Traveling is quite a magical endeavor. No matter where in the world one journeys, it always seems as if the enchanting nature of one's experiences are shared by all who embark on personal adventures to far off places. Throughout the last eighteen years, I have enjoyed the privilege of vacationing much more than is common for a graduated high school Senior. As a result, I have acquired much insight regarding the captivating qualities associated with traveling, especially within the atmosphere of a theme park.
Just yesterday (Tuesday, June 26, 2012), my father and I concluded a “Dad and Grad” road-trip to Southern California where we spent three, sixteen-hour days at both theme parks at the Disneyland Resort – Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. While the average traveler would find such a task daunting at best, those who are well-versed strategists familiar with the given territory thrive on this excitement. Days before we stepped foot on the Disney property, we planned our course of action, the first true test of an experienced traveler. Having a thorough game-plan before entering a theme park is essential; otherwise, valuable time will be wasted contemplating what attractions to visit and when to do so. Time management is an enthusiast's best friend.
Once admitted into the park, my dad and I became focused bloodhounds in hot pursuit of a common goal. After obtaining the day's first Fastpass – Disney's free, in-house handout for guests searching for relief from the park's infamously long lines – we scoped out the more popular attractions to see if we could catch a break. Seeing that our first day fell on Father's Day, a day that leaves the park nearly empty for the first several hours, we made very good use of our time. Between collecting Fastpasses to be used later in the day and riding “peripheral” attractions with shorter wait times, we were able to maximize our productivity by optimizing our use of the resources available to us.
Although we spent the majority of our time at Disney on the go, there were also moments when we decided to unwind and bask in the park's ambiance. Despite having massive amounts of energy stored due to pure exhilaration, my dad and I are in fact human and required downtime in order to function within the setting of a theme park. Fortunately, there are an abundance of slow-paced shows and attractions at the Disneyland Resort, thus allowing us to eat and cool down during the day's most brutal hours of sunshine. By carving out ample time to rest and relax, anyone can maintain the manic stamina needed to effectively conquer Disney's theme park circuit.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of my time in the parks, I experienced something much more important than the adrenaline-charged thrill of wire-to-wire entertainment. From conversing with individuals while standing in line for various rides to observing the joyous expressions of both the young and the old during the parks' extravagant nighttime festivities, I realized that the magic of Disney knows no bounds. Many authors and travel columnists have compared family vacations to the Disneyland Resort to religious pilgrimages, an illustration that holds a fair amount of validity. Instead of traveling thousands of miles in order to seek healing and fervent meditation, the typical trip to a Disney theme park (or any theme park for that matter) takes place so that society can attempt to escape the stressful pressures of reality. In truth, there is nothing more satisfying than reflecting upon the magical power of traveling, for it transcends virtually every vile vice in this world.
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