I thought we had worked out the Halloweekend parade routing --- going from front to back of the park one day, and from back to the front the next, minimizing the time that has to be spent moving floats around after park hours (or worse, during them) --- based on our past experience. So of course we were looking the wrong way when the parade started. It's clearly a subtler thing than we realized.
It also started with less preparation and fuss than in past years. We'd worried that something was awry when the official hour for the parade's start went on by and there weren't the repeated sweepings of the area between the yellow lines, where the floats and marchers go, so as to make space. But that might be because we weren't near a bridge or other choke points and they could be looser about trusting the crowd to move out of the way from our vantage point to the front of the park relative where the Corkscrew roller coaster does two of its loops.
The parade only had a couple of marching bands, but one of them was from Holt, Michigan, which amused us because Holt is in the Lansing area; it's practically our backyard. I can't say what exactly is amusing about that, but, we felt it. And the parade had a nice bunch of kids with their costumes, including, I was so happy to see, a kid in a cardboard box doing the popular Kid As A Robot Made Of Cardboard Boxes. His robot, I must admit, looked better than the one I'd made as a kid.
I'm not sure if this is new but they had some dragon costumes, which made me think of the dragon from over in Dutch Wonderland, now part of Kennywood's corporate overlords' empire. Maybe it's just that one of the dragons was wearing a skirt, the obvious solution to having a costume like this that kids can hug without having to clean the whole costume every day. The dragons --- and quite a few other performers --- wandered off to the side to give the kids high-fives, which is about as adorable as you might expect.
The end of the parade was another marching band, this one from Port Clinton, Ohio, and bunny_hugger and I were sincerely horrified to see people in the audience just walking out in the midst of the band, like the show had already ended. Besides being disrespectful to the performers, it seems like plunging into the middle of a marching band is a great way to get someone hurt, especially since they had flag-twirlers as part of the performance.
Well, after the parade, we went over to the Himalaya, which we almost never ride, and discovered that its apparently short queue was because the ride has almost perfectly hidden its queue: the ride's a cylindrical tube, and the queue fits behind that and is obstructed by the end of the park so you have absolutely no idea how long a wait you're letting yourself in for, which might be why there were rather more people there than we expected. They don't have loud music playing for this, or a siren; compared to the glories of the Musik Express as at Casino Pier it's a pretty understated, short ride. But it's something we don't get to much, and was fun for that, and it put us in good position for the Corkscrew roller coaster, or it would if either of us were that good remembering where the entrance for Corkscrew is. It's one of those surprisingly elusive rides; you can see the track from nearly everywhere in the park, but the entrance is available only when the good fairy emerges in the first light after the rising of the quarter-moon.
We made some more tours around the back of the park, and the Gemini midway and the presumably doomed kids' rides there, including getting some photographs of the Junior Gemini roller coaster in its last weeks of operation under that name and with that entrance and exit. (Its entrance and exit are being moved to the other side of the ride so it makes a more natural fit with the Camp Snoopy attractions.) Looking at the kiddie rides sure to be removed, possibly forever, inspired one of those thoughts that I realized was horrible before I even finished articulating it:
For Halloweekends Cedar Point puts up a little graveyard for rides of the past --- Diaster Transport, WildCat, Space Spiral, as their newest graves; but also much longer-gone attractions like Rotor or the Earthquake or the Jumbo Jet or the Pirate Ride or Jungle Jim's Adventures --- and I wondered if they'd put up gravestones for those rides. ``In fact,'' I started before realizing what I was about to say, ``they could set up a little children's graveyard in one of the kiddie sections'' and then I realized I was about the worst person ever, at least in the division of People Suggesting Halloween Decor At Amusement Parks. A monument to lost kiddie rides, maybe; a children's graveyard in the Kiddie Kingdom or something, not so much.
Let me close on something less grim. I realize something happened Saturday I failed to mention: we went to the Mean Streak wooden roller coaster, the really huge one, and waited for a front-seat ride because it wasn't that much of a wait really, particularly since they were running all three trains, always a good sign. The ride operators started clowning around and asking for songs they might sing while people waited. Our Buggles-based suggestions went unheard or unheeded, but that's all right; the guy didn't recognize the song of the people he did respond to anyway.
There was a weird delay in getting the trains going on our tour around, though, which turned out to be: someone lost their phone while on the roller coaster. As best we could piece it together, whoever it was probably took his phone out when the train was sitting at one of the waiting spots, where the brakes are on full just before returning to the station, and when one might reasonably suppose it to be safe to clown around like that. But then the train moved again and the phone went flying. This came back to us again as when we were waiting at one of these stopping points, just before the station, and everything stopped for a bit as one of the ride operators ran back, picked the phone up, and brought it back to the person who lost it. It's all pretty lucky that the phone was lost in about the only spot on the ride it could possibly have been recovered from without a huge palaver, as well as that it was lost without the phone going flying into someone else's face.
This does add, though, to the list of weird operational anomalies that we've seen at amusement parks this year, including GateKeeper having to get an emergency hose-down for us, the Cedar Creek Mine Ride going through its whole test run with weights for us, being launched on Idlewild's Rollo Coaster before I had actually sat down, the existence of Conneaut Lake Park, and the emergency stop of the bumper cars at Lakemont Park. I had warned bunny_hugger that she was marrying into a family that causes weird things to happen around them.
Trivia: Early in Gemini 12's reentry a stowage bag broke free of its Velcro attachment and landed in Jim Lovell's lap. He left it there rather than risk accidentally pulling the D-ring which would trigger the ejection seats. Source: Gemini: Steps To The Moon, David J Shayler.
Currently Reading: The Secret History of the World, Mark Booth. I'm not precisely sure what this is; when I picked it up I thought it was some kind of guide to what secret societies gave as their histories of the world, or pointing out some narrative threads connecting various big-name conspiracy-of-history tales. It's easy reading, but at least early on where I think he's trying to pile up all the stuff in one convenient package it's a lot of weird.