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The Reality of Living Near the Fantasy…Part Three

The Theme Parks

One of the first reasons we wanted to move to sunny Florida was to enjoy the Parks anytime we wanted too. The thought of having that freedom of going on a whim after dinner or on a Sunday afternoon seemed to good to be true. What people don’t tell you is that EVERYONE else has the same idea.  What I thought would be an easy drive over, maybe have a snack or meal, ride a ride and head home was a lot more complicated than I thought.

First lets talk about how much the Parks have changed. It is no mystery that the local doesn’t get a whole lot of love from Disney.  Yes you get your discount from the Annual Pass, flex payments are a plus, but our hours seem to be shrinking more and more for us to enjoy. With the addition of “Not So Scary” parties starting as early as AUGUST 16th (because you know, everyone is carving pumpkins and wearing costumes in August…. I mean, COME ON I am still in my swim suit!!) it has made it nearly impossible to enjoy an evening at Magic Kingdom from August until January. Why? The parties take up a good number of nights during the week, so clearly unless the local wants to buy a ticket, you aren’t getting in. And of course they aren’t every night, but the nights that there ISN’T a party, everyone on vacation goes those nights, leaving not a whole lot of “wiggle room” for the local to enjoy a decent evening at Magic Kingdom.  Yes, I know someone is thinking “We go anyways”- great, enjoy, but I don’t find anything relaxing or magical about fighting the crowds, in the heat, and standing in the long lines to just get out of that Park at the end of night.

Epcot’s endless Festivals. So at first we started with “Food and Wine”, and “Flower and Garden.”  It was nice, it was spaced out enough to give a fresh feel to everyone enjoying it, Spring and Fall had an excitement to it. Now personally, I think someone got sick of moving those food booths back and forth out of World Showcase, so they were like “Hey. let’s think of more Festivals to keep them out all year long.”  Now we have Festival of the Arts and Festival of the Holidays sandwiched in between the longer running two. I do love the Arts one, it’s different and I love to see Artists shine in the spotlight, but unfortunately they have saturated that Park now with them. What was special in the past is becoming just the norm there now.  Every Festival has their signature, overpriced drinks and some can be delicious, but with that abundance of varieties bring the drunks out. I have read some never see these large groups of people with their nasty shirts, falling all over guests as they drink way to much, but having lived here many years now, I can tell you I have seen a lot of them. I don’t care if you want to drink, I drink, just balance it out and REALIZE you are at Disney World and not Universal. Have some class while there are families making special memories around you- no one wants to remember your ugly behavior as their trip to Disney.

Fastpasses? Well, we have to wait until 30 days out to book them. Resort guests get a 60 day window, and the rumor is that they will soon be selling the opportunity to buy Fastpasses. What does that mean? It means that as a local, I may never ride the new Star Wars ride unless I wait in line for I am sure hours. And let me debunk this idea of “Locals can go anytime” because it’s horse bunk.  We can’t. Like I said before, Parties and special events, some have blocked out dates, large crowds mean they will close at capacity, Holiday weeks are insane, and so on.  What used to be down time after Labor day, end of January, late February has been replaced with race events and free dining. Even with New Years and Fourth of July, our family did both ONCE. Why? You have to be IN the designated Park of your choice pretty much ALL day to be guaranteed a decent viewing spot and in case they close at capacity. I will tell you- I loved seeing them once, great experience, but imagine your own town’s craziness with the fireworks and your own traffic and then multiply it by ten. It just isn’t what it used to be to just head to the Parks.

Yes, I still enjoy them and I will always love my Disney. But as I said, things have changed and with Star Wars opening in a few months, I fear we will see crowds here like never before. When they can’t see SW these crowds will spill over into the other Parks, onto 192 businesses and restaurants, and it just won’t be fun to try to get anywhere for awhile or ever. I hope I am wrong.

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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