Last weekend we had BooBuzz at Cedar Point, a CoasterBuzz event that we've been running now since, I think 2006. Seven years is a long time. Last year was a bit of a dud in terms of turn out because the timing relative to other events was so poor (a problem that led to the outright cancellation of our Holiday World event this year). Fortunately, this year roped in about a hundred people or so, a dramatic improvement.
We also got to meet up with our friends from Chicago, including Mike, who has been doing the podcast with me since the start (though we pretty much haven't done it this year). It's strange to think about, but I knew them when they were dating, and I think I've done amusement park events with them with every person I've had a significant relationship with. They're the stability in my turbulent years! It's interesting the way the Internet has enabled those kinds of friendships, and it seems like you can easily just pick up and go with it when you go a year between meetings. This time around, we had a room at Lighthouse Point, while they were in Sandcastle Suites.
We arrived Friday afternoon at about 3. The line at the LHP/campground office was about four deep already, and by the time we headed to the park, it was probably 30 deep. That building is completely inadequate for the fall Friday runs. In any case, I had not done LHP since 2008, because I found the cottage to be dirty, with cobwebs everywhere, a dirty toilet and half of the lights burned out. I didn't care if it sold out anyway, I wasn't going to be a part of that at over $200 a night. Nostalgia got the best of me, and I wanted to do it again this year. It was clean and in generally good working order, and it was good to see the improvement. The units are a bit overdue for a furniture and paint refresh, but in my interview with the CEO last spring, it sounds like that's in the works. The location is fantastic as ever.
The resort shuttles were already running starting at 2, so we jumped on one and took it to the front gate, arriving a little before 4. ERT was at Millennium Force, and I could tell on approach that the nearly full trains implied we had a good sized crowd this year. I actually skipped riding, so Diana could take a few laps while I watched Simon. She still had not been on the ride this year, and I had more than my share of laps. Simon is not a fan of the roar as the ride rushes by, but I think he's getting used to it.
After the ERT, we headed over to Maverick for early entry rides. Mike and Artemisa had not been to the park since 2006, so this was a new ride for them. The ladies took the first lap, and Mike and I took one after that. No waiting again, which was fantastic. This was one of the best laps I've had on Maverick, in this case sitting one from the back. It was impressively smooth and without head banging. In fact, there was no real lateral shimmy at all in the train, which is usually the thing that makes an Intamin or B&M "rough." I assume it's the bushings on the guide wheels that cause this, but the ride was tip-top. The launch in the tunnel seemed to go on forever. It was a fantastic ride.
From Maverick, we made a brief stop in the arcade, where I was horrified to see that the Skee-Ball machines were removed. I played a game of DDR, and didn't die. After some quarter dropping, we headed over to Eden Musee, the new haunt, for a lights-on tour.
I give the park a lot of credit for building this new haunt building. It's the first structure that was purpose built to be a haunted house, where as the others are or were old queues, enclosed picnic shelters and buildings with prior uses. They built this one in the infield of Mean Streak. It's a standard "inexpensive" steel building, with a big garage door at one end so they can configure the space any way they'd like going forward. Being themed to a wax museum, you can see how it's creepy when in use. The detail is wonderful as usual, even if it's likely lost somewhat in the dark. There are even recycled Disaster Transport parts in it. If you look hard, you can find an old photograph of the attraction for which it was named.
We had dinner in the usual place, with the usual food, and it I'm always impressed with the cookies. Cookies are one of those things the park does so well, so fresh. It was good to see such a large portion of the dining room being filled this year.
It got really cold after the sun went down, but we bundled up Simon and headed over to Boo Hill. Simon didn't really care, and he nearly missed the candy bag at the end. From there the girls did the hay maze, but we decided to bail as Simon started to wind down. We had a quiet night in the cottage, though the little man was thrilled to sleep in a big boy bunk bed.
We started Saturday with breakfast at the Breakwater Cafe, which does a breakfast buffet. It's $12 for adults, and $7 for kids. Not so sure the kid price was worth it, but I had my fill, and it wasn't bad. I had never been in that restaurant before. It has a fantastic view of the lake.
