Florida Amusement Parks

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Florida Amusement Parks

I have to admit I’m not a fan of amusement parks. If I had my choice, I would rather visit a museum, stroll through a zoo or walk through a botanical garden.

Why? Because I despise lines. There are lines to check out your groceries, lines to cash your check, lines to pump your gas and lines to grab a cup of coffee and so forth and so on.

Why does the entire nation and myself spend our vacations or precious weekends at amusement parks? Because we have kids. Disney is magical, Busch Gardens is adventure and Universal is just plain cool. Therefore, we suffer the fate of long lines, whining children, profuse sweating, and tired feet.

Fast Pass or Not?

When you finally reach the front of the line and jump into your space rocket, boat or whatever moving vehicle you’re placed in, the thrill is all of 30 seconds to one minute.

Every time I get off the ride onto the exit floor, I find myself debating whether it was worth the wait. What makes you jump into the next 45 minute wait is that big wide smile on your kid’s face and hearing them exclaim how great the ride was. It’s right about this time I’m asked, “Aren’t you having fun mom?’ This is where I put on my kid puppet smile and say “Yeah, I’m having a blast.”

About eight to 10 hours later, and having conquered most of the amusements and shows, we earn our badge of parenthood by dragging our families back to the hotel after the fireworks, shower off the day’s sweat and get up the next morning to do it all over again.

I took advantage of my time in line by making observations of the Disney employees, and I came to the following conclusions.

Disney workers (aside from the dancers on Main Street) don’t smile like they do on the Disney commercials. Probably because the typical Disney visitor makes up their own rules or pretends not to understand. My favorite employee was a monorail worker who tried to get the monorail riders to walk all the way down to the end to allow as many Disney visitors to ride the monorail instead of stopping in the middle. After being repeatedly ignored, his happy Disney attitude of “Please keep the line moving down to the end of the yellow line” turned into “If you stop in the middle, I swear I’m coming to get you and move you myself.”

Disney characters are programmed to sign autographs and pose for photos. When they’re stopped for a simple hug, you can actually see the look of amazement through their huge masked faces. They quite don’t know what to do. I dared my youngest to get one of them to dance with her (like they used to in the old days before autograph books came into existence). We finally succeeded with a second-rate character, a penguin of some sort. I don’t know the character, but he got my vote because he danced for a full three minutes.

Most Disney workers who work the rides don’t wave to you anymore. One out of 10 smiled and wished me well on my Disney adventure down Splash Mountain or wherever I was headed. Many look annoyed. At times I felt they wished they had a cattle poke to keep their lines moving and anxious visitors orderly.

The most enthusiastic group of Disney entertainers was an assortment of college and university musicians who made up a jazz band. They tore the place down. I caught their act in two different locations and they blew the top off Cinderella’s castle. I’m sure the band was composed of student interns that went through some intense auditions to get there. They were loud, proud and thrilled to be part of Disney.

Disney is still very Clean

However, I firmly believe the maintenance staff is composed of employees who truly wish to be the next Mickey Mouse or Captain Hook. I bet their supervisors tell them if they keep the park real clean, they could be the next available Disney character or Disney princess. That has to be the only thing that keeps these employees so quick to sweep the sidewalks.

The Disney cart employees, the ones who sell drinks, popcorn or ice cream, must be mechanical puppets from some of the amusements such as the Hall of Presidents or Carousel of Progress. There’s no way a real person can stay stationary all day by his or her cart with little or no contact with other Disney employees, few bathroom breaks and stifling hot conditions or torrential downpours. I could have sworn a cart person selling Disney parasols was singing “Yo ho, yo ho. A pirate’s life for me.”