Natalie Simpson is a Lagoon Mom. She’s been taking her boys Raleigh and Crew to Lagoon since 2006 and, except for 2013 when the roller coaster-loving family made visits to amusement parks in Ohio and Kansas, she always buys season passes. Here are her tips, tricks and tactics for a perfect Lagoon experience.
1. Buy season passes – The passes pay for themselves with two trips to the park. Plus, with a season-pass, you’re not pressured to commit to a full day. “You can go for two, three hours, get your fill and go home,” Nat says.
2. Buy the passes early – There are early-bird specials on the passes and even more savings for purchasing four or more season passes. Lagoon opens in spring for weekends only and these pass deals expire when its official summer season kicks off in early June. Nat makes sure to get her family’s passes before school lets out.
3. Get the parking pass – If you go the season-pass route, shell out $55 for the parking pass, otherwise it’s $10 dollars every time you go. “That’s how they get you.”
4. Go north for parking – Instead of turning toward the main entrance as you first enter Lagoon’s sprawling parking lot, go further north in the parking lot. Natalie says she often finds closer parking in the rows farther into the lot.
5. Dress ‘Lagoon minimal’ – “I only ever bring my phone and one credit card,” Nat says. “I don’t wear a hat that can fly off on the rides and we put our sunscreen on at the car.” Also, no open-toed shoes or flip-flops. “There’s a few rides they won’t let you on with the wrong shoes.”
6. Avoid weekends – Avoid weekends and go when it’s less crowded. Going early and late in the season, when Lagoon is just open on weekends, is also more mellow.
7. Ride Cannibal first – First, hit Dracula’s Castle and the Terror Ride, located at the front of the park. Then, “we engage in a fairly intense discussion of what coaster to ride.” If the park looks busy, it’s Cannibal first. Lagoon’s most popular coaster is sure to have the longest line, so it’s best to get its wait out of the way.
8. Scorcher? Get wet on the Hydro Luge – The two most popular water rides, the Log Flume and Rattlesnake Rapids, are busy on hot days. The Hydro Luge, “a waterslide you ride with your clothes on,” has a faster line.
9. The Sky Ride is not faster but it’s the best way to cross the park – The Sky Ride, which takes its riders from one end of the park to the other like a flat ski lift, is slower than actually walking the midway but it’s much pleasanter to look down on everyone.
10. Skip Lagoon-a-Beach – The water is really cold at the waterslide and wet amusement park inside the amusement park. “Plus, I don’t like changing my clothes in the middle of the park and if you wear your swimsuit around afterwards you’re the person leaving wet marks on the ride seats.”
Bonus: Eating at Lagoon – In good conscience, Salt Lake magazine can’t give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the food choices at Lagoon. It’s not that it’s basically fair food—we like fair food. It’s that it’s not particularly good fair fare. However, there is one shining exception: The grilled buttery corn on the cob at Rattlesnake Grub in Pioneer Village is a yummy summer treat. The Pioneer Village Ice Cream Parlor and Bakery are good bets for sweets.
Lagoon has a liberal picnic policy that allows you to pack in your own food (Maybe stop by Caputo’s on the way and pack up a nice cooler of treats and head back to the picnic pavilion area). This policy also applies to adult beverages, which you can drink in the picnic area (and discreetly on the midway). But we don’t advise too many tipples. Lagoon’s rides are designed to jostle your equilibrium—best not to start with an impaired middle ear.
Looking for more Lagoon lore? Check our our official Lagoon history guide here.