My mom’s friend’s daughter is finally tall enough to ride all the roller coasters this year. I decided to take her to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey (My mom drove. We’re no dummies. I’m 35, what of it?). My plan was to scare the shit out of her on all the rides thus forming a tough outer layer which would carry her throughout her young life and into the brutal unforgiving teen years. Also, imagine telling all your friends you went 128 mph on a roller coaster while they were still learning how to tell time or whatever. Like my mom’s friend’s daughter I am an only child so I’m not entirely sure what the developmental arc of a child is but I do think kids can probably get jobs by age 11.
Lindsey is very smart, funny and interesting which is great because I had to spend 10 hours with a 9 year-old. I recorded her reaction to various roller coasters and scribbled down interesting things she said that I understood would be extremely important to her future.
Lindsey’s mom dropped her off at my mom’s house at 9:00 sharp because we do not fuck around when it comes to travel days. The first thing Lindsey and I talked about was money because money is what makes the world go ’round.
Jenn Tisdale: Dude, are you excited?
Lindsey: Yes, my mom gave me $100 to spend.
JT: That’s a lot of funnel cake.
Lindsey: She told me I can’t spend it all so I’m going to spend $99.99 and give her a penny.
JT: I like where your head’s at.
Part of me was worried about occupying a child for a 2.5 hour car ride but it quickly became obvious that Lindsey was more interested in her iPad than me, so much so that I ended up leaning over and interrupting her.
JT: What are you playing?
Lindsey: This game where you have to figure out what Emojis go with the words.
JT: Does that say “World War II”?
Lindsey: Yeah, and I have to find the Emojis to describe it.
The Emoji winners are an American flag, German flag, Italian flag, Japanese flag, and a British flag. This game seems a little above a 9 year-old’s paygrade but maybe America no longer wants to have the dumbest kids in the world so THIS IS GREAT!
My mom and I have season passes to this park so we’re basically aware of our limitations. Lately we can’t seem to make it until the bitter end of the day because we are both old and of course have a long drive home. This time we decided to get a hotel near the park so we could get a later start to the day which is helpful if you want to stay later at the park. We stopped by the hotel first to drop our bags off and if you’re me, obsessively reapply sunblock.
JT: Lindsey, you should always wear sunblock, even during the winter.
JT: Well you don’t want to get cancer but more importantly you never want to look older than you actually are. I’m 35.
Lindsey: YOU’RE 35? My mom’s boyfriend is 35. My mom (and she said this rather smugly which amused me to no end) is 49.
JT: Do I look younger than your mom’s boyfriend?
I turned around to finish the sunblock application and noticed Lindsey calmly get off the bed and grab my sunblock so she could do the same. This only confirmed what I always suspected about kids. You can’t frighten them into healthy behavior by using sickness or death. Children have no concept of their own mortality and basically believe they will live forever until they reach their 20’s. Only then do they realize the precious futility that is life. You must play on their vanity. Always.
We arrived at the park and got a couple of easy rides out of the way then I asked Lindsey to repeat what she said about how I have the ageless skin of a newborn calf.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVtWn2b3QPs
We eased our way into the ride experience with a couple of smaller rides before heading to our first big coaster…
Height: 181 feet
Drop: 176 feet
Length: 4,400 feet
Speed: 70 mph
(Turn the volume on this video way up. We nailed the other vids however.)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2N_wmmCbUk
I’ll murder a funnel cake at an amusement park but I try not to eat anything else which is why my mother and I always pack a relatively healthy lunch in a cooler. Lindsey, who is riddled with youth and literally doesn’t have to worry about anything, opted to get a burger and fries which we brought out of the park so we could all eat at the car. We used this downtime to map out the rest of our day. Please note the sound of seagulls. We were not near the sea but we were parked near a garbage can which is sea enough for them. I will never stop mentioning my own age.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dOA_SZkQjo
After we ate our plan was to do this Offroad Safari ride which seemed very calm and nice and good for food digestion but the wait time was too long and honestly all of those animals would probably upset me and the next video you’d watch is Lindsey and I freeing them so they could live happily ever after in the wilds of New Jersey. Instead we rode a smaller, unassuming coaster called the Runaway Mine Train which earned Lindsey no less than 8 Soul Asylum “Runaway Train” jokes from me. While waiting for this ride Lindsey was sitting on a chain hanging between two poles.
