Not Amused.

This past Saturday, in the midst of our town’s nationally recognized and beloved parade, we decided to leave town. Because, when you’re searching for adventure and memories, it’s best to look for the more expensive version of good times inconveniently located hours outside of your own backyard. It’s the time honored tradition of knowing better and doing it anyway. Spend mo’ money. Have mo’ fun. Or, exactly the opposite.

Everyone loves to spend money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need in search of creating memories that rarely last. It’s the American way. So, full of the hope of providing cherished childhood recollections and relying on AAA discounts, we made our way North.

We’d driven about fifty miles when the car started rumbling like the introduction to a monster truck rally. Excellent. After a quick stop just long enough to wake all of our sleeping children, we determined that it was clear cut case of OurCarisaPieceofShititis. There was no immediate cure. We would have to ride this out for the remaining 2 hours with plenty of time to think about upgrading to a limousine, simply for the privacy glass, as the kids began the world’s longest game of, “Are we there yet?”.

It was sometime between the 35,000th explanation of amusement park height requirements that I played my own game of punch buggy and knocked myself unconscious.

When I arose, we were in the Motel parking lot. The best thing about Motels is that you set your standards really low and are still somehow disappointed. This year, we arrived to find the on-site playground had removed the slide, stairs and floor to the play structure. They did leave a huge amount of splintered wood for the kids to play with though which, I think we all can agree, was a classy move.

The thing the kids loved best about our stay was the phone in the room. They really enjoyed seeing how humans used to communicate before we all just talked into computer screens. When life hands you obsolete telecommunication devices, make history lesson lemonade. After their fortieth call to the front desk, “Which side do you talk into? Do you hang the cord around your neck so the phone doesn’t fall? Can we call China? Can we call grandpa?”, they disconnected our line.

"Well, Hello there children! I'm a phone. Once, people picked up the thing-a-majig that looks like earmuffs and talked into me to speak to loved ones near and far!"

“Well, hello there children! I’m a phone. Once, people picked up the thing-a-majig that looks like earmuffs and talked into me to speak to loved ones near and far!”

The next morning, we made our way to the amusement park. “ARE YOU READY TO RUMMMMMMMMMBLLLLLLLLE?” If I’m being honest (which I must, the power of BPM compels me), my husband and I spent the first 15 minutes in the parking lot debating about whether or not to say the 3 year old was 2 to secure free admission. Yes, it’s totally wrong. It’s stealing. It’s lying. There is no Robin Hood justification. We finally decided against it at the entry. I could not bring myself to start a one woman show to distract the children from our thievery, “Oh look kids, a bird! Oh look, an ice cream cone on the ground! Oh look, a wallet someone dropped that your dad and I will obviously return because despite this momentary lapse in judgment, we are honest, law abiding citizens! Promise!”. Besides, $29.99 was just too low a price to sell my self-respect. For a $60 ticket? Let’s talk.

It started off great with the everyone running in separate directions and my tampons flying out of my purse next to the park mascot, a talking tree. I felt a little bit awkward with the cardboard applicators, but, thank you tree for your service. Your body gives us important things.

Honey Badger, our 3 year old, immediately found a lovely older woman who decided to volunteer her time handing out park stickers to the visiting children. You had to enter a giant shoe, request a sticker and walk out. Unless you are Honey Badger, then you walk the loop until someone lies to you and tells you they are all out of stickers. “Mama, I think that old lady is telling the lies!”

Sooner or later, every adult at an amusement park has to tell, “the lies”.

1) The park is all out of cotton candy

2) We can’t have THOSE Icees because they dumped poison into them. That’s why they’re green.

3) There is plenty of steering wheel for you both to share it.

4) Aren’t we all having the BEST TIME EVER? I know I am!

5) The park closes at 3:30 p.m., those other people staying are breaking the rules.

After six hours, we were done. Crawling through the desert in search of an oasis done. Someone please cut off my feet because they are now just bloody stumps of regret done. Are you going to eat that churro you found on the ground? done.

