Showing posts with label Dutch Wonderland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dutch Wonderland. Show all posts

Visiting Duke's Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland

www.runningonpixiedust.com


Dutch Wonderland is truly a "kingdom for kids" located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Having been around for more than 50 years, Dutch Wonderland is a well known theme park in the Mid-Atlantic, but what you may not know is what a gem the water park, Duke's Lagoon, is for your young adventurer on a hot day.  Here's what you need to know about visiting Duke's Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland!

Thanks to Dutch Wonderland for having me back in 2021 as a Royal Ambassador.  As a Royal Ambassador, my son and I received free admission to the park.  

Duke's Lagoon features water attractions, a water ride, food, cabanas, and more.  It's a great place to play and cool off on a hot day.  Our visit was in early June but the thermometer topped 90 degrees so we were anxious to go play.  There are three main water play areas in addition to the ride, Pipeline Plunge.  Each of the water play areas are designed with specific ages in mind.  There is one section that has oversized cartoon-y underwater creatures that overlook small geysers and "water table" type activities.  Another section has a tropical feel with water cascading from overhead features and play structures that you can climb on to shoot water guns.  The final and largest play area has multiple water slides that are perfectly sized for toddlers and elementary aged children.  There are guards on duty here helping to keep kids safe as they climb and slide.  The slide structures resemble a playground - nothing large or intimidating for young guests.

2021 Dutch Wonderland Opening Details!

Duke's Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland - www.runningonpixiedust.com


Dutch Wonderland is getting ready to open for the summer season and I'm excited to once again be partnering with them as a Royal Ambassador this year!  We're planning a visit for the first weekend in June, but the Lancaster, Pennsylvania amusement park opens to guests May 15.  Dutch Wonderland has long been a family favorite with plenty of choices for the youngest guests.  I have many fond memories of visiting as a child and have cherished the memories I've made with my own kids in recent years.


Check out 5 tips for having a Dutch Wonder-ful Day from our 2019 visit!


Dutch Wonderland COVID Safety

Safety is first and foremost on the minds of many families planning summer travel.  There are a few things to note about planning your visit to Dutch Wonderland this summer which align with COVID safety practices common among most theme parks across the country right now.  First, guests will need to pre-purchase tickets and make a park reservation.  This will help control capacity and make social distancing easier to manage.  Even though you'll spend the majority of your day outside at Dutch Wonderland, guests are required to wear a face mask (ages 2 and over) and practice social distancing.  You'll also find park employees masked up for the season.  If you're heading over to the water area, Duke's Lagoon (one of our favorites!), masks are not required in the water areas.  

Family Guide to Winter Wonderland at Dutch Wonderland

Our family had the pleasure of being invited by Dutch Wonderland to enjoy opening day of Winter Wonderland during the holiday season.  Even though Dutch Wonderland is not a new destination for our family (check out my coverage of past visits here!), this was our first time enjoying the park during the holidays.  Staying true to it's slogan as a "Kingdom for Kids," there is plenty for families to enjoy together.  We were delighted with so much during our visit and I can't wait to share some of my tips to make the most of your day at Winter Wonderland as well.

We arrived just a few minutes before park opening and were among the first to enter.  I wasn't sure what to expect crowd wise for the day - it was opening day of the season but there was also a chance of rain throughout the evening - so we tried to think of a plan that would maximize our time in the park.  Upon entering, we headed straight to Merlin's Restaurant where we had the chance to meet the big guy himself - SANTA!  In fact, we had the distinction of being the very first guests of the season to meet Santa.  It was a fabulous visit.  Not rushed at all and several photos taken throughout the time with him.  When it comes to purchasing photos, you have a few options to consider.  If you purchase a day long photo pass for the price of $25, your Santa photos are not included, but digital downloads can be added at just $5 each.  If you don't want to purchase all of your photos from around the park for the day, you can purchase your Santa photo for a $15 digital download price.  I thought this was a great bargain compared to the pricing in malls around us!  Before we leave the topic of visiting Santa, I will say that we were in Merlin's Restaurant later on in the evening too and, again, never saw a line of more than a 2-3 families waiting to meet him.  Maybe we just had a light crowd day, but I was impressed with how easy it was to say hi.  In fact, my boys went back a second time in the evening to talk to Santa and they bought him a hot chocolate because they said "he's been working hard all night!"
First ones of the season to meet Santa!

