austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Now I'm standing in a doorway with my overcoat on

So with nearly everything in the park closed, how much is there to do at Cedar Point? We had a fascinating experience of walking a big loop around the park, interrupted by a couple of roller coasters. This gave us the neat result that if you just walk around Cedar Point, at a normal pace, stopping occasionally for the scenery or for a walk-on to a roller coaster (which, from loading, riding, and getting off is going to be about four minutes), then it takes something like two and a half to three hours. That's just to stroll around the point, basically. It's a big park but it wasn't until we had that approximate time for what it takes to walk around that we quite realized how big the place is.

Despite the rain we could still ride stuff. Most prominent would be Maverick. This particularly excited us because they had a new seat restraint system. I realize this sounds like a boring sort of excitement. Here's why it's important: the old restraints had these sharp plastic harnesses around the head that served the important role of smacking your ears over and over. It wasn't so bad for me, but it still hurt some. It was awful for bunny_hugger, who could basically ride the roller coaster once per trip without becoming too bruised to continue. They put in a new system over the winter, though. The new one leaves the head unboxed. As a result the ride is astoundingly better. It's always been an exciting layout, and when you don't have to contort yourself trying to avoid head damage, or just taking head damage, you get a ride that finally lives up to its potential. It's always been a well-regarded roller coaster; now, it's also one without a dark side.

Magnum 200XL, one of the 200-foot-tall steel roller coasters, was working perfectly fine. On the hills bunny_hugger wanted me to look over to see the dark, stormy Lake Erie, and the angry waves hitting the shore. This was probably great to see. But by the time the roller coaster was going up to speed, in the light mist, the battering water drops gave to my eyes was too harsh to even keep my eyes open, never mind look at stuff. We came off the ride feeling like our faces had been blasted clean. It was a neat experience but I don't know that it's one to recommend.

As the night wore on to a merciful conclusion the rain did begin to yield. We could even spot actual dark sky, even the hints of stars, a few times. And some more roller coasters started to open up. As the end of the night approached we started over toward Rougarou, to see how it rode in its post-Mantis incarnation, when I noticed that Millennium Force was now running. That's always a ride with a huge queue; it may be fifteen years old, but it rides smooth, is exciting without being intense, and offers a lot of beautiful views along its way.

This would also be a rare night ride on Millennium Force for us. It's normally got too long a line for our tastes; we get our ride in at the park's open, using early admission, if at all. But we got there, and managed to more or less fit on despite the extra padding of jackets --- it's a tight fit --- and the ride was great. And then the most wondrous of things happened. The ride operator at the receiving station gave permission for anyone who wanted to re-ride to just re-join the queue, rather than leave and come around again. (Millennium Force separates the loading and the unloading of trains.) Apparently Cedar Fair has decided that letting people re-ride stuff is all right, at the end of the night or if crowd is small. We couldn't turn that down; who could?

But then they offered it again, when we had re-ridden that. We took the chance and got a backseat ride, for if not the first time then at least the first time in ages. The ride's cars are quite open and airy, so it isn't as though you need to be up front to get the grand views and sense of floating in space. But being in the back seat does change the feel of the ride --- it means you're accelerating as you crest the top of a hill, from the cars before you dropping, and are decelerating at the bottom --- and this made Millennium Force feel different yet.

They offered us a reride again, and we took it, of course. And again and again. If I counted right, we got to ride Millennium Force five times, all in a row, before they closed for the night. The last of these were rides after the 11:00 nominal close of the park, too. Apparently they no longer take the closing hour as the moment to close the queue anymore. We were on the second-to-last train of the night on this. While we were looking (finally) at our on-ride photos a security guard asked if this was the last train, and I thought he meant the one currently going around the track. bunny_hugger thought he meant our group, the last bunch of riders. I went back and asked and bunny_hugger was right. So he had to stick around for one more group of people getting off the ride.

We never did find the rumored food that the park would be providing. There were a precious few gift shops open either, so we were glad that we'd eaten ahead of time. bunny_hugger did buy a ValRavn T-shirt, marveling that she has to be among the first people to ever have one. Assuming our estimate of a couple hundred people in the park was right, and that most of them didn't buy T-shirts, yeah, it's plausible she's among the first fifty people who aren't park employees to have the ride shirt. She doesn't normally buy shirts ahead of actually taking the ride, but the logo does look so very good, after all.

And we drove home. What else was there to do? We spent nearly twice as long driving to and from the park as we spent in the park, and we didn't even get to ride all seventeen(?) roller coasters. The carousels were all closed, and even the Casino with its old pinball machines was closed. We couldn't even get Garlic Fries. It was a ridiculous trip, and I'm quite glad we took it.

And yes, our pet rabbit was well, and healthy, and eating more than he had before.

Trivia: Postmaster General and department-store magnate John Wanamaker's 1891 proposal for Rural Free Delivery and letter-carriers delivering packages to people rather than holding them at the post office for pickup, was not implemented until 1896, owing in part to the need to find $30,000 to implement the plan. Source: The Grand Emporiums: The Illustrated History of America's Great Department Stores, Robert Hendrickson.

Currently Reading: Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate, Diego Gambetta.

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