Coasterville Commentary

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Saturday, July 17, 2010

TR: Sumerfair at Cincinnati Mall - July 15, 2010

Trip Report: Summerfair at Cincinnati Mall
Cincinnati, OH
July 15, 2010
Midway Provided by: Amusements of America


And now we take a detour from our usual amusement park visits to drop in on a traveling carnival. Thanks go out to Brian for setting up a group night for the Cincinnati Area Coaster Enthusiasts, better luck next time on getting interest.

As it turns out the group wound up being Brian, Karen, and myself. Before we dove head first into the carnival, we received a tip from the person working the ticket box for the show to visit the mall food court for some discount coupons. So, that's what we did. I don't think we found one open store from the mall door nearest the carnival to the food court. When I say the mall is dead,I mean it's dead. The food court is down to three vendors, one of the two movie theaters is gone. What's sad is they aren't even bothering to remove the signs of the stores that have left. Anyway, we got our coupons, and needed one coupon per person, none of this "one coupon for up to 6 people".

Coupons in hand, and we entered the carnival through a procedure that is just a little bit more complicated than clearing customs entering Europe. This year they erected a perimeter fence all the way around the carnival area, and were running a gated show. So at one end, they had two ticket boxes flanking the only opening in the fence. You went to one of those boxes, and handed over $3 for which you got a ticket. You took that ticket through the opening in the fence where they had a stick joint setup such that it restricted access in and out to two small lanes. At that point you handed in your admission ticket and received an orange starburst handstamp on your left hand. You were then free to go ahead and you still weren't in the carnival area, you then came up to two more ticket boxes, these sold either ride tickets for $1 each, or an unlimited ride pass for $20. Here is where the coupons came in handy, as they were good for $5 off the unlimited ride pass. So I hand over another $15, I get handed another ticket, and I head between the two ticket boxes to another stick joint set up in the middle of the pathway. Here you handed in you unlimited ride ticket,and they put a big obnoxious blue oval A-6 handstamp on your right hand, and then sprinkled a talcum powder like substance over that. With that you could enter the midway. Whew...

We looked around, and the had the rides and stuff basically setup in a rectangle with a row of rides and games down the middle. The front end of the show was anchored by the giant wheel, carousel, and the sideshow acts. In an attempt to be like an amusement park, the sideshow acts were free, and ran on a show schedule instead of continuous performances. They had a small one ring circus, not even in a tent, as well as a thrill show with acrobats, clulminating in the motorcycle globe of death.

The front half was mainly kiddie rides, which we could walk right past. Bumble Bees, Frog Hopper, Construction Zone, Speedway, Wacky Worm (already have the credit), a dragon coaster and more for the kids. We first noted both the Rocking Tug and the Gravitron were signed as "This ride will not operate today" In the case of the Rocking Tug, the ride vehicle was covered in a tarp. Gravitron was at least useful as a lightshow.

So, its about time we put these ride passes to use. We head to the Ring of Fire, an old classic. Unfortunately they were running a no singles rule. Luckily for us, another group of 3 came up. Things worked out. The hardest part of riding the Ring of Fire is the contortion act required to get into the seats, I'm glad I slimmed down, as between me and my temporary for 2 minutes friend, we just fit into the seat, and after squeezing in for the lap bar to lower, we had about every square inch of the bench accounted for. I remarked , "Well, we're not going anyplace", to which the carnie remarked "Oh, sure you are" and pulled the ride start lever. As a way of differentiating themselves from the Bonzai, they focused more on rapid fire looping, yes in both directions, and minimal stop and hang at the top. It was more fun watching the boys in the seat in front of us who were scared and freaking out.

Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 4, 14 more needed to break even.

We next walked over to the Tilt-A-Whirl. Doing something unusual, we crammed all three of us into one car. At first it didn't appear to be working, and we were getting the Tilt but no Whirl ride. Luckily for us we had an operator who knew how to play with the Tilt, as Brian remarked the ride is slowing down, just enough for our tub to start spinning like a top and then sped back up.

Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 8, 10 more needed to break even.

Not having spun quite enough, we headed next to the Wisdom Tornado. Again, we all piled into one car, and Brian and I did our best to keep the ride spinning. It was clear the tubs did not have tub brakes as we had our tub spinning out of control before the ride even started.

Virtual Ride Ticket Count: 12, 5 more needed to break even.

We did walk down to the Wacky Worm, but did not see an operator, so we headed to the back of the lot. The carnival is a bit bigger than last years as it has expanded into the next section of the parking lot. They used the divider between the parking sections for the generators and the like.

Heading to the back section, I was a bit surprised to find the Euro Bobbles present here, in an even smaller pool than Kings Island uses. They were dubbed the Hampster Dance here, and we didn't give them much thought.

The centerpiece ride in the area was the Bonzai, and we headed for it. Okay, get seated, shoulder bars down, then watch fingers as he slams the lap bar down. Yes its very similar to the Ring of Fire, in that you are in a 'train' that is doing vertical loops, and you are upside down at the top. In Bonzai's case, it uses the open-air legs dangling type cars. Also unlike Ring of Fire, they seemed to like to emphasize the stop and hang at the top part of the ride.

Virtual Ride Tickets used: 16, 2 more needed to break even.

Next up was a ride I hadn't seen, it's called the Traffic Jam, and the nameplate seems to indicate it was made by SBI, but I can't seem to find a web presnece for them. Okay, the ride featured a center turret, on top of which is mounted a big arm, on each end of the arm is a ride car, and in the center is a big stairway for you to climb up onto the arm and walk over to one of the cars. The cars are huge, they are square shaped with each side of the square having a bench facing the center. There are either 3 or 5 seats on each bench. In the center there is a decoration of a signpost, to give the visual (better seen from off ride) of four cars in a traffic jam at the signpost. Restraint is by one long overhead lap bar per bench. When the ride starts the 2 cars start spinning, and then the long arm off the center turret starts spining. The ride is not unlike a kinder, gentler Tempest, or half of a Wisdom Storm, except that the main arm is flat, and not angled. Also, unlike the Storm the operator has the ability to vary the speed, and the direction of either the cars, or the main arm. After spinning one way for some tie, we slowed down, "Now, let's try it the other way!"

Virtual Ride Tickets used: 20, 2 to the good,

Next up was the KMG AFterburner/Fireball/Claw whatever you want to call it. The ride has an integrated queue area on the platform, but they weren't using it, instead holding people on the blacktop until the next load cycle. Brian was off taking pictures, so I took the first ride myself, and it actually wound up being a solo ride. Yeah, not many people at the big carnival tonight. My last ride on this very same Afterburner was very short as I did not fit the ride. Thanks to my weight loss program, not only did I fit the ride, the bar dropped and locked all on its own at the start of the ride. The ride program may not be the longest on the show, but it is a very intense program. Unlike the one at the Minnesota Fair that takes forever to get up to speed, this one starts out kicking butt and taking names, and doesn't let up. And hey, this is a FIVE tiket ride.