After stopping by to see Santa first, we headed towards to the back of the park.  This is one of the my common strategies when visiting theme parks - start from the back and work your way forward.  Honestly, there was never a crowd to speak of all night (I think the threat of rain was holding some people off), but we definitely were one of only a few that headed to Exploration Island and were able to walk right on several rides.  Those that we did have to wait for were never more than a 5 minute wait.    You obviously won't find water rides open, but besides those and the larger roller coasters, Merlin's Mayhem and Kingdom Coaster, most everything else was open to ride.  We covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time and worked up an appetite by the time we hit almost every ride and made our way back to the front of the park.  Want a quick way to see what the whole park has to offer?  Don't miss the Wonderland Special train ride or the Sky Ride - they are especially beautiful with the lights!

The lights were beautiful!
This was the perfect time to stop back into Merlin's Restaurant for a treat.  When we were here earlier visiting Santa, the cookie decorating station caught my eye and we decided to give that a try along with having cups of hot chocolate to warm up on the chilly November night.  Cookie decorating is $3.99 per person.  You get a very large cookie and then can head to the "buffet" of icing and sprinkles to create your own masterpiece.  My boys had a lot of fun making their cookies and even more fun eating them!  Fun bonus - you even get a cute apron to wear during the experience!

Once we were done, we ventured back outside to find the rain had started up.  We took a quick stroll through the park again to get a final look at the Christmas lights in all of their nighttime glory.  The Christmas light show with dancing lights to music was a lot of fun, but my favorite lights were found on the trees.  There is one tree with gorgeous blue lights and lighted icicles on it as well.  Don't forget to venture back to Exploration Island and walk through the dinosaurs at night too!

We spent 3 hours in the park before the rain really started to dampen the evening, but we pretty much got to see and do everything except the two stage shows that are offered.  This is a great way to celebrate the holidays and have a fun-filled family evening.  Remember, Dutch Wonderland is truly a Kingdom for Kids so most of the rides and attractions here have your youngest family members in mind.  At 4 years old, Caleb couldn't have been happier all night long! Ready to check it out? Season pass holders for Dutch Wonderland have access to Winter Wonderland included.  If you need to purchase tickets for this event, check out my blog reader discount here (Promo Code: DWWBlog19) to save $3 off of the gate price - only $12.99 per person!!  Enjoy and happy holidays!



Website - www.dutchwonderland.com

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My family received complimentary admission to Dutch Wonderland's Winter Wonderland so we could share our fun adventures with you! As always, thoughts and opinions are my own!

5 Tips to Have a Dutch Wonder-ful Day!

Since Dutch Wonderland opened it's gates in 1963, they have been known to delight families visiting Lancaster County.  While many new rides have been added and the park has undergone numerous expansions, the family fun atmosphere has only grown too.  I remember visiting Dutch Wonderland as a child myself and enjoy being able to bring my kids there to make new memories with them.  There's a lot to love about this Kingdom for Kids and I have a few tips to make to your day truly Dutch Wonder-ful!

As a Royal Ambassador, my family and I received complimentary admission to Dutch Wonderland in exchange for sharing our experiences with you.  As always, thoughts and opinions are true to our experiences!

