Monday, January 4, 2010

SeaWorld and The X-Rated Penguin Experience

I am not a fan of amusement parks.

Some people are and I think that is terrific.

There a large segment of the population (including my husband) that considers an amusement park a fun vacation. A tiny bit of me thinks that visiting an amusement park is a bit like going to the doctor for a pelvic examination.

I don't care for crowds, crying children and the necessity in consulting a map to know where I am.

I have recently started to feel this way about malls, too, especially during the holiday season. I am becoming a huge fan of Target. If it can't be bought there kids, tough shiz. You aren't getting it.

I made the erroneous decision to stop at the local mall in Daytona Beach several days before Christmas. I don't know why I did this; it was stupid and very unlike me.

I should have taken heed when I had to park half a mile away from the mall entrance. I was trying to be positive and upbeat because 'tis the season, you know? I considered the exercise I would be getting on my way to Dillard's .

Because Lawd knows I NEED EXERCISE.

The shoppers were out in hoards dragging their children/spouses/elderly parents along behind them. People in groups of more than three, in my experience, are difficult to work around and stand, frozen and confused a lot. Specifically, frozen and in my way.

We once experienced this personally when a large group of our extended family decided to take a day trip to Washington D.C. We were in the area for a wedding and it sounded like a fun idea to the majority.

It quickly became apparent that visiting a touristy area with a larger group of people was sort of like dragging a leaden third appendage around. This is precisely why the advertisements for group bus tours around Europe make me want to shoot myself. Perhaps they will hold some sort of appeal when I am older, but I think not.

We went to SeaWorld yesterday. I went a bit reluctantly, with hopes that the 20 month old would enjoy the animals. Indeed, she did.

Yet without her morning nap, the afternoon swiftly turned sour. She is not one who will drift peacefully off to sleep in a stroller; instead, she will scream, kick and make our lives (and those around us) miserable until she is lying supine.

Because it was 32 degrees in the Orlando area, we believed this might possibly dissuade at least a portion of the park's visitors (specifically, the Florida natives), hence less of a crowd.

We didn't take into consideration that the rides' mechanical operations would be adversely affected by the cold and the two major roller coasters were closed until 1pm due to technical issues.

I didn't care so much because I don't do rides. It made little difference to me. Roller coasters are one of my husband's favorite things in life, however, so it made a huge difference to him.

Four years ago we were treated to a day at DisneyWorld by a friend and my father-in-law.

My most memorable moment at DisneyWorld was not the glee on my kids' faces, but of the crippling, a** puckering bowel attack I experienced as we stood outside of the gates at 8:50 a.m.

I watched the Disney characters as they danced and sang and I was certain I was going to sh** my pants. I panicked as I wondered what exactly I would do if this occurred considering the long, long train ride back to the parking lot. The panic only exacerbated the problem and I broke out in a sweat. I also probably started to cry (knowing me).

The husband and boys thought this was hilarious but they didn't think that so much when I knocked them over as I shoved my way past them to the front of the line. I was a woman on a mission to find the bathroom nearest to the entrance when the gates opened at 9:00a.m..

My SeaWorld memory, much like my DisneyWorld memory, is of my day's most uncomfortable experience. We witnessed one of the more disturbing images I have seen inside the penguin display.

They are wild animals, I know, and one would have to assume they mate as wildly as the rest of their brothers and sisters in the Arctic. However, I wasn't prepared for it, a.) happening directly in front of me, and b.) the graphic money shot I saw at the end.

I puked a little in my mouth.

"They didn't show THAT in March of the Penguins," my 14 year old cackled, moved to hilarity by the uncomfortableness of the birds, bees and horny penguins.

I personally had seen enough. We ventured out of the park and subsequently home.

We collapsed in our own beds last night, windburned, cold and shivering. Chris and I discussed what wusses we had become since moving to Florida.

Next winter, when (if) we visit an amusement park, we will officially consider the temperature before venturing out. I suppose we are "Floridians" now; when in Rome.


Sarah said...

I about spit out my soda on my computer when I read the money shot part!

Anonymous said...

you make me laugh outloud every time!! I say it again...... YOU NEED TO WRITE A BOOK!!!!!
Miss ya Mary ann
Kari :)