How To Conquer A Theme Park With An Uneven Number Of Kids

March 1, 2013 in Family life

The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After my third son was born nine years ago, I wondered if maybe I should have a fourth child. No, it’s not what you’re thinking: It wasn’t to try for a girl. I was worried about having an uneven number of children, particularly when it came to situations like visiting amusement parks.

“Who will Little Dude ride the rollercoaster with?” I lamented to my husband while gazing at our newborn dude.

That concern was not enough to convince my husband to go for kid number four. And maybe the insane cost of college had something to do with it too. So, our family of five is complete. For the most part, it’s not that much different when we had two kids. We can still fit into a regular sedan if necessary, and we can cram into a hotel room that allows rollaway beds. The only time it feels different is when we ski and when we go to an amusement park.

For skiing, depending on the chair lift, we split up as two and three since most lifts accommodate up to 3 or 4 people. For the occasional two-person lift, my husband agrees to ride alone.

An amusement park ride is a different story. Again, some rides fit several people in one row. But, the traditional roller coaster with two seats per row is a problem. Especially when both parents are wimps and refuse to go on it. Yes, that would be us.

We visited Universal Studios theme park last week and didn’t expect for there to be so many scary rides. The studio tour was a piece of cake, but when we got to the Simpsons Ride — which had a big sign in front cautioning people against motion sickness, simulated big drops, and high speeds — I immediately said, “I’m out.” My husband, not a big fan of heights or even simulated heights, echoed me immediately.

Following our lead, Little Dude decided against going on the ride. Problem solved, because I knew it was a two seat per row set-up. When his two brothers returned from the ride, they raved about it, and I knew Little Dude felt regret about not joining them. I resolved to be braver for the next ride so Little Dude wouldn’t be left out.

We made our way over to the Jurassic Park ride, which was essentially a water flume ride with dinosaurs along the way. For some reason, I can handle flume rides – I love them! So, I raced over to the line and declared that this was one ride we could all do together. My husband grew a little pale when he read that there was an 84-foot plunge, but I told him to “man up.” The best part about the ride: all five of us fit in one row. And we all had fun! Except you know that picture they take of you as the flume is descending? Let’s just say only two of us had our eyes open on the way down and it wasn’t my husband or me.

Feeling confident after our wet and wild adventure, we walked over to the Transformers Ride. Again, there was a large sign warning us of simulated spins, drops, and scary images. I knew Little Dude wanted to go, but was waiting for my husband or me to go with him. We both hemmed and hawed and then decided to ask the guy working the line how scary it was. He sensed how hesitant three of us were and offered to take all five of us back to the control room to show us the ride. So, we followed him through some back doors and he showed us the ride on TV screen monitors, where I suppose they watch for any malfunctions (how comforting, NOT). The ride looked harmless enough on the TVs so we all agreed to go. Big mistake. No, HUGE mistake.

Don’t get me wrong: all three dudes thought the ride was “awesome.” And for the first two minutes, it was. But, then the spinning, lunging, and dropping started, all while having these giant transformers come at you, with your 3-D glasses exacerbating the effect. I thought I was going to projectile hurl yesterday’s lunch. I kept my eyes closed for the remainder of the ride, and apparently so did my husband. After the first simulated drop, he began having heart palpitations and thought he was going to need a defibrillator by the end of the ride.

I know that more visits to amusement parks are still to come over the years. And we will be faced with the same problem of having an odd number of people who want to go on the rides. However, I’ve got the perfect solution: Anti-anxiety meds for my husband and Dramamine for me. Then, we’ll be good to go.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Huldie March 1, 2013 at 9:17 am

Oh this was too funny and cute Emily. I am with you on the Dramamine and would needs tons of it to do these rides nowadays. And yet as a kid I loved them, go figure!!


ohboymom March 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Same here…I loved all those scary rides when i was a kid, but now that I’m older, I’ve turned into a super wimp!


Cyndi March 1, 2013 at 10:05 am

You know, I used to go on all these rides, but now…even though I still mountain bike and do the ups and downs, the idea of getting dizzy and twirling and then dropping sounds like a good way to get horribly ill for an entire week. LOL. Kudos to you for looking after Little Dude and humoring him…LOL


ohboymom March 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Same with me…used to be a scary ride master, but now I’ve turned into a scary ride wimp!


Lois Alter Mark March 1, 2013 at 10:56 am

This is why I only had two children! Love this!!


ohboymom March 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Yup, an even number of kids is much easier…I even told my 3 boys that they each had to have 2 Best Men at their weddings because I didn’t want anyone getting left out!


