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Theme Parks: Hell on Earth?

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#1 diary~dad

Posted 07 July 2010 - 12:37 PM

There are a lot of very crazy things that people do for love.  Emperor Shah Jahan built the monumental Taj Mahal for his favourite wife as a symbol of his love and devotion.  Johnny Depp had ‘Winona Forever’ tattooed on his buttock.  Tom Cruise stomped on any credibility he had left by stomping on Oprah’s couch to declare his love for Katie Holmes.  And I, most crazily of all, proved my love for my daughters by taking them to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

Susie, as the part-time worker in our outfit, is traditionally the parent on duty during school holidays.  This means that I have taken on the role of the supportive husband who, safely hidden away behind my desk at work, calls home at about 3.30pm when Susie is ready to tear her hair out.  I usually say something wonderfully encouraging, offer some priceless advice and then hang-up congratulating myself on being such a caring husband and father.

But this year, I was told by Susie, this wouldn’t cut it.  With my work place offering flexible work arrangements such as a program to purchase leave and the option of part-time work for parents, my days of “remote parenting” were marked.  So these school holidays it was decided we would both take time off to enjoy the exhilaration of 14 extremely long and consecutive days with our trinity of cherubs.  And to add to the excitement we decided to take them away from their network of friends and structured home routine and instead take them up to Queensland to meet their Northern relos.

Before kids, I always enjoyed holidaying in Queensland.  If it was raining, you had the perfect excuse to stay indoors and read a book and if it was sunny you had the perfect excuse to lie in the sun and read a book.  But, as any parent will know, reading a book when you have kids is a bit like running when you have broken legs – possible but painful.  This holiday was all about the kids and keeping them active and engaged.  Enter Dreamworld.  It is impossible to move around Queensland without the kids spotting a poster, billboard or TV ad for a theme park.  And, as any parent will know, once kids see something they want in an ad, trying to get them to forget about it is a bit like trying to do a handstand with broken arms – extremely painful and not at all possible.

On the drive along the Pacific Highway it suddenly struck me that the girls’ idea of a “dream world” would be completely different to mine.  In my dream world a flock of nannies would spirit the kids away, while my very own PA would escort me to my 10am massage appointment before leading me to a brunch meeting with Gillard’s front bench so I could sort out the ETS, the mining tax and immigration.  I would then retire to a sea-side balcony with a scotch and a cigar and reluctantly agree to Martin Scorsese’s pleas that I star next to Scarlett Johansson in his next movie.  The kids’ dream world involves hot chips, an unending stream of lollies and enough adrenaline fuelling stimulants to make the average person’s head spin.  Dreamworld on the Gold Coast only catered to one type of dream.

Dreamworld, much like Dante’s version of hell, is split into different themes.  There’s the World of Wiggles, World of Wildlife, World of Thrill Rides, World of Nickelodeon and World of Family Fun.  And the girls’ were determined to travel the entire universe, including the unlisted World of Endless Queues.  No sooner had we got off one mind-spinning ride than we found ourselves mindlessly queuing for the next.  Whizzing rides, whirling rides, rocking and rolling rides, water rides and “$5 for an ice-cream! Man, am I being taken for a ride” rides.

After five hours inside a world designed to cater for the dreams of holidaying children, I’m happy to report it wasn’t the nightmare I thought it might be.  Maisie and I got to enjoy some great rides together, while seeing Frances frantically waving to me and Susie from her spinning tea cup was a particular highlight. And, for the cost of a small land holding on the NSW coast, we were able to buy a couple of buckets of chips and a round of ice-creams.  Now who said dreams couldn’t come true?

What have you done with the kids these holidays? What is your idea of a ‘dream world’?

#2 smudgiekiss

Posted 12 July 2010 - 04:26 PM

How incredibly old and boring are you?

Who doesn't like theme parks?

#3 Oma Desala

Posted 12 July 2010 - 04:54 PM

QUOTE (kateykate @ 12/07/2010, 04:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How incredibly old and boring are you?

Who doesn't like theme parks?

Wow, that's a bit harsh don't you think?

I can see where you're coming from Joseph.  I've been o a few theme parks with DS and it's really hit and miss.  Sometimes it's great fun for everyone - granted we usually go during school hours so don't have to contend with massive lines.

But we've also had some shockers where we've left within an hour.

Glad it turned out better than you expected.

#4 TK421

Posted 30 July 2010 - 10:05 AM

I love theme parks, and as DS is only 3, I'd like to hold off until he's a little older to enjoy some of the bigger kid rides... right now he's content with carousels and the slower ones dotted around Sydney, but no doubt as he grows, his confidence will too and in no time he'll be riding next to me on roller coasters. I haven't been a number of years, but I imagine it would be quite expensive for entry, though I think there are packages you can get if you plan to do all of them.

#5 NickChris

Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:30 AM

As a gold coast resident with an annual pass to dreamworld, i still got a really great laugh out of this. Especially the ice cream ride! My son is 2, so not old or big enough to go on anything there, really, but its so big and a great place to let him run himself ragged and come home for a nice long nap! I still haven't figured out how families can afford a day there, though?! 10 years of saving?

#6 ~J.E.S.S.I.C.A~

Posted 11 June 2011 - 07:26 AM

We theme parked it up in the April holidays (so about 6wks ago).

By "theme-parking" I refer to Movieworld & Dreamworld. The kids absolutely LOVED every second!! What child wouldn't?

Movieworld, I could take or leave. Especially because we got horrible weather & absolutely drenched for the large part of the day (the things we do for love hey?). Dreamworld on the other hand was a MASSIVE hit for all concerned (including DP - who became a big child again).

I have many fond memories of the theme parks (all 3 of them) from my own childhood, so always knew I wanted to "theme park" it with my own children at least once a year (which was how often we use to holiday on the Gold Coast).

I'm sorry but I just couldn't imagine a childhood without a visit to at least one of the theme parks.

Speaking of which we'll be theme parking it again in the September holidays too, with Seaworld next on our hit list biggrin.gif

ETA: I much preferred Dreamworld because it caters for the entire family. DD2 (18mths) got to ride on about 5 different rides (either with DP or myself) whereas at Movieworld there was nothing really suitable for her, so she spent the entire time in the pram.

Edited by *blossom*, 11 June 2011 - 07:39 AM.

#7 PaulineN

Posted 11 June 2011 - 07:51 AM

Loved your story. Very entertaining. We are gold coasters and we never to to theme parks during the holidays as it is busy enough on a normal weekend, let alone school hols. We have a great day sometimes, but other times it is a real nightmare.

#8 Guest_starbellied_*

Posted 11 June 2011 - 07:56 AM

and “$5 for an ice-cream! Man, am I being taken for a ride” rides.


Great post, very funny and true (We are annual pass holders for both sets of worlds on the Gold Coast).

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