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Aug 27

10 THOUGHTS ON THEME PARKS

It all started with Disney World in January this past year and ended with Great Escape in NY this past weekend, with four days at Hershey Park smooshed in between like a s’mores.  I’m done with theme parks.  Stick a fork in me and cover my eyes because I have seen and heard it all and most of it ‘aint pretty.  A lot of it is actually disgusting so we’ll start there…

1.  The food at theme parks is the worst in all the world.  Here’s the thing, most of the people IN the parks do not need to get fatter.  Parks should be selling lettuce (not even a full salad!) and a few nuts in a cup with water.  Just water.  Shame on you Disney for the absolute crap you sell in your parks!  The food at the hotel was nutritious (including the kids meals) and delicious and the food at the parks was almost unrecognizable as food.  What gives?

Trust me Goofy - you do not want to eat that!

Trust me Goofy – you do not want to eat that!

2.  People pull out their best attire for a day of walking around the park:

The guy I saw this on weighed about 250.  Touche sir!

The guy I saw wearing this weighed about 250. Touche sir!

 

This was one of my favorites.

This was one of my favorites.  And I needed many drinks after 4 hours in any given park.

The other trend was women in their yoga pants (and tops)…at a theme park…in the summer.  What?  I do not get this AT ALL!  Was there a yoga class ride somewhere I was missing?

3.  Things I overhead other moms saying (or yelling at the top of their lungs) to their kids:

“If you drag your feet off this stroller one more time I’m gonna kick your butt.”  Classy!

“Mother F**ker!”  Ok, that was me when I dropped my sunglasses into a toilet at Disney as I was trying to get myself and the twins into a stall so we could all pee.  Kill me!

“Don’t touch that.  Don’t touch that.  Don’t touch it.  DON’T TOUCH IT!”

“Oh sorry honey, that ride is out of order” When it totally wasn’t.  It was actually moving.  With kids on it.

“I’m having the best time sweetie.  I love you.”  JUST KIDDING!  I definitely did not hear that!

4.  You can play a bunch of ridiculous, overpriced games and win some really amazing prizes:

 

You know you want a bearded corn man with a cowboy hat.  Don't get jealous.

Jealous? You know you want a bearded corn man wearing a cowboy hat.

5.  Obese people on scooters.  Do they ride the rides?  Do they just eat the food?  Are they spectating?  Help me out with this one.

 

Luckily the svelte guy in the wheelchair is helping out.

Luckily the svelte guy in the wheelchair is giving a helping foot up that steep incline.

6.  There are designated smoking sections.  In a park filled with kids, could we perhaps not light up for a few hours?  It smells, it gives you cancer and it’s 2013.  Enough with the smoking.

7.  You can get unexpectedly drenched.  My kids found this out the hard way and it was hysterical!  Maybe this is where the scooter people hang out to spectate:

8. You can buy and wear things you normally wouldn’t, all in the name of the “theme.”  When you’re in the theme park environment you tend to get sucked into purchasing things that you wouldn’t really ever wear in your normal everyday life.  Ever. This is especially rampant at Disney World where grown women dress up as Ariel (trust me, you do not want the visual on that) and men as pirates or Buzz Lightyear.  It’s just weird.  I, on the other hand refrained from such behavior:

What?  I totally wear these to drop the boys off at school.

What? I totally wear these to drop the boys off at school.

9.  You can see your husband cheat death.  Right before the hubs decided to be lifted over 200 feet in the air and then released into the abyss, I told him I would leave his ass if he became a quadriplegic. It was a tender moment.

Maybe this was a bad idea.

Maybe this was a bad idea.

10.  You see the biggest smiles on your kids faces that you may have ever seen in their lives.  They get excited to wake up in the morning and to go to bed at night.  It’s an experience in patience for sure, but there’s a huge pay off:

How many times have you seen a real life Reese's Peanut Butter Cup man?

How many times have you seen a real life Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup man?

 

How many times can we ride this one mom?

One of them is smiling.  I’ll take that as a win!

 

My child is in there somewhere...loving every second!

My child is in there somewhere…loving every second!

And because of that, you deal with the crappy food and the smoking and the lines and heat.  At the end of the day, it was well worth it and I’m sure we’ll back next summer, and the summer after that…

And one day (although it seems unimaginable to me now) I will weep with regret that we don’t have two little boys to take to theme parks anymore.

Did you visit a park this year?  What’s the best and worst thing about them?

64 comments

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  1. The Dose of Reality

    I cannot stop laughing. OMG…SO funny. But it was your pictures and captions just sent me over the edge. I laughed so hard my dog jumped up and left the room because I was disturbing her.

