Ziptivity helps you plan your trip to Storyland
Summer is here, school is out soon, and soccer season is coming to an end. It is time to start planning those short, fun-packed summer weekend getaways. We love to take two-night vacations within a 3-hour drive from Boston, and we kicked off the season last weekend with a Storyland vacation! We had a great time, and I’m going to share some tips to help you maximize your fun if you decide to make a trip to Storyland with your little ones this summer:
First, take advantage of Storyland’s Final Three, Next Day Free offer. If you arrive during the last three hours of the day, Storyland will give you tickets to return any time during the season. This is a terrific deal. We used our tickets the next day, since the drive to Glen, NH is a substantial one, and necessitates an overnight stay.
On the first day, scope out the rides with the longest lines. Mark them on your map and save them for the next morning.
On the second day, arrive by opening time. Even if there is parking available near the entrance, park near the exit instead. If people are lined up in one big, long line, don’t get in that line! They open all the doors to the crooked house at once, so you should form smaller lines at each of entrance doors. Once you get in, go immediately to the rides with the super long lines that you identified the previous day. My kids loved the Bamboo Chutes, Polar Coaster, Alice’s Tea Cups, and the Swan Boats. They seemed to be popular with everyone else’s kids, too, especially later in the day. Be aware: On Dr. Geyser’s Raft Ride, you will get wet! You may want to have a plastic bag on hand to keep your stuff dry.
For food, I highly recommend bringing your own. If you must buy food at the park, take a look at the Menu Ingredient Guide before you go, especially if you have any allergies or intolerances in your group. I will give you Celiacs fair warning: there is gluten in almost everything they serve at Storyland. I do have good news for you: South on 16, in the village of North Conway, there is a pub called Rafferty’s. They have the most extensive gluten free menu I have ever seen, anywhere. There is a full menu of good ol’ fashioned, artery-clogging, fried junk food for the kids – all gluten free! Hot dogs and hamburgers with buns! Homemade mac and cheese! You regular gluten-eating folk can laugh, but this is seriously exciting stuff for those of us who can never have anything breaded, fried, or made of pasta. My kids were actually dancing in their seats, they were so happy to be able to order “regular” foods. The gluten free meals are a bit pricey, but the adult portions are HUGE. Ask for a box when they bring your food, and pack away at least half of your meal for later. And save room for dessert! The gluten free lava cake is by far the most delightful dessert I have ever tasted, gluten free or otherwise.
For lodging, I would definitely recommend the Residence Inn North Conway, where we stayed. It is very close to the outlet stores, close enough to the village center where all the restaurants are, and less than 15 minutes away from Storyland. The full kitchen is very helpful to those of us with food issues, or for the budget-conscious. There is a Shaw’s market within reasonable distance. The hotel has an indoor pool, which could really save your vacation if the weather is bad. There’s also a small putting green and a basketball court – just check the equipment out at the front desk. Another nice feature of the Residence Inn is the full breakfast, which is included in the cost of your hotel stay. And on weeknights, they often have a free social hour, with beverages and light eats.
One final tip: There are ways around the traffic congestion of Route 16. The West Side Road runs parallel and connects to the main road in several places. Taking the side roads is more pleasant, more scenic, and more environmentally friendly!
If you decide to make a trip to Storyland this summer, I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know if you discover any of your own. Have a wonderful time!