Quest for Fun

Sorry for the delay getting this entry up, but I had to wait for John Travolta to swing by my place and stab me in the heart with an enormous, adrenaline-filled syringe … because I overdosed on fun this weekend.

(Sunday and Monday, actually, but “I overdosed on fun this past Sunday and Monday” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely as “weekend,” so I took a little poetic license back there. My blog, my rules.)

Yes, Wonder Woman and I took the kids on an adventure of epic proportions — a 33-hour bonanza packed with more fun and excitement and joyful family bonding than I previously had thought was humanly possible in such a short span of time.

It all started earlier this summer, when Wonder Woman and I realized that our grand plan of taking the kids to Disneyworld this fall wasn’t going to happen, since it seems that the Disney Corporation doesn’t consider as sufficient payment for such an excursion the promise of a guaranteed look of joy on my children’s faces upon their entry into the The Magical Kingdom. No, that Mickey is a selfish little cocksucker who answers only to the call of the almighty dollar, and he expects us to pay for airfare and lodging and admission to the park and souvenirs and snacks and meals, and so fuck you, you greedy little rodent, I’ll take my children’s mirth and joy elsewhere, and then you’ll be sorry, now, won’t you, you money-grubbing ratfuck?

Whoah. Sorry about that; the Mouse and I apparently have some issues to work out. Let’s save that for another time, though, shall we?

So, as I was saying …

’Round these parts, when you’re too poor to take your children to The Happiest Place on Earth, you take ’em to the Slightly Less Happy But Infinitely More Affordable Place In New Hampshire — a.k.a. Story Land.

We left our house at about 7:30 on Sunday morning and pointed the car toward the White Mountains of New Hampshire … and, as usual, our roadtrippin’ kids did a great job of tolerating the two-and-a-half-hour drive … especially considering that we misjudged it and told them it would be only two hours. Oops.

On Saturday, Mother Nature directed the streams from a thousand fully charged firehoses through a thousand turbine engines aimed diagonally downward, and do you know how happy I am we decided weeks ago to do a Sunday/Monday trip instead of a Saturday/Sunday trip? Because on Sunday, Mother Nature flipped open her recipe book to the page titled “How To Make The Most Perfect Day Ever,” and whipped up such a huge batch that there was plenty left over for Monday. Yes, it was that beautiful out.

Now, I don’t know if it was just because we were under the spell of the spectacularly spectacular weather, or the gorgeously gorgeous grandeur of our White Mountain surroundings, but I have to say that, overall, Story Land impressed the hell out of me. No, it wasn’t Disneyworld by any stretch of the imagination … but the degree to which Story Land isn’t Disneyworld is infinitely smaller than the degree to which the cost of going to Story Land differs from the cost of going to Disneyworld, and, with that in mind, our mini-vacation was a downright bargain.

Despite having grown up in New England, I’d never before been to Story Land, so I had not a clue what to expect — and, therefore, set my expectations extremely low. I was thinking something along the lines of a petting zoo with a few broken-down-looking goats and a couple of lame-ass, carnival-style rides — so imagine my surprise when I opened the map of the park and saw this. Suffice to say, the place turned out to be a more than passable Disneyworld substitute for our 6-year-old and 4-year-old. I mean, look at the oodles of fun they had:

Story Land, 08.30.09

Story Land, 08.30.09

Story Land, 08.30.09

Story Land, 08.30.09

Story Land, 08.30.09

Story Land, 08.30.09

Story Land, 08.30.09
(Note to prospective parents: when your children do something such as pose in the manner demonstrated above, you will momentarily forget about all of the child-related chaos and bullshit that generally fills your day. Savor it.)

And here we see them busting a move in one of the many rain tents located throughout the park, in any one of which my apparently amphibious son would have spent the entire day:

Story Land, 08.30.09

They also enjoyed stopping at the top of the ferris wheel:

Story Land, 08.30.09

So, yes, it turned out Story Land was more than up to the challenge of entertaining our little family.

