|Winter in Orlando is a bit different from NYC. –credit|
While growing up in the heart of Orlando, every morning I faced a daunting intersection; a left would bring me to my high school parking lot, and a right would take me to Universal Studios Blvd. I could hear screams from roller coasters and animatronic dinosaurs from next door while taking a test on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism.
Making the move to New York City was a fairly easy transition due to the skills and stamina I had acquired while frolicking at the parks. Manhattan, to me, is merely a massive theme park based on these similarities.
At Universal Studios you can have your picture taken with Spiderman. You can do the same in Times Square and there are usually a few different body types from which to choose. When you go to Disney World, you simply must meet Mickey Mouse. When visiting NYC the goal is to see Naked Cowboy, or that guy who walks around Union Square with a cat on his head, or to high five that guy who jogs throughout the Upper East Side wearing women’s lingerie. These interactions are not as cute as a kiss on the cheek from Goofy.
|Spotted: Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman in action. –credit|
You must plan ahead and pack for your entire day. Nobody wants to waste precious time going back to the car for sunblock, or transferring trains twice to get back to your apartment for your MacBook charger. In both cases, it is wise to pack water, sources of entertainment, and weather-influenced items such as umbrellas and sweaters. Oh, and wear comfortable shoes.
The monorail at Disney is like the subway if the subway was a clean, pleasant place to be. Funny story: I took the monorail to my prom, which was held at a Disney resort. We shared a car with a family heading back to their room. The dad gestured to me all dressed up and said “before prom” and then he handed me his toddler and said “after prom!” We all shared a laugh. If anyone handed me their toddler on the subway, I’d be slightly terrified that they had no intention of taking him back.
Quick meals are usually limited to the overpriced and greasy. Packing snacks is advised to avoid the temptation of pretzel stands and Wafels and Dinges trucks. At Disney, you have the option of a “character dining experience” where characters come up to your table as you dine. Many restaurants in NYC have this option. It’s called “eating outside”. Characters of all kinds will approach your table and ask for spare change and/or denounce your religious views.
|I’m just glad the turkey leg fad has yet to catch on here in NYC. –credit|
The trick is to know for what is worth waiting. Forty-five minutes for Space Mountain? Worth it. A long line at Shake Shack? Worth it. Waiting any amount of time for “It’s A Small World?” Not worth it. Long line at Starbucks? Not worth it. Walk two more blocks in any direction, and there’ll be another. What’s better? Shop small and get a coffee at a bodega or a quaint little café.
Maps of Manhattan and theme park maps are strikingly similar due to the designated regions/areas. I’m sure I could think up New York City equivalents for each of the 7 lands that comprise The Magic Kingdom.
Main Street USA? Easy one: Times Square.
Adventureland? Any MTA bus.
Liberty Square? I vote Murray Hill. That area is full of young bros who will probably become sleazy politicians of some kind.
Fantasyland? I’m gonna go with SoHo. Everybody and everything is gorgeous. It’s dream-like.
Tomorrowland? The Apple Store on Fifth Avenue.
Living in the theme park that is NYC is exhausting. You find yourself constantly dodging tourists’ photos, strollers, Greenpeace reps, and everyone around you seems to have that “me first” attitude.
I think I need a vacation, perhaps to a theme park where the chills and thrills are caused by roller coasters and log flumes, not waking up on the subway several stops passed my destination with a dead cell phone. The horror, THE HORROR!
|I dream of the day when NYC maps include designated public restrooms complete with accurate lock codes. –credit|