More Cheap San Diego

There were great discoveries we made on this trip.  I love it, because she lives there and knows all the great places and then we stumble upon something so great that neither of us knew about.  It makes it like a vacation for both of us and that’s fun.

Our first stop of the last day was not a new discovery, but when you live in Oregon you have to make a stop at least once when in California. [Read more…]

6 Steps to Planning the Perfect Rollercoaster Vacation

The Beast Kings Island '08

The Beast Kings Island ’08

These steps can also be done with any amusement park, even Disneyland or Disneyworld (although they are open all year long).  I always like to get the most out of my trip, so here is how I go about it.

1.    What is the opening date of the park? Or When Does it Close for the Season?
One of the parks we go to in N. California opens in April.  Since summer vacations haven’t started yet it’s very very empty, thus getting the park to ourselves.  Also towards the end of the season many locals are done with the park and getting back into routines.  The end of the year strategy only backfired on us one time and that was with Kings Island.  Make sure you check days and hours, since many are only open for extended weekends at this point, not necessarily during the week days.

2.    Check the local school calendars and compare them to yours.
I like to do this because I want the park to myself or at least as much as possible to myself.  If the park does open in April and they are open for long weekends I try and go on a Friday for sure while everyone is in school, but plan a 2nd day for the Saturday so you can at least have some of the Entertainment that goes along with park.  I check our days off against theirs and usually I am able to come up with something.

3.    Check Airfare.
Again if you are going on an off time chances are even your airfare will be cheaper.  Not only that, if you have frequent flier miles they are easier to use at this time as opposed to spring break or any other Holidays.

4.    Find out the cost of a Season Pass compared to a Day Pass.
If I am flying into some place we usually plan to stay more than one day.  If that is the case often times it cheaper to buy a season pass than to purchase 2 day passes.  Although look around for coupons or discount on day passes and compare.

5.    Find out what a Season Pass gets you in to.
When you purchase a Season Pass to Six Flags you can go to any Six Flags in the nation.  Only catch is you have to activate it before going to any others.  I say this because the Park in Texas may be cheaper to buy a season pass to than the one in California.  You can purchase both online, but you have to activate it at the park you select as your main park even if it does cost more.  Once activated you can go to any of the parks.  Often times too the Six Flag season pass comes with coupons that you can use for food or even into nearby water parks.

Cedar Fairs you have to purchase a Season Pass to a specific park and then you can upgrade to other parks.  They do tend to cost more, but personally they are my favorite.

6.    Purchase Your Airfare, Buy your Passes Online and Pack Your Bags, and Enjoy!!

Tips for El Cid and Mazatlan

mazatlan, mexico

There were a few things that I had somehow missed when I was reading up on our vacation.  First off I guess we were not allowed to wear shorts into some of the dining rooms.  We went to the Italian place and it said on a sign out front no shorts or flip flops allowed.  Well we were not prepared for anything else, we had brought nothing but shorts for the guys and my daughter and I had capris.  So we entered with our shorts and flip flops, although we looked nice.  There were people that were not dressed nice at all and no one was turned away.  [Read more…]

Review of Mazatlan Mexico

Church in Old Town

Church in Old Town

Ok, we are not fans of Mazatlan.  Its a very loud busy city with lots and lots of traffic.  We chose this place because my daughter found a killer deal and we decided to make the best of it. There is a pretty drive you can take along the coast line through the city. We were able to enjoy that when we went from the Golden District to Old Town Mazatlan.  Old Town was a really fun day.  There are some amazing buildings there and if you walk a ways there is a huge market in which you can buy and trinket, clothing and food you would like.  A few too many pig heads for me, but it was fun and interesting none the less.

The Golden District is a bunch of shops that sell the same stuff over and over again.  Our resort was just on the edge of the Golden District.  We went shopping through there one day and did have an enjoyable time.

The one nice thing about our resort is that even though there is a lot going on in Mazatlan it is really quite where we were.  It’s like we were on our own private island.  That really helped make it an enjoyable time.  But all that to say I don’t know that we will be running back there.  If we found another killer deal like we found this time, then maybe, but I would like to try something new.  I really want to go to Zihuatanejo, Mexico.  This town is the complete opposite of Mazatlan.  Its a quiet, quaint fishing village.  So you will need to watch for that review.

Review of El Cid Mazatlan Mexico

View from our room

View from our room

We were greeted at the El Cid with drinks, which was nice and the kids could not believe it.  From that moment on they decided they wanted to stay forever.

