The dadventure is afoot!

Amusement Park / Center for Torture by Repeated Death

When I was a younger person in grade 8 and grade 9, the end of the school year trips to Cedar Point were, in a word, enormously fun.  (Two words.  Whatever.)  The roller coasters were indeed thrill rides, and my friends and I were enthusiastic enough about them to wait in line for upward of an hour (more?  Can’t remember) at any one ride.  Also, I had a decent-sized crush on a girl named Amy, and enjoyed every moment of talking with her for the entire three-hour bus ride home.

Good times.

Now, for me ninth grade ended in 1983 a few years ago, and I haven’t returned to Cedar Point in the years since then.  With my fear of heights – as reasonable and logical a fear as there is, if you ask me – it seems like a good plan to avoid amusement parks in general, roller coasters especially.  I’ve been comfortable and happily satisfied with that plan for thirty years.  Then came The Ride Home From School That One Day.

My daughters go to a school twenty minutes away, and fortunately one of my older daughter’s friends does as well.  Her mother drives all three to school in the morning, while I bring them all back home in the afternoon.  It’s a good operation, as it saves both families a trip each day.  Well, on the fateful day I mentioned, the other girl mentioned in passing the trip to Cedar Point she and her family make each year in June.  My girls’ ears perked up, and listened attentively to their friend as she described the great fun that Cedar Point is.  From that day on, most of the conversations in the house included some reference to Cedar Point along with a plea of pleasepleasepleasecanwegotherethisyearplease.

Me: “How’s your geometry homework going, sweetie?”

Audrey: “Great, Daddy.  I’m on #17.  About Cedar Point…”


Me: “Are you going to get in the shower tonight, or is your plan to wait for next Thursday?”

Anna: “I’m getting the shower!  I’m going!  I’m going!  I must have gotten distracted, thinking about Cedar Point…”

So, yeah.

Parental relenting finally happened, and the girls were signed up to go with the school group to Cedar Point.  They couldn’t go unsupervised, and I won the lottery of getting the opportunity of going with them.

Remember, there’s at least one good reason for me to not go to this place.  But, go I did.  My memories of this park are fond ones, with happy days and good friends and all around fun, but my brain is smart enough to recognize the passage of time and the effects of it.  On the day of the trip, as we entered the park, my brain kicked into gear and made sure my feet knew to not under any circumstances direct the rest of the body toward any roller coaster entrance gate.

Well, it’s no secret my brain is having issues and is maybe not working with a full deck, so to speak, and my body is like most everyone else, knowing to not listen to much of what my brain says.  So I got into the spirit of the trip and the park, and took the plunge into the first roller coaster on the agenda.

I have to say, all things considered, it wasn’t bad.  Well, it was bad – terrifyingly bad – but not as bad as I expected.  Sure, the coaster moved at what seemed like 400 kilometers/hour and left the tracks at crucial points at least twice, and I’m certain I felt my hair brush against the support structure every turn.  But it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

So, I threw caution to the wind a second time, and got on another ride with the rest of the group.  Thus began a day-long adventure of following excited children around from roller coaster to roller coaster, skipping a few of the more dastardly insane-looking rides, but agreeing to many of the others.  I had more fun than I ever expected, despite the fact that I was inches from death about 53 times throughout the day, if I can use a conservative estimate.

Before you get too impressed with this 44 year-old’s sense of daring and lack of fear, let me now tell about the rides that I wouldn’t go anywhere near.  Rides, by the way, that my daughters were all about riding.

