As an introvert, there are a certain number of experiences and attractions I go out of my way to avoid when I visit Walt Disney World. I’ve always been an introvert; I’m more comfortable on my own than in a big crowd, and I don’t like drawing attention to myself. Of course, there’s more to being an introvert than that, but those are some of the emotions I identify with the most.
I used to be a Disney Cast Member, and I’ve learned how, and when, to push myself out of my comfort zone. However, when I’m on vacation (especially at the most magical place on earth) I want to relax, have fun, and do my own thing. I don’t want to feel pressured into anything.
Luckily, most experiences at Disney are pretty painless for an introvert like me. Yet, there are a few experiences that could potentially make me uncomfortable. Who wants to feel uncomfortable on vacation? I know a lot of people love these experiences, and that’s great! However, they just aren’t for me.
Here are the ones I avoid:
- “Interactive” Restaurants: 50’s Prime Time Café, Whispering Canyon Café, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, etc.
When I go to a restaurant with my husband, family, or friends, I’m usually just there to eat and enjoy the company I’m with. If dinner includes a show that I can watch peacefully, that’s great! If dinner includes loud noises and wacky waiter antics, as these restaurants do, then I’ll usually be uncomfortable for the whole meal, just anticipating the moment when I might get picked on. I don’t prefer being singled out of a crowd. Even though I know, at Disney, that it’s all in good fun, I’m not into paying for an experience that’s just going to give me anxiety.
At 50’s Prime Time Café, the idea is that you’re dining in a 1950’s kitchen, with “mom” cooking and “cousins” serving you good ole home-made meals. Everything is themed impeccably, and I’d be really excited to eat there if it weren’t for the fact that the servers will get on your case for not eating your vegetables, looking at your phone, or keeping your elbows on the table. It’s the servers’ job to keep to the theme, and I know a lot of people enjoy this interaction during their dinner. Nevertheless, I like to take the time during my meals at Disney to rest, recharge, and yes, even look at my phone.
Whispering Canyon Café is similar in that the waiters perform silly antics in front of the diners. Hilarity ensues when you ask for ketchup and straws. Just like at 50’s Prime Time, the servers can make or break your experience. This is not the place to go if you’re looking for a peaceful dinner. Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue is a dinner show, yet the performers like to get the whole crowd involved, making it tough for me to relax. Audience interaction is something I really have to psych myself up for.
Luckily, I know not to go to these restaurants, which leaves more open reservations for those who do want to join in the fun! It’s a win-win! Of course, if a member in my party does want to go, I won’t object, and I’ll maybe even have fun. These are merely dining experiences I wouldn’t seek out on my own.
- Audience Participation-Heavy Attractions: Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor and Turtle Talk with Crush
For some reason, I always have a knack of getting picked on when I’m least prepared, whether it be at school, or on a first date with someone at a comedy club (true story). As much as I try not to, for some reason, I stand out in a crowd (to be fair, however, I was the only young girl in that comedy club). Therefore, I know the chances of me getting picked out of the audience in one of these attractions/shows are very high and I’m always nervous that when the time comes, I won’t have anything witty to say.
Speaking of comedy, at the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor Mike Wazowski, Roz, and all the other monsters on screen can interact with the guests and tell jokes (sometimes at the guests’ expense). They need laughter to power the monster world, and it’s all in good fun. However, I tremble at the idea of seeing my face on a large screen in front of strangers. I know the audience will laugh with you, not at you; nevertheless, I’m not a big fan. I have gone on plenty of times with friends and family who are extroverts and enjoyed myself, but I still shrink down in my seat whenever a monster calls out for a volunteer.
Turtle Talk uses similar technology, with Crush the sea turtle talking to the audience. However, this attraction is geared more for children, so I tend to avoid it altogether (I don’t have kids yet - sorry, mom). I went on it once and thought it was humorous. I liked that the children got to sit on the floor upfront. However, I still got a small fear when I saw cast members roaming around with microphones.
- Character Meet and Greets/Character Meals
I really do like the characters at Disney; I love how the pictures and autographs turn out. However, sometimes the conversations can be awkward (again, I find it hard going up to characters without kids in tow). I even end up feeling guilty, like I’m taking time away from families with young children, even though no one has ever said anything to me.
For the meals, I feel like I can’t relax and eat until the characters come by my table. For meet and greets, I must practice what I’m going to say a billion times in the queue before it’s my chance to meet them. I know a lot of it is just my anxiety talking, but a lot of the face characters are around my age and I can’t help feeling like they’re judging me. The fur characters are easier for me to interact with, but I would still rather go on an attraction than stand in line for a picture.
I know many of the characters at Disney are there for adults and children, and would never make someone feel awkward. However, these are thoughts that simply don’t escape my head, and so I usually try to avoid character experiences.
Sometimes, I am in the mood for these experiences; it all depends on how I feel. And of course, I love Disney. I know nothing will ever be terribly, horrendously bad. More often, however, I like to experience Disney in different ways. And that’s okay.
I hope someone out there can relate, and that I’ve been able to give some tips for those also traveling to Disney as an introvert. Disney is a magical place for everyone of all ages, shapes, sizes, and personalities. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you must experience everything. Do what suits you, have fun, and enjoy the magic at your own pace!