Budget travel with a twist: Try out for TV commercial singing competition for water park passes, cash and more

Here’s a budget travel twist. Sing your way to free water park passes and some cash. With American Idol over until next year’s search for the next star, CoCo Key Water Resort is putting on a singing competition to tide any warblers over and find a star for one of its commericals.

This nationwide search wants talent and creativity mixed in with fun. The way I see it, this is a seriously doable win if you can carry a tune and have some personality. All you have to do is submit a 30 second video recording of yourself singing the CoCo Key jingle. If you have a group of talented folks like friends, family members, or even the high school choir, you can do a group entry.

The contest deadline is June 10 which means your video has to be in the judges’ hands by then.

Don’t know the CoCo Key jingle? No worries. You can find the jingle, entry form and contest details at www.CoCoKeyJingle.com What will you win besides a commercial spot if you’re chosen?

First off, you’ll get some of that 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol talked about–but longer. A commercial plays over and over. What with the CoCo Key website and YouTube, some sort of fame is guaranteed. You’ll also win a $500 U.S. savings bond and year passes for four to CoCo Key. There may be other prizes depending upon the water park. For example, Cherry Valley Lodge in Newark, Ohio and the CoCo Key at the Shereton Cincinnati North are kicking in other goodies to bring the total win to a $1,250 value.

Here’s what’s great about the competition even if you don’t win. You get practice auditioning. Maybe you won’t win this time, but it’s a stepping stone to the next opportunity. Practice makes perfect. Right? Luke Adams, the deaf contestant on the Amazing Race tried out four times before he finally nailed it. Although he and his mom didn’t come in first, they did win a Travelocity trip due to their first place Pit Stop landing on this season’s first leg, AND they were one of the three teams to finish the entire race. Not too shabby.

The morale of the story is: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

If you’re within driving distance to a CoCoKey there are live auditions. The Newark and Cincinnati locations have auditions on May 31 from 10 AM to 3 PM. The first 100 people to try out get a day pass to that particular park. Showing up early is recommeded because space is limited.

I can vouch for the food at Cherry Valley Lodge’s Sunflower Restaurant. It’s superb. We were there at Easter. If you’re in Cincinnati and looking for cheaper eats near the Sheraton, there are several fast food options. We at at a Panera when we went to that CoCo Key last year.

If you are near the CoCo Key in Boston, MA; Fitchburgh, MA; Mount Laurel, NJ; Omaha, NE; Rockford, IL; Chicago, IL; Kansas City, MO; or Waterbury, CT, check with that CoCo Key to find out about live auditions. There are auditions happening at each. Here’s a link to other contest tips. People under 18 can do the video, but parents need to do the submission. The well over 18 years old crowd are welcome too. There’s not an age limit.

Here’s a video of CoCo Key that has the jingle, to put you in the mood.

Spring deals for indoor waterpark lodges

With warm weather barely hovering, the idea of finding a place where temperatures feel more tropical is appealing. You don’t have to head south to find it. Several indoor waterpark resorts are offering spring deals to entice travelers. I’m heading to one of them myself.

Cherry Valley Lodge in Ohio is a deal-making expert. Tomorrow, for example, by ordering two adult entrees at the lodge’s Sunflower Restaurant you get a one-day admission for four to the CoCo Key Waterpark. The way I see it, this takes care of what to do for Easter dinner as well as getting out of town for a mini getaway. From everything I’ve ever read or heard about the restaurant, it’s superb. I envision the waterpark before we eat, and then a walk through the lodge’s garden afterward.

Cherry Valley Lodge is offering several other package deals this spring that include a stay at the lodge. The Going Green with CoCo is connected to Earth Day and includes an Earth Day craft, a tote bag and more. There’s also a Wild Waterpark Works package that includes passes to The Wilds, an outdoor wild game preserve, and passes for The Works, a discovery center museum. Check out the lodge’s seasonal package page for the deals and the promotional codes.

Here’s a round-up of more packages at other indoor waterpark resorts.

If you’re looking for something to do with a group of friends, consider these as an option.

A few years ago, my husband’s family including four of his five siblings and most of their kids met for the day at Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio. We did the birthday party package even though it wasn’t anyone’s birthday. At the time, the package was cheaper than if we all bought individual day passes, plus it included ice-cream, pizza and a drink. One of my sister in-laws set it up under one name and we each paid for our own family when we arrived.

Other resort and waterpark deals:

Great Wolf Lodge, a chain located in various states, is offering a variety of package deals. The deals vary depending upon the lodge. Splash into Spring is available at the Kansas City location, for example. If you go to the Great Wolf Lodge website, you can find packages that include water park passes and lodging once you click on the particular water park in which you are interested.

CoCo Key waterparks are connected to various hotels such as the one at Cherry Valley Lodge. Like Great Wolf Lodge, the deals depend upon the location. Click here for options.

Country Springs Hotel, Water Park and Conference Center, Waukesha, Wisconsin. There are a few spring packages from which to choose depending on your budget and what you’d like to include. Food vouchers, birthday party fixin’s and game tokens are some of the options. Click here for details.

Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Dubuque, Iowa. There’s a Lil’ Squirt Package that includes waterpark tickets for four, $25 voucher for the Riverwalk Restaurant, 40 arcade tokens and 10% off the gift shop.

White Water Bay Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark, Queensbury, New York–There’s a package to celebrate Earth Day, one that includes breakfast, another that includes dinner and one for birthdays. All come with lodging and waterpark passes.

King’s Point Waterpark Resort, Storm Lake, Iowa. The resort’s website has coupons for discounts. You can get one night for free if you pay for two, for example. There are coupons for free food and other goodies as well.

Watiki Indoor Waterpark Resort, Grand Rapids, Rapid City, South Dakota. Through April 30th day passes are at a discount. During the week, a pass is $5.95. On the weekends it’s $11.95. Stay at the Fairfield Inn or La Quinta which are less expensive than many resort hotels. In May, the admission goes up by $5, which for an indoor waterpark, is not a bad deal.