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Walt Disney World is the most magical place on earth – most of the time. But, sometimes, it can get downright ugly. Most of us have probably succumbed to the heat, the crowds, and our tired feet at some point. But, hopefully, even in the midst of all of that, we’ve managed to mind our manners – well, at least to some degree!
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when traveling to the World:
Give up your seat when appropriate. Let’s face it – being in the parks is exhausting! Between the walking, standing in lines, the heat, and the crowds, most people can’t wait to get a seat on the bus, the monorail, or the boats. However, sometimes it’s impossible to get a seat when Disney transportation is overcrowded. I myself have been disappointed countless times when I can’t get a seat to relieve my aching feet. I’ll admit that’s the worst part of my Disney vacations.
On the buses especially, how many times have we seen a parent having to stand while holding a small child and trying to hold onto the bars so they both don’t fall over? Believe me, I’ve been there and done that. It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not safe! How many times do we see children standing on the bus, too short to reach the bars? I always think about what would happen if that bus had to stop short…and make double the effort to make sure to hold onto my own daughter extra tight when we have to stand. I’m sure we’ve all seen an elderly or even an injured person unable to grab a seat. I just think it’s good manners to give up your seat for them, even if it’s the last thing we really want to do in our exhausted state.
On the other hand, and equally as important, we can’t always look at someone sitting and assume they just didn’t want to give up their seat – sometimes that person isn’t feeling well and really does need to keep their seat. What I’m referring to are the people who are sitting, laughing, and talking with their companions – obviously, they’re feeling A-Okay.
On our past trips, even though it was the last thing I wanted to do because I was so overly exhausted and not feeling so great, I’ve nevertheless given up my seat on a number of occasions. And despite how I was feeling, there was great satisfaction in helping someone else. And guess what? My small acts of kindness always came back to me. There were times when I was easily able to grab a seat, as well as times when others gave up their seats for me or my daughter. My worst pet peeve on this particular issue? The time a father was sitting, laughing, and having a fun conversation with multiple fully grown sons while my daughter had to stand directly in front of them gripping on to the bars for dear life. I guess gone are the days of chivalry, even at Disney.
Watch your language. We all have our meltdown moments, even at the World, but what you don’t want to hear is foul language. It’s Disney, right? So that equates to loads of children being within earshot. Although some people might not really care what their children hear, most parents cringe when they hear someone using foul language in front of their children, not to mention when their kids start repeating what they’ve just heard! Things happen, most of us have been guilty of it at some time or another, but it’s important to catch yourself and consider your audience. So, on behalf of all of us parents – Please, please, please keep your potty mouth in check!
Please don’t yell at the Cast Members. Disney Cast Members are your friends. For the duration of your stay, let’s face it, they’re your BEST friends! Most Cast Members are there for their love of Disney, and they want to do their best to ensure everyone has an amazing time. I have always had very pleasant experiences with Cast Members myself, so I can’t speak to other people’s experiences. However, keep in mind that Cast Members are human too, they have good days and bad days just like you and me.
That being said, many times, guests get upset that Cast Members might not be able to deliver what guests think they should get. In my opinion, Disney owes you nothing more than what you pay for, but, the truth is we all go to Disney expecting excellent service and hoping for some perks. In truth, anything extra the cast members come up with, is just, well…pixie dust they’re sprinkling over us.
I always find that you get more by being nice and pleasant. Ask, don’t demand. Add a smile. Think of this – you’re tired, you’re hot…so are they. They get tired doing their job just as we get doing ours. They’re hot too – especially wearing some of those costumes they have to wear. Plus, they have to be pleasant to all of the guests at all time. So, please be nice to Cast Members, and if you do come across a less than pleasant cast member, go to guest relations and report them instead of screaming at the top of your lungs in Fantasyland (for example) and ruining the magic for everyone else.
