Editor’s Note: As we shared in a recent post, the Kings Dominion theme park near Richmond, Virginia, recently announced some special additions for the 2017 season, including three new rides in the Planet Snoopy area, a free admission program for preschoolers, and free wifi. We recently sent contributor Debra Yarcho and her family to explore the park, especially Planet Snoopy in Kings Dominion, to share with readers tips on how to make the most of a visit to this area.
By Debra Yarcho for FairfaxFamilyFun.com
Kings Dominion recently announced it will expand the Planet Snoopy area of the park in 2017 with three new family rides:
Kite Eating Tree: This family ride will propel guests to the top of the tower and bounce them down to the platform as they experience sensations of weightlessness. Its theme reflects Charlie Brown’s kite, which often gets stuck in a tree.
Peanuts™ 500: Rev up the engine with the Peanuts crew on this fun car ride, perfectly sized for little racers, that moves in a circle and whips around the corner on a closed track.
This latest expansion to the 14-acre kid’s area of Kings Dominion brings the total number of rides in Planet Snoopy to 20, all of which are designed for families to experience together. In celebration of these Planet Snoopy additions, the park also announced a Pre-K Pass program that will provide children ages 3-5 with free admission to the park all season long (kids under age three already get free admission to the park). While the Pre-K Pass program is for 2017, signing up now also will get your preschoolers a visit during the fall of 2016 to enjoy the Great Pumpkin Festival (see the FAQs for more). And what can families already enjoy at Planet Snoopy?
Our family experience at the Planet Snoopy area at Kings Dominion most definitely exceeded our expectations. There are numerous rides that will happily satisfy a wide variety of ages as well as rides that parents can accompany their children. These rides are rated from mild to wild: 1–low thrill, 2–mild, 3–intermediate, 4–high thrill, and 5–aggressive thrill.
My six-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son chose to start with Charlie Brown’s Wind Up, which features two swings side by side at a moderate and enjoyable pace (ride rating 2). We then ventured to the Linus Launcher, a ride where you lay down on your stomach with your feet dangling and feel as if you are flying through the air. This ride would be more appropriate for older children and can accommodate a parent to ride next to their child (ride rating 3).
The Woodstock Express is most definitely a high-thrill ride, recommended only if your child is ready for faster speeds and big hills. My nine-year-old son loved this ride the best as he was ready for testing his coaster skills; however, my six-year-old was fairly rattled and had an intense expression during the ride. I tried teaching her that screaming could make the ride more fun, but she didn’t quite understand this concept. This ride is equipped with cameras so make sure you check out your family photo after you exit the ride (ride rating 4). Peanuts Turnpike is a great way for younger children to experience driving a car on their own. This ride does not allow a parent to accompany their children, but can help make kids feel more independent by being allowed to go solo (ride rating 1).
The Flying Ace Balloon Race ride allows parents and their children to experience soaring through the sky in a hot air balloon at 43 feet in the air. Riders also have a circular wheel that enables them to spin their balloon in circles until they are dizzy. (Ride rating 2) Similar in name, but not in type of ride, the Flying Ace is a high-flying intermediate thrill ride. Make sure your shoes are secured, as otherwise they will fly off. Once in the air, riders can control their individual plane to veer to both sides (ride rating 3). Kids also can fly their own airplanes in Snoopy vs. Red Baron (ride rating 2).
The ride that entertained the entire family was Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. The ride is completely indoors and looks like a spooky mansion. Each individual unit accommodates four riders and is equipped with four “boo blasters,” special weapons that zap ghosts and other animated props. Each rider’s boo blaster keeps track of the user’s score. This ride is completely in the dark, but the animated props are glowing brightly and the boo blasters helps to make this ride very interactive and playful (ride rating 2).
In addition to the rides, there are multiple shows throughout the day. We decided to check out Charlie Brown’s Happy Campers located in the Peanuts Playhouse. There is no shade, so beware of the sunny and hot part of the day. I encourage having drinks and sunscreen in order to enjoy the 20-minute show. The performers were very engaging with many opportunities for audience participation and children enjoyed singing and dancing to the musical numbers.
Overall, there are many visual aspects such as the Snoopy character garden and grass sculptures and areas with great photo opportunities such as fountains and benches with Snoopy characters. I believe this area of the park allows families to truly experience the rides together as no one will feel excluded. There are also signs throughout called “Snoopy Snippets” that provide parents helpful advice about raising children. The overall motto was “You are your child’s first and most important teacher.” The signs can guide parents on how to incorporate teachable moments while still having fun at an amusement park.
- Top three photos (Kite-eating Tree, Sally’s Sea Plane, Peanuts 500) provided by Kings Dominion
- All the photos provided by Debra Yarcho
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and Fairfax Family Fun has been compensated for participating. The opinions in this post reflect the views of the writer.