Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

What Are You Doing to Entertain Yourself?

July 26, 2020, 6:41 PM · Okay, I get it. People don't want to go to theme parks right now. Heck, I run a theme park website for a living and you don't see me getting on a flight or in a car to go visit Walt Disney World, Cedar Point or a Six Flags park. Theme parks have done their best to help people feel safe when visiting, but the majority of theme park fans continue to recognize that the safest place to be in a pandemic is inside their home.

But even if our desire to visit parks might be on hold for the moment, I suspect that our need for entertainment is not. So instead of going to Disney, Universal or your local thrill park this summer, what are you doing to stay entertained?

For me, I started this pandemic with some "DIY" entertainment — heading into the kitchen to make videos of theme park recipes for you. I'm fortunate to live in a place with pretty nice weather year round, so I've been taking daily walks around the neighborhood, as well. For the past couple of months, I've been directing a weekly livestreamed classical music show.

After work, we've decided to start watching all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in their narrative chronological order, starting with Captain America: The First Avenger. We finished Iron Man 2 last night, so it's four down and 19 to go. And there's always written entertainment. I've been trying my best to keep you well informed, as always, with daily coverage here on Theme Park Insider. As for fiction, I've been rereading some Carl Hiaasen and looking forward to his next novel, coming out in a month.

And of course, not visiting theme parks hasn't kept me from thinking about and planning future travels.

What about you? What stuff is keeping you most entertained at the moment? Is it books, movies, music, video games, exercise, or making something? I've listed five categories for a vote this week, along with a couple of examples to illustrate each category. I'm just curious to see what theme parks like you are turning to when you're not visiting the parks.

Replies (18)

July 26, 2020 at 7:50 PM

Reading, reading and more reading — though I do that a lot during normal times too :-). I’m re-reading two favorite series, and I, too, am looking forward to Hiaasen’s next book — I’ve already got it on pre-order!

July 26, 2020 at 9:20 PM

Living in the sweltering Florida heat, taking bike rides and walks is a event which requires getting up very early or doing later in the evening. I’ve been trying my best to get outside though. But in days like these I’m incredibly thankful for my record collection and my movie library. Also thankful for books. I’m about to pick up Frank Herbert’s Dune and I’m currently working my way through ‘Salt Fat Acid Heat’ by Samin Nosrat, which i highly recommend for anybody who loves to cook but wants to learn more about the Hows and Whys of building meals from scratch in a practical way. I’m missing going to the movies more than ever, and even more than that I’m missing going to see live music. Pearl Jam was going to tour this summer damnit!!!

EDIT: Robert, you may have to slow-roll your MCU viewing when you get to Phase 3 so that you can watch Black Widow in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Of course, the way things are heading, you may have to really, really, really I mean rrreeeeaaaalllllllyyyyyy slow roll ;)

July 26, 2020 at 7:59 PM

Combo of books/blogs and binging on stuff. Different for me as an essential job for UPS so even at height of shutdowns, was working almost every night.

July 26, 2020 at 9:22 PM

I think the parks are safer than my workplace (which is indoors, with frequent and sometimes sustained contact with guests who aren't taking this seriously -- at least theme parks ARE taking it seriously).

But I don't blame you one bit for staying away, Robert. Right now, home is the safest place to be (especially for me, since I'm symptomatic and awaiting test results -- "going to work" is something I would like to do, but it would be irresponsible of me).

July 26, 2020 at 9:22 PM

I feel you there. I went from an out-of-work bartender to and in-demand grocery delivery driver.

July 26, 2020 at 11:27 PM

Since fun is apparently illegal in California, I took most of July off and did a road trip to hit about ten different parks that were actually open and check out several other tourist attractions. Gotta be honest...I felt safer at 90% of the places I visited than I do at 90% of the few businesses allowed to operate in my home state.

I haven't had much downtime lately due to a busy work schedule and other life circumstances, but when I'm bored under house arrest I've mostly been getting by by watching random movies and going on a daily walk. Given that I want to get some type of report from my trip posted, writing that will probably occupy a lot of my downtime for the next few weeks.

July 27, 2020 at 1:18 AM

Updating on the MCU Film Festival... OMG, “Incredible Hulk” is a terrible movie.

July 27, 2020 at 7:25 AM

I agree with Robert. The Incredible Hulk movie should be excused from the canon.

I’m slowly doing something similar with the Disney Animated Features. I really liked the Reluctant Dragon featuring a Howard Stark-esque Walt Disney

July 27, 2020 at 9:03 AM

Netflix and chill...Tough I've also been digging deep into CBS All Access (watched all of Picard and Discovery), Apple TV, and Peacock (got lured into Brave New World, but couldn't give it past the first episode because it was SO BAD). I've also been going through my extensive DVD/Blu-Ray collection, particularly my concert videos - watched all of Live Aid and Live 8 a couple of weeks ago to celebrate the anniversary.

