Tag: Disneyland

Four Things Disneyland Needs to Know about Lines

Unlike some couples who have cake and punch with friends, my husband and I headed to a couple theme parks for our wedding anniversary. Normally, I’m not even a fan of theme parks, but since the man offered…who am I to turn away a free trip to Anaheim?

Thursday, we went to Downtown Disney. It was early afternoon and there was basically no line through the check-point. You know, where they search your bags and then direct you through a metal detector? That’s the kind of country we live in *shakes head sadly*

The wonderful world of Harry Potter beckoned on Friday. At Universal Studios, they wrap the entrance line through those chains and ropes (like all the rides do), and you never actually stop moving. So even though it was a huge crowd, we didn’t wait too long to get into the park.

Disneyland on Saturday? It was a nightmare.

The line(s) stretched back to the main street and buses kept dropping people off. There was no clear direction for people, although Disney employees did come out and try to direct people into “people with bags” and “people without bags.”

If my husband, who had no bag, had left me, he probably could have ridden two rides before I ever got through the metal detectors. But he didn’t leave me to survive the disorganization alone.

The mayhem flabbergasted me. It’s not like Disney is new to crowds. Or long lines. How can they have such confusion in a process that Universal streamlined with a few ropes and chains?

Here’s my advice to Disneyland:

  1. Visit Universal Studios when the park first opens. Notice how they have 25 metal detectors spread across the plaza in front of their admissions gate.
  2. Invest in more metal detectors. It’s not like they don’t make enough cash to ease the lineup in this way ($200 for admission, $35 for a t-shirt, $20 for lunch).
  3. Paint some lanes on the ground. Okay, this might look tacky in the Google Earth shots, but when hoards of people circumvented the obvious line, I was thankful we were at the “happiest place on Earth.” Some patrons weren’t impressed with the line-cutters.
  4. Send more employees to direct the flow and organize lines.

We waited close to an hour just to get our bags searched. About the time we got to the front, they were waving people around the metal detector. Get your bags searched, but skip that next step.

If they’re seriously concerned about safety, this felt like a bad move. Someone planning to make the news by terrorizing the Happiest Place on Earth could easily work this system into their nefarious plans.

Once we were waved along without going through the red light/green light gate, we waited another fifteen or twenty minutes for entrance through the turnstiles. At least there were obvious lines here.

Now that Disney is taking photos of every ticket holder and printing out tickets that correspond with that image on their ticket readers, it takes a little longer to get through the gate. I hope that’s helping them catch people who are trying to avoid paying the exorbitant admission price.

Because it certainly isn’t smoothing the admission process.

Disney knows how to line people up so they can fit the most people in the least amount of space and trick them into believing the line is moving right along (regardless of signs warning the wait is 45 or 60 minutes). It’s time they applied that experiential know-how at the front gate.

What other tips might speed things along? Have you had a similar experience at Disney?

My Vicarious Vacation: Gone Scrapbooking

Remember those old photo albums with some sort of strange clear glue and the plastic pages that screamed when you placed a photo behind them? You know, the ones from which all the pictures fell after a few months. So much for that awesome glue.

Now, there are photo boxes and photo sleeves to help you organize your photographs. Who wants them organized? Not me. I want them somewhere accessible so I can pull them out and stroll down memory lane.

Enter scrapbooking. Don’t ask my sister about this. She will spill some story about how I grumbled and complained when she first asked me to scrapbook pages for an album she was making for our mom.

Scrapbooking makes my back ache. I need more tools to make cooler pages. It would be cheaper and less painful to throw all the photos in a cute box somewhere.

Yep, but I love to put those pages together. It gives me a chance to relive those moments vicariously. As a fiction writer, living vicariously is something I adore. This is why I highly recommend reading.

Lest I ramble on about two of my favorite subjects, let me get to the point. Behold: my process for  preserving memories and my ponderings while scrapping two different family vacations.

Pick out pictures

A tedious aspect for me is selecting pictures. Not because I don’t like shuffling through the photos on my computer. I adore making the fingernails size extra-large and scrolling through to find the best ones.

I despise clicking on the plethora of numbered folders on our hard drive. This is how my photographer husband set them up when he downloaded them from his camera.

What do you think? Does folder 584 sound like it might be the trip to Washington D.C.? Oh, you mean you can’t tell by a number! Hmmm.

Just look at the date, you say? What an excellent idea! Except most of the file dates are meaningless and less than helpful.  Why? Anything taken before 2008 has the same date. That would be the date he created this directory on the external server.

Very helpful. I know.

Decide on paper and accessories

Once I have finally printed the 8 – 12 photos out, the real fun begins.

No, I wasn’t being sarcastic. Sometimes I even start with this step.

