If you are sitting at home, socially distant and isolated; but also slightly suffocated by the 24/7 exposure to the people you live with, I feel you. We are canceling vacations and desperate to book new ones, all while working from home and homeschooling our kids, no one seems to know where each day ends and the next begins. Much like that sentence. So, it occurred to me late last night that perhaps this would be the perfect time for a bit of a laugh. Just a little bit of old fashioned ha, ha, ha to break up the seriousness of the world at the moment.
Welcome DISers to the next round of 5 People You Don’t Want to be in the Disney theme parks. It’s that time again when we review some of the more peculiar behaviors found in the parks in an effort to make light of our frustrations and move on. Grab a beverage, sit back, and let the Disney therapy begin.
If you are not up to it at the moment, or feeling a little on edge or particularly fragile, keep scrolling and circle back later when you are ready. It’s all just a little bit of fun, but it might seem a little more serious than it is if you aren’t in the right frame of mind.
For those of you who have not been in session for this therapeutic clearing of the Disney mind, you may like to have a quick click through the previous editions of this series. Click HERE for Part One to learn more about Backpack Guy, the Makeout Couple, Captain Obvious, The Blasé Bubble Parents, and the Height Requirement Cheaters. Part Two can be found HERE, where you can meet The Flasher, Chatty Cathy, The Blocker Family, The Mind My Spot Crew, and Children of the Shoulder. Part Three can be located HERE, featuring The Self-Appointed Historian of Disney Inaccuracy, the Woo-Girls, Mrs. This-Whole-Curb-Side-Is-Taken, The FastPass Waiters, and The Swear Bears. Part Four can be reflected on HERE reviewing The Balloon Collectors, The EVC Gang, The iPad Paparazzi, The Littering Larrys, and The Cast Member Abusers.
Now, where were we?
The Close Standers
The Police can’t help you with this one, but you wouldn’t be alone if the classic 80’s song Don’t Stand So Close to Me worked its way into your subconscious at some point. The Close Standers love to have their body as close to yours as humanly possible. At times, physically pressed against you in line without a cast member prompting you to “Fill in all the available space, guys!”
Close Standers will constantly knock against you while you wait, almost as though you were a common decorative facade they could lean against for added waiting comfort.
We aren’t talking about the odd bump followed by, pardon me, this is oblivious-to-the-world, breathing-down-your-neck, I-didn’t-realize-we-were-dating, touching. Step back, or I’m calling Sting.
The Device Zombies
Buried in the virtual land of cell phones come the glassy-eyed Device Zombies, navigating their way through the crowds like dodge ’em cars or a series of overly ambitious Roombas. When making contact with other people, or even hard surfaces, they don’t even look up to see what it was that they have clumsily run into; they just make a 30-degree turn and keep moving.
Another fun aspect of sharing a queuing area with a Device Zombie is when they have not yet discovered the silencing switch that mutes all of those little typing sounds, and Facebook dings, as they ping and ding and tap and click all the way to the ride entrance. When your Device Zombie also happens to be the ankle kicking, faceplant-in-your-back, Close Stander detailed above, you may be best to switch attractions.
The Restaurant Runners
You’re sitting down to that one special dinner you’ve been waiting for. The one you are going to spend a fortune on, and it will be worth every cent. It’s the reason you went without all the good stuff before coming, just to be able to afford and enjoy it when you got there. That one. That is, until you were seated next to the Restaurant Runners.
Despite being a perfect destination for families with children, there are still some places where a certain level of manners are appreciated for the surrounding guests. So, when sitting down to your fancy dinner, expected to be the highlight of your trip, you don’t want to be faced with children running circles around the neighboring tables.
I know, I know. Kids; what can you do? Well, you can do a lot. As a parent of a son with additional needs as well as ADHD, I understand that sometimes you need to keep them moving. But, there is a time and a place for free-running games of tag, you’re it, and it isn’t around the fanciful inner dining hall of Disney’s finest culinary experiences.
