You may remember this summer that we tried taking our some to Story Land for the first time. It was a wonderful family vacation full of discovery and excitement. We all had so much fun that we decided to double down and head back a few weeks later for what would assuredly be another fun-filled day at the park. Needless to say if you read the title of this post you already know that the day probably didn’t go the same. Because of that I have written this for parents with kids so that they know no matter how much planning you do, a few things are bound to go wrong with your perfect day.
1. You will be very, very hot.
The day we went was during the September heat wave and temperatures were in the 90s. “Not a problem we thought, Story Land has all sorts of water rides to keep us cool”. However on this special day our son decided that he did not, under any circumstances want to get wet.” There would be no log flume ride, no bumper boats, no shooting each other with water cannons, none of that” We might as well have spent the day touring Death Valley. Add to that my boy wanted to be carried when he got tired so at times I got to walk around with a 30-pound heater attached to my side.
2. The ride you spend most of your day on will be the potty.
Over the past few months we have ditched the diapers and been mastering the potty/ HOORAY (oh there will be more blog posts to come on this topic I assure you)! What this actually means is that about every 4 minutes you have to ask your child if they have to go to the bathroom, which they will respond with “no”. Now as the adult you realize they are little liars and do in fact need to pee every 4 minutes so you escort them to the bathroom anyway. Now remember problem #1 (heat so hot you would think you were in one of the circles of Hell) so imagine just how warm the bathrooms of this park were. It was hard to tell at some moments if it was my son’s pee or the sweat from my brow that was actually falling into the bowl.
3. You do not visit the potty enough.
That’s right! Despite your diligence in visiting the bathroom every 4 minutes all day your child still somehow has an accident. And because you’re out in public and at an amusement park and it’s 1,000 degrees out they accidentally go #2 in their adorable superhero undies. (I don’t really need to paint more of a picture for this one do I?)
4. You will let your kid choose the rides, and you will be bored out of your skull.
I mean, we were there for him. I guess it made sense to let him do what he wanted. He could have wanted to go on the roller coaster, or the bumper cars or ANY ONE OF THE GOD DAMN WATER RIDES (see issue #1 above if you don’t remember). But no, this was not what he chose. Instead he wanted to play in a tree house. A tree house that he can climb up and run from side to side and press buttons and that sort of nonsense. A tree house that was for us, his parents, one of the most boring things we could have spent our time watching. It wasn’t a ride we could all go on, it was more like a piece of fancy playground equipment.
It’s fine that this is what our son wanted to do, but he wanted to play here for almost 2 straight hours. I’m not exaggerating this point to make this post more interesting, he really did play on this treehouse for 2 hours; 120 of the longest minutes of our lives. It was like watching paint dry. The least Story Land could do is put hammocks hanging from the damn tree so we could have taken naps.
5. There will be a tipping point, and everyone will be angry.
It could have been the heat, or the bathrooms, or anything for that matter. When frustrations will boil over and your child will have a meltdown. It will happen in the middle of the park. There will be 1,000 parents all around you, silently judging you as they walked past with their perfectly happy children. And in this moment you will be just as frustrated and threaten that it is time to go home.
Luckily for me cooler heads prevailed. My wife in all her magic was able to defuse the situation. My son started to calm down. He no longer needed to be carried all over the park and decided it was time to try some of the other rides. The sun shifted from over our heads beating down to behind the trees in the western sky. A merciful breeze picked up and began to cool us down. The tiny dictator who had made me miserable all day seemed to transform into the wonderful 3-year old I know he can be.
And for the rest of the day, the magic of Story Land returned and we had a wonderful time. You never know how trips are going to go. Some are wonderful and others not so much. Still these are the moments that turn into memories. I’ll be able to look back at this day and many others and think to myself “I’m really glad we did that”.