Riding the Carousel at Maine’s Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach Maine (Photo copyright Stillman Rogers)

Has the merry-go-round at Old Orchard Beach shrunk? I’m sure the horses used to be bigger, so tall that my father had to boost me up to mount them. Apart from the size of the carousel, it’s just like I remember, though – maybe cleaner and not … [Read more...]

Immersing in Smoky Mountain Culture at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

The working grist mill at Dollywood was built by hand to resemble mills in the 19th century. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

I admit it, I was wrong. I thought Dollywood, the theme park in the Tennessee foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, would be a cheesy tribute to the buxom, big-haired blond country singer and movie star. I imagined over-the-top caricatures and … [Read more...]

Riding Rollercoasters at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Big Thunder Mountain Railway (photo by John Keatley)

Slipping into the skinny seat of the shuttlecraft at Space Mountain, I kept hearing the voice echoing throughout the noisy room. "Shuttle preparing for launch. Shuttle preparing for launch." In 1975, the year Space Mountain opened, my sisters and I - … [Read more...]

NASCAR Driving at Walt Disney World, Florida

Driving Nascar

It had been at least 15 years since I’d driven a stick shift but when offered the chance to take the wheel of a NASCAR race car -- provided I knew my way around a manual transmission -- I signed on. Driving is like riding a bike, right? And I'm … [Read more...]

Exploring Disney’s Magic Kingdom with Mom

Jungle Cruise boat at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Dusk swept in as the jungle drums were beating and torches flickered along the edge of the boat launch. Mom paused for a photo with a tall tiki. "Send this to Autumn, she'll love it!" she said, as I snapped the image with my iPhone and emailed it … [Read more...]

Hitting the Water Slides at Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells

The Scorpion's Tail at Noah's Ark propels riders more than 50 feet per second. (Courtesy Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau)

I nervously eye the long, clear tube. Ten stories high, it plunges steeply down, tilts to a 45-degree angle while making an enormous loop-de-loop, then drops into a narrow chute, where it deposits its contents — humans. Dubbed the Scorpion's Tail, … [Read more...]