Amusement Parks

Written by  Jackie Kochell

Everyone is young again when they visit an amusement park. The sugar rush of cotton candy and shrieks of children on roller coasters send you back to a time where the biggest decision you faced was what stuffed animal to choose at the game booth.

Whenever I see the caricature of myself at Walt Disney World, which captures the look of pure joy of a six-year-old who’s two front teeth short of a full grin, I remember how much fun I had running around Cinderella’s castle and meeting Minnie Mouse (she looked just as great in person as she did on TV). My dad having to carry my sleepy self into the parking lot as the carousel made its last round of the evening meant that the day was a great success for the both of us.

Amusement parks exist all over the world, and no two are the same. Some have a rich history behind them, such as Copenhagen’s Bakken, while others have won awards for their food, like Knoebels in the United States. Amusement parks offer something for all ages to enjoy, whether it’s an acrobatic show, petting zoo, fast-paced ride, or the luxury of floating carelessly down a lazy river.

Although amusement parks can make for memorable times with family and friends, there are a few negative aspects – unbearably hot weather, long lines, frenzied crowds, over-priced food and souvenirs – that can make a holiday, well, not so amusing.

The key is creating a plan before you set off on your amusement park adventure. Do you pack your lunch and have a picnic next to the ferris wheel, or will you scarf down hot dogs and funnel cakes near the bumper cars? Are you planning on spending the majority of your stay trying to win a prize for tossing that rubber ring through a bottleneck, or would you rather experience the thrill of the first drop on a roller coaster? Of course, you will want some flexibility, (you planned on going on that adventure ride at noon, but is it really a good idea to go right after eating all that ice cream?), but setting meeting times and agreeing on what rides and attractions to see can help make the most of your time. Also, because parks can become crowded on sunny, summer days, remember that it may not always be possible to conquer an entire park in one visit.

Grab a map, comfortable walking shoes, some sunscreen, and a camera, and set off on your amusement park expedition. And if you run into Minnie, tell her "hello" for me.

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