Kings Island Amusement Park Family Fun

When I think back to the summers I had growing up, I think about all the times we went to Kings Island amusement park. I still remember the first roller coaster I rode. It was the Beast. A HUGE wooden roller coaster! When I had the opportunity to receive media passes to take my family to Kings Island, I jumped at the chance. My daughter was just getting into roller coasters and I wanted to take her to the amusement park I loved growing up!

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About Kings Island Amusement Park

Kings Island open in the spring of 1972. Planning for the park began when Coney Island, a popular amusement park along the banks for the Ohio river flooded. Coney Island needed to be relocated, as flooding was something it had to endure due to it’s location. Taft Broadcasting purchased 1600 acres of land to build Kings Island! Interesting little tidbit of information…a public contest was held to determine the name of the park! Currently, Kings Island is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.

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Water Park Fun!

With the price of admission, you not only get access to the amusement park, but also the HUGE Soak City water park! The day we went to the park, it was rather overcast. Our plan was to go to the water park as soon as it opened (11 am…park opened at 10 am). The kids had a blast at the water park! They’ve already said that if we go again next year, they want to spend an entire day at the water park!

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As you can see, my son took the lazy river quite literally! He could have spent all day on Splash River! My daughter and husband loved all of the water slides. Unfortunately, I did not participate at Soak City. I knew I would have too difficult of a time climbing all the stairs without my knee brace. After three hours splashing around in the wave pools and riding on the water slides, we got changed and headed back into the park.

Rides, Rides, and more Rides!

As I mentioned before, my daughter was just getting into roller coasters. Before our trip to Kings Island, she sat on the website and watched videos of all the rides she could and made a spreadsheet of what she wanted to ride. Not even joking! The first roller coast we rode for the day was The Racer. My little dare devil wanted to sit in the front car…so we did! I highly recommend the front car on that ride. It’s so fun!

Banshee amusement park ride
I had no idea that Kings Island no longer had the Son of the Beast roller coaster. While waiting for my daughter and husband to get off Banshee, another guest at the park told me that when Son of the Beast was closed for good, the Banshee took it’s place. This was one of my daughters favorite rides! Her other favorites were Mystic Timbers and the Diamondback (though she did hold her dads hand on that first hill)!

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Food and Other Attractions

When I found out that Kings Island had a Chick Fil-A, I was VERY excited! Living in Michigan, we have a Chick Fil-A on a couple college campuses and at a mall that is rather far from my house so when we are in Ohio, we make sure to stop and eat there! However, I was super disappointed to see that Chick Fil-A at Kings Island did not offer any of their grilled chicken options. They could offer chicken fingers OR chicken nuggets and then add the grilled nuggets. Likewise, they could offer the spicy chicken sandwich OR the regular chicken sandwich and then add the grilled chicken sandwich. For people with gluten/wheat allergies (non-celiac), little things like that mean a lot!

However, we found food to eat and my kids were beyond excited to eat Panda Express! We hung out in Festhaus while it rained. I highly recommend stopping in there. Get a cool drink, eat some good food and enjoy some fun, live entertainment! For those with food allergies or other special dietary needs, be sure to check out this section for more information.

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Final Thoughts

First and foremost, you need to visit Kings Island! I’ve been to several amusement parks and this one is, hands down, my favorite. We went during Labor Day weekend where they have their Dollar Days. Various things like pizza, small drinks, ice cream, etc only cost $1. A few tips:

  • Purchase one of the refillable drink bottles. We bought two. They cost around $15 and you can refill them every 15 minutes for the entire day!
  • Take a look at the meal plans. We didn’t this time, but plan to look into them next time we go.
  • Go for two days. The water park is amazing and you will want to spend all day there.
  • If lines aren’t for you, check out the Fast Lane options.

So…what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Kings Island Amusement Park today! There is still plenty of time to visit the park this year! They are currently preparing for their Halloween Haunt! How fun!

