I had a great time in Niagara Falls, despite a little rain. We rode the Maid of the Mist, but like an idiot I recycled my poncho despite the forecast. I regretted that later, but I didn't get totally soaked. It was nice to be a little wet anyway because it was muggy.
We also ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, did the Ripley's 4D Theater ride and museum, and went up in the Skylon tower. At times it was so foggy that none of the Horseshoe Falls was visible at all. Even from the MotM, we could only see the far ends of it. It was cool to do all this stuff though. I had been to Niagara Falls many times before with family and various group trips, but never got to DO anything. Those people seem happy to just walk along the road and then leave. No fun! Doing stuff is much better. Of course, it would be easier if ATMs in Canada worked with my card so I didn't have to bum off my friends. I tried like 4 different ones, all giving me different error messages. Oh well. I ended up using plastic at places that accepted it. I just had to ask for a separate check wherever we ate. I didn't have to touch a single piece of Canadian currency though. :)
We stayed at the Hilton, which was nice except for having shit for parking (except for valet, of course). We slept through the 11am checkout, but somehow pulled off a power outage excuse and got the hotel to apologize profusely to us. I had nothing to do with that.
Then we ate lunch at Denny's and were on our way to Six Flags Darien Lake. Getting back across the border was surprisingly simple. "Citizenship?" "US." "All of you?" "Yes." "Ok."
Just before getting to SFDL we stopped at a travel stop place to find an ATM. Fortunately my card worked there after 10 swipes and I was able to pay back my friends.
There are metal detectors and bag checkers at the park entrance now. That's new. They also check bags at the entrance from the campgrounds into the park... and technically that stretch of arcade games behind Boomerang is in the campgrounds part, because we walked through it to get to Boomerang from Twister and got stopped for a bag check right before the Boomerang entrance.
Well, Rob wanted to go on the water rides and didn't want to ride any coasters, so he went on the water stuff alone while Ashlee, Rose and I rode all the coasters plus Twister. Even Predator was open. I think they added a section of brakes to Superman right before the last bunny hill. I don't remember seeing them there before, and the end felt a little different. I also noticed that the brakes let the train creep forward slowly now, never bringing it to a complete stop. And they still haven't fixed that rough section coming out of the second helix.
After we met back up with Rob, we went back out to the car for a picnic dinner, then played Spades until it started to get dark. Then we went back in and Ashlee and Rob went and did some games and stuff while Rose and I went on more coasters. We went to Superman first bust the line was out the gate. So we walked to the next closest non-bone-rattling coaster, Boomerang. After riding that once we walked back to Superman but, now being 9:30, they had closed the line so it would finish by park closing time. So we went back and did Boomerang once more, then staked out a spot on the grass for the laser show.
The show is much better this year. The laser animation seems smoother and had more complex 3D animations that obviously involved computer-aided design. Not that it looked like Tron or anything, but it looked to me like a laser drawing of a 3D computer model in some scenes that had camera movement around a car driving on a road and stuff like that. Other parts were still 2D drawings and pure curve math though. They added 4 Intellabeam-style lights along the front facing the crowd, as well as 2 disco balls (for one song). And the center green laser seems upgraded... it might actually be 2 separate laser sources now coming from the same spot, and they can move vertically instead of just horizontally now. The left and right green lasers seem the same. Actually, I'm not sure if there even was a center green laser last time I saw the show, so maybe that's entirely new. But the best part is that they have MORE FIREWORKS! :-D They finished with God Bless the U.S.A. as they have in previous years, but now they totally fill the sky with red, white and blue explosions. Near the end, I heard at least 50 launches within a second or two and I just knew we were in for a treat. :)
So, now I'm back home... actually I got home just a little after midnight, but I write slow. :-P Now I'm tired. But it's a fulfilled kind of tired. :) G'night!