For my 30th birthday, I received the ultimate gift: a trip to Disney World! This is literally my favorite place on the entire planet. When I am there, I feel just like a little kid. Excitedly racing through the park to ride my favorite rides, standing in line to get a beloved character’s autograph. Heaven!
This was to be my third trip to Disney World. I could not believe that I was actually going to be in Florida for Christmas! But our trip did not turn out the way that we had planned…
1. Rudeness – My husband and I are fairly patient people (me more so than him). However, the sheet rudeness of many of the park goers was unbelievable. Adults as well as children were shoving us from all sides. Parents were actually encouraging their children to get in front of us so that they could get on the rides sooner. Still, other “parents” were using their strollers as weapons. They would actually push their strollers (with their children inside) into people like a plow. No apologies were ever given.
Many of the park goers appeared to be sick (me included). Adults as well as children were freely coughing into the air, not making any attempts to cover their mouths. While riding on the Disney bus from our hotel to one of the parks, we saw several children run their hands across their running nose and then place their hands on the seat, window, pole support, etc. Germs were everywhere! While I had an upper respiratory infection, I still packed medicine and tissues in my purse. If I felt a sneeze coming, I would whip out a tissue. And I ALWAYS cover my mouth with my arm when I cough. This prevents my germs from spraying carelessly into the air (or face of the person next to me) or being spread by my hands. I cannot understand why people are so careless.
2. Disrespect – I was shocked and appalled as I watched waves of children race into shops and begin touching EVERYTHING. While I understand that they are excited and want to cuddle the plush characters, they were touching glass ornaments, glass mugs, etc. Not only could they have broken the merchandise, they could have gotten hurt in the process. And children are not always the cleanest of creatures. So, if they were sick, about 90% of the store’s items are now covered in their germs. Ew!
While wandering in the Animal Kingdom, we came across this amazing man from Africa. He was actually carving a piece of wood into an animal. Matt and I were fascinated. This man used different pick axe-like tools and a saw to create a figure without a pattern. I stood transfixed for about 20 minutes. In that time, children and several adult couples walked right in front of the man so that they could get through the park quicker. I was livid. While I know that this man was doing his “job,” he was skillfully creating something with his hands. People were watching. Would that not be a sign for you to go around the group, not through it? I feel sorry for that wonderful man that has to deal with such disrespect on a daily basis.
3. Lack of Parenting – This was the most dumbfounding aspect to me. We saw many children that were unattended. While Disney World is supposed to be the happiest place on earth, creepers can still purchase a one day pass to the park. Their children could be taken in seconds. Maybe that was their plan….
While waiting in line to meet Mary Poppins, there was a rather large Hispanic family in front of us. One of their children was asleep in a stroller. After the family posed for their picture with Ms. Poppins, they began to walk away…leaving their sleeping child behind in the line! Thankfully, another Hispanic family was behind us and they were able to alert the other parents before they got too far away.
We went to Epcot on Christmas Day. Good thing; the Magic Kingdom was so full, they actually had to close the gates and not allow any more people in! On our way to a shop, we saw the line for Duffy the Bear. Matt and I passed three children lying on a bench and took our place in line. Suddenly, the three children got up and ran in front of us. They cut in line! We spoke loudly to each other about us being there first and them cutting, just to get the point across. That is when we hear their mother yelling at them from another bench further down from Duffy. “Why did you get out of line?” she blared. Okay, fine. Let the kiddies cut. Breath in, breath out. But it didn’t stop there. The children were hitting each other with their autograph books, attempting to draw on the Duffy book pedestals with their pens and then CLIMBED onto the pedestals. They were gyrating around so much that they ended up kicking and stepping on my husband several times. When we FINALLY got close to Duffy, the children then began to fight about whose pen they were going to use. Their dad appeared out of nowhere and ended up staying with them for the remaining two minutes.
In the meantime, there was a family behind us: mom, two girls, one boy. Do you know what they were doing? Quietly sitting on the ground waiting patiently. There were no fights, no yelling. Their mom asked them if they had their autograph books and pens ready. The children held them up eagerly to show their readiness. I was blown away by the difference in the children’s behavior. Before we met Duffy (and while the devil children were leaving), I turned around to the woman and said, “Your children are so well behaved. Thank you for being a great parent.” She was speechless. She thanked me up and down and then turned to her children and said, “You all get gold stars. You just got a compliment.” I think that good parents should be thanked for the wonderful job that they are doing. Not everyone is up to par.
4. Following the Rules – I do not care what country you come from, I guarantee that you have laws/rules that you are required to follow. Disney World is no exception. The one rule that really stands out in my mind is the concept of the line. A line as defined by Webster is : “an arrangement or placement of persons or objects of one kind in an orderly series…” I was simply amazed by the number of people who thought that they shouldn’t have to wait in a line (or queue for my friends in England). We witnessed people jumping over the velvet ropes to get further ahead. Others had friends wait in line for them. People began to flood in out of nowhere and take their place at the head of the line with their “party” while Matt and I (who had been waiting patiently waiting) got pushed further back. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old person, that is not fair. Surely, every country understands the concept of waiting your turn. Aren’t their lines at banks and grocery stores in China, Japan, India, Mexico, etc.? The idea of instant gratification has gotten grossly out of hand. It’s not like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is going to shut down if you aren’t on the next boat. Elsa and Anna aren’t going to go to Arendelle and never return. They are literally back within 5-10 minutes. Once you’ve waited for 40, what difference does a few more minutes make?
5. Complaining – I cannot count the number of times that we heard people complaining….about everything! Residents of our hotel crabbed every day about how long it took the park buses to pick us up. They gripped about how long it took to get to the parks, then about the “long” walk to the park gates. Then there were the complaints about the long lines for the rides, shows, characters, food.
6. Cell Phones – I guess this should come as no surprise, but people of all ages were on their cell phones as they walked throughout the parks. They were texting, tweeting, Facebooking, etc. I was so saddened to see how no one seemed to be paying attention to the magic that surrounded them. It’s not every day that you get to eat at the Beast’s castle or have your picture taken with Princess Jasmine. Instead of making memories with their loved ones, they were tuning out everything but the technology. This of course made for hazardous walking conditions because the phoners were not watching where they were going. Not to mention the pile ups caused by people needing to stop and take a selfie.
7. Character Photos – Matt and I are obsessed with photos. He loves to take them and I love to post them. My mom was a complete rock star and purchased the Disney Memory Maker package, allowing us to keep all of the photos that the Disney park photographers had taken of us. While we didn’t mind waiting in line, we did have a problem with the people that treated a character photo like a family photo session at JC Penny. For instance, one family had mom, dad, 2 daughters and a son. When they met Minnie, they had to have a photo of:
a. The entire family w/Minnie
b. Just mom w/Minnie
c. Just dad w/Minnie
d. The children w/Minnie
e. Each daughter alone w/Minnie
f. The son alone w/Minnie
You can imagine how lengthy of a process this becomes. Especially if each family expects this. I can understand a family photo and then a photo with just the kids. But, each child does not need an individual picture. Remember, there is a line full of people waiting for just one photo with the desired character.
I am greatly saddened that I have seen such a decline in the atmosphere at Disney World from my trips in 2000, 2009 and 2014. All in all, we did have a wonderful time. I hope that when we return (whenever that may be) that more of the magic will be restored. Maybe they need a bit more pixie dust.