Sports, particularly European soccer, have helped to pass the time, and hopefully the NBA and NHL will help bridge the gap while the soccer matches are few and far between through August (just UCL and Europa league). It looks like MLB might be toast thanks to the Marlins, but who knows.

I actually really like Incredible Hulk, particularly when compared to the campy Hulk from Ang Lee. Compared to the rest of the MCU, Universal's entry into the cannon is near the bottom of the pile, but when taken on its own and compared to other comic book movies at the time (Fantastic 4, X Men 2/3, Electra, Ghost Rider, etc...), it's a solid film.

July 29, 2020 at 10:06 AM

Well... I work. Considered essential, however, I've been work-from-home since early March and it appears that won't change through the end of the year. Since I hate theme parks in the blazing heat and humidity, missing out on the summer schedule is no different than any other year.

Other than that, I am almost finished with a complete, 1.5 year long, re-landscaping of my front yard. Purchased and replanted a lot of annuals, Plumerias, ground cover, and other foliage recently.

I've started working on this year's Halloween setup. This year's theme will be "A Nightmare on Elmstreet" although I almost considered changing it to a contamination/biohazard spill that would have played nicely into the whole covid thing. The Elmstreet setup will be epic and include a boiler! We may have a reduced number of Trick or Treaters... but I don't care, reality is, I do it for me. I have a lot of machining and other shop projects to complete as well... not enough time in the day.

July 27, 2020 at 12:30 PM

I've been playing a lot more video games than usual. The concept of interactive media bringing a story to life due to my actions is the closest experience I'm getting to story-telling from theme parks. Games I've played over the past few months include Lego Star Wars Force Awakens, Assassin's Creed, and Kingdom Hearts.

July 27, 2020 at 12:50 PM

I like the Incredible Hulk as a stand-alone but it’s clear that the fledgling MCU had no idea at the time that it was going to expand like it did. Even the Tony Stark cameo hints at the Avengers forming to stop the Hulk, like the original comic book storyline. Point being, Marvel was just feeling it’s way here and didn’t have a complete Phase One story arc set in motion yet. I always felt that if Marvel had a chance for one do-over, The Incredible Hulk would be it. Also, theme parks and stuff!

July 27, 2020 at 1:22 PM

HZD and LOU2 have been keeping me busy, as well as watching in chronological order all the Star Wars movies, and now I'm on the Marvel movies. Waiting for Ant Man and The Wasp to be released on Disney+ in August.

I also fell down the rabbit hole that is watching, Star Wars, The Clone Wars at the moment .... :) Seems as if I have a very long way before I get to the bottom !!!

And to keep me going, I have my 3 days booked at WDW in September Epcot, DAK & DHS).

July 27, 2020 at 4:40 PM

My regional covid risk is not that bad, but i´m a dull person: Doing most of the particular lazy stuff in normal times quite extensively aswell. Would not be traveling during a school holiday without covid either. The more intersting question is what i´d realistically be doing without covid that i don´t do at all now. Turns out that is playing table top games in person. Online playing is only a meager replacement for that.

July 28, 2020 at 3:45 AM

I only did 5 weeks of lockdown, where I was working full-time, before I went back to site but have we ever been spoilt by the riches of incredible tv series'/box sets than today? I am just waiting for the final episode of The Walking Dead to be shot and aired. Also plenty of reading. Re-read Realityland for the fifth time. My absolute favourite book regarding WDW.

July 28, 2020 at 9:57 AM

Don't forget there are lots of virtual theme parks in several on-line worlds as well as games like RCT to give us that digital fix. I've spent a lot of time enjoying that type of entertainment.

July 28, 2020 at 11:09 AM

Took a road trip up PCH and did various hiking. Visited Big Sur, ate at Nepenthe, visited/hiked numerous scenic vistas, Golden Gate Park, Marineland/SFDK (without the rides), Sausalito, Marin Wetlands, and took pics of SCBB. It's actually been a lot of fun! I'd rather be at a theme park, but at the same time, the lack of parks is allowing us to focus on other bucket items that have been on our waiting list.

July 28, 2020 at 5:30 PM

I like The Incredible Hulk movie!

It’s not a bad film. I think it suffers in comparison to the Phase 2 + films because, as it’s been mentioned, The MCU was firmly established ( and popular). This was the 2nd film in the MCU (and sandwiched between Iron Man & the Dark Knight)

Norton does a fine job as Banner. Ruffalo gets more credit because his Banner actually gets to do something (as opposed to the usual self focused “finding a cure”).

But the film had some cool action sequences & as fattyakin said, I think if TIH was released later & had more connected elements to the larger universe (and Norton reprised his role) it probably wouldn’t be looked at so negatively.

On it’s on, it’s not a bad action film. Not a ton of depth, but it’s entertaining!

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