Although a bit blurry, this ended up being one of our favorite pictures as the laugh on our
daughter’s face just warms our hearts as she is being “dropped” down the ride! This is
our 7-year old daughter and almost 6-year old son, number 2 &3 in the lineup!
We like to listen to radio talk shows, sermons and lectures at night when we are winding down and too tired to read. So on Wednesday night, we were listening to a radio show about family time, vacations and enjoying those precious times and that the favorite part of any vacation was seeing the joy and fun your children are having – that is more fun that the experience that you alone get! It was so timely to hear this radio program on this topic since we were in the heart of our Staycation. Even though we didn’t leave town, even though we didn’t have a road trip or flight, even though our home was our hotel, we had a super awesome vacation! Our children has so much fun, they laughed, they played, they danced in the ride lines and we all held hands and slid down the giant water slide at the waterpark laughing as the waterfalls above drenched us even before we hit the water at the bottom! Precious memories, precious moments, precious smiles, precious family time!
With that, yesterday was the final day of our Staycation 2012! We have had an awesome week and sharing with you our adventures we have had all this week! Well on our last day, we had the “grand finale” if you will. We went Lagoon Park! It is a park that Alex and I were well familiar with in our “unthrifty days” in that we use to go several times a year, just on a whim whenever we felt like it, paying full price with no question. Well, if you can recall from our story, once we found out we were expecting our first child, it helped to wake us up to the reality of our financial situation. We haven’t been to Lagoon in nearly 9 years.
The last couple of years, we’ve talked about budgeting and planning to plan a family trip to Lagoon, but wanted to wait until the kids were a little older to enjoy it! So when we talked about our vacation this year and how we were going to make it a Staycation, the kids mentioned the park that they can see from the freeway and pass as we head into the big city (a couple of times a month).
We thought it would be a great idea. Even if they all couldn’t ride the big rides, they have a waterpark, and we had also heard that they invested millions into the kids ride area with new rides and updates a few years ago. So knowing that there would be enough in a day to do with all of that at least, we decided to try and make it work as the big adventure of our Staycation.
Here are a number of photos of us on rides! Don’t mind my frazzled hair and look! The top left photo was shortly after the waterpark and the water rides where my hair just kept ruined and I looked frazzled, even though I was having a super time! Check out the super close-up zoom of Alex waving from on top of a roller coaster. He was really high up, you just can’t tell from the close-up 🙂
We must say, wow, in the 9 years that we have not been there, they have added a ton of rides and attractions! They had tons many years ago, but it was overwhelming just how much there was to do now! We did spend a bit of time in the kids area! The rides were a ton of fun. One of the best memories and times was that our three year old rode every ride that she could possibly ride from roller coasters to water rides! She laughed so hard all day long that it is a memory that is forever written on my mind! I loved seeing her get so into the rides and the fun. I say this because she was the most brave rider of all – even over her three older siblings!
One of the best parts was that we chose a super day to go, the weather was pleasant on the warmer side, but not scorchingly hot! The crowds were at a minimum – which meant that we walked onto most every ride with the maximum wait of 10 minutes for the most popular rides! It was fabulous! We got there when they opened and we stayed until 15 minutes before closing.
The crazy part is that with all of those factors in our favor, Alex and I were discussing that we probably only rode 40% of the rides in the park – and we were riding all day! In fact, we would both say that there seemed to be a lot more rides than in Disneyland (we shared how our vacation in 2010 was to So. Cal and included Disneyland and the details of how we saved in our series HERE – please note, this is the last article in the series, but the links to the other parts are in the bottom). Sure, Disneyland may have a lot more non-ride attractions overall, but it was a ride-packed visit this time! They do have rides that I rode once and will never ride again in my life (like the Cliffhanger and Samurai)
They also have some really cool historic aspects to the park – they have the classic white roller coaster. It is the 6th oldest still working roller coaster in the world at 91-years old! They also have a carousel that is 110 years old with the same original artwork! I love history and so I found these facts fascinating!
One of our favorite rides was the Rattlesnake Rapids! We ended up riding it twice as the kids LOVED it! Plus I also said, “since we are already wet, if we wish to go again, we should go now.” But it certainly wasn’t pulling teeth to do it again! If you are familiar with Disneyland, this ride would be like the Grizzly River Run in California Adventure.
Now this was a favorite ride of our kids and myself, but we can’t get Alex on it! He hates to get wet in regular clothes. He actually isn’t the biggest fan of swimming in general (unlike me ;)) so he sat this one out with Baby Josiah! They just watched us get soaked! I love this picture as it shows just how wet and how much fun we were having. We did dry after a short time, but our tennis shoes and socks stayed wet all the rest of the day – that was the only downside!
One of my personal favorite places of all of Lagoon is the water park that is in the middle of the park! We didn’t get pictures once we entered because we locked our camera up, but this is a super fun water park! We were there for a few hours in the middle of our visit yesterday. We floated around the lazy river several times, we slide down the kiddy water slides, and had loads of fun! I ran around with the older three and daddy hung out in the wade pools with the younger two! I can stay there all day if it were up to me! If you ever go to Lagoon, this is one part to try and include as its included in your ticket price.
So it was a fantastic day and fantastic way to end our 2012 Staycation. But, I will say, that when we were in the planning phase, after not noting the ticket prices for 9 years, it was a bit of “sticker shock” to see the price of a one-day pass! $44.95 per day!
We have shared tips on how to find discounts and we put the discounts to the test for Lagoon. There are date night Buy One Get One free entrance tickets after 5pm on Friday and Saturday nights, which is a good discount, there were lots of $5 off coupons we found and also special days sponsored by a local tv station to get 1/2 price tickets. All of those were great, but either at the wrong day/time and we really, really did not want to go on a Friday or Saturday to be with all the crowds.
So the next best discount was with Costco where we could buy “fully refundable” tickets for $37.99. We needed 5 of these. So we did something that we have shared on our site multiple times, plasma donation to make a little extra cash!
Even at $37.99, it was a little out of budget for our staycation plans, so in the couple of weeks leading up to yesterday’s adventures, Alex donated plasma to help pay for the tickets! We had a coupon that had come in our local coupon mailer where you will receive $100 with two blood donations. So since we discussed that this was a place we really wanted to go to, Alex made it happen by donating blood! Just as we have discussed before, you can make around $240 per month per adult in your household by donating plasma. Most often, you will be paid $25-$30 per visit – but this $100 in 2-visits was a special promotion to make even more initially! Watch for those promotions in your local area too! We talk more in depth about donating plasma HERE.
There is Alex with his $100 coupon in hand to pay for our
Lagoon Park tickets by donation plasma!
Catch Up with our 2012 Staycation with the links below: