Julie's Vacation on a Stick!

Day 6 - Paramount's Canada's Wonderland

July 15th

Canada's Wonderland was on the agenda for today, but not before another Canadian favorite...Swiss Chalet!

I took my time in getting up and heading out. I showered, dried my hair, looked through my pictures again...then the phone rang. It was housekeeping. The person said that she'd seen my Do Not Disturb sign, but called me anyway to see if I wanted service. Um...WTF?!?! I said "So you saw that I didn't want to be disturbed and you disturbed me anyway?" and she said yes, that it was policy to either talk to the guest or go into their room at least once a day...wait for it...to make sure they are alive!!! She did not want to take no for an answer when she was asking me if I wanted service. I'm only there two nights, so I don't need clean sheets after just sleeping on them one night! But she was being adamant about needing to clean the room, so I flat out told her no, not to come in my room.

I immediately called the housekeeping manager and said that it was extremely unacceptable to me that the housekeeper saw that I didn't want to be disturbed, but disturbed me anyway. At my hotel, those signs are sacred, and you can get in serious trouble if you knock on someone's door with a DND sign on it. She said that had I not answered the phone, they'd have come into the room. I asked what if I was in the shower, or had my phone off the hook, and she said they'd just have to walk in on me. The whole conversation was just the most unacceptable thing I've ever heard regarding someone's privacy in a hotel. She said that one time a man had passed out in his room, and had they not gone in, he may have died. I then told her that my hotel is in the middle of four hospitals, and we routinely house patients, and we have had people die in their rooms before. But it is just not our place to be making sure people are alive in their rooms. The only time we have ever checked was when a family member was concerned that no one was answering the phone or coming to the door. I wasn't even doing anything private in the room...it's just that I felt like my privacy was violated, and would have been violated much more had I not picked up the phone.

I was pretty pissed by the time I left. It shouldn't have bothered me so badly, but it did just because this was my own company, and I know that the company has rules against that sort of thing. The night before, I'd asked where a Swiss Chalet was, and was told two blocks down from the hotel. Great! I stopped at an ATM, then tried to find it but couldn't. Drove up and down twice, but didn't see it. So I got back on the highway, and got off at another exit with a Swiss Chalet sign. Again, didn't see it, and had driven extra slowly just to make sure I didn't pass it! I'd given up on Swiss Chalet for the moment until I got to the Canada's Wonderland exit, and it had a Swiss Chalet sign also! Finally I found one!

Two years ago, Kim and I had gone to visit Kevin, and we'd had garlic cheese loaf at a Swiss Chalet, and I remember thinking that it was the best garlic bread I'd ever eaten in my life, so I had to get it again. I ordered the garlic cheese loaf and a small order of fries (they were pretty great too) and soon I was in the car noshing. I just don't know what it is...it's got to be in the butter sauce...but this bread is just so abnormally good that it's insane! It's made on sun dried tomato bread, with yellow and white cheeses, tomatoes, green onions and this creamy drawn garlic butter sauce...*faints* OMG it's just the most wonderful bread I've ever eaten in my life.! It's greasy and fattening...bad *for* you, but good *to* you.

Once I'd licked my plate clean, I headed for the park.

Kevin had warned me not to get my hopes up...that the park wasn't all that great, and that most of the coasters sucked. So I heeded his warning as I headed for Top Gun first.

Top Gun...the rancid tuna of SLCs

Top gun is another SLC, so again I decided to get it out of the way first, hoping it was the worst in the park. I probably waited close to a half hour for it...which irked me so bad since I knew it would suck. They also closed down the ride for a few minutes for a lost article search, which left me standing in the sun even longer. Once on the ride, I was just praying it was over quickly. I'm glad it's not possible to break cartilage, because if it was, my ears would have been broken many times over the course of the week. I must say though, of all three SLCs of the trip, this was the best of the worst. That's still not saying much though...like saying that rancid tuna is just slightly better than arsenic or cyanide.

The earth, with the forces of evil behind it

Tomb Raider was nearby, so I decided to give it a try.

The cage like restraints were a bit unsettling, but it has a cool spiral lift hill that was interesting to watch. I used the single rider line, which almost backfired on me since everyone was there in groups of four! Finally a group of three came up and I rode with them. There was no comfy place to put my camera on short notice once I realized that it was gonna be smushed between me and the front of the restraint, so I hoped for the best. As we climbed, the camera dug into the front of my thigh from my body weight, and as we traversed the track, any little bit of G-force was excruciating on that one spot on my leg. I was audibly groaning in pain but there was nothing I could do about it because of the way my arms were restrained. The ride itself was jerky but not as bad as I imagined. At least it was better than that POS X-Flight.

When I left, I was sure I'd broken my camera, as I'm not a thin woman and most of my body weight was concentrated on it...but the camera was fine! This camera is indestructible, I swear. Best digital camera ever. I did already have the beginnings of a big, dark bruise on my thigh, as well as on both of my shins from the horrible lower leg restraints.

