 minutes into it and that dreaded announcement comes on, go fuck yourself Cedar Point. A park of this size and stature better have maintenance men living in bunkers beneath all the rides, you know what I mean?

This place was operating like every pathetic piece of shit park I ever tried to construct on Roller Coaster Tycoon, where I spent the whole time picking up my maintenance guys and dropping them off on whatever ride was smoking at the time.

OK, there. It’s out of my system now. I had my hissy fit inside of the park too (Magnum went down while we were in the station and then two dumb bitch lesbians totally line-jumped and I tried to stop them but they were too busy jamming their hands into each others’ back pockets to care and the other people who got line-jumped were too engrossed in their phones to care and I just fucking lost it and left the line like a fucking toddler because that’s where I am emotionally these days. I’m waiting for my second serving of pureed peas, Henry) and so we left in the afternoon so I could cool off and come back down to earth with the stable people.

Here are some highlights from Day One though! (The two biggest highlights were Millennium Force & Steel Vengeance so I will sing my ode to them separately.)

A Korean food truck inside an amusement park, shut up and take Henry’s money.

Chooch and I both had the Tofu Cup and Henry ordered nothing because he knew he was going to have to eat our leftovers. I was so sure that I was going to finish all of mine though but as usual, eyes bigger than stomach, blah blah blah. Look, my lunch at DisneySea was definitely postcard-to-home worthy, but this was a real close second as far as amusement park lunches go. I was so content. (I mean, until right afterward when we were in line for Blue Streak and it broke down right when we were the next group to get into the station BUT I SAID I’M DONE COMPLAINING THOUGH.)

Chooch’s review: “The cabbage was surprisingly good.”

Before I threw a fit.

I took this picture while waiting for Henry and Chooch to catch up to me when I was storming out of the park, lol. God, I love being dramatic. If only everyone knew the real me haha.

We came to  the park around 6 that evening. These passes are great because you get free parking so leaving and coming back AIN’T NO THANG.

Except that now we had to park a trillion miles away but hey, we’re walkers so this was fine.

Now that I was calm and plied with pizza, I was able to really see this park. No, I mean, REALLY SEE IT. Like, it’s pretty fucking beautiful. Not DisneySea-levels of beauty, but fuck if Lake Erie doesn’t trick you into thinking you’re actually beachside. Like, with a real ocean. I always forget how great that lake is.

Chooch and I immediately into line for Gatekeeper, which was right, well, by the entrance gate, because the app said that the wait time was only like 30 minutes. I think it was actually less time than that, though.  Since Gatekeeper is a wing coaster, the line eventually splits so you can choose which side of the ride you want to sit on. Chooch was adamant about choosing the line that would put us on the lake side so he started to go to the left but I’m a Big Dumb and went to the right, thinking that it was the line that would put us closer to the lake since it was, well, closer to the lake, forgetting that the ride MAKES A TURN when it leaves the station.

So Chooch was correct and he cried out, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” and abandoned the left side to fetch me, but now it was too late because we were both in too deep in the non-lakeside line. Sorry bud.

Luckily, THE RIDE FUCKING BROKE DOWN as soon as we made it back to the break run, and now we WERE on the lakeside. So while we sat there, stranded, for 25 minutes, I leaned over and said, “There’s your fucking lakeside view, buddy. SOAK IT IN.”

Yep, we figured it was par for the course that we actually get stuck on a broke-down ride. I mean, the odds were in our favor at that point.

Meanwhile, Henry the Good Parent was on the ground somewhere, waiting for us. He said that he heard the THIS PIECE OF SHIT RIDE IS BROKE DOWN announcement ,he waited for us to come filing out of the line with all the other people and when he didn’t see us, that’s when he realized, “Oh shit, they’re on the ride.” LOL yep that was us, just restrained and hanging out against our will, while the sun was setting and the cool lake air was chilling us to the bones.

Nicholas, my favorite ride operator, came  to visit us several times to give us canned updates (“Sorry guys, we’re waiting on maintenance”) and basically take the wrath of angry park patrons while the other guys were inside the operations booth tossing a football back and forth. Assholes.

Nicholas was super nice though and I didn’t fault him for this at all. He was really scrambling out there, trying to make everyone happy. So definitely one of the things that helped balance out my disdain over the unpredictability of the rides was the friendliness of the staff. Visiting other parks as often as we do always makes the surliness/blankness/ambivalence of Kennywood employees so much more apparent. I love Kennywood, it’s my home park, but I really wish they had friendlier staff.

Henry took pictures with my phone while we were stuck on Gatekeeper.

Cool pic, Hank. I think we all know what the subject of this picture is

You would think that I would have been on the hunt for desks to flip by the time we were released from Gatekeeper, but I was just numb to it all by then so when Chooch was like, “CAN WE FINALLY GO ON SPAGHETTI NOODLE*???” I mumbled, “Sure why not.”

*(This is what he called Wicked Twister all weekend.)

The standby for this was only 5 minutes and we got front row.

Wicked Twister is an impulse coaster, the kind that launches you and sends you up a twisting track to the dark heavens, drops you back down so you’re flying backward into the station and then up the twisty track on the other side. It does this like three times and IT WAS TERRIFYING. I don’t usually get “scared” on roller coasters, but this one gave me fucking chills and I screamed like I was in labor. There was a guy behind us who laughed, “Damn, these bitches be SINGING!” and I fucking KNOW he was talking about me, lol.

Look at the dumb noodle fucker! I just shuddered at the memory.

We don’t normally go to amusement parks for the Halloween shit because I’d rather go to a regular haunted house, but even though we didn’t do any of the haunts here at Cedar Point because the lines were outrageous (we expected that though!), it was still a lot of fun being there at night with all the creepy displays and fog. Plus, they were playing REALLY DOPE music too, like shit from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Midnight Syndicate was even performing there! EVERYONE KNOWS THEY MAKE THE BEST HAUNTED HOUSE SCORES.

And I heard two different Cure songs too while we were there. Cedar Point, you killed it in the ambiance department. Mwah!

And now you have to imagine three hours of nothingness because that would have been the time we were in line for Steel Vengeance. YES IT BROKE DOWN WHILE WE WERE IN LINE. But, Steel Vengeance will get his time to shine in a separate post, as I said before. Ahem.

The rest of the night, what we had left after the Steel Vengeance time-suck that is, was spent giddily riding Magnum twice (I forgot how phenomenal this coaster is, it’s been so long since I last rode it!) and SCREAMING at how creepy/awesome the lake looked from that ride at night, dragging Henry on Gemini where he tripped and fell getting into the seat and hurt his back and leg and made sure we didn’t forget about it for the rest of the weekend (#HenrytheMartyr), and then even got a last minute ride on Top Thrill Dragster! (I hate that name so much.)

