Jillian is down visiting with some of her family, and so we spent today tooling around my home away from home, Universal Orlando. I don’t often play the tourist in my own park. I’ll sometimes get in a quick ride on something after work, maybe just walk around the park for a bit, but today was the full boat. Parking in the garage, lining up for stuff, walking through both parks, everything. And I have to say, I have no idea how you people do it.
And by “you people,” I mean the thousands of other people doing the same thing we were today, except they didn’t have the benefit of an employee getting them in for free. And the convenience of having a theme park in their back yard whenever they feel like going. For a lot of these people, this was their one shot at this, their one trip to Florida in which to see us, Disney, SeaWorld, and anything else the guidebook tells them is worthwhile.
We just walked half of Universal Studios and all of Islands of Adventure, did nine rides total, and I’m wiped out. I can’t imagine having to wake up tomorrow and do all of that at the Magic Kingdom, then EPCOT the next day, and so on and so on, park after park. Dragging however many kids along with you, spending money on meals, t-shirts and souvenirs, trying to check off every last thing on the map; I’d go mad.
I can’t help but admire the perverse perseverance that drives someone to make the theme park death march, especially in summer in Florida. And especially because it’s those people who a) keep my employed and b) keep us from having a state income tax. But beyond that, the level of organization needed to plan and execute such a trip is astounding, verging on the magical. And I saw hundreds of families pulling it off today. Granted, some with more degrees of success than others; the mid-afternoon toddler meltdown is somewhat unavoidable, and not everyone is going to agree on where to go next.
But there is valor even in the attempt. So I salute you, Theme Park Tourists. I walked many miles in your shoes today. And boy are my feet tired.