Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Six Flags

This year, for the first time ever, I bought season passes to Six Flags.  I decided that we are going to spend the summer riding rides, going to the water park, and attending concerts so we may as well get the best price on it.

I also bought the meal plan, where you pay one flat fee and you can eat lunch and dinner every time you go to the park.  

We may go there every day just to eat.

We decided our first trip to the park would be this past Friday.  Most kids are still in school and parents are working so I felt like it wouldn't be terribly crowded.

I was right.

I love it when I'm right.  

The first half of the day we only waited in line for ten minutes to ride some of the most popular attractions.  As the day went on, it got a little more crowded but we never waited more than 30 minutes to get on a ride. 

But I get ahead of myself.

The day started off with us waiting in line to get in the park.  I realized while we were standing there that I had inadvertently left Katie's season pass at home and brought Kerry's by mistake (he was at work and couldn't join us).  I had purchased our season tickets on line and had to print out a page for each of us with our season ticket on it, a page for each of us with our meal pass on it, and a page for each of us with a season parking pass on it.  I had quite a stack of papers in my hands and I was hoping I wouldn't lose my grip on them and have them blow away.

We made it up to the entrance of the park and when I explained the situation, they sent me over to customer service to have a voucher printed for Katie.

We waited in line for 20-30 minutes at customer service.  If this had been our only trip of the summer to be able to go to Six Flags, I would have been very antsy over the wait.  Knowing that we can go back any time we want made it much better.  We were calm and happy.

I handed the guy at the window the three vouchers that I had brought with me and explained that I had accidentally brought my husband's voucher rather than my daughter's.  He printed a new one for me and handed the three papers to me.

I looked at the three pages he had handed me and realized Katie's name was at the top of all three.

"Um, these all have Katie's name on them," I told him.

"Yes, he responded," that's her season pass, meal ticket, and parking pass."

"Yes, but you didn't give me back my season pass or Emily's season pass. Or my husband's season pass.  I need those to get in the park."

Thank goodness I realized it before we walked away from the window.  I would have been mightily unhappy if I had had to wait in line again to get my passes back.

Still calm.  Still happy.

Vouchers in hand, we went back to the entrance line and waited to get into the park (again).

When you go into the park for the first time with your season pass voucher, they give you a hard plastic card in place of the paper you have printed out and carried around with you.  They don't put the parking pass or the meal ticket on there at this point, but they tell you that you can have it put on there at some building near the ferris wheel.  Okay, we'll take care of that later.

First things first.  We were hungry, it was lunchtime, and we decided to put our meal vouchers to immediate use.  We were thrilled to find a Panda Express on the grounds.  We love Chinese food!

We hot footed it into the restaurant and started to order only to be told they don't accept the meal vouchers.  Apparently, they aren't included in the meal plan and you have to pay for whatever you want to eat there.  Bummer.  

Less happy but still calm.  We can deal with this.

We headed to a hamburger restaurant next door and tried to use our meal vouchers there. 

"Oh, we don't take the paper vouchers.  You have to have it put on your plastic card and then we'll accept it."

Crud.  We trotted across the park toward the ferris wheel to find the building where we were supposed to have all this stuff put on our cards.  

We found ourselves facing a line of people (who had probably also just discovered at lunchtime that they couldn't actually get a lunch until they stood in this line) which looked to be about an hour wait.

We were too hungry for that.

Somewhat calm.  Not at all happy.

We decided to bite the bullet and just pay for lunch.  I had to head out to the car to get money since I had assumed we would be eating with our meal plan and wouldn't need much cash.  I had brought in a little bit of money but not enough to feed all three of us.  The girls went on a ride (their first of the day) as I trotted across the park, out through the rows and rows of cars in the parking lot, back through the rows and rows of cars in the parking lot, and back across the park.

I met up with the girls and we quickly ordered lunch.  We get mean when we get hungry, it's best to keep us full.

Then at long last, we were able to finally check out the rides and enjoy the park.

Calm and happy.

Emily - homeschool rebel.

View from the top of the ferris wheel.

We even stopped in and got our meal vouchers and parking passes put on our plastic season pass cards so we would be able to eat when we wanted to!   The line was a lot shorter once the lunch crowd was gone.

It was about the time we got to a coaster called "The Boss" that we ran into some trouble.  Katie and I were riding together and Emily was riding solo.  They like to match people up who are riding alone so  when they asked for people who needed a seat mate, Emily raised her hand and she was able to get on the ride a couple of cars sooner than Katie and I did.

The tram she was on pulled back in as Katie and I were about to board.  "Do not get on this one!" she yelled at us.  "You'll hate it!"

I turned to the people behind us and said, "You can take our place, we're not riding," and we stepped through the car, out the other side and walked off with Emily.  The ride had shaken her so hard, her neck and back were hurting.

Emily needed Tylenol so I stopped in the nearest restroom and found a dispenser but it needed four quarters and I only had three.  I offered a dollar bill to anyone in the restroom who would give me a quarter, but no one else had quarters either.  So we headed off to the first aid station where we were able to get Tylenol for fifty cents.  (Insert eye roll here.)

Emily needed to sit for a while to let the medicine take effect so Katie and I went on the log flume.  When we were done, Emily said she really just wanted to go home.  She was hurting to much to enjoy herself any more.  We decided to finally use our meal vouchers and have a very early dinner.  We stopped in a BBQ restaurant and pulled out our passes to order.

"Oh, I'm sorry, you can't use those between 3:30 and 4:30." It was 3:35.

I stared at the folks behind the counter.  "You have got to be kidding me."

"For the meal card holders, lunch is served until 3:30.  Dinner starts at 4:30.  It's just a way of keeping the two meals separate so people don't order both their meals at one time."

"That is absolutely ridiculous," I snarled.  "We paid for these meal vouchers and yet we have not been able to get one single meal with them all day!"  We stomped out in a huff and left the park without eating.

Decidedly not calm and quite angry.

Ah well, next time we know.  All in all it was mostly a good day.  We had fun on the rides, the park was clean, the employees were friendly, the lines were short and the weather was fabulous.

And we'll be heading over to Six Flags on a regular basis just to eat lunch and dinner whether we go on any rides or not.

 I'm getting my meals, ya'll.

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