The visit to the petting farm was part of our journey into the Planet Snoopy area. It's the kids area, with small rides like the junior Whip (Kings Island hasn't got an adult-sized Whip ride) or, particularly, the Woodstock Express roller coaster. This is the junior wooden roller coaster where, last time around, I'd been the most Mister Rogers-y I had ever been. (I told a small kid terrified of the ride that he was right, it was scary. But it wouldn't hurt him, and often it's fun to do things that are scary and that won't hurt you.) It's one of the rides that Kings Island opened with, and bunny_hugger and MWS had ridden it back in the day. Ages ago, when the park first opened and the world was new, it was the Scooby Doo coaster. In the 80s through to the mid-2000s, when bunny_hugger and MWS had first seen the ride, it was Beastie, the little companion to The Beast, complete with a logo that was a kitten version of the chained-monster logo of The Beast. (For a few years in the late 2000s it was the Fairy Odd Coaster, from Nickelodeon's Fairly OddParents, but, eh. These things come and go.)
Here we discovered a sign about the Canada Day and Independence day Junior Challenge, between Woodstock Express here and the Peanuts Ghoster Coaster at Canada's Wonderland. If you believe the sign, Woodstock Express beat Ghoster Coaster for hourly ride cycles (32), hourly ridership (527), and total ride cycles during the challenge (494, versus 469 at Ghoster Coaster, although when you take the difference in currencies into account things look different). Thus primed we'd look for other evidence of this Canada Day and Independence Day challenge, and found signs at a couple other rides that apparently have some loose equivalent in Canada's Wonderland. It's all a little weird, though. Also: ``Ghoster Coaster'' is a name that sounds like it makes sense, but makes a little bit less every time you hear it. The Peanuts theme means it's topped by Snoopy pretending to be a vulture on top. It's a little odd.
Anyway this tour of the kiddie area inspired us to try out Boo Blasters On Boo Hill, a ride I keep thinking has a similarly-named counterpart at Cedar Point (it hasn't, but it has got a kiddie Halloween walk-through haunted house mentioning Boo Hill) and that years ago was a Scooby Doo-themed interactive dark ride. The sort where you ride in a cart and shoot at stuff to make props pop up. In its Scooby-Doo incarnation bunny_hugger was once caught inside, owing to severe weather, while the entry queue Scooby-Doo noises just would not stop. I'm not sure how she didn't go mad. Our experience was a whole lot more normal and we're not sure the shooters were actually working.
After a surprisingly unsuccessful search for coffee and a quick peek at the park that, under Paramount ownership, had included a statue of the starship Enterprise (now it was a Designated Smoking Area, and under reconstruction so it was closed off anyway) we went to some more roller coasters. The Racer, where bunny_hugger and I took one side and MWS the other and we didn't manage to sit in the same row of our respective cars. I think we may have only taken the one ride then, at least based on my photographs, which is strange considering the Racer offers, like it suggests, two sides to ride. Adventure Express, a small roller coaster with a lot of lost-world-explorer theming. I thought the theming was working better than our last visit, but it's hard to keep track of such things. If we felt larcenous enough to take on-ride videos we'd have a real idea. The Bat, a swinging coaster that's a little short of a ride, but that's way off at the far end of a path with an hilariously over-abundant queue space. I think it's got more queue than any other ride I have ever seen, which was maybe fitting when the ride was brand-new but is now comically overmuch for the business the ride sees. If the queue weren't funny enough by itself, during Paramount's ownership of the park it had been a Top Gun-themed ride, and it still has elements appropriate for the Naval aviator chic.
The Bat is way on the far end of the world. But returning from it takes you past Banshee, the brand-new thrill ride last time we were at Kings Island. We'd used early admission to get a ride on it that time. This time, the queue for it looked ... not that bad, so we jumped in. The ride's got some nice setting, including a banshee figure in a cloud of dry ice fog. Also an eternal flame to the Son of Beast, the hard-luck wooden roller coaster that used to have this spot.
It happened we were visiting on National Carousel Day. And, remarkably, we hadn't been to the carousel yet. But we had assumed it'd be something we could get to without waiting excessively long anytime, too. So it was. It also let us check the rumor that the band organ had been repaired for this carousel, even if strangely it hasn't been for Cedar Point's two antiques.
We discovered something new, on the ride. These were badges inset in the ``bridle'' and ``harness'' on the mounts, on the inside side of the horses. The less decorated side, the one that doesn't have to attract a rider. They read things like ``Philadelphia Toboggan Co Row 2/No 344, Germantown, Phila, PA''. Stuff like that. PTC was, in the day, a major carousel builder and refurbisher. (And the company's still in business, so its excellent records are still available and invaluable in tracking the movement and ownership of carousels it had touched.) The 'Row 2' was exciting since it suggested that we were looking at the row meant to be behind the lead horse. This was spoiled when I looked over and saw the next horse had a badge like 'Row 1/No 232'. Apparently by PTC's badge scheme the 'row' is a circle of horses. That is, 'Row 1' is the outer ring, 'Row 2' the next inner one, 'Row 3' the innermost (on this carousel). The other number I guess is a serial number for the horse carving. But it might contain information I haven't been subtle enough a thinker to understand. I got as many pictures of horses and their badges as I could without delaying the next group of riders.
And sometime around this --- I'm not positive just when; my photograph roll, normally my notes for an event like this --- MWS and I chose to do something kind of crazy that I'd done before, and that he'd always been a little terrified to.
Trivia: Wall Street announced on 16 November 1914 that it would resume trading. The stock market had been suspended the 31st of July with the outbreak of the Great War. (It resumed bond trading first, after Thanksgiving, and stock trading in mid-December.) Source: The Great Game, John Steele Gordon.
Currently Reading: Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History, David Aaronovitch.
PS: Reading the Comics, November 11, 2017: Pictured Comics Edition, some more stuff from last week.
PPS: some more Silverball Museum pinball beauty shots.
Silverball Museum's Game of the Month for last december: Gottleib's Super Score with its clever backglass design to make a pinball-themed pinball game. And a game suggesting that women could even play pinball which, you know, would be a great idea.
Backglass detail of Gottleib's 1969 Lariat, a western-themed game. Cowgirls trying to catch a bunch of frightfully nervous rabbits maybe not in a perfectly comfortable pose.
A happier scene: one of the kicker tables on Gottleib's 1969 Lariat showing a cowgirl petting a rabbit whom I'm pretty sure would rather not be held, thank you, but if the alternative to being held is being lassoed then maybe this is better.