This ride usually has enormous lines all day, but we were walking past it on our way out at 11:30 and it said it was only a 30 minute wait. The employee at the ride entrance said that as long as we were in line, we’d get to ride it even if it was past the park’s midnight curfew. So we were like, “Well shit, yeah!”

And the line ended up only being about 15 minutes long!

And then we were on it, listening to the damn thing revving, and suddenly I was like, “HOLY SHIT WAIT LET ME OFF I CHANGED MY MI———————————————————————————————nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd” as we were launched 120mph in 12 seconds.

Yeah, this was also something I’d file under SCARY AF. The launch was so forceful that I couldn’t even scream and then I wondered, “If I piss myself, will it just get pushed back inside?” But the best part is that I spent so much time that day, every time we walked past, dwelling on the launch, fixating on it, letting it fester in my imagination, that I never even considered the second part of that fucking ride — coming down off that towering top hat. IT IS REALLY TALL AND YOU GO STRAIGHT UP AND THEN PLUMMET STRAIGHT DOWN THE OTHER SIDE.

It gave new meaning to the phrase “I was shook” that is FOR SURE. I couldn’t get my body to stop trembling after we got off this damn thing!

Oh yeah, Henry didn’t ride it. Apparently he was going to but he had to go put his MAN PURSE in a locker and we left him because we didn’t know he wanted to ride it with us LOLOL.

Now it was 11:59PM and we for sure were on our way out of the park, but one of the monsters of one of the haunts was all, “Hey, psst, you guys wanna come in here? You can be the last group of the night!” so we did and it was pretty cool but again, amusement park haunts tend to not scare me that much because it’s so big and commercial. It was still fun though! The scare actors did a good job for it being the end of the night.

I had to take a picture for my coworker who was running a 10K that weekend because that’s her last name and I was like “Hope this isn’t an omen!” She’s only been in our department for a few months but she has already learned that I’m kind of a jerk. She seems OK with it though.

We went back to our hotel room and fucking crashed after that. I was glad that the second half of the day picked up or I would have been so sad. But oh don’t worry because the next morning would change all that. Cedar Point was like surfing Sybil’s brain waves, I swear to god.

Sep 152019
 

Before I close the chapter on DisneySea, I just want to do a quick (lol yeah sure—nothing I do on here is quick) recap of some of the rides and the food we had!

I think we all agreed, hands down, that our favorite ride was Journey to the Center of the Earth. As a dark ride connoisseur and coaster enthusiast, I liked that this was a bit of an amalgamation of both.

As with every Disney park, the theming in the line was excelsior, so that was no big surprise. This was the first ride we rode that day so the standby line wasn’t outrageous yet.

I WAS SO EXCITED TO GO THROUGH THOSE DOORS!

My only beef with this ride was that it wasn’t long enough. And that’s just me being hard-pressed to find a complaint because, you know, balance or whatever!

Tower of Terror in Tokyo has a different storyline than the others, not that it matters too much because it’s all in Japanese! But we chose this Fast Pass over Toy Story Mania for that reason.

It’s funny, because I typically dislike drop towers and avoid them in every park, but I love Tower of Terror so much! And this one was just so much fun, mostly because we didn’t know what was going on!

It also pleased me that we were put in row 6 6 6, lol.

I love that Henry is blank while Chooch and I have the same squinty WTF expression. Also, I’m not used to being able to take pictures of the picture! Every other park is a BIG NO when it comes to that. But here, everyone just does it. It’s been a minute since I was at Disney World so I can’t remember if it’s like that there, too!?

I think 20,000 Leagues was the longest line we stood in (an hour? We rode it again later and the line was only about 20 minutes then!) but it was worth it and again, the crowds there were very mild and inoffensive so it never felt like being in prison, like how we often feel when we’re stuck in line for the Exterminator at Kennywood, having no choice but to inhale the farts of strangers and hear amplified Yinzer-speak in surround sound since that damn queue is indoors.

Henry smiled A LOT that day, and he really loved 20,000 Leagues. He was so excited when we got off the ride the first time because he wanted to know if Chooch and I spotted some shadow of a thing that was pushing our car through the water and we were like, “No, you lame-o” and acted like we didn’t care but then we had a secret conference outside of Henry’s super-limited range of hearing and decided we would have to ride it again to look for that.

Also, we didn’t know that we had a control in front of our seats that controlled a spotlight, but of course dumb Henry knew, so now we definitely had to ride it again.

Anyway, it was fun being at a park where Henry actually rode things! Usually he just “sits on a bench” and waits for us but what he really does is stocks up on soft pretzels without us so he doesn’t have to share. Rude ass.

I was obsessed with riding these boat-things all day! Apparently, it utilizes the same track design as Pooh’s Hunny Hut, if that matters to you.

Chooch and I rode it later in the evening, after getting in all of the big rides, and you have to choose between two different tracks—such pressure! I was mad because the one that Chooch chose for us didn’t seem like the best one, and then I was mad again because dumb Henry took a picture of us using his idiot phone which takes shitty photos.

I loved this ride because the ride attendant told me he liked my Oswald ears AND HE WAS REALLY CUTE TOO.

Everyone who works at DisneySea is just a brand new level of Happy, but you really have to expect that much from a Disney park. That’s one of things I appreciate about this brand is that, even if you’re not a big Disney aficionado like me (I haven’t cared about Disney movies/cartoons since the early 90s), the experience you get at the parks is so high-quality that the fact that you had to dip into the kid’s college fund to get there doesn’t even matter.

J/K, we didn’t dip into Chooch’s college fund.

He doesn’t even have a college fund.

HAHAHAHAugh.

The Aladdin area of the park was so beautiful, and Chooch and I definitely needed to ride the flying carpets.

If this was Kennywood, that would just be cement with weeds sprouting through the cracks, not a gorgeous fountain. (Sorry, Kennywood, but you know it’s true! You’re beautiful in other ways, but theming is not your forte.)

Again with Henry’s lame-ass phone.

Chooch and I rode this little kid Flounder coaster because we gotta get that coaster cred no matter what.

That brake run was rough, haha.

We also rode this adorable little ride but dumb Henry was too bust melting against a wall to take our picture like a good parent.

The carousel was in the Aladdin area too and it was delightful!

God only knows what I was jawing off about here, but it was wonderful to be in the shade!

Another family portrait on a carousel. We need an intervention.

Did you know that up until a few years ago, I had a huge fear of carousels because I have gotten stuck on the horses before? And by “gotten stuck” I mean that I am afraid of even the tiniest heights and have been actually too paralyzed by fear to attempt to slide off the damn thing and then Henry has to assist. But lately, I have been doing much better and I think that I almost cured.

