Monday, March 9, 2015

We Did Disney Pt II — The Do's and Do Not Do's

As I detailed in my last post here, it's an odyssey to get inside Disney World and, once you're in, there's no going back to the car just in case you forgot something. 

"Hey guys, I forgot my sunglasses in the glove compartment, I'm just going to catch the ferry across the lake, walk a quarter mile, catch the courtesy tram and then walk another eighth of a mile to the car to go get them. I'll catch up with you at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in three hours."  

So, bring everything you're going to need and do everything you need to do before embarking. And what exactly might one need to do and bring? I'm so glad you asked.

Here now, everything you and your family will need to do and bring for a day at Disney.

First. Do not feed your toddler donuts for breakfast on your drive to the park. 

Pictured: the boy's second outfit and an
equally crucial item, the rented stroller. 
Should you insist on this course of action, DO bring an extra outfit and cleaning supplies for your father-in-law's brand new car. Seriously, this thing had about 6,000 miles on it and I'm using a wadded-up napkin to scrape vomit from the nooks, crannies and seams of its tan, leather interior. (Did I mention Mrs. Blackwell's folks are patient, tolerant people?)

Next, remember to bring patient, tolerant people.

Next, Bring lots of napkins and/or wiping implements. Also, bring a flathead screwdriver to scrape "stuff" from under your fingernails once you're done cleaning. There's nothing like smelling your son's donuts on your hands two hours, and two hand washings after "the incident."

Next, if you've got a toddler or small child, bring a stroller or rent one at the park for $15. This was the best money we spent all day. Next, be sure to secure your child in the stroller to prevent accidents should your child randomly decide to stand up in the stroller and fall face first on the sidewalk of Main Street USA. 

A Digression

This happened. We pulled off to the side of this thoroughfare for a moment, discussing where to go next, when the boy stood up and promptly fell forward out of the stroller. Fortunately, as he fell, the brim of his hat flipped under his face preventing his cute, soft toddler skin from getting scraped up and making his parents look like a couple of derelicts. 

Instead, the boy was only momentarily hurt and he cried accordingly — I would have too.  It was a nasty little spill. 

What was interesting about this incident was that, no sooner had the boy fallen and his crying began, than were three park employees at our side offering assistance.

"Do you need help? Do you need to see first aid? Is there anything we can do?" 

To be clear, I didn't notice these staffers near us before the boy tumbled then, in less time than it took his second tear to be shed, they were there.

It was remarkable, and further evidence that Disney does not play around.  

Alright, back on track. 

Bring food if you'd like but know, all the rumors about everything at Disney World being expensive are true (more on that in the next blog). So, bring your own water and snacks but, be prepared to carry them with you everywhere you go. Or, merely acknowledge that while you're paying inflated prices for food and drink, part of that value is that you're also not burdened by carrying your meals around with you like a pack mule. 

We brought in some bottled water and light snacks and, two hours in, they felt unduly burdensome. That feeling was gone when I enjoyed a water without paying $5. 

Main Street USA, the perfect place to fall out of your stroller
and have a good, old-fashioned cry. 
Do be prepared to deal with some rude people. 

It's not all sunshine and lollipops inside the Magic Kingdom. The vast, vast majority of folks are happy bordering on giddy.

There were some parents and people who were at the end of their rope and Mrs. Blackwell and I had some laughs hearing frustrated voices out of context. 

"You want to do that, then fine. We'll do that DAN!"

"You're going to put it down there, right now! And you're not putting on any more makeup!"

But these aren't the rude people I speak of, no sir. Now, I have to be delicate here because what I'm about to say speaks to a large population and I'm basing my finding on an admittedly small sample size. 

So, here goes: the German and Italian people at Disney World are extremely rude. 

The analytics on my site tell me I have exactly one reader in Europe (shout out to Belarus!) so, this message is probably falling on no ears, never mind deaf ones. Regardless I'll make the following declaration to these people: in no way is it acceptable to bring five family members up with you toward the front of the line. To be clear, everyone starts waiting at the back of the line; having a grandparent or an uncle at the front of the line does not entitle one to bypass the 556 people currently waiting behind your acquaintance.

This is not a culturally dependent rule that North Americans have developed. This is a requirement of being human. If you can't get this fact or, if you view skipping in line as some sort of pre-emptive retribution against "rude Americans," you need to re-evaluate yourself. 

I'm a Canadian but I've spent more than 20 years of my life in the U.S. so I can say with some certainty that most Americans are real easy to get along with and most play by the rules. They obey stop signs, they put trash in garbage cans and they all wait in line. 
Surprisingly, this was not boring. 

No one is exempt — except loud, elderly people and the extremely wealthy. 

The line jumping was a new phenomena to me. We all know Europeans are thin, that they smoke and have stylish shoes, but I was shocked at their behavior.

After being passed a couple of times, I finally ignored their shoes and put down one of my own and said "No," when one lady tried to shove by myself and Mrs. Blackwell. 

She explained that her daughter was with her and that her husband was just ahead in line. "Well then, as long as your husband is ahead of us in line, feel free to skip in front of everyone." 

Should I have let it go without saying anything? Maybe. And, really it didn't matter. She went by us and scores of others anyways. 

Under other circumstances this might have been enough of an annoyance to echo throughout the rest of the day but, at Disney World, the deck is stacked against such possibility. 

And, as the coaster on Big Thunder Mountain careened at breakneck speeds in and out of tunnels and mine shafts, that lady who passed us was the last thing on my mind.  


Unknown said...

I absolutely agree with you about rude Germans, Europeans. Going to the Vatican for an audience of 5000 to see Pope Benedict, these Germans kept shoving and pushing us from behind. I got tired of it then went into my stubborn mode, elbows out and punching. After a few rib sticklers they left me and Grace alone.

I hope your little one had his measles shot.

Blackwell said...

Gotta love a healthy back and forth inside the Vatican. Yep, little guy is fully vaccinated!