Friday, July 11th, 2008
Having not been up to Canada in the last three years, sometime in the spring, I made plans to go up to Ontario for a few days and visit Kevin. I got a couple of nice discounts on various parts of the trip, so the cost was reasonable (the flight and hotel both had hefty discounts, but NOT the $47 per day rental car!). I got up bright and early at 5:00am on the 11th, and after a quick breakfast, I was calling a cab to take me to the airport. The airport is only one exit up from my house, but the ride still cost me $11 with tip. Suddenly, asking my parents to take me to the airport wasn't looking like such a bad idea!
My 7:10am flight was on time, and by the time I arrived in Atlanta to catch my connecting flight to Buffalo, I was starving. I had plenty of time, so I grabbed an egg and cheese asiago bagel from Atlanta bread, parked myself in their dining room and watched the planes take off for an hour or so. Soon enough it was time for my flight, which was uneventful.
After arriving at Buffalo Niagara airport, I called for the rental car shuttle. Thrifty picked me up and introduced me to my awesome rental car...a Camry hybrid. From there I headed off, with the help of my trusty GPS, to Martin's Fantasy Island.
Finally on vacation!!
As soon as I got to Fantasy Island, I grabbed a map and did what every good coaster enthusiast would, and headed straight toward the Silver Comet.
There was no line, so I took a back of the train ride for my first ride. I thought the ride was very nice, with the first "out" part being particularly great. It fizzled a tiny bit by the end, but not much, and overall it was a great coaster. Just what I would expect from CCI.
After my ride on the Comet, I scurried over to the Wild Mouse to grab a ride since the sky was starting to look threatening. There were a few kids in line in front of me, but they asked for a group of two or less, so I got on to the ride immediately. It's a standard Wild Mouse...I bet I've ridden 7 or 8 of this same one at least.
The only other ride that was a don't miss was the Star Flyer. I'd ridden the one in Orlando and thought it was really fun. They are definitely unnerving rides, but I don't find them to be all that scary. When I was waiting, the lady said that I couldn't ride by myself, so I had to wait until an odd numbered group came up so I could have a riding buddy. She claimed this was to ensure that the ride was balanced. So finally a group of five younger boys showed up, and one was assigned to sit next to me. What I found hilarious was that the two boys sitting directly across from us easily weighed less than I would have by myself! So her attempt to balance the ride only made it that much more out of balance! Whatever!
After the Star Flyer, I headed over for a ride on the Ferris wheel. I was the only person in the area, yet the ride op said I couldn't ride alone. When I asked why, he said it was to prevent people from jumping out! hahaha Trust me, if I planned on committing suicide on the Martin's Fantasy Island Ferris wheel, I'd do it whether I was riding alone or with others! Again, whatever! So I waited until a woman and her little boy came up, and I asked if I could ride with them. The Ferris wheel offered a great view, including a view of the mist on the Canadian falls!
After the Ferris wheel, I walked around for a little bit, and eventually decided to ride the train. I caught the train at the station closest to the park entrance, with the sleeping giant. I rode about halfway around the park, and got off at the station between the Silver Comet and the Ferris wheel. While I was there, I popped my head into the "I Got It" parlor, but as soon as I arrived, the other players left. I sent a couple of quick text messages while I was sitting there, but soon moved on.
At that point, I decided to catch another ride on the Silver Comet, just for good measure, y'know. After my ride, I spotted a nearby snack stand that offered fried mac and cheese, which was something I had heard about but never tried before. So I bought an order, which came with five triangular mac and cheese bites. They were very hot, but very good! I'm sure they were horrible for me, but who cares, I was on vacation. As soon as I was done, I rode the Nitro frisbee next door.
The final thing I did before leaving was head back over to the "I Got It" parlor to play a few games. I probably played 6 or 8 games, but I never got it :-( hehe Too bad since there was a set of measuring cups I had my eye on!
Here we see the MFI Cheerio vending machine...good for feeding ducks or small children!
On my way out of the park, I stopped in a couple of gift shops, but found basically no Fantasy Island merchandise. So I decided to grab a few chocolates for Kevin and I to have after dinner. The shop had dipped Oreos, Chips Ahoys and Nutter Butters, all marked $.30. I remarked "Oh wow, these are all just 30 cents?" and the girl said yes, and that they were freshly made. So I got two of each, and the girl behind the counter wrapped them up for me. When she went to ring them up, she said "Oh, they're actually 70 cents, so your total is..." whatever. I said "But the sign says they are $.30, and you just confirmed that they were $.30." And she replied "That's for the dipped marshmallows, and you and I both know that these aren't dipped marshmallows!" I didn't feel like arguing with a 16 year old, so I told her to put them back, that I didn't want them, just based on the principal that she should be charging me the price they were marked. As I was leaving, she went over to the other girl in the shop and started to bad mouth me haha Like I care what someone half my age has to say about customer service! :-)
Back at my little hybrid rental, I had my GPS guide my way to my hotel in Niagara Falls. It seemed to be going against my best judgment on which way to go since it wasn't telling me to follow the highway signs. But it got me there, and I got a tour through Niagara Falls, NY along the way.
Pennsylvania Dutch folks must love tourist traps! Too bad they couldn't bring the horses across the border!
There wasn't too much of a wait at the border...probably less than 10 minutes, which is way better than it has been most times! As soon as I was across the border, I found my hotel quite quickly, and got checked in.
Woohoo! I'm in Niagara Falls!
The hotel was the Clifton Inn on Lundy's Lane. To look at it, it didn't look like much, but the inside of the room was quite nice. No artwork on the walls, which I thought was quite odd, but everything else was nice. I called Kevin with the room number, and then settled in for a little Family Guy.
Within about half an hour, Kevin arrived at the hotel, and we quickly headed off for dinner since we were both starving (the only thing I'd eaten since breakfast was the mac and cheese bites, and it was about 7:30 by this point!). Kevin had suggested a buffet at the Fallsview Casino, and that sounded great to me. After a quick tour down Clifton Hill, we arrived at the casino.
Kevin in the Fallsview Casino atrium
Since the restaurant was inside the gaming area, there were no kids allowed, which meant it was an adult only restaurant. Nice! The food was awesome too...I had some roasted chicken, some fantastic zucchini, some nice pasta salads, a couple of pieces of sushi, and some fried fish among other things.
My dessert, consumed quickly since we were approaching the 90 minute dining limit! hahaha
But the best part of the meal was dessert! Considering that this was my 29th birthday, I decided to just get a little of everything and use it as a substitute for birthday cake :-) It was pretty much all fantastic, with the exception of the one that had coconut hidden inside it! Blech! Sneaky coconut!
After dinner, I played $20 in a Price is Right slot machine, and ended up making all my money back plus $1, so I quit while I was ahead! hehe We wandered around outside for a while, but it was very misty, and we were both getting sleepy, so we decided to go on back to the hotel. Like always, Kevin was asleep almost as soon as he hit the pillow, and I wasn't too far behind.