Cedar Point – HalloWeekends and a 48″ kid

Disclosure: I was given media passes to check out HalloWeekends at Cedar Point. I paid for travel, food and souvenirs. I was not asked to post about my trip, but I am so you can read about an easily-frightened/sensitive child’s visit to HalloWeekends.¬†

As part of her 7th birthday presents I told Matilda we’d be going to Cedar Point for HalloWeekends. In all my life, filled with many dozen Cedar Point trips, I have never gone during HalloWeekends, so I was as excited as she was. But, my sweet girl is also the one so frightened of anyone in costume that she hid in the bathroom when Slider visited the social suite.¬†After much discussion with others we decided that a day at CP would be great, even with a little spookiness.

My sister and her family joined us because I thought that having her older cousins around would help Matilda be a bit more brave in the face of a plastic skeleton. In typical fashion for my family, we arrived about 30 minutes before the gates opened. The kids took the time to map out our day.

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Last year Matilda was only tall enough to ride the Iron Dragon; now that she’s 48″ she had big plans to hit all 8 roller coasters that allow 48″+. We thought a “warm up” ride on the familiar Iron Dragon would be a good start to the day. As we headed to the ride she was nervous – not about the ride but about seeing scary things in the park. 95% of the decor is tame (fake grave yards, plastic skeletons, bats in the trees, etc.) but we had passed two really creepy HalloWeekend billboards on our drive to the park and she was on high alert. What’s up with the terrifying clown fad? It needs to go away – it freaks ME out and she was super-anxious about seeing one inside the park.

She kept her head down and a with tight grip on my hand we got to the Iron Dragon without incident. She was excited to show off her favorite ride to her cousins.

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Then we worked our way back through¬†the Frontier Trail towards the Mine Ride. (Fun fact – my sister worked at the Red Garter Saloon on the Frontier Trail 22 years ago and the menu is still the same.) The trail was littered with pretty cool steampunk-type decor – nothing creepy as the mazes and haunted areas weren’t open yet. We of course stopped to get a photo in the stockade – my brother, sister and I have several of these from when we were growing up.

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We hopped right onto the Mine Ride and Matilda declared it her new favorite. She rode it a few more times throughout the day.

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After that we decided the kids were ready for the Gemini. Again, we hopped right on the ride with little waiting. My sister’s family in the blue train and Matilda and I in the red – we were off to the race! (Fun Fact – the Gemini was my first roller coaster back when I was Matilda’s age. I rode with my sister and about halfway up the first hill I decided I didn’t want to ride so I tried to climb out of the train!) This time Matilda was ready to beat her cousins in the roller coaster race but our train stopped midway up the hill – the blue train kept going. I was in a mild panic about a broken coaster and trying to keep Matilda calm when a park employee walked up the hill to confiscate a phone from the guy in the front seat. He was trying to photograph the ride so they stopped the train to take his phone away! They remind you before each and every ride “For safety reasons, taking pictures, videotaping and filming on rides is strictly prohibited” and they are NOT messing around with that rule.

Anyway – off we finally went on Matilda’s biggest coaster yet! Her face after the first hill was pure white and wide-eyed. She clung to the harness but managed to smile a bit by the end. She said is was scary fun but didn’t want to go on it again. She was more upset about losing the race to her cousins than anything else! She also waited in the short line for the Magnum XL-200 but in the end the sight of that 200-foot first hill had her opt out of riding.

We spent a lot of time on some of the “thrill rides” and this is where having her cousins with us was a plus – I didn’t have to ride any of the “spinny” rides with her (they make me motion sick). So she got to ride to her¬†heart’s content and I stayed nausea-free. We checked out the kid-friendly¬†Howl-O-Palooza area where Matilda¬†literally jumped into my arms as we toured the¬†Magical House on Boo Hill. There was nothing scary in it – it was simply spooky! However Matilda is the kid who will bravely jump off a diving board and ride roller coasters yet freak out at the sight of a ¬†mechanical fake spider dropping down from the ceiling. But while we were in the area we also caught a ride on the Blue Streak, which was just re-opening after a brief rain. I had forgotten how much air time that ride gives you. It’s old but fun!

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These decorations were tame enough for her to enjoy

We had a terrific day and by the end Matilda seemed unfazed by the decorations and knew to simply look away or cover her eyes if she saw something scary. And that was one of the reasons we went…so she could face her fears and learn to deal with them. ¬†A year ago she would have hid under my shirt and refused to do anything, so we’ve come a long way. In the end she rode 4 roller coasters – she really wanted to ride the Corkscrew but it was closed when we were nearby. The Magnum,¬†Millennium Force and Mean Streak will have to wait for next year when maybe those big first hills won’t seem so daunting.

Would I go to HalloWeekends again? Well, Matilda¬†said that while she DOES want to go back to Cedar Point next year, she doesn’t want to go during HalloWeekends. But this was right after telling me that the day wasn’t that spooky! So yes, I would go back simply because it was a great day – no lines, good weather (a few short-lived sprinkles didn’t slow us down), no crowds. There’s no doubt that fall a great time to visit Cedar Point!

