Complaint? Not really. Warning? Maybe. Suggestion? Possibly. Consideration? Definitely. . . to take into consideration that Walt Disney World is noisy!
When people talk about guests becoming overwhelmed or over stimulated it is usually in reference to the sights and SOUNDS of Walt Disney World. And, while our family has been numerous times, it was during our most recent trip that the Disney decibels were quite noticeable.
There were occasions that even though the husband and I were right next to each other standing or sitting we could not hear each other talk unless we raised our voices. Not that we were trying to have a lengthy or in-depth conversation, just checking about where we were headed next or if someone needed to use the restroom or get a drink. Same was true for the boy—we had to listen hard, over the din, to make sure we could hear and understand him and vice versa. If any of us noticed something that we wanted to point out to the other, it was difficult to communicate over and through the noise. And, isn’t that what magical memories are made of? Sharing and noticing together? Even the bus rides to and from the parks were full of music and announcements, fan and engine noises, making it difficult to hear and therefore talk.
One of our favorite Walt Disney World guide books when giving information about restaurants indicate the various noise levels at each. This same information is also provided for rides, shows, and attractions. On the Jungle Cruise? If you get placed near the engine, forget it. You will be able to hear the guide—mostly, but not your neighbor. Tomorrowland Indy Speedway? Even getting near the attraction is noisy. Want to discuss your touring plan for Magic Kingdom? Do it before the opening ceremony as during or after it will be too noisy, as well as crowded as guests enter the park. In the audience at Lights, Motors, Action? Be prepared to talk about the show later.
In Disney’s defense, the sounds are all a part of the theming. As guests move from one location to another, the “show” changes and guests are to be immersed in the sights and sounds (and sometimes smells) of that location. And, that is part of what we love about Disney. And, I still get goose bumps when the bus round the corner into Magic Kingdom and the trumpets swell in the music announcing that we have arrived at the most magical place on earth. Yet, when the noise level makes it difficult to communicate with fellow travelers it can be bothersome and it is almost as if ESP is needed—but that is for another post.
Yet, there are some noisy that we thoroughly enjoy such as the slapping of the falling water at the Fountain of Nation in EPCOT, coordinated with music of course, and the holiday songs along Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom and along the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
There are also moments on Disney ships that are noisy. Announcements in the hallways and public spaces—although those lesson after the first day and guests become trained to listen for the dings, deck parties, bus rides to and from the port, and even restaurants can be quite noisy. Especially Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream—click here to read more.
So, why did we notice the noise more this trip? A few reasons come to mind. It was our longest trip to date—12 days immersed in the magic. We had lots to talk about and wanted to talk, so the noise that kept us from communicating was noticeable. On shorter trips, we could talk and review on our way home or other quiet moments. We are much more familiar with the parks and resorts now and therefore subtleties intrigue us and we wanted to share them with each other.
Will the noise keep us from returning? Definitely not. Though, I do want guests to be aware that the most magical place on earth is and can be noisy. Be prepared for that and take advantage of the quiet moments to communicate with your family or traveling party. This will save frustration at other times, when the noise makes it difficult to hear and understand each other.