Last night was the 12th Annual Fairgrounds Out at Night event at Great Adventure and probably the 8th or 9th time I've gone. Unfortunately, after a week of sunshine and warm temperatures, a cold front was passing through and the night ended up being a washout.
I should've known the night wasn't going to be the same from the get go, as only four of us ended up making it as opposed to the group of six we had last year. At one point, we'd had up to ten going, but our number was whittled down to just us as the others had to decline for one reason or another. Of course, the night wasn't completely bad, Rich, Gary, Sean and I did enjoy our time together, but getting to take only three rides during the whole excursion was kind of a bummer!
When we first arrived at the park, around 6ish, things were looking alright. One rainstorm had already passed and though the rides were still closed due to lightning in the area, it looked as if things were going to clear up, which they eventually did. After waiting out the delay, we headed towards El Toro to get our first ride of the night, but it was only open to another private group until 8:30. We did the next best thing and headed over to Bizarro.
Bizarro is a ride towards the back of the park that is very underrated. It was once called Medusa, but after a paint makeover and some special effects done a few years back, this floorless coaster definitely packs a punch, with seven inversions and plenty of G's. Surprisingly, they were running three trains and the line for the ride was virtually non-existent and we actually got to make two circuits continuously. It appeared as if our night was going to be great after all.
We headed towards our next target, the king of all coasters, Kingda Ka. For some strange reason, the park closed off the formerly easy passageway between the two coasters and a long trek had to be made to get from one to the other. Upon our approach, we could see that the 456 foot tall metal monster wasn't running. Not one human body stood upon the ride platform.
The boys moved on while I took a cigarette break, expecting them to come back, but by the time I was finished, they were nowhere to be found. They had headed beyond the line queue for Ka and on to the park's newest ride, Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, a 415 foot drop ride nestled within the structure of the record-breaking coaster. I had already decided I was not doing that anyway, so I didn't mind, but Rich had set his sights on that from the moment we'd discussed this year's outing. Turns out he was the only one to take the plunge as both Gary and Sean decided to decline the terrifying drop (I totally understand!).
In the meantime, I had noticed ride operators sending test runs of Kingda Ka and a small line had begun to form. I immediately texted my pals, who were still waiting on line, and got on this one...just in case. It was all good as within five minutes of my pal's rejoining me, a park worker announced that the king was about to open. Hoo-rah! But that's where the night ended...
We were quickly ushered through the long queue for the ride and stood in line for the most terrifying of rides. I was excited! Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. After sending just three coasters along the circuit, the sky lit up in a big flash. Lightning! We were just two trains away from riding. An operator got on the speakers to say that the ride would be closing and that we could choose to stay if we wanted in case they were to open again. Right!
We decided that by the time lightning left the area, it'd be close to closing time, so we started to head out. That's when the skies opened up. We were soaked and freezing by the time we even got to the front of the queue line it was raining so hard. We ended up staying under the locker area for almost a half an hour as the rain came pouring down. Once it had slowed to a drizzle and eventually stopped altogether, we decided to not leave just yet (it was already past 11 o'clock) and try our luck riding Nitro, a personal favorite.
We headed across the park towards the Gotham section where Batman and Nitro stood dark and silent. A giant lake created by the rains separated all from the entrance to the coaster, which did not seem to have any life going on. Now it was time to head home. This was, I think, the first time ever that a visit to an amusement park was completely washed out in this way. Though it was nice being with my friends, we had some great laughs during the evening, not to mention plenty of eye candy, it was a bummer to think that all we got to ride were two coasters. Not a great way to end the riding season!