  • The Millenium Force, a roller coaster that – I kid you not – reaches 93 miles/hour.  It starts with the usual five-minute long trek up, up, up, up, with the usual loud mechanical clicks of being lifted to the great heights of the initial hill.  Once it reaches the top, an eerie silence comes over the onlookers, as it speeds noiselessly down the other side.  The lack of noise is of concern when your brain interprets it as the roller coaster cars having left the roller coaster track.  My Audrey loved it.
  • The Windseeker is an extreme and ludicrously horrific carousel (merry-go-round?).  Apparently it offers a wonderful view of the park and the lake, but that’s only because as it spins it rises – to what looks to a father like 8,500 feet above ground.  Looking back, I can’t even believe I let go of my sweet little Anna so she could get in the queue for this thing.  She loved it.
  • The maXair, not so much a roller coaster as it is an instrument of torture.  Picture an enormous pendulum with an equally enormous frisbee affixed at the bottom.  By affixed, I mean a totally unverified and highly questionable connection to the pendulum. Anyway, this thing goes back and forth like a pendulum does, higher and higher, all the while spinning.  The victims riders are secured (again, totally unverified and highly questionable) to the perimeter of the spinning frisbee monster.  I hear that at some point, folks on this ride are going 70 miles/hour.  Anna loved it.

I wasn’t going anywhere near any of these machines.  Nor was I going to even acknowledge the existence of the newest ride, the GateKeeper.  The twisted beings who designed and built this one thought it would be fun to include every twist and turn, every rise and fall, every trick of all the other roller coasters together in this one death trap of a ride.  I was not the only one who avoided this one.

All that notwithstanding, we all had a good day.  It was a perfect day in Sandusky – cool and cloudy and smallest bit rainy in the morning (which kept many folks away, I’m sure, leaving little to no wait at each ride), and sunny and pleasant later in the day.  Kids, parents, me – we all enjoyed the visit very much.  Not saying I’ll return soon, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

The best part?  My daughters escaped all of the rides alive.

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35 responses

  1. Don’t feel bad. I heard from a very trustworthy source (the TV series Modern Family, to be exact) that as you age, the liquid in your ears that control your balance gets thicker/less viscous, so things like rollercoasters, swings etc affect you more severely.

    So it’s not you, it’s just nature taking its course. :)

    That said, the ride where you go around the OUTSIDE of the loop is just nuts.

    June 30, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    • Good to know you get your science facts from television, Gerry. :P

      Swings! They’re awful. Headache right away – go figure. Yeah, some of these newer coaster designs are wicked. I stayed away from those, for sure.

      July 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm

  2. Fun! :)

    June 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    • It was, Susan! And way more than I expected, too.

      July 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm

  3. Thanks for the memories. Your narrative does bring back thoughts of the good old days …

    June 30, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    • Oh, anytime! Did you grow up in these parts, too? So those thoughts are maybe from Cedar Point?

      July 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm

  4. Great to read your post. Glad you and the gals had so much fun. Some of the pics are just amazing. Take care :)

    June 30, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    • Thank you, M. We did have fun. To think I was dreading that day for weeks!

      July 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm

  5. So – this is the park that looks out over Lake Erie?? We loved that park!

    July 1, 2013 at 1:28 am

    • The very one! You probably wouldn’t recognize the place now. I sure didn’t. The rides that were the monsters 30 years ago are hu-hum now. I’ve been out of the loop for a good while – you and your husband well?

      July 2, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      • yes – we’re well but in the midst of a huge move. how are YOU doing?? We were at Cedar Point about 4 years ago – I rode that one that’s like 450 mph for about 10 seconds. UFF-dah! what a ride. Hubby refused to ride it, the wimp. :-) OK, he’s not a wimp, he’s smart…no headache like I had afterward! :-)

        July 2, 2013 at 11:05 pm

        • I know the one you’re talking about. It was my Audrey’s favorite, even after having it stopped while they were on it at one point. And the headaches – I was surprised that was what I felt, instead of the queasy stuff.

