Birthdays are almost everyone’s favorite day of the year (mine is second only to Halloween). There’s such an excitement with receiving gifts and getting to spend the day doing what you want to do. As I’ve grown older, I’ve stopped caring so much about the gifts, and have started caring more about spending time with people and birthday experiences.
This year, someone asked me what I was doing for my birthday, and I told them I didn’t have much planned. I intended to spend my birthday at work, then going home and relaxing and taking a nap. Plans changed, and I ended up spending the night with my family, eating dinner and trying out a new cake recipe (pumpkin cake with an apple cider glaze – check it out here). And it was wonderful. It was nice to just have a relaxing birthday with my family.
Saturday, however, was not so relaxing. Every year, Toyota rents out Kings Island in Mason, Ohio for its employees. My dad worked at Toyota over 20 years (he is now retired), so each year as long as I can remember I’ve spent Toyota Day at KI (minus a couple of years, when I had a volleyball tournament or was in Washington, D.C. visiting my best friend). Each year, it’s always one of my favorite days. It usually falls on my birthday weekend, and I always count that as the major part of my birthday plans.
This year was no different. I went with my friend Joel, and met up with my friend Taylor and her boyfriend. It was a blast. I remember my first time on a real roller coaster (The Beast, when I was in 5th grade, also on Toyota Day). It was TERRIFYING. My sister-in-law rode it with me… and then my family bought the picture after, because the terror is very clear on my face. Things have changed quite a bit since then, and I now really enjoy roller coasters. I’m now able to easily enjoy the larger coasters. Banshee is my favorite.
Taylor and I have been going since we were small, and have both mastered the knowledge of the camera locations on each ride. This year, she discovered that the photo packages are only $30. This includes the photos they take at the entrance of the park, and the photos taken on each ride. We decided to split it, and it was a great decision (if you ever go, I’d highly suggest doing this). They also allowed us to split the cost, and gave us each a photo card, so even when we split up we could still get our individual photos. This gives you access to all your photos in a digital account. Instead of paying $12 to print one ride photo, we spent $15 each and now have all the pictures from the rides, which is great! We can print as many copies as we want, in any size. Tay and I always enjoy deciding what we’re doing for the pictures before the ride starts. Here are some of our photos from the rides (the Diamondback photo of Joel and me was not staged; I just really don’t enjoy Diamondback.):
The best part of Toyota Day, and my birthday celebrations, is that the day usually falls on opening weekend of the Halloween Haunt. The Halloween Haunt is great. People dress up in scary costumes, and walk around the park scaring people. Joel and I sat down in a crowded location full of “scaracters” and watched as they walked around scaring people. It was definitely amusing. KI also has haunted houses open that visitors can walk through. Joel and I only did one, but they had a fun photo station set up at the entrance.
My favorite part of the Haunt is a giant Jack-in-the-box named Jack. He’s been there as long as I can remember. During the day, he’s a harmless clown (although he creeps out a lot of people). At night, he’s surrounded by fog, plays creepy music, and pops out of his box (check out the video on my Instagram here). It’s a tradition for me to take a picture with him every year. I love seeing him come out of his box at night also, especially when people are around that don’t know he comes out of the box. Seriously, people shriek (you
can hear some of it in the video), and it’s fun to watch.
Overall, the weekend was pretty great. I wrapped up the weekend Sunday, going to church and bowling with my family on Sunday for my youngest niece’s birthday. I’d definitely count this birthday as one of my best, and I haven’t even finished the celebrations yet (another best friend is coming down next weekend from Northern Kentucky so we can do birthday dinner with a bunch of our friends, and then going to the local orchard Sunday)!
I did learn something on my birthday this year though… at 27, I’m getting old. Sunday, I was very sore all over, from the rides and walking around all day. I’m definitely not as young as I used to be, and I feel older. Was it worth it, though? Absolutely.