The Number One Guide to Amusement Parks in the Pandemic (Day 93)

I am very tired. My hair has too much body. And I think I have shin splints. 

But I am also overjoyed! We left the state and we went to an amusement park! I adore an amusement park! It is a place that requires very little thinking, there is an occasional foot race to get in line, there are snacks everywhere, you walk 200,000 steps and you can drink a beer while waiting to ride a roller coaster. 

I mean, really it is amazing. 

It had been almost 2 years since I spent hours in line with strangers for a one-minute thrill ride and got to experience the subsequent roller coaster hair. But, man, it was good to be back at Hershey Park!

Of course, the pandemic makes everything more complicated and arduous. But we’ve been pandemic people for over a year: we can do hard, terrifying things and still have fun! 

 Here’s the number one* guide to Amusement Parks in the Pandemic:

1. There will be lots of people. 

Look, I am fully vaccinated and have let go of my “GET AWAY FROM ME YOU SUPERSPREADER” attitude that has defined my existence for a year. But, of course, not everyone is vaccinated. If being around large groups of people makes you or your kids freak out, don’t go to an amusement park. There are lots of people. And while I am comfortable with it, you might not be. This is not for everyone. 

2. No one knows what is happening.

While you can make reservations in advance and order food for pick up, no one really knows what is going on. All these procedures are still new and complicated.  Between the people working the temperature check (who cannot seem to work their thermometers and have to remove the batteries and smack it) and the people at the online order food pick up who are unable to explain online order food pickup and the visitors who are busy scrolling through the amusement park app, no one knows what is happening. So be patient but don’t be silent and patient! Tell them to PLEASE give you your crab fries NOW!

3. Pack extra masks.  

A day at the amusement park is a long day. Plus, when you are screaming on a rollercoaster and speeding down an incline, you might inhale your mask. And a mask wet with salvia is nasty. Don’t be nasty! 

4. Wear a baseball hat! 

Sunglasses are the MOST annoying thing with a mask. And the sun is out and eye wrinkles are NOT a desirable souvenir. So, wear a hat and save yourself a Botox treatment! Author's Note: I did not wear a hat this time and was insanely jealous of the hatted. 

5. Masks make everyone blind.

While I know our face masks do not go over our eyes, I firmly believe that our Nose/Mouth masks mess with our range of vision causing basic tasks like finding your hand sanitizer in your handbag to take forever. It also causes people to bump into you and apologize profusely because they broke one of the rules of the pandemic and came within coughing distance to you.  I have no remedy for this. It is annoying. Maybe deep breaths?

6. Nothing makes any sense. 

Look, like all the rules we live with now, the rules of the amusement park make some sense and then are completely contradictory.  For example, they will fill every other row of a roller coaster, yet leave 500 people in a line together where distancing is sometimes impossible. It’s just the way this pandemic world is, so deep breaths. 

7. Be prepared to wait 1-280 minutes. 

Even though there are apps that give you wait times and you can visually see the line, be prepared to either get right on a ride or dedicate a large chunk of your day to waiting. You can use your time in line to tweet feedback to customer service or repeatedly tell your son not to drop his stuffed Reese’s over the edge of the ramp and then when he does, still have enough time to tell the ride operator to tell maintenance to climb beneath the wooden roller coaster and retrieve your son's stuffie and STILL have waiting time left. Use your time wisely! Maybe meditate! 

8. Be grateful.

I was feeling grumpy and overheard a mom tell her 6 year old to remember how much it stunk last year when we couldn’t do anything, so we should remember how privileged we are. I needed to hear that. Because she is so right! No complaints! We get to leave our houses now! 

*I am claiming number one, because you only live once and you have to be bold! I saw my life flash before my eyes today on Candymodium and then later on Wild Mouse. I have to seize the day! YOLO!