Aside from a random rainy day in March when we can have the place to ourselves, I passionately hate visiting theme parks. While some would call this un-American, I call it self-preservation. Walking through the entrance gate of a theme park for me is an assault to all five senses:
a. Sight – More fanny packs and pleated-front shorts per square foot than the entire state of Florida. 1 in 100 sporting those season pass lanyards (a photo ID for rapid entry!) laden with their impressive commemorative pin collection.
b. Smell – See #4 below.
c. Taste – Worst and ironically most expensive food ever; a caloric and fat disaster lurking at every quaint fake facade (Jambalaya at New Orleans Square anyone?).
d. Sound – The music, the temper tantrums, the squealing (the Dumbo ride is not scary so stop screaming), the safety announcements, the state of perpetual parental torpor brought on by the constant droning of “I want…” “Can I have…”, as if paying the $100 bucks for admission wasn’t enough.
e. Touch – An unending succession of sticky surfaces – dirty tables used by 20 other families before yours, those handles they make you hold on to during the rides…if only bacteria were visible by the human eye.
The top 5 reasons I hate theme parks, summarized below:
1. Crowd – I don’t really like large crowds of people. Generally speaking (if I’m honest), I’m a bit of a loner. Give me a good book and an empty house…nirvana. iPod and a hiking trail? Bliss. The company of one or two great friends and/or my family is all the companionship I need. Drop me in the center of a gawking crowd of thousands and it brings on a special kind of panic, not to mention that lemming sensation (Line up here! Hands and feet in the car! Everyone stand up and move to the center of the bench to make room!).
2. Heat – Disneyland is always packed on summer weekends. Always. What is wrong with people? How is that fun? It’s 1,000 degrees with no relief from the burning hot sun, our butts are singed from the hot plastic seats, the lines for all the good rides are an hour long, sweat and bodies are everywhere…can one of you 30,000 people that visit theme parks in the height of summer please explain to me why you enjoy this?
3. Expense – Family of four = $600. Enough said.
4. Filth – Have you walked into the public restroom? Prepare to be knocked back by the thick, viscous odor cloud just hanging in those places. It gives squat and hover a whole new cache.
5. They’re Mocking Us – Every member of the “team” secretly hates us, our kids and the mess we leave behind that they’re stuck cleaning up. Their costumes are hot and they are only there because it’s a stepping stone to something else. The shows are tired and have a banal repetitive quality that becomes more apparent every time we visit. Cinderella? Doesn’t care about your 4 year-old daughter’s passionate love for her. She probably just broke up with her boyfriend and is counting the seconds until she can check her phone for a text from him. The animals? Domesticated and not representative of how their species actually lives out in the wild. The rides? Fun the first time, but after 16 rounds of Space Mountain even the most diehard Disney fan is ready to jump out of the car just to make it more interesting.
Parents of little kids have some prime theme parking years ahead of them. All of us moms do it and I’ll admit the first time I brought my oldest kiddo (a reward for finally getting in those big girl underpants!) was pretty fun (seeing it through their eyes and all of that), but if a little mental atrophy doesn’t set in for you with each successive visit, I’m sorry but I just can’t relate.