Thursday, July 28, 2011

Santa Cruz Boardwalk carousel turns 100!!!

A 100th birthday is a big deal, but it's an even bigger deal when you're an endangered species, like a vintage carousel.  Wonderful article about a beautiful work of art!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Danger! Warning! Humongous T-rex will eat your popcorn!! And then... YOUR HEAD!

Oh, the giddy expectation one gets when planning a trip to South Dakota.  And NO trip to SD is complete without venturing to Wall Drug.

It had been 8 years since we last stepped foot onto the antique planked walkways, had a tasty cowboy lunch and 5 cent coffee.  So we were completely surprised to find a whole new area to the back of the main building, which included this guy here.

Every 10 minutes or so, he menaces, growls, smoke billows, kids drop their popcorn and run for their young lives.  I've seen it.  Frankly, I was inches away from joining them.

(BTW - I love that there's a "Wall Drug, SD - U.S.A." street sign right in front of him, so if you're rattled to your core by his roars, you won't forget where you are.  Or maybe it's for his benefit?)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Oujia, the Fortune Telling Chicken

A big, whopping "cock-a-doodle doo" nod to the Society for Commercial Archeology who happened to post this on Facebook today.  This has made my day, week, nay MONTH.  I give you: Ouija, the Fortune Telling Chicken who apparently used to crystal gaze at Silver Springs, one of the parks I visited for my book.  I'm now fueled to learn more, so here I go, wandering the Internet in search of more clucky clairvoyant info:

I found a wonderful blog about the Silver Springs area:  which boasts even more ephemera about this great Florida vintage park.  Silver Springs has been a destination for pleasure seekers for decades; this blog opens the window into its fantastical history.

Cyndi Lauper had her fortune told by a chicken.  No, really:   This makes me glad to be alive.

But wait, there's more!  Musician Sean Hayes wrote a song entitle"Alabama Chicken", about a feathered prognosticator.

And a children's book I simply must find:

If anyone has more info on chicken fortune tellers, which I'm now apparently obsessed with, feel free to drop me a line.  And yes, that means YOU, Cyndi Lauper!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Haunted Mansion's Infamous Hatbox Ghost!

As a tot, I visited Disneyland in 1966; don't remember that trip, but saw some wonderful images in my Dad's old home movies.  Fast forward five years: my Mom and I take our "girls' only" trip to Disneyland, but we took no photos or movies.  Luckily, I was old enough to recall much of that trip and I'll be merging those memories with recent events when I write about my 2011 Disneyland trip in this forthcoming book.

But back to old home movies: what a treasure trove they can be!  For Haunted Mansion enthusiasts, a recently-found film has unearthed some of the only known images of the much-talked, mysterious Hatbox Ghost, who was only seen in the Mansion in August of 1969.

Follow the link and scroll down to the footage; you won't be disappointed!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oaks Amusement Park and Roller Rink featured on TNT's "Leverage"

I love the clever, gentle humor that infuses the TNT show, "Leverage".  Every episode keeps you guessing, with plot twists and turns designed to simultaneously rattle and amuse.  I adore this show and its cast;  been a Timothy Hutton fan since "Ordinary People", and his co-stars are top-notch, fearless actors.

My hubby and I were enjoying this past weekend's episode, "The van Gogh Job" when I leaped forth from my comfy couch and yelled, "Hey!  That's Oaks Park!", having recently been there as part of the Road Trip   Besides a great vintage amusement park, the grounds include a time capsule of a roller rink; I recognized its charming green and white painted entrance.

The enclosed link contains a great article on the filming at Oaks in Portland, OR, which has been used as a backdrop for not one but two episodes!

I love seeing my Cotton Candy Road Trip locations up on the big (and little) screen!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

World's Steepest Rollercoaster! World's Steepest Rollercoaster!

When my hubby took on the Top Thrill Dragster over at Cedar Point two years ago, I thought THAT was the most incredible, mind-boggling, "over the top" (pun fittingly perfect) coaster I'd ever seen.  Like a giant vertical zipper in the sky.  But check out this one in Japan: the "Takabisha" at Fuji-Q Highland amusement park.

