Tip of the week: Focus on kindness to get the most enjoyment from your vacation
Published: November 7, 2012 at 10:09 AM
But what are really buying when you pay for a theme park ticket? It's not just the opportunity to bag as many attractions in one day as you can. Or the chance to meet a bunch of cartoon characters. You're buying enjoyment - a good time with the people you've brought with you. If you're sacrificing enjoyment in order to maximize your ride time or fatten your kids' autograph books, you're doing it wrong.
Having fun at Dollywood
So focus on kindness whenever you visit a theme park, and notice how that affects your enjoyment level throughout the day. Hey, once you've spent the money - it's gone. Let it go, then. From that moment on, focus only on the enjoyment that admission can buy for you.
Sure, get to the park before it opens. Go first on the rides which will have the longest mid-day waits. Either get dining reservations, or eat before or after traditional meal times to avoid restaurant waits. If anyone's getting too hot, take a break. Don't set aside any of these tips that help you get the most from your day in the park. But don't try so hard to squeeze so much into your day that you become a barking field general instead of a happy family member.
When you step inside a theme park, you've surrounded yourself with many of the nicest people you'll ever encounter in your life. Most of them are having a great time, in a fun place that they love. Open up, be nice to people, and you can enjoy one of the best days of your life.
So let the other family go into the queue first. Make room for others when you walk down the street. Thank the park employees every single time they direct you on or off a ride, take your order, bring you food, refill your glass or give you directions. Pick up your trash. Offer to take someone else's picture. If a ride's down, don't storm off. Say hello to the park employee at the closed ride's entrance, and with a smile on your face, ask for his or her advice on what to do instead.
If you've bought a one-day base ticket to an Orlando theme park, it's likely that the average park employee you encounter is making less money that day than you spent on your single ticket. So if you get frustrated, don't take it out on them. In fact, if you change your attitude, and focus on kindness instead, it's possible that park employee can show you the way around your frustration and toward an even better option instead.
But they don't always do that for the jerks.
Treat a theme park like an enemy land to be conquered, and the park will fight you back. Focus on obstacles and frustrations, and pretty soon, that's all you will see. And while you're having your inevitable mid-day meltdown, wasting time on a public shouting match, the rest of us will be going about our day, chatting with new friends, and enjoying every moment in the park - whatever we're doing there.
For more tips on getting the most from a family vacation, please visit our 100 Travel Tips for Visiting Theme Parks page.