On Friday night, I attended Gay and Lesbian Night at Great America. My friend Cody was celebrating his graduation and birthday party, so a group of us came out to celebrate the occasion and enjoy the roller coaster goodness.
Right away, one can see the difference at Great America, due to Gay and Lesbian Night. There were at least 75% fewer overweight people there; fatasses are usually as much a part of the park as Logger's Run or the Vortex. People performing in the "Superstars" make-your-own-music-video booth had actual talent. Everyone was extremely friendly and nice - I didn't witness any pushing or shoving in line, and there was a lot more random conversation with strangers than usual. You could buy beer and malt liquor beverages. The most popular prizes at the arcades were oversized stuffed bananas. And there were free handjobs on Sponge Bob ride.
OK, that last one was a lie.
I'm not gay myself, despite what my parents might secretly suspect. I'm they have resigned themselves to grandchildrenlessness from me, and my attendance at Gay and Lesbian Night merely confirmed a lot of their suspicions.
Sean: I'm going to a play tonight, Mom.
Mom: (knowing glance at Dad) Have fun.
Dad: So what did you do this week, Sean?
Sean: We painted and redecorated the apartment.
Dad: (knowing glance at Mom) Sounds... fun.
Sean: So, Aaron's going to move in with his girlfriend.
Mom: Oh, honey, are you all right?
Sean: Yeah, I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?
Mom: (knowing glance at Dad) No reason.
Anyway, I had a really good time, even as a touristing heterosexual, even though the girl-watching element of going to an amusement park was non-existant. Not to say that there weren't attractive girls there. The problem is, cute lesbians at a theme park is very much like sunbathing high school girls at the pool where I work. Sure, there's eye candy, but it's hard to get enthused when, for social and/or legal reasons, there's zero candy-enjoying potential.
To the rides!
Top Gun: Just an extremely good stand-up roller coaster. Even after you've gone on it many times, it still surprises you, especially the portion where the track nears the water. Still, if Great America was really intent on simulating the experience of being on the deck of an aircraft carrier, you'd think they might have budgeted more than $35 for the decor. Maybe pumping Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" makes some visitors believe in the balsa wood faux flight equipment, but not this one.
The Revolution: Bourgeois rentier capitalist amusement parks, your time has come! The Revolution will not be televised! Change will come, change out the riders' pockets, redistributed to the proletariat water. The shackles of theme park oppression will be broken, except for the chest-crushing restraints and the big heavy thing over your crotch.
The Demon: Not as good as Top Gun, but the Demon has become the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad of Great America: older roller coaster, but still great - mostly undervalued because there are newer attractions. So, lines are short, but payoff remains high. The Demon simply needs to bill itself as the second-wildest ride in the wilderness, and it'll be set.
The Demon also manages to get by with just the chest restraints. It is perhaps the only attraction in the whole park that does not involve a heavy piece of metal resting locked in over one's crotch. The roller coaster might come off the rails, but they'll be damned if your crotch is taking a hit. If Great America made automobiles, each car would be equipped with crotch airbags on the driver's and passenger side. Your car might be hurtling across the freeway at 75 MPH, but your crotch would enjoy a smooth, cushioned ride.
The Grizzly: What's notable about the Grizzly is, besides the skull-rattling wooden ride, is the semi-abandoned office park visible as you exit the ride. Great America is in the heart of Santa Clara, and is surrounded by the wreckage of the tech bubble's crash. For many of the park's neighbors, a real scary ride would involve worthless stock options, layoffs, or a rapidly increasing price-to-earnings ratio.
If Great America was run like other companies in same area, there'd be free admission. PayPal donations would fund the Nickelodeon Fun Area. Employees would have stock options and unlimited cotton candy. Benches would be replaced with thousand-dollar ergonomic chairs. And to pay for the park's upkeep, there would be small ads on the back of each roller coaster car. Everyone at the park, employee or patron, would be a millionaire, at least on paper.
When I left the park, dancing was in full swing. A very talented drag queen was lip-synching "All By Myself" across from the Demon. Yellow and blue Human Rights Watch stickers were plastered in the lines for every ride. The rides were closing, so I headed to the parking lot. It had been a great night, but I was done; roller coasters are great, but I do not dance, except in musicals.
Mom: Oh, you'd dance in a musical? (knowing glance at Dad)
Sean: Goodnight everybody!