Just a short ride from the charming town of North Conway, Story Land is an amusement park that’s geared toward families with young children. It’s a happy, magical place that my kids look forward to visiting every year. The park is easy to navigate, has classic storybook-themed rides and attractions that kids love, and is the essence of family fun.
We are Story Land veterans – this year was the fifth year in a row that we went – but even after all these years, there are still rides and attractions we haven’t done. Yes, there are couple of things I would like Story Land to fix (more on that later). But we’ll be back next year – and here’s why…
1. It’s perfect for kids ages 9 and under. Story Land says it’s great for ages 2-12, but one of the kids we were with is 9 and was definitely a bit bored – though he was a good sport about it. But my 3yo and 6yo were in HEAVEN at Story Land. This is an amusement park that absolutely caters to little kids.
2. The rides! Gracie, my 3yo’s faves were the Cuckoo Clockenspiel (a tea-cup ride that you get to spin as fast as you want), the Whirling Whales (another ride that goes in circles), and the Flying Fish (suspended, whirling fish that go in circles – do you sense a theme?).
3. But there’s more to Story Land than the rides. Some of Gracie’s favorite stuff actually weren’t rides. She looooves the Huff Puff & Whistle Railroad Train that goes around the park.
And my favorite moment of the whole trip was watching Gracie’s pure joy as she smiled and clapped along with the animatronic singing vegetables at the Farm Follies. Annie was not amused – too cool for school at age 6. But Gracie was completely entranced and eventually had to be coaxed to move on.
Last year we went to the Story Land circus and it was great, but this year we didn’t make it to a single show. And that’s not because they aren’t fun – my girls were just very focused on the rides and treats this year.
4. Oh yes. Tasty treats. Ice cream, fried dough, fudge, Icees, even Dole Whips for you Disney lovers … you can find it all at Story Land. My girls’ favorite treat (okay, it was Hubs’ and my favorite treat, too) were the snow cones from the little hut near the Bamboo Chutes entrance. Actually, they were more like snow bowls – a huge serving of shaved ice in a bowl with whatever flavorings you want. Each of us got three flavors and they were sooooo good. And when they melted a bit? Delicious slushy goodness.
5. Get there in the PM of day one, go for free the next day. If you purchase admission in the last three hours of one day, your next full day at Story Land is free. We take advantage of this almost every year! It lets you hit some of the bigger rides at the end of the day when the youngest visitors have already gone home and the lines are shorter.
Now, there are a few things at Story Land that were not the stuff of fairy tales, unfortunately. And in the spirit of honesty, I do want to mention them – because I know the people who run Story Land will truly want to know what wasn’t magical about our visit.
So what exactly wasn’t ideal?
Something that is great about Story Land is that it employs tons of local teenagers. But something that isn’t great is when those teenagers are acting like, well, teenagers.
We had some surly customer service when getting our lunch, and some ride operators were obviously uninterested in being there. Dude, I get it. You were up late last night partying. But we paid to be here. You are paid to work here. Fake some enthusiasm already, will ya?
And speaking of food … well, our Pixie Kitchen lunch left much to be desired. I had a very sad salad with grilled chicken, my kids turned their noses up at the mac and cheese (definitely not Kraft), and Hubs had a “edible enough” grilled cheese.
Then we got ice cream cones at Yum Yum Junction which turned out to be a small scoop of ice cream on a empty cone – no ice cream inside the cone. Which is a pet peeve of mine. Being a former ice cream parlor employee, I know a cardinal rule of serving ice cream is to FILL THE CONE with ice cream.
And one final thing that nagged at me: The park itself was quite clean, but the bathrooms were not. Neither were the tables in the food areas. Story Land definitely needs to have some more cleaning people on staff, especially on busy weekend days. Or maybe those surly teens need to get off their duffs and do their jobs. Ahem.
But – don’t let these minor complaints stop you from going to Story Land. It is a BLAST! The large majority of the staff is lovely. The place is chock-full of wholesome family fun. And your kids will adore it. Even if you have been to Disney World, they’ll love it. I can attest to that – we went to Disney this past Spring and were wondering if our girls would be unimpressed with Story Land after that. But they weren’t.
The magic of Story Land still reigned.
Thank you to Story Land for giving my family a four-pack of tickets to the park. All opinions in this review are my own and were not at all influenced by the tickets provided – because I am Honest Mom, after all.