Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cousin's Day at Playland

Got up bright and early to get the most out of the amusement park with my cousin and cousin's children. It may have been cold, but no one seemed to care one bit. And with good company, who is really going to complain with all of the fun and excitement going on?

Let's go and play

July 13, 2015

It's been a while since I've been to Playland, maybe about three years ago. My cousin Jen had these passes that were at a special discount, and she was wondering if I wanted to go with Shellby and her children, Christopher and Isabelle. Without question, I accepted and off we were spending a Saturday morning together.

Not knowing what the weather would be like, I opted for shorts and a t-shirt - that was a mistake. It was full of clouds, and my optimism got the best of me thinking that it would have gotten any warmer... It didn't. We arrived a few minutes before opening, providing time to find a parking spot. There were stands right outside of the entrance, and we had to go to one of them, where the distributor gave us our admission, well as these tickets that gave a discount for the pay amusements.

Once we got into the place, we found ourselves in a new environment, welcoming a new ride where the classic Crazy Beach Party was once placed (more on this later). Isabelle and Shellby decided to ride that first, while Chris and I rode the swing ride, a personal favourite of mine. It may be for the young riders, but I remember riding that all the time with Shellby and Mina; those were some good times.

Next, we rode the one ride that everyone has to go on at least once. To give you a hint, look at the history behind the people who have ridden it:

Everybody needs a little fun

It's the wooden coaster, the one ride that provides enough chills to satisfy any adrenaline junkie.

Look at this majestic beast

There was a long time ago where I saw an episode of Popular Mechanics for Kids that described what one gets from seating in roller coaster. I don't quite recall what one gets from sitting in the front, but the back is where you feel the whips and believe me, it hurts. The one thing I didn't remember was the security on these seats, and how loose they really are - it almost feels like you could fall out of your seat!

After one ride on that, and I was pretty much done with it. Fortunately, I sat on the left side, where Chris got to experience every bit of pain for every time the trail went right (good for me, bad for him). Then Shellby and Isabelle went on the ride after we rode it, and coincidentally got the same seat. Here they are, waving at us:

Approaching the thrill of it all

Don't think we rode this right after the wooden coaster, but it was really incredible how high this ride gets. Shellby and Isabelle (and soon myself) rode The Beast, swinging at 120° while twirling at the same time. At first, I was nervous to get on this, but Isabelle was ready for the fear. Of all the cousins, Isabelle is the most adventurous when it comes to rides. She will ride anything, and think it's funny, whereas her brother can't handle as much fun. Chris just sat on the side lines while we waited in line for the new instalment. For reference, this is how high it goes:

Scary high

While waiting, we played hand games of our childhood (minus Isabelle, she just turned into a preteen) such as concentration, Stella Stella Ola, and the counting fingers game. We also learned how to tie a knot in three seconds (I have already forgotten!) There are seats facing both out and in, which is a nice touch for those who are scared. Isabelle said that it's not as fun compared to sitting out, but we were slow when it came to finding a seat... Oh well, what can you do? Not only was it cold, but it shocks you when you hit the highest point. I had to close my eyes a few times, wishing it would have ended - but after a while, it's pleasant to feel the winding rushing all over your body, and then swinging onto the other side. That was all I could take from The Beast.

For the remainder of the day, we found ourselves looking at the kiddie rides, which I found to be abundant at Playland. I think they added a lot of new rides, and all of them felt nostalgic. The first one:

Up up, and away we go

This ride goes round in both directions, but not enough to make you feel dizzy afterwards. It ascends you up and then you can spin yourself around, granted that you still have the energy to do so. While waiting in line, I saw a wasp and thought it was cool enough to capture:

Nice, but from afar

And then I took a picture of Chris:

Look at that enthusiasm

Shellby and Chris rode together, and Isabelle had her eye on the blue balloon (an excellent choice). Considering we were the only ones running for it, competition was simple, and look at this:

Time for a spinning adventure

A bit small for me to fit in, it required a lot of spreading just to sit down. But moving on, it was a light-hearted ride that everyone enjoyed.

The next ride was something I haven't been on for ages: the slides. These are essential at any amusement park, putting yourself in a potato sack and then going down like there's no tomorrow. Shellby, Chris, and myself competed with one another to see who would get to the bottom first.

But before the results, let me paint you a scene: in a lineup filled with small children and parents, I was about to ascend to the top when I was stopped by a man, asking me this question: 'Are your children up there?' I know that I have the physique of a dad, but I'm not that old looking, am I? In response, I simply said no to avoid any further questioning. Perhaps I look mature? Look at this:

Super Slide

Ready in our sacks, we went down at the same time, with me stopping mid-way, whereas Chris and Shellby were racing down. In the end, Chris came first by a hair, followed by Shellby and myself. There must be a formula for going down faster, there must be!

Following the slides, we rode a bunch of old favourites, starting with one ride everyone loves to ride: Music Express. If it's not the music, it's the agony one can feel after riding this. Depending where you sit, it's either a fun time, or a complete pain. So naturally, I had to sit outside while Shellby sat in. Chris and Isabelle sat in front of us, having a sibling moment:

It lated for about a second

Then Chris offered to take a photo of us, only to find out later that there was a photobomb from behind (such sneakiness happening):

Look at that tongue sticking out

And because there was a good song being played, we naturally had to sing along, which led to these photos:

We can sing for days

Chris and Shellby agreed that the ride felt shorter than it usually goes, which is possible, since they don't even allow the ride to go for half of the song; at most, it's probably a little bit after the chorus. It may be short, but it's still the same pain that I've experienced.