If you are sitting back thinking, sometimes my child does that, and I try to stop them but can’t…then I am sorry, you don’t qualify for Restaurant Runner status. What gets you over the line isn’t what your kids are doing, it’s more about what you aren’t doing. To get your membership card for this one, you need to be completely and utterly ignoring your children. Possibly even enjoying that they are entertaining themselves and leaving you alone, while knowing full well the disturbance that they are causing for other guests. Parents attempting to indeed parent need not apply; this one is reserved for that self-imposed ignorant bliss of simply not caring.
The Bridge Brigade
I know you. You aren’t taking a photo or having a rest. You and your family of 17 are waiting for the fireworks display in 3 hours’ time and staking your claim to an elevated viewing position. I get it. One might even be impressed with your ingenuity and preparedness for such situations; however, your Bridge Brigade is bringing localized foot traffic to a standstill. People are actually starting a queue behind you thinking that you are waiting in line for the nearest attraction. After all, why else would you be camped there at 5pm on a Tuesday?
Stamping your name on that perfect viewing spot is an art form. Not too early that you disrupt the area, not too late that you miss out on the best spot; it takes time and practice to perfect. If you arrive on the earlier side of the acceptable scale, try to keep your people, your belongings, your children and your illegal Disney wagons out of the way of passing crowds.
The Entrance Blockers
This one doesn’t happen so much at Walt Disney World with the ease of entry using MagicBands, but I’ve pulled it out of the Pet Peeve Vault for old time’s sake — and for those of us still enjoying the vintage entry system over at Disneyland.
You have to love it when you are in a long line, to say, the entrance to your favorite Disney theme park, and you stand there for a good 25 minutes, shuffling forward bit by bit, only to have the person in front of you arrive at the head of the line completely unprepared. First, there is their surprise at not being able to just walk in without question. Then comes the backpack fumble, the pulling out of nappies, and drink bottles, football foam fingers and excess rubbish leftover from yesterday’s Universal visit. Up next, the confused faces between the adults: I thought you had them? – No, I gave them to you before we got in the car!
Meanwhile, there you stand…tickets in hand, ready to enter when able, wondering why this conversation wasn’t fulfilling its irritating destiny 20 minutes ago, at the end of the line.
Eventually, they are asked to step aside by cast, with the politest of smiles and a two-fingered point to the nearby out-of-the-way area. No, it’s ok, they are here somewhere…they insist on continuing the search. Hundreds of people have now entered the park ahead of you; the surrounding lines are moving freely.
Then, in a miraculous stroke of intervention from the Disney gods, his front shirt pocket is patted down and the tickets found safely and securely where they were left. It turns out she did give them to him before they got in the car. Mystery solved, 45 minutes later.
Now for the usual list of disclaiming statements for those that will insist on taking these articles with the most serious of attitudes and exploit every literal meaning of my words, here we go:
- I do not have an issue with people standing in line, or occasionally bumping into me. Yes, that absolutely can happen in those tight spaces and a quick “excuse me” does the trick just fine. Close Standers are ONLY ever standing practically on top of you, not ‘accidentally’ doing anything else.
- I do not despise all electronic devices, nor the owners of said electronic devices. I also do not have any feelings in general about normal amounts of typing noises, alerts, the existence of Facebook or anything else related to phones. Our Device Zombie character is clearly a person that is not present in reality and only exists in a virtual world.
- I have nothing against children in restaurants, children in general or families that are consuming food. Sometimes you try something out and it all just goes wrong, but most decent people will try to limit the impact of their situation on those around them, right? Can we just agree on that part? If you are thinking about that time when you couldn’t console your overtired 3-year-old, this one isn’t about you, my friend. It’s about the Dad that laughs whilst pointing with his fork across the room gloating, I think Tommy just tagged that lady with the pearls!
- Stopping for a rest or taking a break on or near a bridge isn’t in question, nor is the interest in watching fireworks or enjoying a good position to do so.
- Losing things is totally ok, and while some of you will prefer to paint me as the impatient princess of doom, it’s just a bit of satire about situations where people have a lot of time to be prepared and yet, still remain not so prepared.
As usual, if you would like to add your own confusing park characters to the list below, please do so. Otherwise, I will see you again next week.
Stay safe, have a laugh when you can, and don’t forget to take a deep breath and know that our happy place will reopen again, and when it does…have your tickets in your hand.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.