Park Hopper: Part 1

I have a love-hate relationship with theme parks. On one hand, I'm a roller coaster junkie, so I love the threat of plummeting from high places and whizzing around twists and turns at break-neck speeds. However, I despise crowds, so for me, a busy theme park often inspires feelings of claustrophobia and intense anxiety. Usually, the thrill-seeker in me outshines the phobic nut-job, and I typically end up enjoying my day. To this end, a recent day of hopping between three of the four Disney World parks sparked the idea for the following story, which I plan to write over the next several days.


      With the workweek nearly complete, Bradley busied himself by packing tools neatly into their boxes and bins. A canopy of cars loomed overhead, suspended by hydraulic lifts. Bubba, a fellow mechanic, strode up and feigned assisting with the cleanup.

      "So," said Bubba, "whattcha got goin' on this weekend?"

      Bradley's eyes gleamed with anticipation. "I've got a two-day park hopper pass for Disney."

      "Disney? But you don't have no family. Why you goin' there?"

      Clearly annoyed, Bradley paused, fixing narrowed eyes on the other man. "I happen to be a theme park enthusiast. Is that okay with you?"

      Squirming under the weight of Bradley's frigid gaze, Bubba nodded. "Well, have fun. I'm outta here." Bubba tossed a grease-streaked rag onto the top of a less-than-shiny red toolbox and turned on his heels.

      Bradley watched as Bubba exited the bay. Glad to be rid of the imbecile, he continued straightening until the last tool was in its proper place. Passing by the red toolbox, he snatched the soiled rag. On his way out, he stuffed the cloth into Bubba's timecard slot--a simple reminder that dirty rags shouldn't be strewn about.

      Despite his Orlando residence, Bradley hadn't visited Disney in years. As such, he had spent the past few evenings studying online maps, reading blogs and scouring the internet for information in order to efficiently navigate the parks, thus maximizing his fun. Inside his one-bedroom, sterilized and highly-organized apartment, he sat at his dining table, which was uncharacteristically littered with the spoils of his research. Before sleep set in tonight, he was determined to map out an itinerary full of things to see paired with their optimal viewing times.

      As his head hit the pillow, he was satisfied with his game plan for the following morning. He lay on his back, smiling up at the ceiling, arms tucked neatly at his sides. Within minutes, he drifted off to sleep.