Last Thursday we “spontaneously” (for us, we are typically planners and this day trip was only conceived a few days in advance) trekked up to Federal Way, WA for a day of family fun in the sun. Does that sound like a Wild Waves ad? Cheesy though it may sound, we had a blast. Water slides, wave pools, rides, sunshine, and lots of family bonding. I’m so glad we weren’t scared off by the 2.5ish hour drive (each way!) or the less than favorable reviews.
Before we left I did some research on the history of the park. I was having a hard time balancing such horrible reviews with my childhood memories of Enchanted Village in the early to mid 90s. I found out that the park was purchased by Six Flags in 2000 and had changed hands a few years after that. Basically it was not given the attention it deserved and needed for a decade. In 2009 and 2010 I can imagine the park itself, and experiences had there, reflected its state of neglect. I’m happy to report that this year Wild Waves was purchased by its former owner and I think there are some great things in store for the theme park.
Our decision to drive practically to Seattle for a day of rides was spurred by the fact that our local amusement park, Oaks Park, doesn’t open until noon! For us, it seriously made [a bit, somehow] more sense to spend three hours on the road to get to a park that opened at a more reasonable time of 10am.
We left home about 30-45 minutes behind “schedule” at 7:30. Both girls were champs in the car. M&M had woken up early that morning (5:45) so she had two naps on the way up. We made one stop at, Subway about half-way there, for breakfast. Our destination was actually a surprise to Dot but we began filling her in on the details with an hour to go when she got really antsy.
We had hoped to get there before the park opened, but didn’t arrive until closer to 10:30am. This was actually no biggie, we were able to park fairly close to the entrance and lines throughout the day weren’t bad at all. Granted, it was a weekday and for the most part we stayed off the big ticket attractions. But it was sunny! The weather forecast was a high of 76 degrees after about a week of dreariness and rain. The sun may have defintely brought some people out.
Once we got in the whole day was a whirlwind. We didn’t stop until it closed at 7pm. We first spent time on the waterpark side. Dot went down the not-so-little water slides in the kiddie area and moved on the the adult ones (she is exactly 42″ tall, the cut-off for a lot of the attractions. She can’t wait to go back when she hits 48″!) no problem. Tony and I took turns tending M, who also loved, loved, playing in the water.
Around noon or one we headed over the what was formally Enchanted Village. We snagged a spot on the big grassy hillside when we unloaded our towels and extra clothing. We didn’t rent a locker, but we also had a stroller that we put to good use! M took not one, but TWO, naps in the stroller throughout the day. It was so exciting (and relieving) to embark on an all-day family outing that didn’t massively screw up our/her schedule.
We ate lunch and the food was good. It wasn’t cheap but neither was it horribly expensive. I was nervous/annoyed about not being able to bring food it, but I managed with a burger w/o a bun. Not the most Paleo-friendly but I made do. By the time we left we were all starving and grateful for the lunches I’d packed and stowed in the cooler in the car. We ate dinner as we waited to exit the parking lot.
Dot loved, loved the grown-up rides, yet still appreciates the kiddie ones. She was pretty bummed to not be tall enough for any of the really fun looking roller coasters. But she handled it super well and had a blast discovering the Octopus, the Gambler, and The Paratrooper.
The last is the ride I have the most vivid childhood memories of. As in, I loved it. I went once with Dot and that was enough. Oh my word. It was high. It was fast. And it was freaky. She thought it was the best thing ever though, saying we were “flying like Peter Pan.”
Tony and I were good sports about accompanying her, but in the future we may need back-up! Girl just has no fear. Not only does she go on the rides, she does it without an ounce of nervousness or trepidation. And what does she want to do the whole time?
Lord help us when she’s older.
Dot’s favorite ride was an old fave of mine (but I’m thinking pre-teen years). The Pirate Ship. I went with her the first time and was so thankful for my sunglasses hiding the fact that my eyes were squeezed shut the entire time. I was grasping Dot’s hand (as she tried to raise it) and she kept shaking me off and screaming in glee. Crazy kid. She lives for anything that “gets her tummy.”
After having our fill of rides (and I’ll admit it was a kiddie one that sent me over the edge to Wannapukeville) we watched the high-dive show, re-sunscreened up, and headed back to the water side. Dot went over and over down the slides with the inter-tube and M enjoyed sitting and splashing in the kiddie area. I’ll also add that I nursed her openly, in the pool, on two occasions and nobody so much as batted an eye. Kudos to Wild Waves for being breastfeeding-friendly.
One of the highlights of our day was the thirty or so minutes we spent in the wave pool as a family. Both girls are just little fishes–they can’t get enough. The water was warm. The sun was shining. At that point it was past 5pm so there was a fuzzy exhausted edge to our happiness. It was one of those moments that you stop and notice because you know you’ll treasure it always.
We just had a great time. I’m so glad we did it and I’m glad that I’ve now taken the time to write a bit about it. Much like my somewhat exhaustive Disneyland recaps, I know that cementing these experiences will ultimately be worth the hour or so they take. Bonus points if they turn out to be helpful for someone else.
Our ride home went as well as our ride there. No surprise no-nap Dotter slept nearly the whole way (though we did spend a good forty-five minutes going over and over and over everyone’s favorite everything before she drifted off) and even M conked right out.
We stopped once to nurse the little one and arrived home about 11pm. Dot slept until 8:30 the next morning. Perhaps the latest my early bird has slept in her life 🙂