I was/am stressed out. So I’ve been reviewing vacation destinations. Taking my budget into account, I settled on Land of Make Believe.
I had a difficult experience, even though I did my research first. There were a lot of rules.
The Land of Make Believe is located in Hope, New Jersey.
Chris, from Nutley, New Jersey, assured me that it was “the best amusement park for kids within 100 miles of NYC” and “no one touches your stuff there”.
But I wasn’t about to put all my faith-eggs in one New Jersey basket.
I had to go to Pennsylvania to get the truth. Saylorsburg. A woman named Lois.
This is what Lois told me:
“Bad story: We climbed all the way to the top for the water slide, when they told my grandchild his bathing suit was not a bathing suit – and made us walk all the way back down. Had to buy a different kind of suit. It worked out – but what the heck!!! Can’t they ‘screen’ for that before you climb all the way up. It was really hard on the kid and grandma was pretty angry!”
I was pretty affected by this. It is, indeed, a bad story. But I wasn’t ready to dismiss the Land of Make Believe just yet.
So I sent Lois a message:
I wish they COULD ‘screen’ for that sort of thing. I really do.
But I can’t help but wonder about your pre-trip research. They have a website. You’ll see there, in blue and white, they make a pretty big deal about what they think a bathing suit is and is not. They even bolded and increased the font size on the phrase “Our Definition of Bathing Suits is Final” – which would hopefully draw your attention back to the paragraphs above.
I don’t want to harp on you here, Lois, but reading is important. Especially for a grandmother! Do any of your kids have allergies? Did you know they use peanut oil in several of the foods served at The Land of Make Believe?
It’s got to be traumatic for your grandkid to get this ‘wet’ for something only be turned away for his grandmother’s reading skills. Reading is not skimming. Reading is a complete action that must include audience participation – aka thoughts translating into informed actions. Without this added effort from you, The Land of Make Believe – and your life – may never amount to much more than a series of ‘bathing suit’ problems.
That felt pretty good! Really got my rocks off.
I was satisfied with classifying Lois as an illiterate lunatic, and Nutley Chris as an inside expert.
Tickets were around $24, which felt like an okay amount, given all the cool rides and the free parking. I’m pretty sure they wanted that per trip, however.
But when I went to pay, I noticed a problem.
Method of Payment: Cash or Discover only. We do NOT accept Visa or Mastercard, due to their policy on consumer fraud.
I re-read that sentence a few times.
Maybe Lois was onto something after all.
I did more research.
Colonel Corn? Jenny Jump?
The house of cards tumbled down.
Even finding the hours of operation for The Land of Make Believe looked like a word problem:
Open for the public WEEKENDS ONLY starting Memorial Day weekend (including Memorial Day Monday) thru 2nd weekend in June. You know so kind of like Open for the public DAILY from the 3rd Saturday in June thru Labor Day. The Park will also be open on the weekend after Labor Day. GPS Coordinates are maybe sorta: Long – W 74º 57.542′ Lat – N 40º 54.122′ No Refunds! No Rain Checks! [lots of talk about bathing suits] We use PEANUT OIL. NO ALCOHOL Permitted in Park. Know what I mean Just 2 miles from Route 80 exit 12 in Hope, New Jersey, 354 Great Meadows Road – It’s just Route 61! Blah Blah Blah you know?
I didn’t want to believe it, but it was obvious.
I wish I could go back in time and tell Lois how I feel about her now:
I apologize for my earlier message. I was frustrated about several other unrelated aspects of my life, and that frustration bubbled over and oozed onto you, and your grandchildren.
I often forget that when I critique someone else, almost all those critiques somehow point back to me. I rarely take my own best advice. I’m sure you understand this well, Lois, as wisdom comes with age.
I am trapped inside the dynamics of language these days, and I admit I don’t know what a bathing suit is anymore, either. The words ‘credit’, ‘discover’, and ‘hope’ have all taken on a very bizarre meaning – turned into the words ‘visa’ ‘cash’ and ‘newjersey’.
These are frightening times to raise a grandchild.
I think the ‘owners’ of The Land of Make Believe are scheming bastards, and should be replaced.