Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My Little Daredevil!

A year ago, the kids and I went to Fantasy Island, a small-ish amusement park in the Buffalo area, with my parents.  I hadn't been there in years prior to that, and we ended up having a great time.  Jacob went on a bunch of rides and loved most of them, which prompted us to add an amusement park component to our vacation to Erie shortly after.  Carter couldn't ride much at the time, but after a shaky start he ended up loving the large selection of kiddie rides.  Well, this year, my brother and his kids were coming into town for a few days, and when I inquired about plans, my mom mentioned doing Fantasy Island again.  It worked out for me to take one of my "free" summer Fridays at work, but unfortunately, Jacob had lacrosse tryouts coming up the next day, and in the end it just didn't work for him to come with us.  As much as I wanted him to bond with his cousins and get back in the ride groove, it probably made the day way less stressful because I didn't have to worry about him pestering his brother or eating amusement park food or begging for a souvenir.
 
I measured Carter the night before and he appeared to be 38", two inches more than the minimum on a decent number of rides, including some of the more active kiddie rides and even a couple regular rides.  He'd loved the teacups and a spinning, flying hot air balloon ride last year, so I was interested to see how he'd do.  
 
Carter and I met everyone at the park on a very hot, steamy day.  The heat was a bit worrisome, but there was a good breeze and the sun was in and out of clouds.  There was a good chance for thunderstorms later in the day, but we braved it anyway.  Carter napped during the drive, and despite being in a good mood, he freaked out when we got there--mostly because he had to wear a bracelet, I think--so of course I was nervous we were started off on a bad foot.  And right through the first ride, the teacups, he whined and complained about the bracelet.  But when he started seeing the other rides, he got more excited and forgot about the bracelet!  
 
First up was a ride with various trucks and other ride-ons.  He hopped right in the middle, into the spinning hot air balloon!

Kate picked a truck...


And Max picked a jeep...

After another ride in a different configuration, they moved on to something else.  Kate and Carter went on the hot air balloon ride (with me), and just like last year, Carter whooped and giggled and loved every minute!

Of course, right near the end, Kate did some rather vigorous spinning of our car, and that was my reminder that my spinning capabilities are not quite what they were as a kid (which was pretty much unlimited--I rode the Tilt-a-Whirl at least a dozen times in a couple hours at a friend's birthday party when I was about Jacob's age!).

After a couple other rides, we moved along to the kiddie roller coaster.  I was excited he was tall enough, and so was he!
Excited to start moving!
He loved it from the moment we took off, and the gleeful sounds he made when we went down the hill were great!  He could not get enough of it, and this wasn't even that exciting of a kiddie coaster!  We finally met back up with Max, who was sticking to more docile rides, and the boys went on this classic goose ride.  Turns out it was manufactured by Herschell Carrousel, which is right in my hometown.  It belonged to Fantasy Island for years, then was sold, and then was finally reacquired in the 90s and refurbished.  It basically just bumps along in a circle, but it's really a charming ride.
Love Carter's face in this one!  Max is behind him with a goose that had "cool hair" :) (I think it's a hat but it did look like a mohawk!)
Next up was the airplanes!  This is a classic one I remember as a kid, and it was fun to finally see it "click" with them that if they pulled back hard on the levers, the planes flew high!  Carter loved being up there!

Nearby was a drop tower that Kate wanted to go on.  It wasn't a big one, but higher than most "kiddie" ones (like the Froghopper you see everywhere).  I'd say this one was about 50 feet, maybe?  John went on with her, and while she looked a bit concerned at first, she ended up loving it!

We moved on to the merry-go-round after that, and right about that time I was starting to get a little overwhelmed by the heat.  I should have drunk water the entire drive to the park, but didn't think that far ahead, and the heat and humidity caught up with me quickly.  I tried to drink water while we waiting for John and Kate, and I managed to get on the merry-go-round to spot Carter just fine.  But as the ride went on, I got dizzy and my vision got spotty.  I could feel myself getting very out of sorts very quickly.  As the ride ended and everyone else sprinted to get on the nearby train to ride to the back of the park, I helped Carter off the ride and feared I might pass out on the walk to the train.  Everyone was so far ahead and I didn't even have the energy to yell, so I just prayed I'd make it there so I could recover on the train ride.  I barely made it, but thankfully I did and the train ride was enough to clear out the spotty vision and hydrate a bit more.  But you can bet an Icee was in our near future!