Have you been to Kings Island?

Emergencies to Plan for Before an International Trip

Many people have international travel on their bucket lists. I know I do! Whether it’s a week in Paris or a month in Costa Rica, traveling internationally is as educational as it is exciting. But what happens if you experience an emergency on your trip? Do you have a game plan for that situation? Here are three emergencies to plan for before an international trip.

*This post is brought to you by CopyPress

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Natural Disasters

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Image via Flickr by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Before traveling to your destination country, be sure to educate yourself on what type of natural disasters could happen. Are tornadoes common in the area? What about hurricanes? Although experiencing a natural disaster while you travel may be rare, it’s still important to take precautions in your planning.

Designate a location where your family or friends could meet in case of separation. Pack a first aid kit, a flashlight, and some food. Check in with the State Department for natural disaster information. Also, make sure you have copies of your passports, visas, and travel information so you can leave quickly if needed.

If a natural disaster does strike, seek out evacuation routes. Follow any instructions given by emergency personnel, including the Red Cross. Find a safe place to wait for help. Only eat food and drink water that you know is safe. Avoid downed power lines and flooded areas. Pay attention to television or social media alerts. And, after the natural disaster passes, be sure to check in with your family and friends; they’ll want to know you’re safe.

Terrorist Activities and Violence

Terrorist activities and violence, whether criminal or political, can happen without any notice. The State Department recommends that travelers stay aware while traveling abroad. It’s also a good idea to register your trip with the State Department to receive security messages and travel advisories.

Keep in mind that terrorists look for “soft targets,” such as airports, public transportation, sporting events, and hotels. Be aware of suspicious activity when you are in or around these locations while traveling. Pay attention to the local news. Also, make sure you know the location of your home country’s closest embassy or consulate. Finally, you and your travel companions should stick together. Don’t wander off alone.

Medical Emergencies

If you get sick or injured while you are traveling, having the right protection is important. For example, a membership with MedjetAssist can provide additional assistance to you in case of an emergency. MedjetAssist can arrange air medical transport from the hospital in your destination country to a hospital of your choice in your home country.

By upgrading your membership to MedjetHorizon, you will receive additional protective services in the event of a natural disaster, terrorism, kidnapping, or violent crime. Additionally, you will receive crisis response services including evacuation, legal assistance, and communication with your family members back home.

Although you hope to not deal with a crisis during your international trip to Paris or Costa Rica, being prepared for an emergency abroad will give you comfort. To enjoy your international trip and stay safe while traveling, education and preparation should be on your to-do list.

Cedar Point Amusement Park

For the last few years, my daughter has begged us to take her to Cedar Point. If you are not familiar with Cedar Point, it is an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. The last few summers, it didn’t really work with our schedule to plan a day there. I knew I wanted to take here there. Growing up, I loved roller coasters and I knew she would like them too. We were able to finally plan a trip there last weekend!

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Image via Chrissy Detary

A few days before we took the kids to Cedar Point, a friend of mine texted me to let me know that the amusement park had a fantastic deal going on…buy one ticket get one ticket free! If you have that is not a fan of most rides and roller coasters, like we do, this is the deal to take advantage of. Despite not riding many rides, our son had a fun day at the park. Hindsight being 20/20, we should have gotten that child the food plan. He would have taken FULL advantage of it!

Getting Ready for Cedar Point

The last time I was at Cedar Point, was over 15 years ago. A lot has changed since then. Since we are relatively close, we planned on driving up the morning of and driving home after the park closed. However, after doing that, I would highly recommend getting a hotel room near the park. It was a long, tiring drive home after many many hours at the park, in the hot sun. There are many hotel rooms near the park and, after reading a little on their website, it looks like if you stay at certain hotels, you can get into the park early! Well worth it!