I wanted to ride Tower of Terror again in the evening but those dumb asses were like 45 MINUTES STANDBY OMG THAT’S SO LONG because they’re spoiled.

We also rode some other kiddy rides, and we had Fast Passes for Indiana Jones and also Raging Spirits, which was the only ride that was a bit underwhelming for me. There were English-speaking people in line behind us and the one girl was freaking out because she had never ridden a roller coaster that went upside down and she was probably in her early 20s and for some reason this really lodged itself into my hippocampus and I still think about it occasionally.

It was OK! Not my favorite ride there, but still worth the ride.

Aside from Sinbad (it was closed for maintenance), we managed to ride all the main attractions on my list without wasting our lives in overwhelming queues or running around like maniacs, and I was extremely surprised. In my head, I had this day playing out to be full of stress, pushy people, more interfamilial hostility than Trump’s twitter feed, and hemorrhaging money.

But it was so peaceful and our walking-speed was more at a casual stroll after we nabbed that first Fast Pass. In fact, usually when we’re at an amusement park, we’re in such a hurry to get all the big rides in that we barely break to eat. But at DisneySea, not only did we have spare time, but the food was CHEAP! Now is the time in this blog post where we have a FOOD RECAP.

This adorable Donald Duck lifesaver was a savory bun stuffed with shrimp, and not just like, a measly wad of mushy shrimp paste, but this was loaded with hearty, meaty, shrimp.

These Toy Story mochi are pretty much the signature Tokyo Disney snack. Watch any YouTube video about this park and I guarantee they will make an appearance, and if they don’t, then that vlogger did it wrong.

You get three per order, one each of strawberry-filled, chocolate-filled, and vanilla custard-filled. They were so good and now I wish I had gone back for seconds because Henry and I shared an order while Chooch got his own. I have major regerts about that. I chose poorly. Stupid diet-brain.

However, I didn’t share my lunch with Henry! (Wait, shit, yes I did—my meal came with a side of potatoes and sausages and I gave him my sausages.)

We chose a place in the Arabian Coast port of call (which I have been consistently referring to as the Aladdin area) and I got this fucking fantastic udon lunch special. Anyway, I couldn’t believe how cheap it was for all three of us to eat there. I want to say it was about $30 as opposed to King’s Island where, even with one of us having a meal plan, it was like $60. Yikes.

Look at this gorgeous bowl! It was so filling and satisfying. Again, maybe DisneySea had the air poisoned with Positivity Pollution, but shit—at every turn, I felt like a kid being let out of the orphanage for the first time. I just kept saying, “This place is so great” over and over, while flowers sprouted out of all of my orifices.

Henry was like, “I’m going to buy this mango ice cream concoction for no reason other than I’m at Disney” and then Chooch was like, “I’ll take that, thanks.”

 

Shout out to the different popcorn vendors, happily churning out their wonderful smelling treats in every port of call! Each vendor had a different flavor (Chooch is on a major curry kick, so that’s the flavor we got). The caramel one, while not being the most exotic flavor, was definitely the most appealing one to me because that scent literally elevated the atmosphere in the entire area around it. I think it may have even borrowed one of those flying carpets to carry its sweet, buttery smell even further, because I kept catching whiffs of it all over the park. It was mesmerizing.

The curry flavor was great too! Really, the only one I wasn’t drawn to was the chocolate-covered variety because it was so hot that day and I couldn’t imagine eating melty popcorn with my hands. No.

And last but not least, we ate dinner at Zambini because Chooch saw it earlier in the day and totally latched on to it. We had pizza, and I demanded that we get both desserts on the menu, because each one came with a different limited edition souvenir thing, so now we have a little Pirate Summer plate and coffee cup. I’m pleased with this.

One more thing before I wrap this up: we went into pretty much every gift shop to search for Bambi shit for Chooch, and in the very last one we went inside, we finally found a Bambi shirt, and not only was it a nice design, it was only $20!! FOR A FUCKING DISNEY SHIRT.

I probably come across as some tight-wad coupon cutter, and I swear I’m not—I’m just accustomed to amusement park inflation and honestly we were prepared to really have to spend a lot of hard-earned Yen at DisneySea. Honestly, this day couldn’t have been any better! I am so glad that I campaigned so hard to have this added to my birthday vacation itinerary, because if you have to turn 40, you might as well soften the blow any way you can. And this definitely softened that blow. Disney is one of the few places on Earth where you can be a Forever Child!

Sep 142019
 

Friends, foes, family, foresters: I am here to tell you that I have nothing bad to say about DisneySea. Honestly. It was the one day from our vacation where we didn’t fight ONE SINGLE TIME. The park opened, we walked in, and it was like the air was being pumped with happy gas because even though it was 100 degrees, we genuinely liked each other that day.

We’re not Disney people but this park had a huge impact on us! And this might sound like a cop-out, but there is really no way I can illustrate just how magical this place is, aside from sharing photos. So let’s peruse my collection together, shall we?

DisneySea is built next to the Tokyo Bay and has seven themed “ports of call” areas. I’ve heard that this park is billed as the Disney for adults, and even though there is a huge (and BEAUTIFUL) indoor kids area, I can definitely see how this is true. There is one area that made me feel like I was in Cape May and I loved it which is hilarious because when I was a kid, we always took a day trip to Cape May during our Wildwood family vacations, and I was always so miserable about that. I hated Cape May as a kid! All my grandma wanted to do was shop and all I could think about was how I missing out on prime time riding rides on the boardwalk. (Morey’s Piers ftw.)

I mentioned in my last Tokyo post that DisneySea doesn’t use an app for Fast Pass, so when the gates opened, we had to walk-run (there are friendly Disney employees everywhere reminding you politely not to run and I already knew this from watching videos so I speed-walked like a good girl because maybe you don’t know this about me BUT I HATE BEING YELLED AT even if it’s someone just kindly reminding me not to do something I’m doing, I will take this and escalate it in my head and get totally butt-hurt and then I will keep replaying the moment until I’m convinced that I was yelled at.

I’m insane and my issues are plentiful.

Anyway, our plan was to pass up Toy Story because it’s identical to the one in the US, grab a Tower of Terror fast pass, and then speedwalk to Journey to the Center of the Earth for stand-by. This plan worked wonderfully!

Mysterious Island was amazing!! The theming blew us all away.

I was prepared for Journey’s line to be outrageous but stand-by was about 30-45 minutes! That ride was goddamn amazing but my favorite part was when Henry ripped his shorts when he was getting into the car!

(Unfortunetely, his rip wasn’t as disastrous as it could have been, and even though it was large, it was still unnoticeable. Ugh.)

