Wednesday, March 16, 2022

[ORLANDO] Theme Park or Evacuation Center?


To be totally blunt, I feel like all I ever accomplished at Universal Studios here in Orlando was to pay $150 to up my chances of getting COVID-19, which I managed to dodge for the entire six months that I have been flying around everywhere. Nobody is wearing a mask except for a few personnel. Social distancing is an alien concept. The crowds are of evacuation center proportions. The waiting time to get on a roller coaster is a minimum of 60 minutes in line unless you have a fast pass that costs upwards $150 on top of the park admission fee. After an hour, I decided, nah, I’m too old for this shit.


And so, I logged into the park WiFi and searched for the nearest TGI Fridays I could find to indulge my whiskey glazed chicken addiction as some sort of consolation for not getting what I badly wanted today, which was a rollercoaster ride. Because it has been a while since my last theme park adventure, I backtracked and read how I dealt with this back then and realized that what I did for Fuji-Q in Yamanashi and Cedar Rapids in Sandusky was to arrive when the park gates were just literally being opened, run to the nearest roller coaster I could find, and then be the first to hop onboard.


I don’t think this will make much of a difference here in Florida, though. At Fuji-Q, I managed to ride all the rollercoasters EXCEPT Dodonpa because despite getting there at opening time, the blockbuster lines just couldn’t be beaten. For Cedar Rapids, I managed to get on some rollercoasters twice, perhaps because Ohio is so out of the way anyway that not a lot of people actually come to visit. For Orlando, remember that people come here for those parks. They are the main attractions here, the reason for the visit, not a mere option. There’s no distinction between weekdays and weekends. Every day here is a weekend.


In any case, if you decide to go theme park hopping here in Florida, make sure you allocate at least three days minimum. Universal Studios alone already has three theme parks, each with its own separate admission fee. Considering the long lines for most attractions, you will be spending an entire day at every park if you want to maximize each. Disney is farther south, and I believe has five or more parks within its territory. I suppose even a week is not enough to spend for Florida’s theme parks. There are just so many of them, it’s impossible to visit all in one itinerary, unless you live here.


Since I only have a day to spare, I had to choose just one park to visit. Here is where Reddit comes into play. Most people seem to be in consensus about Universal’s Islands of Adventure as the place to be if you want thrill rides. Universal Studios itself seems to be more for the nostalgia trip. In any case, I wouldn’t know because I only visited Islands of Adventure. The park is big if you decide to stop everywhere and ride everything. If all you want to do is a quick tour without riding anything, you’ll probably see all the sights in just over an hour.


If your purpose is to fuel your passion for rollercoasters, you are better off with a fast pass. As mentioned, sometimes the price of that express pass is even more expensive than the cost of admission to the park itself. Is it worth it? I suppose so. Given how there are separate lines for express pass holders and the rest of us mere mortals, they evidently don’t have to suffer falling in line from an hour to an hour and a half just to get on the rides. Instead, they just manage to breeze through via their own VIP line.


And that was Orlando for me. Am I going back? I don’t know. Anyone who knows me would be well aware that I am a big fan of rollercoasters, but it appears as though I have already outlived that phase. If ever I do come back, though, I’ll make sure to plan this better and ahead of time, just to make sure that I don’t waste time and money with a rather fleeting pedestrian experience. Orlando is really chill, but too touristy for relocation purposes. Almost every soul you run across in the street is not from here.

[ORLANDO] Theme Park or Evacuation Center?

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