Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Splashing is just what the doctor ordered

Finally.  A break from the everyday.  I agreed to bring the laptop so Husband can check in on business emails and of course his fantasy football scores but only because we so desperately needed some family fun time together.  When it is October in Pittsburgh you can pretty much guarantee that outside events will be a bit chilly.  Although, I am old enough to remember a few 70-80 degree days in October - but shhhh we won't mention that.

In the time it takes to watch a DVD we arrived at our weekend destination.  The kids were bouncing in their seats.  We have made it a tradition to go here every year for three years now.  Usually though, we come when it is warm enough to enjoy the beach and the amusement park but this year summer was a bit too busy for that.  Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort at Erie, PA was our destination!  If you have never been here you are missing out.  If you love Sandcastle here in Pittsburgh - then think that but with a lid on it so that is is a very nice 84 degrees at all times.  This is a 90,000 square foot indoor water park.  They have it all here.

We like to stay at the Residence Inn.  We really enjoy the one bedroom suite on our normal visits but this time we were staying in the two bedroom suite.  Nice, very very nice.  With the two separate bedrooms means there are also two separate bathrooms.  We brought a friend along for Diva so it was wonderful to let the girls have their own room and bathroom.  They loved it!  Husband is a person who likes to fall asleep to the TV - I am not. So it was very nice for him to have the other bedroom.  Boy Child and I slept on the sofa bed.  I've slept on quite a few sofa beds in my day but I was really very comfortable on this one - there was no bar protruding into my spine like most sofa beds do.  I really do not even need to go into how great it is to have a full kitchen when you travel with kids, now do I.  Love that!  Previously when we've visited this Inn we didn't value the fireplace because it was either June or August when we've come.  Let me tell you that in October, the fireplace is a very nice touch.  Oh, another great perk to the Residence Inn is the free breakfasts.  They have a very nice spread of fruits, cereals, bagels, donuts, waffles, muffins but they also have hot stuff like eggs, bacon, sausage, and their yummy potatoes. 

Three years ago we chose this hotel to stay at because it had a suite but mostly because it was connected to the water park.  Can you say convenience people?!  Seriously, if you wanted, you wouldn't need to ever go outside until it was time to load up your car and leave.  They have a nice set up of the Residence Inn, Holiday Inn and the Comfort Inn all connected to Splash Lagoon via walk-ways.  They even have Boston's Restaurant and Sports Bar connected to Splash Lagoon as well.  I can highly recommend the Boston's Team Platter and frozen raspberry margaritas - I'm just saying. If you are going there without the kids they even have a free shuttle to/from the casino - I so would love to do that.

As part of our package we were given a really nice tote bag filled with Pepsi products and snacks. We also had a gift card for the restaurant and game room.  The package also included beach towels, free pizza and drinks and a free Dance Head DVD (which by the way is the most hysterical thing ever).  Included with your hotel stay is also guaranteed entrance to the water park for each day you stay.  Awesome!

While taking a break during our fun I had thought back to the last trips to Splash Lagoon.  The very first year Boy Child stayed in the Monkey Shines Island section of the park.  He wouldn't even go down the mini-slides the first day but warmed up to them the second.  He actually thought his butt would fit in the very cute bouncy seats they have there for the babies.  He loves to swing and the idea of swinging while his feet played in the water was a dream come true - but sadly it wasn't meant to be for him.  Diva wouldn't ride all the slides then either.  Not only would Boy Child not go anywhere near the 5-story Tiki Tree House due to the fact that on the very top sits the awesome giant tiki bucket that every so many minutes dumps 1,000 gallons of water down onto the tree house and splash everything in its way, but he would cower in the corner with his hands over his ears every time the bucket would tip.  There is a loud horn that goes off to warn you or beckon you that the tipping is due to occur. 

The next year we came, Diva was all over all nine slides, the activity pools and the family whirlpools.  Boy Child still loved his Monkey Shines Island but also ventured into the activity pool to play a little basketball, and of course we all enjoyed the Lazy River.  He also realized the fun of the Tiki Tree House and the bucket!  But the biggest thrill for him that year was The Maui Wowie.  I literally had to shove him down it the first time but after that you couldn't get him to leave it alone. We couldn't keep up last year.  That is why we brought a friend for Diva along this year.  This year was the best ever.  Boy Child actually rode all but two of the slides.  The Hurricane Hole drops you into a pool of water that is 6 foot deep - he is not yet the swimmer necessary for this one and The Shark Attack, well, let's just say that we were afraid that he wouldn't continue riding the slides if he rode this one - it's a bit rough on ya.

Knowing that Boy Child is not a very good swimmer we were still very confident in allowing him to go off with his sister and her friend for short periods of time.  You have never seen life guards until you've seen the life guards here.  They are never distracted (even when the cute bikini girls try to flirt with the cute boy life guards).  They are on their game.  They are never afraid to reprimand anyone - and I do mean anyone.  Some grown-ups had to be put in their place by life guards 20 years younger than them. I felt that my kids were in very good hands at all times.  If my eyes weren't on them, I knew that the life guards were on it.

If you are not a swimmer and you do not like water fun but the rest of your groups does, Splash Lagoon has a spectator pass for you folks which allows you to still be a part of the water park.  There is an upper level by the arcade and gift shop that has the Island Oasis Bar and Lounge too. 

I had the pleasure of meeting with Paul Pisano, Director of Amusement Operations Division & Dunkin Donut Franchises as well as Carrie Wakinekona, General Manager of Splash Lagoon while we were here.  What great folks they are.  I felt like I was meeting up with long lost friends.  Which really is the atmosphere at this resort - family friendly.  Seriously, these folks are great. While speaking with them at my meeting though, they gave me an update on the construction of the nearly 10,000 square foot / 250,000 gallon wave pool that is scheduled to be open by early summer 2011.  Once this is constructed Splash Lagoon will be one of the largest indoor water parks in the country.  They are still in the designing phase of this but it will most likely have a bar area and a play area for the kids in an outdoor section of the pool.  This is very exciting to my family as I think that this was really the only thing lacking to make this resort complete.  We cannot wait to try this out. 

We had lunch at the Laguna Grill. The food here is above average for your typical burgers, chicken strips, wraps, salads and pizza.  The kids love the Dippin Dots and my husband loves the soft serve ice cream.  I like the hot pretzels with cheese. Yum.  We even caught up with Paul Pisano and Carrie Wakinekona there.  No they were not eating - they were working.  Mr. Pisano was actually cooking and cleaning the grill section and Carrie was behind the register.  Just like a family does - everyone pitches in and helps out where/when help is needed.  They had smiles on their faces and laughing with the staff and customers.  My husband was very impressed by that. 

On our last morning at the resort my husband and I thought that it would be best if we didn't enjoy any more of the water slides.  Not that we didn't want to, the problem would be getting the kids to leave.  So instead we spent the morning (after our delicious breakfast of course) in the 6,000 square foot arcade.  We were so engrossed in the arcade that we forgot to try out the lazer tag and the activity center where they have movies, Wii and crafts.  After the kids chose their loot with the arcade tickets they won, we headed home.  Because the resort is not very far from Pittsburgh we were home in time to see the last half of the Steelers game!  Perfect ending to the perfect family weekend getaway.  The kids have already asked when we can go back. 

Disclosure:  I was not paid in any form of cash for this posting but I was given an upgrade to my already purchased weekend getaway package by Scott Enterprises, Inc. via Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely my own and the resort itself or its staff did not persuade my personal beliefs or views. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and in fact I was encouraged to write exactly how I felt about the resort.

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