I will have a separate post to talk about the rides and food, so let’s just keep looking at the glorious scenery, shall we?

Seriously, would you look at this area? I think we just ooh’d and ahh’d over everything for the first 8 hours of the day.

 

I’m not sure where all the people went that we saw when the park opened, because it didn’t seem very crowded that day. Don’t get me wrong, some of the bigger rides had really long standby wait times as the day went on (Toy Story and the brand new Soaring were basically big no’s if you didn’t have a fast pass, and we didn’t want a fast pass for any of them), but we weren’t fighting our way through hoards of people on the paths or in the restaurants. It was actually pretty weird.

And whenever we did have to stand in line, it was pleasant because people in Japan are polite and orderly. It really was like being in an Utopian amusement park.

Even though we were able to ride all the rides we wanted to, this park could still easily be a 2-day park, because there is so much to see and eat. The facades were so detailed and the shops in each port of call had different merch. Also, we didn’t see any of the shows because that’s not important to us, but if we had been there for a second day, I definitely would have penciled that in because this park inspired me to care about these things!

…and then we found out where all the people were, lol. There’s a big pirate show that happens several times in the main entrance area and people seemed to just loiter there all day.  Also, it was August 1st when we were there, and that was the day when the new theme and merch came out, so I think the enthusiasts were there just for that. We walked past a lot of people who were hanging out in that area with like 8 bags of merch!

Meanwhile, all I cared about was getting my ears (the process of choosing a pair is painstaking but I went with Oswald and Chooch got Dumbo ears and then instantly had reGERTS because it was, again, 100 degrees that day and now he was essentially wearing a terry-cloth headband, good job, dingus.

Venice Vibes, Very.

Basically just an excuse to sit down.

I wanted to jump into this water so badly that day. Did I mention it was 100 degrees?

Did I mention we were also in Japan?

You think you know humidity in America, but you don’t.

LOOK AT THIS CHILDREN’S AREA!!! It was inside Ariel’s Castle and majorly air-conditioned. We definitely took our good ol’ time strolling through this piece.

And the gift shop was inside a whale!

Again, I’m not a Disneyphile but shit, I wanted to buy everything I saw.

Pompously phallic.

In all serious though, I couldn’t stop ogling the majesty of this castle. The detail was sickening!

Halfway to heatstroke.

If you looked at those tiny tiles close up, you’d find little Mickey ears, Flounders, and other assorted hidden Disney sundry.

I can’t imagine standing before this and not being totally enchanted.

One of our many “should we jump” contemplations. Also, note that Chooch is wearing his Pie Jesus friendship bracelet!

Some areas of DisneySea are under construction and from what I understand, it’s in preparation for next summer’s Olympics. Getting a bit of a face lift, I guess! Some of the coaster enthusiasts I follow on YouTube were super annoyed about this when they visited a week before us, but it didn’t take very much away from our visit. If Journey to the Center of the Earth had been outright closed, then my tune would be very different!

Henry, reapplying sunscreen.

LOOK AT THIS VIEW! Also, that water was making me hallucinate. Or was it the sun. I don’t know, but I was feeling delirious.

(Don’t worry! We stayed hydrated all day and guess what? It was easy to do so because food and beverage prices were CHEAP there! I was shocked. I mostly kept refilling an empty bottle at various water fountains, but I did get tempted several times to partake in flavored drinks because, Tokyo. There was some fizzy grapefruit sports drink that was SO REFRESHING.)

You know a park is legit when even your kid keeps stopping to take in the views. I’m a very GO-GO-GO type of person at amusement parks, but this place made me want to slow down and relax.

My kimono-thing was protecting my skin big-time, yo.

Obsessed with this tree.

The theme for August was Pirates Summer and we were there for the first day of it, so that was pretty cool! I purposely ordered a dessert at one of the restaurants just so I could get a collectible plate, so I guess I’m a Disney person now.

This fountain is iconic because it’s the first thing you see when you walk through the entrance. Also, we tried to get Henry to buy a pair of ears but he is too much of a lamer, I guess. Now no one will believe that he actually had a good time!

Some Instagram models were doing an amateur photoshoot here so then we had to do one too.

Did I ever tell you about how Chooch despises Chip and Dale because they’re so much more popular than Bambi when it comes to Disney merch and sometimes, from afar, he will think he sees something Bambi-themed only to get closer and see that it’s Chip and Dale. So when he saw this Chip, or Dale?, at DisneySea, he had a moment of rage. I wanted him to get in line for a picture but he was like Chip (or Dale?) can go fuck himself.

(Personally, I love Chip & Dale. I had one of their videos in the 80s and it was the kind that came in the giant padded case. I watched it all the time!)

The Aladdin area was so beautiful, I could have cried.

But Mermaid’s Lagoon had my heart. Those under-the-sea aesthetics really snatched me, you guys.

I wanted Chooch to make friends with all these children but he was like, “I just want to touch the water, not make power moves.”

I’m such a Disney fraud that I didn’t even know who Duffy was until I started researching this park.

SHIT YOU GUYS. JUST OMG THESE LOOKS. If DisneySea was a kpop group, then Mermaid’s Lagoon would be the visuals.

Although the Arabian area wasn’t exactly horse face, either.

DisneySea at night is a big fat mood. My heart was actually fluttering.

We stayed until the park closed and yes, we were fucking BEAT but it was worth every second we were crucified by the sun.

I’ll have one more Disney post to recap some of the rides and foods, so look forward to that, or don’t!

****

Once we were off Disney-soil, Chooch and Henry were free to argue over directions and fare machines again, so that was fun.

Sep 112019
 

Chooch, on the balcony of our guest house, in his too-big house slippers.

On Thursday morning, the first day of August, we woke up disgustingly early (5:00am) to get a head start for DisneySea. This was the ONE THING in Japan I was fully educated on. I read blogs, websites, watched YouTube reviews and vlogs until I was navigating this place in my dreams.

This was also why I was so irritable the night before though — STRESS. Going to any Disney Park can be nerve wracking because you want to be able to do all the things and have a good time without worrying about huge crowds but hello, we picked the fucking summer to do this. I can’t help it that I’m a summer birthday baby!

DisneySea still uses the old Fast Pass system, where you have to go to each ride and scan your ticket in the Fast Pass machine and hope for the best. I was STRESSED ABOUT THIS! But even more stressed about the act of actually getting to the park, which involved two transfers and theoretically would take about 45 minutes. (According to Google.)

View from the balcony. I was obsessed with the neighborhood we were staying in and sad that we didn’t have more time.

