Parents Guide to Theme Parks.


So your wife suggests you take the family to a Gold Coast theme park while you’re on holiday. You get your discount tickets from the NRMA and make plans to incorporate a day out at Movie World.

Well your first mistake is telling the kids before the holiday that you are going to Movie World. In fact, you tell them a month before you go on holidays to the Gold Coast that you’re going to Movie World. Thanks to modern technology, the kids have googled, twittered and facebooked all their friends and family about everything they can do at Movie World. All you hear in the morning when you wake up is what you can do at Movie World. All you hear at the dinner table is what you are going to do at Movie World. The Youtube videos of the Green Lantern, Arkham Asylum and the Superman Ride have been etched into your memory.

The holiday comes and the Tiger Airways flight direct from Melbourne to the Gold Coast could best be described as a bus with wings. You arrive and your bags to a day or two later. It’s ok because you have Movie World to look forward too. The weather is lovely and the view from your Surfers Paradise apartment is panoramic. It’s so lovely and sunny. Thankfully it was your bag that went missing and not your kids. They could enjoy swimming in the pool or the beach, but they’d rather utilise the free Wi-Fi in the hotel or at the Maccas on Cavil Ave, taking selfies of themselves looking bored on holidays. You quickly realise that every shop in Surfers is three times the price as your local shopping centre in Melbourne AND Woolworths closes at 9pm, so there’s no chance of buying a cheap pair of togs & boardies to get you through until Tiger finds your bags.

As expected, the kids just seem to be waiting around for the third day, the day where you plan on going to Movie World.

Day three arrives and so does dark grey clouds. The kids aren’t perturbed, they’ve checked and most of the rides are still ride-able in the rain. You secretly hope the rain keeps everyone else from Melbourne away. You find out that everyone from Melbourne is used to the rain and they aren’t going to let it get in the way of going to Movie World

The kids have woken, over-excited at around 5. They’ve made themselves breakfast and you rise to find only a handful of ricebubbles mushed into the hotel carpet.

You board the overpriced shuttle direct from your hotel door, stopping only at 23 other hotels along the way, through peak hour Gold Coast traffic (and you remember that people actually work on the Gold Coast!). Thankfully you get the early shuttle, so you arrive at Movie World about an hour after the doors open. The rain, however, isn’t late. It’s 10am, you are noticing your children are starting to get a little, well, agitated. They’ve been up since 5!

The bogan family from Western Sydney push ahead of you in the turnstiles, causing your half-open bag full of pre-prepared sandwiches and snacks in zip-lock bags to fall out. Thankfully, it was only your egg-and-lettuce sandwich that was squashed by the imposing Islander guy and you decide that it’s probably not worth making any type of scene about it.

The rain starts a little heavier and your wife wonders aloud if they brought the Melbourne weather up with them. You’ve forgotten your brolly but thankfully you can buy one-size-fits-all (except you) ponchos for only $5 each or four for $17. Wrapped in a sweaty plastic bag your excited kids pull and tug at you, managing to rip your plastic poncho right down the back.

Well in the rush to get through the turnstiles and the thing with the bogan family and your bag being knocked over, you don’t realise that the lid on your coffee thermos was not as tight as it should be, so now you have a hot, brown mark all down the backside of your pink Gazman polo-shirt and white shorts. You realise you look ridiculous walking like you’ve crapped yourself with a brown mark down your pants.

You wait 45 minutes in line for the Green Lantern, in the rain. You can’t help but notice a worried maintenance man continually look into the sky and talk into his walky-talky. Hopefully it will be ok. You get to the front of the line. Thankfully this part is in the ‘shade’. The maintenance man in the walky-talky starts chatting more frequently. You realise you need to go to the toilet. Your kids have started the pre-lunch whine. You finally get to board the ride, until the attendant comes up to your youngest. His measuring stick goes right over the top of her head. You don’t know if its her wet hair or a tear, but her face is visibly upset – she’s too short for the ride! Your wife and the older two continue on, you carry your plastic-clad daughter down the cold metal steps. You can sense people staring at the rip in your poncho and your brown stained shorts.


You are excited that your wife and two oldest LOVED the Green Lantern. You line up for only 30 minutes for the Justice League ride. Your daughter is thankfully allowed on! You sit down on the ride, hold onto the rail and realise the last occupants thought you’d appreciate their chewing gum! Thankfully you’ve got the Dettol hand-sanitiser in your bag. You call out to your wife for the bag. She tells you that you had it. You bicker in front of the kids about who had the bag. The ride shuffles through the dark with holographic aliens hovering around, your kids enjoy blasting them as you and your wife disagree on who had the bag. You agree that neither of you have it. You realise that in the confusion of your youngest not being allowed on the ride, you left the bag at the Green Lantern.

