Monday, June 22, 2009

Amusement Parks--Entertainment or Torture?

I'm sure I will receive HATE mail after writing this. For some folks, Amusement Parks are akin to a religious experience, evidenced by the large number of weddings at Disney World every year. Why anyone would want a giant stuffed smiling Mouse at their wedding is beyond my capacity for understanding. 

So after the ALL day field hockey tournament, my inner masochist VOLUNTEERED to take the kids to Hershey Park. My son had done a book report on Milton Hershey and all the philanthropic things he did for poor orphan boys. I'm thinking it will be an educational experience. (Are you laughing at my naivete?) In Mr. Hershey's defense, it was a much better experience than Disney, which is similar to getting your fingernails pulled out-- one at a time. 

I went online to check for discounts and hours, etc.. I found that if I bought the tix at a Giant grocery store, I could SAVE $33 on tickets and get FREE parking.  Total SAVINGS $43. What a bargain--I only had to shell out $128 for a day of FUN. 

The website promised that Sundays, especially Father's Day would offer a non-crowded environment. Apparently EVERYONE must have read the same claim. We arrive at park opening time, a civilized 10am. So far so good. My son measures himself and reaches the twizzler line, so he is able to ride all of the 5--extreme thrill coasters. I don't think it did much for his masculinity to be compared to a twizzler. But I digress.

I ride the first coaster with them called the Comet. It is only rated a 4. I exit the ride feeling a bit shell shocked, like I left my stomach on the first lurching plunge. I then go on a "WIMPY" ride as designated by my son. I think it is called the Falcon. It spins around in a circle. I immediately begin to pray that I will not spew vomit all over the nice little boys and girls waiting on the ground. 

I wonder why I just paid $42 to get whiplash, a day-long headache and nausea? I sit the next 4 coasters out. If they go upside down or backwards, I'm not risking it. After one ETERNAL wait on the bench, I approach the ever-so-friendly guard (teen worker). I ask if it is possible that something happened to my children, since they had entered the ride an hour ago and not come out. He then explained the WAIT line. Apparently the Great Bear coaster had over an hour wait. For a 60 second thrill. I wish I had brought my book. I wish they gave parent discounts for the LAME parents who sit on the benches all day waiting for their kids. 

While sitting on the benches, I had the opportunity to contemplate the marketing philosophies of the Amusement Park. I realize that Hershey and Outdoor World have a lot in common. Both encourage and reward for the OBLITERATION of nature--all under the auspices of FUN. Hershey had a number of arcade games in which the goal was to KILL. My favorite was WHACK THE MOLE. If you successfully whacked a.k.a. killed a number of moles with a large mallet, you won--a stuffed smiling mole. This seemed a bit strange to me, but not unlike the taxidermy prizes in hunting. Teach those kids to WHACK early and they will grow up to be great WHACKERS as adults. There was also WHACK the rattlesnake and WHACK the groundhog. 

I also noticed that throughout the park, Chevy cars were on display surrounded by lovely landscaping. Clearly Hershey is a suave marketer and has been successful in corporate partnering. I had a really good idea for a new arcade game. It would be called--WHACK the camaro. Or chevy truck, or if you are an environmentalist--WHACK the TAHOE. Or for the patriots, they could WHACK a foreign import. I would pay extra money to do this. Unfortunately I never saw a comment box to pass on my great idea. 

1 comment:

  1. i hate theme parks... i have sucessful been able to come up with excuses for why we can't go ... but im running out ... i do not understand the 'Fun' of waiting in a line for hours for a 2 minute ride... its probably why i did not enjoy being on the swim team either....