The streets were pretty quiet when we left the Green Hotel to start our Disney Journey. We stopped at the closest convenience store on the way to the subway station to grab some breakfast to take with us. Some of the tips I read said to get to the park as early as possible, up to 2 hours because the gates open, and eat your breakfast in line with everyone else. I was already accustomed to eating samgak kimbap in Korea so I grabbed the Japanese equivalent  to this – what most of the world is more familiar with: onigiri. I didn’t even pay attention to what Henry and Chooch got because it was fucking way too early in the morning and I was a miserable cry baby about that, never mind that this was my idea!

I have to give Chooch credit – he is a real take-charge kind of guy. Me? I’m more of a stand-off-to-the-side-and-let-everyone-else-do-it kind of gal. Especially when it comes to directional things.

I kept yammering on social media about how this was the only day that we had zero fights but I forgot about the early-morning subway arguments between Henry and Chooch. These two just literally cannot ever be on the same page (of the map) and then Chooch supposedly found some better way to go and Henry was like NO THAT’S WRONG and Chooch was like YOU NEVER LISTEN TO  ME and then Henry was like FINE WE WILL DO IT YOUR WAY and I was like IF YOU TWO FUCK THIS UP FOR ME, YOU BETTER RUN RUN RUN.

Basically, we took the subway from Ueno to Somewhere??? Station, saw this display of Kewpie Dolls, walked to WHATEVERVILLE STATION, per Chooch’s directions, couldn’t find it, walked around in tiny circles while looking up at the sky, saw a sign that said the name of the station we were looking for but couldn’t find the entrance, started overturning rocks to see if the entrance was under there, had a fight, drew a station entrance with chalk because maybe magic was on our side, said YES!! when an older Japanese gentleman paused and asked, “Disney?” and then pointed to the half-hidden staircase that we never would have found without his help.

Thank god for Chooch’s Mickey Mouse shirt.

(Honestly, we couldn’t believe how hard it was to find this opening!! I’m not sure if this ended up being the way Chooch suggested, or Henry’s original plan, but whoever decided this was the way to go surely fucked up.)

From that point on, it was OK. We got tickets for the train to Maihama Station and when there was a split second where we weren’t sure which way to go to find the platform, a group of excited girls in matching clothes blew past us, so we just followed them.

The train ride to Maihama was pretty quick, maybe about 15-20 minutes, and as soon as we arrived, that’s when the real mayhem began because that station was FLOODED with Disney-goers. DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland are right next to each other, so this is the main station that park visitors need to get to in order to take the Disney shuttle to either park.

I was on pins and needles at this point! The anticipation! Wondering how crowded it was going to be! And if we would fight with each other all day! If this would end up being a big let down and a wasted day!

SO MANY UNKNOWNS! Traveling is such a gamble. Especially when you throw something like this into the mix.

The shuttle ops are on point at Disney, so we didn’t have to wait very long for the next one to arrive.

Henry originally got a seat, but then gave it up to an older woman who bowed profusely at him and I wanted to tell her not to waste her bows on that dummy but, you know, they’re her bows to give, I guess.

So then Henry had to stand and hold onto the Mickey Ears for the whole whopping 5 minutes we were on the shuttle.

It was 7am by the time we made it to the entrance and there were already dozens of lines snaking out from the front of the gates. We secured a spot and got as comfortable as we could under the scalp-melting 95 degree sun, and then Chooch OF COURSE got sunscreen in his eyes and we looked like we were That American Family whose kid even cries at Disney because he’s a spoiled American, and then he kept using Henry’s shirt to wipe his eyes and Henry was like, “EXCUSE ME DON’T GET MY GENERIC MIDDLE AGED MAN POLO SHIRT DIRTY WITH YOUR SUNSCREENED TEARS, THANK YOU” and I was just staring at the time on my phone wondering how we were going to survive for two hours without causing a scene, but THEN GUESS WHAT the park actually opened at 8am, not 9am like I thought, so we only had to stand in that (actually pretty calm and orderly) crowd for an hour!

THIS IS THE FIRST THING YOU SEE WHEN YOU ENTER THE PARK! ICONIC!! I already forgot about how difficult it was to get out of bed at 5am, and the direction drama at the first subway station, and the literal scavenger hunt for the train station entrance. Because we were in DisneySea! But that tranquil moment would only last a second because our mad dash for Fast Passes started NOW and I had to focus. THERE WAS NO TIME FOR DAWDLING!!

Sep 102019
 

I made Henry drive us back to Santa Claus, Indiana for one reason and one reason only: TO RIDE THE MOTHERFUCKING VOYAHHHHHHHGE! If it was possible to take a rollercoaster to prom, I might still be pulling splinters out of my body right now.

That’s all I’m saying.

Because that’s pretty gross.

Anyway, I was so anxious when I woke up last Sunday morning. Henry was like, “Yo, calm down. This place doesn’t even open until 10:00” but I was READY. We left our shitty hotel (actually, it was pretty decent, but it was in desolate area next to a shuttered gas station and lots of empty lots where the weeds go grow wild, and it just made me feel uncomfortable) and had a very underwhelming breakfast at Subway because the only other options around there are Denny’s or gas station donuts.

We got to Holiday World around 9:20 and decided to just head on over to the entrance, where several lines had already formed. In the very front of one of the lines, we saw this tall young guy with shaggy hair and glasses who we also the day before at Kentucky Kingdom, so we knew he was one of our kind.

To our great joy, the entrance actually opened before 10 but of course we wound up being in the line with the slow-ass employee, some old man named Larry. But eventually our tickets were scanned and we were in!

However, only the main courtyard area was open, and the paths leading down to the rides were all roped off. We were standing by the roped-off entrance to the Halloween section when Chooch wondered if we should walk through the courtyard more and find the 4th of July area. He pointed to a map he had snagged earlier and showed us that it looked like it would be the faster route to THE VOYAHHHHHHGE.

“Yeah, but you probably won’t make it very far over that way,” Henry argued, never wanting to concede to any of our great ideas. “Just stay here!”

But I was with Chooch on this one so we made the trek to 4th of July world and planted ourselves in front of the roped off path over there. Our fellow coaster enthusiast was also over here so we felt confident that we chose wisely. Henry still wasn’t sold, even though Chooch kept trying to show him that the path we would have had to take by Halloween Town wasn’t as much of a straight shot as this one.

Chooch was supposed to be pointing at the VOYAHHHHHGE. Way to fuck up the picture, boy! (I just noticed that his shirt matches the sign. Unintentional, I promise.)

As the time ticked down, more and more people had accumulated behind us, but we were still at the front, right next to the rope, and evry Holiday World that moseyed on by totally faked us out like they were going to unhook the rope.

