Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dutch Wonderland in a nutshell

Quick & Dirty take
  • Such a manageable size, with a variety of rides for a variety of heights/ages
  • Food sucked, with movie theater prices
  • skipped the water area altogether, didn't miss it
  • carnival games will suck you in
  • don't forget the shows!
  • great *first* roller coaster ride!! [sniff]

Slow & Painful assessment
If you know me, you know I'm not shy when it comes to a challenge. I get OUT with the twins. I'm not scared. So after the Disney Cruise, and we *sigh* missed the opportunity to hit Magic Kingdom with a multiple-family-member-support-system,  you know I wanted to audition the twins' stamina at amusement parks. But an amusement park by myself with two 3-year-olds? Need help on the first go-around. So I recruited my mother-in-law, who was more than happy to oblige, 'cause she just loves waking up at 7:30 am for a roller coaster. No really. She does.

Weekdays are nice...
We were thrilled! We were exhausted, but it was totally worth it. It was about an hour and fifteen minute drive from the Main Line, quick & easy (and free) parking, and we didn't even have to wait on the 5 minute line for tix because I got them at AAA ahead of time (this seemed to save about $6/ticket.) Granted this was at open (10 am) on a Friday, and the crowds did pick up towards "twilight entrance"/"I-just-drove-from-NY-for-a-weekend-in-Lancaster-with-my-family-but-couldn't-get-out-of-the-house-until-10-this-morning"- time.
Left the house at 8:50, on our first ride by 10:20!

If your kids are early birds, get there at open! Young ones? maybe skip the bathing suits!
Looking back, I think we had the place pretty much to ourselves before noon. A lovely little breeze accompanied us as we hit at least 6 rides and the bathrooms in under an hour. It also occurred to me later that many families may have been starting with the water park area and spending the second half of the day on the rides with us. We had pre-decided to avoid the water play area altogether based on a recommendation from a fellow mom-of-multiples. On my way out of the park I was chatting with a family (with one stroller child + one child in carrier) who were declaring, "six hours was enough!" I agreed, and, noticing their bathing suits said, "and we didn't even do the water area!" They said, "wished we hadn't--lasted twenty minutes and lost a child three times."

Don't go for the food.
I was racing to get to the main dining 'hall' by 12 to avoid the 'rush' because a) mama woke up at 6 and only had two pieces of cinnamon raisin toast, so that's not gonna cut it and b) looking on the map I assumed this was the most popular of food place choices, since it was definitely the biggest. It was a sort of "food court", and although salads did exist at the end of the line, it was pretty fatty. Not that I don't LOVE a good excuse to indulge, but it really just didn't taste good either. Ok, ok, it's a kiddie park--but I've been spoiled lately at the Philly Zoo and Please Touch Museum, where I can get a pulled pork sandwich, hummus, fresh mozzarella artisan sandwich, roasted veggie panini, fresh veggie brick-oven get the idea.
Baby girl dancing in the aisles at the show

You know I love a show
We had just come off a fantastic experience seeing "Disney Spectacular" at Upper Darby Summer Stage this week and so the kids are really getting to understand theater and how they can participate. The show we caught in a tent next to the skyride consisted of two of 'my people' singing, dancing, telling a story about a trip around the world and connecting with the children through movement and play. The grand finale involved a little snow machine set up on the ceiling of the tent and all of the kids rushing the stage. Super cute. We also caught the dive tank show about a frog prince and it was very refreshing. ha-ha-ha.

Just a couple of wigglers, a maze, and a tunnel = baby bumper cars
A couple extra bucks here... and there... and here again...
If, like me, this is your kids' indoctrination to amusement parks, expect the traditional favorite rides (merry-go-round, train, tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars), as well as non-mechanized fun like a huge/tall slide, skyride, "wiggler" maze??. But also remember that parks like to entertain/get your money in other ways, so you'll spend $2 a pop on carnival games for prizes and all your quarters on remote-controlled boats & cars.

First roller coaster ride EVAH!
Along with that indoctrination, there was a fantastic roller coaster ride that was just enough fun and thrill to excite the 3-year-olds, mommies, and retirees! Not one of those old shaky wooden coasters. No loops, but a little tilting and dipping and real quick taste of what fun there is to have in this world! I wish I could have taken a pic of my son's face. There is a coaster even a little more adventurous for the next height category (there is a color-coded system, very helpful), so they are covering a lot of demographics.

Sweet finish
What? No homemade ice cream in Lancaster County? If I had been a little more savvy and prepared I'm sure there was somewhere within a 5 mile radius that would have fit the bill, but we just barely motivated the kids to hit the exit with the promise of ice cream on the way out, and there is a candy store/stand with soft serve nearby. Again, I'm spoiled!



  1. LOVE Dutch Wonderland! Another GREAT "indoctrination" park is StoryBook Land in NJ. It is about an hour up the Garden State Pkwy from Cape May so probably an hour from Philly area too. PERFECT for 1-4 year olds, small,shaded, and water area is way in the back (so the kids don't even see it).
    PS - next year order your DW tix from the club for a great group rate ;)

    1. Yes I always miss the cut-off for tix from the club. I'll get my act together next year. And I've heard of StoryBook Land, thanks for the recc!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...