As part of our vacation to visit family this year, we decided to try to make it still feel like a vacation by taking our children to Cedar Point (an amusement park). The price of admission is astronomical for a typical family of four, so as you would expect, we were looking for every possible discount we could find. The one we used….the starlight admission. The starlight admission is a cheaper admission you can pay if you enter the park at 5:00 pm. That would only give us five hours of fun, but with two younger children, I believed five hours would be sufficient.
The day was beautiful. We waited until 5:00 with great anticipation. Finally, 5:00 arrived. We went to the park. Rode our first roller coaster, the Blue Streak — a small, wooden coaster, but it was enough to scare my youngest away from all the other roller coasters. Fine by me. I don’t like them any longer. As a kid, I would ride them over and over again, but now it’s a different story.
After that ride, we hit a couple smaller rides, and my husband took my older daughter to ride the Raptor, a coaster that goes upside down. After the ride was over, my 10-year-old came up crying. Did it scare her that badly? No. She didn’t ride it at all, she got scared. But I assured her that was ok, because she had all night to change her mind and try again. Then the clouds rolled in. It didn’t look good. So we ran to the next roller coaster, and as we stood in line, the rain hit. Automatic shut down of all the rides. At this point we had only ridden 6 rides and had only been there two hours.
Still at this point we were hopeful. Maybe the storm would pass quickly. We got our arms stamped and left the park to go to a familiar restaurant just outside the park to wait the storm out. We sat at the restaurant until 8:40. During this time, my 10-year-old decided she would ride the raptor when we got back in. However, the rain was not letting up. Only a little over an hour until the park closes. Might as well go home (my aunt’s house). Just before 10:00 pm the rain stopped. It didn’t matter. It was too late. No rain checks. No refunds.
Ok, so I can understand no rain checks or refunds if you pay for all day and are there all day. But when you pay for just the evening and the rain takes away the majority of the evening, there should be an exception. After all, the tickets state what time we purchased them, and it’s not like we walked in knowing a storm was coming. The weather was perfect when we got there.
So now we are out of all that money that we saved from our tight budget for only two hours of fun. That two hours was fun, but was it worth the price? On a financial level, it definitely was not worth it. We are an average family with average incomes. This type of fun does not come around very often.
On an emotional level, it was still worth it. We did have a great time with our children. They are growing so fast, I am not sure how many more times we will have these opportunities with them. But try telling that to a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old. They just see disappointment.