Best coaster at Canada's Wonderland, no joke

I headed to Italian Job next, hoping it would be better than the last two. The queue, with the exception of a small tunnel, was in full sun. It was very uncomfortable since it was really hot, and also because the sun was only shining on my right side! I could feel my right side burning while my left side was fine. The line was over a half hour long, which really sucked being in the sun like that. A few canopies would do wonders for the line.

The train for the ride was adorable, and it was very smooth. There was one maneuver that was almost like an exaggerated trick track that made it feel like the car was swerving side to side. I thought that was an extremely effective element to make it feel more like a car than a roller coaster. The ride was really fun and smooth, with theming that could be enjoyed even without having seen the movie.

Mighty Canadian Minebuster was next door, and what I was hoping would be a nice woodie, turned out to be just another woodie to beat the s**t out of me. All I seem to remember was that it was so rough, and I was holding on so tightly that the lap bar kept getting tighter and tighter and tighter. When it was time to unload and push down then pull up on the bar, I could barely get it to go down any more! It was a tad embarrassing fighting with my lap bar like that.

Skyrider was in the same plaza, so I figured why not go there next. This was the one I was dreading most actually. I'd never ridden a Togo coaster, and all I seem to have heard from people is that they are the roughest coasters out there. This was a standup, so not only would it have normal stand up roughness, it would have advanced Togo roughness too. The restraints were weird and unsettling. You put your arms through these loops, and the loops are held together with a seatbelt...so if the seatbelt lock failed, all you'd have is your arms to hold you in! The bicycle type seat between my legs was very small also...so small that I was convinced that had I tried, I could have gotten out of that restraint. I held on for dear life as the ride started, but it actually wasn't that bad! It was quite enjoyable, and there was minimal headbanging and roughness! It wasn't smooth, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I was thinking. I'd definitely ride it again.

I wandered around a bit at this point, and got a Powerade. I went to the back of the park and decided to ride Fly next. The loading was very inefficient...they were only using three cars, and they would all end up stacked up on the brake run. The ride was good...quite a nice, rerideable mouse. I also left my hat in the seat, but turned around quickly to get it when I realized I didn't have it.

I walked around the side of Wonder Mountain trying to find the entrance to Vortex, the suspended coaster, but ran across Thunder Run instead. The wait wasn't long, and I wasn't expecting much from the ride since you go through it twice, but it was really fun...probably my favorite in the park besides Italian Job! It takes you inside the mountain and you pass a big dragon...twice!

I still couldn't find the entrance to Vortex, so I went into the medieval themed area to pick up those credits. I saw Dragon Fire first and got in line for it. I thought to myself "I hope this is better than the rest of the rides here...y'know, Phantoms Revenge looked normal and was fantastic! Maybe this one will be like that." Then I realized that this was the coaster that Kevin said was the roughest coaster he'd ever been on. Dammit. I tried putting my hands up by my ears to protect them from the banging, but it was no use. My ears were toast when the ride was over.

As I left, and felt just how badly my ears hurt from all the headbanging between Canada's Wonderland, Darien Lake and Geauga Lake, I realized that I'd made a key mistake when planning my trip. I had gone for quantity more than quality, and that had been a big mistake. I looked at these parks and thought "Wow, tons of coasters" not thinking that it would be more of a chore to ride them than fun. The culmination of having so many coasters knock the wind out of me over the last two days was beginning to hit me, and I thought about just forgoing the rest of the credits and leaving. But Kevin had said that Wild Beast was his favorite ride in the park, and Scooby was an ACE classic, and I like suspended coasters...so I decided to stay.

I went to Wild Beast next since it was next door. It wasn't terrible, but already being at the end of my rope and not wanting to deal with rough coasters any more, it was just too rough for me. Hopefully I hit it on a bad day, as Kevin assures me that it's usually not too rough.

I just wasn't in the mood for the Boomerang, so I passed it and went to Scooby's Gasping Ghoster Coaster. As I got to the station, they had to do another lost article search, which caused half the people to turn around and walk away...eventhough the ride op said it would take less than 5 minutes. I like to think that I am not so impatient that I won't wait 5 minutes. This ride was definitely the best of the woodies. It seemed better cared for, which could be the case since it's themed as a kids coaster and you don't want to beat the life out of the next generation.

Hesitantly, I decided to try silver streak, the kiddie inverted, next. The OTSRs looked pretty far away from your ears, so I was hoping I wouldn’t get headbanged into them. Seriously, my ears were just pounding at this point, and it hurt really badly to touch them. The ride was very smooth, and it did jostle my head a bit, but not anywhere near the restraints. So, why can't all OTSRs be made like that? Better question might be why can't all OTSRs be made like Superman: Ultimate Flight, where they are a soft, rubbery material that lay fitted flat against your chest? They would make most of these rides infinitely more comfortable.

