Welcome to ThemePark Freak. I’m Petra Ann, the proprietor of this establishment. Let me tell you a little about what it is I do!
The Early Theme Park Days
My earliest memories are going to Never Never Land at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington. I can remember climbing all over Mother Hubbard’s shoe. I also vividly remember Humpty Dumpty sitting at the top of the books into Never Never Land. While this wasn’t a theme park with rides, it was something that started my love of cheesy attractions.
Once I became school aged, my mother used a trip to The Enchanted Village as a bribe to make me cooperate with school shopping. While there were some rides in the early 80s, I remember the fairy tale characters the most. Maybe it’s because it was similar to Never Never Land. Later, when the water park was added, I got to go once or twice but I don’t really have as many memories there.
And when I was 6 or 7, I can remember getting to go to Disneyland. I don’t have as many memories there as The Enchanted Village (I went yearly until I was 10 or 11) I do remember the Sword in the Stone, being forced to go on It’s a Small World (not my favorite attraction) and The Haunted Mansion.
My mother was worried it would be too scary for kids as young as my cousin and I, but I loved it. I made my mother ride it over and over until she finally said no to yet another ride. To this date it’s still one of my favorite Disney attractions and I’ve also been to the Disneyworld and Disneyland Paris versions.
The County Fair Rides
Aside from my yearly trip to The Enchanted Village on the west coast of Washington State, the only other time I had access to amusement rides was the county fair.
As a teen, this was always the highlight of the year. Since I was in horse 4-H, I spent the entire week at the fair. My friends and I would pick a day where we didn’t have many classes, buy a wristband that got us on all the rides we wanted for a day, and we rode until we got sick (didn’t take long when it was 90 degrees Fahrenheit and we stuffed ourselves with fair food).
First Solo Theme Park
The first time I got to go to a theme park without my parents was when I was 18 or 19. The store manager at the McDonald’s I worked at decided that we’d be going up to the Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho. The roller coaster called Tremors had just been opened a few months before.
Tremors would be the first, but certainly not the last, roller coaster that dove through a tunnel.
Moving to Florida
When I turned 22 I ended up moving from the great northwest of the USA to central Florida. I lived about 1.5 hours away from Orlando so I ended up picking up annual passes to both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. During our days off, several friends from work and I would drive up to spend the evening at one of the parks. I really felt like I was living the dream at this point!
Moving to Europe
In 2005 I’d end up meeting and falling in love with a dutch guy and this meant leaving theme park paradise. However, getting to move to Europe put me within range of Disneyland Paris. Of course, the Netherlands has the Efteling and Walabi (former Six Flags) while just about 2 hours over the boarder there’s Movie Park and Phantasialand in Germany.
Of course, every other year I meet up with my parents in Orlando for some fun at the parks and I get to go on some wild road trips with my BFF where we stop at all sorts of road side attractions. Of course, according to Wednesday from Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, these are the holy temples of the Old World. They’re places of power… which is kind of true. They create memories and tons of fun.
ThemePark Freak Today
Today, I get to travel all over the place and one of my joys is to find some sort of theme park or attraction to go to. From Disney to the Mystery Spot near Santa Cruz, California I try to hit as many of them as possible. My inner child knows no boundaries!