    I could not agree with you more…on EVERY SINGLE POINT!!! The scooters, the corn cowboys, the random sprayings, the tender moments with your spouse….ALL OF IT!! Hahahahaha. But you’re right. Those smiles at the end…priceless!! 🙂 –Lisa

    1. vita88

      Oh that’s funny about your dog!! The truth is hilarious, isn’t it? Glad you can relate and agree! Thanks Lisa:-)

  2. Michelle

    I have to say, I am one of those rare people that can’t stand theme parks at all. Your post was hysterical and all the reasons basically that I don’t like them. We went to Kings Dominion one year and it was seriously scary. Hershey Park is actually nice though…they don’t let you prance around in clothes that don’t cover you, even small girl children, and its clean. The food…well it’s like that everywhere. I get motion sickness so I can’t ride hardly anything. Also the other thing is my kids can never agree on rides so there is always an argument. Calgon…take me away…and I don’t even take baths.

    1. vita88

      They just very strange strange places. I don’t think it’s too rare to not be able to stand being in them! Hershey Park is definitely one of the better ones (and the Hotel Hershey makes it totally worth it!) but I was surprised at Disney on a lot of fronts. I’m just glad the summer is over and so are the theme park trips! Thanks Michelle!

  3. Leah

    You nailed every single point!!! Hilarious! I try my best to avoid these places now. Disney is a must, and I figure we’ve done it (both world and land) so I have done my parental duties. The kids did love it and I have no regrets despite it all!

    1. vita88

      I know! I’m sure we’ll be back to Disney World & will eventually get to the “land” at some point b/c that’s where Lightening McQueen lives!! Ha ha!! Thanks!

  4. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance

    First up, your twins are adorable. They are like mini-Allies. Second, I do not have children so I have not been to a park with children BUT I do remember going to the park as a child with my parents. My parents LOVED Disney. I actually don’t know why now that I think about it from a parent perspective but we went three times, the last time being when I was 20 and my brother 18 (we obviously did more grown-up stuff that time!). I guess they always thought it was a clean, friendly place. Or maybe it was the pay off thing you mention? 🙂

    I totally love your post! The smoking thing really, really bothers me! I think it should be outlawed full stop but that’s just me. I also do not get the obese people on scooters thing. What’s up with that? Maybe a walk around the park would be a good idea? I am surprised Disney has not made more of an effort to offer healthy options in the parks because I feel that more and more the population is becoming health conscious.

    1. vita88

      Disney really is a MAGICAL place & I will definitely be back with the kids. I can completely understand your parents wanting to take you guys there well after your toddler years! And, to be fair, they did have healthy SNACKS like apple slices, mini pretzels & other hand fruit so that became my kids lunches everyday!
      And yes, the smoking needs to GO! I don’t think it was allowed as much at Disney so – bravo!
      Thanks for your comments!!

  5. misssrobin

    No theme parks for us this year, but after your recap I’m not missing it too much. You nailed it.

    Besides, my kids are 15 and up. Shouldn’t they be entertaining me by now?

    1. vita88

      You are a lucky woman!! And, YES they should absolutely be entertaining you at this point! Spa day anyone? Thanks for the comment!

  6. Lisa

    I think having Disneyland in California actually forces some better food choices..you know, since we have the granolas, and the vegans, and the gluten-free ovo-lactose vegetarians. It’s still not great by any means, but they are definitely trying to get better.
    Also, not as many people on scooter thingies, and I don’t ever see folks smoking. I’m taking the kids next week, so I’ll take more notes!
    I think the bad attire is here to stay. People put on their tacky best to go to an amusement park! When I went to Great America I was taken aback at how little people wear. And believe me, they don’t have the bodies to be showing anything off! Parts, parts, everywhere!
    Anyhow, I digress. Maybe I’ll make my own CA-version list soon!
    Smooches!

    1. vita88

      That is awesome! Follow-up guest post? Yes please! In fact, I think I should bring the kids & take the trip with you. It’s high time the Miles’ met!! Thanks Lisa!!!

      1. Lisa

        Come on down, sister! 🙂

  7. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    so so funny! I love Disney, I got engaged there so it holds a special place in my heart!! However, every single point that you touched on was SO right! Especially the crazy food! Some of it is good but a lot of it is really, really bad. Sorry about your sunglasses! (ew) Also I give you all the credit for going with 2 four year olds. What is up with those people on the bikes anyway? I haven’t seen the grown folks dress up–that is just insanely weird!

