The last weekend in October used to be a special time for me. I'll get back to that.
Today was the kind of awesome family day that we desperately needed. The daily challenges of life have made it hard for us to just live in the moment and enjoy each other's company lately, even for Simon. The forecast was for 73 degrees and sunny, bona fide jacket weather in Orlando, and we nailed down some last minute Fastpasses for Magic Kingdom. I haven't been there in four months, which feels weird, living 11,000 feet away from Cinderella Castle. They do a nice job dressing the place up for Halloween, and with only a few days left, we wanted to make sure we got to see it.
We ended up doing seven rides via Fastpass, plus a lap on the People Mover, with lunch and Dolewhip in there as well. We did all of that in under five hours. There was no drama or behavior issues. We even mixed it up and took the ferry back and forth to parking, because Simon wanted to see how the ramps at the docks worked. Back at home, we were still able to open up the house and enjoy the fresh air. (The solar produced 48 kWh of electricity with the AC off, which is an extraordinary net win... always thinking about energy.)
The cooler temperatures and a trip to our local theme park is the closest thing we get to closing weekend at Cedar Point, a tradition that I stuck to for a decade or so. Last year, I didn't make it up there at all, while this year I did at least get up there for media day. Starting I think in 1999, Stephanie and I would go up every closing weekend, and stay in the hotel or one of the cabins. I kept doing that through divorce and dating, sharing a room with various friends from Chicago and Nashville. The weather was unpredictable. Some years it would be rainy and cold, others sunny and warm. There was something to waking up to those train whistles and the sounds of roller coasters climbing the lifts on test runs in the morning.
I didn't do it in 2009, because we were packing for Seattle, and the year after we had just moved again, this time to Snoqualmie, so 2008 was the last year. We did stay an October weekend in 2012, a few weeks before close, so that was at least a similar experience. I don't get that nostalgic about many things, because frankly there haven't been many times in my life that were consistently awesome, but those closing weekends certainly were.
Now, the last Sunday in October is just another day. We don't have seasons here for theme parks. I'm sure Cedar Point as a location had something to do with my strong feelings for closing weekend, but mostly it was the people. Year after year, even in difficult times, I got to spend quality time with people from all over that I didn't get to see that often. Fortunately, a lot of those same people do make it down here to Orlando. Everyone comes here, eventually.
So to my friends closing the park today, I hope you had fun. It doesn't look like the weather was very good. We can go to our "home" park again tomorrow, if we want, but we made today feel like those great fall days at the point, even if our friends couldn't join us. We hope to see you soon.