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Things We Packed

Back in the day, when you went to Cedar Point, you always made sure to have a bunch of quarters with you for the lockers. Not anymore! Now you pay one fee for the entire day and you can come and go as many times as you need to. It was perfect for us. We packed a backpack and stuffed it in the locker at the front of the park. The things we took are:

  • Motrin and Tylenol (I have knee issues and we weren’t sure how my knee would hold up walking all day)
  • Sunscreen
  • Power Bankcedar point to charge our phones
  • Long sleeve shirts

As I said, we went to the locker multiple times and it really worked out well for us. The locker cost $15 for the day. I may be old school on a lot of things, but I liked that you could come and go as many times as you needed!

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Rides, Rides, and More Rides!

This was our kids first trip to an amusement park. While our son was not overly enthused about roller coasters and most rides, our daughter was beside herself to be there. The first ride we went on was the Raptor. Back in the day, that was my absolute FAVORITE roller coaster. I was excited to take Bella on it. She was nervous, but had so much fun! She couldn’t wait to go on my rides!

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We went to Cedar Point on a Saturday. It was crazy busy. Being the only day we had available, whatever the ride waits were, we had to just deal with it. However, in talking to a few people that go to the park all the time, they recommended that our next visit be on a Tuesday or Wednesday, as those days seem to be less crowded. Despite the crowds, we still went on everything we wanted to and had a blast. While the Raptor was originally my favorite roller coaster at the park, my new favorite is the Rougarou!

Non-Roller Coaster People

As I mentioned, my son is not fond of roller coasters. Cedar Point has so much to offer for non-roller coaster people! Zack and Bella had fun on several of the “carnival” type rides like the Matterhorn. They also have bumper cars and several areas for smaller children. There is definitely something for everyone at Cedar Point! Not to mention, the people watching is always fun! Both my son and I are total people watchers!

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Cedar Point is definitely a place we will be visiting again. Not only did we have fun (even those of us that didn’t ride much), but they also have Chick Fil-A! For this Michigan gal, I was very excited to be able to enjoy one of my favorite places for dinner! One tip…purchase the souvenir cup. The cup was around $15, but you could refill the cup every 15 minutes! It was definitely worth it. Plus, if I am not mistaken, when we visit Kings Island later in the summer, I believe we can take the cup there for $1 refills!

Have you been to Cedar Point before?

Planning a Date Night in Downtown Detroit

What is your ideal date night? Do you got out to dinner and a movie or bowling? Is it something you do weekly or once a month? A date night is a great way for a husband and wife to reconnect with one another. We sometimes get so stuck in our routines with the kids and their activities that date nights either no longer happen or we fall into the traditional dinner and a movie. Let’s face it…a dinner out without the kids bickering or asking for a phone to play is a welcomed thing, but we need to spice it up. See new things and new places…like downtown Detroit!

Living 30 minutes outside of Detroit gives us a whole slew of amazing things we could do on a date night. After spending the afternoon on Google and checking out all the different things we could do in downtown Detroit, I’ve come up with a list of things I would like to do on our next date day. Notice I said “day”…I want an entire day…not just a night or an afternoon. There’s too much to do! Here’s what I would like to do…

*This post is a partnered post. All opinions and stories are my own. 

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The Eastern Market

If you are a people watcher, then this is the place for you! During peak months, The Eastern Market is filled with over 150 vendors. There you will find a diversity of foods, arts, clothing and other items. I’ve been to The Eastern Market once before and really enjoyed it. The food was absolutely delicious and we went home with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables for a really good price!

Detroit Water Ice Factory

Friends of mine have been talking about this place all summer long. I’ve been dying to go! Water Ice is similar to Italian Ice, but it has a slightly different consistency and different flavors. I personally want to try Stafford’s Strawberry Lemon! Detroit Water Ice Factory was opened by the author Mitch Albom and it is partnered with Albom’s S.A.Y. Detroit family of charities, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, Bedrock Real Estate Services, and Meridian Health. The nice thing about the Detroit Water Ice Factory, besides the water ice,  is that 100% of the profits go to help the needy people of Detroit.