Arrive at Park Opening - We pulled into the parking lot at 9:40 for a 10:00 opening.  By the time the park officially opened we had cleared security, entered the gates, and my family was in in line for our first ride - the Wonderland Special - a train ride around the park.  Coming early to Dutch Wonderland offers a few great perks.  First, we were there to open the park with a special announcement from Princess Brooke as we joined her countdown to begin the day.  Second, we beat the crowds to some of the most popular rides.  While lines weren't a big issue throughout the day, we certainly experienced faster lines and lower crowds within the first 2 hours.  For example, we rode Merlin's Mayhem 3 times in a row - walking right back on each time!  And rode the Kingdom Coaster twice with the same experience.  Lastly, it allows you to beat the heat.  We took a park strategy of riding rides until about 1, then breaking for lunch and a visit to Duke's Lagoon in the heat of the day.  We left Duke's Lagoon around 3:30 and went back to the rides for a few hours before departing.  As the summer weather only gets warmer, this will certainly make your day more enjoyable.

Take Time to Visit Duke's Lagoon - While this wasn't my visit to Dutch Wonderland, this was my first visit to Duke's Lagoon and all I have to say is WOW!  Dutch Wonderland took their concept of creating a Kingdom for Kids and expanded it beautifully to this water play area.  Without an actual pool, Duke's Lagoon is a really a giant splash pad with play features, water slides, geysers, fountains, and, yes, dumping buckets.  The beauty of this play area is that it is entirely safe for little ones!  The concrete becomes a soft pad where the water features are located so little feet don't get burned.  And here's the great part grown-ups - you can totally decide whether or not you want to get wet.  I spent about the first hour in my street clothes and was totally able to keep track of my 4 year old and 7 year old and their friend without getting anything wet but my feet.  Now, because I'm a big kid at heart, I couldn't sit on the sidelines long and I joined in the fun in my bathing suit as well.  We took our 7 year old on Pipleline Plunge as well, which is a large water slide.  Even on this though you don't get soaked.  The water slide is in a raft and you don't end in a large pool, but rather in a chute with just a little water when you come out - again making this not scary and totally safe for little riders - despite the fact that it is a SERIOUS slide from the size perspective.  There are lockers and changing areas in Duke's Lagoon.  It's important to note that lockers are cash only - no cards accepted - especially because I'm usually a cashless person.  My husband actually commented too on how much he appreciated the changing rooms having individual changing stalls for an element of privacy instead of a "locker room" feel.  You can find lunch and snacks over here too.  We easily could have spent way more time than the 2 1/2 hours we already did at Duke's Lagoon and my littlest said it was his favorite part of the whole day!

Don't Miss the Shows - While it's easy to get caught up in so many other fun things around the park, you definitely want to make time to enjoy some of the shows during your day at Dutch Wonderland.  From comedy, to dance, to a little bit of magic - there's a lot to see.  Each show is timed perfectly for little attention spans too with typical run times of 15 minutes or so.  Our favorite show of the day was at the Aqua Theater where they had a diving story presentation.  Yeah - you  read the right.  We heard The Adventures of the Frog Prince, but instead of it just being acted out, it was presented complete with entertaining (and funny!) diving frogs.  The kids and adults both LOVED it and we laughed the entire time.  Be warned though that those red "splash zone" rows are serious splash zones.  If the divers don't get you with their dives, they will come over and give you a few splashes just for fun!  Shows also offer the perfect opportunity to rest your feet during a busy day and most feature some shade from the summer sun.  This is also a perfect time to reapply that sunscreen right before the show begins and let it soak in good during the show before going back out to the heat!  A few of the show locations also offer character meets throughout the day.  We met up with Merlin and Duke the Dragon at one of the stages.  But these locations aren't your only chance to meet characters as they roam throughout the park and are happy to stop for a quick conversation and a photo opportunity! 