Things I’ve Bought Lately

non-disclosure: I bought everything in this post with my own cash, and have no incentive to write about any product except my desire to share my finds with you. Links are not affiliate links. 

Taking a cue from Sarah Lena, I’ve decided to share with you some of the things I’ve bought lately. Just because.

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Swell soap and¬†sea buckthorn oil. I saw this item being discussed on Twitter by a few people who were swearing by it. Apparently it’s the new buzz product being recommended by¬†estheticians around town and it’s now being sold at local-grocer Heinen’s. At first I scoffed at the idea of a $24 bar of soap. Not to mention that I haven’t used a bar soap on my face since I used Clinique¬†in high school. But I kept seeing people talk about it so I checked it out. I was totally rolling my eyes at the hippie-talk on the website but I noticed it’s a local company. Then I ran out of my previous (purchased on clearance at Target) face soap and I Heinen’s had both the soap and oil on sale. So I’ve been using it about 2 weeks now and I’ve noticed an improvement in my skin, especially my pores (not so visible anymore) and the overall tone. So, color me impressed. I would by this again.

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Payless¬†Women’s Claire Scrunch Flat by Dexter. I have finally admitted to myself that I am a flats girl. I’m slowly getting rid of all my heels, including my long-coveted Cole Haan pumps. I don’t wear them. Ever. If I need height I wear wedges. So when Miranda¬†(and someone else, I can’t remember who!) mentioned some Payless flats a while ago on twitter, I ordered some in black. Fast forward 5 months and I’ve worn them every working day and the sole is starting to wear out. So I took advantage of the current BOGO sale and got a new pair of black and this tweed gray. I LOVE these shoes. They are like wearing slippers. I may need to stock-pile some at the next sale in case they ever stop making them.

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I didn’t buy this but Mark gave it to me for my birthday. I was nicely surprised but I’m not a huge cookbook person…I prefer to get my recipes from the web where I can read reviews and reactions. However, I’ve quickly fallen in love with this book. It’s nothing ground breaking, nothing fancy. I’ve described it as “stupid-easy recipes you wonder why you didn’t come up with yourself”. Nothing is odd (no doctored condensed soup, no pre-made ingredients), but every recipe we’ve had so far has been really good and very fast. I’m looking forward to cooking my way through the book.

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Bacon, tomato, basil pasta -so so good!

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Grilled flank steak with corn & bacon salad – yum!

So, have you bought anything fun lately?

Indians Family Social Suite

Earlier in the summer I had applied to attend a Tribe game in the Family Social Suite. I asked to attend this last weekend because Mark is a life-long Mets fan and it was my birthday weekend. I was overjoyed when the Indians told me I was selected to attend and we were looking forward to taking Madman to his first Tribe game.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the Indians know what families want and need and they cater to it. From the Kids Clubhouse¬†¬†to adding the Family Social Suite to the popular Social Suite this year, they are a fantastic organization. Having been in the regular Social Suite before, I was excited to take the kids this time.

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Being selected gets you access to the wifi enabled suite (hello private bathroom!) – everything else is on your own dime. We were in the suite with 2 other families. Friday night was dollar dog night and we were visited by all three of the racing Hot Dogs…I’ll tell you now that Ketchup is very sweet and Mustard is a prankster!

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Mark was “attacked” by Onion and Ketchup as he ate his second Dollar Dog.¬†Not awkward at all to be eating
hot dogs when the Hot Dogs visit the suite.

Matilda, who is terrified of people in costume, hid in the bathroom the whole time.

The game was a good one (GRAND SLAM!), the weather was perfect and the suite had enough space and things to do to keep the kids entertained while we watched the game. (The family suite is stocked with games, puzzles and drawing materials!)

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Madman preferred to watch the game inside the suite on the TV from the comfy chairs, of course. 

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Even Slider made a visit to the suite! 

During the 7th inning we took the kids down to the Rookie Suite¬†where they could blow off some steam while we still watched the game. Seriously, if you haven’t been to a game with little kids in the last 2 seasons, get there ASAP. The Kids Clubhouse is situated so the parents can still see the game while the kids climb, play, and craft.

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Seventh Inning Stretch

When we got back up to to the suite the real surprise of the night happened. We were going to watch the post-game fireworks from a dugout! As soon as the game ended we gathered up our stuff and hustled down to the field with strict instructions to stay off the grass.

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After some family photographs on the field we went into the (sunflower seed shell covered) dugout. It was then that the Mets ball boy (it think it was their ball boy), who was getting something from the dugout, handed Madman a game ball! Mark was just over the moon. The kids were excited because “cool! a ball!” – they have no idea how awesome it is that they got a game ball while in the dugout after a MLB game.

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Soon the fireworks started and we had the best seats in the house, hands down.

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The entire night was unforgettable. We had such a fantastic time with the Tribe. There are 11 home games left as they chase the postseason. Tickets start at just $10 and you can always apply to be in the Social Suites.

I applied for and was granted access to the Family Social Suite. I was not asked to post about the game nor was I given any compensation. I just wanted to write about a fantastic night with the Tribe.