Virtual Ride Tikets used: 25, 7 to the good.

But wait, there's more! Her come Brian and Karen to the ride, oh well, it's a tough job but somebody's got to to it. Afterburner ride #2!

Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 30, 12 to the good

But wait, there's more! Karen wants a re-ride, Brian isn't so sure. I ride it again with Karen, pushing my stomach spin tolerance to the limit!

Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 35, 17 to the good.

We then slow things down, we skip the Skooter but tour the Mardi Gras Glass House. It's 3 tickets, and consists of a mirror maze on the lower level, some fun house mirrors and a spiral slide on the upper level, and that's it. I didn't make the most graceful slide down, but we aren't scoring style points, are we?

Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 38, 20 to the good.

We cross over the the MTV Video Funhouse. Okay this has the sliding steps, a maze, the roller walk, vibrating floor, spining discs, crazy mirrors and more. The spinning barrel at the end was shut off, as I think they always are in Ohio. I did almost Wipeout! on one obstacle. It looked like yet another roller walk at the end right before the barrel. What I didn't notice is that it isn't flat, it dips into the center, so as soon as I stepped onto it, I rolled at quick speed to the center, then started up the other side, but didn't have enough oomph, so started rolling backwards. All in good fun, right?

Virtual Ride Tickets Used: 41, 23 to the good.

By this time, we were getting ready to leave, but they couldn't resist the Spongebob Squarepants walk through in the kiddie area. "Good Times!" Its a single trailer single floor walk through, but it packs a lot of stunts inside. Air gun, shaking floor, poles to squeeze betwee, crazy mirrors, spinning discs, floor stunts, the back and forth sliding floor planks, and more,

Virtual Ride Tickets used: 44, 26 to the good.

We next headed to the carousel, but upon reading the 155lb. weight limit, moved on from that. We finished up with a ride on the Giant Wheel. Brian took some photos and we got to get a nice overhead view of the carnival.

Virtual Ride Tickets used: 49. 31 to the good.

And with that, it's time for dinner!

Monday, July 05, 2010

TR: HoliWood Nights - Holiday World - June 4/5 2010

Trip Report: HoliWood Nights @ Holiday World
Santa Claus, IN
June 4 and 5, 2010

"A most interesting HoliWood Nights"

It's been called the Coaster Enthusiasts Spring Reunion, and so on June 4 it's time to travel, once again, to Santa Claus, IN for HoliWood Nights at Holiday World. This time it would be interesting as Cedar Point decided to hold Coastermania on the same weekend. Although it seemed like most people were claiming to be going to the Cedar Point event, more than a few of them actually showed up at Holiday World.

The event package includes ERT with the associated pizza party on Friday, then a full slate of events on Saturday, We liken it to the Hersheypark night before preview offer. As such, we have tried to work out the timing so as not to get to Holiday World too early or too late, and yet make it through Cincinnati and Louisville without getting stuck in traffic.

So Dave picks me up around 4om, which meanswe have smooth sailing out of Cincinnati, and get down to right around Louisville when the traffic guys tell us there is like a half hour delay. We outthink ourselves with mapping software and the like and take one of those shortcuts that turns into a longcut. We saw the University of Lousiville, we got lost in the University, we passed Churchill Downs, we drove through some neighborhoods. Eventually we wind up on I-264 just west of the I-64 bridge. So we get into Indiana,and after a brief pit stop were just as relieved to discover the road work on I-64 is apparently done, so it was again smooth sailing on in to the park.

As we neared the park and got to the traffic light, we noted the signs directing all Holiday World traffic to go straight ahead down the new road to the Legend lot. We ignored that sign, and turned right. We approached the turn into the park, again all the signage is telling us to turn left, so we turn right. We enter the Raven lot they seem to be going out of their way to direct us away from. I still think ventually park expansion will claim the Raven lot. So we go through the drill, find a parking space,do a salmon imitation trying to get to group sales while everybody else is trying to get back to their cars.

We get up to the windows, and I didn't think we were that late, but they had already switched two lanes for those buying tickets and only one lane for checking in. This worked well for me since, due to family issues I don't wish to get into here, I needed to register. Simple affair, I handed them a C-Note and my Club TPR card, they handed me a registration form. While filled out the form, they printed off a strip of tickets and made a nametag for me. I was then presented with the sheet of value coupons, an event itinerary, a nametag, the ticket sheets and a surprise. They made sure to point out to me the changes to the itinerary, which were adding some more rides to the evening ERT's and adding a Wildebeast photo walkback during the morning ERT, and adding 15 minutes to the morning ERT. The most welcome surprise was that I was handed a free ticket to come back later in the season to enjoy the Timberliners. I'd say that, yes, the park went over and above the call of duty to make up for the fact the new Timberliner trains for the Voyage weren't ready yet.

Unfortunately they were out of t-shirts, not that I lack for Holiday World shirts. So, we make the usual run back to the car to drop off all the stuff we don't need tonight, then another salmon run (and here I always thought that was one of the parks kiddie rides) back to the main gate. We entered the park and more or less were funneled to the picnic grove. We got to the picnic grove just in time to catch the end ofWIll's talk about the Timberliners, specifically the Q&A. Suffice to say there are still some adjustments to be made before the Timberliners are ready.

We were then dismissed into the park,and Dave and I headed to Kringles Cafe for the pizza party. I admit I didn't see the loaded baked potato pizza I heard other crave about, and in fact on my first pass through didn't even see the sausage pizza. But we quickly found David Cornell so we had an All Dave table at Kringles. Pizza, chips, veggies, and pops flowed as we had dinner. We all joked about the heartburn inducing qualities of their pizza. I have, for the last several years, eaten at an Indian buffet for lunch the day of the event and claimed that it was all the curry coating my stomach lining that made me immune to this heartburn. This year, no Indian buffet, so the theory is about to be tested. Of course, no stop to Kringles would be complete without redeeming our tickets for a free block of fudge. I tried the mini chocolate this year.

After that, it was back into the park to ride some rides. The way towards 4th of July was blocked, so it was towards Raven for us. We noted they blocked off the path that runs from Raven directly down by Hallowsings, I guess to get more traffic past Legend, So we started the event off with a quick and peppy ride on Raven. One of the benefits of Raven not having the second train is a faster trip up the lift. I wonder how much capacity they really lost. Anyway, it was a nice peppy back car Raven ride to get the party started. I was also glad when I could pull about a foot of belt through the adjustor. Living right is showing benefits at yet another park.

