I was torn about making the trip today given that none of the shows were performing, but I did think that trying to ride a couple things with low crowds would be a nice thing to do. So, I arrived at about 11 am. Parking toll booth was a bit crowded, but I found a spot fairly close to the front of the lot and headed into the park. I had been wanting to buy a hat, so I went to the Emporium and bought a “Backlot Stunt Coaster Crew” hat as well as some Claritan. Fall allergy season is starting for me and I was sneezing a bit.
I decided to be brave and go to Flight of Fear. I wanted to a) see if I’d fit and see if I’d live through it. I’d never ridden it and superstar ride op Ronny (who’s now an area supervisor, I believe) was running the control center. After the guys checking the lapsers (and it took two to buckle me in, but they did it), I was ready to go. Ronny saw me and even gave me a “have a great ride, Kirk” over the speaker. There were only a handful of us on the coaster and I did walk right on. I was surprised at how well I did on this ride motion-sickness wise given the amount of loops and turns. Perhaps its because I couldn’t see where I was going but the only time I ever got a little anxious was during the corkscrew at the end. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I did it.
I then headed over to the BLSC and virtually walked on it, too. The crew here was great as usual and the red train seems to have shorter seat belts so they had to help buckle me in. They’re very kind.
I walked over to Flight Deck and walked right on it, too, sitting in my favorite seat 2-1. We had to wait at the end before the train dispatched because there were so few people on it they were waiting for a couple more to come up the million-mile que line. Then I rode Adventure Express in the front seat and had a nice relaxing trip through the woods. Then, I went to the bar at Outer Hanks as it was one of the few places that was open on this side of the park. The Festhaus was open, but I’m about sick of that country music loop that plays given how many times I’ve sat and waited between shows. I ordered 10pc boneless wings BBQ. The bartender, Glenn, couldn’t have been less enthused by this. He walked back to the kitchen without uttering a word to me and came back and poured my large Coke. He took my money and then started talking a little to me, but not much. My wings came up and the guy in the kitchen yelled “Boneless Hot Wings” and he wasn’t kidding. So, they were the wrong flavor but I ate them anyway because I didn’t want to cause Glenn anymore trouble as he was so busy with pouring a beer every 4 to 5 minutes for the few customers in the park. Seriously, they need to retrain every one of the food service employees on how to be courteous. Actually, Ronny and the crews from FoF and BLSC should mentor all of them!
After this, I headed up to the Eiffel Tower to get a break from the rides. It was a beautiful day and you could see how empty the parking lot was from up there. I headed over to Boo Blasters and walked right on and then I headed to Viking Fury, where again . . . I walked right on. Are you sensing a theme here? On my way to VF I saw another great KI employee, Gabriel, who was the sound guy for Down Home Country. He waved. Its nice that these folks are so friendly.
I thought about riding FoF again and walked back that way to see that the line was longer than it had been earlier. FireHawk was closed and I sat for awhile by the entrance and watched the ride op explain this to the folks who kept coming by. He was very polite and professional but didn’t seem to know how to handle their insistence that he tell them when/if the ride would reopen. He was very “by the book,” and I appreciate that but had he been 10 years older I think he would have felt more freedom to say more than his rehearsed speech. But I’ve never worked anywhere like this so maybe not. I got in line for FoF and it was moving slowly. I met a nice young man and an older woman who were excited to ride. We talked about the park. Once we got into the boarding area my phone went off and I was feeling a little claustrophobic so I excused myself and bailed on the ride. It was my friend Megan responding to a Facebook comment about being in the park. More on that later. So, I left X-Base and stopped by the Zephyr. Now, I used to love these kinds of rides when they’d come to my local fair so I thought I’d give it a shot to see if I fit. The ride ops again couldn’t have been kinder suggesting the color of seat I should try. Red didn’t work (and I almost fell down trying to get on the first swing, which was completely my own clumsy fault.) The other ride op suggested yellow and that didn’t’ work either. They both frowned and were very nice about it. I just laughed and said I didn’t think it would work but if I didn’t try I’d never know.
So my friend Megan had posted on Facebook that she was in the park with a young man named Cooper (11) from her church. As I was waiting an elderly gentleman was taking photos of his granddaughters by the fountain. However, he also very peculiarly took a picture of the contents of the garbage can and did so very discreetly. I was fascinated by this but didn’t have the guts to ask him why.
Megan and Cooper came back in after their parking lot lunch and I met up with them and headed back to Boo Blasters and Cooper and I tied at 600 while Megan got 570. Its harder when you’re playing against others in your car! We then walked over to BLSC at Cooper’s request (passing by Don Helbig, who I said hello to) and we rode in the next to last and last seats. I didn’t care for these as they made the ride a little more rough and caused me some motion-sickness.
