Friday, August 24, 2012

Magic Mountain (Valencia CA) August 2012

Holy cow does Magic Mountain have some great roller coasters!

I love amusement parks, but I guess I have been a little sheltered of late-mainly returning to Disneyland in the last couple years.  But I went to Magic Mountain in southern California with the Fun Bunch Plus recently and it opened my eyes to the newest roller coasters out there.  It is AMAZING!  I screamed so much it took me a week to recover my voice.

The first ride of the day was the X2-their newest and scariest.  The wait was a solid 3 hours.  I almost fainted from the heat.  The ride operators were indifferent.  The line was completely anti-Disney, i.e. boring beyond belief.  And it was all totally worth it.  It was The. Scariest. Ride. Ever.  I remember the first downhill where you are flipped forward rushing towards the ground and nothing else.  There are a number of on line videos, where you can see that it is tall and twisty  but it in  no way prepared me for the reality.  Our season pass friend came and only rode this coaster-yes it is soooo worth it!

Shot from the front car

Shot from the line, to see the flames, which only one of us remember seeing.  Seriously the flames are the least scary part of the ride-no point to them at all!

We rode the Green Lantern. They are completely wrong in their line time estimation, 30 minutes was actually oven an hour. We had E- to entertain us with 45 minutes worth of Green Lantern lore-did you know that a planet can be a Green Lantern?  Now you do!  This is a very fast ride-whips you forward and backward, not one I need to ride again, but will if the line is shorter!

We took a bit of a break in the afternoon.  Had lunch and rode the classic Ninja-fun and relaxing as you soar over the log ride.  Since we had climbed to the top of the hill we also went to the sky tower-the only ride part of this is the elevator, but it gives you a really nice view.

At the end of the day a small group of us rode some more big coasters, but the older ones so that the lines were not that long.  Colossus, front car, old school wooden coaster, but new enough to be smooth.  Next time I want to ride it when they are running both trains because they are side by side. Scream, front car, where your feet dangle as you do lots of long loops.  Goliath, front car, a 2 minute ride with a 225 ft drop, 85 mph and only a lap bar-this could be my favorite of all time.  I came off with my head in my hands and drool coming off my face-yes!

The Batman ride is lots of loops and a bit old school at this point, but they do have some nice atmosphere as you take off from the Batcave.  Finally, Riddler's Revenge is a stand up coaster, which I found super relaxing because I was able to lean my head on the side head support and avoid getting my ears bashed.  It was literally the last run of the night for that coaster and the exit line was very dark as it is on the far back side of the park.  As we came around the final corner one of the stilt performers growled down at us-there was some freaking out-it was an awesome end!

Next time, Viper, Tatsu, Superman, and Lex Luther...

For the super big rides they have lockers to store your phone etc.  It gives you a print out barcode to retrieve your items.  If you try to use your entry ticket, it won't work!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Great America Amusement Park, August 2012

Trip to Great America with some friends because we love roller coasters!

The only two story carousel I have ever seen!  I rode once on the top, which everyone wants to go on and once on the bottom, which had the best animals, lion, dragon, cat, giraffe and ostrich!  Of course the little guy I was riding with was on the verge of a nap and chose to ride in the carriage :)

The water park has a great 2-person raft ride.  It is a big U-shaped slide where you start at the top to pick up speed and get half-way up the other side.  Then you go backwards down to the bottom and it shunts you off to the side, up and over a bump.  Super short, just a little scary, and big fun.

The roller coaster in the picture is the called the Traffic Jam and is a line of taxis with a single police car on the back.  I think we rode it 3 times!  The second time it was just me and little guy and when we got to the line, the ride had just stopped running.  Everyone else got out of line, but he was determined to stay.  So we watched the mechanic and the ride manager arrive.  The problem was the noobie ride operator did not start the breaks soon enough, so the stop point was overshooting the end.  So after a practice training run, they let us on first and we got to ride in the police car.  It was awesome!

Family Birthday and Valleyfair, Minnesota, July 2012

Party Weekend
A quick weekend trip to Minnesota for Important Birthdays.  A cousin turned 50 and an uncle turned 65.  Many in the family have summer birthdays, so we often have one big party and cake.  This time we did something unusual and rented a club room.  The only down side was it was up one floor and this was a particularly sticky weekend.

The party was big fun-I got to talk with many of my relatives that I don't see often.  The birthday boy had dug up old 8mm film from the 60s and 70s and it was all on one big loop.  Near the end of the party a group went downtown to watch the Aquatennial fireworks.  My photographer cousin got some great shots-it was probably the best display I have ever seen and we were so close!

After staying up late, we got up (relatively) early to spend the day at Valleyfair.  It is not the most impressive amusement park in the world, but it is the one I went to every summer growing up, so it is the best to me :)

Aquatennial fireworks

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Zucchini disguised as apple

August 2012

When your garden makes too much zucchini, make apple cobbler!  Turns out if you season the zucchini right, if makes a great apple substitute.  There are a lot of recipes online, but it is super flexible.  Last night I even added actual apples and wanted to use up some phyllo dough and I like the oatmeal topping better than the recipe one and I like cute individual sizes best-delicious!