Last week, my daughter’s third grade class went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and I was lucky enough to tag along. The childlike excitement fluttering in my heart upon walking into the park, even as an adult who has been to Disney numerous times, is still magical for me.
But alas, there are some occurrences that even Disney cannot control. You see, once inside those beautiful gates, some of the magic may be zapped out of your experience by incidents that have nothing to do with Disney, and everything to do with the people who are joining you on your park adventure.
So, without further ado, I give you the five people you will meet in Disney.
- The “stop-walking-in-the-midst-of-a-crowd” people (SWMCP): Unfortunately, SWMCPs are an abundant population in Disney who unknowingly cause twenty people pile ups when they abruptly stop walking to do something mundane like look at a map or tie their shoes. There is no avoiding them, so if you don’t have quick reflexes, you can either opt to get angry or just keep swimming. *If you happen to be one of these people, and you just have to stop to have a discussion with your toddler, find something in your purse, or take your nineteenth selfie of the day, don’t be surprised if I nudge you over to the side where you belong.
- The “incessant-picture-taker” people (IPTP): In addition to constant selfies in popular parts of the park, IPTPs take it one step further. You know that long ass line for the women’s restroom? Well, it just got longer because the IPTPs want to document their trip by snapping pics of themselves making duck faces into the mirrors in the Disney bathrooms. You know that table you’ve been waiting an hour for at the Rainforest Café in Disney Springs? Well, you’ll need to wait ten minutes more because the IPTPs have asked the waiter to take a picture of their group…for the fifth time. Just like the SWMCPs, there is no avoiding them. *If you are one of these people, we get it. You went to Disney. But next time, could you try putting your camera away when my daughter is doing the pee-pee dance behind you?
- The “taking-way-too-long-to-take-pictures” people (TWTLP): Taking pictures is naturally something that will happen nonstop in a Disney park. However, the TWTLPs not only take an absurd amount of photos, but they also take their sweet time when actually taking the picture. With TWTLPs, you can try your best to skirt around them or if you’re really patient, you can wait it out. *Just a note of caution to the TWTLPs that may come across my family at a Disney park- if you can’t get your shit together and take the damn picture before the sun goes down, expect my big fat head in the upper corner of your shot. My daughters and I have become photobomb masters. You have been warned.
- The “take-up-the-entire-pathway” people (TEPP): Somehow, in Disney, it is possible for a family of four to block an entire roadway. We understand that everyone is in awe of the artistry that goes into these parks, and it is sometimes hard to keep a family together. But unless Mickey is personally giving you and your family a piggyback ride straight past the TEPPs, it is no easy task to maneuver in or around their family structure. This especially goes for families traveling with multiple strollers. Now, I know what it’s like to travel with a stroller, and those Disney strollers are enormous and hard to operate. But for the love of God, share the road, people!
- “Non-smiley” people (NSP): One would think that there would be an abundance of joy emanating from the faces of those in attendance at the happiest place on Earth. This is oddly not the case. Other than Disney employees, smiles are hard to come by in Disney parks. A friend of mine once challenged me to a game of “count-how-many-people-are-smiling” while we strolled around the parks. Instead of smiles, we came across toddlers shrieking, moms yelling, older kids completely frustrated or distracted by their phones, and Dads probably wishing they knew the score of whatever game they were missing in order to give their families a spectacular Disney vacation. Regardless, don’t let the NSPs drag you down! Be unique and trust that a simple smile is all that it takes to refocus your energy on the fun that lies ahead.
By now, we’ve learned how astonishing it is to witness just how quickly people lose all consideration for every other human being the moment they walk into a park. But the moral of the story is to try not to blame Disney for the momentary lapses in judgement that the people in their parks frequently exhibit. Disney is amazingly beautiful in every way possible. And maybe that beauty causes people, who otherwise would be able to think clearly, to replace their normal thought process with the same helium that fills those adorable Mickey ear balloons that line Main Street, USA.
Despite my encounters with all five of the people everyone meets in Disney, I’ve found that focusing on my family, on our smiles, and on the marvels that each park has to offer always helps me remember why I chose to visit Disney in the first place.