As a local we are faced with a very difficult challenge on a daily basis: How to balance responsibilities of everyday life with time at the theme parks.

Since we have moved to Central Florida we have gone through growing pains when it came to meeting this challenge. Many times there are events that we have had to miss due to poor planning. We have since found ways to better balance but with the great number of events lately we are feeling the strain once again. When I started writing for Theme Park Local, I said that my goal was to share our experiences, the good bad and ugly, as well as offer tips that could help other locals and those who are traveling to better utilize their time in the parks. There is nothing that I have found that is more important than being able to better balance responsibilities with the fun that you can have at the theme parks. 

Being on vacation is quite different than living local because when you are on vacation most times it is a way to escape the day to day responsibilities and focus on fun at the theme parks. As a local it can sometimes feel like you are always on vacation but at the same time can feel like you are never on vacation. If you do not balance the responsibilities with the fun you can take away from the enjoyment. We all have the basic chores that need to be done. We have to keep the house clean, go grocery shopping, go to work, run errands, pay the bills, etc. These responsibilities when not planned correctly can damper the time that is spent at the theme parks. For example, if you decide to go to the theme parks on a Thursday for say a scales25th Anniversary Celebration for Disney’s Hollywood Studios what normal Thursday events are affected by this trip. Was this the day that you normally would go grocery shopping? Do the kids have school? Do you have to work? The way that we are able to do these things is by careful planning. Make sure that the grocery shopping is done on Wednesday this week. My son is in virtual school so we planned ahead and he completed his schoolwork for Thursday on the prior days. Planning like this is crucial to helping you enjoy the fun without sacrificing anything.

Many times this planning does not occur and it can cause issues. If there are things that need to be done and you put them off to go to the parks it is never a good thing. Not only are you spending the entire time you are at the parks worrying about what you did not get done, you are looking at issues trying to get caught up on the other side. For this reason my number one suggestion for those who live near the theme parks is to always stay ahead. Try to make sure that you are enough ahead at any given moment so if you see an announcement that some event is to be going on the next day, or even that evening, you can without hesitation jump in the car and head towards that experience. This makes things a lot more comfortable.

Until you get ahead you may have to sacrifice some time at the parks. I know insert sigh here. It runs through your mind on a daily basis as a Disney lover. I really should be at the parks! It is right there! I have been there but you have to know that the time you are sacrificing in the short term can help you to spend more quality time there in the future. I am a firm believer that it is quality time at the parks rather than quantity but I will cover that another time. You must make sure that all your ducks are in a row before you head towards the Transportation and Ticket Center to board that monorail or ferry. Oh you will slip up. There really should be a support group for people like us. Maybe we will start one. The point is to slowly get ahead and stay there and the slip ups will no longer be slip ups they will just be unexpected trips to the parks that you can still enjoy because you have planned for them. I know I just blew your mind. I will say it again. Make it so that the unexpected trips to the parks are enjoyable because you have planned for them.

You might wonder what prompted this article?

Well I will tell it like it is. When I woke up this morning I was aware that I had gone against this rule and I was feeling the pressure this weekend. We opted for theme park fun and had let some things catch up with us. For example, I have a commitment to share some articles with you all each week. If only in my head it is a commitment that I have made and will not break. We had planned to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios today since it is May 4 and as Star Wars fans know “May the Fourth be with you.” We go there each year to at least ride Star Tours and get our Star Wars fix for the day. I had not prepared and thought ahead and completed the articles that I require of myself. As I pondered a great subject I realized one was right in front of my nose.

The balancing of responsibility and theme park fun is crucial no matter if you are visiting on vacation or live local. You must be able to enter the fantasy world that the creators of the parks have worked so hard to create. You cannot have regrets of things that did not get accomplished running through your mind as you are running for Space Mountain. You can’t be enjoying a dole whip in Adventureland while wondering if you have pineapple in the refrigerator for your child’s lunch the next day. I couldn’t with good conscience enjoy a day at Hollywood Studios without first spending some time sharing some advice with you. I hope this helps and trust me it is an art we are still trying to perfect. It takes careful planning and attention to detail to be able to let loose and enjoy the parks!

Be sure to follow Michael with Theme Park Local here at Passport to the Parks



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