March 24th, 2018

krazy koati

Open my presents and I'd be glad

Along the way to the Dark Knight ride we passed Medusa Steel Coaster and since the queue promised to be something like 15 minutes, we figured to ride again. Unanswered: does the 15 minutes include the time spent walking through all that queue and the mystery-house mine shack and all that? Good question and we didn't really check our timepieces closely enough to have any idea the answer. We were able to get a front-seat ride this time and that was also fantastic.

When we got to The Dark Knight Coaster the queue promised a 20 minute wait, well within the bounds of reason. It is, rather like its sister ride at Great Adventure, made as a mocked up Gotham City subway station, complete with posters. I loved the subway maps. The ads for IRAs made me wonder whether that even parses as something in Mexico City or whether they just accept it as Gotham City flavoring. There was a good long wait in the ``Ticketing Office'', where the video screen gave the safety spiel in the guise of news reports about the craziness on the Gotham City rail; again, this was uncannily like the Great Adventure counterpart to the ride except for the emergency exit signs being in Spanish. It's a spinning wild mouse, entirely enclosed, with much of it in the dark and with some interactive elements leaping out and startling riders. I'd say it was a bit better than the counterpart at Great Adventure, although that might just reflect what a good mood I was in.

With that, we'd gotten to all the operating roller coasters, and we could treat the rest of the park as a chance to whatever caught our eye. Apart from one thing: the carousel. It's not an antique, but it is a carousel and we wouldn't risk missing it. It was the same two-storey model as at the Freehold Raceway Mall and at Morey's Piers and a couple other places. The gondolas were free-spinning, giving it a bit of a leg up on Freehold Raceway Mall's. It's an attractive ride, at least, and the ride was surrounded by Christmas decorations, including strands of lights overhead. We would come back to that.

With it getting on to the evening we figured to eat. We'd already had cheese fries. How about pizza? There's a bunch of stands, all named Six Pizza, around the park and if that name doesn't seem to make sense to you then please consider this: the pies are all cut into eight slices. So no, I don't get it either. It seems like the name is some sort of chain joke that went a little awry. We had no idea what size pizza to get; the places don't say what the sizes are. And the price didn't give us any hint. The prices being in pesos (roughly 20 to the US dollar) didn't help us. And we had no idea what the premium for amusement park food prices might be. We ended up with a much bigger cheese pizza than we imagined. And after pausing for food photographs that we plan to someday caption ``Taco Bell misinformed us as to the nature of Mexican Pizza'' we ate the whole thing to our slight amazement. I did more of that eating.

We were beside Medusa Steel Coaster again, and so took the chance for one more ride in the onsetting twilight. And walked around some of the park, anticipating what it might look like when the lights finally did come on. And ... we pondered the nature of the Ghostbusters: Los Cazafantasmas: La Aventure Laser again. An indoor dark ride? What? It closed for the night at 7 pm, so if we didn't go then, we would never know. We bought tickets.

A ride attendant outside explained in English he said was terrible and was not that we would have to wait outside the building as another group was in there. We were glad to. We went up to try to wait there and went past the queue's location and he corrected us. We could deal with that. We were apologetic about following the directions wrong. Finally a group gathered, and the previous group set out, and we were allowed inside. It was a cute little amusement park-grade office, with Ghostbusters merchandise and Stay Puft marshmallow man figures and Ghostbuster overalls and such. Then we were let into another room with mocked up ghost-busting gear. And a ride operator started to explain what was going on: we had no idea.

The attendant who'd apologized for his perfectly good English gave us the brief briefing: there were two groups. Inside the arena you shoot the other; if you're shot, all that happens is your laser won't shoot for a couple seconds. There'd be a Ghost, someone dressed all in black, ``and that's bad''. And we got it all together; the premise of the attraction was we were Cadet Ghostbusters and the objective was to see who was best at zapping stuff on short order and we'd go around the dark maze and see what could happen. Oh yeah, and it was laser tag.

We'd never done laser tag before, figuring, we're not the sort of nimble, fleet-footed people who'd have a chance of not getting tagged out right away. But with tag just disabling your ability to shoot for a couple seconds? All right, that's better. And thrust into the maze, really, that was rather fun. We had a good ten minutes or whatnot of running around. I did my best to move stealthily until that was too hard on my knees and I just tried to stand while being obstructed by something. Doesn't matter; I kept getting zapped a lot. I did spot the Ghost wandering around. bunny_hugger started out enjoying it, and got to having more and more fun. In the final seconds she got deeply into things, and managed a desperate charge against someone from the other team, the two firing at each other's chests over and over and over and over.

In the end they showed us the results. Our team, blue, lost badly to red. bunny_hugger was not the worst-shooting Cadet. I was. Still, our first laser tag experience was a good one. We enjoyed it, we had fun, we understood why this was fun and now we're open to more of this. Especially if it can be a basic-time one rather than a five-strikes-and-you're-out. (We speculated maybe amateur versus experienced laser tag players have their preferences on this.) With a lot of giddy smiling we put our gear back away, and shrugged, laughing at all of this, and stepped outside.

Outside, where ... Oh.

Trivia: In 1929, before the start of the Great Depression, 1.4 million Americans ran family-owned retail stores. A decade later there were 1.6 million so. Source: The Great A&P And the Struggle for Small Business in America, Marc Levinson.

Currently Reading: Longitude By Wire: Finding North America, Richard Stachurski.

PS: So the milling around after the Fursuit Parade.


Either Jaru, on the left there, spotted me and is riffing back at my camera or he's just trying some mind-control on anyone who's in range. I also kind of suspect the woman to the right of him, partly obscured by the red magician cat(?), does not have a conceptual theory about what the heck is going on.


The ant fellow with his sugar-cube backpack. (The backpack actually opens up, and does not only contain sugar inside.)


Here people start to figure out where the group photo will be. And I figure an elevated spot I can take a photo from.