Last week we had the chance to get away for a couple of days before the start of the school year. With only a couple of days to get in some fun, we stayed closer to home and traveled up to Lake Erie. Day one was an amusement park adventure to Cedar Point. We went there last summer, and at that time it was the first amusement park for both girls. We didn’t know what to expect last year, but Cordy surprised us by wanting to go on roller coasters, with her favorite ride being the Cedar Creek Mine Ride.
The entire drive up, Cordy talked about how she wanted to go right to the Mine Ride, followed by the Iron Dragon. We were impressed with her bravery, but reminded her that we had to make sure we went on things that Mira could ride, too. Mira, who was too small for anything but the little kid rides last year, was hoping she’d be tall enough to try some “big kid” rides this year.
When we arrived, we had the kids measured to determine ride height. Doing this outside the gate saves a lot of time, because the kids get colored wristbands that let everyone know how tall they are, so they don’t need to measure at every ride.
Cordy added several rides to her available list with her new height of 52″, while Mira was still a little too short for most coasters, but at 46″ squeaked by for the Iron Dragon.
Going on a Thursday in August is just perfect. The park was full but not too crowded, and lines for most of the rides were under a 15 minute wait. (The big coasters of course are a longer wait.) The weather was also gorgeous that day, with a cool breeze from Lake Erie.
After a few warm-up rides, Cordy really wanted to go on the Mine Ride. So Aaron took Mira to the antique cars while Cordy and I took on the Mine Ride. Cordy suddenly got anxious on the ride, which was a surprise considering how much she wanted to ride it. After the ride, she still said it was a lot of fun.
Cedar Point has three areas specifically focused on rides for kids, so we wound through the frontier area and then into Camp Snoopy, where both girls tried out just about every ride in the area. Mira loved that she was tall enough for each ride, and thankfully Cordy was still short enough for each ride.
Eventually we found our way to the front of the park again, and Mira begged to go on the Iron Dragon, since she’s tall enough to ride it. It’s a suspended coaster and has always been one of my favorites. Cordy and I rode it last year, and while it scared her a little she wanted to go again this year.
But as we stood in line, Cordy started to get anxious again. I reminded her how much fun she had last year, but by the time we climbed into the seats, she flipped out. As the shoulder harness snapped into place, she looked at the attendant and cried, “Please don’t make me ride this! They’re trying to kill me!” Want to know the fastest and most embarrassing way to get booted from a ride? That would be it. The attendant signaled for the harness to be released and asked Cordy and I to please exit the ride, with no chance to explain. I’m amazed he didn’t call security over that one.
We waited for Aaron and Mira to finish the ride as Cordy calmed down. Mira came out of the exit beaming and shouting to me, “Mommy, I LOVE the Iron Dragon! I want to go AGAIN!” It appears we now have a coaster junkie on our hands! (I’m so proud.)
Cordy did calm down after a little break, but decided she didn’t want to try any other “big” rides for the day. We were disappointed, but understood that her anxiety sometimes gets the better of her. She still enjoyed several other smaller rides, and I’m sure next year she’ll want to try again. While Mira was bummed that she was too short for some of the other coasters, she was still big enough for the Jr Gemini and the Woodstock Express. Despite being small, she had plenty of thrill moments to keep her screaming and cheering.
Note: Cedar Point has a neat feature called Parent Swap to make sure you can ride the rides. You can sign up at Guest Services, then one parent waits in line for a coaster. After the ride, they give their parent swap pass to the ride operator, and the other parent can then walk up the exit and get on the ride immediately. It’s great for those who still want to ride but have kids who can’t go with them.
In the late afternoon, we played games and browsed the shops. Mira rode the Iron Dragon one more time with me so I’d get the chance to ride it. Oh, let’s be honest – she wasn’t doing me any favors, she REALLY wanted to ride it again. At the games, Mira won a stuffed Pokemon in the water gun races (with some help from Aaron), and Cordy won two stuffed frogs.
We were quickly losing our energy around dinnertime, and took one final ride on the midway carousel before going to our hotel.
I loved getting to spend the day having fun as a family. There were so many laughs, and smiles and sighs of happiness. Yes, Cordy did have a meltdown, but those certainly aren’t uncommon for us, and she did recover to enjoy the rest of the day.
The kids got to ride just about every ride they wanted to (and were tall enough for), some multiple times. It felt awesome to see our daughters so happy as they skipped through the park, clutching their stuffed animals and looking for the next ride. We had a good mix of thrill rides and taking moments to relax and get ice cream, play games or enjoy a slow ride on the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad.
There are still things we didn’t get to see, but there’s so much at Cedar Point that it’s hard to do it all in a single day. I think we can call the day a success, though, judging by how hard the kids slept that night. Mira said she dreamed about growing just two inches by next year so she’ll be tall enough for many of the roller coasters at Cedar Point. She has big plans to conquer them all!
Want to make some of your own family memories at Cedar Point? I’m giving away a pack of FOUR tickets to Cedar Point for one lucky reader. These tickets are good only through the end of the 2012 season (including HalloWeekends), so please be aware of the short date on them!
To enter, just leave a comment below telling me the first amusement park you ever went to. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you’re randomly selected as the winner. Contest is open to anyone 18+ but be aware you have to get to Cedar Point on your own if you live far away.
Entries will be accepted through August 28, 2012. Good luck!
(And if you don’t want to win but just want to leave a comment telling me how my kids have grown a foot since last year, feel free!)
Full disclosure: I was provided with four tickets to Cedar Point as the result of winning a blog contest. (Thanks, Tracey!) Our wallets will show that no other compensation was received, as it took several tries to win the stuffed animals we went home with. Tickets in the giveaway are being provided by Cedar Point. All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Cedar Point or the folks who witnessed Cordy’s meltdown.