The last two rides I had to ride were Vortex and Bat, the Boomerang. Still not in the mood for the boomerang, I went off to find the Vortex entrance, hoping that after that ride, my ears would feel good enough to take just one more beating from one more Boomerang.

Once I found Vortex, I started pondering why suspended coasters have OTSRs in the first place. I mean, if I can ride Top Thrill Dragster, and be catapulted 420 feet up, then be dropped straight down on my face with no OTSRs...why in God's name do you need them on these usually tame, non-inverting coasters?!?! Lap bars like Top Thrill Dragster or Superman: Ride of Steel even seem like overkill. So anyway, I rode, and the ride wasn't bad at first...just some mild ear boxing...but then we hit the brake run, and it was a violet "BAM! BAM!" of both ears into their respective side of the harness. I had to muffle a scream since my ears were already in so much pain, and those were probably the two hardest, quickest blows they'd had all day.

I walked back by the Boomerang on the way out of the park, but it had two lengths of queue full of people waiting for it...and I just refuse to wait for half an hour just to get my head mercilessly bashed around. I have to draw the line somewhere. That was the first time of the trip that I'd walked away from a credit.

I was hungry, but decided not to eat since Kevin and I were supposed to be meeting up for dinner that night. I passed a Pizza Pizza place, and it smelled heavenly, yet I wanted to save room for later that night. I stopped in a gift shop on the way out and found a shirt I liked that said something about Paramount lumber company, "when it's all wood, it's all good." I looked for my size, but didn't see it. I asked one of the guys working there to see if they had any in the back, and he just refused to go look. They were not that busy, but he kept saying "If the rack is half empty, it means we don't have any more." That's BS because this was one of, like, six primary shirts on the display, and if they didn't have any more, they'd have filled the display with something they did have. Bad customer service! I was so frustrated at his absolute refusal to help me that I left without it. I also figured that I didn't even like the park, so why would I want a shirt with the park's name on it?

Bye Canada's Wonderland! I'll come visit again when you will injure me less!

I'd accidentally left my cell phone at my hotel, so when I returned to retrieve it, the power at the hotel was out. It was burning hot in my room because there was no air, and it was becoming dusk, so it was getting dark too. Good thing I wasn't in for the evening or I would have been roasting. The TV didn't work well, and the phone was out also. Strange.

Kevin was in Toronto all weekend for a sci-fi convention, so he had a room in the hotel where they were having the convention. I called him to see if he wanted to go ahead and meet up, and he said yes, so I headed over to his hotel. I picked him up at the door, and we decided to go to a restaurant across the street named Milestones. I parked there so I wouldn't have to pay the $8 to park at his hotel!

Dinner was excellent. We both started with a glass of wine, and for the entree, I had chipotle chicken quesadillas...

Kevin says "I love food on sticks!"

...and he had seafood skewers, joking that he was still eating food on a stick! He had butterscotch pudding for dessert...

...and I had chocolate cake with ice cream and caramelized goats milk sauce! hehe It wasn't on a stick, but it came with a stick, is that good enough? During dinner we looked through all the photos I'd had printed from Cedar Point, Geauga Lake, Idlewild and Kennywood.

After dinner, he asked if I wanted to go back to his hotel for a bit, just to see a little of what goes on at a sci-fi convention. Grudgingly I said ok, eventhough I cannot think of a single thing that is farther from being an interest of mine than sci-fi is. We walked around a bit, and aside from the random freaks in costumes, a lot of the people looked more normal than I expected. Kevin also said at one point that going to that convention was a great boost to his self esteem, being able to see people and think "Wow, at least I'm not as crazy as them!"

Finally we came to a stop where some of his friends were and we got to chat for a bit. They all seemed nice and normal...which was good. However, we were right next to a lounge where people were singing karaoke. When we walked up, someone was singing "I Like Big Butts"...IN KLINGON!!! It was quite the exclamation point near the end of my trip. I have never felt more normal in my life.

The next couple of hours involved playing with Kevin's digital camera, chatting with his friends and making a midnight run to a gas station for Mr. Big bars and Mountain Dew Energy! hahahaha Mr. Big is hands down my favorite candy bar, and you can't get them in the States! And who knew that in Canada, Mountain Dew has dosage instructions! At around 1:00am, I said goodbye to Kevin and headed back to my hotel for the night. When I got back, the desk clerk had to walk me to my room with a flashlight since the power was still off. It was still burning hot in my room, and I was using the display on my cell phone as a flashlight so I could find my jammies and brush my teeth.

Right as I was trying to decide what I was going to do about my hotel situation, the power came back on. I had pondered calling Kevin and begging to sleep on his air conditioned floor, or maybe just packing up and driving for a bit and trying to find a cheap hotel on the road. Glad I didn't have to do either of those things! It took a while to cool off, but I watched some Canadian TV, then went to bed.

Go to Vacation on a Stick Day 7 - Travel Day

Go to Vacation on a Stick Day 8 - King's Island