My wife and I just returned from Disney World. We took our oldest son to celebrate his 23rd birthday. We have been to Disney so many times I have lost count. As the parents of two sons with autism, Disney was a place that they could enjoy and we would not be so conspicuous. Still the boys generally made things memorable for us, and unfortunately others. In fact in my archives of this blog you can find a post that details some of the more, shall we say illuminating, experiences we had traveling with them.
But this post is not about my sons. It is more of an observation of all the other people that vacation at Disney World. After multiple trips I can spot them a mile away. If you have been to Disney some of these people you will recognize. If you have never been you might still find this interesting.
ROOKIES: These are the people with their map of the park in their hands. They look at the map, gaze up, and then look back at the map. If they are not looking at their map they are usually vocalizing the mission for the day. ” First we hit Space Mountain, then we need to get to the other side of the park and get on Splash Mountain!”
RUNNERS: They are the most excited. Once they get into the park they begin to dash to their favorite attraction. Runners are often rookies but not always.
POWER WALKERS: They want to run but are self conscious about it so they walk so briskly they can’t help but look silly. Combine a power walker with a rookie holding a map and you will have collisions with other guests.
SCOUTS: These are the people that leave their group to go check out the attraction they want. You would think these would be children but most scouts are dads. They want to lead. You can often hear frustrated wives pleading with their husband to stay with the group only to be dismissed with a wave of hand or ignored altogether. Scouts often become….
LINE HOLDERS: These are often dads who get to the attraction in advance and then let the six immediate members of their family cut in when they arrive ten minutes later. Most folks ignore it but every once in awhile you will hear “What the hell?”
STROLLER PEOPLE: These are the young families who have small children. The problem is that 21st century strollers are the size of Buicks and these conscientious parents insist on rolling down the middle of walk ways as opposed to getting on the sides. Their strollers also have numerous attachments that often crash into you as they pass you. The worst are stroller people with kids old enough to walk. Their legs dangle awkwardly from these rolling tanks but we wouldn’t want six year old Johnny to get fatigued!
SCOOTER PEOPLE: The worst offense yet. Like many well intentioned ideas, (why deprive grampa of a family vacation if he is on oxygen), the scooter probably was incorporated as a value add with the best of intentions. Unfortunately many people riding these things have other issues that political correctness keeps me from stating the obvious. But you know who they are. They too ride right down the middle of he road and are also loaded down with bags, water bottles, etc. I saw a woman with a knee brace using a crutch to get around the park. Now she is a true hero!
THE OBLIVIOUS: These are the folks that suddenly stop moving for no reason and come to a dead stop in front of you. Rookies are big time offenders but stroller people and scooter people do it too. You would think that common sense would tell you to move to the side somewhere and get your bearings but not these folks. I saw a teenage kid sitting on the ground in front of the exit of a park who seemed to have no problem forcing people to step around him. Knowing incarceration would hinder my own vacation experience I resisted the temptation to put my foot in his chest.
TRAFFIC JAMMERS: The oblivious are the main culprits but large groups do it too. I saw a congregation of about ten people just stop and block almost a whole walk way. Disney security had to intervene and explain to these people that this was a bad idea. Unfortunately no one in that group apparently spoke english.
WE ARE THE SMITH FAMILY..WE ARE GIRL SCOUT TROOP 547, WE ARE…: What they are is a herd of humanity all wearing the same color shirt with some kind of logo or saying emblazoned on the front so you and everyone else in the park will know they were there and who they are. You might think they came up with this idea so they could split up and find each other later but they never split up.
HAT PEOPLE: I like a cap as much as anybody but Disney headwear is among the most ridiculous you will find. The only place a Donald Duck hat looks normal is at a Disney theme park. So while these folks look a little, pardon the pun, goofy at the park they will look a lot worse wearing that hat to the mall at home.
FAST PASS DISRUPTORS: The fast pass is a great idea. It allows you to schedule a time to ride a popular attraction and not wait an hour or more in line. It works great until the person in front of you waits to get to the entrance before getting their pass out. You wait while they dig around looking for something they should have already had in their hand when they got there.
THE INDECISIVE: Ordering food is a crap shoot. The best way to dine at Disney is to make a reservation at a sit down restaurant and eat like a civilized person. But if you venture into one of the counter service restaurants you have to guess right. Getting behind a single person is no guaranty of quick service if he or she is one of the indecisive. Despite the fact that menu is limited to maybe three choices this person waits until they get to the counter to start pondering their selection. The misery can be further compounded if he in fact is ordering for others. When he turns around and yells back at his wife, “Will Sally eat a hamburger or should I get her the chicken nuggets?” you know your fate is sealed.
BAD PARENTS: We know kids get excited at Disney World but they still need guidance. I saw a mother with two young twin boys. They were playing on the rails that divide the lines. They were sitting on the lower rung, holding the top rung and leaning backwards. It was no big surprise when one fell backwards and cracked his head on the concrete floor. He screams, she screams, and his brother laughs. She picks him up, calms him down, and then says nothing when they start hanging on the rails again. The line starts to move and she walks on. The kids hang behind, holding the rest of us up. Then they start weaving in and out of the lines. After about a minute she realizes her kids are gone. You also have parents who force a child to ride something they are afraid of. As the screaming echoes around the building you understand why this is the happiest place on earth.
THE REST OF US: Amid this sea of stroller people, scooter people, runners, and power walkers are the rest of us. We are walking calmly, waiting patiently, and are self aware.
On the drive back home my wife was saying how great our trip was. I think we will be seeing Mickey again soon. But next time I’m going to suggest we only go to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. They serve beer in those parks.