    1. vita88

      I did love MANY things about Disney & I grew up going there with my whole family (including my mom who died when I was 17) so I completely get it! The reason I went with the kids when they are SO young (probably too young!) was that it was my dads DREAM to take all his kids & grand kids there so we figured, why wait? It was a really amazing trip in so many other ways but it did have a lot of the downsides of every other theme park!!
      It’s so cool you got engaged there! That is awesome!!! I will definitely be going back when the boys are a little older.

  8. Shannon

    I think FL just makes people crazy in general – I swear the second people get to the state line they lose their fashion sense, ability to make the right choices for food and completely forget all manners (I lived in FL for a total of about 6 years, so I know this for a fact). Theme parks are great for people watching and fun times – looks like you got all that down! Glad you will go back, because I need a bearded corn cob for my kids 🙂

    1. vita88

      What the what? How did I not know you lived in FL for 6 years? We need to talk! As for Mr. Bearded Corn Cobb…I’ll bring him right over!

  9. Tamara

    I am laughing out loud at the “Mother F**ker!” and “kill me!” comments. And I’m in a library in Cape Cod. Laughing out loud. Fun fact. My grandfather used to know the previous owner of The Great Escape before it was bought by Six Flags. Second fun fact. My friends took me to Hershey Park for my birthday several years ago and while I was standing alone and seemingly (innocently) sipping my drink, a giant Jolly Rancher was grinding against me from behind. My friends almost peed their pants laughing.

    Yeah..haven’t done the theme park thing with my kids yet. Too busy doing fairs this summer! Meet me in Orlando soon, ok?

    1. vita88

      Oh this is so great on so many levels! I can’t believe your grandpa knew the previous owner of Great Escape!? I’m thinking it’s gone downhill with the big corporate takeover. The visual of a giant Jolly Rancher violating you from behind, is too much! Luckily I’m in my kitchen and can laugh as loudly as I want at that one! OMG!
      Stick with the fairs! We’re coming up on fair season here so I’m sure there’s several in my near future.
      I would love to meet you in Orlando…anytime!

  10. Carla

    Oh gosh, this is too funny! I live next to a Six Flags so I hear you on all accounts. And I may or may not have been the Mo.claiming that an operating ride was out of order.

    1. vita88

      I didn’t blame her in the least and I wouldn’t blame you either! When you’re in the trenches…anything goes!

  11. Britton

    We did our first trip to a theme park a few weeks ago and boy was it an adventure. I think I said EVERY LAST thing (maybe not the kick your but one, LOL), that day! ESPECIALLY about the ride being broken! Fortunately, to our benefit, it was raining and some of the rides really were closed! LOL!

    1. vita88

      Only a mom would think it was “fortunate” that it was raining on theme park day! I completely understand!!

  12. Kim

    Oh – I loved reading this!! I’m such a non-theme park person. Everything about them makes me cringe!!!
    I laughed out loud on #3 – especially the glasses.
    And #5 – don’t get me started on the laziness thing – WalMart every time I’m there I see someone riding the scooter (an obese person) just so they don’t have to walk – um….
    Glad you survived all of those theme park trips!

    1. vita88

      Cringe indeed!!! Gotta love the scooters at Walmart – yikes! Glad you enjoyed it:-)

  13. Beth

    Too funny!! We’ve done Disney the last 2 years and just came home from Story Land and Santas Village. It’s great to see K skipping through the park having the time of her life-cant get her to leave until they shut down rides and throw us out. It was a whole new joy this year getting to walk thru the hot, sticky park carrying a nursing baby (under a cover!) – I do not recommend that! But it was either tag along with baby sucking away or be left behind on the far side of the park. He even munched away on a ride or two. LOL! It’s good we have close to a year to forget the near mommy meltdowns and just remember the smiles! Love the blog Allie!

    1. vita88

      You are a renaissance woman Beth!! Oh the things we do for our kids. You’re so right about just remembering the smiles. It’s also good to see that I was not alone in my mommy misery…and joy. It’s a fun ride in and of itself. Thanks Beth!!

  14. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} Some of my best memories with my kids are at theme parks, but I totally understand all that you’re saying. I would never go without the kids. And I used to LOVE roller coasters and theme parks. It’s official. I am old. 🙂

    1. vita88

      I am also officially old! I have the best memories as a kid myself in theme parks…now I know what my parents were going through!

