Happy Birthday Mallory! Our middle child turned 12 years old today, and while she is often the center of attention, she took it to the next level today. Her choice of activities today was to visit a Phoenix amusement park – Castles N’ Coasters.
I found Mallory this morning reading in her bed before 8:00 a.m. and she had been up since before 7. I guess that happens when you’re the birthday girl.
We had plans to eat breakfast at Panera Bread, but had to scrap them when we realized Panera hadn’t made it to Phoenix yet. So instead, Cookie Crisp cereal for breakfast!
Stephanie slaved in the kitchen most of the morning making an Oriental Chicken Salad for lunch, and preparing Cheeseburger Soup in the crockpot for dinner. She is making sure we take advantage of the fact we have a kitchen.
While the vacation home we are staying at promoted its wifi, we have had no luck getting it to work. KK spent considerable time visiting with Cox and the home’s caretaker to get it resolved. Before the end of the day, we were able to get the problems resolved, but being without wifi for a few days is quite a blow to a travel blogger.
It is about a 40 minute drive from our home in Buckeye to the amusement park in Phoenix. I wanted to stop at a hotel near the park to see if they had any coupons for the park. We found just what we were looking for, and ended up getting 4 games of miniature golf for free because of our efforts.
We got into the park and were on our first ride by 2 p.m. The first thing we noticed was that there were no crowds. Our first clue was that we parked literally right up next to the park.
Our first ride was a vertical plunge called “Free Fall”. Everybody rode it except Miles. I’m not saying that Miles is a weenie, but he didn’t ride nearly as many rides as his two younger sisters did during the course of the day.
Our next ride was the biggest attraction at the park – Desert Storm. This is a roller coaster with several loops and has some pretty good twists and turns. Marissa rode with me and to say she didn’t enjoy it would be an understatement. I was worried she might be scarred for life, but by the end of the afternoon, she was riding rides with the best of them.
From here, we went from ride to ride and checked them all out. There were literally no lines at any of the attractions we rode today. We rode all of the rides multiple times. The park itself was pretty small in terms of space, but it was laid out very well and it was packed full of rides.
Our family unanimously voted the “Sky Dive” as the scariest ride at the park. This is a 120 foot tall drop tower. It takes an excruciatingly long time for it to ratchet you up to the top, and then you’re dropped back to the ground in just a couple of seconds. The seat of your pants is not contact with the ride during the descent. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
There were multiple roller coasters, a log ride, free falls, a viking ship, a carousel, a magic carpet, ropes course, mini golf, and zipline. The weather was great – mid 70s and sunny – and there were plenty of patrons in shorts. However, once the sun goes down, it gets cold fast.
Miles and I got a chance to play several rounds of miniature golf. This was the nicest mini golf course I have ever played on. Most of the holes had multiple levels, and each hole had its own theme. One hole might feature a Spanish Mission, another Native Americans, and another an old sawmill. There were elaborate structures throughout the course making up these themes.
It should be noted that I whipped Miles’ tail by 10 strokes in the first game, and he rebounded with a 4 stroke victory in the rematch. There were four distinct courses at Castles N’ Coasters and we played half of them.
We wrapped up our evening on the Patriot, which was a smaller roller coaster. I was relieved that by the end of the day, Marissa was exhibiting a lot of courage. She had both her arms in the air during parts of the ride. Yay Marissa!
Mallory had been asking for a second piercing in her ears for her birthday, so as a special treat we went to the next-door mall after we left the park. We found the Claire’s and Mallory hopped right into the chair. Mallory showed her veteran toughness by telling me afterward that it didn’t hurt.
On our drive back to the vacation home, Mallory would repeatedly inspect her ears in the mirror and say, “Look! They sparkle!”.
Once back at the house, we ate a quick bite, then Mallory was lured into her bedroom. There, she found that Scott & Erin had filled her room with 72 balloons! 36 were filled with helium and sat against the ceiling, and the other 36 were scattered on the floor. Her question to me was, “These will all fit in the van, won’t they?”
We finished off the evening with cake & ice cream and birthday cards. She scored some earrings, a hobby lobby gift card and a promised trip to Cabela’s tomorrow!
The evening ended with the family watching bowl games on tv and I was caught catching up on some blogging.
A special Thanks to the Birthday Girl for helping me co-write this blog entry, and staying up till 1:00 a.m. to do it. Love you Mallory!
Best birthday ever!!!! And Dad documented it beautifully! I will read this multiple times over the course of my life.