Thursday, September 10, 2020

King's Island

Several weeks ago I promised to share memories of our family trip to King's Island.  I'm finally getting around to it today.  Better late than never.  

I was a horse-crazy pre-teen.  I read every horse book in our school library, and my home bookshelf was filled with all things equine.  Riding lessons and horse ownership were not practical options when I was growing up, but my parents did indulge my childhood dreams by taking us to Kentucky - the most horse-filled place within driving distance - twice.

Kentucky Souvenir

One of those trips took place in 1979.  That was the year that King's Island in nearby Ohio opened the tallest, fastest and longest wooden roller coaster in the world.  We heard ads for the arrival of "THE BEAST" everywhere we went during the trip.  

Fun Jobs at Kings Island | Search Park Jobs and Apply Online Now

It wasn't long before my sister and I were exclaiming "THE BEAST" in suitably deep, growly voices every time the ad came on the radio.  The advertising had certainly worked on us, but we didn't realize that it had worked on our parents too. One night, as my sister and I were tucked up in our hotel-room bed, we overheard our parents discussing making a detour to King's Island.  My parents quickly realized that we weren't asleep when my sister and I turned to each other and gleefully whispered "THE BEAST"! 

King's Island 

We were some of the first guests to arrive at the park, which meant no line-ups.  Somehow, we convinced Mom to go on the first roller coaster we came to: The Racer.  We even managed to get the front seats.  It was my sister and Mom vs Dad and I.  I don't remember who won, but I do remember having to pry my mother's white-knuckled fingers from the safety bar at the end of the race.  No one had to worry about Mom keeping her hands in the ride at all times.  We could barely get her to let go even after the ride was over.  

My sister and I went on the ride a couple more times while Mom settled down a bit.  She said she was fine, but we could tell she was rattled.  The ride was short, but it was really fast, and Mom isn't a fan of heights.  

So, it's kind of surprising that Mom joined us on the next ride: a huge Ferris wheel. Mom and Dad were the very first people on the ride. My sister and I were two cars behind.  Being loaded first meant there were lots of stops while the operator loaded more riders.  Poor Mom.  After the roller coaster the Ferris wheel was too much for her. Even with an empty car between us we could hear Mom.

"Oh, I don't like this.  I want off."

By the time Mom and Dad's car was swinging at the top of the wheel,  Mom was leaning over the side screaming at the ride operator to let her out.  My Dad, sister and I thought this was hilarious.  We laughed.  She screamed.  The entire line stared up at us.  

In spite of Mom's screaming, the rider operator didn't want to stop the ride.  He seemed to think that once the ride was loaded, he should run the required rotations before he let anyone off.  Mom managed to get him to re-think that policy.   When she and Dad got back to the bottom of the wheel the operator stopped the ride just long enough for them to get off.  It's a wonder we didn't get kicked out of the park.

We didn't though, and once Mom had her feet firmly on the ground, she stuck it out for the whole day.  None of us remember if she went on any other rides.  When asked, Mom's only comment was, "All I remember is the racer roller coaster that scared the crap out of me."

Family trips.  All about creating happy memories.  Well, at least memories.  And strangely, in spite of all the hype, none of us can remember riding The Beast.  We know we did, it just didn't leave a lasting impression.  I guess family drama always makes for a more memorable story. 

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

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