There is a new-ish addition to some theme park rides that takes the boredom away from sitting a ride out. The large raft rides that are popular at many theme parks are now accompanied by water cannons strategically placed along the raft route. Now the younger sibling that are on the smaller side of tiny have the ability to get in on the action without the need to meet the height requirement, soaking the unsuspecting riders with a blast of chilly water; all for the price of a single quarter. More often than not, parents are found at these lovely machines eagerly waiting to dish out some payback. I've sat back and watched a few of these over eager parents and they all have the same first experience.
Gleefully jamming a quarter into the water cannon, hands hovering over the button, eyes straining to get a glimpse of the telltale black hoodie indicating that my child is in the boat that just plummeted down the ramp, frustration felt after the realization that the boat is full of screaming poncho laden girls instead of the smelly boys that we are so "patiently" waiting for, the giddy excitement of recognition, the tense anticipation as they approach the designated soak zone, the loving greeting that is called out to the boat in a disarming manner drawing their attention away from the track ahead, the look on their faces as they recognize that their parents are standing near the water cannon, the oh-so-sweet malicious joy that surges through our body as we mash down on the trigger button sending a column of water directly at the boat, the screams of shock as the cold water assaults their senses, and that final satisfying laugh as they exit the ride completely soaked yet somehow still smiling.
Having already experienced this money making miracle myself, I let some first timers have a go at the cannon. This parent must have been a regular at the arcade during her youth because I don't think I have ever seen anyone jam quarters into the slot with that much speed and precision. She mashed the button in glee, whooped in excitement, and realized that they were still within range and then whipped a second quarter in the slot and mashed the button again with twinkly in her eye. I can only imagine her thoughts: "That's for not cleaning up your room! And that's for jumping on the bed!"
That experience was almost worth the $5 drying station that are so cleverly placed at the exit…..almost.