The weather forecast this week was predicting rain and thundershowers for a good portion of this weekend. But the rain wasn’t supposed to start until 11 a.m. Saturday. Since the park opens at 10 a.m. we got there at opening, expecting to get a few rides in before the rain cut things off and we headed to one of the restaurants to eat lunch on our All Season Dining Plan.
I was just turning onto Worlds of Fun Avenue a few minutes before 10 a.m. this morning when I saw the first bolt of lightning. Now, I expect to see some rides going when it is raining lightly, but even without rain I expect most of the rides to close when there is lightning.
And such was the case. We were able to get into the park but by the time we got from the parking lot to the turnstiles the mist was starting. None of the rides we could see were running. It was actual rain by the time we made it into the Orient, and we started our jumping from covered space to covered space to avoid the rain.
We finally got stalled at the Coca-Cola freestyle booth in the Orient just below the RipCord. We spent several minutes watching the rain get heavier and heavier, and saw the water pour down the hill from Americana until it formed a whirlpool by the storm sewer drain just outside the store doorway. The water finally got heavy enough that the whirlpool worked its way up the incline to the store and excess water started pouring across the floor because it couldn’t go down the drain fast enough. This whole time I was using this illustration to teach the kids hydrology, along with concepts of public planning for retail and residential spaces — the impacts of human construction on watershed issues (teachable moments).
The rain let up enough for us to reach the series of shops in Americana (where we tried a free sample of fudge), and then over to the covered space around the Vittle Griddle. Nathan noted that while there was shelter from the falling rain, both the paved floor and the dining tables were wet — indication that a lot of water had blown into the “sheltered” space.
As we stopped at each space, it was interesting to see the number of people going by. Many of them were darting like us. Many of them had rain ponchos. And when we were in the stores, we saw them doing a brisk business selling those rain ponchos. Rain was not stopping a lot of people from coming out to the park, though the crowds would doubtless have been larger if it was drier.
From the Vittle Griddle we darted to the antique photo booth and took a look at their outfits, before darting to the covered game arcade. At each of these places we saw employees using floor squeegees to move the puddles of water out of the covered spaces. People kept asking us at the arcade if we wanted to play the games. The kids were just interested in seeing the prizes, and naming the various Pokemon dolls (or minions, etc.) that were available.
The rain got even lighter, so we took a long trek to the Snoopy Boutique in Planet Snoopy. There we spent quite awhile, as the rain got heavier and stayed heavy for awhile. But the boutique is a large venue, and gave us a lot of things to look at. And they still had the banner from the May 28, 2011 opening of Planet Snoopy — and we could still see where we all signed our name four years ago — our part of history.
The rain got a bit lighter, and it was getting close to lunch, so we braved the precipitation to go back to the arcade, around the corner to the Vittle Griddle, and then over to the Battle Creek Barbeque. We decided to use our All Season dining plan at Battle Creek because it had inside dining.
There was a family in front of us that had just purchased their season dining plan today, and there was a snafu with their cards being updated with the plan on it, but the staff got them rung through despite the technical glitches, even if the registers wanted to give them all sorts of off messages. It was a wonderful example of customer service being possible because of the human element taking charge over the technical element, instead of playing servant to the technology.
It was our first visit to the barbeque, and the high rating other people had given to us was well worth it. The food was just as good as at any regular non-amusement park restaurant, and a cut above the greasy carney type fare of some of the other outlets.
See below for the details of our summer tally on the dining plan:
|Jonathan||Battle Creek Barbeque||Brisket Sandwich||$11.29||Cole Slaw||$2.79||$14.08|
|Carly||Battle Creek Barbeque||Brisket Sandwich||$11.29||Fries||$4.99||$16.28|
|Nathan||Battle Creek Barbeque||Pork Sandwich||$10.59||Baked Beans||$3.79||$14.38|
It was the sort of meal you didn’t want to ride roller coasters after — if they had been running — so we went over to the train station and rode the train for the first time this year. The train cars are covered, but they squeegeed the seats try for us when we sat down, because the eaves dripped onto the edges of the seats, and let a stream of water run down the center of the seat. Since I sat on the outside, my slacks got to absorb the water so those inside from me stayed dry.
After the train we took a trip through Europa, stopping for one ride on the bumper cars, and then walked the rest of the way out of the park. We made sure to get our wrists stamped, since we expect to come back this evening for dinner.
UPDATE: We went back this evening at 7:10, expeccting the park to be open until 10 p.m. like it said this morning. The rain had stopped between 4-5 p.m. and it wasa pleasant evening. But when we got there we learend it was closing at 8 p.m. So we went instantly for the dining plan, instead of taking in a few rides, and we had intended.
Chickie’s and Pete’s was already closing, and the Chicken Shack and G’Rilla Grill were already closed, so we went to Auntie Anne’s again to have pretzels for supper as we did last Saturday evening.
|Jonathan||Auntie Anne’s||Original Pretzel||$5.59||Cheese||$1.29||$6.88|
|Betsy||Auntie Anne’s||Original Pretzel||$5.59||Sweet Glaze||$1.29||$6.88|
|Carly||Auntie Annes’||Sour Cream & Onion Pretzel||$5.59||Cheese||$1.29||$6.88|
|Nathan||Auntie Annes||Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel||$5.59||Sweet Glaze||$1.29||$6.88|
So far we have eaten 22 meals on the plan. Based on what we paid for the plan, that comes out to $10.45 per meal. Price can only go down from here.