Woke up to the pitter patter of rain... the forecast called for a great day with a chance of showers around 10pm.. but I wasn't going to let that get me down.. we were off to Great Adventure for the Catholic Youth Rally.
We got there in time for the opening ceremony which was led but an order of sisters and their youth group from Atlantic City NJ. They shared their stories and their fist encounters with the youth rally and youth group, led us ins songs to lighten and brighten the mood and strengthen our faith and reminded us that Jesus wanted us to live a life of Joy and sent us out to enjoy the day.
We were very, very lucky with ride choices and short waits 5-10 minutes max. This group of kids were roller coaster friendly, but not daredevil level so perhaps that is why or perhaps there was a higher power involved. I actually rode on 8 rides.. it has been years since I've rode that many.. I had so much fun!!! I did get in a few chapters of the book though when they doubled down on a couple coasters.
Several rides in we went to the picnic lunch buffet, burgers, chicken fingers, lettuce, nachos and cheese, ice cream.. I pieced together a fairly decent meal, burger no bun with lettuce and pickles a handful of chips with a little cheese and salsa and an ice cream soda with the small vanilla 1/2 cup and coke zero.. The kids pretty much tried all the things.. luckily no one got ill...
There was not a cloud in the sky, which made it rather hot at times, so we headed to the log flume where we would encounter our longest wait. We were on line a few minutes and moved from the extension into the area where you start to enter the maze and someone said it's a 2 hour wait.. panic set in the kids eyes and they were like 2 hours, I don't want to wait two hours for this.. I just smiled, my past experience and concept of the number of people how swiftly we were moving and watching people enter and exit told me that was not accurate information. So I asked, who said it was a 2 hour wait? "People" I said did the guard mention that? They said no.. Then some people started leaving.. so then I heard a random "3 hour wait - are you kidding me?" More mumbling and few others left, I started to laugh.. Again the kids panicked and said we don't want to wait 3 hours for the log flume, I smiled and said me either and kept moving along in line.
They followed along apprehensively, waited about 5 minutes and then questioned me again.. I looked at them, pointed out where we started, where we were, how much time had elapsed and then asked them are you sure it is going to take 2 hours? If you want to leave that is fine, but who are you trusting? Did you ask the security guard? Do you want to trust some random strangers? Or do you trust me? I advised them there is no way this will take 2 hours - my guess is approximately 45-50 minutes... do you want to stay? They said yes and continued on.. gradually as we kept moving I could hear them all saying, yeah - no way this will be 2 hours, but then they saw the sign that said no bags allowed and you can't leave any bags on the ground by the ride, so that conversation kept us busy for about 15 more minutes, until finally they believed me after watching group after group, get to the front, put their bags down and get on a ride. Finally after all apprehension had left the building we found ourselves in the boat, I looked at my watch, it was 2:57 pm. We had entered the line at 2:17pm..
We got off the ride and they were all so happy, and wet and said let's do it again.. And one of them, not sure who said, that would have been worth a TWO HOUR wait.. Again, a huge smile..
A few rides later then it was time for mass, I LOVE mass at Great Adventure where the ratio is about 90/10 kids versus adults. The electricity in the air, the hope that fills that arena with youth that have not yet been jaded by the ugliness that surrounds us. The Bishop's homily was fantastic, and when he mentioned John 13:34, I couldn't help but stroke my arm and smile.
We decided to forgo the concert, the kids didn't really know Matt Maher, and as much as I would have loved to expose them to this, it had been a really long hot day (close to 90) we were all tired and hungry so we left the park and stopped at the pizza place up the road and shared a meal before heading home. I ordered the grilled chicken wrap with a side salad, but they did talk me into one garlic knot.. well it didn't take much convincing.
As we sat eating and discussing our "favorite" ride, I thanked them for being so well behaved and making the day so joyful. They thanked me and told me it was one of the best days every. and said WE HAVE to do this again next year.
Have a magnificent Monday! Ride the roller coasters, take the sky ride, walk on sunshine!