Brief TRs: Indiana Beach (7/9/16) & Kentucky Kingdom (7/16/16)

Some brief notes from the past couple of weeks:

Indiana Beach: First visit here since 2011. Last time we were here, we paid $15 and got a slightly better than crummy time. This time, it was more like $32 a person. I don’t know if it was a 100% better park experience commensurate with the price increase vs. the coaster enthusiast discount, but it was definitely superior. Continue reading

TR: Veendam Caribbean Cruise 2016: Pt. 1 – Preface/Travel Day (3/12/16)

I’ve written many trip reports, and many of them were about cruises. This, I am proud/regret (?) to tell you is yet another in that series. In fact, this is my 11th such trip report of a cruise. 11. That seems an astronomical number for me given that I started cruising back in 2007. This particular one was itinerary and ship driven: I like new cruise lines and cruise ports, and this was all of that. And it was pretty cheap. We’d have been hard pressed to find a comparable Royal Caribbean or Carnival cruise at a similar price, and it would have had lots of ports that we didn’t find terribly exciting. We also got to leave from Tampa, and Tampa’s always convenient and cheap.

Well, OK, not always. This was booked around spring break week because we had the time off requested long before choosing the cruise. The cruise, more or less, was a replacement when a bigger family trip fell through. And since we were planning around a specific week that has high traffic, the hopes of getting cheap airfare kinda went out the window. Delta was demanding over $500 round trip to Tampa for lousy times, and exceeded $600 for flights that provided more time. That was lousy. Airtran being consumed by Southwest doesn’t help anything for us, as they’ve largely removed service from Flint and Grand Rapids so as to not compete with their Detroit offerings. Oh, consolidation, aren’t you just wonderful! Continue reading

TR: Eastern Michigan Coaster Assault (6/29/2016)

It is not a big secret in the amusement park fandom world that Michigan lacks a substantial number of amusement and theme parks. Some people are aware that we have a Cedar Fair owned and operated property over by Lake Michigan. Without doubt, Michigan’s Adventure is the largest free standing facility in the state with more permanent roller coasters than everywhere else combined. For coaster enthusiasts seeking new experiences on a regular basis, this is a problematic situation. And to try and correct or allay this, creative solutions must be brought to bear.

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some Italy park thoughts (5/28-6/5/16)

I don’t have the time any more to do extensive trip reports because of work and play, so this will be pretty abbreviated (by my standards).

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-Non-park stuff: Flew from Toronto because it was cheap: Air Canada Rouge did us fine. Drove in Italy after Venice. If you do any prep, you know they like traffic circles and speeding. Both are true. I put on my big boy pants and did it. Some people can’t because their minds aren’t wired that way and it sucks to be them. In spite of my thoughts that Italy would be a sinch for finding food for my wife, vegetarian food is often limited to the first plate, so you end up negotiating to get it served second. Whaddya gonna do? I guess you could eat McDonalds all the time, but nah. Continue reading

TR: Valravn & Cedar Point Opening Day (5/6-5/7/2016)

I’m not going to go into a ton of depth here with this TR, but hopefully there’s enough to it to be of value.

We planned on going to Season Passholder Preview Night and it was an insane mess. Traffic was backed up the causeway well into the evening. Perhaps if we went at 9PM or after, we’d have gotten in without a long wait and been on something like Raptor and had some fun. However, traffic on US-23, I-495, and the Ohio Turnpike caused us to end up arriving an hour and 15 minutes after we anticipated to be in town. That was a real bummer. As such, rather than go straight to Cedar Point and run into a wall of cars at 7PM, we just got dinner at the Sandusky Berardi’s location and looked across the harbor from Sandusky’s downtown. We ended our evening getting enormously fatty confections at Kalahari and taking in what the interior looks like post-renovation (nice!).

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TR: Toronto (1/22-1/24/16)

When I don’t go to Toronto with my wife, I sleep on a couch. That’s just how things are in my life.

(In fact, writing that made me realize I still had my friend David’s sleeping pad. I need to get that back to him. Whoops.)

Back to business: the rare opportunity to see the band Sleep came up thanks to the wise spotting of my buddy Nash, and he wanted to go. And I wanted to go. And Nash had friends we could crash with, which meant I wouldn’t spend money on a hotel room. Plus I could meet people. This seems like an incredibly minor detail, but it’s only now that I enter my mid-30s that I recognize that I don’t actually dislike people as a concept, but just particular people. There’s constructive types whom by being around them, you personally grow and so do they and there’s a mutual thing that’s really wonderful that happens as a result, and then there’s the opposite. Nash has, without doubt, been one of these constructive types for me personally (I hope I reciprocate!), and generally those sorts of people know other people of a similar ilk.

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TR: Niagara Falls & more (1/12-1/14/16 & 2/26-28/16)

How often do I find myself in the same place twice in two months this far from home? Well, judging from this blog, it happens with some degree of regularity. I went to Orlando twice in consecutive weekends within the last three years, so Niagara Falls being a place I could drive – well, that’s obviously somewhat easier. Trip 1 was taken in tandem with my friend Joe, a blogger extraordinaire and future Cedar Point lifestyler. The second was with my wife. The first was impromptu; like so impromptu we didn’t book a hotel until just a couple of hours ahead of time. The second was actually a replacement for the Mall of America on 24 hours notice, which got canned because, hey, the weather looked bad, OK? It was all a bit disorganized looking, perhaps? Continue reading