August 12th, 2017


A quick trip through the amusement park

My business group got moved to a different part of the company, and that new part does events endlessly. We've been with them three months, and they've done five major events. Things like a 12+ hour trip to the beach with a meal at a fancy hotel, a baseball game and meal out, and today's trip to Great America amusement park. As this business group contains hundreds of employees, that's pretty impressive!

I've skipped all of the events until now. The idea of being on a beach for 12 hours, in the sun, no computer, and "trapped" there (it was far away, the company was busing people there and back, two hour trip each way) wasn't attractive to me. But, when a day at Great America was offered, that was something I considered.

To be fair, the free lunch was a big part of the draw. But also, the weather was wonderful and I was kind of wanting to get out and do something new, so I said what the hey and went.

Plus sides: The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Sunny but with a cool breeze, high in the mid 70s. Clear blue sky.

Snoopy was just inside the gate. Though you can't see it in the photo, his costume was so dingy! I know it would be hard to keep it clean with people hugging him, but that was a really poor impression.

Part of my reason for maybe not going is that I'm really not a rides person. Also, I hurt my ankle badly a week ago, and it still pains me. But I figured I could do easy rides, like the merry-go-round.

Unfortunately that was a no go. I couldn't get onto any of the animals! They were too high up and I couldn't step up into the stirrup with my ankle. I would totally have ridden the cat if I could have.

I did ride those swings that go around in a circle, which were the best things ever. It felt like I was flying! I should have gone on them a second time.

On my way to the lunch, I stopped to ride one roller coaster. It looked calm enough that I thought I might enjoy it. I thought it might be a kid's ride, but there were adults going on it alone. Unfortunately I can't say I liked it. I lifted out of my seat multiple times (scary!), and it jerked my neck very badly. So yeah, I'm not a roller coaster person at all.

The company lunch, which was a big part of why I went, was AWFUL. I mean really some of the worst food I've ever been offered in my life. The burgers were literally sitting submerged in water. The tri-tip beef was dogfood quality. It was a complete waste.

The only other ride I did was after lunch, I took the sky tram thing back to the other end of the park so I wouldn't have to walk. Flaw in my plan: I hadn't realized how high it was! After the ziplining outing a year or two back, I've become seriously skittish of heights. I sat in the middle of the car and only moved enough to take a couple photos.

The negative sides of the day:

Lines. The place wasn't even packed, and the lines were just awful. It was 35 minutes wait for the coaster, and 25 for the sky tram. The swings were a reasonable 10 or so. Even the bathroom had lines!

Prices. Not that I was going to buy food, but I was curious so I checked out the prices. $8 for popcorn! The cheapest food I found was a soft pretzel for $6! Offensive.

Parking: They moved some barriers while I was in the park (I guess they do that as the lots get full), and it disoriented me, so I couldn't find my car. How scary it is to not be able to find your car in a massive parking lot. What do you even do then? After literally 20 minutes of wandering and looking and using the remote to make it beep, I finally found it.

However, all in all, I'm still glad I went. The weather was perfect, I walked around and saw new things. I didn't overeat since the food was so awful. If not for the parking issue at the end, it would have been a good enough outing for a free day. If I had paid for parking, tickets, and food, I would not have been anywhere near as happy.