A little getaway
I mentioned last week in one of these columns that I’m pretty frugal (or “cheap” as my family puts it) but I will happily spend money on something that has value, especially when it comes to my family.
So, with that in mind, back in 2011, I found a deal on a membership to Six Flags. The deal was that you not only got a discount on a membership to the theme park, but you could also pay a monthly membership fee instead of coming up with the total cost upfront — an important perk when you’re a family of five. And you could cancel at any time after the first six months.
Well, that was 11 years ago, and for less than $20 a month, I have maintained our Six Flags membership. As long as we go at least twice a year, it more than pays for itself versus just making a trip once a year. The best part is that with the membership, you get all sorts of perks, like free parking, food and beverage discounts, bring-afriend days (which is handy, since all of my kids have a “special someone” in their lives now), and more. And one of the cooler features is that you can use your membership at any Six Flags park, and since there is a Six Flags in both St. Louis and Atlanta (our two most frequent getaway spots) it works out great for our little family.
And since I am, again, frugal, I have made sure we have used our membership at least twice every year — even last couple of years, when COVID-19 made it a real hassle, wearing masks, social distancing (even on the rides in 2020) and many of the attractions being closed over pan-
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demic concerns. It’s hard to keep a mask over your face as you’re screaming along at 70 miles an hour on “The Boss” but you can make it work.
Well, it’s July and we’re all finally free for a couple of weeks so we decided to take advantage of the membership and head down to Atlanta for a few days. I know COVID-19 is still very much a thing but we’re all vaccinated (or still in that “immunity bubble” you get from recently having COVID-19), so it was a relatively low-risk adventure. I know the “stralth variant” is lurking out there but you’ve got to eventually start living your life, right?
Well, let me tell you, membership has its privileges, like the old American Express commercials used to tell us. It turns out, for being a loyal Six Flags member during the pandemic, the good people in charge said they were happy to reward us with free Platinum Membership upgrades through 2022. So, not only did we get all the cool stuff that came with our regular membership, we got a whole new batch of perks, including preferred parking (meaning you can park in Lot Bugs Bunny 1 instead of Lot Daffy Duck 13, if you’re familiar with the parking lot setup at Six Flags, even deeper discounts on food and drinks (which, when they charge $50 for a large pizza is greatly appreciated). You also get a free Flash Pass, which is a little doohickey that lets you cut to the front of the line, which is pretty awesome to have but pretty infuriating if you’re one of the hamand- eggers waiting in a long queue only to see the Flash Passers walk right on up and grab a seat on The Screaming Eagle or whatever.
And on this trip, for the first time since 2019, they felt the pandemic situation was in hand enough to open up the water park, Hurricane Harbor (free admission with a ticket to the park, in case this didn’t already sound enough like a Six Flags commercial.
I don’t like swimming so much, but I do love the water park. I’m especially a sucker for a lazy river (you know, where you just sit in an inner tube and float along in the water around the park).
This year, they took advantage of the water park being closed for a ll of 2020 and much of 2021 to install a couple of new attractions at the water park, so we were eager to try. Well, some of us were.
My daughter, her boyfriend and I were the only ones brave enough to try out the “Bonzai Pipeline” a deal where you get inside this little chamber and then the bottom falls out and you shoot down feet-first into the unknown.
I’ll admit, it looked a little scary as we watched participants ahead of us in line fall to their fate, but my daughter insisted we would all be fine. She even insisted that we would all be fine after she made her boyfriend go first.
Then it was her turn. She got in the chamber of doom, assumed the position… and chickened out.
It was the first time I’ve ever seen here get too scared to ride a ride.
So, as she took the walk of shame back down the stairs, I took my turn. And yes, I might have changed my mind too, but I had a point to prove, so I took the plunge. And yes, I might have screamed a (manly) scream on the way down.
Worth the price of admission…
Atlanta is definitely one of my favorite vacation destinations.
fan, so I got to see them play the Cardinals. You can also get (again frugal) a lot of discounted tickets to the local attractions via the City Pass, so the Georgia Aquarium and Coca-Cola World and such were on the to-do list. I even found gas for $3.99 a gallon!