Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Own Private WallyWorld

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
Holiday road
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...


Stanton said...

"Sorry folks, the park is closed. The moose out front shoulda told ya."

jedi jawa said...

Awwww man! I spent yesterday at the Cleveland Zoo as a birthday excursion with Mrs. Jawa. I'd never been there and it was very cool!

If you're a coaster fiend then you must make your way to Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio. For being a park packed into a little peninsula jutting into Lake Erie it really packs a lot of stuff in. At any given time this park has an abnormally high percentage of the world's top 10 coasters too. It is too much fun! On a clear day you can actually see Canada at the top of one of their most famous coasters. :-)

The Film Geek said...

Stanton: I heard Candy's voice in my head when I read that! Ha!

Jedi: Never been there, mostly because the other parks are closer and meet the need. But now that King's Island has been bought out by Cedar Point (and the passes get us in all of them) I will go next season.

Stitching Barbie Girl said...

Man that sucks. But it's funnier than hell.

Did you get attacked by any birds at the zoo?

Anonymous said...

I cant believe Mrs Film Geek didnt do her job and call the park before planning the trip. I would have been mad as hell and probably just drove right home.

Stitching Barbie Girl said...

Mr. Barbie or Ken, says he would have been pissed and pulled a Clark Griswald.

Anonymous said...

Forunately, for the film geek kids, Mrs. Film Geek makes the best of a crappy situation for the sake of her kids. Maybe she didn't check the calendar, but she did make sure her kids had a great weekend. Glad they weren't in Anonymous' car.

Anonymous said...

have you been to Cedar Point yet? You have to if you haven't. NO other park compares, roller coaster wise. Its "the awesome" I promise. and Ummm close to me, so I could meet your wife and kids :)


The Film Geek said...

We've talked about coming there, Dianne. This summer we're going go Disney, so it will probably be next summer. We love us some coasters!