If you want some practical advice such as how to save money at your favorite theme park, stop reading.
You won’t get that here.
At least, not today.
Or how about some down-to-earth suggestions on how to get discounts on your Disney Orlando tickets or your Universal Studios Orlando tickets?
Sorry, not right now.
Or maybe you’re looking for hacks to more thoroughly enjoy your theme park experiences elsewhere or anywhere?
At some other park, perhaps?
What we are going to get into today has no practical economic benefit to you.
But it is important.
And we think it is worth knowing about.
What we are referring to:
Why do people…meaning you…love theme parks?
What is it is about spending a day at a theme park that convinces you to come back…again….and again?
This does not save you any money but it might add to your having a better experience.
Know yourself, for no other compelling reason.
Did you know an estimated 53,000 people a day visit just one theme park: Walt Disney World Resort?
So millions of others are just like you. At least, in some ways.
Where you start here is the obvious:
Not everyone is like you. And not everyone goes to parks for the same reasons.
Many park-goers would agree with one of our friends. She says:
“I feel uplifted by theme parks, and by the sheer escapism of it all.”
They are places, and Disney’s Magic Kingdom is a particularly obvious example, where you leave cynicism at home.
Why not believe that dreams can happen?
Yes, vague. Perhaps too idealistic.
And just a concept, anyway.
Something we should be aware of when looking at this:
When Walt Disney invented the theme park for children as well as adults…somewhere for both young and old to share…the times were less complicated. Or not as sophisticated than they are now.
Remember, this is more than a half century ago.
Even if we are older enough to have been around that long, none of us is what we were decades ago…or even years ago.
Walt Disney started it in California, but theme parks are now worldwide. Think of it: people who speak in all languages in just about all parts of the world share these experiences.
It’s not a Small World.
The world is full of them
It’s a Theme Park World.
Yes, admittedly. Did we forget…
Not in Russia.
Not yet, anyway.
But why do we do it?
We could cite a lot of reasons but to make this manageable…and so you don’t have to spend your entire week reading this…we’ll take a familiar approach to it.
Ten reasons why we love theme parks
For some of us, and we don’t mean to say you are simple, but there is one compelling reason to come in the first place.
And return. Thrills is what we are referring to.
If you don’t believe us, consider how some parks such as SeaWorld Orlando are cutting back on animal acts to add…guess what…roller coasters.
SeaWorld this summer is promoting the opening of the world’s tallest and fastest.
But you don’t have to ride coasters for your thrills.
Elevators will also do the job.
Consider Disney’s “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror,” commonly known as the “Tower of Terror.” It’s about as scary as any coaster, past or future.
Another dimension of sight and sound
Think of just this description from Disney:
“An abandoned abode…neglected, weed-filled gardens…a dusty lobby frozen in time…a dark library with strange artifacts…a dilapidated boiler room that is home to rattling machinery…a rickety lift…light bulbs spookily flickering…
Going up. Heavens no. Going down. And down some more.
Thirteen stories, naturally.
What thrill rides provide might be termed an adrenaline rush.
In other words, you get scared. But not in a real life-threatening situation such as riding in a real crippled airplane where passengers face a crash landing…but a simulated terror.
Yes, accidents do happen. Coasters crash.
But even reasonably experienced theme park-goers…and you certainly qualify…know and are aware that accidents are rare. Your survival rate is almost 100 percent.
Still. The spins and loops and even the mouth-drying drop of a speeding elevator are all scary experiences. But the best part is that you survived it.
You go on to the next ride. Or get in line to try it again.
A somewhat less thrilling but certainly more enduring feeling that some park-goers might rank highly: taking photos.
If you don’t believe us here, count the number of people doing it.
Far more common than just about anything else, including bathroom visits.
Couples and families are all shooting everywhere (even to the point where Disney had to ban “selfies” for ride-goers who had a bad habit of standing up and otherwise violating safety rules).
The photos back at home are reminders of good times. Viewed again and again.
Shared with others on social networks. Look at how stupid Valerie looks when she’s doused with water when she dared to board Congo River Rapids at Busch Gardens.
Yes, memories, embarrassing and memorable. It’s only human nature to love our photos.
So trust those memory cards rather than our own seat of recollections. You can even pose for them yourself. And you always have control of what you send out to others on Facebook…or hold back, at times as well.
The food is different here
Yes, it is not at all like home. Theme park food, we mean.
But also not what you find when you gather everyone out for a meal outside of the home.
As you know, early theme parks had little more than hamburgers and hot dogs. And French fries, of course.
But those food courts that used to be found just in shopping malls are everywhere at theme parks. And there are many, many sit down restaurants of all types, for all budgets.
Even the least expensive ones at great even if you don’t particularly want gourmet food. Why?
A welcome chance to sit down and rest and a drink.
Another simple difference
You can also eat while you walk. That does not sound like a lot.
But hardly a normal activity at home (your neighbors might think you at least a little strange if you started patrolling the sidewalks with cotton candy in one hand a Diet Coke in the other).
