Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wonderland and the Pre-School Set

I don't know about you, but I'm not generally a huge fan of amusement parks. I'm basically a wimp and am terrified of rollercoasters and other intense thrill rides. Actually, it's kind of a combo of fear and the crazy extreme reaction my body has to all that erratic movement. Plus I was traumatised by my parents taking me on Space Mountain when I was 7. Yeah, thanks a bunch Mom & Dad. (Ok, I shouldn't be too hard on them. They really had no idea what we were getting into and they were terrified too.)

When I think of Wonderland, I think of their commercials, which focus on these extreme rides like Behemoth and the new Windseeker. And I get scared. But, they actually have a huge selection of milder rides, including two kids' areas - Kidzville and Planet Snoopy.  And there's always my favourite - Splashworks. So, this week we packed up the kids and headed out. While Hubs and the Teen went off to experience the extreme adventure of the rollercoasters, Little Boo and I headed off for a more sedate day.

First we checked out the divers at Victoria Falls.

Then the Chopper Chase, where you ride a helicopter around on an elevated rail that kinda dips and turns a little bit. Totally Mommy`s speed. 

 Little Boo tried out the "maze."
 Then we saw a fun musical show - Charlie Brown's Pirate Adventure
 And Little Boo got his picture taken with Lucy
 Up Up and Away 
 And then up up up in the Blast Off
There were lots more rides and a good 3 hours in Splashworks, in the Lazy River, wave pool, and on the kiddie water slides. I think Little Boo's favourite though was the Spongebob 3D movie in the Action Theatre. Have you been? It's like a stationary roller coaster. You're strapped into your seats and they move up, down, forward, back, sideways, all over, and very erratically and suddenly. It's a Level 4 thrill ride. (Note - this is a great thing at Wonderland - they've rated all of their rides as to level of intensity, so you know what you're getting yourself into.)  Level 3 is really the extent of my comfort level, so I spent the ride trying to giggle instead of scream, while the 5 year-old laughed his head off and wanted to go again. Yup. Big ol' wimp here. Who is raising another thrill seeker. Congrats Daddy! You got another companion coming along for your future coaster rides.

At the end of the day we'd spent 8 hours in the park and had a blast, yet still didn't get to everything there was to suit a preschooler. We didn't even make it to Planet Snoopy, which is a bummer. Little Boo said the one disappointment of the day was that there was no ferris wheel. Guess where it is? You got it. Next time.

Bottom line, Wonderland really does have something for the whole family. But be prepared. No outside food or drink is allowed, though there are lots of dining and refreshment options available on site. (Water in clear bottles is all you can bring in.) Plus, there are masses of opportunities for buying souvenirs. Consider yourself forewarned :) And, make sure to buy your tickets in advance, either online (3 days advance gives you a good discount), or check out Shoppers Drug Mart or Costco.

One other piece of advice - be sure to visit their website and map out your day in advance. It will make it so much easier to be sure you hit all of the rides and attractions you'd like to see. The place is huge. (You can also buy a special ticket rate that allows two days of visits - see their website for details.) And on your way in, get the little ones measured and outfitted with a special wristband indicating their height. This makes things easier when you get to the rides.

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