Magic Mountain Is All About the Rides

magic mountain entrance

I’ve lived in the Los Angeles area for a long time and I had never gone to Magic Mountain before this fall. I don’t know why – I always just found other things to do. Oh, and then there was the whole “…but Magic Mountain is full of gangs” reputation that it had.

But now I have a kid who loves roller coasters and pretty much all thrill rides. He actually went to Magic Mountain with the YMCA summer camp but he only got to go on one ride. I know, I can’t really understand it either, but I was told that it was a very crowded day and it was tough to keep all the kids together. After that sad experiment, I promised him I would take him back, just the two of us.

mom and son before magic mountain

Oh, and a friend and her kid. That made a perfect arrangement for rides. Two 7-year-olds, two moms. One mom hates spinning rides, one hates high, dropping rides. Great, we’ll switch off. The kids had each other, and my friend and I got to spend the day catching up and hanging out.

The most awesome thing about Magic Mountain that day was the lack of other people. It was a Saturday after school had started, so we anticipated crowds and long lines, but the longest line we encountered was for the Apocalypse roller coaster – a worker told us it was 90 minutes! – but we just came back later and it was doable. Some rides had such short lines that we went on them (or sent the kids) over and over again! I didn’t see any roving bands of ruffians, but I’m not really up on my gang info, so people could have been in them but I wouldn’t have known. It seemed safe enough to me.

we did not go on this

I was worried about feeling sick on roller coasters because I have gotten a little bit more…delicate…over the years, but I was willing to suck it up for my kid. It was okay though. I actually had a good time. We went on almost every ride that my son was tall enough to ride (or he went with my friend or the other little boy). My favorite rides were the Ninja – which is a roller coaster that hangs down from a track instead of rolling on top of one, and makes for a smooth ride – and the Apocalypse because it was really fast and I liked the artistry.

entrance to the ninja

We got there shortly after it opened and stayed until the bitter end. We did bring some snacks in (not advised by the park) but wound up purchasing lunch and dinner on site, it was just easier that way because you really don’t want to haul your bags around all day. I did, and there was one ride that didn’t have a place for you to stash your stuff. Oddly, it was the super-splashy ride, Tidal Wave.

splash at magic moutain

My son loved this ride but not the ride itself – the platform where you watch the boat come down was his favorite spot in the whole park and he spent a long time there getting splashed! It was a hot day, so he dried out fairly quickly, and to me it was worth seeing the joy on his face.


Magic Mountain is only about a 40 minute ride away, and half the cost of Disneyland. I don’t know what the deal was with the missing crowds that day, but I felt like we struck amusement park gold. After the sun set and as people left the park for closing time, I can see it being a little creepy to some people, especially if they are not there in a group, because there wasn’t much in the way of security or personnel in the far, dark corners.


The one thing that I noticed everywhere and it actually distracted me was the omnipresence of ads. There were commercials played on the PA system, and posters everywhere for cell phone services, candy, chips, credit cards, and more. I guess they had to subsidize the lower ticket cost somehow?

While other local amusement parks have rides, they also have shows, stores, and other things that distract you from the rides. My son loved the shows at Knott’s Berry Farm, but since the rides are pretty much the whole point at Magic Mountain, it was easy enough to focus on them (harder to distract him from the pricey carnival games but I put my foot down. No deal.) and experience many of them on this day.

Magic Mountain
26101 Magic Mountain Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355
3-day advance tickets purchased online were $46.99 each, and parking was $20

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