Tags: amusement parks, Cedar Point, Cedar Point closes paddlewheel, end of an era, Paddlewheel Excursions, paddlewheels retired
Yes, it’s true — I’ve talked about it before, but this time its real — The Paddlewheel Excursions (nee Western Cruise) will offer its last rides ever at Cedar Point on Labor Day 2011.
This has been a long time coming, so its not a surprise to most Cedar Point veterans…with rising fuel costs and with increased maintenance costs not only of the boats, but also the animatronics (most of which have ceased working years ago), it comes as no surprise that the Paddlewheels will be “retired” (as Cedar Point calls it) after Labor Day.
Installed in 1964 as the Western Cruise (almost double the current length of the attraction), the ride was one of the remaining such attractions at any amusement park anywhere. Those of us who are older will remember the frontier fort it used to glide by, and the burning sunken paddlewheel steamer (all removed years ago as the park expanded). The ride in now a mere shadow of itself as it floats under coasters and dodges rides as they have ever-encroached on the water-retention lagoons at the back of the park.
Unlike the water attractions at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, which are tracked underwater and run electrically (Jungle Cruise, and yes, even the Riverboat!), The Paddlewheel Excursions boats are free-floating gas-consuming, money-draining snake pits. They’ve been bleeding hundreds of thousands of dollars a year of maintenance, fuel, and operations monies. It was only a matter of time until they were gone. For years it has been the last ride of the season to open, and the first one closed in the fall. It has opened later and later each day, and closed earlier and earlier each evening. This part-time ride has finally come to its end of days.
In its place, the landing dock area will serve as the entrance/exit for next seasons Dinosaur’s Alive exhibit that will make its home for the next few years on Millenium Island (now renamed Adventure Island). The bridge that is used during Halloweekends will be used for the new attraction.
Get your final rides in on the Paddlewheels….it’s a relic of another age — a time when Cedar Point really was an amusement park and not just a Coaster Kingdom…and it joins a long line of family friendly rides that have slowly been removed to make way for faster, taller, more exciting attractions (Pirate Ride, Earthquake, Frontier Lift, White Water Landing, the original Shoot the Rapids, the Funhouse, the Aquarium, etc.)
I’ve posted this photo before, but I thought it made for an appropriate final tribute to the Paddlewheel Excursions…you will be missed.
Outback Steakhouse changes Prime Rib recipe — tastes like crap August 14, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in Uncategorized.
Tags: New recipe, Outback changes prime rib recipe, Outback Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse prime rib, Outback Steakhouse prime rib changes recipe, Outback., prime rib, Why does prime rib at Outback Steakhouse taste like crap?
I don’t normally do much writing about things non musical-theater related on my blog, but since I am getting thousands of hits a week, I felt it was my duty to warn of a recent development at my beloved Outback Steakhouse.
Outback Steakhouse has changed the recipe for its prime rib — the same recipe that we have all known and loved for the past thirty years. It now has a thick, black rub applied to the exterior that is “herb based” according to my server, but which is basically just lots of pepper and rosemarie. The prime rib, no kidding, tastes like a slab of evergreen tree thrown on the plate, and it looks awful.
Gone is the decades-proven very lightly smoked flavoring with no rub…that prime rib used to call my name every Sunday afternoon for years and years. Goodbye dear friend.
In short, the new recipe tastes like crap, and I won’t be ordering it again. Don’t be fooled by the servers who say “it’s a great new recipe and I love it!”. When I asked three separate servers today if they had been instructed to say that, they said yes, and all three agreed that it is not as good.
And it tastes like crap. Stay away. You have been warned. Stick with the other entrees at Outback Steakhouse. I’ve written to Outback’s corporate. I suggest others do the same. Otherwise, this crappy tasting “new normal” is here to stay. You can contact Outback Steakhouse here: http://www.outback.com/contactus/generalcomment.aspx
Singin’ in the Rain — Croswell Opera House — Review August 6, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Musicals.
Tags: Croswell Opera House, Singin' in the Rain musical
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Now is as good a time as most to get tickets for Croswell Opera House’s SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. The production which opened last night is an example of Croswell at it’s finest — when all the pieces click (technical, musical, and performances), and the qualities that make a show at this fine theater stand out from any other local theater company are on full display.
From the first orchestra chord to the last, the musical direction by Jonathan Sills is top notch. The vocal work throughout the show is noteworthy, from leads to ensemble.
Joseph Dennehy (from Toledo) dances a fine Don Lockwood, and Marlena Hilderley (University of Michigan) is simply marvelous as Kathy Seldon. K.C. Kenney (Toledo) is a funny and very gifted young singer/dancer/actor as Cosmo Brown. The age difference between himself and stage “best pal and childhood friend” Mr. Dennehy, however, is obvious.
Director Brian Hissong keeps things generally moving along at a leisurely pace (maybe a bit too leisurely given the shows long running time) and choreographer Jodi Adkins Hissong adds her own touches to the fine dance sequences, while preserving the “essence” of familiar pieces. “Broadway Melody” cuts the tap sequences in favor of a story-line dance, but it works well in this production. Bravo to her staging of “Moses Supposes” for Don and Cosmo, as they tap their way around the diction coach’s office – and even on top of tables, chairs, and each other. It’s the single best dance sequence in the show — but there are many of them.
The rain comes….and it comes on beautifully designed sets by Janine Woods Thoma. Nancy VanOver has designed some wonderful costumes (nobody does those better than Croswell!), and in fact, I’m hard pressed to think of a single theater in the area that has the financial and technical resources to do a show like Singin’ in the Rain the way that Croswell does.
My one quibble — the rain sequence, for all it’s splendor, is mislit. In order for rain effects to work on stage, they must be hung under the strip lighting, and lit with plentiful side and downlight. That is just not possible in Croswell’s limited fly and backstage space. As a result you hear the rain more than see it — it becomes obvious only when umbrellas are opened and water splashes off of them, or Don Lockwood taps around the splash pool that develops onstage. It would have been nice to let the audience see this splendid effect with better lighting.
There are several stage versions of Singin’ in the Rain, and in my opinion, MTI’s current version is not the best stage version available, but it is certainly more assessable for most theaters. That being said, it’s a crowd-pleaser from beginning to end.
Get your tickets now — this is a hot seller already. Nobody does shows like this better than Croswell — and it’s the best you are going to see there this summer.
Croswell Opera House tickets are available online at croswell.org, or by phone at (517) 264-SHOW.