While we know our great nation is dotted with many theme parks called “Funland,” the one pictured here is a pure work of fiction, taking place in “Anywhere, U.S.A.”
Theme parks exist the world over, some are monuments to human ingenuity and imagination, others are reminders that sometimes a thing being well intentioned does not mean it’s not terrifying in ways it didn’t intend.
But here in the states, for every rusted out hulk of a dying seashore resort playland, we also have masterpieces such as Ohio’s Cedar Point, with thrill rides that have you certain you’re going to die, and yet somehow you don’t.
“Who are you to tell me about thrill rides?,” you’re thinking perhaps. Well, we’re StatSocial. Our area of expertise is not in any way theme parks or thrill rides, per se, but as there is no subject too obscure to find its way into our reporting in a way maybe we are.
On what do we report? Well, statistically, we report on the behaviors, likes, dislikes, hobbies, online habits, and just about everything else you can imagine, about any social audience of which you can think. Social audience? Yup, any folks you could group together in a social media context; fans, enemies, users of certain hashtags or phrases, admirers of certain sports teams’ logos only, or perhaps they’re detractors. Whatever. We scour the web’s every corner, and find out all there is to know about them.
And among the thousands of things which fall into our indexing are the travel habits of all of social media’s millions of denizens.
When it comes to those who choose to wait on line for two hours, often in the blazing summer sun, so that they might experience 90 seconds of a near death sensation — often with a belly full of something fried in deep fat — we are here to tell you all about them.
Some families, would dare not plan their vacation around any other activity.
The above are the hotel rewards programs — complete with discounts on food and rides, and even VIP packages where maybe you don’t have to wait on line — that best cater to these families.
Every human on Earth should see Walt Disney’s theme parks, as they are legitimate works of art. The American dream made manifest. One man had a massive, staggering, frankly irrational vision of a sort of synthetic “happiest place on Earth,” and he created it — twice — with nary a hair out of place. And millions visit his two U.S. facilities — one in Orange County, California which is merely a mind-boggling theme park (with some accompanying hotels and restaurants, etc.), and one in Orlando, Florida which is a massive, sprawling complex roughly equivalent to a mid-size city, featuring three full theme parks, 100 hotels, countless restaurants, etc.
These visits are not cheap. Yet, rich and poor, every family goes at least once.
But why? All children who pass through the turnstiles of a Disney park experience sheer, nearly constant ecstasy immediately and for the visit’s duration — in keeping with Mr.Disney’s vision. Millions come annually, because kids catch wind of this, there’s talk on the playground. Once word gets out, you’re as good as there.
Disney owns many hotels of its own in Orlando’s Walt Disney World complex, but has a partnership with Marriott that offers as many perks, discounts, amenities, and packages as their own hotels.
If you have children, which it seems a large number of those who belong to hotel rewards programs do, then the pressure to visit such establishments will often be palpable.
The travel blogs — manned by whatever the travel equivalent of a foodie is — don’t quite seem unanimous, but often write that Marriott has rather special partnerships it seems with nearly every major theme park in America, offering VIP packages, and perks galore to make your four hour wait to see Shamu bounce a ball on her nose just that little bit more worth it. For example, that evening back at the hotel, Rewards Club members may be treated to “all you can drink mai tais.”
We bet this time you can beat your record.
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