After Raven, it was down past a Pepsi Oasis, and then down to Legend. Legend was getting the amount of love it usualy gets during ERT, which is to say minimal. We sat in seat 3 and managed to get a double ride on it. I keep saying Legend is back and better than ever, and it gets better every year. I can't see why it isn't getting more love. They also seem to reserve the Don't Look Back and wolf's howl just for events now.

But enough with the appetizers, next it was down to Thanksgiving. Our immediate dash to Voyage was halted when we came across a Timberliner car sitting right in front of the ride entrance. This was an "open house" with Will, the Gravity Group guys and more. They were more than willing to talk about the ride, the train, give under the hood tours of the train, let you test out the train, get photos, etc. The lapbar controls were a simple power strip on/off switch. They seemed to like to play with this at times. I had gotten to try the train out at Gravity Groups headquarters in January and had some lingering concerns, these concerns were soon dashed when I sat in this train car, pulled down the much heftier side mounted lapbar. Ah, yes, I can where I now get that complete ring of enclosure. The lapbar is longer, its heftier,it has a huge grab handle, but the unsung hero is a little flat extension that comes down at the end of the bar and helps ensure that complete circle of restraint.

We spent quite some time with the Timberliner car until I just needed a Voyage fix. I got in line, and it was a walk on unless you wanted prime seats. I waited a bit longer to ride in the back seat. The two trains are both missing a back car, but a trash can blocks the old back seat line, and a new wooden fence forms a temporary new back seat line. My first ride would end up being in the red Raven train, nicknamed the Ravage train. I quickly pair with another single rider and is off on the course. The airtime on the outbound leg was there, maybe not in the quanitity I recall but it was there, the secod tunnel had a serious odor problem, the turnaround was just as fierce, and the return leg, complete with odor in the triple down tunnel was just as vicious as alawys. Hence, the ride retains its "Greatest Woodie Ever Built" title.

I liked it so much, I rode again in a middle of the train seat, and got the red train again. After this ride, I could finally pull Dave away from the Timberliner andwetook a middle of the train ride. Red train again. On our way out, I noted the unusual interest in the test seat outside the ride. (Referring of course to the Timberliner) Dave remarked that test seats ususally do generate a lot of interest, but usually from persons too small to ride in them.

We go for a ride in the back of Voyage, and in fact take a couple more rides after that. Each ride is in the red train, through no manipulation on our end. We remarked how improbable that was. Eventually we exit, and the entrance door is closed, meaning day 1 is over. We chat near the Timberliner some more, which means by this time we are about the last people out of the park, and have to make the long arduous uphill trek to the parking lot. We then make the drive to Tell City to the Days Inn whose best feature is the low low price.

Saturday morning comes, and Dave isn't feeling that well. We sleep a little longer and eventually arrive at the park around 10:00. By this time we are pretty much funneled onto the new road and into Legend lot. The park has trams and parking attendants guiding you to a space, not that the parking attendants were doing a particularly good job of it. I have to wonder why parking attendants like to get right in front of the car they are directing, I noticed this same behavior at Cedar Point, they are standing right in front of you waving you forward. At any rate, we park for free, take a free tram, and are soon headed into the park. Rideman gets detained briefly when the ticket taker asked to see his nametag to use a HoliWoodNights ticket, which he had left in the car. "Be sure to stop at Guest Relations for a new one" We head right for Splashin Safari and get our hopes up that maybe they have opened the water park early as we are permitted past the checkpoint. Apparently they allow people down into the locker and changing areas right when the park opens, but don't let them back to the water activities until 10:30. Finally the rules about not being able to return to your locker or leave the morning ERT make much more sense when I see this.

The one thing not on this side of the ropes is a Pepsi Oasis. We head back to Legend to get a drink, and while there take a ride on Legend. It would be the longest we would wait for a coaster the entire trip. Legend had two of the lower switchbacks and the upper switchback open. They need to do something with the entrance as this makes the second visit I have seen people get lost in the queue maze going down paths they didn't need to use. Then after waiting nearly a half hour we get to the station and they are begging for front of the train riders as poor station design makes it hard for people to get towards the front of the train. We take our Legend ride and hurry back down to the water park. We high tail it at high speed all the way back to Bahari and find a spot to hide our stuff. Then wepass avid Cornell on the way to Wildebeast who comments we just missed some downtime, and to be sure to use single rider line.

Single Rider line for our first trip takes about 30 minutes, and I comment "Enjoy your one and only ride" Those in the regular queue report waiting much longer. When we get up to the conveyor belt I note Paula and Will hanging out by the ride getting people opinions and the like. This is a single rider line that works the way it should really work. It goes around the side of the queue area and comes in to the loading area at the back, whereas the regular riders enter from the front. They stage the riders on the red circles, then once a boat loads, they step forwards to the yellow cirlces, any unfilled spots are filled out of single rider line. Then you step forward to the green circles, and then into the slow moving raft. Four persons toboggan style, with backs between each rider. I comment that this is what the Mountain Slidewinder would be like if it were built today. You glide forwards out of the station on a conveyor belt, and out onto s spacer and stop. When the spacer is satisfied there is enough distance between you and the raft ahead it starts and moves you onto the main lift belt. You go up a rather slow belt up to the top of the ride. At the top of the ride, in true log flume style is the attendant responsible for keeping the rafts sperated. This person can stop the lift belt if the raft ahead hasn't made sufficient progress. So you go under a waterfall and into a tube. The slide starts off like any other except that it proceeds to take a series of steep drops, followed by equally steep rises, what's more, some of the rises are way higher than the drops, in a clear nose-thumbing to the laws of physics. What's more you go up the hills faster than you go down the drops. I could mention the science behind it all, but I like Will's answer better - it's Magic! Whats more the slide goes through underground tunnels, there is netting above you to ensure a raft won't fly off the trough ala Roller Coaster Tycoon, but all in all it's a very amazing waterslide. At the end of the ride you come up onto a conveyor belt that slows down after your raft lands on it and eventually comes to a stop for you to unload, the raft then goes around a corner back to load. Due to the way the station is built, there can be no rerides. Does the slide have airtime, oh yes, in abundance. In fact the lighter the group you can get in the raft, the stronger the air is.

After exiting the ride,I note hardly anybody in single rider line, so we duck in there for a quick re ride. I got a lighter load than the first one and got seated more towards the front of the boat, Dave mentioned he thought he was the lightest person in his boat and commented the ride wasn't as good for him.

After this, Dave decided to check out the Bahari wave pool, and I decided to check out Bakuli, the one slide here I haven't ridden. Bakuli's line was only down to just before the split, which meant it was a lot shorter than last year when I looked at it. Waterparks, they just haven't figured out how to beat that whole low capacity problem inherent in water slides. Bakuli is a gimmick ride to be sure, but with three hefty guys in my raft, and owing to luck I got the fun of going down the big steep first drop backwards. Than you swirl around the signature bowl. I don't think the bowl swirling is as random as you may think, with sensors and water jets there to influence your rafts behavior. I think its two times around and then down the poop chute in the center whih leads to the splash pool at the bottom.

