Variations on a Theme Park

I’ve become pretty jaded about theme parks.  Working at one as long as I have, I pretty much know how the sausage is made.  It’s hard for me to walk around without noticing that a queue needs to be adjusted or some garbage needs to be swept up.  And all the intricate detail becomes so much background noise, just stuff that fills up the spaces between rides.

But today I took a friend and her parents into Islands of Adventure for their first ever visit.  I was ready to take them on a beeline back to Hogwarts, but they kept stopping, fascinated by all the little things I’ve come to take for granted.  The welcome sign inside the entrance.  The detailed shop signs through Port of Entry.  The crazy colors of Seuss Landing.  They kept taking pictures and looking around, commenting on how amazing it all was.  They hadn’t seen anything like this before.

I have to admit, it was refreshing being around people seeing all of this with fresh eyes.  It made me a little excited about the place again.  Or at least more aware of all the pieces working together to create the impression they made on my little tour group.  In my days on the front lines, I probably had a small part in hundreds of reactions like those of my friend and her parents today.  Maybe not enough to make me want to go back and do it again, but enough to make me look back on them just a little bit more fondly.

And I guess that’s true of everything — and everyone — we grow used to or take for granted.  Just because we’ve seen them over and over again doesn’t mean we have to treat them like an afterthought.  Maybe  if we all walked around with those fresh eyes, we’d all be a little happier and nicer to each other.  And then we’d get to go on roller coasters and stuff.


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