The park's general availability started at 11, and we started in the Gemini kids area. Simon walked into the Jr. Gemini queue with Violet (Mike's younger daughter), but once he sat down in the train, he was "All done!" We bailed, but I was proud of him for at least getting that far. He had some nice interactions with scarecrow Snoopy, but other than that, the only thing he wanted to do was Snoopy Bounce. Even that, he only goes just inside the door.
Walking toward Planet Snoopy, Diana and I got a spin on Super Himalaya, the ride that I credit with breaking me into bigger rides in my pre-teen years. It's still a ton of fun, and I don't think I had been on that ride since it was over by Gemini (where Snoopy Bounce is, I believe). That's a very long time!
While the girls did face painting, Simon watched Dodgems a for a little while. We all met up back at Planet Snoopy, where mostly the kids ran around, but Simon and Diana did the train. He wasn't that enthused.
Lunch at Famous Dave's. Solid as usual, and reasonably priced for an amusement park. Unfortunately, this is also where Diana realized that her drivers license escaped her pocket, and we haven't seen it since. That's no good.
We spent the afternoon back at the cottage, attempting to get Simon to nap. However, every time the train whistle blew, he'd shout out, "Toot! Toot!" No napping occurred. We suited him back up, for what was shaping up to be a windy but very warm day. We walked out on to the pier near the lighthouse, then did the walk all the way around Sandcastle Suites and up to Breakers. Simon covered his eyes when Magnum went by, and I tried to make him understand that he should cover his ears. We played in the sand.
At this point in the afternoon, I was ready to rendezvous with the Family Jandes, when Diana pointed out the threatening appearance of the sky. I checked the radar with my phone, and we aborted. We got caught in the rain on the walk back, but it wasn't a total soak.
Eventually we all decided to leave the park and get pizza at Chet & Matt's. What kiddie rides and Famous Dave's did not make obvious was that the park was mobbed. Driving out, even in the rain, we could see a Millennium Force line that was probably over two hours, with two trains running. Car were parked all the way back to the tolls and poop chutes (that building out there is apparently a sewage pump station). We hoped the rain might empty the place out a bit, because it was likely that the rain would clear out by 9.
Going out for dinner at 7:30 was a tactical error. Simon fell asleep in the car on the way out. I stayed in the car with him an extra ten minutes, with the idea that sometimes these little power naps invigorate him for another few hours. Not this time. When I brought him in, it was melt down city. I also managed to dump a beverage on my lap. We ended up getting our pizzas to go, and put Simon down for the night.
Mike's family eventually came over to the cottage, and we had adult beverages. A little after 9, Mike and I decided to go back into the park. We started in the back and obtained Canadians. The full Maverick queue implied that the rain had little impact on attendance. On the walk to the front, about a mile, we encountered more of the same. Even Raptor had a full queue, which is less common late in the day. So we obtained another beverage, this time at the front of the park. Eventually we just sat down in front of Giant Wheel to take in its lighting package and talk about Disneyland.
By 11, we were watching the acrobat show on the Luminosity stage. It's a fairly impressive show, though the lighting design is kind of a mess. Given the toys that they had to play with, I expect more. While observing this show, we noticed that Iron Dragon had zero people on the platform, and we finally got a ride on something! I don't care what anyone says, I still really enjoy that ride.
We ended the night at Magnum, getting in about 10 minutes before the park closed. We went for the ejector seat (1-3), and it was running exceptionally well. Still a favorite after all of these years.
Sunday was even warmer and super windy, but we opted to avoid the park for the day so we could get home at a reasonable time and unwind a bit. Two days with no naps definitely took its toll on Simon. Mike and I were talking about how different our amusement park visits are these days, with the kids, but it's better in a lot of ways. For me, I just love spending time with Simon and Diana, even if we don't ride anything. An amusement park is a very stimulating place for someone little, and it's a lot of fun to see him react and interact with it. As much as I look forward to him getting older, I'm soaking in every moment that I can while he's at this age.