I'm beginning to think that I might be too old for the magic. I am of course, not referring to Disneyland, as there is no such thing as too old for the Magic Kingdom. I'm talking about that other magic park, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.
Just a few years ago, if you told me that I would be an season pass holder to a coaster park, I would never have believed you. I used to be severely coaster phobic, something that I have made efforts to break since my mom passed. I still get the sweaty palms and racing heart when I am in line, but I no longer bail at the last minute.
Saturday was a gorgeous November day in Southern California, shorts and theme park weather. Our passes expire in December and we have only used them twice, so we decided to hit the park. To our surprise, the park was completely dead when we arrived at noon. Again, dead on a holiday weekend with perfect weather! Upon entry to the park, we received a stack of scratcher cards.
Sixteen out of nineteen scratchers were for cheeseburgers at AM/PM. It became really comical as we were scratching them off and I was envious of the couple on the tram who had a glut of free coffee wins. We unsuccessfully tried to trade with them. On the way home, we did use two of the three free hot dog wins. I know that AM/PM food hardly seems like a win, but the hot dogs hit the spot.
In addition to the massive fast food score, we were asked to participate in a survey on our way into the park. I always think that it's a good idea to participate in surveys. Usually, they only take a few minutes and sometimes the rewards are really good. Several years ago, on a trip to Disney World, I was asked to do a survey on park transportation. It took about twenty minutes and I was given yummy snacks. After the survey, they rewarded me with a fifty dollar Disney gift card. This time, we didn't know what the reward would be, but it didn't detract from our day to participate.
We were given a small envelope with a mini-golf pencil and asked to track our purchases and keep all receipts. At the end of our visit, we were to return the envelope to Guest Relations. We had anticipated spending most of the afternoon, perhaps into the evening in the park and would eat a meal there.
Our first ride was a classic, Colossus. As soon as we jumped off of Colossus, we went on Goliath. I was feeling mildly queasy by the second coaster, but the lines were so non-existent, that it seemed a shame to not take advantage of it.
We headed over to Scream, a floorless coaster. These are probably the type of coasters that I love the most, as it was the Dueling Dragon coaster in islands of Adventure, that really helped break my phobia. However, I knew while standing in line that this was a bad idea and I spent the entire ride fighting back the urge to puke. Not fun. Scream had many inversions and left me a dizzy mess.
After the ride, we went to a nearby vending machine and made our only purchase of the day, a bottle of water. We sat in the shade and I found out that Dan was feeling a bit off too. Maybe it was the heat? Maybe lack of proper hydration? Or maybe, we were getting too old for coasters?
My level of tolerance for spinning rides has declined considerably in the last five years, ever since I hit my thirties. I used to be able to go on the tea cups (or similar spinning rides) repeatedly, with no problems. Now, I feel sick midway through one ride. if I go on back to back rides, without taking a significant break, I feel like i've been on an all night bender (another thing that I can no longer tolerate). It's just not fun anymore.
We walked through the park, trying to assess whether or not we should do another ride and ended up on Gold Rush. in the bigger picture of Six Flag's coasters, this is exceedingly mild. Really, it's a kid's coaster. My nausea kicked into high gear by the first drop. This is when I knew that I was done for the day.
We made our way to Guest Relations to turn in our envelope, with our single purchase. The employees at Guest Relations were very nice and had us fill out a double sided survey about of park experience with an emphasis on spending habits, real versus anticipated. When we finished the survey, we were given a free ticket to return to the park, which was valid through December 2013.
As ill as I felt, this was still a huge score. We were not planning on renewing our passes, as we hardly used them this year and we are making efforts to cut back on spending. However, given a free ticket, we will definitely be back.
A final note regarding something I find alternately hilarious and maddening at Magic Mountain, the food advertising in the park. On Saturday, we would have bought lunch, but the park screwed themselves over. The had an advertisement for hot dogs. We saw the ad and thought that sounded perfect for lunch, as we were trying to take a break from rides to see if we would possibly handle going on a few more. Hot Dogs were not sold anywhere near where they were being advertised. We hunted for them.
We encountered the exact same problem at their water park, Hurricane Harbor, during our summer visit. Hurricane Harbor has advertisements for chocolate products all over the park, yet does not sell chocolate because of the melting issue. Specifically, I remember M&M ads on banners hung across the lazy river.
This seems like a big missed opportunity to me. in both cases, we bought the advertised products on the same day, but we bought them outside of the park at a considerable savings. I would have definitely paid the inflated theme park prices if the items had been readily available close to where they were advertised.