A.R.M. (kinkyturtle) wrote,

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Huh... Astroworld is closing.

Apparently Six Flags Astroworld just isn't profitable enough anymore. At the end of this season, they're going to close up for good, according to the Houston Chronicle.

That's sad. I don't ride rollercoasters anymore, but I used to go to Astroworld all the time as a kid. I still have a stack of my old season pass cards somewhere. I'd go and ride the rides as many times as I could, then I'd stop for lunch at a burger place somewhere, then I'd avoid the heat by ducking into one of the various video arcades. I never played the games, but it was fascinating just watching the demo screens. Usually I'd stay there all day, then when the sun went down, I'd go get my favorite seat in the stands around the lagoon and watch the fireworks show. I saw it so many times I could have sung along with the music track (which was all patriotic music, but the Republicans hadn't ruined patriotism for me yet), as well as the pre-show music track that was a 15-minute disco medley (yeah yeah I know) of songs such as "America the Beautiful", "You're a Grand Old Flag", and for some reason "Popeye the Sailor Man".

When I first started going there, I think the Texas Cyclone hadn't been built yet, and Nottingham Village was still called the Country Fair. In the County Fair was the Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Ride (later renamed Excalibur, and still later removed and replaced with that red-and-blue rollercoaster you can see from 610 whose name I don't remember). I think the Black Dragon and the Astrowheel were still there too, but I never rode them. Later, the Black Dragon was replaced with the Runaway Rickshaw, which I did ride. I remember when they built Greezed Lightnin', and the SkyScreamer (later removed and replaced with the Dungeon Drop), and XLR-8. Since I stopped going, they've put in several new rides that I'm only sort of dimly aware of.

Oh, and when Waterworld first opened, it was a separate park. You had to buy separate admission to it, and to get to it, you had to go to a separate opening gate out front and then ride the train (or walk a looong footpath) 1/4 way around Astroworld. Later, they started allowing people to buy admission to both parks as a package deal (I had Astroworld/Waterworld season passes for a few years) and last time I was there, Astroworld admission was good for Waterworld too and they'd opened up a nice short passage for pedestrians between the two parks. I remember the water slides, and the wave pool, but I didn't like the speed slide because the friction burned a spot on my back and I had to extract my swimsuit from inside my butt. I also remember the sound system, on which for the first year or two they played lots of songs by the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, and so on, by day, and then at night they played current pop hits, which at the time meant New Wave. I first heard "Mr. Roboto" at Waterworld, and thought they were singing "Don't nobody got-o Mr. Roboto".

I even worked at Astroworld one summer. I was one of the people who sat at the front gate and took tickets. It was hot and dull, and I picked the wrong year to work there because that was the year they tried introducing Twickets. If you purchased a one-day ticket, you got a Twicket as you came in, and if you took the Twicket to an office somewhere in the park and signed it, it was good for one free admission the next day only, and you had to sign it again when you came back, and the signatures had to match. The instructions were printed on the back, but people kept failing to read them, so we started having to tell each guest to read the back. But that wasn't good enough, so we started having to explain what the thing was and how to use it to each and every person we gave them to. And some people still didn't get it! People would bring the thing back on the wrong day, or unsigned, or the signature wouldn't match, and then they'd get angry when we wouldn't let them in. It was a nightmare. I'm glad they got rid of the things.

Oh, and Coca-Cola started printing discount coupons for tickets on the sides of cans of Coke. And people would come and give us cans that they'd been drinking from, but hadn't bothered to finish... ugh. Imagine a trash bag full of incompletely empty Coke cans that's been sitting out in the Houston sun all day, and the cans' contents have partially spilled out into the bag. Now imagine you have to touch it. And haul it someplace. And as you do, you can smell it. Uuuugh.

Working at Astroworld had one very nice perk, though: on my days off, I got to enter the park for free! And I bought a pinscreen at a gift shop once and got an employee discount on it, that was nice.

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