  15. Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness

    Hahahahaha this is amazing. i just scrolled back up to highlight my favorites but i cant even choose- why DO ppl feel the need to walk around in the most ridiculous outfits and whats up with those motorized scooters?! also the “overheard” part is still cracking me up 🙂

    1. vita88

      I know, right? This post pretty much wrote itself!

  16. kristin miller

    I will give Disney this: If you tell them your kid has an allergy to, say, gluten, they will go ABOVE and BEYOND to ensure you are taken care of at your resort AND at the park. I know a lot of parents have been beyond grateful that their child didn’t feel like they were missing out because they received VIP treatment….while the parents ate meat on a stick 😀

    1. vita88

      Absolutely! They *insist* you have a magical day!

  17. Emma @ a mom runs this town

    Hilarious. I can’t stand theme parks to be honest and I’m dreading taking Gentry! I think the grandparents have said they would and we could vacay on the beach!

    1. vita88

      That is definitely the best option! We always bring the grandparents to Hershey & it works out great for everyone!

  18. Hope

    Hahaha!! Love this! We just got back from Disney (post coming soon) and boy was this a good summary.. Of course the kids experience was totally different from mine. I agree with all your thoughts especially the food, attire and the down pour. Great post.

    1. vita88

      Oh I can’t wait to read yours! It’s a journey!

  19. Kate

    Hahaha, this post gave me a good chuckle!
    The most shocking one was people riding the scooters around, I think they are completely unnecessary! If you are mobile enough to go on a ride you are mobile enough to walk!

    1. vita88

      Right? I mean, I understand it at the grocery store because you need food but a theme park? Really?
      Thanks for reading and glad I could give you a little laugh:-)

  20. Teressa Morris

    I haven’t been to a theme park in a few years, but I loved this post!! I never thought about why heavy people in scooters go to theme parks? I know my elderly grandma used to love to go to Six Flags with us, even though she mostly just sat on a park bench and people watched. So maybe people really are willing to pay to spectate.

    1. vita88

      Consider yourself lucky! I can understand why grandma would want to go and that’s actually really nice. In fact, people watching is probably the best thing about theme parks!! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  21. Michell

    Hi! Found you over at Hope’s blog! Love this list! Okay, #9 had me laughing so hard, I couldn’t contain myself…bahahaha!! And #3, I mean really…you get to a point where you don’t even care if the kids believe you or not, lol! I so agree with you on ALL of these. By the way, your boys are absolutely adorable!! 😉 Have a wonderful evening!
    Michell @prowess and Pearls

    1. vita88

      Hi there! So glad you found me. The theme park blog pretty much wrote itself – OMG!! Let’s just say I’m happy it’s fall and I don’t have to be subjected to another one for months.
      Thanks for the compliment on my boys. They’re a handful so it’s helps that they’re cute.
      Can’t wait to check out your blog!! Thanks again for reading and commenting.

  22. Alecia

    You are so right with theme parks. I have been able to avoid them somewhat for two years, the larger ones anyway (Disney). We do have one locally and I try not to spend many hours there either. The kids love them and I love seeing their faces and smiles, but I can’t stand them! The lines, the money, the horrible overpriced food, the arguments because one child loves roller coasters and one does not so we wind up waiting a lot for the one that does and my husband. Ugh. I much prefer Hilton Head over theme parks anyway!
    Alecia recently posted…It Could Happen to Any of UsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Agreed!! We will be planning a very different summer next year and no going back to Disney for at least 5! Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  23. Bev

    You definitely see all sorts of interesting things at theme parks that you don’t normally run into….I’m kinda on the fence about them. I really enjoyed going to Disney World when I was older (somehow I ended up going once as a child and three times between the ages of 15-19), but I’m sure it is quite a different experience going as a parent. We’ll see how long it takes before that happens!
    Bev recently posted…Toil and Trouble: An Interview with Ana CamposMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s completely different! My boys are really young though (probably too young!) and I’m looking forward to going back when they’re a few years older and don’t get tired so easily!

  24. Sheila Skillingstead

    I haven’t been to Disneyland in years. We never took our girls to theme parks unless you count the fairy wonderland statues at the aquarium. We never had the money. When I was growing up we went to Disneyland 7 times. I loved it and always regretted not being able to take the girls. Loved your blog. Enjoy your SITS Day.
    Sheila Skillingstead recently posted…Missing the newsMy Profile

  25. Pary Moppins

    It’s not just the yoga pants at the parks, it’s also the white denim shorts so tight and short that it makes an onlooker hurt. Do they not realize that they will get wet, the shorts will shrink and turn see through, and a warm moist environment is great for ferns but not so much for their bottom?! >Shudder< Dear oh dear…
    Pary Moppins recently posted…Perfectly Practical #180 – How to Keep Brew Costs DownMy Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG so true!!! Gross, but 100% true! Thanks for the comment:-)

  26. Laura Townshend

    Theme parks. Hmm…not my kinda scene. As a kid? Heck, yeah! But that was long ago when the people who went to theme parks didn’t weigh as much, because Americans, overall, weren’t obese. People also made their kids behave (without profanity – imagine that!). In general, everyone, young and old, had far better manners.

