Saturday, September 20, 2008


Canada's WONDERLAND Park

I feel as though I keep backtracking these days, and I apologize for not keeping everything in natural order rather than spilling the beans and posting after the fact.

Take for instance our roadtrip noted earlier this month, I will just have to keep plugging along until I tell complete blogging details of the rest of the story. Sounds like a plan right? Yep.

And so, here it goes...

Before assuming our ten day road trip, we knew it was necessary to explore various regions of possible relocation for our family, thus when possible we were on the road doing just that. We marked maps, use mapquests to drive by houses of interest from local real estate online listings, just in case we fell in love and absolutely desired a viewing of the home in the particular area of infatuation.

As we have accompanied my hubby on other week long adventures to stay with him while working in the area, roadtrips again, this time we also knew it was time to throw in a few fun vacation ideas. One thing we had all agreed on from prior trips was the children’s desire to attend an exhibition or fair and have a chance to go on plenty of thrilling rides. We eyeballed “Canada’s Wonderland Park” in the area of Maple, Ontario. Just when we would attend we weren’t sure, allowing for a “go with the flow” mentality off the hop. However due to the fact my hubby worked during weekdays as normal for him, we were able to find the weather forecast for one specific day, deciding to go and enjoy it all.

Entry tickets to the theme park were supposed to be greatly reduced if purchased at one of the two appointed retail stores before arriving at the park. The deep discounts offered a monetary savings of around 15.00 per person, well worth the detour and a first priority stop for us, at least to attempt finding one of the popular locations while driving toward the area. First frustration was driving all the way through small towns/cities on the way, only to find one of the stores directly across the street from the park. Then it became a question of how tall our youngest daughter was because if we elected to purchase the wrong type of ticket, it would be null and void, a complete waste of money. Ack. I chose only four tickets and knew I’d be standing in line for hers then and not have the luxury of walking right in with tickets in hand already. The line up wasn’t bad. The clerk requested payment for the amount of the ticket plus the 15.00 extra dollars that is until he asked if we might be AAA members. Yes! Discounts offered ended up being just a wee bit less than the store I found, so her ticket price was equal to ours. Whew.

Their first ride; all four are in this thing

Backing up just a bit, frustration reigned a bit previous to my forced decision on the tickets at the store’s counter, after not finding a location for quite some time. After we were packed and ready to depart our hotel, I decided to hit the freeway by taking a different route through an industrial area rather than attempt the windy road through town with many traffic lights.

A very kind policeman was a great help along the way, assisting in offering advice to find the nearest store to purchase our discounted tickets, though his initial greeting included several red flashing lights, a poor start and downer to my day. When his advice summation was complete, he gifted me a traffic violation for speeding to the tune of $115.00.

I was not only embarrassed and devastated right off the bat during our early morning (supposed) adventure, a situation threatening to ruin the entire day ahead of me until I said a quick prayer and thought better to shake it off, apologize to my children for the scene they became part of, gather my wits and dignity about me again, dry my almost spilling tears and keep our date by driving on. It was very humbling, let me tell you. Next stop was for a very strong cup of coffee!

Entering the theme park was like walking into Disneyland, unbelievable attention to detail and beauty everywhere. It wasn’t yet too crowded, even after having to wait in line for twenty minutes for the extra ticket. And then we realized why all was lovely, clean, decidedly inviting. This was Paramount Theatre’s Wonderland, thus the park was filled with smaller themes and characters appointed to their trademark. Dora the explorer was waiting to greet everyone after their arrival at the gate and it was delightful to see little girls desiring a photo with her.

The attraction of Wonderland is the fact it is the only theme park in all of North America with so many roller coasters, a teen haven for thrill seeking. With maps in hand, we attempted to take a path towards our immediate left, soon to find out most of the rides were either too frightening or too high up in numbered category for our two younger children. I wondered at first if we had chosen the right place for them, as we also could’ve attended the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) in the downtown core instead.

Fearless....for only a short time.

They were brave, at first.

They entered and then left line-ups several times.

After studying in the map more closely, we soon realized there were plenty of other areas for all ages, and split up for a time to locate them. Amazed we wondered about, noting the incredible water park area and the fact we would have to skip the entire zone due to being unprepared for such an activity. Note to self; bring bathing suits next time, attend on a hot day and bring a picnic.

