A Trip Down Memory Midway.

We went to Ohio over the weekend for the sole intention of visiting Cedar Point with the family. If you don’t know Cedar Point or you’ve never quite made it there, I urge you to do so, with one caveat. If you don’t like rollercoasters, don’t bother it just doesn’t have enough of the other amusement park rides to make it worth your while. Of course if you have kids you can make a day of it without stepping foot on a coaster, which is pretty much what we did this time around and it was awesome. The park has three areas dedicated to small children, the classic Kiddie Kingdom, Snoopy’s Camp, and Snoopy’s Adventure. My kids loved them all, but for my money Kiddie Kingdom was the most fun of the day, partly because of the memories that it brought back. I went to Cedar Point every summer when I was a kid. It was great to see that most of the kiddie rides haven’t changed in all of these years, still riding in circles on motorcycles, dune buggies and cars. The bumper cars still don’t work like one would like them too, of course that is by design. Being able to gain speed in order to ram your sister just seems like a bad idea for everyone involved. I got to watch the kids play on those old rides and there is something truly wonderful about being able to remember doing the exact same thing when I was their age.

Other parts of the park remained the same as well. The food was good in a very bad way. Still the best fries around, but I forgot to get any saltwater taffy which is an incredible oversight on my part. My lunch was a disappointment, I have to say, something called a “walking taco.” Basically it’s a bag of Doritos split open along its side then cheese sauce, mystery meat, lettuce, onion, tomato all dumped on top of the chips. I was given a fork and sent on my way. It was just as lame as it sounds. Even so the cable cars that float above the park are still there, the railroad, the steamboat and some classic rides were all right where I left them as a kid. The one amazing exception was the Ferris wheel. I can’t believe they moved it across the park. That must have been quite the undertaking. I think what I enjoyed the most though was hearing my dad say rollEEcoaster. It’s rare anymore to hear his Erie, PA accent come out, but he just couldn’t help it. Coupled with that I had an overwhelming urge to just sit with my mom and dad and watch my kids play and feel like all was right with the world.

My wife and I did get to sneak away for a couple of hours to ride some grown up rides which was a lot of fun, to say the least. We pretty much stuck to the classic coasters in the park, the Blue Streak, Demon Drop, and the Corkscrew to name a few. I couldn’t convince Mrs. Kaufmak to go on some of the more adventurous rides such as the Mantis, which is a pretty basic looking coaster except for one twist: the riders are standing up. Also no dice on Millennium Force or the Dragster. I must admit the Dragster was pretty intimidating. Basically, it’s a small car, about 6 rows with 4 seats that literally gets shot straight toward a giant hill, reaching speeds of 120 MPH. The car climbs the hill, I’m guessing ten stories high, does a quick turn and shoots straight back down. People start screaming the minute the car leaves its starting point. Even so, the more I watched it go, the more I wanted to try it, maybe next time.

Of course, things change. The feeling of going to a completely different place when one went to Frontier Land is gone. Both areas of the park bleed into on another now. There are no longer any moderate to easy water rides left, just very big splashers and a separate water park. The roaming musicians are gone, and while they were pretty lame, it was something I always looked forward to. My father kept lamenting the fact that the park had gotten too big, and it was hard not to agree with him in some ways. The kids however can’t wait to get back next year.

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