austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Take along your goody sack

Checking in at the Breakers, the hotel on the actual Cedar Point, threatened us with a massive line because everybody wants to get in before early admission starts Friday, but there's only so much counter space at the front desk. They seemed to be trying to do something to speed things up by having a person intercept us as we entered the hotel --- walking down the long entrance corridor, itself decorated with bats and cobwebs and that hideous green-tinted fluorescent bulb that makes things look like they're in a horror movie --- and verify our registration, although it doesn't seem like this was really speeding up check-in. On the other hand we made it through the line in about half the time we were dreading so perhaps they know their business.

We've stayed in a couple areas within the Breakers but this was a new one: the ``twin'' section I think it was called, on the second floor and just above the long entry way. There's nothing directly above it, either. These are clearly old rooms, predating access cards --- they gave us actual physical keys with the room number on the plastic tab like it was the 70s or something --- and with a painted-over, sealed-shut transom over the door. Also it had two electrical outlets, one of them behind the bed where it was perfectly inaccessible, and one of them off in the corner of the room and with the light and the TV plugged into it. Or, well, unplugged from it, probably because previous occupants had learned what we had: there's nowhere to plug stuff in. It had a light switch, which controlled everything plugged in in the room, including the under-the-bed outlet to which the alarm clock was plugged in.

Let me clarify the implications here: if the light switch were turned off at the wall, everything in the room would lose power, including the alarm clock. This is plainly a room which was designed for the days when you didn't plug in alarm clocks and you didn't bring stuff to plug in to hotels, and that's quite charming, although it made me realize I'd forgot to bring the power strip that I had meant to make part of our regular amusement park tour pack.

The room was also chilly, threatening to be cold. It was a cold weekend at the park --- we thought that might be good news in keeping the crowds down and making more things ridable --- but the trouble is the Breakers was designed on the assumption people were visiting the amusement park in the summer and what are you even doing there in late October anyway? They had fitted a unit, looking like a window air conditioner, in, and with it turned up to full heat it didn't actually warm the place up that soon, but by the end of the day it got the room to being pleasantly warm.

We got into the park not quite at the opening bell, although we were walking toward the gate when they played the National Anthem and welcomed everyone. We also broke from our usual early-admissions ride --- Maverick --- for GateKeeper, which was still looking nice and beautiful. Apparently everyone else taking early admission thought the same and we had what I think was our longest line for GateKeeper this remarkable summer, which was still under a half-hour or so. I believe we also got around again before regular admission started and the line got truly huge. We enjoyed a summer of very few waits for rides, some of it remarkable luck, but a lot of it that bunny_hugger knows how to strategize where to go.

Before the sun set we could see easily some of the Halloween decor --- a little hay maze set up outside the Blue Streak, inflatable monsters that I think used to rank positions in the parade but are now props fixed in place, the steampunk promenade made out of the Frontier Trail, that sort of thing. We'd end up visiting that trail quite a few times because it just so often was the easiest way to get where we needed to go. I hope the performers didn't get sick of seeing us.

Part of the visit was a kind of farewell tour: Cedar Point's plans for next year include redeveloping the midway near the Gemini roller coaster. The big change this makes is that Gemini's companion kiddie coaster, Junior Gemini, is going to be renamed and its entrance moved over to the kiddie area opposite it. (The ride isn't moving, but access to it is.) Furthermore this little strip of a handful of small carnival-type kiddie rides is being redeveloped and we figured the rides had to be not long for this world. We wanted to get photographs of this doomed area; it has the look of having been neglected for ages, possibly decades, and while it may be unexceptional --- two of the kiddie rides, for example, share an operator who drifts back and forth if anyone shows up to them --- it is something that has been for a long while and will not be; that deserves some attention.

Along with these rides is a little games midway, including an arcade we really never paid much attention to. It's got a handful of games in it, but looks under-stocked, and the pegboard wall on one side suggests this was the halfhearted conversion of a gift shop at some point. We were not quite alone there, but close enough, and we couldn't avoid thinking this was probably going to be wiped out. It might not be torn down --- Disaster Transport's refreshments area was merely renovated when that roller coaster was demolished --- but it'll almost certainly be considerably changed.

It was, as mentioned, a cold night, certainly in the 40s and probably not very high 40s at that. I was pretty well dressed for the cold, including several layers and the Conneaut Lake Park Blue Streak hoodie which bunny_hugger gave me as a birthday present, but still felt it, and bunny_hugger's lips felt it worse: she needed lip balm, especially if we were going to be reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour or more in the cold. This lead us on a search through a good swath of the park's back sections, as the first gift shop didn't have balm but was pretty sure they knew where to find it, and gave us rough directions, and we had to go find it. It was in the shop they said; it's just, that shop was in a part of the park where neither of us has a really solid sense of where anything is. Even with the park map relentlessly checked and landmarks such as the Maverick roller coaster and a footbridge and the town hall museum to guide us we needed roughly forever to sort out just where to go. We also weren't very efficient in getting the cashier to notice us, but that's because there was a mob of people trying to buy mostly gloves and hats and without a line we couldn't be told from people who were just looking things over.

But we got to most of the things we could realistically hope for, including front-seat rides on Mean Streak, the overlong wooden roller coaster. From the lift hill on that bunny_hugger tried to point out to me where Cedar Point's lighthouse was, but I didn't spot it in the time we had. We'd also gotten to ride the Magnum XL 200 at night, as well as to take a leap on the Power Tower's launch tower, the one that sends you flying up suddenly. There we were clearly trendsetters: the ride was a walk-on when we went to it and it had a substantial line, for both launching and dropping, by the time we got off.

We got to have a close-the-park ride on Raptor, after all, and the park is just beautiful in the darkest of night, and the cool of the night made it all the better when we got back to our finally warm hotel room.

Trivia: The last commercial operator of the Boeing 247 was Island Airlines of Port Clinton, Ohio, flying regular service to the Bass Islands of Lake Erie from 1954 until the early 1960s. The aircraft was sold to an English buyer in 1968. Source: The Boeing 247: The First Modern Airliner, F Robert van der Linden.

Currently Reading: The Number Sense: How The Mind Creates Mathematics, Stanislas Debaene.

Tags: amusement parks, cedar point, halloweekends
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