Actually, vacation was three mini-vacations in one. And by the end of the two weeks, we were EXHAUSTED!
In my infinite wisdom, I thought it would be an ingenious idea to go to WDW (Walt Disney World) and UF (Universal Florida) immediately after school was out for the summer. Actually, the idea had its merits, considering I found out that many Florida school systems and numerous northeastern states (winter weather days) were still in classes until June.
I had forgotten to factor in the entire southern section of the country, the fact that the UK was on it's mid-term breaks, and a whole slew of South American residents were enjoying their breaks. . . oh, and those lucky, lucky kids who lived close to the big amusement parks to have their 8th-grade/senior/band trips there.
In other words, it wasn't even summer yet and everything was crowded.
Here are a few simple suggestions for going to big amusement parks.
- RESEARCH and READ about the park and the rides. If you have a young family, then your ride choice will be different than a family with grandparents or teens. Find online maps of the parks.
- PLAN your day--Disney allows you to make three Fast Pass reservations 60 days prior to your vacation if you stay at an on-site property (30 days for off-site hotels). Do this with the rides you definitely want to ride.
- GO EARLY. Yes, I know this is vacation, but unless you love crowds, heat and humidity, then go to the parks early as there are fewer people there. Now, this doesn't mean there aren't any people, oh, no, it will be crowded, but less crowded with less 'hangry' (hungry, angry, i.e. tired) people and kids.
- ACKNOWLEDGE that it will be crowded and you probably won't be able to do everything you want to do.
- PARADES--If you don't want to see the parades plan to be in line for a big ride because many people start camping out along the parade route 1-2 HOURS before the parade. We actually rode two Thunder Mountain rides while people were pushing for position for the Electrical Light Parade. We were heading to Pirates (there's a cut through near the edge of Liberty Square) when we stopped about three people deep and watched the parade.
- CHARACTERS--If you want to see characters, then you can Fast Pass the lines, or do a character meal. Princesses are found in EPCOT's Norway along with Cinderella's Royal Table.
- PAY ATTENTION-- I lost count of the times groups of people would randomly stop in the middle of walking to have a conversation. Take it to the edge, People! It's too crowded to be oblivious of the other guests. We all paid money for the park, be considerate of others. It's not hard. All you have to do is be conscientious.
- SMOKING--I don't smoke. My family doesn't smoke. Smoke triggers my asthma. All amusement parks have provided smoking areas. USE THEM! Quit being selfish for once in your smoking lives and think about how your smoke might effect others.
- BIG STEPS AND LITTLE ONES--I might have walked over 20,000 steps daily, but many times they weren't active steps. Nobody walks at the same pace. Some people are slow. Some groups string out effectively blocking the entire walkway. Learn to shoot the gaps. People are oblivious especially in large groups. Take a chill pill and figure out how to make it work without getting frustrated.
- NOT BATTERING RAMS--Look, I know strollers and electric scooters are big and unwieldy. The least you can do is to NOT use them as battering rams. My hubby had his Achilles tendon rammed hard enough that momentum caused the stroller to lift up in the air. It's not nice. It hurts. Learn to be patient.
- WINE--helps. After you leave the park. Enjoy an adult beverage. Just sayin'.
Chill out. Enjoy time with your loved ones. And realize that you probably won't get to see or do everything you want to see or do. Even 'off season' isn't very slow any more. Just plan to return again. . .
Because in 2016, Disney's Animal Kingdom is scheduling the opening of Avatarland. Just saying.