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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

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The Dark Ride Coaster is an indoor, steel roller coaster ride.
The Dark Ride Coaster is an indoor, steel roller coaster ride.

Dark Knight roller coaster: Was it worth the wait?

Yesterday, my family and I went to Six Flags Great America so I could do research for my upcoming article about taking young kids to the massive theme park. (Tough job I have, I know.)

Because it was a weekday, we experienced very short lines at every ride except the new Dark Knight Coaster. The first time we checked, the wait was 90 minutes and we decided not to stay. A few hours later, the wait dwindled to about an hour, so my daredevil son and I decided to give it a whirl.

The roller coaster -- which is indoors -- coincides with "The Dark Knight" Batman film, and the premise of the ride is that you’re a citizen in Gotham City that’s under The Joker's wrath. 

Waiting in line is supposed to be part of the experience. Pre-boarders wait in a mock subway station and watch a "live" news broadcast featuring characters from the film alerting the public to The Joker’s evil ways.

Unfortunately, despite the elaborate pre-boarding build-up, the ride itself is no marvel. It really isn’t thrilling or scary. Instead, it’s more like a mediocre haunted house experience. The coaster rides mostly through the dark, with lots of flashing lights, backlit effects, screens with creepy images and loud noises.

The experience lasts less than two minutes, and at the end, I felt like it was still working up to the scary part. Plus, the coaster ride is mostly a series of abrupt turns, which cause a lot of uncomfortable heads thrashing.

Unfortunately, the Dark Knight Coaster comes off more like a marketing gimmick to support the film. At most, it was a good idea that just doesn't deliver enough thrill.

I was hoping to include the coaster in this week's " Recommends" column, but instead I walked away feeling duped.

Some go all out for a day at the Renaissance Faire.
Some go all out for a day at the Renaissance Faire.

Ren Faire factoids

Recently, I took my kids to the Bristol Renaissance Faire and learned a few (useless) factoids.

•    Between 30,000 and 45,000 turkey legs are sold during a single, nine-week season of the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
•    Approximately 450,000 gallons of ale, wine, iced tea and lemonade are consumed each season.
•    Bristol’s Queen Elizabeth has six exquisitely detailed gowns, each costing thousands of dollars to create.
•    The Queen knights somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,280 children every season.
•    First-year performers are required to complete 45 hours of classes in the Bristol Academy of Performing Arts prior to the start of the season.
•    The longest-standing participant at the Faire is Pamela de la Pena, a Cordon Bleu-trained food vendor who has been serving Faire guests crepes and tempura for 30-plus years.
•    More than 100 couples have been married at Bristol over the past 21 years.  Every summer, there are dozens of pre-arranged marriage proposals at the Faire.

This man is not welcome at "Yoga for Degenerates."
This man is not welcome at "Yoga for Degenerates."

Yoga for degenerates

If you, like me, aren't the stereotypical health nut type, this new introduction to yoga class just might be a good fit.

The class, "Yoga for Degenerates," runs every Sunday, from July 20 to Aug. 17 at Riverwest Yogashala, 731 E. Locust St.

The class is ideal for people who are unfamiliar with yoga and / or those who do not consider themselves to be the proverbial "human pretzel." (Except maybe a pretzel rod.)

"Your mama can come, too, but she's gotta leave her combat boots at the door," says instructor Alex Hansen. "Rock on."

Call or e-mail Hansen to sign up at (414) 264-6357 or

Costco is on the corner of I-43 and Highway 60 in Grafton.
Costco is on the corner of I-43 and Highway 60 in Grafton.

My first trip to Costco

On Thursday night, I went to Costco -- the one in Grafton -- for the first time. A few people raved about it in the past, so when my mother-in-law invited me to tag along, I eagerly accepted.

From my limited perspective, is wasn't very different from Sam's Club, except it sells gas -- which was an unimpressive $4.15 a gallon -- and might offer a few more organic items. (I haven't been to Sam's in a while, so perhaps they've started stocking more organic items in the past year or so.)

Basically, I have the same problem with both Sam's and Costco: I don't want to spend $41 on Brita filters, even if I get 10 of them and it's a good deal. I simply can't get excited about  dropping that size portion of my weekly budget on water filters.

On the up side, I enjoyed seeing the Roomba ($279.99) after reading about the robotic vacuum in this week's Recommends. Plus, the organic milk was not necessarily a stellar deal, but the expiration dates weren't until Aug. 17.

I admit I had fun looking at all of the massive bags of pita chips and bottles of syrup, along with leather couches and endless rolls of toilet paper, but I really don't think I would pop for a Costco membership because there just wasn't enough there to excite me.

Did I miss something?