          Me, I’m okay. Some tough times here, but nothing that will kill us. All the best with your move. That can a huge pain or it can be fun, and I think it all depends on your outlook. Of course, I’m not moving, so it’s easy to say that…

          July 2, 2013 at 11:30 pm

  6. People do that for…fun? I got queasy just looking at the pictures.

    July 1, 2013 at 2:59 am

    • Hahaha – yes they do. And pay for the privilege! Another parent and I were saying you couldn’t pay us enough to get us on a couple of those. Then we decided, yeah, you probably could. But it would have to be a LOT.

      I should have told you to make sure you were seated before looking at the photos?

      July 2, 2013 at 11:05 pm

  7. Typist has a similar feeling as you do about amusement parks! hee hee luckily neither her or her other half are fans, they were invited to a birthday party which involved this once and luckily both were equally pleased to be busy that day!

    July 1, 2013 at 6:34 am

    • Aw, too bad! :)

      You know, it really wasn’t all THAT bad. I wouldn’t want to do it every day, or every six months… but it was okay. I have to ask if your busyness was, well, real, or improvised…

      July 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      • My what sorry? *confussed ears*

        July 3, 2013 at 5:54 am

  8. Nice post and awesome pictures.Both of your daughters are cute.It brings back the memories I had with my friends.I am glad you had a good time with your daughters.Thanks for sharing :)

    July 1, 2013 at 7:37 am

    • Oh, do tell about your memories of such times, Praveena. My daughters and I did have a nice time! I mean, they had a better time… but that’s how it should be, right?

      July 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm

  9. Well written and very entertaining post, Sid. I’m with you on the rides… I can’t do too many of them anymore, and I also have a fear of heights. I did however, make myself take a roller coaster ride or two the last time I visited an amusement park. The worst part for me, is the up, up, up, up and clickity clack of the cars as they head to the drop point up top. I mutter a few expletives all the way up with my eyes squeezed shut, but after the “drop”… wow!! I LOVE it!!

    July 1, 2013 at 9:06 am

    • Do you really? That’s the worst part for me. And some of those drops are at, like, 89 degree angles. Oy. But those are just my fuddy-duddy genes becoming dominant.

      I think I knew of your fear of heights, Lori. Maybe not. We’ve talked about climbing fences rather poorly, but that probably had nothing to do with a fear of heights. Anyway!

      July 2, 2013 at 11:16 pm

  10. Oh, the things we do for our kids!! I can just imagine being in your shoes in the years to come…and definitely not going near any of those machines! If you ever see a lady eating cotton candy and reading a book at an amusement park, that’s me!

    July 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    • I’ll look for you then, Peri! In fact, mind if I join you?

      It was all about the kids, and that’s fine with me. They’d never been to such a place before, so it was really kind of fabulous to experience it with them. Lots of “That was AWESOME!”s. Great stuff.

      July 2, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      • Anytime:) You’re so right…its amazing to see such places through our kids’ eyes! Changes the perspective and their ‘joie de vivre’ is so contagious:)

        July 3, 2013 at 1:20 am

  11. Many, many years ago I would have loved those rides. Now – NO WAY!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    • Exactly. Many, many years ago. Glad you understand, Louis!

      July 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm

  12. Excellent post Sid. My days of going on the big scary rides are long over.

    July 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    • Pshaw. If I can do it, Phil, so can you! I’m thinking you’d get fabulous photos at a place like that, too.

      July 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm

  13. You are a very brave person (and a wonderful Dad)!! That earring sign would have been enough to scare me away!!

    July 1, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    • I know, right? And that sign wasn’t even on one of the REALLY insane coasters.

      As for brave – I was not looking forward to this trip at all, Holly. But, not surprisingly, once we got there I was okay. You just never know!

      Thanks, by the way. :)

      July 2, 2013 at 11:23 pm

  14. I hate high rollercoasters.

    July 3, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    • :)

      No misinterpreting that! But if I can do it, so can you DVG.

      July 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm

  15. I think I have the same feeling, Sid. Our perspective change as we grow older.

    July 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    • It really does. Sometimes for the better (like this time?) and sometimes for the worse (like this time?).

      July 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm

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