    I chose this particular post from your favorites list on SITS Girls because the mere thought of going to a theme park makes me **shudder**. And for many of the reasons you list. Being a mother to four children who are now grown, I have no desire to be around that many people and their children. Times have changed from when I was a kid!

    And the food? Yeah, who in the heck eats that stuff? 😉

    Happy SITS Day to you! Love your voice and your ability to write without fear. Honesty counts!
    Laura Townshend recently posted…Clean Up With the Finish Line in West Lake Hills, TexasMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much! I definitely try to let the true me shine though in my posts, otherwise, what’s the point?
      It’s funny how many different perspectives you can go though concerning theme parks as you move through different stages in your life. One of the things I didn’t mention were the adults there *without* kids?! I’m with you – when the kids are older you will never see me in a theme park!
      Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful comment!

  27. Heather

    So funny! We are actually planning our first Disney trip for next fall. I think I’ll pack my own snacks and drinks. I wish Disney was no smoking. Well, I wish America was no smoking! Fun post!

    1. vita88

      Do yourself a favor and definitely pack those things! As for the smoking…it just amazes me! Have fun though, it really is a magical place!

  28. Sarah

    I agree that the prizes are total crap, however it’s worth the smile on their face. 🙂

    Happy SITS Day!
    Sarah recently posted…How to Lose at Halloween: A List of the Worst Candy EverMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It truly is. If it were not for all the happiness it brings to our kids, they wouldn’t exist! Thanks for reading fellow SITSath!

  29. Beth

    This was so funny to read and so true! I especially love the food part. I always think I’m the weird one for not wanting to eat anything and sneaking in nuts and fruit. We went to Disney once. We had cool weather and short lines. I see no reason to go back again 🙂
    Beth recently posted…Alpha Mom Update: I Said Yes Again! I’m Teaching Upcycled Crafting!My Profile

    1. vita88

      The food is maybe the worst part! If you had that much luck at Disney, I would never go back. You could be the only family who actually HAD a magical time. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  30. Jennice

    I’ve never been to Disney but you’ve just given me ten more reasons to go. Happy SITS Day!

    1. vita88

      Ha ha!! It WAS a very magical place and there was a lot of fun to be had but, at the end of the day it’s just another theme park filled with ridiculous people and food! If you have kids who are into Disney, it’s absolutely worth the trip…when they’re 10 or 11! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  31. Mo at Mocadeaux

    I do love Disney World but the image of a guest riding a scooter and gnawing on one of those disgusting looking turkey legs is becoming way too iconic. Seriously, it seems like there are more adults on scooters that strollers. What’s up with that?! Happy SITS Day!
    Mo at Mocadeaux recently posted…Do It NowMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You are right!! It’s awful and there’s nothing “magical” about seeing that.
      Thank you!

  32. Andrea @ Cloud Nine Chic

    I loved this post! There are SO many things in here that I relate to… I grew up in So Cal, so we visited Disneyland more often than most – and all my life I could never figure out why they had such GROSS food! Really, all the theme parks were that way. I expect it to be expensive, but at least make it taste better than a hockey puck! haha Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going to all things Disney, but that one aspect always left me bewildered… I did go on a Disney cruise a few years back, and of course, the food was AMAZEBALLS! And I’m happy to say that the last time I went to Disneyworld, you could access fresh fruit and there was a number of healthy choices – so kudos to Disney for making those changes. As for everything else, I too, have wanted to pull my hair out with the various annoyances of theme park life – but it’s all worth it to see my daughter’s eyes light up and hear her screams of delight with every new thrill! I’ll be back over and over again – I don’t think it’ll ever get too old for me!
    {I hope you had an awesome SITS Day!}
    Andrea @ Cloud Nine Chic recently posted…Fun Art: Watercolor and Glue PaintingMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much for your great comments! I have to say that the food at the hotels was very healthy and delicious – not sure why the parks can’t get their act together!? Clearly they need to read my blog! Ha ha!! I’m glad you said that about the cruise because we want to do one of those next. Those Disney people really know how to market and suck the kids right in!!

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