What can you learn from a trip to a theme park? Many years ago, my parents and I visited a major theme park – the one with the mouse. This was during the dark ages, before the smart phone check-in, fast pass, multi-day/multi-park ticket. It was pre-internet, pre-vacation guidebook. The theme park only had one park to visit in those days. We relied a lot on word-of-mouth for information and conventional wisdom stated that it was impossible to see the whole park in one day.
When you visit a theme park, the sights, the sounds, the excitement, next thing you know your adrenaline spikes and rational thought leaves your mind. Except somehow my Dad remained calm. We stood in line for our paper ticket and received a map of the park with our tickets. Everyone else shoved the map in their day bag and took off, but my Dad stopped and studied the map for a few minutes. Realizing the park was laid out in a circle, he planned a potential path to see the park in one day. Next, he evaluated the lines at the monorail and at the boat, then selected the boat as the quicker choice to access the main island. When we arrived at the island I had waited so long to visit, I was ready to join the throng of people heading right into the park, but Dad evaluated. He noticed that fewer people were turning left into the park, meaning the lines were shorter on the left side of the park. Our family turned left.
We saw most of the attractions in the park that day. The only exception was the submarine ride, which had a three-hour wait. Dad’s leadership steered us through the park exceptionally well, even though I wanted to run through like a little adrenaline junkie.
I learned a lot of life lessons that day, without realizing it.
Lots of learning that day, lots of fun, lots of warm memories. My favorite memory from that day was the teacup ride, where dad indulged his own adrenaline junkie and spun us round and round until Mom almost threw up even though she wasn’t even on the ride, simply watching from the side. Plan well, achieve greatness, enjoy the journey.
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