Amusement Parks That Inspired Storybook Valley Series

amusement parks

Several amusement parks inspired my Storybook Valley chick lit series, set at a fictional theme park in the Catskills of New York, but it all began once upon a time in Story Land.

We had just left Cinderella’s castle at Story Land in Glen, New Hampshire when the concept for Fooling Around With Cinderella popped into my head. The young lady playing Cinderella was sweet and enthusiatic to a steady stream of families, and my husband and I got some great pictures of our children with her.

A few minutes later, as we were deciding what attraction to head toward next, it occurred to me. What if there was a reluctant Cinderella who was clueless about being a theme park princess? What if her boss was her Prince Charming?

That night, I scribbled ideas on scrap paper in the hotel room. I was still thinking about the book idea a couple days later when we visited Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire.

Ironically, I’ve been visiting both parks since I was a child. Recently, I was interviewed by April and CIndy of the YouTube channel The Travel Collective. During the interview, I gave both parks a shoutout although we focused mainly on Story Land. I even shared a fun fact about how Alice in Wonderland rescued me when I was about seven!

Story Land has been offering rides and entertainment to thousands of families with young children for over 65 years. This kid-friendly amusement park features more than 30 attractions perfect for making your little ones smile, from the Polar Coaster to Cinderella’s Castle. With special events and family dining options including character dinners and tea time, Story Land is the perfect amusement park for kids.

During trips with my children, our family had a special fondness for the Antique Cars, Dr. Geyser’s Remarkable Raft Ride (prepare to get wet!), the Swan Boats, Huff Puff & Whistle Railroad, and Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach. My children also loved the character dinners. We still have the stuffed Humpty Dumpty my daugter got at Story Land when she was little. She used to drag him around the house, calling him her “sweet thing” and her “little pumpkin.”

You can hear more about Story Land in the below interview and then you can continue reading about my theme park travels.

Santa’s Village

We would usually combine the Story Land trip with an excursion to Santa’s Village, a family amusement park where you can find your inner elf through rides, shows, live reindeer, Santa himself, and much more. My family’s favorites include the Great Humbug Adventure, a dark ride with black light, strobe lights, and a shooting target game. We also enjoy the Ho Ho H2O water park, The Skyway Sleigh, A Tinkerdoodle Christmas 3-D movie, and the live shows. Another favorite is the Elfabet Game, a park-wide scavenger hunt featuring elves from A to Z, as well as decorating gingerbread cookies.

Whenever we’ve visited Santa’s Village, we’ve stayed at the Evergreen Motel right across the street. You couldn’t ask for a more convenient location. The staff is friendly and the motel offers a pool and a free 18-hole miniature golf course. One thing that makes the motel unique is their extensive movie library available to guests at no charge. My kids used to love picking out a family movie we could watch on the DVD or VCR, and usually opted for a Christmas movie even though it was July or August. While my family was in the pool, I remember jotting down some notes for Fooling Around With Cinderella!

The Research

Although these New Hampshire theme parks offered a flurry of initial inspiration, I researched amusement parks all over the world to develop my fictional Storybook Valley theme park. I watched a lot of YouTube videos showcasing what it’s like working various jobs at Six Flags and the Disney parks. I also scoured many other amusement park websites to see what they offered, inspiring my muse to create my own rides and shows for Storybook Valley. There are so many amazing theme parks I’d love to visit including:

Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari

Santa’s Enchanted Forest

The Fairytale Forest


North Pole, NY

Wonderland Amusement Park

Cedar Point

The Books

The Storybook Valley novels are a humorous blend of theme park fun, fairy tales, and flirting. They are sweet, sassy, and a lively vacation escape. You can find out more about the books and watch their trailers below.

Fooling Around With Cinderella – Ever wondered what those cheerful theme park princesses are really thinking? When twenty-five-year-old Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom…

Buy it on Amazon.


Prancing Around With Sleeping BeautyThis Sleeping Beauty isn’t sure she wants to wake up…

Dance instructor Rory Callahan likes to play it safe. When she meets Kyle, he’s impulsive, persistent, and her exact opposite. He’s pushing her to tango way past her comfort zone and keeping Rory on her toes more than twenty years of dance teachers ever had.

Unfortunately, he’s the grandson of her family’s archrival and she doesn’t want to disappoint them. After all, her parents imagine her as a proper princess – hence her namesake Aurora, AKA Sleeping Beauty. Complicating matters, Rory’s also dealing with a surgeon boyfriend who’s perfect for her (sort of), an obnoxious boss, and desperate dance moms. Kyle wants to change her whole life, but Rory doesn’t like the stakes. After all, princesses are the ones who get the happy endings. . .aren’t they?

Buy it on Amazon.

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