Worlds of Fun. Man. I fucking loved that place! Just the anticipation coming around 435 highway straining your neck to see the balloon painted water tower to signify you were close...it was our version of Disneyland.
We would go and spend HOURS and HOURS in lines and have the greatest time doing it. Now I stand for 5 minutes and get irate. Smart move inventing the Fast Passes for places! Gary and I have no problem dropping big bucks to avoid that shit :)
But seriously...It was THE place back then. You had the Schussboomer, one of my favorites, though for the longest time I was terrified to ride it. About the time I fell in love with it, they ripped it out.
Then there was the Octopus, the Viking Voyager, the Scrambler...so much fun. Oh and the taxis. So boring as an adult, but as a kid, driving them was the greatest freedom ever. If only you could get off that track. Later came the Orient Express, the first looping coaster. The year that opened you could spend over 2 hours in line waiting to ride - and we did, gladly.
My grandparents were too fucking old to ever take me, but my aunt and uncle would bring me along once in a while when I was little.
I saw my first concert there at the Forum. It was Eddie Rabbit. I thought he was so cute. We would play skee ball for hours in the arcade. And ride the train all around the park when we needed a break. Ahhh, good times.
All time favorite ride though - the Zambezi Zinger. You'd crawl into this toboggan type thing, straddling the center bench cushion and cram up against the crotch of whomever was behind you. It's great if you were with someone you wanted to get "close" to but it was awkward as hell when it was a stranger :/
Still though, you'd spiral up and up and up until finally you reached the peak and then drop super fast. The trees would come within grabbing distance and then there was the tunnel. Man, greatest coaster ever back then. My first coaster love LOL.
It wasn't till I was going in high school that it got really good. Boys got involved...the dynamics of everything changed then lol.
I think one of the first times I went without an adult was with Elyse. She was EVERYTHING. She was strong and confident and spoke her mind about everything. Basically she was everything I was not. I idolized her.
It was the summer between 9th and 10th grade, I believe. She'd gotten her license (in Kansas you could get a license at 15) and she had gotten a sweet new convertible Mustang (lucky bitch) so she invited me to go to Worlds Of Fun with her , this guy she was seeing and his friend. Who was super fucking hot, btw. He looked like Tom Cruise, only cuter. So, YES, I wanted to go!
Problem was - my guinea pig died right before they showed up. This was my prized, pedigreed Peruvian guinea pig my science teacher had given me. The one I loved so much I would sneak it to school with me and put in my locker all day so I wouldn't have to leave him behind (I know, I know...I'm not proud). I was devastated. I loved that fucking thing.
Pretty much the entire day was a bust. Tom Cruise guy wasn't interested, though I do recall there being some incident where I pulled a tampon out of my bag and waved it around in everyones face....maybe that had something to do with it, or maybe it was the fact that I kept crying sporadically all day. I don't know.
But, aside from that one time...greatest place ever!
The best time was at night, with all the lights everywhere. I never wanted to leave.
There were things I missed, however. Like never getting a guy to win me a ridiculously large stuffed animal that we'd have to pack around the damn park all day...totally wanted that. Never did the old timey Western whore photo, and I always wanted one of those massive tissue paper flowers they did. Never did get one of those either. But, I'm not complaining. It was still my favorite place.
I think one of the best things was being able to take my kids there when they got old enough. Seeing the park through their eyes. Of course it has all changed since the late '70s and '80s, but the excitement is still the same. Hell, seeing my daughter, barely tall enough, getting on the Mamba while her older brother chickened out was pretty funny. Great memories.
Those are the moments I'll always hold on to.