A good part of the Halloweekend fun is seeing how they make the park different from ordinary operations. Much of this is done in shows, which they always have, certainly, but which seem to overflow during these weekends. This probably takes some of the pressure off the rides, needed if they're drawing everyone in Ohio to the park for the weekend, but it also means we can stumble happily upon surprises more easily.
One show we ran across, at the performance center opposite the removed Wildcat roller coaster, was acrobatics and performing stunts with an impressive program. Some of it was a guy spinning a large wireframe cube --- maybe five feet on the side --- one-handed or on his forehead or the like, sometimes with fire (and this produced some lovely photo chances, particularly as the rising moon, the giant Ferris wheel, and the Wicked Twister roller coaster were in the background). Another was a woman doing stunts using a body-sized hula hoop: sometimes rolling herself on it, sometimes using it as a prop to something else. The most surely practiced and neat effect was her tossing the hoop away behind her, and letting it roll lazily around right back to her hand. The practice it must take to manage that without obviously looking and grabbing at it impressed us.
Also thrilling was a quartet of people dressed in skeleton suits who, simply, had a synchronized falling routine. They dropped down and up onto a trampoline, to music, and did a healthy amount of clowning around in their drops and rises. As ever, this left me wondering whether Cedar Point found a group that did synchronized-falling stunts, or whether they just hire acrobats and tell them what show to put together.
Cedar Point also sets up haunted houses, and we went to several this time since the crowds were not obscenely and impossibly huge. We ended up at the tail ends of groups, probably because I keep lingering over and looking at things. This did mean most of the performers blew their big ``boo!'' moments scaring people ahead of us, but we were still gotten a healthy number of times. The most unsettling illusion was one barely requiring performers, though; it was a long room, with mirrors on the far side, and many shrouded figures, with a strobe light as the only illumination. This was disorienting and unsettling, particularly until we figured out that we were looking at mirrors in the distance and not that the room was incredibly big. The haunted houses would not have been worth the hours-long lines of last year, but for this weekend and waits of around fifteen minutes they were just right.
Our last ride for Friday night was on Skyhawk, a giant swinging ride. This would be fun by itself, but the ride operators increased our interest by pointing out how much better Skyhawk is than maXair, a similar big swinging ride (though this as a Giant Frisbee ride) that would seem to fill a similar ``big swinging thing'' niche, and then saying that anyone who wanted to ride again could just stay in their seats. You never get re-rides at Cedar Point. What a night.
Trivia: Hiram Maxim's experimental aircraft design of 1894 weighted four tons and had a 107-foot wingspan; it used a railroad track a third of a mile long for runway. Source: First Flight: The Wright Brothers And The Invention Of The Airplane, T A Heppenheimer.
Currently Reading: Beyond Human Ken, Editor Judith Merril.
PS: The Help Needed To Get to One, more analysis of that expected-value problem for riding Disaster Transport at Cedar Point.