Don’t use your strollers as weapons. Please, I can’t even begin to ask this one enough. And, believe me, we’ve used a stroller for most of our trips thus far. Everyone’s rushing to get from one FastPass to another, but please don’t ram your strollers into other people’s heels in your mad rush to get to another attraction. It hurts! Badly!!!! And please don’t dash those strollers around playing chicken with other guests to see who will move out of the way first – you with your weapon of pain or them! It’s just not cool!
Don’t take up the entire walkway. In all the rush to get from one attraction to the next, sometimes we find ourselves unable to move around freely. One of the reasons for that is large groups of people who decide to walk side by side throughout the parks, blocking everyone else from moving past them. I don’t think I need to elaborate further on this one. On our last trip, we had a group of 11, and we managed to walk in groups of three or four and still communicate without blocking walkways. Please don’t block the walkways!
Don’t stop short! Please don’t stop short in the middle of walkways or in doorways. You’re going to get hurt (remember those people with the strollers?) and the person who wasn’t focused on what you were doing might get hurt too while running into you. It’s a good idea to stay alert so you don’t run into anyone, and if you’re the one stopping, it’s probably safer to move out of the flow of traffic before doing so.
Please move with the line. How many times have we been on line for an attraction and the people in front of us don’t move as the line moves? Think of it this way – if you move up when you should, that means the people who are standing in line out in the blistering sun, or rain, can move forward and out of the elements.
On another note, there’s those guests that leave one or two people in line while the rest of their group is sitting in another area of the attraction and then ten of them jump in line in front of you as their turn comes up. I don’t think anyone who’s been waiting on line looking forward to their turn appreciates having a bunch of people get in front of them at the last minute. So, let’s try not to do that anymore.
Get to the parades and fireworks on time. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I am not a parade person at all, but there are a few exceptions. I absolutely loved the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas and the Festival of Fantasy Parades at the Magic Kingdom and have waited a very long time for the parades to begin, getting there early to get great spots at the very front. Many people do the same for many of the parades. This means they are taking time out of their schedules, missing out on attractions, to get a wonderful view of the parades and shows. It’s just not right when people come afterwards and try to shove into those prime viewing spots or push their children through in front of you or your children.
First – please don’t shove. People will get hurt, and you never want to see children in particular get hurt, especially over something like that. And yes, even in a place as magical as the World, people have come to blows over parade and fireworks spots. It’s really not necessary if everyone just understands that you just simply need to get there early for a good viewing spot. But, if asked nicely, I’m sure most adults wouldn’t hesitate to allow someone’s child to stand in front of them (and next to their children) during a parade – if they’re asked nicely.
Be careful with your selfie sticks. Something we kept seeing over and over again during our last trip were those popular selfie sticks. It was the first time we saw those, but I’m sure we’ll be getting one for our next trip. But keep in mind that those bring their own etiquette rules with them. Here are a few: (1) When you extend the stick, be careful not to hit anyone; (2) Don’t stop traffic to whip out your selfie stick for a quick selfie – with the stick, it’s not going to be that quick; and (3) selfie sticks are not allowed on Disney attractions. If a Cast Member sees you with a selfie stick on an attraction, they will ask you to put it away. Just remember to be polite – your selfie stick rights end where someone else’s rights begin.
Here’s a quick look at some other “rules of etiquette” to keep in mind:
- Stay seated on rides.
- No littering – and yes, that means gum too.
- No roughhousing.
- Don’t use flash on attractions that say say no flash.
- Use the Baby Care Centers to change diapers.
- (Editor’s Note: As a short person, please be wary of using your iPad for a camera. If you hold it up in front of me, for example, while watching the fireworks, I’m not going to see the fireworks live; I’ll see them on your screen instead, which kills the ambiance for me.)
Lastly, and although not technically a matter of manners, it’s always nice to wish people a happy birthday, happy anniversary, first trip, etc., when you see them wearing their celebration pins.
Keeping these few things in mind will help you and others to have a more wonderful time at the most magical place on earth. And, after all, everyone wants to have a wonderful time at the World, right?
What are your best tips for minding your manners at a Disney Park?