I’ll try not to get all warm and fuzzy, but closing weekend this year was a hell of a good time at Cedar Point.
Stephanie and I celebrated our second anniversary on Sunday, and as part of the festivities we took up residence in one of the Light House Point cottages for the weekend. My brother and his girlfriend (who left Saturday night) shared it, while Sparty, his wife Dana, daughter Julia, and “Magnum” Dan and Maria occupied the one next door.
We arrived Friday night around 8 p.m. or so, just missing Sparty and Dan’s departure into the park. After unloading our stuff, we joined Maria and Dana for some in-cottage DDR action, where Maria promptly kicked my ass. My bro and future sister-in-law showed up, and the boys came back from the rainy park a little after 11. Beer continued to flow and we all turned in around 1 or so.
The Lighthouse Point cabins are pretty sweet. It’s really a better way to go than the hotels if you ask me. You get a waterfront view, quieter surroundings, no neighbors on the other side of the wall, no running in the halls, etc. I wouldn’t go as far as to call them “roomy,” but they’re certainly a place I’d be comfortable staying for a week.
In the morning I whipped out the propane burner and made some hashbrowns and fake eggs (Better-n-eggs) before our group headed into the park for an 11 a.m. resort/Joe Cool entry for Millennium Force. Steph stayed behind to prepare a lecture she needed for Monday. It was pretty seriously crowded already, and they got the ride up late. I’m guessing it was a staffing issue (lots of Ride Prides) combined with the fact that they had to test with full trains, people and dummies. It was perhaps around 50 degrees, so I wasn’t that surprised.
Our ride was slow, as is typical for the first laps on a cold day. We got Freeway stamps and returned at 2:30 for slightly faster rides.
From there we went to Wicked Twister and knocked out two cycles pretty quickly. The ride is running very well these days and very reliably. My non-enthusiast brother said he liked it much better than the older Impulse model found at SFWoA. The park at that point was getting crowded, and we’d later see from Sky Ride a nearly-full parking lot to the toll booths. It was unexpected for the cool weather and time of year.
Since Raptor was looking like a no-go, we naturally ended up playing DDR at the main arcade. I was pleased to see I was doing pretty well, especially after playing for only little more than two weeks. I was also irritated that Maria was kicking my ass again. Dan also got beat by Dana, which is funny because she’s pregnant.
After zipping across the Sky Ride, we walked did a loop on the train then got our MF Freeway ride. The normal line was about 75 minutes, so someone had to be pleased with this crowd. We looped the trail and eventually headed back to out cottages around 3 or so.
After some fumbling around, we got to grilling. We brought steaks, chicken and burgers, Sparty and Dan brought brats and chicken. We both made way too much and pigged out. After eating we all agreed to nap. I think we were all moving again by 6 or 7, and started the beer slamming after the girls went to replenish supplies. Little Julia was a trooper, up late the night before and still going strong.
We caught the America Rocks show around at 8 and had a few more beverages at Red Garter. I really liked this show. The talent was top notch all around, and I learned today that they are finalists in the Big E awards for IAAPA this year! From there things get a little fuzzy, not from being drunk, but from it already being several days ago. I remember seeing that Mine Ride rolled back before the final helix, getting a last spin on Schwabinchen, running into Raptor Jo (and all of the Raptor crew) where apparently something got hosed power-wise and trains were stopped in the mid-course and safeties. and of course more DDR. The DDR thing was bad news because we kept losing easy songs and stomping, a side effect of alcohol consumption.
We got a spin on Magnum just before the park closed, and it was easily one of the best rides I’ve had all year. I actually got over a good set of wheels for a change!
Back at the cottages, more drinking, cottage DDR, and all that left-over food came in handy. Grilled chicken is pretty easy to deal with on a bun. We stayed up chatting and drinking until about 2, when we set the clocks back. It was a great night, not so much because of anything we did or didn’t ride, but just because our “CP family” was tight.
Sunday, remarkably, I don’t think any of us were actually hung over, but we sure were tired. After meeting the enthusiast crowd for breakfast at Friday’s, we did MF again in the morning, which ran so slow that our creeping train didn’t clear the brakes in time and the train ahead stopped on the lift. After a couple of rides with Sparty and family, I, Stephanie, Dan and Maria went off on our own. We knocked out Raptor, Blue Streak, Space Spiral and Disaster Transport. Dan at that point insisted on getting cheese on a stick. That is some nasty ass shit, and I don’t know how anyone could put that in their bodies. A lot of customers there were complaining that it wasn’t melted all the way through, because the stupid frat boy morons working for charity couldn’t figure out how to fry cheese.