I mean, what girl doesn’t love to accessorize? There are stickers, borders, letters, words and all manner of shapes that could make a ho-hum layout into WOWZA.

Those big books of 12×12 sheets that have 50 or more different types of paper are incredible. When they’re on sale, I literally want to purchase one of each. You’ll be proud to hear I avoided buying any the last time I was at the craft store. They were even half price.

It’s best to make a list of what you want to scrapbook before you decide on purchasing stickers. I will use the entire sheet of Disney Orlando stickers when I make those pages. In fact, I used a couple when I scrapped our Disney 2000 vacation.

The boys were so little: 9 and 6. Tanner’s “muscle” shirt showed off half his chest. The scar on Thaddeus’ cheek, still pretty new, crinkled like a dimple in nearly every picture. *sigh*

Time flies when you’re roaming through memories this way.

Place the photos in a dozen different locations

The most tedious and time consuming step is planning the exact layouts. I use the two-page spread, lying the blank sheets next to each other as they’ll appear in the album, and try to make the pages balance each other out. Or not. Sometimes imbalance suits me the project better.

This is the step I generally enjoy taking at a friend’s house. It can be a hassle to transport everything. I recommend a large plastic tub or a totally cute bag from Thirty-one.

Once the date is set and the menu planned, we bring our projects and tools and spread out on the huge dining room table (a major requirement for scrapbooking of any sort). This way,  I lay out my plans and my crafty friends tweak them so they look a hundred times better. Side benny: they have great tools and paper they’re happy to share with me.

Cut, glue and admire

Once I’ve nailed down the layout (figuratively speaking, of course), I start cutting all the pictures, background paper, borders and frames I’ll need for the pages. Right now, I think my cutter might need a new blade. The edges are looking a little raggedy and the cuts don’t always go through.

Once everything is the perfect size, I use glue strips to affix photos. A couple of these tiny tabs in each corner of the picture does the trick. Much less messy than glue, too.

Of course, for the heavy cardstock frames, borders and background accents, only glue will do. I use a fat glue stick made especially for paper to paper bonding. Speaking of bonding, isn’t that what family vacations are all about? Oh, and hanging with friends to scrapbook is another way to promote bonding.

What was I talking about? Oh, yes. Accessorizing my pages until they take on the personality of the trip they depict. That means it’s time to place the stickers, accents and photo tags. Presto! Your glamour girl is ready to go.

Stand back and admire your handiwork. My hands massage my lower back during this step and I try to stretch my shoulders without groaning. Usually, I need to down a glass of water. Who knew this was such a thirsty and back-wrenching hobby?

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

Whoever said scrapbooking was easy must use a different method. Claims of fun and the offer of something rewarding in the end? Those are spot on.

 

What is your preferred method of preserving photographic memories?

 

To Plan or not to Plan

Vacations serve many purposes, don’t they? Some people use them to escape daily drudgery. Others need a different environment to relax and unwind. Expanding horizons and experiencing different settings might be a third motivation for vacationers.

In my mind, a vacation is for relaxing. I do find it easier to relax when the responsibilities of home aren’t staring me in the face. It’s great to experience new things and see a variety of flora, fauna, landscape and personality, as well.

Apparently, I demand a multi-purpose vacation. The question is: does vacation demand forethought and planning to be successful?

Again, depending on the purpose of the vacation, the answer to this question varies. Some people can’t relax if uncertainty hangs overhead. Those people need a plan.

I’m a person who makes a daily list of priorities. I relish making a slash through each one when I complete it. Here’s my list for my upcoming vacation:

  1. Relax
  2. Sit by the pool
  3. Walk on the beach
  4. Relax
  5. See the sunrise from the mountain
  6. Shop
  7. Read a book on the beach/by the pool
  8. Relax
  9. Eat plenty of fresh fruit
  10. Relax

This is what I consider an unplanned vacation (and my idea of a true vacation). It contrasts wildly with the list for our trip to Disneyland in 2011:

  1. Go to Disneyland
  2. Ride the Star Tours attraction
  3. Go to California Adventure
  4. Be sure to see the evening show at least once
  5. Go to Disneyland
  6. Go to California Adventure
  7. Head to Universal Studios
  8. Check out the stars in downtown Hollywood
  9. Go to Disneyland and California Adventure
  10. Sit by the pool

I consider that trip, and most of the trips I’ve taken with my family, a planned vacation. There were sights we wanted to see, places we needed to go and specific things we desired to do.

Coming up is a week in Maui. I don’t want to make plans. Planning is synonymous with the life I’m trying to take a vacation from. If I plan, I won’t relax and I want to relax – it is number one through ten on my list.

What’s your thought on vacationing? Are vacations more successful when they are extensively planned? What do you consider a “planned vacation” versus an “unplanned vacation”?