After this, Cooper wanted to head to Firehawk and FoF. Megan and I caught up (it’d been about 2 years since we’d seen each other) while we walked over to Firehawk. I volunteered to hold Megan’s bag while they rode and met a very nice lady from Flint, Michigan who was waiting for her family. We both agreed that there should be some sort of shady structure built for the poor folks who were backing on their backs waiting to disembark the train while the other train was loading. It took quite a while for Megan and Cooper to return but I was grateful for my shady bench. We then walked over to FoF and the line had diminished greatly (probably because Firehawk had reopened.) I got in the same seat I was in earlier and this time they were having trouble. I told the ride op who had buckled me in earlier that perhaps I ate too much for lunch and he laughed and said he knew I’d fit and that he’d get some help to make it work. It ended up taking THREE ride ops to buckle me in, including Ronny who was now working the back part of the line. I yelled “Push, Ronny, push!” and they finally got me secured. I liked this even better the second time; I might become a true Ride Warrior eventually!
We took a biological break (some to the restroom, others of us to the pop machine) and decided to try Spongebob 3D while we were back here. I’d never done it and didn’t know what to expect. I thought it was going to be like Star Tours at Disney World or something and was pleasantly surprised to find a much bigger theater. The seats were really rocking until some morons unbuckled their seatbelt mid-ride and walked out the entrance door causing the film to come to a halt. The ops announced that due to the early departure that the movie now had to rewind and start all over. We were welcome to leave or stay. We elected to leave.
Cooper was so kind; he wanted us to pick what we were doing next. We both told him he could do what he wanted as we both could come anytime we wanted and he had saved up his lawn mowing money for this day with Megan. He wanted to do Diamondback again (apparently he’d done it in the morning and loved it to his surprise). We agreed to head that way. On the way we rode BLSC in the front. Several of the ride ops were doing their test run and were having a lot of fun together. It was nice to see. Such a smoother ride in the front of the train. Big props to ride op Erica who helped buckle me in and said, “We got ya covered” and high fived me. I’d never seen her before but perhaps it was my new hat that won her over. 🙂
Then, Megan and Cooper rode Diamondback while I held the stuff and said hello to KIC’s markr who was by the entrance. Such a nice man.
After this, we headed to Congo Falls, and Megan sat out and held our stuff. The actual drop didn’t get us all that wet as I’ve found that the center seat of row 3 is the best for getting just the right amount of wet but not soaked. Unfortunately, we timed the geysers poorly and got sopping wet from the rain showers that caused. Megan filled up her Diamondback refillable cup with water while Cooper and I browsed for Diamondback shirts in the store as this is now his favorite ride. We couldn’t find any at the store in Action Zone so I suggested we head towards the Emporium.
On our way there we rode Viking Fury and Megan and I sat in the very last row facing the Festhaus while Cooper sat more towards the middle facing us. It was fun, but at the apex I got just a little nervous. Its up there pretty high!
Megan wanted to try to beat me at Boo Blasters so we headed over there again. Cooper didn’t shoot his gun at all and just watched us; I smoked her by well over 150 points. As we were getting off a wheelchair-scooter was blocking the entrance as they were about to board. We had to walk the moving sidewalk for a minute or two until the ride op finally hit the stop button so they could help her board. We then headed to the Red Baron hanging coaster and I once again held the stuff as I would never fit on this ride but this time I can blame my height. There is even a 76″ maximum. Then we rode “Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown” and it was a little rougher than I thought it would be. My legs got soaked and I was wearing blue jeans. We all just laughed and laughed.
After this, Cooper wanted to ride Diamondback again since we were so close and I held the stuff again. I saw my friend Gary Coleman riding and went up to say hello to him real fast. He’s now at over 3400 rides and has been getting a ton of them this week while the crowds have been light.
Once Megan and Cooper returned from their DB ride, I went into the store where Cooper was picking out his t-shirt. I was getting tired and have to work tomorrow so I excused myself and headed home.
It was a great day and I’m glad I made it up there. I missed not having any shows to watch but it was so much fun to hang out with Megan and my new friend Cooper. I am so glad I faced by fear of Flight of Fear and who knows – eventually I might even try the Diamondback during the Haunt if I can lose the 5-10 pounds I need to to close the lapbar. Here’s to hoping they build Windseeker with “guests of exceptional size” in mind.
I’ll be back up Sunday to see the shows as they wind down for the season. Thanks for reading!