Ten Rules to Enjoy Six Flags (or Any Theme Park, Really) and Not Leave Angry

With fall quickly approaching, I’ve found myself dreaming of a trip up to Six Flags for Fright Fest. Okay, I’m actually dreaming of a weekend getaway to Walt Disney World, but Brian did that 3 years ago, and he isn’t quite ready to go back yet…we’re working on that.

I don’t know if I can rock the coasters right now because of my back problem, so I’m not sure if we’ll head up there this season or not, but a girl can dream. I love wandering around a theme park when the weather is cool, and you can wear yoga pants and a hoodie at night while you ride your favorite coasters. You don’t have to make up excuses not to go on the water rides, and no one is sweating their balls off.

When I do make my way to Six Flags, I always try to follow these very important rules to make the most of my experience. It’s a way to sort of roll with the punches that the underpaid cast members are throwing.10 Rules to Making the Most of a Theme Park Visit1. Buy your tickets in advance. Find the cheapest coupon code you can. Seriously. That shit is expensive, and they usually have cheap codes hidden among the interwebs. Or on cans of pop. Plus tickets are usually less costly online. At Six Flags, we’ve paid as little as $37 each for 3 people with tax, surcharges, and parking.

  1. Don’t look at the food or the prices from the vendors. You know the food is crap, and the prices are likely to be exorbitant. There is an exception to this, and that’s at Disney World, with their fancy restaurants and amazing food options. Pack a lunch, head to a local restaurant, stop at your fave fast food chain…

  2. Find out about money-saving promotional stuff. If you fail to follow rule number 2, use your Discover card (or whatever card they’re partnered with) and save 5% every time. That shit can add up.

  3. Tap water is free. Utilize that, people. Brita filtered water bottle are a bomb way to make that happen.

  4. Know the best rides. If you make it a point to get on your favorite rides first, you’ll be able to cheer yourself up and ride them again later after you’ve made some bad choices by standing in line for a crappy ride that breaks down all the time. Raging Bull is still the best roller coaster at Six Flags Great America. Ride it first. The Whizzer is a classic, and so fun at night.

  5. Understand the schedule. Don’t plan to get there at exactly opening or you’ll sit in long-ass lines to get into the parking lot. Instead, aim for 30 minutes before the park opens or a couple hours afterward. Leave 30-45 minutes before the stated closing time. You’ll be at the bar with a cocktail in your hand while the rest of those bozos are still sitting in the parking lot. If you’re rocking out at Fright Fest…Monsters don’t come out until 4 or 5. Plan accordingly.

  6. Don’t overdo the Dramamine. If you get motion sick or vertigo after you’ve already taken the maximum dosage of the super powerful non-drowsy meclizine…sit the next coaster out. Trust me on this one. I took 3 pills in 12 hours (max recommended is 2 in 24 hours), and I was out of it for 3 days. Loopy, dizzy, and sleepy. I felt like I was drunk. For three days. And not the good kind of drunk.

  7. Make sure you know your way around. Don’t bother asking anyone who works at the park where stuff is. They have no clue. Use the map.

  8. Try to avoid asking for help in any matters. You know what, you may as well just not ask the Six Flags team for any assistance.* We once waited for 45 minutes for lockers that didn’t lock, and still no one came to help us.

Brian and Chrissy at Six Flags Great America Fright Fest

  1. Make it yours. Go with people you like, so that your two star experience feels like a five star experience, because friends.

*I don’t actually think everyone who works at a theme park is crappy at their jobs. I just had a few bad experiences that made me whiny
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Which theme parks have you been to? What tips would you have for maximizing your trip to Six Flags or another park? 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

6 Ways to Keep Yourself Entertained on a Plane (That DON’T Involve Tapping Your Boyfriend on the Shoulder Asking “Are We There Yet?”)

I fucking love flying. Air travel makes me ridiculously happy. There’s some mix of “I’m going somewhere exciting or new or just somewhere ELSE” that makes it magical. And at the end of the trip it’s all: “I’m going to sleep in my own bed tonight!”

You can get almost anywhere in less than a day. At least anywhere I’ve been. Which is awesome. I’ve only flown on my own a few times, but Brian and I have been trying to travel somewhere twice a year for the last few years. Florida in the dead of winter and some place else in the summer or fall. It’s a good system. When we fly, I try to make it as easy to get on the plane as humanly possible. I used to try to bring an emergency set of everything in my carry on – toiletries, clean underwear, an outfit, etc. But now? I’m VERY selective as to what I bring on board. Of course, we almost always fly Southwest – where bags (two per person) fly free, so it’s pretty easy to check everything (including that empty suitcase to fill with seashells, wine, Christmas ornaments or other souvenir crap on the way back).

But even packing super light (did I ever tell you how much the TSA hates me? They MANHANDLED my cheese. Probably because of my letter to TSA.), I need to make sure that I have enough valid ways to entertain myself without bothering Brian TOO much. Because he does not love flying as much as I do. Something about people and lines and crowds or something.

Here are just a few ways that you can occupy your time on the flight.

6 Ways

How to entertain yourself on a plane full of people without being a jerk…mostly

Read

I mean…this one’s a given. But when you’re packing light, I highly recommend an e-reader. I was always against them until Brian insisted on buying me one. And I haven’t looked back. I can take FIFTY books on a plane with me…and my bag weighs less than it would with a single regular book. It’s fucking magical. Just be cautious, because the funnier the book, the more you’re likely to become a jerk and irritate all the people on the plane.