Bring Your Appetite - Like most theme parks, there are a lot of great food options here.  While many of the restaurants feature your theme park standard chicken tenders, burgers, corn dogs, french fries, etc., you can also find locations featuring healthier choices like at Bean Sprouts located in the Mill Stream Eatery.  There are also several familiar favorites around the park.  Our boys are addicted to Auntie Anne's pretzels and were delighted to see not one, but two, different locations to get their favorite snack in the park.  We also found a Rita's for a familiar cool, sweet treat later on in the day.  Dutch Wonderland also offers a character breakfast on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer from 9:00AM - 10:00AM.  At only $15.99 per person this is an affordable option to get your day started right!  There's also refillable drink cup options in both adult and toddler size to save you money on drinks throughout the day and season pass holders may be interested in looking at an All Season Dining Pass which offers 2 combo meals each day they are in the park.  

Enjoy Being a Kid Again - Everything at this park is geared with little ones in mind.  I would say Dutch Wonderland is the perfect theme park for elementary school and younger.  My 7 year old was big enough to do any ride he wanted to and my 4 year old was big enough for most rides throughout the park.  This isn't the park to take thrill seeking teenagers as Kingdom Coaster and Merlin's Mayhem are probably the only two rides that would excite them, but those two coasters are perfect introductions into the "adult" roller coaster world that upper elementary school kids will be wanting to start to explore.  Whether it's driving a car, walking a dinosaur trail, laughing on the frog hopper, or getting a little wet on the log flume, the rides are designed to have fun as a family - something really important to us and to many of you!  We visited on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and lines were very manageable throughout the day with our longest waits being about 30 minutes and most wait times being between 5-10 minutes.  With wait times like those, it's easy to let kids enjoy their favorites over and over again.  I sometimes feel very rushed at theme parks trying to get from ride to ride and keeping an itinerary, where here we were able to slow down, let the kids take the lead, and really had an enjoyable time meandering through the park to experience it all.  

So are you ready to have a Dutch Wonder-ful day with your family?  I have a great deal exclusive to blog readers to save money for your whole family to enjoy making memories together.  Don't forget to use promo code summerblog19 to get the best deal. As you're capturing your fun that day, don't forget to share on social media with #DutchWonderland so everyone can see the royally good time you are having!  For the latest information, park hours, and magical details, check out Dutch Wonderland's website and social media channels.  




Royally Excited about Dutch Wonderland!

I'm excited to share with you that I've been selected as a Royal Ambassador for Dutch Wonderland this summer!  What does that mean? Well, Dutch Wonderland will be hosting my family for a day of fun and entertainment so I can share all the excitement with you!  I also get to pass on extra savings to my readers and followers so that you too can enjoy all that Dutch Wonderland has to offer this summer.  Dutch Wonderland opens for weekends starting April 27th and will open 7 days a week starting Memorial Day.  Before the summer season kicks into full swing, let's take a quick look at the basics about this "Kingdom for Kids!"

Dutch Wonderland is located in Lancaster, PA - just about 90 minutes from our house in Maryland.  Generations of families have now been enjoying the rides and entertainment at this family amusement park since 1963. In fact, I remember visiting as a kid and now love that I'm getting to create new memories with my own children.  Like many other amusement parks these days, Dutch Wonderland has expanded beyond just rides and shows to bring guests a water play area - Duke's Lagoon which opened in 2003 and has continued to grow over the years.  This continued expansion without losing sight of the core of being a "A Kingdom for Kids" is part of the reason Dutch Wonderland has been voted "One of the Top Five Best Kids' Parks in the World" by Amusement Today in 2008 and 2009.

Caleb and I visited Dutch Wonderland as guests of the park in October for a day of Happy Hauntings and you can relive our experience here!  We loved the fact that all of the rides were perfectly sized for him to enjoy and the entertainment was fun throughout the park. With 35 rides on 43 acres, I'm sure the whole family will enjoy our time there this summer!

If you are planning to visit Dutch Wonderland, check out a great deal for my readers and followers by visiting http://www.dutchwonderland.com/blogreader and use code "summerblog19" for exclusive savings. I can't wait to share my experience at Dutch Wonderland with you and follow your adventures as well! In the meantime, enjoy this look at our Happy Hauntings video from our October visit to give you a taste of the fun that awaits this summer!



