Friday, June 25, 2010

Let's Hear It For Theme Parks

From my house on Florida’s east coast, it’s an easy one-hour drive to any one of four major theme parks. Imagine, non-stop fun practically guaranteed for the (admittedly hefty) price of an admission ticket. Unfortunately years, if not decades, pass between my visits to Orlando’s tourist mecca. Which is a shame, really. Because the parks are a lot of fun.

This summer, thanks to a story idea about a couple who disagree when she plans a theme park expansion that threatens his livelihood, I’ve been making the rounds of the theme parks. And since there’s no better way to view magic, I took some kids along. Believe me, it didn’t take much effort to “bribe” a precocious eight- and six-year-old to join in the fun.

It’s amazing how kids see things.

Stifling heat? Sweltering humidity? I don’t think they even noticed.

90-minute lines for popular rides? Did you know kids can play “I spy” for over an hour? Again and again? Plus, all memory of the time spent in line was instantly erased by a three-minute roller coaster ride or a train ride or a seat in a spinning teacup.

Crowds shuffling along, elbow-to-elbow, through a new exhibit? The 8-year-old kept asking if I felt the MAGIC of the town. The 6-year-old wanted to solve the mystery of snow on the rooftops in the middle of summer.

And an ice cream cone in the afternoon instantly picked up flagging spirits. My flagging spirits, that is. The kids were still going strong.

All-in-all, we had a blast. And I gathered a lot of info for the new book. Including one piece of information critical to surviving a visit to any of Florida’s theme parks in the summer—bring a hand-held, battery-operated water mister.


Lois said...

It must be mighty nice to live near the theme parks; still pricey to get in, but you don't have to worry about hotels or air fare or all the rest. . . but the thing that caught my attention was when you said Florida's East Coast. . . so I imagine that also means you don't have to really leave your house to see the shuttle go up! :)


Estella said...

The only park I have been to is Astro World during a visit to Houston.

Leigh Duncan said...

Lois, you're so right. We just walk to the end of the driveway and wait till it clears the trees across the street...about 5 seconds into the flight. It's amazing!

Leigh Duncan said...

Estella, it's difficult to relate to the size and complexity of the major theme parks without actually visiting them. The one we went to yesterday boasted a 2-mile entry through seemingly endless shops and restaurants...before we even reached the entry gate. So, if you go wear tennis shoes.

linda s said...

How lucky you are to live in Florida. When the kids were small we made several pilgrimages to the California theme parks. Now they take us to the adult theme parks of Las Vegas. Awesome.