It’s a Crowded World After All
Just got off the plane from a trip to the tourist capital of the world – Orlando, Fla.
It wasn’t my first post-pandemic get-away, but it was the first one where everyone acted like the coronavirus never happened. But, as much as everyone is ready to move on, it’s clear that things are very, very different.
Chances are, given the family demographics of our town, that a good percentage of Suffieldians are planning a trip to the Sunshine State in the coming weeks. Some of you may be wise to the new world down there, but for those who are expecting to relive past experiences, get ready.
Things were always busy in Florida, but now it just seems swamped. It’s as if two years of pent-up tourism demand is being released all at once.
If you have any idea of what you plan to do, even weeks ahead of your trip, start making reservations and purchasing theme park tickets now. You can’t get into any of the Disney theme parks without a reservation. And, the reservations, depending on the park, fill up fast.
Once through the gates, resign yourself to longer-than-you-remember lines. If you can avail yourself of any pass that shortens the line, whatever the cost, whatever the inconvenience, do it. I will never rid myself of the nightmare of being interminably stuck in a narrow, shallow, replica Dudley Do Right cartoon hallway with one hundred other people. Never.
Oh, if you want to eat anything beyond fast-food, make reservations the minute you decide where to eat. Unless you show up on the early side, expect lengthy waits. Do yourself a favor and become acquainted with the dinner reservation apps available for your phone.
Another app with which you should become close friends, is a traffic app that automatically routes the fastest way to your destination. I discovered some interesting roads in backwater Florida, thanks to one program.
Finally, with the increased amount of tourists, just prepare yourself for the whole COVID-is-over mentality, which seems to be just as contagious as the virus. At one point when my family waited in a cramped space, shoulder-to-shoulder with the other maskless Escape from Gringotts riders, my wife commented that this was the perfect place to catch COVID. So far, so good. We’ll know for sure in a week or two.
Maybe this is a test for where we really are in the pandemic. If hundreds of thousands of people can descend on an area and return to their respective homes without triggering a health care crisis, maybe things are getting better.
All of which means things are just going to be busier. Brace yourself.