Not Your Typical San Antonio Travel Tips

San antonio travel tips

Google what to do in San Antonio and you will get a list of ideas. Places to see, where to walk, what to enjoy and just maybe, how to get there. But what about all the great places that the locals enjoy in their city? Where are those places and are they just as fun as the tourist spots? What is the easiest way to get around if you don’t have a car so you can take in those hidden gems. Don’t worry, I have answers for you.

Let’s at least start with a few of the obvious reasons of why we went to San Antonio, then I will get into the stuff that will really help you get around and enjoy your time.
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Getting Ready to Hit the Rides Again

It’s been over year since we have been on a roller coaster. It was last June right before my back surgery. It was so much fun, but it’s been way too long.

We are in the process of figuring out annual trip that we take every year with our kids. Lucky for us the park we are visiting is located in sunny California and it’s open all year long. It has fewer hours in the off season, but it’s still open. [Read more…]

Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations

Well I supposed it depends on what kind of vacation you like but here at what seems to be the Top 1o Summer Travel Destinations for 2011.

10. Seattle, Washington – I do love this place and yes, you do need to go in the summer, due to all the rain. Plenty to see.  [Read more…]

Planning This Summers Roller Coaster Vacation

roller-coaster-vacstion

It’s that time to start thinking about that summer vacation to your favorite amusement park. I am going to take just a minute to recap they ways to save money and the ways to get the most out of your vacation. [Read more…]

Hilton Garden Six Flags Tips and Review

We loved this place and would go back in a heart beat, but you need to be prepared to make it work for you since it is a busy hotel.

First off I went directly to the site and looked for a room with breakfast included for the 4 of us.  With taxes and anything else added it came to $313 for 2 nights.  I did so much better than that.  Check out the whole thing HERE. I did call and have her offer me something a little better, but I did best with package deal.

Since this Hotel is near the park(actually it’s the closest) I figured it would be run down and marginal.  I was so surprised to see that it was not only very nice looking, but it was very clean.  It makes going back to your hotel to rest a whole lot more fun.

Our breakfast was a cook to order, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect there.  BIG TIP:  When we were there the place was busy, but not off the charts busy since we always hit amusement parks in the off season. I am sure during the busy season this place is a zoo and you really, really need to plan accordingly.

This is a sit down breakfast.  There is a pastry/cereal/toast bar plus a fruit bar.  From there you wait for someone to come take your order for hot food which is eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, pancakes and waffles to name a few.  The kitchen cranks it out as fast as they can, but they do get behind. The servers are running like crazy.  DO NOT think you will eat in 15 minutes or less plan accordingly.  It will take some time especially if you have to wait for a table.

I really, really appreciated the shuttle service. I am sure that since they were not super busy that they accommodated us well.  You have to schedule what time you want to be taken to the park and what time you want picked up.  Spots fill up quickly, so book at departures to the park as soon as you arrive.

We had scheduled a pick up, but some other people waiting had not.  Had we not scheduled it, those people would have never gotten picked up, because a shuttle would not have known to come get them.  The nice thing is since the Hotel is so close they can turn around and come back for the next group within 5 minutes.

I am not sure in the busy season how many trips they become willing to take.  They claim one trip every 1/2 hour, but they were doing more.  At $15 a day for parking at the amusement park, this was a great benefit to our hotel.  No other hotels in the area do this.  Not only do you save the $15, but you don’t have to walk all the way from the parking lot or back to your car at the end of the day. Drop off and Pick up are right there by the entrance.

Read  my previous posts to find out what all we did at the park and other ways to “discover” Magic Mountain.

How to Get the Most Out Of Your Theme Park

Want to learn how to really enjoy and get the most out of your theme park trip?  I have some proven tips to share with you.

If you have already booked your trip there are still some tips to help you out.  Even if you can’t use them all there are still some great tips in here to keep you happy while at the park of your choice.

  1. Pack Light – If you don’t have little ones, take as little as you possibly can.  This works great for places like Disneyland, because you can skip the bag check line and pass up all those people.  We load up the boys cargo shorts with things we might need, like snacks, phones, cameras and sunscreen.  You never have to keep up with a bag and in the end, we have never missed the bag.
  2. Be Willing to Eat in the Park – This is a big one for me, because I like good food and good food is hard to find in a park, and it’s expensive.  We try and choose a hotel with a big breakfast, then we pack snacks in hopes of just needing to eat a light lunch.  Try and find healthy food so you don’t make yourself sick and miss out on all the fun of the park. We don’t like to waste time leaving the park and re-entering, so we just try and find something there.
  3. Don’t be Cheap, Drink Lots of Water – Especially during the summer, stay hydrated.  You don’t want to ruin your day and get sick because you didn’t drink enough.  Try asking for a free glass of water at the counters.  I know Cedar Point has to give them out.  Other things we have done in the past is carry a reusable bottle and filled it for FREE at the water fountain.  Our kids also have fond memories of us buying a HUGE water bottle and walking from our motel to the Disneyland entrance, we couldn’t enter until the whole bottle was gone.  That was our way of making sure they started the day hydrated.
  4. Wear Good Shoes – There will be lots of walking no mater what park you are intending on going to, so make sure you have good shoes.  Our family runs from ride to ride, because we keep track of how many rides we can go on during the day and write it down when we get back to the hotel in the evening.   Here’s a comment from my daughter when she wore the “cute” shoes instead of the comfy shoes.
  5. Check School Calendars –  I mention this tip a lot, but it has given us some great vacations.  You pay so much money to go, you might as well try really hard to find out when the area is out of school or when they go back.  We have done Cedar Point late August a few times because they had gone back to school and we hadn’t yet.  We also hit the California parks once we get out, but before they get out.  We almost always use this tip.  You can see from the picture above, that April is a great time to go to Great America in California, we had the place to ourselves.

