Old-Fashioned Family Fun: Our Carowinds Adventure I have been friends with Jessica for as long as I can remember. First we went to church together, then we started school. We played sports, we cheered, but what I remember most about our friendship is not any of those things. It’s the summers we spent at Carowinds, begging our moms to take us each week so we could get there the minute the park opened and ride the biggest, “baddest” roller coasters they had. Our season passes and a sweet neon fanny pack were all we needed, and people were shocked that two little girls barely over the “you must be this tall to ride” signs were asking to go on White Lightning, Carolina Cyclone and Thunder Road again and again and again. We were the ultimate thrill-seekers, and to this day, we still joke about how much fun we used to have at that park. I suppose our moms gave into us year after year simply because it beat the alternative…your attitude-filled tweens can’t roll their eyes at you when they’re upside down and hanging on for dear life, right? In the spirit of thrill-seeking, I couldn’t wait to see what Tyler and Caroline thought of my childhood hotspot. Since conquering coasters and amusement park rides are a great way for a family to bond (say the scientist folk), we loaded Nathan with Dramamine and headed north for a Saturday in Charlotte. That’s the thing about Carowinds…although my husband doesn’t share my love for head-banging coasters and my toddlers aren’t big enough to join me, we can all compromise and get excited about Planet Snoopy. Between Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang walking around to our constant circuit of Flying Ace Balloon Race, Woodstock Gliders and Joe Cool’s Driving School, we barely had time to rest. I couldn’t believe how much Tyler and Caroline take after their mama… they loved it! :) Random fact: You can straddle state lines upon entrance to the park – one foot in the North, one in the South. See the markers above? I don’t think any stones were left unturned in Planet Snoopy. We rode pretty much everything. Tyler especially enjoyed Snoopy’s Yacht Club where he had total control over the bell on his boat. It was not music to my ears after multiple loops around the water track, let me tell you. After two hours, we finally convinced Tyler and Caroline that it was time to grab a bite to eat. Although I wasn’t expecting much from the food (who ever does at a theme park?), I was totally shocked at how delicious it was. The two kids' meals came in a plastic Snoopy lunch box (that we were able to bring home) and had huge, white-meat chicken tenders, a ton of fries, a bag of animal cookies, and milk. The rest of us munched on Angus burgers and fries, and the grand total for everyone (including Granna and Pa) was just over $30. I doubt you can beat that anywhere! After Tyler’s initial shock at how warm the food was, he thoroughly enjoyed his fries. Haha! On the adult front, Nathan conquered his impending nausea and embarked on a real thrill-seeker journey with me after lunch. Since my last trip to Carowinds was close to ten years ago (the horror!), Nighthawk, Intimidator and WindSeeker were at the top of my to-do list. Can you see what a good time I’m having compared to Nathan? He’s horror-stricken, bless his heart. If you’re not as seasoned as me, though, Carowinds has a rating system in place to help any visitor choose their park adventure, grading rides on a scale from Low Thrills (1) to Aggressive Thrills (5). Although Nathan would probably have been just fine sticking to such things as the Character Carousel (1), I wasn’t leaving without a little dance with aggression! A few hours (and pure satisfaction later), we ventured back to Planet Snoopy to catch up with the family. Just as we expected, Granna and Pa made sure they had a blast with or without us. We rounded out our evening with two giant Snoopy drinks, one Hello Kitty, and two exhausted toddlers. We had an amazing trip to Carowinds and can’t wait to go back! Did you love amusement parks as a tween? Do you still have fun on the thrill rides or prefer something a little more tame?
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Posted by Mandy at 6:29 PM