Belle Isle

I haven’t been to Belle Isle since I was a kid! Belle Isle is Michigan’s 102nd state park! The park has a nature zoo, conservatory, golf practice facility, maritime museum, an aquarium, picnic areas and so much more! I would love to go, walk around and just relax while taking in the Detroit and Windsor skyline!

Taqo Detroit

For dinner, I am dying to try Taqo Detroit, an authentic Mexican restaurant. Apparently this restaurant is pretty delicious! If you’re a Tequila drinker, this is where you need to go! They offer over 200 different varieties of Tequila! Not to mention, if you are a money saver like I am, Groupon has a great deal…$18 for $30 worth of food! Can’t beat that!

Greektown Casino or Motor City Casino

To end our evening out, I would like to go to either the Greektown Casino or Motor City Casino. I’m not a huge gambler, but there is something oddly thrilling about the slot machines. I’ve never done it before, but I’d also like to try Blackjack!

So there you have it…there are a few things I would like to do on my date day in downtown Detroit. There is really so many other things that Detroit offers…I could plan SEVERAL date days and still not see it all! Before you head out, be sure to check Groupon for deals!!

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Michigan Renaissance Festival 2015

This past weekend, my family and I were given tickets to attend the Michigan Renaissance Festival. I hadn’t been to the festival since I was probably the same age my kids are now (8 and 11). The second we pulled into the parking, the kids were beside themselves with excitement. A lot of people that went to the show dressed up. Zack and Bella have already declared that wen we go back to the Renaissance Festival next year, they are going to dress up. Bella wants to be a female viking!

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I received tickets to the Michigan Renaissance Festival for the purpose of this post. All opinions are 100% my own, naturally. This post may contain affiliate links.

One of the things I noticed RIGHT AWAY was how different the festival was from the last time I was there. It was so small when I went as a child. However, the festival now is huge! There are a lot of shops to pick up a wide variety of things from period costumes to swords (which my son was really taken with). They also had a lot of food, especially the ginormous turkey legs that the kids just had to have!

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The turkey legs were as good as they looked! Neither kid was able to finish it!

About the Renaissance Festival

Take a time-travel adventure into the 16th century at the 37th annual Michigan Renaissance Festival! Join our Queen Elizabeth in a jubilee! Inside our turreted gates, visitors enjoy the sights and sounds of a 17-acre village, complete with building reproductions of Renaissance shops, taverns and a magnificent castle. Continuous entertainment takes place on the streets and on 17 themed stages; featuring full-contact armored jousting, comedy and theater shows, music, games, people-powered rides and so much more! Fabulous food and more than 300 artisans displaying their gallery-quality works complete the experience! Join us weekends and Labor day August 22nd thru October 4th! Plus Festival Friday on October 2nd.

There truly is something for everyone at the Renaissance Festival. Zack really enjoyed watching the jousting. I have to admit, that was my favorite part too!

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Bella, on the other hand, really enjoyed getting a chance to learn how to use a real whip. For those of you that know my daughter, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise. There is very little this child wouldn’t try at least once!

Each weekend has a theme. This particular weekend was called the “Highland Fling”. There was a bagpipe group their called Tartanic. They were phenomenal. I highly recommend you check them out and if the happen to be in your area, go see their show. It was really good.

All in all, I highly recommend the Renaissance Festival! Like I said at the beginning, the kids hadn’t even walked through the gates before announcing they wanted to come back next year! Definitely check out the website, look at the different theme weeks and see which theme interests you most! Oh and…dress up! You don’t have to, but the people that did really looked like they had a blast!

Oh before I forget!!!

My readers save $3 Off Gate Admission! With this Coupon, receive $3 off an Adult Admission or a FREE child ticket with the purchase of an Adult Ticket. Not Valid with any other offers. August 22nd thru October 4th, 10am – 7pm, Rain or Shine! FREE Parking