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28-Plus Years of Amusement Parks

October 24, 2014

Mr. Karen and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary this past Saturday by spending the day at Cedar Point with our friend Kurt. Going as a couple would have been more expected, I suppose, but Kurt was going anyway so it made sense to hang out together. Given that we took a friend along when we got our marriage license a few days before the wedding all those years ago, it actually seemed fitting to celebrate in a trio.

The weather was cold and blustery and drizzling on and off, so we thought that would keep the crowds down. Nope. I guess Halloweekends are just too popular. I suppose even more people might have shown up if the weather were better, but it felt like our strategy backfired since the weather kept some rides from operating, making the ones that were open more crowded. We could have paid for the extra pass that lets you get front of the line access but it cost more per person than we paid to get into the park (especially so for Kurt, who has a season pass that paid for itself long before this visit) and that just seemed like too much. After we got into the park, we bypassed the 90 minute line for the newest coaster and instead got on the Wicked Twister, which was just opening up from a weather delay, so had almost no line. (It’s the yellow twirly thing going up into the sky in the photo below, taken from the big wheel we rode next.)

Wicked Twister

Despite the cold weather, the Dippin’ Dots stands were open, so of course I got some of my favorite frozen treat from the future when we made our way past as we roamed the park looking for reasonable lines and enjoying the fall colors that popped up here and there isplay among the visual clutter of the coasters.

Fall colors

We managed to get on enough rides to make it a fun day, and after the sun went down, we walked through a few of the scare zones and did one of the haunted mazes (the lines for the haunted houses were crazy— though there was a separate add-on pass for those if you wanted to 1% it; I wonder how many people bought both the ride pass and the haunted house pass, thus tripling the revenue the park got from them that day).

Steampunk skull

A few hours before the park closed, we decided to suck it up and just wait the 90 minutes for Gatekeeper, the one big coaster that had opened since our last visit. When we finally were on and riding, I was wishing we’d waited when we first got there. It was so smooth and swoopy and the restraint was the most comfortable of any coaster I’d been on, and if the line hadn’t still been long, I would have gotten right back in. (Also, if they’d gotten both me and Mr. K in the same ride photo, I probably would have bought it.)

If we'd both been in the photo maybe we would have bought it

The park was open until midnight, and by the last hour, the crowds had thinned considerably, so we ran around and managed to ride three of the coasters we’d skipped earlier. Jamming myself into three seats in quick succession like that made it quite clear I need to get serious about losing weight again. Granted, wearing three layers plus a winter coat to ward off the chill didn’t help, but some of those ride vehicles were too tight a squeeze to be entirely comfortable.

More holiday colors

On our way out of the park, we stopped to look at the photo we’d had taken as we entered. One shot was not so great, but the other was funny, plus they had an option for a keychain viewer, which made me feel nostalgic, so we got that package.


This viewer wasn’t like the old school ones we’d gotten on our park visits in the 80s and 90s; those were small and square and had a piece of film in them, not a tiny photo printed on paper. A couple days after we visited the park, I went searching for our collection of the old viewers, and somewhat surprisingly found them the first place I looked. There were even a couple I’d forgotten about from Blizzard Beach, which were the larger size of this new one from Cedar Point but looked to have film in them and not a printed photo. I lined and stacked up all the smaller ones for a group shot. So many happy memories here, from Great America in Illinois in summer of 1985 to Sea World in Florida in some year I’d have to look up in our photo albums because I hadn’t labeled the viewer itself.

Old school viewers

Mr. Karen and I spent a little while peering into these keyhole viewers and reminiscing. We were so young! I was so thin! Shorts were so short and men’s socks so tall! I found I could take photos of the photos inside so have a few for your viewing enjoyment (or amusement or something).
Great America (Illinois), July of 1985—I was growing out a perm:

Great America, July 1985

Kings Island, June of 1986:

Kings Island, June 1986

Blizzard Beach, undated, but probably late 90s, early 00s (I don’t remember how these worked; they couldn’t give you a slip of paper with your photo claim number to carry around in a water park):

Blizzard Beach, undated

I’m pretty sure I’ll never be as thin as I was in some of those early keyhole photos, but I surely want to be less fat than I am right now. Not just to fit better in roller coaster seats but to have more energy to do all sorts of things. Now I just need to locate my mojo.

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