austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Deck the patch with orange and black

One last amusement park trip report of the year, I promise, to my regret. This we our Cedar Point Halloweekends Trip. It'd be also, strangely, our only visit to the park this year that wasn't Rain Coaster Appreciation Night or stopping in on the way to another, much smaller and less successful, park.

I forget just what got us started off late on Friday. We also got delayed by the morass of construction that is US 23 in Ohio. Going to Roller Coaster Appreciation Deluge we accidentally discovered a way around that, bypassing Maumee, a town we otherwise like and that's normally a good resting point. We used that again, and stopped instead at an Ohio Turnpike rest stop where we found some great-looking glass dragon stuff in the gift shop, which we didn't buy.

This was the first time we'd been to the Hotel Breakers since last year --- well, we only stay there once a year --- and the major renovation they'd done. The hotel demolished the ``Twin Wing'', a pair of corridors leading out the front (as you approach by car) with really cheap, majestically antiquated rooms. We'd stayed in those rooms once and loved how much they seemed to have stopped being renovated in the 50s. Our room even had a transom, painted shut and clearly hacked at by someone trying to open it from inside. It also had one available electrical outlet, and a single room switch that turned off everything, including the lights and the power to the alarm clock. That's now gone. Also gone are the cheap wings we normally stayed at. Cedar Point is making up for the loss of hotel capacity by charging more for the remaining rooms. I believe their end-game is to have exactly one room and force guests to fight it out, and make their real money selling weapons to the combattants.

But the Hotel Breakers renovations were to serve some serious aesthetic purpose besides letting them charge more. The Hotel was originally built way back in the day when most guests could arrive by ferry or along the shoreline. They've actually arrived by car pretty much ever since 1954. So the hotel had done that thing where what had been its back entrance had become its main entrance, and they'd hacked together an approach without ever really reconfiguring the place. But they'd also let the tall rotunda center that was the original entrance get a bit run-down, and ... well, you can see where this produces a hotel that's functional but also not up to the exacting standards of the architecture critic for the local free alt-weekly.

The renovation makes what had been the Twin Wing a more substantial, more grand approach, something you can drive up to and feel more impressed by. It's shortened that hallway considerably, but that also means there's less of an infinitely long trundle past doors marked ``Administration'' to get to the lobby. The lobby was completely renovated as well, and the rotunda refurbished and made this bright, pleasant, living space. We saw more people just sitting around in it our first pass through than we'd ever seen using it in the past. Possibly every time in the past combined. So it does look great.

It was also decorated for Halloween. Very decorated, and more dramatically than previous Halloweekends when they'd string fake spider webs and hang some of those lenticular posters so that a smiling face turns all fang-y when you get nearer. They did more than that, but the decoration this year was clearly much more thorough.

Lining the walls of the main entrance, the former Twin Wing, were blown-up vintage photos of kids from the 50s or so, back when everybody made their own costumes and they were all horrifying. Yes, yes, of course the hotel picked photos that looked terrifying. But look at Halloween pictures from the 50s. The only hard part the hotel had was limiting the number of horrifying costumes to show.

Part of the lobby's new look was to be some carousel horses flanking the entrance. They had these, sort of. Skeletal, run-down, shoddy looking horses rigged up so they might shake. That is, their Halloween theming went so complete that they set up monster carousel horses. At least one of the horses turned out to have some kind of sensor in it, detecting people in a certain range and triggering some motor. Probably the motor was meant to cause the horse to shake or at least turn its head or something, but the motor wasn't working. All that was produced was the whirlicracking of an electric motor doing nothing useful and some restrained quivers of a foam-covered horse skeleton. So it was creepy but in a different way than they meant.

Lining the halls of the lobby's upper floor were amusement park photos. Well, abandoned amusement park photos, of flat rides rusted and broken, funhouses falling in on themselves, Ferris wheels with trees grown through. bunny_hugger believed she recognized one photograph, of some duck-themed ride, from an abandoned park in South Korea that got Internet famous. We didn't recognize others. Still, we were impressed by the thoroughness with which they themed the place for Halloween. And now we'll have to find an excuse to pop in during the normal season to see what the lobby is normally like.

As we checked in some Disney channel abominable sitcom was playing. I have no idea what it was, but the plucky teen protagonist had a pinball machine in her room, a 1975 Williams Space Mission with a swinging Apollo-Soyuz Test Project theme. It was some kind of alien pinball machine, since the backglass would blank out and be replaced with a video conference with some other character. Still, that's a nice thing to see.

Trivia: During World War II, the United States's Airport Development Plan paid Pan American Airways $12 million to build 25 new land and nine seaplane bases in fourteen different countries, spaced about 450 miles apart, from Miami in the north to Natal, Brazil, in the south. Source: Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World's Most Revolutionary Structure, Alastair Gordon.

Currently Reading: Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, Sean Howe.

Tags: amusement parks, cedar point, halloweekends
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