This was one of the best times I have had at an amusement park in a long time.. Seriously. This day was all about the kids and we very rarely even stepped out of Nick Universe.
The wife and I decided before we left that we would oder Maxxpasses. We already knew that we were going camping for a long weekend up by Mukegon, MI and were planning on going to MIA for a day. We also have plans on going to Halloweekends with our neighbors in October. We figured we might as well buy a pass and then we will have the freedom to go throughout the summer without a lot of added expense. Ordered the passes online and printed out the papers that were needed.
Left our house (northern Columbus suburb) at Approx. 8:00 and arrived at KI around 9:45. Paid the extra 5.00 for Premier parking. Did this for a couple reasons. With three children under the age of five, we would just assume have out of the parking lot/away from cars as quick as possible. Also, we packed snacks and lunch in a cooler. We wanted to be able to get to our vehicle easily. I'm guessing that we will do this every time we go as it was very nice.
Got in line to get our passes processed. There was some confusion as the line seemed long but many of the people were waiting to fill out the paper work. Those people who had done it online could go right inside to get the pictures etc...Unfortunately there was not an employee around letting people know this. I found one and asked about it. He told us that we could go right in. This upset not only the people who didn't have their paperwork filled out but also the ones who had done it online as they had been waiting for a little bit. The line wasn't really that long so it's not like there was a riot or anything. Just think they should put a sign out there or something.
One thing that I don't understand is that when you buy your passes online you have the option of either getting an e-ticket or having them send your pass to you. Do they actually send your pass or are they just sending you the paperwork for you pass? If they send your pass, do you still have to get your picture taken when you get there? And whats the point of the picture if it's not on your pass? Is there a picture database where they can look up your picture in case there is a question about the identity of the passholder? Anyway, processing was fairly quick and easy. Maybe 5 minutes total for the five of us.
Anyways, off to the park. Got through security OK, and were quickly accosted by the picture takers. Of course since it was the boys first time there my wife had to get a picture of all of us in front of the fountains. The picture was actually a good one and the glass frames you can get with them are a nice tough but the picture quality itself is fairly poor. The color is very faded and grainy. Honestly, if you are paying thet much for a picture, it should at least be of decent quality. However, that didn't stop us from buying more than our fair share of pictures throughout the day.
First stop. Eiffel Tower. As much as I love coaster. I hate heights. Sounds odd but I feel very secure strapped into a coaster 200-300 feet in the air, but walking around the top of the Eiffel Tower made me queazy. While I have visited the park every year for the last five years or so. I don't remember the last time I went up in the tower. I was nice to see the whole park layed out in front of you. You are get a nice look at the layout of Firehawk. I hadn't seen the aerial view of Italian Job either (nor have I been on it), so it was interesting to see it go through a couple of cycles. I hope it's more interesting than it looks from the air.
The kids were ready to ride so off to Nick Universe we went.
Maybe it's because I had never been to KI before with kids, but I had never really payed much attention to how cool this area of the park is. The theming is good and the amount of kids rides in this area is more than adequate. Before I get into a description of the rides my twins are both 44 inches high and my 3 year old is 40 inches. They were all able to ride on MOST of the rides in this area. I had to ride with my three year old on some of the rides but I really didn't have a problem with that ;-)
first ride: Lazytown Sportacoptors. This is one of those rides that kind of looks cool becasue its up in the air and hey....it's a helicoptor. What kid doesn't like a helicoptor. Well, while my three year old liked it well enough to go back for a second helping later in the day, both myself and the twins were a bit bored with this. The other problem is that they move so slow that the line is always relatively long. My suggestions is that this is a ride for those children under four. You will know your children better than anyone else though.
Next was Blues Skidoo: The kids have a choice to either sit in Blue or Magenta (those with young kids will know who I'm talking about) and they spin in a circle. Both Blue and Magenta raise up and down as the rides spin. This got the first real big smile out of the boys. Mom and Dad smiled in return. The day was starting out well and it would only getbetter.
