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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is There Such a Thing as Disney Rage?

The Orlando newspapers and other sources of Disney news reported Thursday an incident that occurred late Tuesday night involving a guest attack on a Disney bus driver. Witnesses indicated that a man traveling with a baby and woman were told by a Disney bus driver that there was not room on the bus for his family, that he was calling for another bus, and that they would have to exit and wait for the next bus. Supposedly the man demanded that he and his family be given priority due to traveling with a baby and when refused, threw the baby at the driver. The woman grabbed the baby and left the bus when the man attacked the bus driver. A nearby witness caught the last portions of the struggle on video while others phoned for security.

So, is there such a thing as Disney rage?

Having ridden on Disney busses going to and fro from various parks and resorts, I can tell you that there is a queuing system even for the busses. The guests then file into the busses, with standing room only guests entering last. There is a yellow line at the front of the bus on the floor with signs posted that all passengers must be behind that line in order for the bus to proceed. I have ridden packed busses, standing up trying to hold onto the overhead railing with one hand and my child with the other shifting my body weight as the bus turns corners, starts, and stops. It isn’t pretty. So, if the driver said there’s no room, then there’s no room. The drivers do want to put as many guests on the busses as possible without sacrificing safety. It saves them runs later. AND, there’s no priority for babies, strollers, etc. You want to get on the bus before others, then get to the queue before others. I would venture a bet that if that family was traveling with a stroller, it may have been the stroller that would not fit on the bus. You can squeeze in more people, but it is hard to find more room to fit in a stroller even when it is collapsed—which is a requirement for strollers going on board a Disney bus.

So, is there such a thing as Disney rage?

The husband and I visited about this while lingering at the dinner table. His thought is that it isn’t about Disney rage per say, but rage in general, and more specifically, rage at feeling out of control while traveling. Traveling can be stressful—you’re out of your routine, off your schedule. You’re likely traversing unknown territory and having to make decisions multiple times a day—where do we go? When and where do we eat? What do we eat? When do we go where? How do we get there? What time is that show? Etc. You may not be getting enough sleep or eating the right foods or hydrating enough. Your legs may be aching from all the walking and your feet may be covered with blisters or “hot spots” about to become blisters. And, if you’re traveling with an infant, multiply all of those things times 4 or 5. You may be going non-stop to get the most bang for your vacation buck and frustrated when you feel like you are wasting time or money. Yep, potential powder keg here.

Now, let’s add on the fact that when relying on Disney transportation you really are relying on them. There’s no, “Let’s just get in the car and go.” It’s more like, “Let’s go wait for the bus.” For some people, the waiting and relying can make them feel out of control—a bit anxious maybe—and that’s just the transportation system. Then there’s the waiting for attractions, waiting for characters, waiting to eat, etc. And, while Disney does their best to provide you with service you can trust, sometimes, the unthinkable happens. We have seen blow-ups at restaurant check-ins. “What do you mean you can’t tell me when I’ll get a table? I’m very important and deserve to be seated now!” (I’m paraphrasing the last sentence.) The cast members do their best to handle situations like that, but not every guest walks away pleased—and most of the time, it’s their own fault.

As frequent travelers to the most magical place on earth, we have seen and experienced lots of situations that could have “blown up.” Here’s what we do to keep the magic in our vacation:

1. Have a plan. While this sounds oxymoronic to the word vacation—vacations are supposed to be spontaneous—no planning required. Right? Wrong! Having a plan actually puts more vacation into your vacation as you spend less time trying to figure things out, a.k.a. making decisions—which can wear you out and heaven forbid if you second guess your decision and think you made wrong one and should have made a different one. A plan allows you to commit. A plan would consist of which park on which day and the top 5 or so attractions/shows for that park. A plan would also consist of where and when to eat with an ADR or Advanced Dining Reservation already made at a table service restaurant. If no table service restaurant ADR, then a list of 2 counter service locations for meals. Remember that ADR’s can be made up to 180 days in advance. Who can say where, when and what they want to eat six months ahead? We can, and so can thousands of other guests heading to Walt Disney World, and they will be eating at a restaurant while you wait outside hoping to get in. See what a difference a plan can make?

2. Realistic expectations. We know we’re not going to do/see everything and we’re OK with that. We want to be well rested, fed, and hydrated so that we can enjoy the shows and attractions that we do get to experience. In this 47 square mile playground, you could tour from 8:00 am until the wee hours of the next morning if you wanted to. But as for me and my family, we wouldn’t be much good the next day. So, we get a good night’s sleep, take time out to eat and drink, and enjoy our experiences.

3. Comfortable shoes. I am shuddering as I write this. I have seen women traversing the parks in high heel shoes or flimsy flip flops. You can walk over 9 miles a day when visiting a park and you will spend even more time on your feet just standing in queues. Would you walk 9 miles or be on your feet for 9-10 hours in high heels? If the answer is no, then don’t pack them. Think well broken in, comfortable, sturdy shoes for all members of your family. And, when you still get blisters and “hot spots” that will soon be blisters, pack moleskin already cut into small pieces so that you can apply them to your feet.

4. Other necessary items for your day to day survival. If you are a hat wearer normally, then bring a hat to wear. If you require glasses to see, this may not be the best time to try contacts and leave your glasses at home. Medications, specific ointments or devices that are necessary for your daily survival at home, will most likely be necessary for your daily survival on vacation. And, the same goes for anyone else you are traveling with. Does your child require a specific lovey in order to sleep? If yes, better bring it along. If you’re child is in diapers, this is not the time to give it a go without diapers. Your vitamins or supplements will be even more important on vacation as you will be physically active. We have seen people scouring for items in shops at resorts hoping to find the same item or brand of a necessary item that was forgotten or overlooked as not needed. Most, come up disappointed or spring for a cab to take them to a department store to find the item. So, your best bet is to pack it if it is something you use or need daily at home.

So, is there such a thing as Disney rage?

I’m going with no. But I do think there is such a thing as vacation frustration. See items 1 through 4 above to help lesson potential frustrations. Then, enjoy your vacation at the most magical place on earth!

1 comment:

  1. Really?? So the father throws his baby at the bus driver, and then proceeds to attack him. If getting on this particular bus was so important to him because he had a baby then why did he throw the baby at the driver in the first place? He was simply using his child so that they wouldn't have to wait. He's obviously not looking out for his child at all. He is nothing but a hypocrite who has his priorities in the wrong place.