Games to Play While Standing in Amusement Park Lines

Cedar Point ohio

I only bring this subject up because summer is approaching quickly and for those that can only go during the summer you must endure the lines and therefore you must have a plan.

I was reading on another blog about a Disneyworld vacation and he mentioned what they did to keep the kids occupied while in line and it made my think of our games we “invented” for a lack of better words.

So here are a few Coaster Family games to play while standing in line.

  1. Don’t stop moving. This one is funny as we sometimes get into peoples space making ourselves laugh which also is a good time waster.  The way this game works is you take the smallest steps possible and you never stop until you are at the front of the line.
  2. The Alphabet Game.  Pick a topic and go through the alphabet saying something within topic.  We usually do music, so we have done artists, bands and song tittles.  You can change things up for adults and do 70’s songs(if you need the challenge) and you can also do this with little kids naming animals. If you get stuck you might need to ask someone in line.
  3. Guess how many more coasters come buy before you get on.  This works well if you can see the coasters coming and going.  Then you count.  This is good in conjunction with the other games.  Winner chooses their seat.
  4. Risky places to bounce a super ball.  Yep, it’s exactly what you think it is. We get a super ball (or 2) and bounce it on the ground.  Sometimes the ground off to the side is a ramp leaving a ride.  It’s funny to have people watch you and they will help you rescue your ball.  We like to see how long one ball will last.  It can last up to a day or two.  Bonus:  We entertain those around us.
  5. Rock, Paper, Scissors.  It’s simple, but fun.
  6. Photo Guess.  We take a camera everywhere we go, so my husband made this game where we all had to turn our backs and close our eyes and he would take a super close up of something right there in line and we would have to figure out what it was.

I saw a blogger suggested in his post that kids should take along handheld gaming systems to keep them from getting bored.  I couldn’t be more against that idea.  We have been taking our kids on roller coaster vacations for years and we have stood in a few lines here and there.  It’s a time to talk, to hang out, to be together.  I have to deal with video games enough, I don’t want that during vacations too. Plus I am not going to carry that thing for them.

What other games have you played while standing in line?  I know you have all gotten creative at some time or another.

FREE Admission to Armed Forces

Cedar Fair is doing something special to honor the military and that is giving them FREE admission to any of their parks.  For Memorial Weekend, May 30 and May 31 also  the 4ht of July weekend, July 4 and July 5 Military can get in for  FREE. This for active or retired military.  You just need your Military ID to get in.

It doesn’t stop there.  They are also offering discount tickets to immediate family(max 6) those days as well.  For all the details check it out HERE.

Check out the 14 parks you can choose from.

Thanks for all you do!!!  Enjoy your day of fun with your family.

Vacation Memories- Through the Years

As I have stated many times and as you can tell by my blog name we are a roller coaster family.  It is something we truly enjoy and something we have done for years.

The memories we have created are priceless.  We started when my son was in 1st grade and last year, as a 7th grader was the first year we missed a coaster vacation. It’s my fault. It’s not a money thing, it’s a back thing, like I need back surgery. I managed to get myself around the park as long as I could, but eventually I needed surgery. It was the standing in line that hurt the most, the coasters never bothered me.

Biggest bummer?  Our kids still love doing that vacation with us and our time with them is running out.  It kills me.  But in honor of Mother’s Day and my favorite vacations with my kids, I give you:

Through the Years

Great America ’03

Disneyland ’04

Great America ’05

Six Flags Valencia ’05

Magic Mountain ’06

Great America ’06

Cedar Point ’07 – Maverick

Great America ’08

Great America ’08

Cedar Point ’08 – Top Thrill Dragster

Kings Island ’08

Update ::  We didn’t make it to the park in ’09, but we did manage a trip in 2010!!!

Goliath at Six Flags Magic Mountain 2010

Millennium Force Ride Night

Oh how I wish we lived close enough to take advantage of things like this:

“We invite all Platinum Passholders to join us this Thursday, July 24 for the rescheduled Exclusive Ride Time on Millennium Force. Ride time begins shortly after park closing and lasts for one full hour. You must present your Platinum Pass to enter the line. We sincerely apologize for last week’s cancellation, and we hope to see you Thursday!”