Long story short, it was the best almost $600 we couldn’t possibly afford that we never should have spent. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Yes, it's true, for a mere $600, your kids too can take the best nap ever! (not shown: 2 older children in back seat who refused to stop talking for the 3.5 hour trip home.)

Yes, it’s true, for a mere $600, your kids too can take the best nap ever! (not shown: 2 older children in back seat who refused to stop talking for the 3.5 hour trip home.)


  1. Your friend, Dawn says:

    I stayed for “our town’s nationally recognized and beloved parade” , but only took the 4 year old. I didn’t have to lie (much), but I did have some classic parenting moments.
    Here, eat some of this Rice Krispy treat before lunch.
    Who’s child are you that you don’t like Rice Krispy treats? No problem, more for me.
    Yes, you can have grape cotton candy for lunch.
    You are thirsty? Look, those people are giving away water.
    No, we will not wait in that 30 minute line so you can jump in the bouncy house for 5 minutes.
    Look at that ride, honey, it’s called the Early Learning Express!

  2. Motels, you set your standards really low and are somehow still disappointed. I love that line. At it is the God’s honest. When I was dancing, we stayed in some pretty shady places, ones where you thought you might wake up in a series of ziploc bags. Seriously though, we haven’t done the amusement park thing with the kids. And I’m thinking we may never… 😉

  3. Awesome! What a deal! <3 Devan

  4. Ha! We just stayed at seedy motel so we could go to our first amusement park as a family a couple of weeks ago. We had a blast (our kids are OLDER), you said it best, “It was the best $600 we couldn’t afford.” I agree.

  5. This was just what I needed to read as we are contemplating some similarly overpriced, underwhelming summer trips. Instead I’ll just spend $2 on an old telephone at the Goodwill and let it provide hours of entertainment. Thank you for saving me $598.

  6. Was there some overpriced gauze in the giftshop for your bloody stumps?

  7. There should really be a discount for families only seeking old lady liar stickers.

  8. I couldn’t agree more, about all of it. Motels – disappointingly disappointing. I wish I had known you could punch buggy yourself out cold – that’s valuable info.

  9. Dude, I totally know that talking tree. And those shaved ice things. Man, that place is expensive. We, too, debated selling our souls for $29.99 and lying about our 3yo’s age. And our Catholic guilt stopped us. Sigh.

    Hubs said to me this year, “Do you even want to go back this summer? Every year you’re miserable when we’re there.” And I was all, “But Hubs! Think of the children! THE CHILDREN!” He thought of them. So did I. And we decided not to go back this year anyway.

  10. <3 This.

  11. “Yes, it’s true, for a mere $600, your kids too can take the best nap ever!” —pure genius right there! LOL.

  12. I just told my son that Disneyland was closed and all the movies for summer were sold out. He’s only been on summer break for 2 days. I’m so glad I’m not alone

    Love this post.

  13. OurCarisaPieceofShititis

    Is that a Doc McStuffins diagnosis?

    Sorry to hear about the tampons flying everywhere and the exhausting experience in general. If it’s any consolation, and as it’s not returning your $600 I imagine it is NOT, I sincerely appreciated laughing at the chaos. Thank you?

  14. We have been to Disneyworld, a gorgeous beach home in Florida, a resort in San Diego, many other expensive vacations, but the bottom line is that our boys still love the pond by our house and could play in the water and sand all day for free. Sigh.

  15. This tickled me! Hilarious. It’s a little like going to Disneyland, only the ticket is $90… instead of $30. For a family of 4 it’s churro eating (for $20), ice cream eating (for $30) and getting run over by strollers and kicked in the back of the legs by other peoples’ kids. All for the amazing price of $1200… practically free. Add the 7 hour car ride and it’s too much fun.

  16. I’m laughing so much. I copies three different lines to use in a teaser when I share this on my FB page, WHICH IS SOOOO HAPPENING.

    Here’s my fave: “The best thing about Motels is that you set your standards really low and are still somehow disappointed.”

  17. You are a wizard with words. I don’t even know how you put so many perfect sentences together.
    Those park places are insane, why DO we go? My oldest is totally overwhelmed by them so we haven’t been in years… autism perk.

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