We finally fulfilled our parental responsibility as American capitalists. We took our kids to DisneyWorld.
And then, since we are over-the-top wasteful American consumers, we also took them to Universal's Islands of Adventure..
Magic Kingdom is good for little kids, so Lily, who is 5, loved it. Universal is much more oriented toward older kids and adults, so Creed, who is 11, loved that.
In case you are considering an Orlando theme park trip in the near future, here are some observations that might help:
* At Disney's Magic Kingdom, your children can ride the same rides you rode when you were a little brat. They haven't really changed: It's a Small World, the Haunted whatever-it-is, the Runaway Mine Train, the flying Dumbo, the spinning teacups, that awesome log ride, all of that stuff is still rocking.
* Even though the lines are long most of the day, if you hit the rides during lunch or dinner or fireworks or the end of the day, you could minimize the wait. The express ticket feature at Magic Kingdom, which is new since we were kids, is also pretty cool. You just get a ticket that tells you to come back in an hour or two, and then you get to cut in front of all the other people, basically.
* The food at Magic Kingdom is terrible, and expensive, and cafeteria-like.
* There is no beer or wine or alcohol of any kind at Magic Kingdom.
* At Universal, beer is everywhere. They sell it at kiosks and in restaurants, and bars. Pretty much everywhere you look people are carrying around cups of beer. That's probably why Universal seemed less clean than Disney, and in some places smelled like urine.
* Universal has great restaurants and food.
* As far as long lines, Universal's line-cutting system parallels the values of American society in that only those who can afford to pay $20 extra for an express ticket get to avoid the wait.
* Little kids might not have the stamina for a two-day theme park trip. By Day 2, Lily was ready to recline on a couch while a servant fanned her. When we stepped out into the sun to head toward a ride at Universal, she screamed "I can't be in the sun!' and started crying and running towards a store. I kept thinking about the $120 or so in tickets for the two of us, and how we could have just taken that money to a mall and had more fun. Then I passed a beer kiosk, and purchased a Bud Lite. Everything was good after that.
As a plus for us, we got to miss the Air and Sea Show.
As a plus for Lily, we saw a fat man with a white beard at Magic Kingdom, so we told her it was Santa Claus.
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