I follow this up with a no wait lap around Bahari River. Ah, much better this time now that the lazy river isn'tas log jam crowde as last year. After that I meet back up to Rideman, we retrieved our hidden stashes, we get a free drink and head to Pilgrims Plunge. The line for Pilgrims Plunge way maybe about a third to a half full, still not bad as fast as this ride can move a line. What has changed is he loading area, some minor changes to the way the railings are done, so now the queue lanes instead of all exiting towards a railing, and then all heading through one gate in the waiting area, now function as queue lanes, without gates. A sliding gate has been installed at the bottom of the stairs before the seat queues. We get expressed into the back seat, and I am happy for myself that I was able to self load while the boats were moving. Last year, owing to a depth perception issue, I had a mental block on this and always asked for the boat to be stopped first.

Out on the course, it seems the ride has been given a pep talk, the trip out to the elevator seemed shorter, you still get rained on by the other boat going up the elevator ahead of you. Then its down the drop, and a new windshield is there to help protect the front seat riders from the wave that comes up over the bow. The return to the station has really sped up over last year. We exit the ride, find a seat wall, towel off, then I put on a magic shirt, see with Aquasox on and shorts, the shirt is magical in that with it I can cross over to Holiday World.

We next decide that since we are in swim gear, to head to the Raging Rapids. According to the signs it was about a 20 minute wait. Didn't seem that bad, again owing to the fact the line really never stops moving. Instead of pairs of seats, each person sits alone. I don't know why I put my shirt on here, other than the fact the park rules require it, because we got absolutely soaked, I mean wring your shirt out soaked. I suppose this makes up for last year when we commented about the lack of water damage we recieved. We deicded to follow this up with a ride on Frightful Falls to complete the water ride set. Frightful Falls was a walk on, we commented how rough the concrete trough must be on the logs, and we got some more water. We scared some arriving riders away as they saw us and thought all the water were were currently dripping came from the log flume. It was also the first time my Drachen Fire shirt got noted. A sure conversation starter for coaster enthusiasts.

We then air dried with a ride on Raven, and I note the high dive show is back, and being a flag oollecter I just enjoy the high dive show for all the international flags they use as theming. After Raven, we head to the main gate, get hands stamped, hike back out the parking lot, take the tram to the car. Hey Dave and I got a solo on the parking tram! We changed out in the parking lot, yes this was G rated thanks to thinking it out ahead of time, Then we moved our car up to the front of the Legend lot. Most of the front rows are handicap parking except for an area off to the end that we noted was empty. We had to walk around the tram circle, but were sure it would pay off at the end of the night when there were no trams.

Upon reentering the park, a stop at Kringles for a drink, and then it was the flat ride tour. First up was Paul Revere;s Midnight Ride (Spider) which had a surprisingly short line. Yes, their spider is still high quality, where if you even look at the tub wrong, you start spinning. We, as usual, walked right past the Louis and Clark trail,but also the Liberty Bell Shop. I stopped at Udderly Blue for blue ice cream, in a waffle cone, for about half the price Cedar Fair charges, fora much larger serving.

Next up was the Rough Riders, the cute themed dodgem cars. When they were installed we had comented they must not be getting enough juice as they move sluggishly, but that has been corrected as now they bump each other with authority. Yes, another ride in the park has been given a pep talk.

Next was another test to my weight loss program, I have not been able to ride Liberty Launch the last few seasons for size. I ducked into the single rider line, and took the seat offered to me. Not even a doubt, I easily fit on the ride this year, making me one happy camper. I did note the old liberty launch canvas is now the shade cover for Frightful Falls operator. Liberty Launch may not be as strong as the rides at Indiana Beach and Ocean City, but today it was performing pretty well. Perhaps another pep talk.

We looked at the Star Spangled Carousel, but with a 200# weight limit we knew we were both out of play on that one. Every couple years, we take a ride on the Freedom (or Pioneer) Train and this was one of those years. Yes, we sat in the rear open air car, but as Dave noted, the enclosed car has padded seats. We also noted the front and back seats of each car are smaller than the rest of the seats. It's the parks original ride, and the engine bears the number 1946 in memory. The ride itself is a ride through Mother Goose land, with the characters and telling of those famous rhymes.

From there it was into Fun Town, where we eventually made our way back to the Howler, and then even took a ride on the Howler. Even with reduced size it took me everything I could muster to getmy self contorted into that seat, and the lap bar locked. We got split up, so first Dave rode in the back seat of one ride, then Iwas in the front seat for the next ride. On the second pass through, the operator told everybody to put their hands in the air, and since Dave used this chance to get on ride footage of the ride, since men photographing kiddie rides just causes too many issues. Ayway, I decided to ride like I was in a Robb Alvey video, meaning just act real crazy on the kiddie coaster, waving my hands in the air the whole time. I admit I got a bit nervous at the helix, but we can now confirm that even a 6' adult can ride the ride, hands up, and still have clearance all the way through the ride.

From FunTown,Dave left to go on the voyage photo walkback. I took rides on Eagles Flght with a third full queue. Once gain, I get the feeling I am doing something right, Ijuset can't get the satisfying hard snap. Next up was the Revolution, a fun ride as always. I then headed down into Thanksgiving where I saw the HoliDazzles interacting with the guests, then took a ride on the Turkey Whirl and was lucky to get a Turkey that seemed to want to whirl upon command. I finished up with a particularly low scoring single ride on Gobble Getaway. A check of the watch revealed the alloted one hour tour time had just about elapsed. I usued that knowledge to make an informed walk over to Pilgrims Plunge where I met back up with Dave.

We joined a group and thenhad a full carload i Gobbler Getaway, in fact I think the whole tour group headed into the air conditioning of Gobbler Getaway meaning we were just ahead of the crowd. I had another poor performance. We followed that up with a few rides on Voyage, making sure to get back to back rides in different trains, in the same row. Our verdict is the blue Voyage train is much more violent than the red Ravage train. After all the Raven train hasn't gotten the crud beat out of it by Voyage for 4 years. I can just imagine the red train looking at Voyage and thinking "You want me to do WHAT!"

