Ideal itinerary for those at least 3 hours from Story Land:
Buy your Children's Fun Pass before you go! With the Fun Pass you get a coupon for a free child's admission with the purchase of an adult's admission. With one trip to Story Land, the Fun Pass pretty much pays for itself!
Arrive Friday at 2 or 3 (after 3:00pm July 1 thru August 24, after 2pm all other operating months) so you can go in to Story Land right when you arrive and get a free return pass for the next day (or any day for the rest of the season).
Enjoy Story Land until 5 or 6 - burn off all that steam from the car ride! I recommend going to the popular rides when you arrive - antique cars, polar coaster, bamboo shoots, etc - since the crowds thin out at about 2 or 3. [See BostonCentral's info on Story Land here for the scoop on the rides.]
Then go to the Red Fox for dinner. Great family-friendly restaurant 1 mile from Storyland with a kids' playroom and movie room too!
Go to your hotel and relax!
Saturday: go to the Glen Junction Restaurant for breakfast at 7am/7:30am - it starts getting busy at 8. They also have takeout if it seems too busy. Cute breakfast restaurant with trains running around the ceiling. Kids love it. Alternative: Dunkin Donuts across the street.
Arrive at Story Land at 9am and give them your free return tickets and drivers license. Go to the popular rides first and enjoy the day! Good food options are available for lunch - including pizza, hot dogs, salads, pbj, carrot sticks and hamburgers. Before you leave Story Land that night, call Kringle's Country Store to order take out pizza to take back to your hotel. 603-383-6669.
After dinner, go to Trail's End Ice Cream [Rte 302 in Bartlett]. They have great ice cream and a huge playground for the kids to run around on, and Adirondack chairs for the parents. They have indoor seating too, in case it is cold or rainy.
Spend at least one night (otherwise everyone is really tired). We like the Villager Motel since it has big motel rooms with 2 queen beds, air conditioning, an area with a sink, fridge and microwave, then a separate shower and toilet area. Outside you have a picnic table, Adirondack chairs and lots of grassy areas to run around on. There is a nice, clean heated pool, three swings (one baby swing), and two climbing structures - a train and a pirate ship. Very reasonable rates. See TripAdvisor's reviews of the Villager Motel here
Other options are the two water park hotels near Story Land. We liked the Hampton Inn & Suites in North Conway because it has an attached, indoor water park. [See review of water park hotels near Story Land here.] Another great option is Kahuna Laguna, which is located within the Red Jacket Resort complex.
We have stayed at Luxury Mountain Getaways and the Sky Valley Motel but neither had air conditioning and we immediately regretted it. It is cooler in Glen, NH, but it still gets hot. I highly recommend a place that has a/c for summer visits.
When to go:
The best time to go is the second weekend they are open - there are absolutely no crowds and it is not hot yet. But check the website since they are open only on weekends at the beginning of the summer. Yes, it can be worth it to take the kids out of school. [There are only so many years you can go to Story Land since it is geared toward younger ones.]
What if it rains:
They sell ponchos for kids and adults and most of the rides still keep going. It is still pretty nice if it is not a total downpour. There are quite a few indoor shows [and stores] to visit when it rains.
If your kids like dress-up, you have to visit their Let's Pretend Imagination Shop. Princess supplies galore!
See information on two Waterpark Hotels near Storyland in New Hampshire.