Thanks to Rachel Maddow for bringing us not only thoughtful political commentary every night on MSNBC, but video of a front-seat-view rollercoaster ride that actually aged me about five years as I watched it from my office chair.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Butterbeer Revealed! Well, not completely...

In honor of opening weekend of the final installment of the "Harry Potter" films, I give you a bonus posting for the day.  And (stay with me here) it's a great article written by Jim Hill, a Disney super-enthusiast whose writings I turn to for pertinent Disney info all the time, so in a strange "scant few degrees of separation" it becomes a vintage park article!

Well, no, not exactly.  But it sure makes for good reading.  Congrats, Jim Hill, for making it to the Huffington Post website!  I have yet to make it to "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" as I've been so busy with my vintage parks, but I hope to take a swig of this frothy concoction sometime next year!

Cotton Candyriffic Cotton Candy Recipe!

Really?  Can it be that easy to make?  I vow to try this recipe sometime soon and report back the results.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Luckily, tragedies like this happen very rarely. But still, seeing this on the morning news chilled me to the bone. Who's at fault? In my opinion, really no one... and everyone. It's an unfortunate mix of circumstances and miscommunications. What I would say is this: I visited Darien Lake for my book and it's a clean, safe park. But perhaps the amusement park industry should have some clearly defined rules pertaining to riders with disabilities? Maybe those who no longer have the ability to use their legs should sign a waiver upon entrance to the park? So many questions to ask -and I have no answers here.

My prayers go out to the family of the veteran.. and to the owners and operators of Darien Lake.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Couldn't put Humpty together again..."

Enchanted Forest park in Salem, Oregon, is teeming with storybook legends - and you get to meet them all! I snapped photos like a paparazzo throughtout our visit. Take a look at Humpty here -- before he had that fall that became tabloid fodder. He seems so at ease, just enjoying his wall, minding his own business.

I think there should be an investigation into the shady dealings made between the King's horses and King's men. Don't trust 'em.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Must. Hold. Self. Back. From. Purchasing. Entire. Line. Of. Goodies.

Can I tell you just how much I love the retro-inspired artwork of Shag? there's no way I can qualify or quantify how it appeals to me. He's got a new line of goods to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World and I can't find one single thing that isn't spectacular. I especially love his nod to the Contemporary and Polynesian Hotels.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!

May you all have a safe, happy, fun-filled 4th. May you experience no rain, be stung by no bugs, and wear the amount of red, white, and blue that appeals to you.

I was going to upload an appropriately patriotic photo: the miniature train from Del Grosso's Park, all decked out in the colors of our flag, but Blogger is being stupid.

Sty tuned: in the next few days, I have new photos from Conneaut Lake Park!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Third time = charm

Although in no way would I consider the other two visits to be less-than-charming, but the first time the park was just reopen. The second time, it rained - but we ran into the kids from "Paranormal State" so that was entertaining. But this time, I've got old friends to revisit and new adventures to tackle.

In just a few hours, we'll be Road Tripping out to Conneaut Lake Park - for the third time for this book. CLP is the only park that I'll be visiting three times for the book, for many reasons: it rose like a phoenix from the proverbial and actual ashes (after its magnificent ballroom burned to the ground), it continues to add attractions and rides, it refurbished the Blue Streak, its historic rollercoaster. For all intents and purposes, it should've closed years ago, if you consider many parks in similar situations have closed their gates, leaving their precious rides to rot. But CLP keeps on bringing it.

For that, and also for the fact that it has a dark ride called the Devil's Den that totally delights me, a neighboring hotel with a haunted past, and an amazing vintage carousel, Conneaut Lake Park was, is, and will continue to be one of my favorite parks on "The Cotton Candy Road Trip" - and one that tugs at my heartstrings like no other.  Heartstrings tugged?  Well, you'll just have to read my book to find out, won't you?