There were two teenagers standing next to me and I heard the enthusiast talking to them. “Just follow me,” he said. “I think I know where to go.” I knew for certain he was talking about the VOYAHHHHHGE and now I was really starting to tense up because I am a Leo and everything is a race that we need to win. You have no idea what a cursed life this makes. Sometimes, I just want to casually stand in line and not worry about getting the best spot, seat, first prize, etc etc. But no, my heart rate was up, I had to stress-pee, I was jogging in place and wringing my hands.

Why do I have to be this way. Even when I’m waiting for the trolley in the morning, I am like GUARDING MY SPOT IN THE FRONT like a crazy person, side-eyeing the people next to me, thinking to myself, “Yeah, bitches don’t dare cut in front of ME” while bouncing back and forth from one foot to the other.

Finally, at EXACTLY 10AM, some Holiday World guy came over to the side of the rope we were standing on and I started chanting, “DO THIS SIDE FIRST!” but he walked all the way to the left and took down the rope from that side like a real punk ass bitch.

We didn’t even wait for the rope to hit the ground—we jumped over it and FUCKING RAN like true ridiculous dumb asses. It was me and Chooch, the teenagers next to us, rollercoaster tycoon, and I dunno how many other kids.

Yes, kids.

It was all fucking kids, and…me.

But I gave no fucks! I ran like I had nothing and everything to lose at once! I ran like I had been training for this moment my whole life. I ran like a gang of chainsaw guys were chasing me through a field next to a farm at 2am in the morning on Devil’s Night and I was missing a shoe and bra and had twigs in my hair but I was NOT GOING TO TRIP AND FALL LIKE ALL THOSE FINAL GIRLS IN FRIDAY THE 13TH so I started to run like an ostrich, picking my legs up real high, kind of like how Urkel probably ran at his school’s field day, so that my feet wouldn’t trip over anything because I know my level of clumsiness and I am a pretty consistent tripper.

So now I’m running my face off, acutely aware that it’s just me and these kids, when Coaster Carl and the teenagers veered to the right.

“THAT’S THE WRONG WAY!” Chooch screamed to me over his shoulder, and in that moment, I put all my trust in him, my spawn, my coaster partner, my sometimes sworn-enemy.

And he led me to motherfucking VIC-TOR-Y.

The only other kids who had surpassed us continued to run past the VOYAHHHHHGE toward the semi-new flying coaster, Thunderbird, which was fine by us, because…………..

…..we got to be the FIRST PEOPLE IN LINE FOR THE VOYAHHHHHHHGE.

There’s a set of steps that we had to run up before getting inside the platform, and by that time, we were huffing and puffing but not any threat to blowing down the VOYAHHHHGE because our breaths were more wheezes at that point.

“Good morning, guys! You ready to ride this?!” one of the ride attendants laughed, and we were like “HNNNNNGGGGGGGHHHHHHH” while grasping our sides.

We still had some time before they were ready to send off the first train of the day, so I guarded our spot in the front while Chooch claimed the second row for Henry, who had walked a normal pace from the rope-drop area to the platform and calmly slid into the queue for the second row.

“Idiots,” he said, smirking at us. But I felt like a fucking WINNER.

Meanwhile, Loves Coasters, Can’t Read Maps had corrected his directional mistake and came barreling into the station, claiming the last row. And, after a few minutes, the queue was starting to fill up with all the normal people who don’t understand that running gets you there faster.

Eventually, the gates opened for us and we stuffed ourselves into the seats. My hands trembled as I buckled my seatbelt. That could have been blood pressure-related though.

And then, we were finally climbing that inaugural hill, and I felt #soblessed to be back there to experience this wooden miracle again. I wish I could properly convey how this coaster makes me feel, like a limp rag doll being whipped around by a derailed train careening down a mountain.

I asked Henry if he understands now, after finally riding it (HE DIDN’T RIDE IT LAST TIME, WHAT A LOSER) and he was like, “It was good” but I could tell that he just didn’t get it because he’s a n00b and I really think he’s just jealous that I imprinted on an actual roller coaster and will probably eventually be on some upcoming episode of MY STRANGE ADDICTIONS and he’s already trying to distance himself from me before the CONSUMMATION happens except this isn’t an addiction IT’S TRU LUV.

“I can’t believe I ran that fast and got to be in the front row on the first ride of the day,” I said dreamily later that day.

“I got second row, and I didn’t have to run,” Henry shrugged.

NOT THE POINT, HENRY. Running was part of the process, it elevated the experience, it MADE FOR A MEMORY. I will never forget that moment. I felt like a kid!

I love the VOYAHHHHHHHHGE so much, and thank god Chooch does too. I can’t believe we haven’t argued yet over who loves it more…

Sep 072019
 

Ever since we went to Holiday World in Indiana last summer, I have been begging Henry to take us back. He finally agreed to make the return (or, what I kept calling “the homecoming” in my head) during Labor Day weekend. Well, this got me thinking…if we were already going to Indiana, and we had a three-day weekend, why not make the most of it AND ADD KENTUCKY KINGDOM TO THE AGENDA. I mean, we have to drive right past Louisville anyway, I reasoned.

My greatest skill is the lucrative ability to wear people down until I get my way. Sometimes, all it takes is my perfectly-pulled puppydog pout. (OOOOH THAT ALLITERATION CAME SO FUCKING NATURALLY, SECOND GREATEST SKILL, BITCHES) but other times, I have to use my words wisely and manipulatively. I am almost always able to get Henry to say but I have to say that lately I think this has less to do with my queenly talents and everything to do with him being THAT BEATEN DOWN.

For any virtual coupon cutters out there, you will be as stoked as Henry was to know that Kentucky Kingdom offers a special deal for out-of-state visitors! It’s a pretty substantial discount (we got in for $29) PLUS!!! you get a wristband which enables you to get free drinks all damn day.

No, I’m not talking about once you purchase some $20 ugly ass souvenir tumbler. The wristband is all you need, and you walk up to any of the beverage stations around the park, go up to the KK person who will scan your band and give you a (PAPER!!) cup, and then you can get whatever Pepsi product or water that’s in the fountain.

As someone who doesn’t like soft drinks and often winds up dehydrated at amusement parks because even water costs $$$, this is a wonderful service and so much better than refilling a water bottle (that  already paid $5 for) at lukewarm water fountains all day. It was 90 degrees the day we were there, so thank you, Kentucky Kingdom.

(FREE SUNSCREEN STATIONS TOO, FYI!)

I know what you’re thinking though: why would you go out of your way to visit some mostly unknown park in freaking Kentucky? Well, it certainly wasn’t for the atmosphere! This park was small and (please don’t be offended if you’re reading this, KK) not very visually pleasing. I mean, it’s situated in a huge concrete slab shared with a convention center, and it’s just a really ugly area. It’s also right next to the Louisville airport, so…just lots of cement.