But it wasn’t just the sheer size and scope of the place that surprised me; it was how well-maintained and clean it was. Hell, when I walked into one of the restrooms, there was a college-age employee diligently spraying with disinfectant the already immaculate walls and urinals. (Being the germophobe that I am, I considered this my honorary Ride of the Day.)

Story Land wasn’t the only thing that impressed the hell out of me this weekend; Zan’s display of cojones did, too.

Yes, my son — who, as documented in “My Summer Vacation, Part IV,” was traumatized by his experience aboard an inappropriate-for-his-age ride that we inadvertently placed him on last year — came up big by deciding he wanted me to take him on Dr. Geyser’s Remarkable Raft Ride. This was, by far, the most grown-up ride he’s ever been on, and though he clearly was experiencing some serious nerves as we waited in line, he was adamant about wanting to do it, so I just played along and tried to keep him upbeat and in the zone … you know, by saying things like, “I’m almost positive we won’t drown” and “Hey, how long can you hold your breath underwater?” (I’m just kidding, assholes. I kept it lighthearted as all hell, and happily held his hand for the entire ride, per his request.)

Story Land, 08.30.09

Story Land, 08.30.09

The hardest impact we encountered took place early in the ride … and, of course, the majority of the concussive force converged on his seat; if he hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt, I’d still be looking for him. Fear flashed across his face for a moment, but I helped him laugh it off, and he recovered quickly.

It turned out that there weren’t any subsequent collisions of that magnitude … but there was water aplenty.

Story Land, 08.30.09

By the time we got off the ride, I was soaked, and he was jacked up on an adrenaline rush brought on by both the ride itself, and the post-ride realization that he had conquered his fear. Perhaps to prove to himself that it wasn’t just a fluke, he later dragged Mommy back onto the ride for a second pass — and again declared that he loved it. Thatta boy, dude.

And that wasn’t the only bit of extreme boundary-pushing my boy did this weekend; just wait till I tell you about Monday …

To be continued …

I know, I know: yet another cliffhanger. Sorry; Zan starts first grade in seven hours, and I really need to get a little shuteye between now and then. Hang in there; I’ll make it worth the wait. And, hey, here’s a little bonus Scratches Family at Story Land photo to tide you over … because I give. That’s what I do. I’m a giver.

Story Land, 08.30.09

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  1. Deanna
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    Storyland!! I grew up in Portsmouth, NH and between there and Canobie Lake Park, that little Floridian rodent can go screw himself. Those trips were the best!

  2. Posted September 2, 2009 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Aaaaww cute!!!
    (Apparently ‘Aaaww cute’ is too short for a comment, so I made it a bit longer)
    .-= Jo´s last blog ..A trip to the city… =-.

  3. Posted September 2, 2009 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Okay the rodent comment made me chock on my coffee, since I’m off very soon to make my contribution to the Walt Disney company bottom line. But that being said so far with are son some of our best trips have been the low cost stay local places. But it has been awhile since we had a family trip so why not go see the rodent….. Love that will definitely be muttering that under my breath when we are there.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Who are your life long friends? =-.

  4. Melanie
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    But have you conquered Santa’s Village yet? THAT is the question!

  5. Posted September 2, 2009 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Ha! Loved that Mickey comment. I’ve always thought their underground workings were a little suspicious. Quite a racket going on I think.
    .-= Mary´s last blog .. =-.

  6. Stefanie
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Going to Disney in October. Will make sure to tell the Mouse you say hello!!!! HA HA HA. I agree, had it not been for some hefty discounts wouldn’t be going either.

  7. Posted September 2, 2009 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Haha, that was some serious rage. And I love that you wanted to save more for a later time, like there will be a 1,000 word post on the hatred you feel for Mickey Mouse and his evil, capitalist ways.
    .-= Joe´s last blog ..The Things I Hate and Love About Being the Guy =-.