Treats also that you don’t get at home. Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream. Donald Duck waffles.
This fascination with food is evident not only in seeing others walking around eating just about anything you can imagine…either on a stick or not….but in the many sites devoted to telling others what the latest food item is now available at your favorite theme park.
Enjoy. But don’t forget the Alka-Seltzer, either.
Bringing out your childish nature. If you have children yourself, you might rationalize that you are here for their enjoyment.
True enough. But what about you? You like it, too, don’t you?
Or where would you rather be? The golf course? Doubtful. The bowling alley? No way.
The outdoors, yes.
But not just in a nature-rich park like the ones offered by your local city and state governments where you might have playground swings and picnic grills. But a vast variety of entertainment options such as rides and places to eat and drink.
Debatable whether you or the kids like it most
Sure, the kids love it. And you’re here for them.
But while you are past the age when a color book was a satisfying way to keep you entertained for an entire afternoon…you still get a thrill out of all those younger people (read: kids) having so much fun.
Take a good look at their faces and you’ll see yourself. At an earlier age. You felt the same way.
You get to be a kid again. A very pleasant reminder. We all need them.
A world away. This is somewhat similar to why you go to the movie theatre.
An escape from ordinary life.
No, nothing radically wrong with that. But who does not want to get away from early morning alarm clocks and driving autos on busy freeways first thing in the morning to a long workday office?
Who would not prefer visiting lands where royalty reigns…where you are the king or queen?
There’s adventure here.
Places you have not seen. Experiences you never had before.
Excitement just about everywhere. You are leaving the mundane part of your 9 to 5 life.
Face it: like a dream.
Only you are not asleep.
This is really happening.
Let the good times roll
Good times. And happy endings. Just like a movie. Only real. Or as real as it gets in a theme park environment.
Your memories. Yes, photos are reminders.
But so are your own personal and highly individual memories.
You simply don’t forget these types of experiences.
Some of us have trouble shaking our most embarrassing moments. But think of it: those times are almost certainly outweighed by the positive and pleasant experiences we had at the parks.
Studies have shown repeatedly that good experiences are far better for our psychological well-being than any new boat, home, expensive car or anything else we can buy.
Going to amusement parks create the type of memories we keep. Always.
Later in life, you may only have a foggy memory of that new auto or dress or expensive shirt but you won’t forget that day (or days) at the park.
Sights and sounds.
Most of us live in quiet homes or apartments. Or hope we do, at least. But we get home often by noisy highways.
Noise is all around us, even if we don’t live in New York City.
But the noises at theme parks are different. We don’t heave traffic or autos whooshing by.
We hear music. Songs.
And what do we see? Perfectly trimmed landscapes. The bright, multi-colored rides swirling around us.
A visual feast for all our senses.
Look more closely to really see
If we take a few minutes, you can also look a little deeper.
Use your imagination. To understand all the careful engineering that goes into that twisting track for Universal’s Hulk coaster.
You don’t have to ride it, or get on any other thrill or less daring ride, to appreciate the technical and engineering know how that created these amazing rides.
This is done by design. Human design. A marvel in itself.
These rides are second in technology only to space launches.
An exaggeration? Not really.
All you have to do is open your eyes. And take a good look. And while you’re at it, listen.
Romance. Yes, what a great place to take a date. Not just because you can do some hand-holding in “It’s a Small World,” either.
Social scientists and others say studies show people tend to become attracted to each other when in novel or exciting situations. What better setting than a fantasy world?
Will it carry over into real life?
We don’t honestly know, but we can hope. And dream, too.
Amusement parks are like no other vacation.
A beach trip involves staying near the water. Diversions usually involve water-related activities.
This is not Kansas, Toto
National park visits are also very popular during the summer. Hiking and camping are common pursuits.
Cruises? A lot of time riding on boats at sea. Good food to compensate for all those placid, event-free and often day-after-day and night-after-night ocean rides.
Nothing wrong with any of that.
But theme parks offer things to enjoy for the whole family. A huge variety of what you can choose to do.
The best of land and sea.
On-site hotels are geared to relaxing after long walking days at the park. Theme parks are designed very deliberately. To create and keep you in their world.
Yes, an artificial one. Away from reality.
To help you have the utmost in fun. With the least amount of nagging distractions.
Sometimes, even the negatives are good when it comes to theme parks. The Boston Globe undoubtedly thought it was publishing a negative look at theme parks when it ran an article that explained how amusement parks influenced your very brain.
“To create that feeling we call fun,” it said.
Parks are engineered deliberately to appeal to people’s conscious and subliminal urges of delight.
So accident they’re fun
But before they made this evaluation, the report said:
“An amusement park is like no other patch of land on earth. Full of bright colors, tantalizing games, infinite ice cream, and of course, amazing thrill rides that give you the power to speed or fly, they open every year to teeming crowds on a quest for fun. Lights flash everywhere; high-tech steel rides sit alongside old-fashioned diversions like face-painting stations…”
Sounds good to us.
Nothing wrong with that at all. ###