Abigail March 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I would never have thought of this! Although Joel and I love rollercoasters so I suppose it wouldn’t be as big of a problem. Still, if one of us doesn’t want to sit alone I guess we better think about keep our family even. Ha.


ohboymom March 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

These are the things you never think about pre-kids! Thanks for commenting!


Mommyproof March 1, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I love how I haven’t thought about an amusement park in YEARS, but suddenly – now that I and my friends have kids – it comes up almost weekly! (Everything from, “will you go on a trip to Florida with the express purpose of visiting Disney” to “Which amusement parks have alcohol so we can make it a little more fun for US?”) For the record, I am dying to go to harry potter world, but that’s b/c I’m an HP addict.


ohboymom March 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Yes, I think going to Harry Potter world would be really fun…definitely on the list! And I never thought about which parks serve alcohol…good thinking!! :)


clark March 2, 2013 at 7:07 am

Funny. It’s interesting how tastes (in/for) thrills change over time. I have never been one for heights, so as a kid, while I would ride the various other simulated-high-speed-collision rides, I would simply not get on a Ferris Wheel. No way. Not even with the incredibly gorgeous first date girl (and my friends) standing around and asking what is there to be afraid of! lol
But, now I am older, and I still think the idea of simulated-high-speed-collision rides are still attractive. And even after a lifetime of Ferris Wheels *not* breaking free and rolling across the midway, I will still not get on one.
Fun Post. Where are we going next?


ohboymom March 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Don’t worry Clark, plenty of fun in store with my life filled with boys…next stop, Little League baseball tryouts (though I’m not sure I’ll write about something so ridiculous). And, just so you know, you’re not alone with that Ferris Wheel fear. Plenty of people won’t go on one, including my husband.


Kristi Campbell March 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I hear you on the even numbers thing. Even though my son is only 3, when it’s time for rides and such, my husband and I end up taking turns with him. Actually, usually I go with him and my husband fails to take a good photo of us. And I’m with you on the rides…I used to love rollercoasters but now? They make me dizzy and icky. No like.
I’d love to see the pic of the five of you at US with only two of you keeping your eyes open. Sounds like a great trip overall!


ohboymom March 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I was too cheap to buy the photo of us on the ride…but I should have, because it was pretty darn funny.


Rich Rumple March 3, 2013 at 6:54 am

Sounds like your problem is well solved. Drugs are always the answer! lol Seriously, when I was young, there used to be a ride called the Paratrooper. As a friend and I were riding it, we looked up to see one of the two restraining bolts work itself out from its casing. When we finally got the ride stopped, we told the operator about it. He simply shook his head and put the next group in the same seat! Years later, at King’s Island, my wife and I were riding The Bat. The cages were held on to an upper track with four rubber rollers. As we traveled along the track, half of a greasy rubber roller flew off from the car in front of us and landed right on my white shorts. As we got back to the landing, I hollered for the operator to hold the ride in front of us and showed him the half roller remains. He, too, simply shook his head and advanced the ride. Something tells me that from those experiences, some of these rides may not be quite as safe as they’re made out to be. Great post!


ohboymom March 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Sounds like you are still lucky to be here – those were some near-misses, if you ask me. Kind of makes me want to NEVER board a ride ever again! Great stories though, that have clearly stayed imprinted on your brain.:)


Stasha March 3, 2013 at 11:04 pm

I never thought of this before!! My neighbor has 7 and I know she has challenges going to parks and skiing but I never realized 3 being an odd number is just as hard to accommodate! I know all family prices are set for 4 and we get the opposite end of the stick with my son being solo. But you all sure are problem solvers :)


ohboymom March 4, 2013 at 9:17 am

7 kids – wow! I’d say that anything above 4 kids brings a whole new set of challenges, besides the even/odd scenario. Kudos to your neighbor! And thanks for reading and commenting!


Melanie Chisnall March 3, 2013 at 11:43 pm

There are meds you can take for this sort of thing? Yay! I’m with you, Emily. The last time my husband and I went to ride the biggest roller-coaster in Cape Town (the “Cobra”) he made sure we sat right in front. I remember praying during the ride, clutching the seat tightly and humming. It wasn’t pretty. I’ll remember the meds for next time, lol.


ohboymom March 4, 2013 at 9:16 am

Oh yes, those meds are a must for scary rides! :)


Robert Hooke May 24, 2016 at 6:21 am

Hey, great share…..
As a season pass holder to a local amusement park, I will say that it can be a pain. Sometimes we all ride, and dh sits alone, our two oldest sit together, and the little one and I sit together.

Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips to conquer this problem. Keep sharing more….
Robert Hooke recently posted…Things to do in Perth during WinterMy Profile


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