adventure #23 – canada’s wonderland

canada's Wonderland! this adventure goes out to my homeboy, wally, who told me back in springtime that all of my adventures were too introspective and "inside my head" and that i needed to go out and do something fun. he said, "isn't canada's wonderland or something near toronto? you should go do that." this is an odd thing for wally to tell me, because as far as i know, he hates carnivals and that kind of thing. and i'm not terriibly thrilled by them myself. so i was pretty excited when Ale and Kimi suggested to the company that we have a wonderland day on labour day weekend. it would be an adventure, since i've not been to a new theme park or exhibition for almost 20 years!!!

top gun - u know it!
the next set of victims
the first ride that we went on was a venerable favourite – Top Gun, named after that celluloid classic starring tom cruise and … everyone. the ride is cool because you get your torso strapped into a chair, and your feet are left dangling… for that "oh my god, the bottom of my jet's cockpit has just blown out" feeling, i suppose. you are pulled up an incline and then shot along sharp turns and corkscrews and loops that flip you and your dangling feet upside down at rocketing speed. it was a fantastic first ride and i was feeling like i was really taking this theme park bull by the horns!! however, we had just waited in line for almost an hour to go on a forty second ride… it was looking like it would be a long day!

oh yeah! TOMB RAIDER!!!
the rig made for flying
slingshot turns

because paramout pictures own the park, they are able to attach themes and branding from its creative assets to the rides, and for the next ride, that was just fine by me! we went to a new ride dedicated to my favourite leggy, busty, impossible-to-impress, pony-tailed archaeologist/adventurer heroine, lara croft, the tomb raider. in fact, the ride was doubly apt for me, because the car is designed so that you are actually lying flat with your arms out, so that it's pretty much like flying superman-style along the track! even more corkscrews and slingshot turns than top gun (i think) and being the superman nut that i am, i had to do them with my hands free in front of me… it was… a BLAST!

and at this point in my blog, i have to acknowledge the reason why it took me an extra week to write all of this down… perhaps it's something that wally (and everyone else in the world) knew all along. there's a difference between things that you like and things that are pure fun. i like to do things that are meaningful – in the sense of having all kinds of layers and levels of enjoyment – complex webs of interrelationship and all that… going to a theme park and going on a ride is just sheer thrill and simple fun. it doesn't matter what the ride is called, what intellectual property its leveraging, or anything at all. it's pure moment, pure immediacy, pure, unmitigated fun. that purity of moment is something ineffable, and accordingly, is quite the antithesis of something one can blog. but pretentious joker that i am… here i am blogging the unbloggability of a theme park!!! sometimes, i astonish myself with my own ridiculousness.

the psyclone! this next colossal ride was incredible. the psyclone i think it was. it was a giant ring of seats that held some 40 people at a time. then, it gently swung back and forth like a pendulum, while the ring spun around this way and then the other… it doesn't seem to move that quickly or to go that high… until you are inside of it! it's like looking at a large jumbo jet taking off or landing – you think … that plane's not going very fast, totally ignoring how large it is… i wanted to do this one twice.
marketing in overdrive but there were too many rides (and the line-ups were too long)… so on we went to the next co-branded ride… the italian job. this was probably the silliest of the rides… the cars were like a trio of mini coopers that rode around a mock los angeles, complete with mock police car shootouts, mock factories, mock helicopter, and a mock spillway. but the coolest part was when it entered this pitch black tunnel and continued on spinning and lurching in the dark so that you had no idea what was coming next, until you burst through a hole in a sign… that was pretty wicked.
condiment disaster! alas, into every sunny day, a little rain must fall… and so it was when we took a break for a snack (we'd been waiting in line and doing rides for about 3 – 4 hours at this point). i grabbed a hot dog from the worst appointed hot dog place… ever. they had run out of everything except foot long dogs, the condiment stand looked like the worst toilet in scotland, and it was bereft of everything but ketchup. when i asked the cook, the cashier, and then the manager, no one seemed to know what to do about it… i felt so bad for them… the end of the summer and still no clue how to do their jobs. how sad.

these next two rides we can describe together. shockwave was like a giant pinwheel with six seats per arm. the ride lifts the pinwheel up and spins it around, tossing the seats upside down and around and around. you would think that this would be nothing but stomach churning, and watching it from the lineup, i marvelled that there weren't streams of vomit shooting out from it at all times. but once you get into it, the whole effect is simply thrilling! i totally wanted to ride that one again.

nightmares, a rather obvious name for the giant centrifuge, was also fun. i'd seen rides like this that spin you around and then wobble around a little bit – but this ride went straight up and down – totally perpendicular – testing everyone's faith in their angular momentum calculations from hgh school physics! while i wasn't tumbled around inside the cage, i think i would have felt a little more secure if it were going just a little bit faster, just to have a little bit more force keeping me at the top of my cage at the top of its spin.

kimi and ale wanted to do the 3d simulator theatre, even though the film was from spongebob squarepants. i had to explain the story of spongebob to them, explain about bikini bottom, patrick starfish, and of course squidward. the ride was pretty weak but it was fun to be reacquainted with my old sea-bottom buddies from a few years ago.
funnelcake babies
happy times!

by this point, it was late and dark, and the park was getting ready to close down. but there was one canada's wonderland experience of which i had not yet partaken, and that was the "funnel cakes". funnel cakes are neither funnel-shaped, nor particularly cakey. they are drizzles of dough, deep-fried like a donut. they have the rather unfortunate look of aborted chicken embryos when they are in their raw form (there are times when i wish i didn't have that biological sciences background), but they are then clumped together on a plate with icing sugar, topped with soft-serve ice cream and strawberry filling. i guess it was okay… but it was hardly something i could not have done without.

this was one of my favourite adventures. partly because it was one of the most fun. partly because it was something that i probably would never have chosen to do of my own accord. and mostly because i did it with lovely friends.

– g


adventure cost:
day pass from mac's + some bottled water: $45.38
parking at wonderland: $10.00
1 blt sub from the in-park subway: $9.50
1 lemonade drink from a vending machine: $2.50
1 foot-long hot dog with ketchup only: $6.50
1 funnel cake for the three of us: $11.39
1 iced tea for the drive home: $3.07