Nearing the anniversary of our independence, I find it appropriate to make note of a small but growing issue regarding park etiquette and instances where we as veterans can improve. Independence is a great virtue, but equally so is our attention to others and their ability to enjoy the many freedoms associated with the Disneyland Resort. I have sensed a small prejudice existing between frequent park visitors and first-timers. Sure, they are less familiar with the park and often stop in the middle of walkways to check maps, watches, child leashes, and the tail end of their tour groups. They might not know the abbreviations (POTC, HISTA etc.) for attractions and therefore refer to them as “the pirates ride” or “the haunted hose”. They may even step way out of line and inquire at City Hall about possible foreclosed residences available in the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge.
We have gotten so familiar with our park that we tend to forget that it can be a bit overwhelming and exciting, to first time guests. The first thing I do when I walk through the gates is look for new things. I observe things that need repairs. A First timer has no idea what is old or new, they don’t know if “that” needs fixing or is just related to the theme. What fun it would be to have a quick mind-erase and walk under the archway having no idea what lie beyond.
Alas this is not possible, or at least available to the general public, so I make these suggestions to better the experiences of first-timers as well as our own the next time we attend the Happiest Place on Earth:
- If you hear someone say “can we go on the pirates ride?” don’t flip out. Don’t correct them. Should you even turn up your nose at your companions, you are doing a great disservice to mankind. I know for a fact that very close family members to Walt referred to POTC in this very same manner, along with various Imagineers. You can be mad and look down on them all you want, but I can guarantee their day at the park will be far more enjoyable than yours.
*I have actually seen AP holder’s correct guests in attraction lines for cutting a name short like the above. Equipped with 4-bottle fanny packs loaded with pins to trade, these AP holders blabbed in with their two-cents on how important it is to know, and speak, the full names of the rides. At a loss for words, I moved along, knowing that this needed to be addressed at some point. Maybe they were members of Visions
- At the same time, I think it is a waste to not dispense crucial information to those in need when it is done in a constructive manner. For example, last summer I was at the park and wasn’t sure if there would be a firework show that night. I asked a CM in Tomorrowland and they said no. I asked a CM later that day in Fantasyland and she said yes. Finally, I asked another CM at the “hot boat” (vernacular for Mark Twain River Boat) and she said no. Two no’s and a yes caused me to assume there would be no pyrotechnics and to not reserve a spot at the castle. Well, while waiting in line for the Astro Orbiter, I hear the show begin. Disney CM management may not keep their teams informed, but I know that most Mice Chatters are. So when you hear false information like this, please, kindly correct.
The other suggestions are just ways to make the park a little more enjoyable for all:
- Don’t liter
- Don’t mimic the Ghost Hosts voice in the HM. It is far less cool to spout off and screech as loud as possible than it is to know the spiel, and play it over in your head with a spooky smile.
- Do make time to sit in the many chairs and benches and enjoy the scenery. Take in where you are, the wonderful history behind this timeless entertainment, and the crazy looking people around you! Candid digital photos of hilarious outfits or misinterpreted clothing sizes are encouraged and asked to be placed on MC for all to see!
- Don’t hound a CM with questions you know they can’t answer. Don’t test your Disney trivial knowledge on them. While I agree they should be well versed, a good number of them are probably just trying to get a couple extra bucks while they pursue an acting career.
- Don’t fish in the Rivers of America. I have done this, and you will just end up with a stomach ache.
- Do accept the fact that some guests will be standing in line, and just when you think you are getting ready to board they were place-holding for a family of 73. This will happen and arguing is useless.
- Don’t allow anyone to rain on your parade. Don’t allow anyone to take the wind out of your sails. If you love a ride, the way it is, make it known. People will always have opinions on how it could be better, and that’s why those are just opinions and why Mr. IMO works at TJ Max, not Imagineering. At the same time, look at things in a creative way. If you think adjustments should be made to make something better, accommodate more people, or operate more efficiently, send all inquiries to:
Walt Disney Imagineering
Attn: Tony Baxter
1401 Flower Street
P.O. Box 25020
Glendale, CA 91221-502
In short, enjoy the parks to the best of your ability, but don’t tread on me!
Happy Independence Day!