The Film Geek family loves coasters. The Top Gun at Charlotte's CaroWinds, The Flight of Fear and The Beast at King's Island. We love 'em all. So much so that we head to the Paramount parks six to eight times each season. We usually visit King's Island in Cincinnati about four times a year, and travel to CaroWinds three or four times each summer, too. You can't beat the rides for small kids either, and we all love the water parks.
Usually we make a trip to King's Island just after Labor Day, during a weekend when the kids aren't involved in any community sports related activities. Those types of weekends get more rare as the kids get older, so you take 'em when you get 'em.
This weekend, we took 'em.
Even though I got off work a little late Friday, we packed up the van and drove 175 miles or so to Cincinnati. It was a tiring trip; there was lots more traffic than usual, and the kids were a bit cranky. I considered it a real achievement that we made it to the hotel and had the kids in bed by 11:00pm.
It was that kind of night.
But worth it for the next-day-fun. Flight Of Fear. And Face/Off. And all the kiddie rides you can handle, with shorter-than-summer wait lines. We ate a quick breakfast, and headed out to the park. The kids were excited, and spent the final mile or so deciding--rather loudly-- which rides were their favorites, and why.
As I pulled into the parking gate, I commented that there were far fewer cars than I expected. Mrs. Film Geek figured that it being 10:00am and post-Labor Day played a role in that. I agreed, and giddily commented that the lines would be even shorter than we originally thought.
I rolled down my window, and handed the parking attendant my season pass. Then:
Me: "Hey, good morning. Do you guys have any premier parking slots available? I'll upgrade if you do."
Parking attendant: "No, those lots are full."
Me: "Too bad.' [Noticing she hasn't yet taken my card.] 'Don't you want my pass?"
Parking attendant: "Are you a GE employee?"
Me: "I don't know what you mean..."
Parking attendant: [perplexed] "Are you an employee of General Electric? Or, a family member of a General Electric employee?"
Me: [Looking at Mrs. Film Geek] "I don't understand what's going on."
Mrs. Film Geek: "I think there's a problem..."
Parking attendant: "The park is closed to the public this weekend, it is reserved for GE employees and their families."
Suddenly, the theme song from National Lampoon's Vacation popped in my head:
I found out long ago
It's a long way down the holiday road
A couple of options popped into my head. (1) I could argue like hell and insist we get in. After all, we drove 175 miles to get there! But, I knew that wouldn't work. Capitalism rules; (2) I could gun the engine and ram my mini-van through the barricade. I checked that one off fast, too. I settled on #3:
Me: "Where can I turn around?"
Parking attendant: "Turn left at the security guard, and you can leave the park."
Well, The Cincinnati Zoo loved our business. For seven hours of family-style fun...