Stephanie and I decided to shoot for some alone time and would meet Dan and Maria at Magnum around 3. We zipped through the arcade where fortunately we saw Kara, Kristen, Rob, Tobe and a bunch of cats I don’t know. Huge ass group. We said hello and moved on.
We stopped in the marketing office to say howdy to Bryan Edwards, the PR freak of the week, and headed around the park to make good on our two food conquests for the weekend: French fries and elephant ears.
When we arrived at Magnum at 3, that whole damn group was there. I despise large groups, and some of the dudes were just being loud morons about stupid enthusiast shit, trying hard to impress each other. Thanks but no thanks. Apparently one dude even thought I was being a dick because I didn’t want to hang with them. Numb nuts didn’t seem to understand that I’d much rather spend time on my anniversary with my wife. Dumbass. We got our spin on Magnum, said our goodbyes to Dan and Maria (who we’d see next weekend at our party), and figured out how we were going to kill another two hours before our dinner reservation at Bay Harbor.
I zipped back to the car in the Soak City lot for the camera and we went to see the Red Garter show one more time. Some of the singers were a little rough, I’m guessing because they partied the night before. I give them a lot of credit. Most of them were just as in to it as if it were the first show. Hundreds of shows later they still had it. Shot a couple photos, and hope to post a few.
After that we headed for the exit and I snagged a few construction photos along the way. Finally, 5 rolled around and we went to Bay Harbor, tired and beat.
If you’ve never been there and don’t mind paying for a good meal, check it out next time you’re there. In addition to the outstanding food, we enjoy making fun of the snobby country club types who talk about martini parties and such. Since we didn’t even want to think about alcohol, we managed to get off for about $60 before the tip, which really isn’t bad at all. It’s a nice treat, and one we might maintain for many anniversaries to come. Does it become tradition when you’ve done it twice?
This weekend again made me realize what I’ve often thought about Cedar Point. The rides are great, the shows are great, but the park is really about the great times that we share with our friends. If you wonder why Pointers get so worked up about defending their park, a lot of the time it’s just because there’s more to it, a bigger place for it than just riding stuff. It’s the visits across generations, the time spent with friends and growing up with the ever-expanding park.
I had a great time this weekend, and I thank my dearest wife and my extended family: Dan, Maria, Sparty, Dana and of course, the cutest little girl on the planet, Julia. All of the theme park magic in the world can’t create the good times you have with your friends.
Kara, our favorite teen coaster enthusiast, of course got me on a Dance Dance Revolution machine last weekend. She then tells me on IM that I'll have a Playstation (the only platform that has a US DDR release for it) before the end of the week. Damn her for being right.
We're not hard-core gamers, but we do enjoy some of the better games. When I lost my job last year, we couldn't decided between Gamecube and X-Box, so we got both. Games like Halo, Munch's Oddysey, Project Gotham Racing, Resident Evil and Beach Spikers have given us some great times.
I've resisted buying a PS2 for nearly two years, because frankly I didn't see many games that really captured my interest. We had a PS1 circa 1997, and sold it shortly after we got a Nintendo 64. PS2 doesn't have many games I want right now, but it did have the PS1 DDR versions. Last night we bought dance pads, the console and the game. The only thing on the horizon is maybe some version of Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider, but I have to say that for DDR alone the console was worth it.
Last night we played for about two and a half hours. The idea here is that the game will help lead to a little weight loss, since it's exercise I actually enjoy. I'm not showing weight, and I don't appear fat (at least not to myself), but I can feel the pounds, and I could do without them.
So there you have it. My name is Jeff, and in one week I became a DDR addict.
I'll keep this brief because I have shit to do! Last weekend, my dear junior coaster enthusiast pal Kara dragged me on to a Dance Dance Revolution machine. If you're not familiar with the arcade game, a series of arrows appear on the screen and you have to step on foot pads with the same arrows. It's kind of like dancing.
I remember first seeing one of these a long time ago and thinking, "What a stupid idea. No one will ever do that." Since then I've watched the sub-culture evolve but I never jumped in. Or perhaps "on."
So Kara got me to play two games, and I was hooked. Then the next day I was there with Freeze, and we played some more. The thing about it is that it's pretty good exercise, and I need more physical activity.
If you want to learn more, visit www.ddrfreak.com.