From Voyage, we decided we needed food even if dinner was a scant hour or two away. We stopped at the Alamo for some Mexican. I had a full platter with a burrito, refried beans, spanish rice, a churro,and a Mt. Dew (closest thing to a Magarita) for all around $6 with splurging on the extra cost salsa and sour cream upgrades. I doubt if I could eat that well at Taco Bell for that. Sure the refried beans were almost like soup, but the rest of it tasted pretty good. We also appreciated the fact they now have legitimate hot sauce as a condiment. We followed that up with Deep Fried Oreos for desert. We ate the Oreos while standing in line for a rie on Eagles Flight. It was a full queue now, with the water park closed, and again almost but not quite. We walked back to the picnic grove to check out the auction, and decided there was nothing there I couldn't stand to lose. Lift hill flags, the usual ride parts, old brochures and media kits, same stuff most of us have from years past. What was noticeable was the auction was now in the blue shelter, meaning the group has shrunk down once again,

Leaving the acution, I caught Dave as he finished up a ride on Revolution, we then headed to get a ride on Hallowswings, then a Legend ride and it was time for diner. We got back to the shelter and for the first tie in many years were seated before the cattle call to go get your chow. The usual buffet complete with condiments before you know what yoou are going to have. I helped myself to some fruit salad, mac and cheese and pull pork sandwiches, along with some brownies and christmas cookies. The Beachcombers provided dinner music, and a relaxing dinner was had by all, There was no live auction this year, and the after dinner remarks were about the shortest I can ever recall, then it was back out to ride some more.

We headed to Voyage, an got a few more Voyage rides, and poked around the Timberliner some more. As Dave noted, the Timberliner is really eating into his ERT time. We rode Voyage until about 10:00 as we had run into an operator earlier in the day who told us to be sure to meet him for Scarecrow Scrambler ERT. We did keep that apointment. Scrambler attracted a surpringly good line for ERT. We were rewarded with a ride on a Scrambler that had just received such a massve overhaul that it rides like it was fresh off the showroom floor. After that it was a couple Raven rides, then several Legend Rides,before heading back down to Voyage.We gota few more Voyage rides this time making sure we got to Raven in time to not have to walk up the hill. We finished the event with two or three rides on Raven, including the last ride of the event.

We exited the park just as they litup the giant Christmas tree by the main gift shop. Of course, this didn't stop us from talking at the main gate with Will, Pat, Paula and the others until we were, once gain among the last to leave the park. By the time we got back to the Legend lot it had total of three cars in it. We then headed back to the Bates Motel in Tell City. Okay,not really, but one end of it a single story motel that looks dead on like the Bates Motel from the movies. Dave points this out to me just as I am about to climb into the shower, he has a strange sense of humor that way,

And so ends another HoliWood nights, and we have no real plans for Sunday.

TR: Stricker's Grove - 6/20/10

TR: Stricker's Grove
Trip Report: Stricker's Grove
Ross, OH
June 6, 2010

Every year on Father's Day, our parish holds their parish picnic at Stricker's Grove.  So somewhere between 1:30 and 1:45 we pull into the Stricker's Grove parking lot, and walk through the simplese main gate of any gated park.  No ticket booths, no turnstiles, no ticket takers, just a sheltered opening in the fence with a security guard overseeing the gate. First stop one on the grounds, into the big hall to drop off our contribution to the pot luck dinner, then to the beer booth for a free beer.  

I enjoyed my beer while walking down the midway, not much has changed at the park this year.  The main arcade in the red building got real doors instead of using garage doors, and perhaps some air conditioning That's really about it as far as changes to the park go.  I more or less head right back to the front row of the Tornado.  The Tornado is the parks big wooden coaster.  Standing maybe 60' high, its not as big and intimidating as today's rides, but it does have a family resemblane to the long gone Mighty Lightning.  The classic red and white paint job is fading and peeling badly, going around corners it can now squeal with the best of them, seat 8 has been closed off for I can't remember how long,  it's like your country cousin, a little rough around the edges but overall it provides a good ride.  

Out of the station,you make a turnaround to the lift hill, up the hill, down the first drop, back up to a turnaround.  The sceond pass through the structure is a series of low to the ground speed hills, that end with ou going up into another turnaround.  The third pass has the ride's signature moment.  It's an elongated double down, that in the back car provides an instance of violent airtime on a ride not known for strong airtime.  It rides like a mistake, but oh what a good mistake,
 After that surprise you come back up into the final turnaround, and a classic view of the first turnaround structure to your right side.  A couple more dips on the way home, and perhaps one minor airtime moment on the final dip.  Then it's into the brake shed, and back into the station.  At the time there might have been 4 or 5 of us riding a coaster that seats 18, but they make you walk around each and every time.  In the past, I have seen them give double rides if nobody was waiting, but not this year. It  took a couple more rides to work my way bak to the back seat.  Not only is that where the strongest air is, it also has a shorter than average seatbelt. Just another test for the weight loss program that I passed.  

So after several Tornado rides I went to see the rest of the park.  Next up was a Tilt-A-Whirl ride that had both plenty of Tilt and plenty of Whirl.  I hate Tilt-A-Whirl rides that don't have any Whirl, don't you?  In direct contrast to the Tornado sitting next to it, the Tilt-A-Whirl just finished a massive make over a year or so ago and looks almost factory new.  After that was a solo ride on the Electric Rainbow, which in this park is a Super Round Up.  This ride has a couple non-mechanical issues that persist.  One, the park recently bought a bunch of stock ride safety signs that are so generic they are meant to go with just about any ride.  These replaced the old signs, which were the very basic just what you needed to know variety.  So, the sign for the Round Up, says, plain as day "DO NOT STAND UP ON THIS RIDE".  The other issue is the park never installed the center scenery panels that have the rainbow the ride was named after.  A lot of Sricker's rides are transplants from other parks,a lot of which have since closed, for example this ride came from LeSourdsville Lake. When I boarded the ride, I was givin the directions to give the thumbs down symbol when I wanted the ride to end.  Hmm, a spin ride enthusiast and the chance at a long ride, this should be sweet. While riding, I did note the scenery panels are still sitting under the ride.  So I span for quite some time, then I feel the ride begin to lower, when I get off the ride its a different operator altogether.

Continuing the tour of the park, I took a token ride on the Teddy Bear, which is the park's junior wood coaster.  When I say junior wood coaster, it makes Kings Island's Faily Odd Coaster look big. It's maybe 20' tall, and has more in common with the former Chicago Little Dippers which have both since moved on,  
The rest of that side of the park contains the kiddie rides - mini versions of the whip and the turtle along with kiddie cars, kiddie boats, and kiddie rocket ships.