I was surprised to see beautiful manicured grounds

If for any other reason I can sincerely appreciate how lovely the grounds were with beautiful florals, trees and shrubs groomed to perfection in every section we walked through. Fountain waters danced to music, themed buildings were colorful and inviting, and there was even a huge mountain in the center with rides inside just like Disneyland for a central focal point. Wow!

Beauty everywhere

The two older teens were easy to find some time later, admitting there were too many roller coasters just far too scary for them or line ups way too long to even bother with. I giggled because each bragged about having no fear before leaving the hotel, but plenty of butterflies flapped around deep in their bellies once there.

Little ones wanted less danger during parts of the day, less of a thrill and opted for the children's area. Get that! Children wanting children's rides, what a concept...snicker.

We were all taken with the entertainment as we passed stages and show areas, but one extreme sporting group offered quite a spectacular performance which included trampolines, high diving and action galore as they plummeted into the waters below their multiple floored diving platforms.

Entertainment was everywhere for those who

wanted to leave the rides to watch.

They began to regress a bit, selecting

less exciting rides for a time.

Line-ups soon became longer and longer as the day progressed and naturally with the heat bellowing it’s warmth upon us, ride choices priorities had to be discussed as the day moved on to avoid disappointment. In the end, spending an entire day in this theme park proved one thing. There was no way we could complete the park to its fullest fulfillment, just as if we were visiting Disneyland in California. There was still much to see, much to do and plenty of entertainment we missed out on.

On top of the perfect weather for such an excursion, enduring giggles and watching bug eyed faces; the day wasn’t ruined when the rain began to pour down. After all we had already searched the weather report before leaving and knew towards the evening it was possibly going to rain, so that wasn’t a surprise. What became strange or perhaps safe in this case was the amount of rides closed during the rainfall, leaving thrill seekers no chance to get their favorites experienced.

Prepared for rain with my trusty umbrella

Mother here was prepared with an umbrella in my bag, the children with light jackets. So we got wet! Big deal! Remember where we used to live? We were used to rain there. Besides, there were areas to take shelter if necessary, and in time the rain subsided nicely. Wet or not, it was a summer rain shower and the temperature was still hovering over 80 degrees. So, we remained unruffled and simply proceeded with our day as planned, having such a blast we stayed way longer than our deadline previously arranged earlier in the day. The only reason we ever left the theme park’s grounds was because my hubby was awaiting our arrival for a later family dinner at a restaurant in the area. We arrived there a bit late, half soaked but content with the whole day.

Thoughts at the end of the day discussed around the table were fairly unanimous;

  • If we ever return, we’ll know our intended routes prior to entering the park and be fully prepared for another long day right until closing time.
  • Possibly our teens may become braver next time, because many rides were avoided in the end due to their dizzying heights, speeds or design.
  • Bring towels, bathing suits and food for the hottest hours of the day, taking time to enjoy the waterpark in between the long line-ups in the heat of the day.
  • Be prepared for any kind of weather, and since water bottles were the best idea to bring along for refilling, at the very least – force liquids into excited children who refuse to eat or drink while riding the amusements, and then end up being all queasy at the end of the day feeling faint and slightly ill.
  • Research annual pass fees because for a slight fraction of a cost, we could come and revisit all year long with relatives or friends who might be able to visit us when relocating to the general area nearby.

I ask you; who in their right mind wants to be shot in a duo ride, within a potato sack type of garment from a bungee cord high in the air, swinging back and forth like a pendulum on a grandfather clock, half a mile in the sky? Ack – not me! I’d rather sit with coffee in hand from the local Starbucks nearby and pray for all those crazies who are taking their lives in their hands. Actually, forget that because I do know of a few crazy people who would lap up the opportunity to go on that ride, family members yet. Yikes!

A hot cuppa was in due order after the rain,

and then off we went

And so, another day during our roadtrip was full, memories to hold onto forever were made while in progress throughout the day. As everyone returned on the drive towards our hotel, red flashing lights became a distant memory and mother here hasn’t had to bemoan any salt in the wound , or finger wagging since for such a crazy start to our day. Thankful is all I can say for that!