At Cedar Point we'd be staying in the Breakers, as traditional. They're building a new wing on the Breakers, one that takes the place of the wing they demolished a couple years ago. We stayed in the cheapest available room and I would swear that it was one we'd stayed at the year before, this first-floor room at a spot where the hallway zig-zags. bunny_hugger wasn't sure, and thought the room was louder than any we'd stayed in before. It seemed like the spot, anyway.
Something I know we didn't do before: we used a completely new entrance to go into the park. There's four public entrances for the park. The main and the hotel entrance are the ones we use all the time. The Marina entrance is good for people arriving by boat or going to the restaurants on that end of things. This one, the Oceana Entrance? We never had reason to use it before. But I realized our room was very close to it, and so why not? bunny_hugger thinks she might have used the entrance once before, going out to see a fireworks show on the beach, but never used it as the way to get into the park. As an entrance, it's pretty sweet: it's tiny, but it's also unused, so even with the security theater table blockading the front there wasn't any wait. It takes you right to ... well, not many rides. Windseeker, the elevated swing ride, if you want that. Also a bunch of older, administrative-type buildings that look like they're relics of a forgotten era of the park. Also a restaurant that used to be a Snoopy-themed place and now offers grilled cheese, which would be way too crowded when we tried to go there for a meal.
But it's just across the point from ValRavn, which we figured should be the ride we aimed for during the early-admission hour, before mobs of people came in. This time we were able to get a front-seat ride, too. There's a lot of front seat, eight of them in a train holding 24 people, but somehow we hadn't managed the trick before. And it does make a difference. The big trick of ValRavn is that it holds the cars for a moment, stopped, before dropping them vertically, and being in front makes the suspense moreso. It's still a bit short of a roller coaster --- the second moment where the ride's suspended kills the momentum in both meanings --- but it's a better one from the front seat. The moment of drop feels closer to that of Demon Drop or Freefall.
It was a chilly night. I'd learned to wear my long underwear at Cedar Point for Halloweekends and I wasn't underdressed. It was also a rainy night, heavy enough that rides started to close and we would go huddling into gift shops for warmth and a break from the rain. It was a chance for us to look through, particularly, the explosion of nostalgic ride T-shirts and merchandise they've gotten. I never knew the park when it had a Fascination parlor, but they've got the shirts for it now.
Eventually it seemed like rides were opening again, and we were able to get into the queue for the Raptor roller coaster that seemed to take forever to actually get started. I think the interaction of how much rain they could tolerate and how many test cycles they had to run combined to frustrate us is all. We also got to the Midway Carousel, the one right up front --- the closest we would get to the actual entrance of the park this whole weekend, incidentally --- and enjoyed a ride on that, decorated with pumpkins for the Halloween season.
Also visited, more sadly: the Kiddie Kingdom carousel. It hadn't been running and the word from Cedar Point was that it would be down the rest of the season. Some critical component --- we supposed it had to be something in the axle --- had broken, and it would take time to fabricate a replacement, and there just wouldn't be any before the park closed for the season. So we accepted. We took photographs of the antique ride, of course, but trusted that this one of the park's three carousels would be beyond us this weekend. We went to the adjacent Casino.
Currently Reading: And Chaos Died, Joanna Russ.
Trivia: Daniel Burnham, as chief of construction, insisted on having boiled, filtered water available for the workers building the Columbian Expo grounds and buildings. Source: The Devil the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Erik Larson.
PS: A Bunch Of Tweets I'd Thought To Save and finally use somewhere.
PPS: From a day we spent in Ann Arbor, attending the closing of an institution not pictured here.
The Underground at Ashley's Bar in Ann Arbor. Basement bar that we've never seen busy, but then we're never there in the evening.
More of the Ashley's Bar underground, including a forced-perspective shot of escalators and a bunch of posters stuck to the ceiling that I'm sure is not any kind of fire hazard.
And since I was feeling frisky, a picture of the main floor of Ashley's as we came up from the basement (where the bathrooms are).