Next: Took them to another slow mover; La Adventura de Azul. For those of you who do not know what this is, it's basically a train ride for young chilrdren "themed" around Dora the Explorer. Once again, the trains move very slowly and will only hold 2-3 people so the line tends to go slow. While the kids enjoyed it, they wanted something a bit more exciting.
That brings us to Swipers Sweeper. Kids LOVED this ride. They were smiling a laughing through the whole ride. We came back a few times throughout the day. Not only becasue they liked it so much, but becasue there never seemed to be much of a line.
Next phantom flyers. It was fun. I rode this one next to the three year old. You need to be 40 inches to ride this so he just made it. The kids liked it and it was just awesome riding next to my three year old as he's screaming, "Daddy, I'm superman! I'm flying!".....once again smiles all around.
The twins had mentioned earlier that they wanted to ride Avatar. I wanted to get them warmed up a bit first becasue I didn't want to scare them. While I had never been on the ride, it looked a little intense for them. They asked about it again so I took them while my wife took the little one to get some refreshments. Once we got to Avatar one of the twins decided not to go so I had to walk back, drop him off and return. It was about a 5-7 minute wait to get on. It has a 44 inch height requirement so my son just made it. While this is not the most intense ride in the world for an adult, I can see how this might just scare the crap out of a child. He did pretty well. About three quesrters of the way through the ride he had enough. While he never cried or screamed, he wanted off. This is a fun ride that actually looks more intense than it is, but still is probably too intense for some children.
My wife then took the 3 year old back the helicoptors while I took the twins to Wild Thornberrys River Adventure. The line was probably 10-15 minutes long. The biggest problem was the amount of bees in the que. Especially around the wood. What kid likes bees? Can't they spray for this? My kids LOVED the ride, hated the line. This is actually a fun little log flume. Much better than I thought. I am/was used to White Water Landing at Cedar Point and WWL moved much slower that this one. I was actually suprises to find our how jarring it was as the log truned the corners and slammed into the side of the walls. At one point, my elbow slammed into the side of the log and was actually quite painful. The elephant that sprays water at the end is a nice touch that the kids enjoyed. Bought the picture at the end as the looks on their faces and we started to go down the hill was priceless. While we were in line I was talking to a woman behind me who said that she was at the park on Sat. as well. She mentioned that it was about twice as crowded on Sunday than it was on Sat. There must have been a small crowd on Sat. becasue we weren't hitting a lot of lines for the kids rides. I guess I can't really comment on the adult rides.
At this point we went out to the van to eat lunch. Much cheaper than trying to feed five people in the park.
When we came back we went and watched the Dora show. I think it was called Dora's Sing a Long Adventure. It pretty much followed the format of every Dora show. About the smae length as well (20 minutes). It was cheezy but the kids seemed to enjoy it. One think I would like to mention is that while we were waiting for the show to start I got up and went to the "Snack Shack" to get a drink which was right outside the show theatre. When I turned the corner so that I could see into the window to order, the girl working had her hand burried in a vat of popcorn getting a little snack for herself. With no gloves on. Ewwwwwww. HAve her name and am really considering sending an e-mail. Needless to say, I didn't get any popcorn.
Next...Little Bill’s Giggle Coaster. Typical kids coaster. I had to ride with my three year old. They had a good time and were just thrilled that they rode a roller coaster. They have on-ride photos for this but the picture wasn't very good so I skipped it.
Other rides that we rode were Nick- O- Round, Timmy's Air Tours, Backyargigan's Swing along, and Go Diego GO. These were all typical kids rides that the kids enjoyed enough but they weren't outstanding in any way.
One thing I noticed was that there were always a couple of the characters walking around. The twins got plenty of hugs and photo ops from them. Our three year old is scared to death of the characters so he didn't enjoy this part of the trip as much
We left around 5:00. All in all it was a great trip as both parents and kids had smiles on their faces through most of the day. We are already planning our next trip for late May.
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