Our room was fine.  There are pictures on the web that make it look much more luxurious that it really was.  But it was fine for us.  We chose the most inexpensive room you could purchase and we were very pleased.  We had a view out of our room that was spectacular. [Read more…]

Mazatlan, Mexico with Vacationstogo.com

What a great trip!  We really enjoyed out experience with Vacations To Go .   They sent us all the info through email, but were also available by phone and we were able to talk with our guy directly and ask questions at any time.  GREAT experience.  We will definitely use them again.

The trip was all inclusive and even included our transfers from the airport to the motel.  We ended up in a taxi going to the motel.  The El Cid was a long was away from the airport.  It took us about 30 minutes to get there.  You really got to see all parts of Mazatlan that way.  All the way from everyday life to the touristy section. When we left the motel they took us in a shuttle van. [Read more…]

Ohio Road Trip

We have only been to Ohio to visit Cedar Point. But this time we decided to fly out of Cincinnati and hit Kings Island for a day or so. So that meant a 4 hour road trip right through the middle of Ohio. We had opened up Cedar Point that day, done a few rides, then hit the road. So as we drove we were looking for a place for lunch. Do I need to say it again…we wanted good food and the search began. We ended up in a town called Bucyrus, and they were having Hobo Days. It was quite fun with a few vendors on the streets. What stopped us was a coffee shop, since sandwiches are a hit at our house this seemed like the perfect place. Plus we are from the NW and we do like our coffee, so had to test it out.

First off it was inside of an antique/amish furniture/gift shop that was all a buzz. At the coffee counter were 3 older ladies taking orders and making sandwiches. We all ordered our favorite coffee drink, and got these great sandwiches with chips and a giant pickle. The whole meal cost us $24. And the coffee was great. We ended up talking with one of the ladies and she found out we were from Oregon and she gave my husband a huge to go cup of coffee, which he thought was really good and very sweet.

Full stomachs and on our way to Kings Island…..

Breakers Express

Well if you read an earlier post you can see that we were pretty grossed out by our room in Hotel Breakers. When we made the reservation we booked it through Saturday, but they told us we could move to another hotel if we wanted Friday night for no additional fee. Not only was it free, but it was so easy. I did the whole thing from my bed.

When you stay on the property inside the park you get a pass to be back there. It has the date that you are leaving printed on the pass. Ours was dated for Saturday, but we ended up leaving on Friday. It’s a much better place to enter at the back of the park, it’s just that the general public can’t park there. But since we had our pass we showed Saturday morning, flashed our pass and parked at the back gate.

Now Breakers Express is so much cheaper. It was $129 after taxes a night on the weekend (in late August). It is newer and cleaner and nicer. It feels like a Holiday Inn Express, nothing fancy, just nice.

It was nice to be there not only to save money, but it just felt better.

Pay Once, Visit Twice *Hurry before it’s too late*

You can’t conquer the thrills and family fun at Cedar Point in just one day…so why not come back for a second day of fun? Here’s how this special ticket works: pay one price of only $52.95 online through June 15, 2008 and visit on the operating day of your choice. Then come back for another visit on any other operating day of the 2008 season. That includes HalloWeekends! Two-visit tickets must be used by the same person and are non-transferable. Purchase your ticket now!

Paramounts Great America, Sunday, April 13th

We started the day again with our GREAT breakfast at The Plaza Suites. The weather was so nice we decided to eat outside.

We actually found yesterday that with the Premium parking you can park really close to the front gate. There are a few parking spots then TONS of handicapped, but just beyond the handicapped there are a lot more regular parking spots. We ended up parking 50 yards from the front gate. Wish we would have seen that sooner.

Today was busier, but still we had the park to ourselves. We ran to the back of the park again. The park opened at 10am and by 10:30 we had done 7 rides.

We snacked, and filled our water bottle multiple times and left the park at 2:00 Caprese Piadine from Tomatinato go eat. The kids wanted In-N-Out Burgers but we wanted to go to Tomatina. I have not tried any pasta, but we have had their Piadines(warm-from-the-oven flatbread topped with cool salads – fold and eat like a sandwich) and Pizza and my mom did have a salad the week before. Today I ordered the Caprese Piadine. It was amazing. Great flavor and very filling. Ryan had had the pizza earlier in a visit and had really liked it, but thought he would try a Piadine as well. He ordered the Chicken Piadine. It was good, but not nearly as flavorful as mine was. The lady next to us ordered the steak Piadine and it was huge and filled with a lot of steak. She couldn’t finish hers.

We didn’t have a motel to go to so we took our time eating and just had some down time, then we went back to the park for one final hoorah…oh and funnel cake. 🙂

By the end of the trip we had riden nearly 75 rides. All because there were no lines.

We got to the airport early in hopes of being bumped, but it was just full not over booked. So we got home at 7:30, had some down time before everyone was off to bed.

It was another great rollercoaster weekend.

I am going to have my kids give a review of the park from their perspective. Those should be up soon.