8/14/14

Preparing for an Amusement Park Marathon

Find an old telephone booth, or sauna, pack it full of people and wait for the tempers to erupt.

You think I'm joking, I'm not.

Not all amusement parks are this bad, nor are many rides, but there are a few lines you'll be waiting in that you will have to kiss your personal space good-bye, and I think Americans tend to have larger personal space issues than other nationalities.

And if you are on the vertically challenged side of the scale, say 'hello' to everyone's armpit.

There were two rides that were the worse: WDW The Haunted Mansion, and UF Escape from Gringotts.

Think of cowboys prodding a large herd of cattle into a single crush for one cow.

Both of these rides have elevators taking a group{(s) Gringotts has two elevators}down to a queuing area. So if the ride isn't moving quickly enough the area backs up, resulting in a free-for-all as everyone pushes and shoves their way into position. It's ugly and humanity doesn't shine in determination to be "first" in line. The problem is slightly alleviated by limiting the number of people on the elevators, but the persons halting the queue on the front end really have no idea how bad it has become on the other side. Then the amusement-park-powers-that-be might consider some sort of chain queue to break up the horde of humanity prior to the funneling process, which would get rid of the whole funnel experience. During off season, this isn't a problem, but in peak season when the crowd levels are high, it's hideous.

 The next issue is getting around the parks, AKA walking.

These parks are BIG. And you probably won't be simply going in one direction one time, but instead will be traversing these parks for one ride or another or to take advantage of a FastPass+ or a meal at a particular location.

But you think to yourself, "I'm a walker. I walk 4-5 miles a day. No biggie."

Yes, it is a biggie. It's a big issue because when you are walking on your own terms, treadmill or trail, you can stride out and get your heart rate up, and all-in-all enjoy life.

Not so in an amusement park.

You have to take into consideration the 20,000 other bodies who walk at a different pace, who meander all over the place, who stop for no reason right in front of you, or those people who want to go against the flow of traffic or cut across to the attraction on the other side, which disrupts your forward momentum.

It's those people who are at odds with your focused walking. In the immortal paraphrased words of a character in James Herriot's novel, All Creatures Great and Small, "I don't like the big city much, Mr. Herriot. A man can't walk there.  'e has to take big steps and little 'uns."

Still even though you won't be striding out, you will be putting in miles and thousands of steps. On my biggest day, I managed to get almost 22,000 steps, which calculated out to be about 15 miles.

Yeah, when we do amusement parks, we DO amusement parks with a mission!

So even if you have the best shoes in the world, and walk like nobody's business, your poor feet will be screaming at you after a marathon day.

What to do?

Other than buy a shoe with a big enough toe box or wear flip-flops (I couldn't do that. No foot support, and I wouldn't have lasted very long), you could invest in some Band-Aids or be proactive about the situation.

By proactive I mean, taping your toes. Runners do this all the time. If you've walked a lot in your shoes, you'll notice where 'hot spots' tend to pop up. The key is to tape them with cloth tape to prevent rubbing, which is what causes the blisters.

Sorry about the ugly feet, but I am an old broad and my feet tend to show my age. This picture was taken after a long day at the park. I had taped my toes because they tend to rub against one another, and I have 'bunionettes' (the joint sticks out under the baby toe) on both feet. Walking tends to shove your foot forward and my poor bunionettes were getting smushed. I taped them and it helped decrease the pressure.
 
 
So what other health measures do I try to take while on vacation?
 
I have a small zippered bag that has anything and everything you might need: Excedrin (headaches), Aleve (muscle aches), Mucinex and Sudafed (decongestant), Pepto Bismol tablets (tummy upset), Imodium (intestinal upset), Claritin and Alavert (Allergy Meds),  variety of cold medicine, Neosporin and Band-Aids, Cortaid (topical steroid for itching), a small sewing kit and my asthma inhaler. I think that's it.
 
For the most part, I never have to use these items with the exception of the pain relievers, and I don't stock the entire jar. I have one or two doses to get me by if there is a problem and I can then go to the store to buy more if I need it.
 
What if you weren't proactive and managed to get a blister or five? Do you drain them or leave them?
 
Most doctors will recommend NOT draining them, but if you have any more days at the park--DRAIN THEM.
 
Take a needle from the sewing kit and poke a small hole in the blister. Clear fluid will seep out. Once it is finished (use a tissue to catch the fluid) place a little Neosporin on the blister and cover it with a bandage. DO NOT REMOVE THE SKIN OVER THE BLISTER. It's there to protect the raw flesh underneath. If you don't drain the fluid, you might have difficulty walking and might actually tear the skin from the blister, which would make things worse in the long run.
 
Drink lots and lots of water.  This goes without saying, but I'm saying it since we didn't drink near enough fluids a couple of days. The problem is two-fold. 1) When you are sweating and the sweat isn't evaporating, you don't feel the need to drink any extra fluids. And trust me, if you go to Florida in the summer, you will be sweating! 2) When you are waiting in a two hour line for a ride, you don't want to get out of line to use the toilet because you probably won't be allowed back in line!
 
Even if you don't need to use the toilet before a long ride wait, do it anyway! You can thank me later!
 
When we go to the parks we don't carry anything in with us, no purses, no bags, no cameras, no nuthin'. What we need is in our pockets. The number one reason for not carrying a bunch of stuff is that many of the Universal rides require you to put your items in a locker prior to riding. This means you might be in line for 15 minutes before you even get to the locker area, and then you lose your place. . ..and it's a pain in the butt to have to remember to get your stuff.
 
So I keep a few key items in my pockets: tissues (ladies, this is for you. Always remember to pack tissues.) Even if there isn't any toilet paper in the stall I enter to use the bathroom, I always have a tissue with me. I make a small 1/2 sized snack bags (jewelry baggies or coke bags whatever you want to call them) to carry Aleve and Altoids (curiously strong peppermints), a flosser for my teeth, and chapstick or lipstick. Hubs usually has his phone and wallet, so we're good.
 
Oh, I almost forgot. Wear a good pair of sunglasses. The reflective surfaces are harsh on the eyes. I wear Ironman Wrap-around shades--I'm wearing them in the pictures in the previous posts. I started wearing these shades when I had a horse. The arena at my barn was sand, which is very reflective, just like cement and water, which Florida has a whole lot of.
 
That's it for now.
 
Later, Peeps!
 
 

1 comment:

Meg said...

Great tips, Margaret! Thanks.