A Look Ahead …


Three things coming up this weekend, the first two at Worlds of Fun:

The Great Pumpkin Fest

Join us at Worlds of Fun for the ultimate fall festival – The Great Pumpkin Fest! This family-friendly event is all treats and no tricks and features special Halloween-themed activities for kids plus PEANUTS-themed rides and attractions in Planet Snoopy!

Halloween Haunt

As darkness falls, fear rises when the Overlord calls his army to transform the park into Halloween Haunt. All new in 2017, the Skeleton Crew brings a high-flying cirque-style show of talented acrobats with a team of skeletons to shock witnesses with electrifying acrobatic performances. Experience the thrills of your favorite rides and the chills of 13 Extreme Haunts as you navigate the fog-filled midways where over 400 monsters lurk to feed off your screams. All you fear is here select nights from September 16 through October 29.

Ales & Tails — September 16th-17th, 2017 (Kansas City Renaissance Festival)

Join us for one of the most popular theme weekend events at the Renaissance Festival! Bring your pooch and learn about pet safety and training, purchase pet clothing, personalized tags, all-natural dog food and parade your dog around for the Pet Costume Contest! You must complete the Dog Registration Form & check in at the pet gate.

Longbow Archery Championships

Steady, aim, fire! Put your shot to the test in our annual Longbow Competition. Held outside of the festival’s front gate daily at 10:00am.

Tallest and Small Dog Contest

Held daily at 10:45am near the Washer Well Stage.

Pet Costume Contest

Whether ye pet be a fairy, a pirate, a gypsy, or a mixture of them all, we want to see their costume! Come show off your pet at the daily FREE pet costume contest. Held daily at 1:15pm at the Washer Well Stage.

Hot “Dog” Eating Competition

Don’t worry! These dogs are made from pigs. Race to finish your hot dog the fastest and receive a prize! This FREE competition is held daily at 2:45pm at the Washer Well Stage.

Best Dog Trick Competition

Think your pooch has the coolest trick around? Show them off at the FREE Dog Trick Competition located at the Washer Well Stage at 3:00pm daily.

Corgi Race

Watch the corgis test their legs and speed against other pups to win fun prizes! Race begin at 4:00pm on the Joust Track daily.

Sit Means Sit Competition

Who can sit still the longest? Show off your dog’s mastery of the essential trick “sit” and see who can hold the position the longest! Located near the Washer Well Stage at 5:00pm daily.

Bring your Dog!

While the Renaissance Festival loves all animals, only dogs that have proof of their rabies vaccination are allowed into the Festival. All dogs must be leashed and check in at the Pet Gate. Visit our Bring your Dog! page for more information.

Villager Bingo

Can you find them all? Play Villager Bingo for FREE and win a FREE festival ride. Pick up your card at the Info Booth at the Front Gate. All day!

Weekend Promotions

Celebration of Cities (Columbia MO, Jefferson City MO & Rolla MO)

Residents from these cities will receive $3 off their admission ticket when they present proof of residency at our box office.

Ladies’ Shopping Weekend

Grab your friends and join us for a day of shopping and wine for only $20! The discount ticket includes admission, glass of wine, gift bag, and the opportunity to receive discounts from select artisans all day!

Scout Day

Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and leaders can wear their uniform for a $10 ticket at the box office.

Harvesters Food Drive 

Donate 5 non-perishable food items and receive a Buy One, Get One ticket opportunity on a regular priced Adult admission ticket! Please, no expired food!

Half-Price Pet Admission

Pet Admission is cut in half and is only $5.00 this weekend only!


Saturday/Weekend After Report


Summer is over, socially. Labor Day Weekend marks the social end of summer. So I thought today I would rehash the weekend.


We started our celebration of the weekend at Worlds of Fun. Dollar Days. We spent our Dollar Days time at the Moroccan Merchant store: $5 plush and apparel, everything else $1.

They had cheerful ambassadors at the door offering you a bag (for $1 at checkout) to put your  purchases in while shopping. The four of us looked through the store for items of interest, dispersed into the developing crowd, and then finally arrived into the checkout line.

