Saturday, January 19, 2008
So, my generous employer gave everyone and their immediate families tickets to Universal. With my wife being Pregnant and all, I wasn't sure she'd even want to go, but I RSVP'd for 4 tickets anyway (children under 3 are free), thinking I could always scalp the tickets or save them for future use. To my surprise, Pregnant Wife said she thought it would be fun. I immediately tried to think of a way to discourage the trip, but I decided that this might be one of those rare times when I actually am responsible for creating a cherished childhood memory for my kids.
"Dad, remember that time we went to Universal and Anna puked all over my shoes? That was awesome!"
That didn't happen, but wouldn't that have been a great memory? I'm all about good stories. I am NOT about waiting in lines. Especially with small kids. In the rain.
Ok, it was only drizzling. Like everyone else who was there, we had planned this trip and we were sticking to the plan, rain or shine. We would have been there if it were snowing.
On the drive home (and through the subsequent 3-hour detour at IKEA), I found myself disgusted at Universal Orlando. Now, Islands of Adventure, with roller coasters and other sickening rides, I can understand, but a theme park about movies? and no real rides?
"Hey everyone, remember T2? Wasn't it awesome? Howzabout you pay us MORE money to see a crappy 3D Terminator? Don't forget to purchase an authentic shirt!"
Don't get me wrong, I love movies. However, I hate hate HATE the business behind successful franchises. It ruins the creativity and numbs the senses. Some franchises are extremely successful and continue to be popular, even though they are commercialized in every possible way (Spider-man bathroom set?), and some franchises could have been highly valued in their singularity and creative genius (Terminator 1 & 2). I dislike it when marketing drives production. You can't force creativity. And I'm not just talking about movies now.
I think the kids liked Universal. Personally, of course, I prefer the rides (gotta get that Fast Pass). People watching is especially fun. In my mind I play a game I call "Spot the Foreigner". You'd be surprised how often I'm wrong. And then there's the obese person in an automated handicapped scooter thing chomping down a smoked turkey leg and holding a 64-oz Coke. Welcome to America!
Where free tickets are still free tickets.