We spent Mother’s Day at Canada’s Wonderland (oops, sorry, Paramount Canada’s Wonderland – can’t forget the sponsor!). We got season passes last year, and went a number of times. Unless you know you are only going once, the season pass is too good a deal to pass up. It costs a whopping $51 for a single-day pass, but only $69 for a season pass (until today, anyway, then the price goes up), so if you go twice, you’ve already saved money. The only difference is that the kids’ season passes cost the same as ours, although the entry fee for the kids is $30. As a result, they have to go three times before we start saving, but that shouldn’t be a problem. We certainly got our money’s worth last year, so we got season passes again this year.
The major advantage for us isn’t even the cost savings, it’s the fact that we can come and go as we please — if you spend $51 for each of 2 adults and $30 for each of 2 kids, that’s $162 in admission — for that price, you’re going to want to get there first thing in the morning, and spend as long as you possibly can at the park. With the season passes, we can show up a little later or leave at 1pm if we want, and not feel like we’re getting ripped off. Or, in the summer, we can spend the entire day at the water park and not do rides at all, and then go back another day and skip the water park. Plus we get to park in the special season-ticket-holder-only parking lot near the entrance, which is quite convenient. AND we get 20% off (overpriced) merchandise, and 30% (overpriced) food (at some restaurants). For example, while we were there, we needed another roll of film, so I just went to the conveniently located gift shop, and after the discount, I got a 24-print roll of 400 film for the bargain basement price of about seven bucks. Membership has its privileges!
I used to go to Wonderland all the time in high school – I knew the park like the back of my hand. We’d basically hit all the coasters (except the Ghoster Coaster – lame), and then hit them all again. The Mighty Canadian Minebuster was my favourite — that was back when there were only five coasters – the Minebuster, the Dragon Fyre (which goes upside-down! Holy crap!), the Ghoster Coaster, the Sky Rider (which we just called “the stand-up one”), and the Wildebeest, which I always pronounced “WILL-de-beast”, since a wildebeest is a real animal, and that’s how the name is pronounced. Everyone else called it the Wild Beast. They have since renamed the ride as the Wild Beast, and they’ve also renamed Dragon Fyre “Dragon Fire”. Catering to stupid people, I suppose.
Anyway, there are lots more coasters now – they’ve added Thunder Run (goes around and inside the mountain), the Vortex (suspended), The Fly (tiny little cars on a windy track), Tomb Raider (you lie down on your stomach for that one), the Bat (goes forwards and backwards), Top Gun (suspended) and The Italian Job (awesome ride – you ride in these little Minis which are blazingly fast), not to mention a bunch of other thrill rides like Psyclone, Shockwave, Cliffhanger, and Drop Zone.
We, of course, don’t do any of those rides. We did hit Chopper Chase, Swing Time, the Rugrats bumper cars, Kidsville Station, Jumpin’ Jet, and Taxi Jam, which is a little roller coaster that the kids love. Nicholas is also big enough this year to do the Ghoster Coaster, and he loved it too. The boys had a great time, and we had a lot of fun watching them. We also saw the School of Rock show, which is basically a 25-minute live concert with some scenes from the movie, and the kids liked that too. Ryan turned to me in the middle and said “Daddy, this rocks!”. Knowing Ryan, he might have just said that because he knew it would get a laugh out of me, but I think he really did enjoy the show.
Unfortunately, their security hasn’t gotten any better since last year. Actually, it was even worse this year – I pulled the wagon through the metal detectors and they beeped – probably because of the keys in my pocket and my cell phone. The guy just waved me ahead without even asking anything.