As a Royal Ambassador, my family and I will receive complimentary admission to Dutch Wonderland for a day during the 2019 Summer Season in exchange for my reviews and posts. Reviews and posts are always honest and my own!

A Day of Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland

Halloween decor around the park!
When that crisp chill hits the air and pumpkin spice is suddenly everywhere, you know it's officially time to start the Halloween season!  If you're looking for a place to take the whole family for some festive fun, add a visit to Dutch Wonderland's Happy Hauntings to your to-do list.  Dutch Wonderland is known as "A Kingdom for Kids" and it has plenty to entertain preschool and elementary aged children.  I was excited to visit for the first time since my own childhood - now with kids of my own!

Welcome to Dutch Wonderland!
My youngest and I set out to explore Dutch Wonderland on the first day of the Happy Hauntings weekends.  Happy Hauntings is held select weekends in October on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Caleb was immediately impressed with the decor on the castle as we entered the park and continued to be thrilled throughout the day and evening by all of the entertaining decorations around the park.  We arrived around 1:45 for the 2:00 opening, which I would highly recommend.  Crowds seemed heaviest between 3:00 and 6:00.  By the time we were leaving close to 8:00, crowds were again minimal and Caleb could just about walk on to any ride he wanted.  Around the park, guests could enjoy rides, games, shows, character greetings, food, and trick-or-treating!

Riding his very first roller coaster!
There are so many rides that are perfectly designed with little riders in mind.  From airplanes to trucks, bulldozers to panda bears - Caleb wanted to ride some of his favorites over and over again!  There was also a chance for mom to join in on the ride fun too!  Caleb drove me around the speedway and we enjoyed riding together on boats, the monorail, and the train throughout the park.  If you're traveling with slightly older children that might be up for more of a thrill, there are 3 different roller coasters from the smallest for those just learning to ride up to Merlin's Mayhem which will certainly keep coaster enthusiasts happy! We never waited more than 10 minutes for a ride all day long - a great perk!

Selfie time with Duke the Dragon!
When you wanted to take a break from the rides, there were several shows and character greeting opportunities.  We saw a magic show by Merlin himself which was full of fun songs and cool tricks for kids.  The show was short as I'm sure it's designed with little attention spans in mind.  There were also several characters you could meet, and I couldn't pass up the chance to take a selfie with Duke the Dragon!  There were also several food locations open throughout the park including some familiar favorites like Dippin' Dots and Auntie Anne's pretzels.  We visited the Mill Stream Eatery for dinner as it's home to several food locations where guests can enjoy sandwiches, pizza, chicken tenders, hot dogs, fries, and much more!  I highly recommend the Pesto Change-o Chicken Sandwich which was a nice change of pace from the regular theme park food.

Trick-or-Treat Time!
And of course, what would a visit to a Halloween event be without trick-or-treating?  Here at Dutch Wonderland, Exploration Island is transformed into a trick-or-treat paradise where over 20 dinosaurs are dressed in their Halloween best to greet guests.  I recommend heading here early as the line got long pretty fast.  Kids were allowed a piece of candy at each station along the trail and adults received one ticket that they could trade in for one piece of candy.  It was actually very refreshing to leave a trick-or-treat without being overwhelmed by candy!  And the candy was some of the best - Hershey's!

Happy Halloween!!
We loved our mommy/son date day to Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland and hope you have a chance to check it out soon!  If you're planning on visiting, be sure to visit this link to get a special discount on your tickets - just $22.95 each for everyone 3 and older!  The promo code is "halloweenblog18".  I can't wait to hear about the Halloween adventures you enjoy with your family this year!

Our family received complimentary admission to Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland so that we could share our thoughts with you! As always, my opinions are my own.