  8. Posted September 2, 2009 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    All your kids will remember is the fun they had and how awesome their parents are. Great choice!
    .-= Lauren From Texas´s last blog ..Hodgepodge. =-.

  9. Krissyn
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    That is so awesome. Having lived in New England my whole life I never went to Storyland as a kid either. We took our kids every year, sometime twice when they were small. It has to be the best around. We also took in Santa’s village. I am sad that my (college age) kids are too big to go because we miss it so much. They will always remember these trips, my kids still do

  10. Posted September 2, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    That place looks pretty darn awesome… Mickey will just have to deal with that. Unfortunately for us Florida-folk, we don’t have many cool smaller parks like that because nobody thinks that anybody would go to them because Orlando is only 3 hours from just about anywhere in the damn state. You guys are lucky ducks.
    .-= Casey´s last blog ..Pineapple Project: How to Grow a Pineapple =-.

  11. Lex
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    That is pretty impressive! Usually places like that do suck lol
    Good for Zan!

    We have found with Disney Land/World that it is more affordable you stay in small hotel that isn’t owned by Disney and buy your food at like Walmart. You are looking at over 100$ a day easily if you eat in the park. It is a shame it is so expensive.. :(

  12. reen
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh oh oh!!!!!!!!! I *KNEW* you were talking about StoryLand yesterday. Yes, I am jumping up and down and clapping my hands!

    I went to StoryLand every summer as a kid and then The Evil Mouse’s Empire once too…and let me tell you from experience, your kids are going to have every bit as many wonderful memories about this place, if not more. I adored the swan boats! Did they get to ride in the pumpkin coach to Cinderella’s Castle? (And how is it that after all these years they can still call it that without Ratfu – uh, Disney legal beagles getting all up in their business?)

    Looks like a perfect day for the Scratches family!

  13. Posted September 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that looks amazing. We took my little bro to Disneyland when he was 5 and EVERY SINGLE RIDE TERRIFIED HIM. Pinocchio? Terrifying. Alice in Wonerland? Terrifying. That kid was scared of the happiest place on earth!

  14. traci
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Found you through PW, we live 2.5 hours from Storyland as well. My hubby calls it the poor mans Disney. My kids love going to Storyland and the Bamboo shoots is the family favorite.

    Glad you had fun and glad I found your blog.

  15. Lopez
    Posted September 3, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Wow!!! You used “Mickey” and “cocksucker” in the same sentence. I think the ghosts of Disney past will be visiting you in your sleep.

    I live in the Midwest, so reading about your East Coast excurstions is very interesting!

  16. Posted September 3, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh man, do they still have that show with the singing vegetables? I remember taking the nieces and nephews there and was impressed how interactive and clean the place is. A slice of Americana!
    .-= meg´s last blog ..Some new outfits for back to school…. =-.

  17. Posted September 3, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Squee! Picture of the kids arms wrapped around each other…priceless! And dude, I hope you’re sleeping with one eye open – THE MOUSE has people. I’m just sayin’.
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..I Can Feel It, Coming in the Air Tonight… =-.

  18. Desiree
    Posted September 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like fun! The only time I’ve been to New Hampshire it was dark (driving from Quebec to Boston, I think). Anyway, glad you & Zan survived the ride! My sister worked at a theme park in high school, and their river rafting ride was shut down after one of the boats capsized. Glad you survived.

  19. Posted September 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Damn that is funny. Never heard Mickey referred to in that way but I am laughing so hard now.

    Glad you found a place to take the kids that doesn’t include selling your organs. Here in Idaho, we have an amusement park called Silverwood. A few good rides, mostly just carnival type stuff with a few cool coasters thrown in. But the fun we have there!

    Got here from PW’s blog. I think I will be checking in with you more often. :)
    .-= Dawn´s last blog ..It’s been a while… but oh the things that have been happening! =-.

  20. Posted April 3, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Nice post and All your kids will remember is the fun they had and how awesome their parents are. Great choice!

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