There we met Mary and other staff checking everyone out. Not everything was wringing up correctly, but they all worked through and around the issues to get everything to ring up and people’s purchases completed. As I said, “we are at World’s of Fun, so, no matter what happens, have fun with it.” Those staff were great evidence of what so many of the staff there always exude. Things don’t have to run perfectly, but you have fun with and about it, and find a resolution/workaround.

We followed that with a two-some anniversary visit to Cinzetti’s Restaurant in Overland Park. Excellent service, excellent food, excellent ambiance.

There were other items to the afternoon. Target’s 4 for $10 soda can case sale ended Saturday, so we picked up my annual soda supply, then went over to the Sprint store to go phone shopping. Left and came back later to pick up a new, bottom of the price series smart phone for the wife — happy anniversary! The Sprint people were also very helpful with the phone choice, setup, accessories, etc.


Started off with church. Where they introduced the new choir director.

Director of Music Ministries

Taylor Tracy

 /files/Avondale Images/Staff Images/Mark Keeney.jpg
Taylor is a native of Buhler, KS where he grew up on the family farm.  Over the last 10 years, Taylor has served as a choir director in congregations varying in size from 80 to slightly under 2,000.  In addition to his conducting experience, Taylor has performed as a soloist, in choirs, and orchestras throughout Europe, Canada, up and down both coasts and throughout the Mid-West.  Taylor is active in the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, KMEA, and KCDA and has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning News.  Taylor’s commitment to quality church music and liturgy has brought regional recognition to several music ministries under his direction.  He looks forward to serving with members of the Avondale staff and community and to continue the musical excellence of the church.
We didn’t get to introduce ourselves to him, because I had to get to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival by 1 p.m. to be on stage with Madrigalia Bar Nonne.
The day outdoors was warm but not overly so. It ensured we always glistened, but so did the music, as our sets included appreciative audiences and youthful singers who we invited up to sing along with us and practice what they learned in school in a broader and more lively environment. The crowd was large and colorful, but not super packed.
I’m sure all three days of the weekend had similar lievliness. It was a very good start to the seven weekend run.


For us this was a more relaxing day. I put on some bike miles exploring trails in the morning, then we did a quick run over for lunch in the early afternoon.  There didn’t seem to be a large crowd of cars at the Worlds of Fun parking lot. But by the time we went back to Oceans of Fun for the evening, we could see that sometime during the day they had parked all their lots and extended parking a long distance on the grass.  My take, since Monday was the last day Oceans of Fun was open for the season, everyone was getting a last swim in. Worlds of Fun, meanwhile, has two whole seasons left to go for the year: Haunt and Winterfest.

That said, by the time we arrived before 6 p.m. there was plenty of space for us to park close in the main lot, and spend our last OOF moments floating around the Caribbean Cooler until the guards blew their whistles in unison to signal the end of the OOF year.


So, yes, a good transitional weekend. The end of summer; the beginning of fall. But it will take awhile to think of it as fall. Though maybe not too long — the 10-day forecast has our lows dipping into the 50s for most of that time.


P.S. — Since so much of the post was about WOF, I will also put the weekly dining plan stats update in this post.

Total Price Paid $497.44
Total Number of Meals 476
Total Retail $4,967.10
Average Price Per Meal $1.05
Total Drink Price 29.64
Total number of drinks 456
Total Retail $502.50
Average Price Per Drink $0.07

A look ahead: Labor Day Weekend


Most appropriately this post should have been created and scheduled for Thursday. But in the way of the  world I posted something else on Thursday, so am doing the weekend wrap-up very early on Saturday — though I don’t expect the post to actually change anyone’s schedule. So here goes:

Dollar Days at Worlds of Fun

September 2-4

Worlds of Fun has probably its best sales of the year this weekend.

Explore Dinosaurs Alive! for just $1!

Enjoy $1 Food items:

  • $1 Hot Dog at G’rilla Grill
  • $1 Hot Dog at Oceans of Fun Food Truck
  • $1 Donuts at G’rilla Grill
  • $1 Donuts at Grandma’s Funnel Cakes
  • $1 French Fries at G’rilla Grill
  • $1 Barbacoa Taco at Oceans of Fun Food Truck

Play $1 Games:

  • Dead Ringer at Detonator Games
  • Rebound at Detonator Games
  • Mamba Ball at Africa Games
  • Plinko in the Orient
  • Cat Whack at Games Street USA

Discounts on Merchandise at Moroccan Merchant!