After the Justice League, you race back to the Green Lantern. Thankfully, your bag is still there. Sadly, you left it in the rain. The camera is wet, the plastic-wrapped sandwiches have come unravelled. Your coffee has leaked through the bag. Your wife tries to comfort you but you can tell she’s annoyed too that all the sandwiches – the sandwiches you prepared to save a few dollars – have turned to a coffee-infused mush!

The kids enjoy hot chips in Ricks Diner. You agree that it was a waste of time making sandwiches and enjoy being out of the rain. Your pants have dried now, the brown mark certainly hasn’t faded. Your wife confirms it will come out with a bit of nappy-san.


The Scooby-Doo ride is in the shade. Thankfully, the rain actually has kept a few people away and you only have to wait 40 minutes in the rain for your turn! The ride went super well until your middle child felt a bit green. Thankfully, the vomit came off the plastic poncho really easily and it was just his shoes that got a bit of half-digested hot chips on them!

The rain prevented any of the characters coming out, much to your children’s disappointment. Not that you could take photos anyway – your camera was soaked through and won’t be taking any more pictures. You just hope the memory card is in tact.

You take your oldest on the Arkham Asylum – by far the highlight of the day! You meet your wife and others in line for the Wild Wild West ride. You’re wet anyway, why not go on a ride that makes you wetter?

Well you got a lot wetter than expected on the Wild West ride. Actually, you seemed to take the blow for the family – they seemed to come out of the ride drier than when they came onto it!

You agree to take your youngest to Looney Tunes world while your wife takes the oldest two on the Superman Ride. You wait in line for the merry-go-round, the up-and-down ride, the kids dodgems, the tweety bird ride, the train ride and, in a spell of good luck, your daughter gets a photo with Bugs Bunny! You take a ticket to collect the photo when you leave.


Meeting up with your family at the 3D cinema for the last ride, your wife and children actually enjoyed two turns on the Superman ride! The line-up was unusually short and they ‘made hay while the sun shone’!

The 3D cinema was freezing. Three wet children in an uber-air conditioned cinema for 30 mins. You were thinking it. Your wife was thinking it. Your youngest started to sniffle first. The bogan family from Western Sydney seem to have sat in front of you. Their cold, wet and agitated youngsters seem to scream through the screening of the dinosaur film, really ruining the experience for you!

You collect the photo of your youngest and Bugs Bunny as you leave through the trade mark Warner Brothers Movie World arch. The shuttle back to the hotel is delayed about 30 minutes due to an earlier accident on the freeway. You finally board, with the bogan family from Western Sydney. Cold, wet, snotty noses, tired, irritable. You sit in silence on the bus. Your youngest rests her head on your chest.

The shuttle driver manages to miss the turn off and you take a 20 minute detour through Surfers getting back to your hotel.

Your children have hot showers.

Your wife makes lovely baked beans on toast.

Rain patters down on your 20th story windows and you overlook the stormy Pacific.

You sit down around the table with your wife and kids, all warm, all in lovely flannelette pj’s, all exhausted.

You smile as you hear them chatter about their ‘best day on holidays EVER!’, talking about the rides, the fun, the memories they’d all had. You’re day was meh. They didn’t see the rain, the lines, the wet sandwiches, the bogan family from Western Sydney, your broken camera, the detour, the sweaty plastic poncho. They saw a wonderful family day at Movie World!



  1. Rosemary Peteranec

    Yep, I always feel sorry for out of town tourists who only have one day to fit it all in! Enjoy your passes!

  2. Karen

    Last time I went to movie world I wound up sitting for hours in the melting summer sun while hubby and (I think) his brother went on all the rides that were too scary for me, got burnt when the sun had the audacity to move while we waited for the stuntshow, spilled super chocolaty ben’n’jerry’s ice cream (which was a trauma in itself to get) down my front then stained my arms with the tshirts I bought to change into and had to buy a second, theme-park priced tshirt…and that’s with no kids in sight!

  3. shops4shoes

    It sounds like you and your family had an excellent time! Glad your littles weren’t deterred by the rain. 🙂 Thanks for your follow in my blog! I hope you stop back by soon!

  4. cheergerm

    Oh my, with our hyper excitable children (the oldest once woke up the youngest on Christmas Eve at 1 am to open their stockings…) the only way we will EVER go there is on a secret stealth mission where the sproglets have no idea of our destination. Plus, you haven’t convinced me it’s a grand idea anyhoo. Thanks for a good laugh.

  5. Sharon

    What a nice little escape I enjoyed by reading your story. Brought back memories of days with my kids. I laughed, reflected, and very much enjoyed. Thank you for your story, for stopping by my blog and for “following”. God bless you, your family and your writing. Hope to read more of your adventures.

  6. itsbecauseisaidso

    You are absolutely hilarious!! And spot-on! I have lived this with my three kids, and have the photos and home videos to prove it. I hope that you publish in print—this piece should be a column in a parenting magazine.

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