Back at the Hotel Breakers we cursed one of Cedar Point's modern little redesigns of stuff. They don't have coffee-makers in the rooms anymore. Nor do they have the coffeepot that used to be at the end of one wing of the building. (Indeed, they don't have that wing anymore, although they're building a replacement.) There's a Starbucks in the hotel but for whatever reason we couldn't get anything from it; all there was would be to go into the park and join the one (1) coffee shop, the Starbucks out front, to get something hot to drink. One of these years we'll remember to bring some tea-bags and some of the similar coffee-bags that bunny_hugger uses when she needs even bad coffee at the office, and use the microwave to heat things up.
We would go into the park to try getting Starbucks coffee, at least --- not an easy task as the one (1) coffee shop had all (415,000) adults in the park in line --- but on the way there had a joyful discovery. The Kiddie Kingdom carousel was running. Apparently they'd gotten whatever part they needed and were able to restore the ride. We took a ride, naturally, and would get a couple more in that Saturday and Sunday before the park closed for the season. We'd also discover among the Halloween attractions in the Kiddie Kingdom was ``Pigpen's Corn Box'', complete with a list of safety guidelines. I was baffled by this concept. It turns out to be a sandbox, only filled with (dry) corn kernels. No eating. No throwing. ``Do not bury your head''. All right, then.
We also discovered a few people carrying what sure looked like Breakers Hotel coffee cups. Some of the stands, it turned out, sold hot chocolate, which would be good enough for me but not satisfy bunny_hugger's coffee desires. The park really has messed up in its coffee supplies; at least a few stands used to have some, even if it weren't on-menu. Now there's the one source and it's in a lousy spot and hasn't got anywhere near the capacity for a late October weekend crowd.
Around Frontiertown we poked into the gem shop and discovered (a) they sold ``peacock ore'', rocks with these wonderful iridescent colors that (b) were not actual peacock ore --- copper iron sulfide --- but rather ``chalcopyrite [ ... ] treated with an acid to make it look like natural bornite'', according to their information card. Something about me is still trying to quite process that.
The petting farm had closed for the night by the time we got around there, although we could watch some of their bigger animals from outside the fence. And there's geese and ducks and stuff that can get out into nearby ponds or are maybe just wild animals that have figured out it's a good spot.
In the glass shop we learned that the more elaborate, and expensive, figures like sea serpents were now safely under glass themselves. And we caught the glass-blowing show, demonstrating how to make a goldfish, again. It's always fascinating watching and even in the theater seats you can get occasional waves of heat from the glass furnace, which is pretty welcome in late October. And it's so amazing to watch the molten glass be worked just so easily, at the end of long sticks of metal.
I think we had dinner at the Midway Market, the buffet place, that night. I know when we did have dinner there we learned finally that it was possible to get coffee, but by asking a server directly for it. They used to come around and ask what drinks you wanted, but since switching to Coke Freestyle machines they just assume everyone is getting their choice of pop. But that there were sugar and Splenda and creamer packets near the machines indicated there must be coffee possible and we finally found someone to ask for it.
And after dinner was the search for the last rides of the night. What we wanted was to get on the Mine Ride, because the ride had some special theming for Halloweekends. It had been dubbed the ``Mystic Mine Ride'' and dressed up --- by the park! --- with some banners asking ``What's in the shed?'', riffing on the amusing yet not-all-that-wild shed used at Kings Island's new Mystic Timbers roller coaster. But the several times on Saturday we visited the Mine Ride it was closed and we feared we'd miss whatever their theme was. Quirky and whimsical as dressing up a roller coaster to joke about another roller coaster at a different park on the far end of the state was, it's not like they'd (probably) ever do that again, and we seemed ready to miss it. (Mine Ride doesn't operate Fridays at Halloweekends.)
We did spot that Top Thrill Dragster, which always goes down when there's any weather, including nice weather, was running. And had no line, so we were able to go in and after just a short wait get a front-seat ride. We'd never had a front-seat ride on this, although we had got one at the roller coaster's near-twin, Great Adventure's Kingda Ka. It isn't much of a roller coaster --- really the best part is the quiet moments of anticipation before the launch starts --- but it is better in the front. And at night, as it brings you suddenly up to a dazzling gorgeous view of the whole point lit up in the black. We don't tend to wait for more than one Top Thrill Dragster ride a season; this was the one worth having.
And we closed out the night on GateKeeper, right at the front of the park and none too far from the Oceana Gate, which had become our new favorite way to get into and out of the park from our hotel room. It would be another day before this would bite us.
Trivia: STA-099's final tests, before starting refurbishment into the shuttle orbiter Challenger, were of structural strength under simulations of the heating load during entry and at landing. Source: Development of the Space Shuttle, 1972 - 1981, T A Heppenheimer.
Currently Reading: The Dancers of Noyo, Margaret St Clair.
Rubber rats! bunny_hugger picked up some that were perfect matches, apart from color, for the rubber rats she'd gotten from there decades ago.
Scary dragons? More like adorable dragons. We also thought hard about the bird chirper. Notice the less-tiny babies, too.
A favorite cheap thrill: A Tiny Price For Tiny Dice. Those are regular-size dice in the bin to the left of them.