If you are planning to head to the most magical place on earth during the summer, you are most likely prepared for the heat, the rain, the longer park hours, and the crowds. But are you prepared for the tour groups?
The first time we went in July was 2011. We were prepared for everything BUT the tour groups. We had heard about them via on-line forums and word of mouth, but that does not prepare you for their presence or how to “combat” them for lack of a better word.
In July of 2013, we studied the tour groups, especially the husband. A few times, I went head to head with various tour group members who were creating havoc, line jumping, etc. Click here to read more about howthe tour groups made our magical vacation even more memorable.
It want to be clear. I am glad the tour groups are there. It boosts our economy. They are spending money in our country. What I want and need them to do is adhere to rules like not budging in line or commandeering character meet and greets or washing their hair in bathroom sinks. And, the question I still don’t have answered is how do they wear the same shirt every day? Doesn’t it get dirty? Are they doing laundry?
Anyway, I digress. What the husband discovered during his observation period is that the line jumping, cutting, or budging begins with a single member of the tour group. This is what I am asking all of you to be on the look-out for. A single member, typically a young female—think teenager here—will venture into the queue with a “I am looking for my friends” statement and forlorn look. They will walk on pass you in the queue, and unwittingly, you let them by. Mistake! There is NO friend in the line. They are going to park themselves next to a distracted family and then call or text the rest of their tour group to join THEM in line. And the cutting of 20-40 people begins with 4-5 of them at a time coming through the line with an adult with each of the groups, so as to make it look more legit. And, at this point it is legit. . . as their friend or brother or sister is now in line.
So, want to know what to do? Don’t let that one single female, or possibly a pair of single females, get past you in line. No matter the language barrier, everyone understands “no.”
This is what I did while waiting in line to see Ariel. I would not let “her” get past me. I told her “no” and that her friend was not in front of us. I had been in line long enough to know that there was no friend in the same matching tour group shirt in line in front of us. And, I had been in the parks enough days to recognize the shirt she was wearing as one from a tour group. Once she left, something surprising happened. The people behind us in line cheered, laughed, and congratulated me.
Other than standing firm and saying “no” there are other ways we found to minimize going head to head with the tour groups:
- Get your magic fix at a different time of year, other than summer.
- · Go where the tour groups are not. We did not see them in the Hall of Presidents or Spirit of America show in EPCOT. Actually, EPCOT was void of the groups except for Illuminations but the groups were handled by Cast Members in a specific area.
- · Try to warn Cast Members ahead of time. Like we did at Ohana’s when we arrived for breakfast, since we had seen a tour group take over the characters at Crystal Palace. The forewarned Cast Members assured us all would be well, and it was!
- · If not ahead of time, let Cast Members know when rules are being broken. A Cast Member intervened when the line budging became prominent at Blizzard Beach. While they weren’t in matching shirts, their behavior gave them away as a tour group. And, we still ended up with our place towards the end of the line after the line cutting, but the group had been warned.
- · Observe and realize that not all of the tour groups behave the same. Many of them do follow the park rules.
Obviously we weren’t affected so much that we wouldn’t want to return, but I know some would be travelers are turned off to traveling during the summer for a variety of reasons, including the tour groups. Not us. I still need to get the question answered about the wearing of the same shirt every day. I will keep you posted. . .