 Starting back down the other side I admired the band organ on, but did not ride the carousel, nor did I ride the Dumbo ride next to it.  I have to give Stricker's points for having he nerve to call their elephant ride Dumbo and not Jumbo as most parks and carnivals have done to avoid issues with that major park operator.  I passed on the Ferris Wheel (Eli Wheel  pointed the wrong way where there is almost nothing interesting to see), but I did take a lap on the train ride.  Every now and then you can see something interesting back in the athletic fields, for example one year we saw the former Cedar Point Schwbinchen sitting back there.  Not so much this year.  But it does take you from the park, all the way back past the athletic fields, alongside the Great Miami River, then alongisde the neighbors farm, then you go through an impossibly small tunnel underneath the parking lot entrance.  When they say to keep arms and legs in the train, they mean it.  You then circle around the Tornado, then back to the station.  

Working my way back to the Tornado I made stops at the Tip Top (Bubble Bounce), this, at one time, was one of those rides of legend you would read about on rec.roller-coaster, then when I finally got to ride one, I realized why they aren't made much anymore.  Once the ride gets up to speed, the oval shaped tubs swing out with the heaviest person to the outise, and it jus takes way to much energy to get it to spin.  The bouncing action is kind of neat, however.  I also stopped at the Srambler.  The operator was taking real care to make sure nobody burned themselves touching the metal car bodies, even wiping down the black seat cushions before yoou sat down.  All that care, and the ride still shakes and rattles its way through a cycle, making nasty noises, and never getting up to speed.

I passed the Helicopter ride and instead decided to fly a Flying Skooter.  I got a solo ride on the Skooters.  The first ride I had just figured out the pattern to get snapping like motions (without the loud satisfying Ker-Chunck noise of course) ,the ride is very similar to Holiday World's in that respect that it makes you think you have gotten it, but no payoff.  Anyway I had just started getting into the paternw hen the ride stopped.  At first, I though I was getting kicked out for rough flying, but the operator comes out and asks if I want another ride.   Sure, why not?  The ride is like when Kings Island had it set on the busy day timer. Just when you start to get into the pattern the timer expires.  

From there, it was back to the Tornado for several more rides.  I rode till about 3:45, then I walked through the arcade to note that it hd nothing of real interest to me.  Then I grabbed two lemonades from the free soft drink stand.  (college dining hall size cups)  This got me into the big hall just in time to be towards the front of the food line.  Stricker's furnished the drinks, as well as hamburgers,hot dogs and brats, and even the roast corn. All the appetizers, salads, side dishes, and deserts were from the pot luck.  They also close the rides during the dinner hour.  So good food, good times, good conversations.  Then once dinner was over, another beer in hand, it was back to the Tornado for a few more rides before heading home, the second ride session was busier than the first, with a two train wait for the Tornado.  Then it was time to head home.  

TR: Kings Islad - June 6, 2010

TR: Kings Island
Trip Report: Kings Island
Mason, OH
June 6, 2010
June 6th was the day after HoliWood Nights.  Our ambitions for the day were low after having just spend two exhausting days at Holiday World.  Really, the big goal was to see Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular.  With that we pushed hotel check out to the limit, and learned while in the process of checking out we weren't the last.

 Then we left Tell City and headed into Kentucky for a certain IGA that has proven itself to be dramatically cheaper for gasoline.  

Not being in any real hurry, we took back roads all the way back to Lousivile, the highlight of which was driving through the civilian roads in Fort Knox. We eventually got back to Lousiville, and around Le Grange KY got the munchies, a stop at Arby's cured those needs, and we even got to see some sort of craft festival in the La Grange town square.  
So, again, not really pushing it, we arive at the park kind of late in the day.  As usual no problems getting parked or into the park.  We head through Planet Snoopy.  I, being the flag person, noted the flagpoles have been moved from side of international street to right at the top of the royal fountain.  In addition more blacktop in the front gate area is giving way to pavers, and there is some more work going on to finish off Planet Snoopy.

We start the day off with some Diamondback rides, what else?  You may find this a little nuts, but after spending the last two days on Voyage, Dimondback just didn't seem to be up to par.  Continuing our way through the park, we check in at Crypt and confirmed that yes, it still sucks in just about every conceiveable manner.  We continue on to Beast, and I note it got its US flag back at the lift approach, and Dave notes the two click rule is back in force. Oh well, at least Beast got some new wood, and seems to be performing better than it did in April. The line was back to the greeter stand, but I didn't really notice any problems caused by removing the center handrail on the big ramp.  

We headed towards Italian Job, looked at the line, and gave it a pass.  We did, however, decide to take a quick spin on the Troika (Shake Rattle and Roll)  not a bad ride.  We rode Vortex, and got the hardest slam to a stop either of us could recall on the mid course brake.  We noted, and were a bit surprised Euro Bobbles is still operating, we kind of figured the extrmely hot summer we are having would have killed the enthusiasm for those.  

I know Dave doesn't care for Firehawk, but we do take our usual front seat, overbraked ride on Flight of Fear.  I'm just glad the seatbelt doesn't seem to be of concern for me anymore.  We note they moved the exit gate of Dodgems so it's right next to the entrance gate, which causes some confusion as people run to the padlocked shut gate they have exited through for years.  Eventually we make it down to Racer.  I was just starting to notice that airtime is coming back to Racer, when Rideman notes the lapbar has again gone places no lap bar should ever go. Yep, he got his annual battle of Torque Lock.  While he was letting Guest Relations know his feelings on the matter, I was helping myself to a free soft drink, at a Cedar Fair park.  What is this world coming to.  (Thanks to the Coke Zero sponsor booth)

When he came out of GR, we headed to Action Zone, where there was another sponsor booth for the KIN phone, a cell phone idea that was so well recieved it lasted less than two months.  You now, I thought one of the things Cedar Fair did last year was get rid of a lot of these county fair style vendor booths.  I appreciate a free drink as much as the next person, but I don't think a $50 a ticket theme park should look like a $7 a ticket county fair.  

We headed to Invertigo, one of those rides we generally skip because the line is too long.  The line was a little on the long side, but we waied it out.  We were rewarded with a forceful, an surprisingly smooth for Vekoma inverted boomerang ride.  
After that we got as far as the Drop Tower queue area before deciding we really didn't want to wait that long.  We looked through the On Location shop and found a bunch of pac man themed candies, and commented that of course, each piece of the game is sold seperately.

From the gift shop, we headed to Flight Deck on got to the boarding area just in time for the rides to go down for impending severe weather.  We decide to try to put some distance between us and the ride and on the way out, I noticed the new entrance for Halloween Haunt is still there as a re ride gate.  We make our way to the Festhaus without getting wet.  We get a little dripped on on our way to the Emporium, then it really started to come down.  I'm glad we were in the Empoium.  We reclled when Jeff Johnson jumped about 20' when he was sstanding under Tower during a lighning strike.  While in the gift shop, I noticed they were now selling Kings Island car flags.  Hey, I'm a flag collector, and at $4 the price seemed right, I'll pick one of those up on my way out.  

