Thursday, April 25, 2013

Taking My Turn as a Tourist



I don't really like theme parks. 

I know it sounds almost sacrilegious to live in Orlando and say that. 

I know people travel here from all over the world to visit them. 

I know they're supposed to be the happiest places on earth. 

But I’m not crazy about them. It wasn’t always this way. I used to like them when I first moved here. 

About 25 years ago. 

But now just thinking about going to a theme park makes me feel hot. And crowded. And very grouchy. 

I’ve stood in my fair share of snaking lines of humanity, listening to quarreling families, sweat dripping down my back, wondering if the three minutes of whatever I’m about to experience is really worth it. 

My favorite spot at a theme park is usually under a shaded awning away from the glaring sun with a cool drink in my hand. 

I feel like it's okay that I don’t like theme parks since I don’t have kids. But since I am also an auntie, I have to hide what I really think about theme parks from my niece and nephew. 

Because they love them.

Where's the dolphin?
A few weeks ago my sister said she was going to SeaWorld to kick off my niece and nephew’s spring break. 

She called and said everyone was going. “Well, are you in or not?” she asked.

The kids love SeaWorld and I love seeing them love it, so of course I had to go.

Of all the Orlando parks, SeaWorld is one of the easiest to get into – as in you don’t have to take a boat, monorail or bus to get there once you park your car. 

You can actually walk a reasonable distance from the parking lot to the gates without needing a tram to transport you. 

Once we got inside, the kids passed out park maps to us so we could all take part in a lively debate about what we’ll do next and the quickest way to get there. 

We raced to our first stop, the dolphin show, where the kids wanted to sit close to the front. Within seconds of the morning sun blazing on me, I was hot and sweaty. 

I was already tired of being a tourist and the day had just begun.

There's the dolphin!
Tourists are the lifeblood of Central Florida. Although we locals love having them here, sometimes they try our patience. 

They drive slowly as they peer at road signs and consult their maps. 

They get in the automatic pay toll booth lanes and at the last minute veer toward the cash booths, finally realizing they don’t have toll passes. 

They talk loudly on their cell phones, “Yes! I’m in Florida! Can you believe it’s (fill in the blank, depending on the month) degrees and sunny here? What’s the weather like there?” 

They ask for their regional specialties in our grocery stores and say they can’t believe we don’t have that item here. 

They ask, “Is it always this (hot), (rainy), (humid) here?” 


But next week it’s my turn to be a tourist. 

I’m going to New York City. 

I’m going to annoy people hurrying around me as I stop and stare at the sights. 

I’m going to get lost and have to ask for directions. 

I’m not going to know how to take the subway. 

I’m going to carry my camera around my neck that will clearly identify me as a tourist. 

I’m going to take pictures of everything. 

I’m going to exclaim how cool the weather is this time of year and that it’s nothing like the weather back home. 

And I hope the locals I happen to meet are patient with me while I'm a tourist in their town.

My day of SeaWorld turned out to be quite enjoyable since the day became beautifully cloudy. 

And I got to spend the hottest part of the afternoon watching cats, dogs and a rat open doors, jump through windows and run on wires over my head. 

All while I relaxed in my seat a few rows from the stage. 

Did I mention this amazing pet show takes place inside? 

I highly recommend it for any tourist planning a visit to SeaWorld. It’s the coolest show in the entire park.

The kids pretend they're underwater sea divers.

8 comments:

  1. Ah - I hate theme parks too! and maybe sometimes laugh at those who do. I guess when you know something well it's easy to scoff at those who are so excited about it. What a great reminder to take a chance to experience it again with fresh eyes! Thanks for sharing.
    Christy

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    1. A kindred spirit on the topic of theme parks! I have a feeling that more visits to theme parks are in your near future since that new baby has arrived! :) And you just might end up loving the experience, too!

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  2. I feel the same way about the parks. Don't mind them from November through about March (especially the Food and Wine festival at Epcot, epic yum!) but being at them during peak times can be very trying.

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  3. Wonderful to meet you this morning, and I stopped by to see your blog! I feel the same way about the theme parks! Our kids haven't even been to Disney yet (and we live here now)! We do have Sea World and Aquatica passes this year though and it is a lot of fun...with kids! I hope you have a fabulous time in NYC! I have been there three times, and it is such a neat city! Shopping and central park are my favorites! Look forward to seeing more on your blog!

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    1. Jennifer,
      It was great to meet you too this morning! Thanks for the good wishes on NYC -- I am excited! I appreciate you popping over to my blog and I'm off to check yours out! :)

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  4. Your niece and nephew are building such fun memories with you at these parks - how nice of you to go along for the fun you're having with just being with them. Oftentimes it's the surprise fun we find in things we hesitated doing that sticks with us the longest and brings the most enjoyments! Have a super time in NY! Anxious to hear all about it!

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    1. Sharon,
      I love that -- the surprise fun -- for what is life if you can't have some surprise fun? Thanks for the good wishes on NYC -- I will bring back a full report! :)

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