  • $5* Plush & Apparel
  • Everything else at Moroccan Merchant $1*

Event time runs 11am – 6pm, or while supplies last.
Dollar Days are Saturday, September 2nd through Monday, September 4th, 2017 only. 

*items listed do not include applicable sales tax and may not be combined with other discounts

Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Today is the first of 7 themed weekends the Kansas City Renaissance Festival is open.  Find out more at: http://www.kcrenfest.com/

The first weekend theme is:

Passport to the World – September 2, 3 & 4, 2017

Hula Hoop Contest

You don’t have to jump through hoops to enter; you just need to be the last man, woman, or child hula hooping to win! Join in for FREE each day at 10:45am at the Washer Well Stage.

Belly Dance Contest

Shake it ’til you make it! Jingle those scarves and let your hips do the talking at our FREE competition! Winners take home prizes from Heart of America Belly Dance. Held daily at 12:45pm at the Washer Well Stage.

Costume Contest

Showcase your best garb in this week’s FREE costume contest! Held daily at 1:15pm at the Washer Well Stage.

Jumbo Polish Sausage Eating Competition

Join us for the FREE Jumbo Polish Sausage Eating Competition to see who can devour their sausage the fastest! Located at the Washer Well Stage at 2:45pm. Meat and prizes provided by 

Fantasy Mask Competition

Show off your creative side by designing a fantasy mask! Any materials are acceptable for use as long as it’s handmade. Get creative with paint, beads, feathers, latex, clay, and leather. After you’ve created your masterpiece, be prepared to model it on the Pavilion stage! Prizes will be awarded to the judges’ favorites for both categories; Adult and Child. Held daily at 3:00pm at the Washer Well Stage. Fantasy Mask registration form HERE.

Villager Bingo

Can you find them all? Play Villager Bingo for FREE and win a FREE festival ride. Pick up your card at the Info Booth at the Front Gate. All day!




This weekend also happens to be our anniversary, which will include a visit to Cinzetti’s restaurant, 7201 W 91st St Overland Park, KS 66212 (913) 642-0101, sometime during the weekend. So here’s a modest tout of this exhibition cooking Italian Buffet. Visit their website at http://www.cinzzettis.com/kansas/ for more information.

Eclipse observations


The above video shows the effect of the eclipse on the lighting of our back lawn for the 4 critical minutes around the totality.

Below is a chronology of what we saw during our various spaced timed sightings:

  • 11:30 — full sun through camera obscura and eclipse glasses. Outside thermometer 72 degrees.
  • 11:50 — possible piece out of right side through camera obscura, through eclipse glasses definite though small piece covering sun in the 2 o’clock position. Outside thermometer 72 degrees.
  • 12:10 — Camera Obscura shows definite bite out of right side. Eclipse glasses show moon’s leading edge about halfway to the sun’s center point. Outside thermometer 74 degrees.
  • 12:30 — Camera obscura show indefinite progress across sun. Eclipse glasses show moon’s leading edge close to the sun’s center point. Outside thermometer 74 degrees.
  • 12:50 — Camera obscura shows indefinite progress across sun. Eclipse glasses show moon’s leading edge past the sun’s center point — a definite crescent. Not sure exact distance across sun.  Outside thermometer 74 degrees.
  • 1:00 — Camera obscura indefinite progress but progress. Eclipse glasses show thumbnail sun — crescent shape. Outside temperature
  • 1:00-1:08 — finally starting to get the weird lighting feels. The air gives a slight sense of a cool breeze, but the thermometer still shows 74. Getting dimmer and darker, crescent shrinks.
  • Totality — Can see the bead effect and the shimmer around it.  Nighttime darkness.
  • The brightening is almost more eerie than the going dark.
  • Clouds finally occluded our observation during the totality, so we couldn’t get a good view of the passing off the sun at first.
  • 1:15 p.m. — Eclipse Goggles do not work well through cloud cover.

