Like you didn't see this coming.. what would we be with out our theme parks? A swamp, that's what! A quiet, peaceful, beautiful swamp. Full of playful animals and trees that grow chocolate, and Emmit Otter would blow a tune on his jug to put me to sleep at night.. or that's how my "no tourists or theme parks" dream always goes. I usually have that dream after I drink a half bottle of Old Rooster and pass out on my lawn.. but I digress. My relationship with Disney is a love/hate one. I love to go during the Winter when there aren't many people there. I love the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. I love several of the Disney restaurants.
On the other hand I HATE crowds. I HATE tourists.. I shouldn't say that, I have met one or two (out of thousands and thousands) that were nice people. What I hate is the "I don't speak English, and I'm not sure how a line works, and we don't shower in my country, oh and I HATE AMERICANS" tourists. I have worked at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot and let me assure you both parks are more fun as "guests". Don't get me wrong, I have walked through Pirates of the Caribbean while it was drained for rehab. I have been under the track in the Haunted Mansion and seen the ball room dancers spinning while the ride was RUNNING. I even got to walk on the scaffolding that ran above the water inside the ride building for 20,000 leagues under the sea before they tore it down to make a crappy playground (while I'm at it, if anyone from Disney is reading this WE DON'T NEED ANYMORE PLAYGROUNDS OR CHARACTER GREETING SPOTS IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM, SPEND SOME MONEY YOU CHEAP BASTARDS!).. and those were magical times I will never forget. It was the hard, back breaking labor under the sun for $6.35 an hour that made me quit.
I don't even want to get into working at the hotels. Several years ago "Front Desk Clerk" was listed in the USA Today as the 4th most dangerous job.. the top 3 were law enforcement related. The hotels are just plain unethical. Every night they book more rooms than they have. Overbooking is a strategy to make sure they don't have unoccupied rooms at the end of the night. Sure there are always one or two reservations that don't show up, but most of the hotels I worked at would overbook by like 10 rooms a night. Then every night like clockwork we would have to "walk" people to other hotels, hotels that weren't as nice as ours, but in the summer you don't have a lot of options. Blamo, vacation ruined on the first night. Plus most of the hotels on I-drive SUCK. They are old and smell like mildew. If they are owned by a certain Indian family that sounds like "hotel" they are going to be filled up even if the ceiling is caving in. That's just not right.
Crap, this page was under the "doesn't suck" section and its about attractions! How did you let me get this far off track?
It all started with a mouse. Walt stomped one in his kitchen and said "How can I make money off this?" Seriously, Disney is fun in the off season; unfortunately there are only two weeks a year of off season now.
I love the special events too. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party are the best. They are cheaper than a normal park ticket and SOMETIMES they aren't as crowded. If you go on the weekend it will be just as crowded because more Disney World tickets are sold than people can comfortably fit in the park; I don't think that will ever change. You can be elbow to elbow and they will still let people pour in. I have noticed as of late that the "cast members" are getting ruder too, not sure why. Probably that whole over-worked/under-paid thing. They will let you work 100 hours a week if you want to. They don't have a "maximum hours" policy. During Nights of Joy (the park is open all night) People will be sleeping in the break rooms between 12 hour shifts. They can afford tons of overtime because even at time and a half your only making $9 an hour, think about it.
The Magic Kingdom and Epcot are my favorite spots; Epcot's Food and Wine festival is great. One thing that is funny is that people think since you pay $85+ to get in the tiny food samples are free, which is how it would be anywhere else in the world. Last year I heard an older woman say "I have to pay $2.50 for these free samples??". It made me laugh out loud. Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are pretty cool too. Not only did they built them to add value to the "park hopper" tickets, they also built them to add some flavor to the mix of the parks. Now you have a movie based park with some dated rides and a giant zoo split off into continental themes...that was original. There are only four REAL things worth doing at Hollywood Studios which include Rock N Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, The Great Movie Ride, The Backlot Tour, and the new Star Tours.
All in all the scale for Disney still doesn't tip in the Sucks direction, I mean I'm not a total hater! It is probably because I grew up watching the movies and my first memories are going there as a kid. If neither of those had happened and you took me to the park for the first time today I would probably be like "$85 plus tax for this? Are you kidding? $12 for parking, I'm outta here!"
The Universal Parks are pretty cool. I mean, for one thing the rides are actually good. Some of the rides are beginning to feel a bit dated, like Twister: Ride It Out for example. I mean, c'mon, really?! Let's stand here while we demonstrate what a tornado looks like, from the comfort of our air conditioned sound stage. Now don't get me wrong, I love the magic of the movies as much as anyone, but I like cool rides more, and I paid to get in so give'em to me! One thing I do LOVE is Halloween Horror Nights. The whole park is transformed into haunted houses and scare zones which is pretty cool, and it allows for some "close time" with your date. That's all good unless he/she's the type to piss themselves when they get overly scared. That could be a bad thing, but I digress. They do a really good job of it scaring the pants off of people at this event for sure. They better; they're a major motion picture production studio…
With the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure, peak season has become a plethora of one to two hour long lines, and shoulder to shoulder tourist run-ins in the broiling head and humidity. Are you Sure, because you'd have to be totally confident that the guy next to you waving his big, hairy arms and pits around is as Sure! Stinky people and high heat and humidity are never a good combination, so make sure you travel to the park on either an off season or cooler temperatures, which never seem to come around to Central Florida.
There are definitely some rides at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure that exude a total sucktacular vibe, but for the most part the Universal Parks make a great place to take the family for a fun day. Universal Studios makes a great alternative to all the happy, jovial, vomit inducing cuteness you'll find at the other parks (which will be left nameless). You'll spend just as much money at Universal Studios too, so don't base your decision on price, ha ha ha! Universal Citywalk is a pretty cool place to hang out as well. I mean, you've got bars, clubs, dining, and you can even walk around the property with alcohol so that's not a bad deal.
Sea World is an interesting fish market like theme park with all the bases covered. They have a wide array of sea and fresh water creatures swimming about in these elaborate tanks all throughout the park. If you like penguins, HEY, they have penguins. Turtles are your thing, BAM, you got turtles. I could and would continue in this sarcastic manner, but I just ate and am pretty tired. The kiddies love feeding the dolphins, although afterwards your hands smell like you had a tuna fish fight with a giant crab. You can grab a little package with a few fish in it and sit by the walled off dolphin pool and feed them, when they are not feeling too high and mighty to eat from your hands. Some of them have low enough self esteem and don't really care who you are, they'll take your fish but then immediately take for granted your kindness and end up just actually using you for "a quick bite".
There are some interesting rides out there at the old Sea World Orlando including Kraken, Journey To Atlantis, and of course, Manta. THEN you have the dull rides like the Skytower and Wild Arctic. Boo! I mean, if you think paying extra to jump on a slow cart that moves up a shaft a great time, then I apologize. Well, actually, I don't. Never mind…
There are some incredible special attractions at Sea World which I have had the privilege of partaking in. Now, these attractions are not cheap by any means so if you are into sea life as much as I am, (yes, I am into other things besides hating on stupid people, tourists, and crappy attractions), then you would absolutely love these attractions. The Shark Deep Dive at Sea World's Shark's Underwater Grill is one of the coolest things I have done at a theme park. For a fee, visitors will be suited up in a wet suit and dawn a breathing apparatus as they are lowered into a cage that moves across the back wall of the shark tank. Here, two guests at a time will experience exactly what the sharks do on a daily basis. They will move from one side of the tank to the next…yup, that's it. NO! Wait! That's not it at all; this experience is truly amazing. These sharks swim right up to the cage so you can see them in all their glory.