01 Jun 2011


13 Comments Family, Toddler

Yesterday was our first family trip to an amusement park. Yes, I know. G-man will be four in September and he should have been to Disneyland three times already. But we don’t necessarily feel that way. We are more of the mindset that spending an exorbitant amount of money to take G somewhere before he’s old enough to appreciate it is just plain silly. So yesterday was our first foray into the amusement medium. We chose Knott’s Berry Farm and we went with our very good friends and their fantastic kids.

We bought the tickets on-line a few months ago and they just happened to expire today. Translation: We had to use them by yesterday! It was $99.00 for the three of us and it was well worth it. It was a great day to go. No ride was more than a 5 minute wait and it was a perfect 75 degrees.

I stressed the night before, looking up sites where I could get info on taking a toddler to an amusement park. I like to over-prepare. So in the morning, I packed up G’s Ironman backpack with a full change of clothes (warmer than what he had on), including socks and underwear, a long-sleeved shirt and sweater for me and a jacket for Russ. Oh, and a first aid kit. And three kinds of sunblock. And a hat for G. And tons of hand wipes. And clorox wipes in case anything needed a wipe-down. And tissues. I used about 5% of what I brought. But I COULD HAVE needed all of that stuff. You never know. G did don his sweatshirt for about an hour of the day, much to our dismay. It was quite warm and the train we were on made it even warmer. But he insisted on his sweatshirt on, hood up, and sunglasses. It was very unibomber-ish. Odd, no?

Camp Snoopy has every toddler ride you can think of: planes, race cars, hot air balloons and trains. It took G a little while to warm up. His friends have already been to these types of places and they were ready to go. G chose to watch them on the first couple rides. Then we decided to just go for it and get on the log ride. I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure how he would react but, as we tend to do as parents, I pretended I was nothing but excited about getting in one of the logs.

Our little guy was NOT happy in the pitch-black tunnel part of the ride, but he loved the rest of it and was clearly full of adrenaline when we got to the bottom of the water slide. And just like that, he was no longer an amusement park newbie. After that came the race cars, the giant merry-go-round, the pricey lunch, lots of walking around, snacks, Icees, lollipops, the hot-air balloon ride, the coal mine ride (this did not go over well. It was mostly pitch black with a loud announcer you couldn’t understand and creepy mannequin-like coal miners. not good. not good at all.), a train around the park that bandits jump on to (G liked this only after one of the bandits gave him several high-fives.), a stagecoach ride, more race cars and hot air balloons, and finally, after eight hours in the park… A fried chicken dinner.

Right around 1:30, smack-dab in the middle of Garrett’s normal nap time, he was ready to pack it in and come home. He could’ve curled into a ball in the middle of the park and gone to sleep. But we knew we had to rally on, and we encouraged him to do so. For the next half hour he kept asking if we could go home but with a little sugar and a lot more rides, he got his second, third, and fourth winds.

G fell asleep about twenty minutes from home, but still insisted on a shower before going to bed. The first thing he said to me this morning, when he woke up at 6:15 even though he partied for 12 hours yesterday and had no nap, was, “I had a really fun time at Knott’s Berry Farm, Mom.” I think that might have been one of the best parts of the whole thing. And we had a damn good time, too.



written by
Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!

13 Responses to “Amusement”

  1. Reply Laura says:

    Glad you had fun. Great pictures. It is always more fun for everyone when you wait until the kids are old enough to enjoy an outing. Hope you ate some fried chicken for me!! 🙂

  2. Reply Mother-in-law says:

    Super glad Garrett had fun. It sounded kinda iffy the first e-mail Russ sent. Do they still have those awesome biscuits and jam?

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Mom, it was a blast. He loved it. The biscuits and jam were my FAVORITE part of dinner. By far!

  3. Reply AL says:

    Love LOVE the merry-go-round picture!…and the unibomber disguise not too bad as well. It sounded like a great outing, the first of many to come!

    I always spent ALL of my tickets on the carousel horses…still do ! Looking forward to your Oregon visit!

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      AL, yes G loves a good carousel. And this one was faster than most! But his favorite ride of the day was the hot air balloon ride. We went twice in a row!

  4. Reply Christine says:

    Love this post! Love the pictures, love the descriptions. Especially love the log flume story, because Kate was also four when she experienced her first log flume. The ride operator told us it was child appropriate. He was a dirty liar. It was not child appropriate. It was not even mommy appropriate. There is a hysterical picture in my photo album of me and Kate looking like we are about to shit our pants going down the big drop on the scary-ass log flume. Bill, of course, is laughing and whooping it up in the picture. Neither Kate nor I have been on a log flume since that day. But its one of our favorite amusement park memories.