Below is a time-lapse video of the grass behind our house, encapsulating 100 minutes into 26 seconds:






Cedar Fair Tour: Worlds of Fun — Coming Home


We did a half-tour of the Cedar Fair Parks; I blogged about the visits, and about the parks in comparison. Now I feel a need to blog about home, about Worlds of Fun. After touring all those parks, seeing all those extreme and expansive roller coasters, does it make Worlds of Fun dim by comparison? Might we wish to live closer to another park instead?

The answer is no. I asked the family about what makes Worlds of Fun our park of choice. After we got past “living four miles away”, we decided that there are some definite things about the park that we think is better than any of the other parks we visited. True, there are many things at the other parks that are individually better, but overall, we will take Worlds of Fun — while at the same time recommending what we think would make it better.

My first thoughts about what I like about Worlds of Fun, since I am by heart a water child, reflect around the Oceans of Fun portion. All of agreed that of the wave pools we experienced, none of them were better than the Surf City wave pool at Oceans of Fun. Nor were any of the lazy rivers better than the Caribbean Cooler. Sure, we’d like a lazy river with some of the fun stuff and obstacle course type items, but having a river you don’t need a tube to ride in, and one deep enough to swim in, is a luxury we didn’t find anywhere else.

I came up with a word for it: space. When Worlds of Fun was built in 1973, and when Oceans of Fun was built in 1982, they were built on a scale of space not reflected in the other parks we saw. It can be seen in the amount of space between the rides, and the size of the Wave Pool at Oceans of Fun. In the intervening years the layout and replacement of rides has filled in some of that space, but the overlying feeling and principle still remains. It is one of the major stamps of the Midwestern mentality that is subtly reflected in the park.

The other major stamp is that of theme. All the other parks we saw had themed sections. None of them had an overriding park theme. Worlds of Fun is based on the Jules Verne classic Around the World in 80 Days; each section of the park represents a region of the world that you pass through. True, there was no passing through Scandinavia in the book, but the theme of world regions is a unifying theme to the whole park that the other parks don’t have anything like. In fact, if they wanted to, the park could think about more subtle ways to integrate the book plot into the park plot.  Some year they could have sightings of Phileas Fogg or Passepartout. But even without the literary allusions of that idea, paying attention to the region theme is a key element of the parks subtle appeal.

So, back to the Worlds of Fun part more specifically. With the use of the theme, the park is arranged in a loop pattern, unlike the other parks, actually a loop and a loop within the loop, to go from region to region. Geographically it seems to us that Worlds of Fun is built on a hillier terrain than any of the other parks, and the loops take full advantage of this geographical presence. You also see it in the various streams, waterways and ponds that flow through the park campus. I have blogged about the “turtle pond” at the park, an unintended natural wonder at the park. Paying attention to these geographical landmarks could even improve the park.

When I think of specific rides, Worlds of Fun has some things that other parks don’t have. The Prowler is an excellent example. Sure, other parks have wooden roller coasters, other parks have more extreme roller coasters, but not have a coaster constructed with the unique principle of the Prowler. Other roller coasters may have more extreme functions, but only the Prowler connects each feature into the next one without down time between them, to keep the intensity continually on the prowl throughout the ride.

Then there is the Spinning Dragons. None of the rides had a similar single car spinning ride like the dragons. The closest we found were the “mouse trap” type coasters that we found and enjoyed at many of the other parks. (Our recommendation is that Worlds of Fun should get one of those — the best placement would be somewhere near, but not in, Planet Snoopy.)

The Uniqueness of the Patriot is harder to describe. It is more similar to other coasters at other parks than the first two I described. But has a length and intensity that fits well with the rest of the rides at WOF, and is a coaster that Betsy is still willing to go on, when other coasters become to extreme for her.

We also like our train, even if it is only a one-stop train. The use of a real train engine Eli (converted to natural gas), gives it a distinction we didn’t feel at the other parks. Once again, they have potential to ramp this up as well. The Great Train robbery scenario of 2016 was fun, they need to think more about wrapping it into various themes.

We have also enjoyed the street entertainments. This year and last they had the Brass Brigade doing roving performances.  In 2016 they also had a town cast that went around and did things, mostly connected to Americana. These are elements they need to think about and weave in more completely to the experience.