When the rain subsided we headed to the area by the Floral Clock to epereince the Starlight Spectacular.  Where Cedar Point has big inflatable characters, Kings Island used 2D light up characters.  Thereis apatriotic section, there is a camp section, I liked the statue of one of the Peanuts blowing bubbles, and there is a bubbler right there.  The staff in this area wear Charlie Brown shirts, anat certain times a more organized light show takes place on the back side of the eiffell tower that eventually spreads to the whole Starlight Experience area.  We walk back and forth and look at it a couple times.  I mean all the rides are still closed for the weather delay, and truth be known since the rides had been closed for about a half hour now, and it was only aabout 20 minutes until closing, the park had just about totally emptied out.

We saw life at Diamondback, and who needs the single rider line when you can just walk right on to the ride.  We were really surprised they kept the seat assigner there, but so we got a few more Diamondback rides in near ERT like conditions.  For my last ride of the night, I lowered the lap bar just to the line on the column, hich is supposed to be the minimal accepted position.  Last year, I was lucky and sometimes needed help just to even get the bar down that far.  Now there are one or two clicks further I can pull the bar.  With the lapbar a loose fit, Holy Canoli!,
 That is some scare you quality airtime. Wow, Diamondback is still the best ride in the park.

So after we left Diamondback, we returned to the Emporium, I got my flag, , and we just got to the parking lot when wave 2 of the big downpour started.  We were nicely drenched by the time we got to the car.  We concluded the weekend with a stop at Steak and Shake.

TR: Cincinnati Zoo - 5/28/10

Trip Report: Cincinnati Zoo
Cincinnati, OH
May 28,2010
"Zoo Babies"

One of the attactions I had been meaning to see for some years now, but never quite got around to seeing is "Zoo Babies"  Zoo Babies is a special event put on by the Cincinnati Zoo.  Yes, you can see the babies all year, but in May they run a theme where they specifically point out all the births in the past year. Essenially you tou the zoo as normal, and wherever there is a zoo baby to be seen, there is a wooden cutout of a stork pointing to the exhibit and announcing the birth.  

I learned a few things since last months trip to the zoo.  For one I didn't use Metro Route 1, the Zoo route.  It's a nice bus ride to be sure, that's long on passing our city's tourist attractions and scenic spots.  I figured I could shave at least a half hour off my trip time by using a more local route, even if it meant walking a long block once I got to UC down to the Zoo.

I managed to get to the Zoo around 8:45, which was before opening.  I thought they might open Historic Vine Street Villiage a few minutes early, but no luck in the entry building in the parking lot doesn't open until 9AM.  "Now, I am going to raise this door, but don't come in until I have the chains locked off" It so happened while people were milling about taking photos with the rhino sculpture, I had planted myself to be directly in front of the up escalator, so was among the first to get up to the bridge at opening.  I quickly headed towards the main gate where my progress was slowed down.  They have the "Keyhole Photo" type people setup right before the main gates and they have essentially embedded their photo station so you have to stop and get your photo taken before getting to the turnstile.  They take your photo in front of a green screen which sort of defeats the purpose of getting a souvenir photo of yourself at the attraction.  

I entered the park, and upon checking my iPhone, I looked at both the zoo's new App that has amongst other features an interactive zoo map, an ineractive event schedule,and more, as well as the zoo's website to fill in the gaps.  Looking at the zoo's website, I noted the first Zoo Baby was down in Wilflife Canyon. I headed down the hill and soon realized I had the whole area basically to myself.  I paused for a while to watch the Sumatran Rhino feeding before continuing to tour the area.  When you first get to the zoo its hard to strike a balance between how much time you can spend watching an animal and still see everything you wanted to see.  

Coming up the stairs from Wildlife Canyon, the second Zoo Baby was the still nusing baby eagle.  I entered the eagle Eyrie and noted the roll down grate as still down, and the eagle and babdy were apparently still in the nest.  I then noted a similar hut a short distance away that looks into the condor exhibit.  I had not before noticed the big flight cage was actually devided in half.  I then decided to reveerse my normal pattern and instead went to the Elephant Reserve next.  All the elephants were outside, thus the elephant house was closed, after spenidng some time watching the elephants, I walked the rather dull trail around elephant reserve, walking past Discovery Forest and makig pretty much a bee line towards the new Children's Zoo area.  

The new and improve Children's Zoo had reopened, an I headed to where the entrance has been for decades now to learn that entrance is no longer there, and the gift shop was closed.  Instead I had to back track to the entrance by Gibbon Islands, which is for now the only entrance to the Children'z Zoo.  They reconfigured the boardwalk entrance to wind itself around the little penguins.  Upon entering the children's zoo, we found the rathey noisy peacocks in this area today, and I noted the outer wall and shade has been removed from the nursery, so now you just walk along the outside of the building looking in windows.  I noted the UC stuff around the bearcat exhibit, and the Wallaby exhibit cleverly sponsored by Kanga-Roof.

 Several zoo babies were present in the enlarged petting zoo area I also noted the petting zoo area now has a queue area for those busy days.  Continuing on past the petting zoo you come to a barn you can walk through, and then another area beyond the barn.  Cows, horses and other barnyard animals are in this area.  On the other side of the area the playground has been enlarged and the various play elements have signage tying them to an animal.  "Swing like a Monkey", "Leap like a frog", etc.  The area now ends behind the gift shop, so in effect the new children' zoo is smaller, by making Wolf Woods its own stand alone exhibit now.  

I left the children's zoo, and just got to Wings of Wonder to see the sign the Meet the Keeper talk had been cancelled "Sorry, but our keeper's need us"  I decided to walk through Wings of Wonder anyway, and this time noted how on the few exhibits with glass, the glass has a fine graph paper like drawing on it, barely noticeable.  I suspect this is toprevent birds from flying into the glass. At the endof the area I encountered a Meet the Keeper giving a talk about the penguins.  He hada penguin out of the exhibit so we could take real up close looks, but no touching. He mentioned how they have tried to work King into the name of every King Penguin somehow.  He also noted the clever camoflage, they usually swin white side down, so to a predator from above, they blend into the dark of the ocean, to a predator from below, they blend into the dazzling white sky.  

Leaving his presentation, I proceed down Bear Hill and take a tour of Jungle Trails.  Ahh they have the storks out, perfect for Zoo Babies.  I also noted the Gibbons and stuff were inside today for some reason.  I left this area, noted the food areas were closed, and made my way to Manatee Springs just in time to watch the Meet the Keeper talk there. From Manatee Springs I toured Rhino Reserve, and saw the zebras, as well as most of the other animals were out this time.  This allowed me to double back to see Lords of the Artic and the Bear Hill areas.  I made my way back around to where Rhino Cafe is and followed the signs towards Cheetah Encounter.  You first head into the old parking lot and then after passing the new flamingo exhibit you make your way to the new cheetah run which was the old main parking lot.  I got there just as the first sho was ending, so I hung back waiting for the huge crowd to exit the area. I noted construction on a new pedestrain gate in this aea.  I sat and relaxed in the new grandstand waiting for the Cheetah show, as it was pretty hot out today. The cheetah show is essentially the old cat show, right down to some of the same animal acts as the old cat show that was presented next to the Elephant House, what has changed, of course was the addition of a full on Cheetah run.  One of the largest Cheetah runs in a zoo, they said.  It's an impressive show of pure speed, the cheetah may not have endurance, but they do have speed.  

