10 Reasons To Travel to Aruba

10 Reasons To Travel to Aruba

It's called One Happy Island for a reason.
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My entire life, I have been fortunate enough to travel during the cold months to a warming climate for a couple of weeks. There's Mexico, Puerto Rico, The Caribbean and so much more. However, there is one island, in my opinion, that stands above the rest: Aruba. I've been going to Aruba for three years now, and there's no tropical island I love more (yet, at least). Here are a few reasons why this little island is so amazing.

1. Weather

The warm weather, cool breeze and lack of rain are a few of the biggest reasons you should travel to Aruba.

2. Beaches

For those of you who are afraid of the ocean, there is nothing to be scared about in Aruba. The water is crystal clear with the most beautiful turquoise hues. The sand is white, clean and warm. No cigarette butts to be seen for miles.

3. Flamingo Beach

This beach is located at the Renaissance Hotel in Aruba. I have been visiting the Island for years and have always dreamed of experiencing this. I mean, where else can you roam around freely with funny pink birds?

4. Food

There are so many places to choose from, I can't even begin to name them all. There are restaurants where you can eat on the beach or out on the water. There's an Italian restaurant that makes your pasta dish in a wheel of parmesans. Here's a link to some of the best restaurant on the island. I highly recommend you do some browsing even if it's just to daydream.

5. Endless adventures

In Aruba, you can do just about anything tropical. They offer scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, parasailing, banana boating, tubing and so much more. There are some activities that I have never even heard of before. You will have an experience of a lifetime and some stories to tell once you get back, I guarantee it. (This photo will take you to a youtube video showing the underwater magic in Aruba)

6. The Nightlife

I'm not one for partying and going out. However, for those who like that kind of thing, Aruba after dark is an entirely different experience in it of itself. Everything is close together and there are all different age groups who come to visit. Gambling and drinking are legal for those over the age of 18. It's worth a try if you like that kind of thing.

7. It's easy to travel there

Yes, it's out of the country. Yes, you will need a passport and go through customs. Yes, you will most likely have to take two flights. However, it is one of the smoothest travel experiences I have encountered.

8. The people and culture

I've been to Europe, Mexico, Israel, and many places across the United States and the hospitality in Aruba blows every other place I visited out of the water. Everyone I have encountered on the island is kind, helpful and genuine. All they want is for their guests to have a great time and understand why Aruba is coined One Happy Island (I can absolutely back up that claim). There is also a huge menorah displayed on the streets of Aruba which is something I truly appreciate.

9. Aruba National Park

I mean, look at these natural pools. How could you not want to visit.

10. The memories

There is nothing better than reminiscing about the good times shared between loved ones. I will always carry my experiences on this island with me, especially since I travel with my family, my best friend and her family. I never laugh harder or smile wider than when I'm on the island

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Friedman

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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How To Avoid Terrible Disney Vacations

Planning ahead is a must.
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Planning a trip to Disney World is no joke. It takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment to plan and schedule one of those trips. I have been to Disney more times than I would like to think and I'm sure if you go back and look at some of the previous articles on my page, you'll see that I'm kind of obsessed with it. I have compiled a list of a few tips and tricks from me to you on ways that you can avoid having a terrible Disney vacation.

The first would be to pack everything. Even if you don't think you need it. In my opinion, it's better to b safe than sorry. Packing everything includes sunscreen, bug spray, a rain jacket or poncho, baseball hats, water bottles, important papers, and enough shirts and shorts for all the days you are there, plus more. When I go to Disney I also love to bring my fun ears and pins to trade!

Next up on the list of Rachel is making reservations for Dining and Fastpass+. Disney has some really awesome restaurants on property and you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle by just making reservations through the Disney website before you leave home. The same goes for Fastpasses. Some rides in Disney (a cough, cough, Space Mountian) have reeeaaallly long wait times. If you can utilize the FastPass options, it will really save you some time to do other things around in the park!

The next thing I would really recommend is preparing for any type of weather that you may encounter. This means preparing for rain, sun, extreme temperature changes, and even hail. Florida weather is crazy, you never know what you're going to get!

Also, if you can, plan your Disney trips during times when crowds are thinner. Good times to go are October, January, February, and September! This will mean avoiding times when children are in school and major holidays.

Cover Image Credit: James and Carol Lee

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