austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

You could hear her on the Boardwalk every day

The queue length sign outside GateKeeper estimated a wait of ... well, the labels went up to 90 minutes, and the arrow was pointed at that nowhere space past that, so bunny_hugger suggested we try coming back later in the day when maybe there'd be fewer people there. Her experience is that park crowds tend to start near the front of the park, and move back as the day goes on. This sounded plausible to me, certainly. I trust her judgement of park crowd behavior.

Since we hadn't really eaten, we stopped off for some garlic cheese fries, one of Cedar Point's homegrown concessions that's been happily coming to more of the food stalls. This pause also let us see that the park's been adding a lot of little decorative elements to the midway. We'd see that especially as night set in, that they've gone a little crazy with the lights, and that's made the park look much cheerier and fresher, newer, even besides the considerable benefit GateKeeper and the new entry way give. Cedar Point has, bunny_hugger says, never been much on making the grounds look better; if this is a new drive, it's working out great.

In the back end of the park are some fine rides, including the huge wooden roller coaster Mean Streak. We almost went on Maverick, one of the marquee rides of last decade and still a big draw, but its line was something over an hour long and I didn't feel like waiting so long even for a grand ride like that right away. Please note that this was entirely my decision, because of what follows.

We found the Mine Train ride, one of those little roller coasters that's been around forever and is really good for getting people to feel comfortable riding roller coasters since they don't tend to be too big or too fast or too disorienting. As we were in line, though --- waiting for the next car --- the rains came. It wasn't a very hard rain, but it was a steady one, and one that the Mine Train had to shut down for because it can't run safely with wet tracks.

So, they had to shut down. As the rain kept threatening to give up, we waited, at my suggestion, nb, not least because the rain required them to load up sandbags onto the cars to do the test runs with a simulated passenger weight load. The sandbags are actually bags of sand and washers, so if you see a washer on a roller coaster car, that's where it's most likely from. The ride crew groaned about this, because they'd had to sandbag the cars several times already that day --- once at the start of the day, and again after the earlier sprinkles --- and after all it's loading bags of sand and then unloading them after a couple test runs.

And we waited, and waited, and waited. The ride crew did some talking with the crowd, asking for names, birthdays, that sort of thing, but mostly, it was waiting, while people drifted off in search of rides that weren't closed. The attendees drifted down to a tiny, faithful few. I told bunny_hugger of this game, early in the New Jersey Devils' career, when a late-season meaningless contest was being held through a blizzard, and a couple hundred brave souls trudged to the Meadowlands for this, and how the Devils, needing some traditions, would invite these faithful souls back for reunions of these die-hard loyalists. And then there was another half-hour to wait.

In short, yes, we waited easily an hour, maybe more, for a single ride, and it was one that most Cedar Point enthusiasts rate as ``oh, yeah, I guess they have that too''. And it was entirely, wholly, my decision; we probably could have got Maverick instead. Of course, the Mine Train ride is a longer ride than Maverick --- it's the longest roller coaster ride at Cedar Point, although bunny_hugger noted that the ride crew has rounded its ride time up from ``two minutes and forty-two seconds'' to ``three minutes''.

All I can say is, yes, it's neat seeing operations of things like the test runs of roller coasters, but mostly, I embraced a sunken cost. And bunny_hugger has been kind enough not to complain.

Trivia: In July 1939 Gillette bought the broadcast rights to major league baseball on radio for $203,000. NBC would get the television rights. Source: Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television, Michael Ritchie.

Currently Reading: How We Got To Coney Island: The Development of Mass Transportation in Brooklyn and Kings County, Brian J Cudahy.

PS: Probability Spaces and Plain English, which is really just a pointer to a pretty well-presented explanation of the axioms of probability theory, compared directly with Wikipedia's technically precise but practically useless version.

Tags: amusement parks

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