From there, I headed up the new ramp to look at the new giraffe exhibit.  From there I caught up with seeing the rest of the zoo, first stopping off at Gibbon Islands and the Red Panda exhibit.  I then took a break myself with Skyline's new Walking 3 Way.  It's essentially everything you would get in a three way mixed together and served in a large diameter cup.  I noted most people, like myself, still walked their walking three ways right over to a table to sit down and seat.  

Continuing the zoo tour, I decided I really didn't need to see the Reptile House, and did a quick walk through of the Cat House tosee the Zoo Babies.  I did make into Gorilla World just in time to see the Meet the Keeper talk there.  From there, it was the Insect House where I noted the construction work in the middle of the exhibit looked to be complete, the Nocturnal House, and passed by the speical exhibits building where the Kimodo  Dragon is coming next month.  Always give your visitor a reason to come back! I toured Lemur Lookout, then headed towards the 4D movie but the next unsold showing was later than I wanted to wait. Continuing on, it was the Sea Lion exhibit, then Wolf Woods, then back to the giraffe exhibit so I could feed a giraffe for just $1.  

They have this organized real well, you get there and there is a queue area setup.  After you wait in line but before you enter the feeding area, there is a push through lane for the strollers so they don't have to take the strollers into the animal encounter area.  As you enter the encouter area, a worker with a big old bag of giraffe crackers sells them to you for $1 each.  Two rules, don't break the cracker trying to get two feedings, the giraffe expects a whole cracker. Don't try to pet the giraffe, this will only cause them to shy away and may cause the feeding opportunity to end early.  Think about it, you don't want people messing with your food an trying to pet you whie you eat. So after buying the cracker you enter the fenced off animal encounter area, sort of like a zone between the normal viewing area and the animal enclosure.  A guie directs you to a giraffe, you feed the giraffe, okay the giraffe sticks out its tounge, you drop the cracker onto the tounge the giraffe eats the cracker and prepares for the person behind you.  It's a real quick process, and they have the "Keyhole Photo" person there to get a photo of you feeding the giraffe.   You then exit and there is a sink with soap there waiting for you.  

From the giraffe feeding, I toured the gift shop, bought some souvenirs,and then headed home.

TR:Kings Island - 5/9/10

TR: Kings Island
Trip Report: Kings Island
Mason, OH
April 30,2010
This visit was what I call a season pass holder special.  That means arriving late, even if the park is promising an early 8PM close.  So we got the park around 4PM, just Dave Althoff and myself.  We note that at this park you can arrive late and usually score a good parking space, and lo and behold we did.  We made our way up to the gate and headed down International Street.  I wanted to give Boo Blasters on Boo Hill another try.

The wait for Boo Blasters was somewhat longer than my last visit, with most of the indoor queue area open.  I noted it was a little bit lighter in the main queue area, but the area with the ride safety sing is still too dark to reasonably expect anybody to read them.  My main point in riding was to find out what the great new scene is that wasshut off for Math and Science day.  Essentially the first 80% of the ride is the same as it was when it was Scobby, except for obvious references to the licensed characters removed.  Towards the end of the ride you hit a real fine fog screen with a menancing image projected on it such that it looks like you are going to run right into the ghoul, then at the last moment the fogger shuts off and you slide through unharmed.  The main lights in the next three areas have been turned off.  The first area is the same as it was just dark, the next two areas all the old scenery has been ripped out leaving two bare bones rooms with a bunch of strobe lit skeletons (with targets of course)  It's a little upgrade that makes the haunted house ride just a bit more haunted.  

We stop off at Woodstock's coaster to confirm the ride is pretty much the same as it was as Fairly Odd Coaster, with just a little cosmetic chnage.  Still a great classic John Allen kiddie wooden coaster.  From that we head to Diamondback, and manage to get a couple rides in.  We decide to use the Single Rider Line, which Dave pointed out means "You can either use the long line that moves fast, or the short line that moves slow"  On our first ride, through sheer luck I get sent to Row 1 out of the singles line, Dave does not have near as much luck.  But that's okay because we take advantage of a short regular line to take a secod ride.  Diamondback, its the greatest ride the park's ever had.

But a park is more than one ride, so we take the obligatory coaster tour.  We head towards Beast and upon encountering a full queue maze, we are soon seen retreating from Beast.  We take a ride on Italian Job that requires the usual ducking under the railing or walk clear out of your way.  Stillno seat assigner, so we sit towards the front to get what little air there is to be had on this family ride.  

From Italian Job, we snag a ride on Vortex, which was running about like it always does.  What we did next was to stop so we could watch Euro Bobbles.  With a 200 pound limit, there is no channce either of us will be able to try Euro Bobbles.  Essentially you climb into an airtight plastic ball, the ball gets inflated while you are in a kiddie wading pool.  For about 3 minutes or your keel over from heat or lack of air, you an run or walk around, or fall down an tumble inside the giant bubbles.  This is called fun!

We next take a walk through the arcade, still no pinball, and then a quick spin on Zephyr, the wave swinger.  Ahh, more benefits of the weight loss program, as I fit a lot more comfortably in that seat  We head back into X-Base, but upon encountering two bad lines, quickly retreat out of there.  The next stop is of course Racer, and we both agreed that Raer was running about as good as you could hope for with Racer in recent years.

We next made the turn into Oktoberfest, and after scoring the usual walk on Adventure Express ride, we went to ride Delirium.  Man, I love Delirium.  At about this time, I note the time is getting late, so we make a mad dash to Diamondback to try to get one last ride in.  We get to Diamondback with about 5 minutes to space, we race through the queue, we get to about where the cell phone display is when the ride goes down.  Bummer.  We note the time as 7:58 and are sure they are going to send everybody home with a "Sorry, but the ride is broken down, and the park is closed" message.  But they allow us to remain in line.  Lot's of folks bail, in fact by the time the ride reopens, we are at the top of the stairs just shy of the greeter station.  We were a bit surprised they still assigned seats, but figured that would at least prevent everybody from heading to the front and back rows.   A great way to finish off the night.  We did make sure to let Guest Relations know how the crew went out of their way to get everybody a ride.  Then we headed to Culvers for dinner.