When bunny_hugger and I set out from Cedar Point, it was with the understanding it would be a busy day at the park when we returned. Halloween festivals have become incredibly big profit centers for amusement parks the last few years, and if that weren't enough, it was the long Columbus Day weekend, and a beautiful weekend with warm weather and clear skies. It was busier than that. You know how much busier than that you think it was? It was busier than that. And you know how much you think that was? It was much busier than that.
As we drove out of the park, there wasn't just a full parking lot. And there wasn't just a full line of cars streaming onto the peninsula. There was an enormous, slow-moving line of cars. Not only were the surplus cars being tucked to the surplus lots, but they were being tucked into fresh-opened surplus lots. bunny_hugger said ominously, as we left, that even with the dashboard tag indicating we were staying at a hotel and would not need normal-person parking, there might not be parking for us. They might just be filled.
Still, we'd stayed out of the peak of the day, and were coming in after 5 pm, around the time that Starlight Tickets start being allowed admission. Surely the slow-moving line of cars in would not be ... oh, dear. The slow-moving line of cars in started somewhere around the Kentucky border.
There's a long causeway leading up to the park, with multiple lanes of traffic. None were moving much. The causeway is lined for the Halloweekend festivities with signs setting an appropriately gruesome-ghoulie mood. We had time to study them. We could see in the distance that yes, there was a park out beyond. We had time to study it from afar.
We also had time to study the stream of cars coming the other way, people leaving the park. Many looked disgruntled. Some were calling out to the arrivers that it was a waste of time, they wouldn't get to ride anything. The park was full. And cars were still coming in.
There are grass banks along the causeway. Cars were parked in them as overflow lots. Not just across the causeway, adjacent to the parking lots. There were cars, and I do not here exaggerate, being sent back along the causeway, in order to park on the grass banks of the mainland, and their passengers walking back across the causeway again to gain admittance to a park where, according to an unabated stream of angry park-goers, was too full to let anyone ride anything. I'm not exaggerating in this.
Across the causeway, just before the park entrance, are sculptured hedges made to look like various Peanuts characters. (Cedar Point has had the Peanuts characters license, ever since moving on from The Berenstein Bears.) We had a lot of time to study them.
After better than an hour to cross the mile-long causeway we reached the entry gate, where as promised our dashboard tag allowed us to the perimeter road around to the hotel parking lots rather than drive back to Sandusky, or possibly Toledo, and walk back.
Even though there was just the hotel traffic driving on the perimeter road, it was still somewhat slow going, as there were packs of people walking to and from side lots, but it wasn't really bad until we got near enough the hotel parking lots to be stopped by a traffic guard. He frowned and waved us away from the last drive up to the Breakers parking lot, and we went to the directed alternate lot. This one was by the side amusement park with all sorts of a la cart rides like reverse bungees, and, there wasn't any parking as best as we could tell, or any way to get back to the Breakers lot.
On giving up about this side lot we poked around and ended up being sent back along the perimeter road, threatening to be sent back across the causeway and maybe put on a new long journey around Sandusky.
We found a convenient place to make a U-turn and tried again, with my offering encouragement to bunny_hugger to insist on being allowed to the Breakers hotel parking lot. After all, they couldn't have many more cars than parking lot spaces, if they were any good about this reservation scheme, right? As we approached the fearsome blockade of the intimidating traffic guard ...
He was gone. There was a different person there, and she glanced at our dashboard pass and waved us in. Not only were there parking spaces at the Breakers, but, we found a spot which was conveniently near our room. Considering the Breakers sprawls out with about the footprint, and size, of the Epsilon Nine com station from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this was a pretty good stroke of luck.
So despite our worst fears, we got back, and had the chance to see an amusement park running at over fourteen times maximum capacity.
Trivia: Britain's King George II died in the water closet, shortly after having his usual (morning) 7 o'clock cup of chocolate. Source: George III, Christopher Hibbert.
Currently Reading: Woodhouse: A Life, Robert McCrum.
PS: How I Make Myself Look Foolish, probably the first in a long string of such posts.