I could go on, but as G.K. Chesterton said, it is hard to describe something you know well and love for many reasons.  Something new you experience you can describe in an item or two, but the things you really like have too many layers to easily describe. Let me just close by saying we like our home park of Worlds of Fun, for many reasons, and also why we would like to see so many things that could make it even better.

I am curious to see how Winterfest works out this year. It sounds exciting, and I hope they keep the park’s flavor and theme in mind as they tailor the elements for it.

A Look Ahead: End of Summer?


It is still a little ways to Labor Day Weekend, when the Kansas City Renaissance Festival opens, but a week from this evening is  Media Day at the Ren Fest. That is where they try to “wine and dine” the media and other important local dignitaries. Madrigalia Bar Nonne will be there adding color, and so I will be there singing, which is why this event goes on the look ahead.

Back where I grew up, school didn’t start until after Labor Day.  But here school has already started this week. Back when I grew up the start of school indicated the end of summer. So has summer ended already? Or will it end at Labor Day? Thoughts?

Speaking of which, with the start of school, Worlds of Fun went into weekends-only mode this past week. So we haven’t been to the part since Sunday.  Below is the All-Season Meal Plan stats for the year:

Total Price Paid $497.44
Total Number of Meals 435
Total Retail $4,548.56
Average Price Per Meal $1.14
Total Drink Price 29.64
Total number of drinks 422
Total Retail $468.50
Average Price Per Drink $0.07

Million Dollar Quartet


Today was our first time at the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, KS. The show was a matinee of the show “Million Dollar Quartet”. This will be a review/reflection on the experience of the New Theatre Restaurant and the show.

We drove to the theater, expecting to be able to find it relatively easy from what we knew of its general location. I can around the end and saw the main entrance on the west side of the building, only to be unable to get through to get to the parking, because a bus was fully blocking the way and preventing us from getting to the parking lot.

So we backtracked our course and eventually parked on the east side of the building, in the strip mall that lets out to Metcalf. We saw a sign for the New Theatre Restaurant and parked there, then tried to follow the signs to the theater.

Our tickets instructed us to “please use the right entrance”. but all we could find was the back door, not the “right entrance”. So we were walking around the building through an alleyway to get to the front of the building, intending to find the “right entrance”. Someone from the theater came out a door and told us we had gone by the entrance. I mentioned the need to find the right entrance, and he told us we had gone by it.

So we eventually went back to the back door and went in, found the main lobby, realized there were two doors in there to the theater itself — a left and right — and got in the line for the “right entrance”. But that theater guy still didn’t understand what I was talking about when he sent me back. And the tickets certainly weren’t written to make sense to someone who hadn’t been to the theater before.

But once we were in line (long), we got seated in a reasonable timeframe (smooth moving line).

We had seats in the Dress Circle (nosebleed section),  which really weren’t that far back, though somewhat close to the ceiling. We really aren’t interested in sitting too close to the stage. We need a moderate amount of distance (perspective).

Our table for two was fine, and we had a nice waiter, who took our drink orders and explained to us the pattern for the buffet, and how dessert orders are taken near the end of dinner for intermission.

Buffet opened at 11:40. We started at that time, and being in the middle of the room, didn’t get to the buffet before a moderate line had formed. We took 20 minutes to get through the buffet and back to our table. That was plenty of time to enjoy the courses, and go back for a final plate of fruit before the show.

They were very attentive to refills of Betsy’s soda, a little less attentive on refreshing the hot water for my tea.

During intermission, they were very efficient about bringing the desserts, which were as delectable as they looked. They were also very pleasant about processing the check unobtrusively.

And so to analyze the show.

Million Dollar Quartet is a show about the origins of four Rock and Roll greats: Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. But what it really is about is the emotional journey of Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records and the one who discovered them all.  It is about a jam session between the four greats, the one time they were together, before they went on separate ways.

I enjoyed the show, especially the way they played Sam’s journey.  I believe people are supposed to key to the great songs of the period that they four sang during the session.  I enjoyed the music, but it isn’t my music, and so I didn’t get the buzz I think people are expected to get from the music of the show.

Even so the music was good. The plot wasn’t really very heavy, but it did carry the show. If you really enjoy the four artists of the quartet, you will probably have a really great time.

The experience was good enough for us to consider going back to another show sometime, possibly even do a season ticket.