I Finally Have a True Home Park

Railblazer @ CGA

So my life is definitely changing. Like I mentioned in that blog post where I detail what I’ve been up to lately, I moved into a new place in the Bay Area close to California’s Great America. I live about 15 minutes away from CGA which is by far the closest I’ve ever lived to a park that I consider my home park.


The following is the list of parks I’ve considered my home park since I’ve been an enthusiast and how far away I was from them:

Park Distance
Cedar Point 2.5 hours
Kings Island 1.5 hours
Six Flags Over Texas 3 hours
Six Flags Great America 2 hours
Frontier City 30 minutes

So as you can see, with the exception of Frontier City (because although I like the park for what it is, its roller coaster collection leaves something to be desired) I’ve never really been able to just head to a park on a whim, to wake up one morning and say, I wasn’t planning on it but I think I’ll go to X today. A trip to the park has always been at least a somewhat planned event. And as such, I always felt like I needed to maximize my time there and ride as much as I could. For the most part that was fine but I was hard on myself when I wanted to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the park, which I find to be hugely inspirational and where I have some of my best ideas for projects. Not to mention that the weekends were the times that I tended to be free enough to head to the parks and without a doubt there were always lines, which I dutifully waited in.


So now I live close to a park. How has that changed my relationship with the park? Quite a bit actually! The first few times I went to the park, I treated it like I did my other home parks, pushing hard to ride as much as I could but as the slow spring season changed to a busier summer, I changed my tactics as well to what they are today and were I think they will remain for a while. Now I go the park with things to do: my laptop, camera, a notebook or a book. If I see short lines for a ride or if I get there at opening, I’ll ride something a few times until they get a line but when they do get a line, I’ll get out my other things to do and find a place to sit and work where I can see the coasters going by. I also take advantage of my season dining plan quite a bit as well to eat at the park. So for example I’ve gone to the park once a day for the past 3 days for a few hours a day but I didn’t ride a single ride in that time frame. And I really enjoyed my times at the park, I got some great shots you’ll be seeing soon and had some amazing ideas for future projects.

I’ve also noticed my behavior at other non-home parks have shifted as well. If I’m not at CGA or SFDK (or maybe SFMM) I’ll usually spring for the skip the line pass and ride as much as possible with some camera breaks. Overall I’m pretty pleased with this bifurcation of my hobby and look forward to seeing what other great ideas I get at the park in the future!

I started thinking about this topic after listening to back episodes from 2010 of Jeff Putz and his CoasterBuzz podcast talk about the same exact thing, that as you get older (which I suppose I am) and go to parks more, a lot of times you just want to go and enjoy the atmosphere instead of going hard the entire time. Side note - I miss that podcast, I listened to it religiously and still listen to back episodes from time to time.