Lindsey: Do you think I can break this chain?
JT: Fleetwood Mac says you can never break the chain.
Lindsey: What’s that?
JT: They’re a band from the 70’s but they are no longer together.
Lindsey: Did they break up once they realized you could actually break the chain?
My mind was blown. This was a child genius I was dealing with. Next up the heavy hitter coaster in the park.
Height: 456 feet
Drop: 418 feet
Length: 3,118 feet
Speed: 128 mph
After the Kingda Ka we walked by the Dare Devil Dive which is essentially bungee jumping.
JT: Lindsey, don’t you want to do that crazy thing? It’s like flying.
Lindsey: Jenn, I’ve already ridden on the 2nd highest roller coaster in the world. Can’t you just be happy?
JT: You’re right I’m being such a Pageant Mom but I WANT YOU TO BE THE BEST.
You can waste a shocking amount of time in amusement parks and for us it was really not line-related because we’re pro’s so we always get the Flash Pass which normally catapults us to the front of the line but the marketing geniuses (assholes) behind Six Flags came up with a new tier of Flash Pass this year and that was the Platinum Pass. So the Flash Pass allows one to reserve a ride and gives you the next available time. Our pass kept giving us 20 minute wait times which I realize isn’t long but last summer we never waited more than 5 minutes between reservations. I suspect the Platinum Pass riders were getting the coveted 5 minute wait times. Combine that with the fact that Six Flags makes you rent a locker before every ride (though you get said locker for 2 hours) we were doing a lot of waiting or a lot of walking to a locker. Before we knew it the park was closing in 45 minutes. It was time to step up our game and hit 3 coasters before closing. On the way to our first ride I was hit with some nostalgia in the way of hand clapping games, so I volunteered my services as a former Miss Mary Mack professional.
JT: Do the kids still know Miss Mary Mack?
Lindsey: Yeah but nobody plays it anymore.
JT: Are you kidding me? Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack was all dressed in black black black, which NEVER goes out of style and she had silver buttons buttons buttons all down her back back back which is VERY classy.
Height: 100 feet Height: 45 feet Height: 233 feet
Drop: 84.5 feet Drop: CRAZY HAIRPIN TURNS Drop: 215 feet
Length: 2,693 feet Length: 1,213 feet Length: 5,394 feet
Speed: 50 mph Speed: 30 mph Speed: 80 mph
Duration: 1:45 Duration: 2:00 Duration: 3:00
We intentionally filmed this in front of a huge flashing screen to give this video that much-needed club vibe.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ubZghvcl7Q
As you can see we did not get to ride every coaster we intended to ride but we did get to all the best ones. As we were leaving the park I managed to convince everyone to go to a Denny’s I saw between our hotel and Six Flags. I kept talking up their peanut butter pie, something I discovered 14 years ago when I was in New Orleans and stayed at a hotel that had a Denny’s. I ate that goddamn pie everyday.
JT: It’s been a while since I’ve actually gone to Denny’s. I hope they still have this peanut butter pie.
Lindsey: What if they don’t have the peanut butter pie?
JT: Well I’ll riot of course.
Lindsey: I hope they don’t have it. I really want to see you fall apart.
They did not have it. I got nachos instead and took a picture of this Denny’s mug. Then I called up Israel and Palestine and invited them to Denny’s.
After this we went back to the hotel and slept like no one was watching. The next morning we did a final recap with some hot tipz. I did not bother showering.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni5W3p-z2zg
I didn’t scare her, but that’s a good thing. One doesn’t want to be easily frightened in life. I did, however, win a small victory when I managed to stay awake for the entire ride home. Of course she bested me in the end when she woke up to remind me that we did not in fact get to ride all the coasters we mentioned wanting to ride in the map video, by laying this line down on me.
We told a lot of lies on that video.
We sure did Lindsey, we sure did.