Taking the kids to theme parks

Before we had kids, my husband and I belonged to the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). We would attend ACE events that centered around riding roller coaster – usually in Texas but right before I became pregnant with Jase, we went to Ohio for ACE’s biggest yearly event. The highlight for us was going to Cedar Point, which has 15 roller coasters (at the time – they have even more now).

Even after we had Jase, we attended a few Texas ACE events, but it became harder to do. In fact, our whole touring of theme parks has changed since we have had kids. When we took the kids to Disney World as toddlers, we could no longer ride the thrill rides together. rider-switch1We would use the Rider switch program that Disney offers.  The way it was work: one parent rides and the other one watches the kid and then they switch off. If you are there with other people, they can ride with both parents. However, we went just as our small family so it meant we rode alone which isn’t nearly as fun.

The change in how we experienced theme parks – fewer thrill rides and more family or kiddie rides – lessened my husband’s desire to go to the parks. But I have held fast to the belief that at some time when the kids are a little older and braver, the parks will become fun for him again.

Every year we buy season passes to either Sea World San Antonio or Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The kids taste in rides have changed slowly. There was a period when Lexie was brave, and at 3 would ride Journey to Atlantis with its 5-story drop. Now she won’t ride it at all. Even though she is our adventurous girl, she tends to be more cautious with rides.

SpacemountainWe went to Disney World a year and a half ago, and the kids wanted to try out the roller coasters. They loved Space Mountain, and we rode it several times. We rode Expedition Everest and while Jase was a little scared, Lexie thought it was awesome. Yes, we still went to rides that we for the younger kids but at least we got back to the thrill rides.

But it did take some coaxing to get Lexie to try anything new. She was terrified to try Splash Mountain. Once we got her on it, she loved it. The same went for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. And because we knew she would like them we would convince her to give them a try.  (The same thing happened just this past weekend when we went to Fiesta Texas. We had to convince her to ride a mini coaster and a flume ride but she loved both.)

Disney rides are much tamer than those at other theme parks. Disney is meant for families. It isn’t full of the thrill rides my husband wants to ride. So on our next trip we plan to spend a few days at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

I have checked the ride lists for both parks and think there are things that our kids will like to ride. I didn’t include the major coasters because I am not sure they will meet the height requirement, or even if they are tall enough, I am unsure they will be brave enough. The only negative is that many of the rides are based on movies or TV shows that our kids have not seen. I know the rides can be fun by themselves but knowing some of the story line can add even more fun. I guess this means we have a lot of movie watching between now and our trip.