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Easy way to get more people from outside the US into US parks

Travelling to US Theme Parks from outside the US is a real pain in the bum and has unfortunately turned my family off coming. I wonder how many $$$$ are lost?

From Daniel Smith
Posted October 28, 2012 at 10:02 AM
I've been a couple of times to Los Angeles and Florida to attend both Disney and Universal. Coming from outside the US, each time I have travelled, US customs have been becoming worse and more unfriendly. So much so, that instead of coming to the US for my next vacation, I'm heading to Asia. That's thousands of dollars lost to the US Theme Park industry and economy. Why? Purely because of US Customs!

Last time I came to visit the Theme Parks in the US, I waited in a customs line for 2 hours, taken to a private room, searched and questioned. I was coming for a 10-day family holiday from Australia and treated like a criminal as soon as I landed. (No, I have no criminal past! - I'm just a hard-working family man!). And, the interrogation was not pleasant. I felt I was guilty (of who knows what) before having to prove myself and family innocent, enough to have a holiday at Disney and Universal.

After recently travelling to Singapore, I was through Customs in 5 minutes, luggage collected in another 2 minutes and on my way. They even give fresh mints to everyone at the customs desk after a long flight. You feel "welcome".

Thus, I've now booked my next Theme Park vacation, back to Asia.

Thought I would just open the can of worms because I think this is an area that could be greatly improved and bring many tourism dollars :P - more dollars = more money to spend on new attractions and giving more jobs to US citizens as theme park employees!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Chad H
Posted October 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM
I think this is something were we could all benefit a bit of local knowledge. I haven't had the opportunity to go to the US yet, but one thing putting me off is the perception at least, that you're treated like a criminal at the border.

I did head to my homeland (Australa) and back last year via Heathrow, and noted just how much quicker it was on my previous flight over to the UK, entering at relatively sleepy (and quick through immigration) Glasgow Vs Heathrow on my later trip. (Tip: do not enter the UK via Heathrow, there are plenty of other, less busy, International Airports).

So, to those of you in Americaland, I ask for a visitor where do you think the best places to fly into are?

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted October 28, 2012 at 3:39 PM
Mr. Smith,
As an American, I feel that it's time to treat well foreign tourists and stop all that security nonsense. It doesn't surprise me that in Asia tourists are treated better. If we don't change our attitude, Singapore, Japan and China will take a big chunk of tourists away from our shores. A smooth and welcoming entry makes the difference.

Chad,
Fly to Tampa, FL The airport is less crowded than Orlando Intl. and it's only one hour away from Disneyworld. You will have to rent a car though.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted October 28, 2012 at 4:10 PM
Part of your problem is Orlando. Even for us Americans, the security at that airport is excessive. I come from O'Hare in Chicago and its not as bad as Orlando.

While they do need to be relaxed a bit, I see many foreign tourists at the WDW parks so I do not think it is affecting them that much.

From Ashleigh Noad
Posted October 29, 2012 at 2:15 PM
Having experienced customs over 10/11 times as a UK citizen, my experiences have been varied. I've once waited in line for 3 hours to clear through customs at Orlando (Orlando is notoriously bad at this).

Furthermore, when I had to come through this year with my work-visa, the questions were more probing but nothing that upset me. I really do not let one bad thing affect my whole visit at any stage of the vacation. I enjoy coming to the US too much, I don't give customs a second thought again throughout my stay.

It is for those countries who are not part of the US-visa waiver programme I feel sorry for. Having to attend an embassy etc rather than pay the online fee for 'ESTA' visa waiver. I believe Obama made a speech earlier in the year about reducing barriers for particular countries such as Brazil, so I think their international policies are moving in the right direction.

It is more the rising cost of fuel prices that impact where I am going to travel; travel to the US is becoming increasingly expensive, UK budget airlines are going bust and that looks unlikely to change in the near future.

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