Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Welcome to the Doody Mart

When we left our Make-A-Wish trip at Give Kids the World, we were given a passport to use at amusement parks all around the country for one year for a free day's entry. The weather this past Sunday was pleasant, and crowds were sure to be nonexistent, so we drove up to Virginia to visit Kings Dominion.

No accidents from Eve on the three-hour drive up. It took some coaxing, but she finally used a gas station restroom. She has standards, but I lowered them.

This here's a map of Kings Dominion. There's a lot to do. I stared at this particular map a lot, outside of the restroom, waiting for Eve to go potty.

My kids love mascots. They will hug anything dressed up as a mascot. (They once hugged Mr. Twinkie, with enthusiasm I might add, having no clue what a delicious Twinkie even is or why someone would choose to dress up as one. I think they thought he was a yellow hot dog.)

I had no clue Snoopy joined a bowling league!

I think I rode a lot of these rides when I was little, myself. Back then, Kings Dominion had Hanna-Barbera Land, so they were appropriately themed. I miss my Smurfs, but I'm cool with Chuck Brown on account of him having a friend with childhood cancer (Why, Charlie Brown, Why?). And I like the way he dresses.

I vividly remember Yogi Bear's Cave, which is now a Treasure Cave that did little more than get me confused and dizzy. It's dark, and there is a walkway that is slanted to the side and on an incline. I didn't think I was ever going to find the exit; I have the night vision of a 90-year-old.

My grandmother once married a man who's biggest selling point was that he could drive at night. It sounded silly back then, but if something happens to Matt when we're old, I know what I'll have to list on Match.com.

Sometimes I say Eve is like a bat out of hell. You know, once you realize that you are not going to catch up with the child, and your only hope is that they trip so you have time to close the gap. When we left the bat cave, she flew...over to the airplanes. Over and over again. She's a fan of flying, and this time we didn't have to give her any Dramamine. But I could have used one watching her go around in circles repeatedly.

Maybe next time I'll take some of her leftover Zofran when we go to an amusement park.

Daniel hopped into any car he could find. He said it was much better than the race car shopping carts at the Food Lion.

There is a ride called the Virginia Clipper which is a tiny pirate ship that swings back and forth. I'll always remember it as the first time the Griffiths have gotten a ride operator to stop a ride in the middle and get one of our children off. Eve apparently couldn't handle it and was sinking in her seat as Nat and Dan had their arms in the air behind her going Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

The Virginia Clipper has a thrill rating of "1", by the way. It is neither a ride to be scared on, or a ride to throw your arms in the air and cry Whee.

Matt and my mom took the kids on the carousel while my Dad and I rode the Shockwave, which is a roller coaster that you stand up on while you ride. I remember my guy friends referring to this ride as "the Nutcracker" when we were younger on account of the bicycle seat you have to straddle and the not-so-smooth motion.

But I'm far too mature to refer to it as that. Not sure what my dad thought, though.

As we rode the ferris wheel, Natalie looked around the park and picked out rides that she knew she had to go on. Like the Rebel Yell, an old wooden roller coaster that I remember enjoying a long time ago.

You know, back when I didn't have all this motion sickness.

Times have certainly changed. There used to be one lap bar for two people in each car. I can remember sitting with my heels up, to make my knees higher so the bar couldn't be pushed down too far. That way you kind of fly up out of your seat when you are going down the hills. And don't even think about leaving without some mild bruising on your sides as you bump into the poor soul sitting next to you.

Now, each car has two padded seats so you can't slide into the person you're riding with. And if your bottom is on the wide-side, you're definitely not going to be flying out of your seat because you will be wedged in. Then each person gets their own seat belt. Then each person gets their own lap bar.

Nope, you're not flying out. But I appreciated the safety measures this time around with my kindergartener in the seat in next to me. I know she would have been the daredevil idiot who tried to keep her lap bar from being pushed all the way down.

After that coaster, Nat had her eyes set on the Drop Tower. This thing drops you 270+ feet at 72 mph. I got a few dirty looks putting this small child onto this monster ride, but it was better than listening to her whine about how she absolutely needs to ride that ride right now, especially since she's the tallest one of her siblings and is the only one who CAN.

When normal people were eating dinner, the Griffiths were eating ice cream. Because that's what we do at 5:00 and we're hungry. Then we went to a 3-D Spongebob show/ride that made me even hungrier because it was all about Krabby Patties. I had not been on this ride since it was Days of Thunder, way before Tom Cruise had even heard of Scientology.

There were plenty more rides and plenty more times I felt my ice cream working its way back up. I also regretted the nachos I ate for lunch.

We let the kids pick out what they wanted to ride again before we left, and then tried to get a family photo. This pretty much sums us up.

On the way out, we went up to the top of the Eiffel Tower (1/3 of the size of the real thing). Natalie was terrified and wanted to get back down to the ground. THIS coming from the child who just had to fall from the sky at 72 mph.
My parents treated us to dinner before we got back on the road for the three-hour drive back home. Matt had to stop for some coffee for the long ride ahead, and you can thank him for this picture I'll leave you with.

Some highlights of the day, in case you skipped reading this post in hopes there would be a cheat sheet at the end.

Many thanks to Give Kids the World for the wish that keeps on giving! Many thanks to the Doody Mart for being located next to the Fo Sho Sports Grille. It was like a pleasant detour onto the set of Pootie Tang. You rock, Emporia, Virginia! Sa da tay!


  1. Glad you guys are using your free passes. We haven't been able to go anywhere with ours and it expires this month.

  2. Thanks for the recap :) We used to frequent KD as crazy high-scoolers back in the 90s. Have many of the same memories. Loved all those rides back then. When did we get so old. Now the kiddie rides put me over the edge and I find myself having to sit down extensively to recover. And the good news is when you are feeling the aching need to do it again, you can head 3 hours west and have the same park experience at Carowinds :) And don't worry the NC/SC border has plenty of Pootie Tangness of its own!!

  3. Soooooo many memories come back! Glad you, matt and the kids had a great time!