While touring Walt Disney World parks, someone has to lead the group—family, traveling party, etc. Someone has to make decisions about what time to get up, what time to go to the park, which park to go to, and what will happen upon arrival to the park. That someone usually has some idea of park hours, how long it takes to get to the park, what means of transportation to use, what rides, shows, and attractions are available in the park, as well as information on what members of the family want to do, like to do, and would enjoy. Then, they put it all together and make magic.
The reason for having a leader in the group is so that things go smoothly. Groups stay together, people in the group or family get to do what is important to them and they make shared memories. It is also efficient in terms of time. Having a leader who is making decisions along the way alleviates the “what shall we do next?” meetings that can happen mid-path or mid-ride exit at the parks taking valuable time away from park touring.
Some leaders make it look easy; strolling ever so casually from the exit of one attraction to the next or procuring Fastpasses to be used later while enjoying a ride or show or slipping into a restaurant just in time to beat the crowd and ordering for the group or family while they effortlessly find an empty table. Sounds easy too, doesn’t it?
Well, during our Summer 2013 trip, the usual leader of the group, me, took what was supposed to be a day off from leading. The husband had made some sort of comment that I don’t even remember now which came with it the responsibility for leading our family the following day, the last day of our trip, at Magic Kingdom.
All decisions were his. . . wake-up time, departure time, lunch, touring plan, etc. The only thing preset was our dinner reservation at Be Our Guest.
After arriving at the park plenty early, he secured a park map and Times Guide. He had asked me the evening before about what I would like to do and my reply was Enchanted Tales with Belle which was in the New Fantasyland. The boy wanted to try Gaston’s Tavern. He studied the map and the Time Guide. Finally, the park opened.
|Maxed out the score--999,999!|
I held back and fell behind in the line—the husband, the boy, then me as it is usually the reverse when I lead. We eventually made it to Maurice’s cottage.
While it was supposed to be for the whole day, I found myself giving cues and prompts soon after we arrived at the park and by mid-morning, was back leading the group.
The husband learned that leading the group isn’t as easy as it looks. He had a new appreciation for the amount of decision making and skill that it took to lead our family so efficiently—even traversing the park from one attraction to another was difficult as was deciding what to do next. I happily accepted and returned to the leader role with this new found appreciation.
What was funny was watching the boy. He was a bit confused when he would ask me a question and it was deferred to his dad. This dynamic was not what he was used to and he was trying to figure it out.
We all learned that even though I will gladly carry the weight of leading our family while park touring, that sometimes I need a break; sometimes I am not sure about what to do next. When that feeling hits, we take a break. The Hall of Presidents was a welcome relief in the alternating heat and rain—and feet—that afternoon. We also took time for Country Bear Jamboree and Enchanted Tiki Room. I can remember us sitting upstairs at the Columbia Harbor House enjoying our shrimp watching the wait time for the Haunted Mansion climb.
What will happen next trip? I already know the husband is in charge of at least one day. He is already doing his “homework.”