This weekend, friends are making their final trips to Cedar Point before it closes for the season. Over the years, the closing weekend experience varied for me quite a bit, depending on weather and relationship status, but it was an integral part of fall. It's easy to mentally put myself there, as I sit at home with the windows open, temperature "only" 67, and the sound of Magic Kingdom train whistles in the air. It's virtually the same sounds and feels, without the impending doom of approaching winter.
This is the first year of my adult life that I haven't been to Cedar Point. That might be even more weird as the co-owner of a little fan site that's been around for almost 19 years. This was a busy year, and not a year with a new attraction, so it just didn't make a ton of sense to go. Add in the new house, and it didn't make a lot of financial sense either (flying a family of three around ain't cheap, which is another reason cruising is so convenient for us). But I still feel like I missed out, even though so much has changed since I moved, in terms of the people. Even my favorite CEO will be gone next year.
Our initial plan is to try and return next year, but it's not as easy as it used to be. With Simon in "real" school, we can't easily take off at the start of the season, when it isn't too busy. I've also made the condition that he has to ride the "real" roller coasters here at Walt Disney World, because he's over 48" and can ride most of the greats at CP. And obviously, we all look forward to riding Steel Vengeance, the ride that hopefully turns Mean Streak from a turd to the best ride in the park.
It's crazy to think about the role that park has in my social life. Much of life's drama spilled into those midways, hotels and cottages. I had important conversations with mentors and mentees there. I had soakings and sunburns. I got engaged on Giant Wheel. Even when we lived in Seattle, we managed to carve out some great memories with Simon. It won't be the same for him, and that's OK, as long as he knows what a great place it was for me.