Next, we took on the Pirate, which is essentially a swing, but on a bigger aspect. Everyone is in favour of this ride, except for a certain number of riders who were on at the same time. Maybe they haven't ridden this type of ride before, but they kept their eyes close for the entire duration - poor riders. But nonetheless, it's always enjoyable once you get into the swing of things d":

Shiver me timbers

Then came the ride that was once the main attraction at Playland: Crazy Beach Party. It wasn't crowded today, and the line went by so fast, there was virtually no waiting for this ride. The first time we rode this, I was skeptical when we were in the air, as the traction kept making loud screeches, but we survived. The people who were previously on the ride had to stop midway, whereas we rode it entirely. What luck we have?


Still popular amongst the people

We then went on a number of different rides, including Corkscrew, Break Dance, the one that circles you vertically, just about every ride we possibly could while it was still cloudy. At one point, it rained a bit, especially when we took a ride on Atmosfear, where you are up higher than the swing ride and stay there for some time. Chris did not line up for this one, and it took about half an hour to get on the ride (yes, people are crazy to ride it in the rain, including myself).

The rain felt like it was getting heavier, and so we decided to look at the games and all of that they had to offer. There were balloon popping, water squirting, whack a mole, and even shooting range:

Aim & fire

We had these tickets which we were not sure how to use, but I think they were a discount for certain games such as the shooting range. None of us picked to take a shot, and instead looked in the arcade. I was surprised to see all of the new games in the area, such as Deal or No Deal, and those prize-winning games, particularly the variations of claw crane games, which included cutting a string or stopping the light on a certain point.

But none of that matter when I saw a ruin of my childhood. One was the Jurassic Park shooting game, and the other was this:


If I still had the dance pad, I would for sure still be play the game to stay active - oh, sweet memories. There is nothing like the arcade version, especially when you see other players with their mad skills.

Hands down, my favourite game

When the rain began to clear, we resumed riding once again. So we continued on the kiddie rides, because they are positively more amusing than waiting in long lines. One classic that I always love to ride is the carousel, regardless of the size. Any time of the day, I will always want to ride one, there's something about it that is always fun, even if all carousels do the same thing. This is the Playland version:

Horse after horse

Look at that BC spirit

I wanted to ride a horse so bad, but I couldn't make up my mind when I saw there was a rabbit. Being trapped by my cousins, I opted for the one closest to me, which ended up being this one:

A pig!

I think I was a bit too big for the boar, but it's still enjoyable fun as it kept going up and down and all around. Funny how that also can describe the next ride, which I believe is a new instalment. Seems like it's right out of Disneyland, but on a smaller scale, is the Teacups, where you spin yourself until you have lost all control.

It's quite cute

A full party today

To match Isabelle

I never knew I could be too old for the teacup ride - I only found out when we stopped. In the moment, you simply want to go fast as possible, but in the end, you feel so dizzy that you need to sit down; it's then you realize you're already sitting down.

This was a good time for food. There are a lot more variety from the pizza and chicken strips and typical amusement park food, and it was massively impossible to pick just one. We settled on this little stop, which is all about grilled cheese:

Looks like potential

Lineups don't lie, do they?

Such a simple, yet appealing menu

Isabelle, Chris, and I all opted for a grilled cheese (different kinds) whereas Shellby went of the tomato soup. A table just opened, and we calmed ourselves while waiting for the food. If you look at Shellby and Isabelle, do you think they look alike? In old photos, you can see a resemblance; let's see how about now:

Shellby and Isabelle

And then it was our turn for the boys' photo:

Myself and Chris

Now for the exciting part: the food. First came Shellby's tomato soup, which was a smart idea since it was a pretty cold day:

Doesn't it look so warm?

Next came our sandwiches, which were all different in terms of appeal. Isabelle went with the classic, and Chris went with the Philly. I tried something spicy, which was the JalapeƱo Popper. Take a look at each:

Look at that cheese

Quite festive if I don't say myself

I might have thought bigger things from this shop, but it wasn't the best grilled cheese I've tasted. It was those nacho chips one would find at the movies with some deep-fried peppers - it could have used a little more of everything. But Chris and Isabelle's looked absolutely appetizing, everything you could have asked in a grilled cheese sandwich.

We went on a few more rides, more of the same that we've tried, but we felt a little bit tired at this point. Looking at food places again, we missed out on this cone shop that sold chicken strips and sorts of skewers - it looked really good (should have gone there). To complete the experience, we went for churros and mini doughnuts. It was a tough decision, but I am a churro person myself:

Look at this beauty

Don't know what happened, but Shellby ended up with both a churro and mini doughnuts. I think there was a confusion because Isabelle wanted a beaver tail, but that wasn't available, and then the cashier gave her a different item, for free? Either way, we were not complaining.

I must say, it was one good morning, especially when you get to hang out with your cousins. Despite that I might look like a father, and ending up dead tired and freezing cold, it was a joy to ride all of my childhood rides, and the new attractions. Not the best day for weather, but not even the little things can get in our way. Perhaps we can go to Disney next time? I'm not joking about that.

Smiles all around

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