And if you know anything about me, you know that I hate water parks. I haven’t been to one since I was 13 and don’t plan on changing that anytime soon. But Kentucky Kingdom and their water park, Hurricane Bay, intermingle with each other, so you have to actually walk through the water park to get to certain rides. It made me uncomfortable.

So, you’re still wondering why I wanted to come here. THE COASTERS. I watch a lot of YouTube channels about theme parks and vlogs from coaster enthusiasts and every single one of them gives high praise for the coaster collection this unassuming park in Kentucky has.

Right away, we got in line for Lightning Run, a steel coaster that I have heard gets compared to Kennywood’s Phantom’s Revenge. This seemed nuts to me once I saw the coaster in person, because it’s…not big. It looks kind of lame, actually. So right off the bat, I was preparing myself for let down.

We only had to wait in line for about 20 minutes, and Chooch and I claimed the back row for our inaugural ride. Henry sat in the seat in front of us, and right away one of the ride attendants came over and told him he had to take his glasses off. Chooch and I were like, “Hahaha, he got yelled at” (he didn’t really, but we love to amplify anything that happens to him). I heard Henry say something back to the person, but then he didn’t take his glasses off.

WAS HENRY BEING DEFIANT?!

I tapped (OK, pounded) on his shoulder and asked him why he was disobeying the rules and he EVER-SO-CASUALLY said, “I have a sports strap on.”

A WHAT NOW?

A SPORTS STRAP!?

YOU MEAN A DORK STRAP?!?!

Chooch and I fucking LOST IT. Henry just shrugged and turned back around in his seat, probably reciting his mantra in his head (the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off). Why was this so funny to us?! Oh, I wished our friend Alyson was there because she probably would have thought it was funny too!

Since when does Henry have a “SPORTS STRAP”!

“I bought it before we went to King’s Island,” he muttered irritably when I pressed him about this later. “Why is it such a big deal.”

“What kind of sports do you even play?” Chooch chided, and then we started making up scenarios for which he would need to wear his sports strap, like when a military plane flies above and he has to whip his head back real fast to identify it, or when he’s visiting Cheetah Girl at Blush.

OK, enough about Henry’s dork strap. THIS COASTER SLAPPED!! Holy shit, I wasn’t expecting it be that intense, but once it went down that first drop (which was harrowing), that thing never slowed down. It was whippy and had insane air time hills. I didn’t think it was AS GOOD as Phantom’s Revenge, but it was really fantastic, unexpectedly ferocious, and completely memorable. I was actually shaking when it pulled back into the station and we couldn’t stop gushing over it as we walked through the gross water park to our next coaster, Kentucky Flyer, which was the new coaster for 2019.

I was excited about this one because it’s a Gravity Group woodie and ALL OF THE ENTHUSIASTS were so stoked about this and the reviews have been wonderful. Now, that being said, it IS billed as a “family coaster” so I did go into this with that knowledge….but I guess I was still expecting a little bit more than we got.

Even for this coaster, Henry had to go through the whole “I have a sports strap” rigmarole and I have no idea why a person couldn’t wear glasses on this particular tame coaster but I do respect and commend Kentucky Kingdom for having a policy and enforcing it every time. When I see people getting pissy because they’re told to put their phones in a bin, I get so frustrated. Why do you need your phone on a roller coaster. YOU DON’T. Leave the POV videos for the coaster experts who have permission to film these and also have safe equipment to do so. No one wants to watch your shitty, shaky videos that sound like you’re being murdered in a windtunnel.

I get so mad when there’s always that ONE PERSON who holds up the dispatch of a coaster because they didn’t put their shit in a fucking bin!!!!

YES, THIS HAPPENED SEVERAL TIMES THAT DAY. And every time the person would be shocked, like, “OMG I didn’t know.” Really. Because there are signs everywhere and recordings of the rules playing in every ride platform and also EVERY ONE KNOWS?! Kentucky, you got some dumdums residing in you.

Another coaster we rode, which Henry declined to ride (“NOT BECAUSE I’M SCARED!”), was T3, a Vekoma SLC. First, the boys standing in line front of me gifted me with odoriferous ass-spritzes so that was a delight. Love smelling the farts of strangers, especially while stuck in line inside an old, musty coaster station on a 90-degree day while the air is pregnant with humidity.

Also, the Gassers were wet from a water ride, so Chooch and I got to sit in their butt-puddles afterward BECAUSE THE COASTER WAS RUNNING ONE TRAIN OPS.

I am actually terrified of coasters like this one so I screamed my stupid face off from the crest of the first hill all the way back to the break run. It was so scary…but fun…but scary!

The next coaster was the one that I most intrigued about because it’s an RMC hybrid and if you know some things about the coaster scene, you know that they’re the manufacturers of the infamous LIGHTNING ROD in Dollywood. That coaster really made me want to ride every RMC in the world (the newest one is Zadra in Poland!). RMC is also really notable for taking shitty wooden coasters and refurbishing them into something wonderful and mind-bending. In 2016, this coaster came in second for best new ride, behind Lightning Rod.  So that really speaks volumes about how cool this coaster is!

And even still—NOTHING COULD HAVE PREPARED ME FOR IT. First of all, before you go down the first hill, there is an inversion, and the hang-time had me freaking out man. The airtime was sick, the overbanks were relentless, it was fast as fuck….I loved it. I look like I’m lifting weights in every on-ride photo because I was screaming so hard!

We rode it in the back, front, middle—every seat was an excelsior experience. There was one block of time when there was NO LINE, it was a total walk-on, so Chooch and I got off and ran (and I mean RAN) down the exit and back to the entrance. The second time we did it, Henry was loafing out front and yelled at us not to run and we were like, “Yeah OK old man.” Turns out it was because he wanted to join us for that ride but we didn’t know until he came huffing and puffing his way up to the platform. He’s lucky that dispatch for this ride IS SO SLOW or else we probably would have already been on the train and leaving the station.

And when I say they’re slow, I don’t necessarily think that’s on Kentucky Kingdom as much as it the patrons who just refuse to follow instructions. Like, buckle your seat belt first and THEN pull down the lap bar like they tell you to do over and over and if you’re deaf, they got you covered with signs, man. It was absurd how many people just don’t listen.

God, we had some good times on this damn ride. My favorite time in line was when we stood behind a middle aged man wearing an Ed Sheeran concert t-shirt and Dunkin’ Donut shoes and of course he kept popping up throughout the day. Actually, he really stuck out because most of the people there were, well, you know…very Kentucky. And also looked like they didn’t need anymore free Mountain Dew.

IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

But really, we didn’t have any bad people experiences, although I did see this one mom be a total bitch to the nice kid working in Scoops.

Thunder Run was the last credit we needed to get (aside from the kid coaster, which Chooch and I rode later but Henry was like, “I don’t count credits, so…”) and hoo-boy was this one a doozy!

I love me a good woodie and this one had its moments — but shit, I heard my back crunch as soon as we went down that first hill.

Thunder Run station selfie.

Henry thought he was going to get to ride alone but a single kid scooched on into the seat next to him which made me and Chooch crack up because who would willingly want to ride with him!? Meanwhile Chooch and I were still obsessing over Henry’s sports strap. I made him show it to me and then cried, “EW!!!!” like he had just exposed himself from behind a trench coat; he was so angry and spat, “I DON’T KNOW WHY THIS IS SUCH A BIG DEAL.”

Literally my favorite part of the day was every time Henry got to explain to a ride attendant that he was wearing one.

HENRY WAS OVER US BY LUNCHTIME. (Kentucky Kingdom has some satisfying flatbread pizza and they put the calories on the menu which I appreciate because I’m a psycho.)

I have never seen a carousel like this! What even is that elephant?!

I liked that there were vintage advertisments going around the top.

We wished our friend Tommy was here to ride the cock, lol. Chooch sent him this picture but Tommy never responded, I GUESS IT BURNED TOO MUCH.

Sometimes you just really have to take a step back and appreciate a good carousel when you see one, you know? I thought this one was really pretty.

I can’t remember if I previously posted this, but here it is again.

One thing I was sad about was that they have a 5D theater and one of the movies they show is Happy Family, but something different was showing the day we were there! The only reason I cared was because the same 5D movie was showing when we were at Everland in Korea and I wanted to experience it in English this time, haha.

Their kiddyland was actually pretty cool and had interesting versions of classic baby rides. I loved this one!

There weren’t very many extreme flat rides but they did have one of these new takes on the classic Enterprise. We didn’t ride it, but we did ride a different flat ride called Breakdance and while we were in line, some girl in front of us was mindlessly putting something in her mouth, I didn’t see what it was, but her dad totally snapped and yelled, “GET THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S GOING  TO  TAKE TO GET YOU TO STOP PUTTING THINGS IN  YOUR MOUTH!” so that’ll be a fun conversation to revisit when she’s older.

Then I made eye contact with her dad and it was chilling. I have a bad habit of putting my hair in my mouth when I’m concentrating and I was so afraid he was going to catch me in the act and yell at me too and look, my friend Kara has sent me articles about people having to get giant hairballs removed from their insides and that clearly hasn’t deterred me but sure, let’s try the raised voice technique.

I wish the ferris wheel was a different color scheme, but otherwise, it was still very majestic. We rode it (at the same time as Ed Sheeran Concert Guy and his family, and also a VERY CLOSE FAMILY OF FIVE who were all wearing polo shirts and touching every time we saw them; I call Mormons) and it was the first time Henry wasn’t interrogated about his glasses.

(Guys, no phones allowed on the ferris wheel either. It’s apparently state law that you can’t have phones on any amusement park ride and perhaps other states should consider this as well.)

When we first arrived at Kentucky Kingdom, country music was playing and I was bracing myself for a nauseating day. But the park actually played a good mix of tunes! Like when we were taking a break with some free drinks after giving Kentucky Flyer another shot (it was decent, and that’s my final opinion), Catch Me I’m Falling started playing in the water park and I was so excited!

HOW HAVE I NEVER SEEN THIS VIDEO!?!??!!??!!?!?!? The people jumping off the ladders make me nervous though. If Point of No Return had come on after this, I probably would have had to leave and find the nearest roller rink because parts of me were AWAKENING.

“We can’t move from this spot until this song is over,” I declared, not that Chooch and Henry had any objections — it was one of the only rests we had all day!

Can we all agree that 80s pop/new wave is the only music that should ever be played at amusement parks?

OK, I’m just going to put this out here—for as incredible of a coaster Storm Chaser is, I think Lightning Run was my favorite. It just made me crack up so hard and it gave me the epitome of rollercoaster stomach. Do NOT judge this coaster by its looks! Just like you shouldn’t judge the park in general by its looks, either! This is a real gem.

Chooch spotted a stand for frozen lemonade while we were on the kid coaster and then became obsessed with wanting one, but then he couldn’t find it later so while we were in (the hardly moving) line for the rapids ride, he sent Henry off on a mission to procure one for him, but then we saw an empty-handed (but still man purse-clad) Henry afterward who said it was SUPPOSEDLY closed, which was probably for the best because it would have been melted since it took us an hour to ride that damn rapids ride, I’m not even kidding, it was the only long line we stood in all day but it didn’t seem like it was long…UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE. The operations for this ride were so hideous. I have never in my life wasted so much time on a water ride HOWEVER!!! We got seated with some decent people after dodging a bullet and just barely escaping getting matched up with the family of 6 in front of us. THEY WERE A HOT MESS. One of them was wearing a Breaking Bad t-shirt and I can’t explain why he made me feel uncomfortable but he did, and then the mom and her boyfriend (I assume this was his role, I didn’t get the impression he was the dad) were so PDA that I couldn’t stand it and one of the adult sons was missing half his face. I felt really horrible for him and kept internally freaking out every time he’d turn around and look at me with his one eye because my empathy is the kind where my whole body will start to physically hurt when I see or even just hear about some type of malady.

Anyway, our raft was pleasant and I will say this —  this rapids ride was PRETTY EFFING GOOD. Unlike at Kennywood where there’s nothing to look at it, just fake rocks, this one actually had you going inside buildings and it was kind of penguin-themed, I think? It was entertaining!

We did eventually find the stand later on too so Henry was able to prove that it really was closed.

Chooch whined about wanting to play Criss Cross Toss all day long so we finally gave him money for it on the way out and he lost and then blamed Henry for not being “encouraging” and really this is kind of true. Good job, dad.

Verdict: If you’re a coaster enthusiast, get your ass to this park. I’m not sure how it typically is, but we were there on a Saturday during Labor Day weekend and aside from T3 and that rapids ride, nearly everything was walk-on. Plus, that out-of-state ticket deal is pretty damn sweet. I definitely plan on returning to this place sometime in the future! (Probably not next summer though — Kentucky is weird and driving through Cincinnati gives me the dry-heaves.)

And you know what? I think this may have been  the most Henry has ever ridden at a non-Disney park?! He seemed like he really had a nice time, too. Maybe he has a sports strap fetish.

As we drove out of the parking lot that night, I noticed that bruises had already formed around my elbows from Storm Chaser, haha. My bruise count would definitely go up the next day…