Our next stop was this Rockin' Tug ride that not only moved along the track, but spun as well.  Carter wanted to go on and needed an adult, so on I went.  But since it was a kids' ride, I figured I'd survive the spinning.  It was fine, and of course, he loved it!

 

We moved along to the antique cars, but unfortunately Carter was totally preoccupied with being thirsty and not being able to have a drink in line or on the ride, so he only caught a couple minutes of enjoyment from it once he got excited about going through a tunnel.  Before that I was trying to drive while keeping him from trying to climb out of the seat.  UGH.

We moved along to the ferris wheel, which we were initially worried wasn't running because of the wind.  The very high swings my mom and I loved last time were closed (guessing it was wind-related), but eventually we saw the wheel moving, which made my dad very happy as that is more his speed these days!  Max was not on board, though, so our smaller group headed up and enjoyed the breeze.  I happened to be on the phone the whole time because we were trying to change over our insurance and Craig was having some technical difficulties.  But Carter enjoyed the ride and I was content with the scenic pictures I had taken last year!

Next up was the Crazy Mouse roller coaster, and Carter was very angry that he could not ride it!  Kate braved it, and it was super fun to listen to her commentary as the ride went along and our car flipped backwards!

We headed back toward the Wild West show, and we stopped into the jail.  There's a classic picture floating around of my older cousins and John, I think, and I would have loved to catch this next generation.  But they were freaked out by the jail and the bad guy hanging out in there!  But Grandpa hopped in there instead, which the kids found hilarious!


As the show wrapped up it started to rain pretty hard, but luckily it didn't last long.  It was enough to close the giant slide for a bit as we passed by, but my dad and I hit up the Silver Comet while everyone else took a bathroom/bench break.  It was too rough for him at his age, but I have to admit that the airtime on that coaster is great...but it still terrifies me a little bit!  Wooden coasters are like that, though. 

We did another round on the ferris wheel...


 
And then John and my mom did the spinning half pipe ride...
 
...and Kate loved the Music Express ride that Jacob liked so much last year.  We all cooled off with Icees, which was much needed on such a hot day.

As we worked our way back toward the front of the park, we hung out near Devil's Hole (aka the Gravitron), a UFO-shaped ride that spins and makes you stick to the walls inside.  I rode it for the first time last year, after many years of wondering what it was like.  Well, when I glimpsed at the height restriction and noticed it was only 36", I realized Carter could ride on it with me!  I asked him if he wanted to go, and explained that it would make him stick to the wall.  He said yes and ran over with me.  I was a little nervous taking my three-year-old on, but I figured he'd done well with spinning so far.

As the ride started spinning, I nervously looked over at him, half expecting terror on his face.  But then I realized he was giggling!  It was hilarious!  When the panel slid up the wall, he giggled even more!  He absolutely loved it!  When we came off the ride, the family was shocked to hear how much he loved it!  We went on it again later, and not only did Uncle John join us, but Grandma hopped on at the last second so she could see it for herself!  Once again, he had a blast, and this time he had all of us laughing, too!

As the day wound down, the kids did another round of kiddie rides...

Around this time, John had to head out to go to an event that night with our cousin and his wife, and of course Kate didn't want to leave.  I realized that I had an empty booster in my backseat, so I offered to keep her and let her and Carter ride a few more rides.  I got the green light while they were on the boats...

We hopped on most of the kiddie rides at least once more, if not twice, during our bonus time.  At one point Kate said she wanted to go back on the drop tower.  As we walked her over, I looked at the height restriction there, and it was only 36" there, too!  I asked Carter if he wanted to ride, and of course he said yes!  And once again, he ended up loving it!  The drops made him laugh, and I realized that I officially have a little daredevil on my hands!  I can't wait to take him on more rides next year!
 
After a few more rides, we were all getting hungry and tired, and we regretfully went back to Grandma and Grandpa's to settle down for the night.  It was such a fun but exhausting day and it was so much fun to see the kids have fun together.  Wish we had more chances like that, but hopefully now that they live closer, these moments will be a bit more frequent!

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