Watch a movie

In addition to the possibility of an in-flight movie…If you have some sort of tool that allows you to copy your DVDs to memory cards or tablets (I think that iTunes sells your favorite movies and TV shows too, but since I’m not really an Apple girl, I’ll have to assume maybe?), you can plan in advance and bring about a movie or two that you want to watch (I’ve watched Bridget Jones even though Helen Fielding is dead to me and some other beloved favorites). Just for the love of all things – WEAR EARBUDS.

Watch TV

Along the same lines as watching a movie, you can catch the newest released season on DVD of your favorite show (This last trip, Brian and I used an ear bud splitter to watch Person of Interest because we were binge watching to catch up to the current season). If you have Wi-Fi on the plane, you can Netflix Kimmy Schmidt or Grey’s Anatomy or Hulu Plus your current shows. Some flights even offer free (or paid) in-flight TV. Again, headphones are a necessity.

Play games

Whether you bring one of those fancy handheld gaming consoles (I haven’t had one since I got my Sega Game Gear in 1991), you carry on your travel version of Scrabble in order to whip your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife’s ass, or you pay for the Wi-Fi to play some games on your phone (Hello Simpson’s Tapped Out, I’m looking at you…), you can keep yourself entertained and occupied while enjoying that competitive thing you’ve got going for you. Of course, if you have the sound on while you’re playing these games, someone is going jump across the seat and wring your neck or throw your device. I’m just saying. I’ve thought about it. Several times. Turn the notification sounds off. No one wants to hear you rocking out to the Candy Crush greatest hits.

Snack

I don’t know about you, but I love a good snack pack. Brian and I have an excellent flying/packing system. I carry…well…almost nothing in my purse (a few bandaids, necessary drugs like Midol, Dramamine, Gas-X, Zantac, Pepto, and Sudafed to help us survive the airport time and 2-5 hour plane ride, and my travel pillow). And Brian carries the power cords, backup batteries and snacks in his backpack. It’s a really good system. I recommend trying it. So snacking is a great way to kill time. If you travel during dinner time and bring a meal on board, that’s a good 10-20 minutes of snacking depending on how fast you eat and what you grabbed at the airport. You could also play with your food – you know get like some animal crackers and play with them Ben Affleck style. Just remember if you’re sitting next to strangers that you don’t need to share. Especially when it comes to your crumbs. Be kind, my friends. Be kind.

Social Media/Blog/Internet Time Suck

You can live blog about the crazy lady on the plane or the kid that keeps kicking you…or continuously share on Facebook pictures of your kid’s first flight or humblebrag on Instagram how you can’t wait to be somewhere warm. People eat that shit up. You’ll have fun and so will I. Get lost down the internet rabbit hole and you’ll be at your destination in no time. Just you know…don’t BE the crazy lady or the mom that doesn’t tell her kid to stop kicking (you totally get full points for trying. I won’t judge. I was kicked on a plane once. They mom tried to keep the little guy at bay, but he fell asleep and apparently kicks in his sleep. She apologized several times and kept trying to move him. The effort was acknowledged and I was fine…albeit a little bruised.)

Okay blog friends, your turn. What do YOU do to occupy yourself when you travel? Even if you don’t fly – how do you keep yourself entertained on the train or in the car?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Things I Discovered While Eating Healthier (Plus Pocketful of Quirky Grace DietBet Results)

As y’all know, I started the DietBet a month ago. I knew that it was scheduled to end just days after my birthday, and still I signed up. After several years of slight drops, but mostly raises, in weight, I wasn’t sure I would ever feel that drive to lose a few pounds. I’m comfortable in my own skin. Do I wish that jeans were more comfortable and that I could fit into my skinny girl dresses? Of course…but do I also think that I look awesome in the clothes I have now? Yep. Because sometimes the right plus size clothes can make a girl feel just right.

But somehow, I was finally ready to start dropping the pounds. And DietBet provided just the right amount of motivation: Money. But not just like…losing money…the opportunity to WIN money. I signed up for two DietBets: The 30 day bet with Joules and Kari and a 6 month bet with 800-ish other people.

I’m in this thing for the long haul kids.

I started fast and furious, dropping weight like nobody’s business. It was awesome. Then I tapered off right before my birthday… And it was a rough patch to get back on track. The last several days have been a serious effort to lose that last pound…we’ll find out soon enough if I made it or did not. Even if I didn’t make it, the group of 31 players lost over 200 pounds! That’s a pretty sweet deal if you asked me.

So before I share my weight loss victory or not, I thought I’d share a few things I learned during the start of this long journey.

Healthy eating tips and tricks that make it just a little bit easier

  • Zucchini, when sliced thin and grilled to a dark crisp, tastes like toasted marshmallows. (You heard it from me first.) Now I get why my dad always called it nature’s candy.
  • If you put enough delicious on a salad, you won’t need dressing.  (And no, I didn’t use bacon or salt.) I’ll show you sometime. 😀
  • This one surprised me the most: The less of the bad stuff you eat (salt, refined sugars, heavy carbs), the less hungry you get. On the days that I ate mostly fruits, veggies, cheese and proteins, I ate less without feeling hungry. Eye-opener.

So, did I win the DietBet? Yep. Im down 10.5 pounds in a month. It was hard work, especially with the birthday celebrations this past weekend, but I made it. The goal is to keep chugging along (probably at a slower pace than this one-month kickoff, but I’m super excited for the next 5 months) and lose several more pounds.

I dont notice the weight loss as much in my stomach as I do in my face, but it’s all got to come off eventually!
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Thanks for the support, kids!

And congrats to all of the Pocketful of Quirky Grace betters, because more than 200 pounds is no small feat!

Would you try a DietBet? Does it seem like a motivator that would work for you? What healthy eating tips do you have for me?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!