    Don’t stress the Disney thing. Kate has never been to Disney and she’s 11. We’ve found lots of Disney alternatives that are closer to home and wayyyy cheaper. We have been to Hersheypark several times. Amusements and chocolate are a great combination for my family. Also, Kate just earned a free ticket to Great Advetnure (that’s what we call it in NJ — most everywhere else its called Six Flags) by reading six hours worth of books in school, so we will be doing that this summer too. We are also big fans of the Renaissance Fair, and go at least once every year. And, being from NJ, we have many Boardwalks down the shore to chose from with amusements a-plenty. So Disney will have to wait. I didn’t do Disney till my Honeymoon. If I had to wait till I was 26, Kate can wait a little bit longer.

    Oh, and one tip about amusement parks with little ones: rent the $10 blue buggy stroller thingy. Great for carrying the bag of essentials that we would only actually need if we decided not to bring, great for souveniers and giant stuffed bears that you never thought your kid would win at the ball toss, and great for kids who get so cranky tired that you just need them to sit and chill for a bit before making more happy memories.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Christine, we TOTALLY thought we were going to have to rent the stroller but, except for about 20 minutes TOTAL of wanting to be held, Garrett stayed upright all day! SO NUTS! That $10 went toward way too much fried chicken for dinner.

  5. Reply Carla says:

    Love the pics Lisa! You so did the right thing waiting till G was 4. My nieces first trip was when she was 4, and we took her. She had the greatest time with us at Knotts Last year too. We won the tickets, so It was not as expensive as it could have been. Disneyland is an indulgence that we have had to cut back on. I was a passholder for Walt Disney World for years, and met my fiance on a Disneyland chat site. 10 Years ago! I have pics of my niece playing the TRON Video game with her Uncle….for the first time. Its so cute, and she loves us. The ost important thing to know is always be prepared for anything, and enjoy EVERYTHING!
    PS I neeeed a trip to WDW…With my best friend. I wanna go in October…but a 9 cent raise is not gonna make it happen!

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Carla, I haven’t been to Disneyland for about 14 years. I used to go about once a year when I was a kid, maybe once every 18 months. I look very forward to bringing him there in the next half year or so. And yes, I am so very happy we waited.
      I’ve never been to WDW!! I’d like to get there some day. 9 cents??? OMG! Maybe you can win tickets sometime soon.
      I love that you met your husband on a Disney chat site! That’s a new one for me!! So sweet.

  6. Reply Norma Lamothe says:

    In 1981 we took the boys on vacation to CA. Disney world was on the list. We all loved it. We also went to universal Studios and NBC. Also went to Sea World and to Calico. It was the best weeks we ever spent. The boys never forgot it. We lived in Philadelphia PA for 7 years. We also went to Great Adventure and Hershery Park and all the sites around Philadelphia. Love all of it. That was back in the 70’s. Love and miss the philly Cheese steak sandwich. But that is not on my foods that I can eat now! 🙁

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Norma, I think we’ll take G to Disneyland around his 4th birthday. Can’t wait! I know those greasy foods aren’t things you can eat anymore, but it’s so important for you to take care of yourself and eat well!!!

  7. Reply Maureen says:

    Lisa, I completely agree with you on waiting to do the amusement park thing. I may have some people mad at me for this, but I think taking your kids to Disneyland, or any amusement park, on a regular basis when they’re so young is a poor choice. Bennett went to Legoland for the first time at 3, Knott’s at 4, and Disneyland at 5. And it blew his mind each time.

    When I was a kid, being raised in a family that certainly wasn’t rich, but always had what we needed to get along, Disneyland (or any amusement park) was a MAGICAL experience…we only went every 2-3 years or so. And it was an event that I looked forward to for months, with so much excitement I could almost have exploded. It was a special and spectacular experience every single time, precisely because it wasn’t something we did all the time. (This excitement lasted me into my adulthood, and I still feel that way today when I go, experiencing it through the eyes of my kids. I don’t know who has more fun, me or them!!)

    I have many good friends who take their kids to amusement parks on a regular basis, and to be honest, the kids have fun, but it’s just not the same…if they associate going to an amusement park with the same frequency as, say, going to the playground, or going to see a movie or to Traveltown, it would seem like such a waste to me (not to mention the financial expenditure). I’m not judging my friends’ choices, I’m just saying that I’d like to keep that sense of excitement and magic alive in my boys’ lives for as long as possible, and avoid the overkill which could make such a fun event mundane…btw, we’re making a return trip to Legoland at the end of this month, and did Seaworld earlier in the year, and Ben is beyond excited.

    Did you ask for this diatribe? No….Just my 2 cents. 🙂

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