Thursday, July 07, 2011

Trail of the Dutch Wonderland Trip Report

If you're keeping score, you're actually behind on two Dutch Wonderland trip reports. My kids are just loving the park so much that they ask to go every week, and since it's all paid for and it's one less day of the summer I have to fill with activities - I'm all for it. Plus, this park really brings out the best in my kids. They get along so well when we're at Dutch Wonderland and they just have a blast going on rides, exploring the park and playing.

We went two weeks ago for Duke The Dragon's Surprise Birthday Party. This is an annual event which is held in the water park, Duke's Lagoon. Duke came out for his regularly scheduled 2:30 pool side appearance and there was a big crowd waiting to shout "Surprise!" and sing Happy Birthday to him. They also had cake and ice cream for everyone who attended. In addition to that, they put out a huge spread of food - FREE! - to all guests. They had burgers, corn dogs, chicken, fish, shrimp, waffles, pasta salad, cole slaw, potato salad, beans, chips, juice and soda. It was crazy! We ate well and it was certainly a nice treat for the ol' wallet. We had a lot of fun that day, but I forgot to bring my camera - so who cares about a play by play, let's skip to the next visit.

I was planning on taking a week or two off from going to the park, but the kids were so excited to go again so we ended up there Friday of last week. The park was pretty crowded but we managed to get through the day without any really long wait times. Some of the rides had a 10 - 15 minute wait time instead of their usual 5 minute wait time. It was nice to have a full track of cars for the Bumper Cars. Since it was kinda hot out, the line for the Double Splash Flume was a bit longer than usual, but it moved briskly.

I did make a point to snap a photo of one of DW's newest rides, Kite Flight. The kids had shied away from this ride on our first couple of visits, but eventually got up the nerve to ride it and now it's one of their favorite rides in the park. As you can make out in the picture, you lay down on your tummy on this ride to sort of simulate the experience of hang gliding. Certainly not as convincing an effect as Disney's Soaring but it's still a pretty cool ride. It takes you soaring up and down around in a circle reaching a height of 17 feet. I rode it once and it made me kind of dizzy. I've sat out additional rides so far but the boys will ride it two or three times in a row. They flip for it!

Next we have me probably not setting a good example for my children, but I could do alot worse. One of the most popular rides in the park is Dragon's Lair which is a very slow, relaxing boat ride around a lagoon. A feature of the ride, added recently, is a huge mountain and a cave where Duke lives. Inside the cave, you ride past a giant egg with colors that match Duke... kids ask every time why Duke the boy dragon has laid an egg. I tell them not to read into it so much, I don't think Duke's backstory has really been fleshed out all that much. Maybe the mom dragon is away...I don't know, but anyhow when you ride past the egg it's sitting in a nest. Somebody has tossed a plastic Easter egg into the nest with Duke's egg. (I'm pretty sure it's been there a while.) So I had the idea that we should try and start a new park tradition and see if other people will start throwing eggs into the nest. The kids loved the idea of course and we tried to make a mental note to dig up a plastic egg at home and bring it on our next visit. Then later we remembered there is a Chicken Laying a Prize Filled Egg machine at the monorail station. So, we had our egg supply right there in the park!

Mission accomplished! We added the yellow egg in front, you can also see the blue egg in the nest. The picture is a little blurry since you can only snap a shot from a moving boat. So, if you're a DW fan - get yourself an egg and add it too Duke's collection. I'm sure he would be most pleased!

Like every other parent, I had midway games. Rip-Offs! The only time I'm likely to drop a few bucks on one is when it's either kid oriented and they win a prize every time or when you can buy a bucket of balls (or rings) so that everybody can have a turn tossing a couple of rings/balls at the game. Elias really wants a full sized Minion from Despicable Me. They have them in a giant sized claw machine which I'm not spending a dime on, but they also had them in a game where you had to land a wiffle ball in a colored hole. So, I dropped five bucks for a basket of balls so both the kids could have turns and so I could toss one of two "skilled" balls at the game. First toss of the game, Elias lands a ball in a blue medium hole. The Minion is a large, but if we scored one more medium we could trade up for the large. Of course, we didn't win anything else with our remaining basket full of balls. Instead of getting the character from one of his favorite movies...

...he gets Shrek. Elias shares my complete indifference to the world of Shrek, and he was not quite as thrilled with his win. We'll try again another visit to trade up to the Minion.

In the back of the park they have two free floating boat rides that cruise around the waterway system along the farmlands at the rear of the property. One cool experience this last trip, on the Lady Gay River Boat the captain slowed the motor down and let Tanner take over in the driver's seat. He was really steering our boat and was really proud of himself when he was done!

Well Played Dutch Wonderland

And finally, are you ready for some big time Theme Park nerdiness? I love when they have little road signs on Antique Car rides. Guess what? Dutch Wonderland added some to their Sunoco Turnpike ride. They are so cool!

Loves it!

Both trips: nothing but a great time!

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