Several weeks ago, an editor asked how to beat the long line at Universal Studios' new Transformers ride. The answer was easy enough: Wait for September.
Well, ta-da, it's September, the month of breathing room. Since Labor Day, there have been reports of teeny tiny waits at notoriously queued-up attractions such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Islands of Adventure and back-to-back, no-waiting journeys at Epcot's Soarin'. I've seen pictures of New Fantasyland without teeming masses lined along the castle wall.
So here's your chance to absorb a few new attractions without braving summer's scorching heat and the crowds. I'd like say it won't be hot or affected by tropical weather, but hey, you live in Florida, you take your chances.
Where: Universal Studios
What: A collection of eateries, shops and landmarks that represent the hometown of TV's "The Simpsons"
Why you'll be glad you waited: Fewer people around means fewer photobombers lurking in the background. Springfield is littered with photo ops, from a king-sized, doughnut-wielding Lard Lad statue to a figure of mild-mannered Milhouse sitting on a park bench.
While you're out there: Folks have had a clear shot at the also-new Transformers: The Ride — 3D.
Where: Disney's Animal Kingdom
What: Learn about animals and Earth, earn stickers in the spirit of the troop from the animated film "Up" (without that really, really, really sad part at the beginning).
Why you'll be glad you waited: There's a slight break in the weather, and it might fill your back-to-school excitement void.
While you're out there: Take a peek at the construction of the new theater for "Festival of the Lion King," now underway in the Africa section of the park.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin
Where: SeaWorld Orlando
What: Part dark ride, part animal exhibit, in increasingly cooler conditions
Why you'll be glad you waited: An argument can be made that more guests means more body heat, but you'll feel less rushed in the penguin habitat without other riders (visibly) breathing down your neck.
While you're out there: Why not travel to the polar opposite, the Wild Arctic simulator and exhibit?
Space Shuttle Atlantis
Where: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex