There is a great Disney blog that I read regularly (along with numerous others) called DisDining. The other day, the main writer, Sarah Chapman, a fellow Disney geek and travel agent, did a piece on the Top 10 Bad Behaviors on a Walt Disney World Vacation and it's been on my mind ever since. I've always said that my worst experiences in Disney World have pretty much always been because of other guests. I've left the list titles in the same order she had them, but have expanded (in my usual, very long way) and changed them up...call this My Mad World version of a Disney Blog!
It drives me absolutely mental when I see someone get up from their counter service table and leave it covered with their trash, especially when there are no other empty tables and the next person has to clean up their mess to use it (which typically ends up being me). Then there are the guests who drop their trash on the ground nonchalantly (and often while passing a trash can). Granted, like magic, a white-panted cast member (I find it ironic that the custodial staff wear white) comes flying out of nowhere to remove the trash, then disappear as quickly as they appeared, but it's still very uncool.
I'm also gonna add the bathrooms to this category, notably the women's (since I've never been in a mens room, HA!). If the females are the cleaner of the species, then god help those that have to go to the men's room! Toilet paper, used feminine products, toilet seat covers, and other crap litters the women's floor like mad! I was once in a stall next to a woman and a small boy (I get that small boys can't go into the mens room alone, but I've seen way-too old, leering, teenage boys in the women's room as well and I don't like it...if they are old enough to go into their own stall, then they are old enough to go into their own bathroom). But ANYHOO...this little boy proceeds to completely unroll the entire (and apparently full) roll of toilet paper on the floor, all the while his mother issuing threats of severe punishment, with no conviction in her voice whatsoever. Mother and child exit the bathroom (neither washing their hands) leaving a gigantic mound of toilet paper in the floor. Thank goodness Disney has auto-flushing toilets or we'd have to add unflushed toilets to the list as well!
The white-panted CM's that work in the bathrooms are the meanest and grumpiest CM's of them all, but they have definitely earned the right to be. The larger bathrooms have 50+ stalls, so by the time they've managed to clean up all these disasters, they get to start all over again. Genuine Cinderellas they are and they get my full respect more than any other CM on property! WHITE-PANT PROPS!
9. Changing Diapers Anywhere
I have been sitting at a counter service table eating a meal in silent repose, when, like a freight train, a family barges in, parks themselves on the table next to me, then proceed to change their infant's diaper on the very table they are about to eat off of (typically, right next to said food, or worse, within splatter distance of mine). The offending diaper is usually placed underneath the table while they are eating, but you can almost bet it will be left on top of the table, along with their meal trash, after they have gone. This type of behavior you might forgive if the offenders were raised in a barn (I'm not aware of another culture who routinely practices sharing their table space with their diaper changing space, but there could be one or two), but no...the only people I've ever seen committing this heinous act have been all-American, well-off people. I've also seen diapers changed in full public view, often times in lines for rides or in stores and usually in those nasty, germ-infested rental strollers. So, if you're ever walking along in Disney World and get the sudden whiff of bodily excrement, there is probably a diaper bomb baking somewhere near you in the hot Florida sun (or someone has just farted...which also happens a lot more frequently than you would think (and it's not always children), especially in enclosed dark spaces...if you have to fart, walk away people, walk away - darkness doesn't hide sounds or odors!).
8. Blocking Views
If there is one that should be higher on the list, it is definitely this one! I know I don't have kids and I know I'm taller than the average bear, but there is nothing more annoying than to have staked out the perfect unobstructed view of the fireworks, your camera is in the ready, the lights dim, and then, like a firework itself, a child shoots up in the air like a gift to the gods and gets placed on daddy's shoulders directly in front of you! If they can't see, then pick them up and rest them on your side, that is plenty high enough and it puts them at the same eye level as you. Below happened in a matter of seconds before the show started last year...I had the absolute PERFECT spot and, not one, but two children were raised directly in front of me, one after the other (bad behavior is like a virus, it spreads):
Eventually, I was able to move over and back enough in the packed crowd to block out the one kid, but the other is a permanent fixture in the other hundred or so fireworks shots I have:
And it's not like she was a "little" girl...at least the other kid was a toddler and didn't cause that much of a blockage (and, if you'll notice, the guy directly to the front left of me has followed my wise advice and his daughter is safely tucked in at his side). There were two kids and a teenager (who couldn't have lifted a kid on his shoulders if he wanted to) standing directly behind the shoulder riders, suddenly unable to see a bloody thing (yes, my evil mind sometimes wishes the shoulder kid would fall...just to prove how dangerous and stupid it is to do this). To add insult to injury, the mother kept having the daddy and the girl turn around for flash pictures, forcing everyone around her to back up so that she could get a good enough distance away to get her perfect shot. I hope THEY enjoyed the fireworks because every single person around them did not (especially me). But of course, as with the typical Disney guest, it was apparently all about THEM. I hope their memory card was dead when they got home!
One year we had two rather aggressive Asian girls/women try to push their way between me and Amber to get in front of us for a parade (that we had been waiting for for a long time whereas they had walked right up before time and wormed their way through the masses behind us). And I'm not kidding when I say pushing...they would come at us in bursts, shove, and then back off quickly. Luckily, we were both stout, so all they could do was push. Sometimes I would have a "reflex" that would push back, or my foot would get a "twitch" and kick backwards, but they continued on through the entire parade (like they could actually break US down). I refused to move on principle alone and, if anything, I probably just stood up straighter. Every once in a while, enough was enough and we would turn to confront, but they would either back away or just smile with that "I don't speak English" smile, then start up again once we had resumed parade viewing. Had they just of asked from the get-go, considering they were much shorter than we were, we probably would have let them in front of us. They could speak English, we heard them do it to the other guests they wormed around, but they suddenly couldn't to us.
Which brings up another point, the people in the front rows of any parade viewing area are supposed to sit, it's not a written rule, but it's just genuine common decency, and expected. Yet, it never fails, if I manage to get the elusive first standing spot behind the sitters, whoever is sitting in front of me will ALWAYS stand once the parade starts (even though every other person NOT in front of me still continues to sit)! Keep your position, be it sitting on the ground or standing on your own two feet, before, during, and after the parade/fireworks. Other people around you judge their viewing space based on your position when they approach you and the people behind them do the same for them. You stand up, then they have to move, then the people behind them have to move and it's a never ending cycle of screwing up views all around!
7. Offensive Language
Unfortunately, I'm a potty mouth by nature (I'm sure you've figured that out by now). But something weird happens to me in Disney where cuss words get exchanged for Disney words...Hades instead of Hell, Pooh-Bear instead of shit...you get the picture (and it often starts at home during the planning phase...just thinking about Disney changes my vocabulary). But, on numerous occasions, I have heard more than one person screaming and yelling at a significant other and/or a child or even on their phone to an unknowing recipient in a language befitting the worst of potty mouths. And there is nothing as bad as a late night bus ride back from Downtown Disney with a bunch of drunks. I've heard words that make my blushes blush!
I'm also gonna extend offensive to include behavior. I've seen porno-style makeout sessions by very young teenagers in full view (typically in a ride queue line where you have no choice but to watch the entire scene play out before your burning retinas) as well older people (and I mean WAY older people). I've seen a grown-ass man peeing in the bushes by one of the hub bridges in the Magic Kingdom. I've seen more than one inappropriately dressed person, from very young to very old, both male and female, walking around the parks showing their wares for the entire world to see. This is Disney World folks...not Ibiza! Ho-wear isn't Disney acceptable wear, I don't care how comfortable in your skin you are or how hot you "think" you look. Not even Cindy Crawford would look good sporting a pot belly squeezed into a silver metallic lamay body suit showing her bare, chubby, very heat-rashed inner thighs, and, of course, sans shoes. When said Cindy gets up to do a solo dance in front of an entire audience during tiki birds (not an acceptable practice, BTW), well, let's just say it wasn't a pretty picture (and the real thing was even worse...more like Honey Boo Boo without makeup).
Oh, and just an FYI, if you dress horribly while I'm there and I see you, you will find yourselves a permanent fixture in my "Oh No They Dinnit" picture file, which has given me YEARS of unmitigated enjoyment at the stupidity of others. I still think it's going to make a great coffee table book one day!
6. Cutting off wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers
Now, here is my first disagreement with her list. I find the opposite to be true for me...wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers tend to cut me off or just run over me full-stop! It must be due to that invisible neon sign on my back that says, "please step on me". Wheeled offenders (as I call them) can't help but to direct their violent transports in the vicinity of my heels or toes, even when I purposely move out of their way. Not once have I ever received an apology after injury, only blame and scorn. I have the same issue with people that walk in groups, be it in Disney or in the "real world". If three people are walking down a hallway in that annoying shoulder-to-shoulder formation, I will always end up being the one to concede into shrinking against the wall so that they don't have to break ranks. The few times in my life I've stood my ground and refused to move, it's never ended in my favor.
5. Stopping in the middle of the road
Yep, another one of those, "happens to me ALL THE TIME" things! It's the reason why I always make sure I check behind me BEFORE I stop. Of course, the second they do this and you can't help but run into them, the world stops and you have suddenly committed a cardinal sin. Why is that? It kind of goes with #6.
I will also add under this list the violators of personal space...you KNOW who you are. Yes, I'm super-sensitive to my surroundings, but, if I can feel your breath on my neck or you're touching any part of my body and you are not my family, then YOU ARE TOO FRIGGIN CLOSE!! I'm extremely uncomfortable with less than a foot of space between me and a stranger, but it's standard practice in Disney, like anything more than a foot means longer wait times for rides. I always leave more than at least 2 to 3 foot of space between me and the person in front of me, even when the jerk up my backside decides that moving even closer to me will cause me to move forward more. I'm not going to invade someone else's dance space just because someone is invading mine and it's not like the person behind me will back off if I do move forward, so why should I bother?
I've also got to include staring here. You expect kids to do it from time to time, but when adults do it, it's just plain CREEPY (and it happens A LOT in Disney). Eyes on your own papers folks.
4. Not Tipping (I'm substituting full-stop on this one)
This isn't an issue much for us because we are typically over-tippers and, despite my hyper-awareness, I don't pay attention to what other people tip. I would replace this one with my biggest pet peeve of all FLASH PICTURES ON DARK RIDES. This would be my #1 worst Disney behavior by guests E-V-E-R!!! It's part of the spiel on every single dark ride...NO FLASH PICTURES...PLEASE. And yet, the second the ride starts, flash after flash goes off. Not only does it ruin my attempt at getting a good dark ride shot (sans flash), but it ruins the effects of a lot of these rides because the darkness hides a lot of staging (kind of ruins a floating effect when you can see the rod holding said-floating item up). More than once I've been on a ride when they've full-on stopped it, turned the lights completely, and yelled out over the P.A. to stop taking flash pictures, then turned the lights back off and started the ride again. The offenders either act like they can't speak English or act like it's the first time they've heard it's a no-no. Once the ride starts back though, they start back up, flashidy, flash, flash, flashing. I wish I could let it go (don't go there) and get over it, especially considering I've ridden most of the rides dozens of times throughout my lifetime, but it only succeeds in aggravating me to actually heckle them (which doesn't help). On my very first Disney trip ever, my step-dad was one of these offenders (as our pictures show). It ruined it then and it ruins it now. You know the famous ghost ballroom scene in the Haunted Mansion? Yeah, well, find me a ghost in this picture:
Oh, and just an FYI...during fireworks, THE FLASH DOESN'T HELP SO TURN IT OFF! The thing you are taking pictures of is several hundred feet away and massive! There is no way your flash is ever going to illuminate anything other than the five people within your immediate vicinity. And yet, it never fails, the second that the lights dim and fireworks start, so do the flashing cameras...hundreds of them, everywhere. Ugh. It's just wasting battery life and ruins the shots of all of those behind you who are also trying to take pictures.
I also have to add another addendum. As someone with a brain tumor, I don't have seizures, but I could if the right conditions present themselves. Most flashing lights (aka the right conditions) can be turned away from or blocked out inside the parks because of the space you have and the distance they are from you (even on rides), but a crowded, cramped, and dark bus at night is a whole 'nother ballgame. I wish Disney wouldn't even sell those stupid things! It never fails, you load on a bus, pack in like sardines, the lights go off, the bus starts in motion, and then a kid turns on one of those bloody necklaces! Not to be outdone, the kid across from them turns their flashing sword on (because it's bigger and that fact must be proven). Then little sister has to turn her flashing wand on on because big brother has turned his on. This practice continues until you have a dozen flashing lights in various locations throughout a dark bus. A) RUDE! and B) DANGEROUS!. Not closing my eyes is enough to stop the visual noise, most times I have to put my hand completely over my eyes to stop it...yeah, THAT doesn't draw attention to me AT ALL!! It's gotten so bad over the past couple of years that I have actually written to Disney about the problem, asking them to please add them to the "do not do on buses" list (no smoking, no eating, no drinking...no flashing lights on dark buses). I just got a nice letter back saying they understood my complaint, but no offer of change. Even a normal person can have a seizure if the right elements are present (aka flashing lights in a pitch black area).
3. Not Giving Up Your Bus Seat
This is a struggle for me as well, but in a different way. Yes, it pisses me off when I see an able-bodied adult sitting down while a non able-bodied adult is forced to stand, or when I see a way too small toddler taking up an entire seat instead of sitting in their parent's lap. Happens every single bus ride. But I also know that I appear to be an able-bodied adult, but I can't stand on a moving bus to save my life! I have no sense of balance whatsoever and every slight shift in the bus sends me careening forwards, backwards, sideways, and every other way! I have crushed more than one small child who are forced to stand next to me. Yeah, it isn't so cool to have a 200+lb woman (although not anymore) falling all over you for 20+ minutes of a bus ride. There are times when I'm forced to stand (although, given the option between loading onto a full bus or waiting until the next one, I most times opt for waiting), and I do all I can to stable myself...I try to aim for the middle right where the side doors are, lock my arms around the railings, if possible, wrapping a leg around one as well. If I go with my sister, I position her in front of me so I can try to aim her way (and she has an excellent sense of balance, so she can support us both). It's when I go solo that I'm terrified of it. It's not squashing kids that scares me, but the fact that everyone invariably stares at me when I fall on said kids. Nothing worse for an Asper than to be noticed.
2. Parade Etiquette (another change up by me)
I covered this in #8, so I'm gonna change #2 to not controlling demon children and it is definitely my #2. Watching how children behave today freaks me out! I would have NEVER acted in public how kids do today, and not just because of my social issues...almost every kid of my generation would have behaved better...problem is, the kids today are the offspring of my generation, the generation that were taught the right way, so why aren't they teaching their children right? These kids scream, they kick, they hit, they throw things, they tear up everything around them, and the parents don't even seem to notice or intervene when they do. How can you be OK with your child kicking the shit out of the person in line in front of them (which is typically me)? How can you have a decent conversation when your child is screaming like a banshee and running around like a Tasmanian Devil? Even worse, when I get pissed enough to say something to the monster, the parents give ME the stink-eye or say something nasty to ME! Seriously? This is where society has gone wrong with PC child discipline. The whole, "you better stop or you're gonna get a timeout" bull doesn't work on these types of children because they have no respect for author-a-tie (insert best Cartman accent here), especially since these parents rarely follow through with their threats, just add more..."mommy says stop it", "mommy says stop it now or you're going to be in trouble", "mommy means it", "I'm serious, you're in trouble", "I'm gonna take you in the bathroom if you don't stop", "I mean it", "baby, please stop!", "please be good", "we're going to go back to the room right now", "you're not going to be allowed to do...", and on and on and on with no repercussions, no discipline, no nada, and often times, they are given a reward to get the monsters to stop, "if you stop, we'll go get ice cream!". Great parenting skills! You threaten (to no avail), plead (to no avail), return to threaten (to no avail), then bribe (yea success!). Congratulations, you've taught your monster how to get a reward for bad behavior...it's now a Pavlovian dog.
Last October is a great example...I get to Gaston's Tavern to get my favorite Disney World snack, LeFou's Brew (watch for an upcoming review). I end up getting a pastry as well, and since the dining room was empty (a rare occurrence), I decide to take a seat and enjoy myself. As always, it takes all of two minutes for the silence to be completely ruined by the arrival of two adults and two monsters (let's take the scientific approach with this...we'll call the parents A&B and the kids little a&b). A&B sit down, arrange the various foods in four locations at the table (to which little a&b never approached), and start enjoying their meal as if they are the only two people in the universe. Little a&b run around the entire room, hitting each other, hitting other things, knocking into chairs and tables (stopping just long enough to see if A&B noticed they just knocked down a piece of scenery from the wall (which, of course, they didn't notice), then return to their regularly scheduled path of destruction). As more people arrive, they start to hit and knock into them. A&B never acknowledge little a&b, never look up, just continue their eating/drinking and conversation (as do the new adults who arrived, C&D, E&F, G&H). Eventually (and I stuck around the entire time to see how it would play out), A&B reached over and drank/ate little a&b's food (without checking to see if they might have wanted it), again, with no acknowledgement to the fact that now C&D & E&F's little c&d and e&f have joined in the "fun" and now it's a free-for-all demon hoedown! This went on for, what seemed like, forever. Once A&B left with little a&b, little c&d and e&f finally sat down and began to eat their snacks. The only irregularity was G&H's little g and I remember her quite vividly...she had the same look of utter disgust on her face that I did. Now THAT kid was raised RIGHT!
Granted, kids today have more "issues" than kids in my day had...but I'm one of those "kids with issues" and I know for a fact it's NOT an excuse 100% of the time. Every kid (and adult) has their moments (averaging about once daily in Disney), but you can tell when a kid is having a meltdown because they are tired or sick or having one because they are just evil demon spawn. And a meltdown can't even been put in the same category as the terrorist behavior that a lot of these children possess. For some reason, the population of monsters is overwhelming in Disney World. It's rare to see a decent, well-behaved child (see example above, out of 7 children, only one behaved appropriately). Since when does running and screaming in a restaurant constitute "playing"? Since when has "playing" in a restaurant become acceptable behavior? The most "playing" we ever did in a restaurant was coloring on the provided paper with the provided crayons (and most times I wouldn't so I could save mine as a souvenir) and you only did that till your food arrived and then you ate your meal, paid your bill and left to return to "playing" in the parks (which involved no running or screaming, except on roller coasters). Same goes with the resorts. You go back to your room to unwind or sleep or clean up, not to run up and down hallways, scream at the top of your lungs to see if your voice echoes in the lobby, bang on all the doors you pass (no matter the hour), push all the elevator buttons, etc while your parents fein deaf, blind, and dumb. I could literally go on about this forever, so I'm going to shut up now.
1. Cutting In Line
Even though my #1 would actually be the #4 Flash Pictures thing, this one ranks pretty high on my list. A lot of people try to excuse line cutting by saying that other countries don't observe lines like Americans do. First off, nine times out of ten, the offenders are Americans, but secondly, when you are in America, you should follow American customs just as Americans are expected to in other countries (but probably rarely do, although I would). Some rides have tremendous wait times and there is nothing more annoying (other than flash pictures on dark rides) than having someone bust in front of you in line after you have been waiting forever, typically simply because they didn't want to wait in line so they got food, went to the bathroom, shopped, etc while their significant other got in line. Once that 'other' got close, then here comes "impatient pants" busting through the line to get to the 'other'. Even worse is when one person gets in line to wait for an entire family who decide to join them later. But my absolute favorite are the places where the line gets wider and at least one group of people, who have patiently stood behind you the entire time, suddenly decide there is space enough for them to go around you. Happens to me almost every single line. WAIT YOUR FRIGGIN TURN!!!
I would probably add another to my list to add those that don't plan and blast their anger at a poor unsuspecting CM at every opportunity. I've mentioned these before, the ones who get pissed because they can't just walk in to a sit-down restaurant or the ones who throw a fit because they can't get past a MNSSHP barricade because they don't have a ticket. These people don't just get mad and walk off...oh no, not ever. They have to stand there and shout and rant and go all #7 on EVERYBODY within ear shot. I hope it makes them feel better (it definitely puts a smile on my face, of course I'm laughing AT them and not WITH them) but overall they just end up looking like complete idiots. Why do people think that they can go to Disney World and not plan? You wouldn't go to Europe and not plan. You wouldn't go to the Grand Canyon and not plan. Do they think it's like their local Six Flags or something? I just don't get it! If I'm going somewhere, I collect all the information about it I can...books, online information, read blogs and reviews, listen to podcasts, etc (yes, I'm a bit OCD...but hey, I AM OCD, so there you go). I get asked a lot by someone interested in going to Disney World about what they should do to get things rolling, and when I start in, most will immediately say, "I had no idea there was so much involved!". A lot of times, after several different "Disney planning training sessions", they just go, "we've decided to to somewhere else". Good...makes the parks less crowded for me!
If I kept dwelling on this, I could probably come up with another ten list, but I think it's time to stop now. For every bad guest behavior that happens, there are fifty fabulously amazing Disney moments that happen, so you get over it quickly (unlike the 'real world' where, for every good thing that happens, expect three bad ones, or is that just me?). There are moments where I let the madness suck me in and start to ruin my day, so I take my usual course of action; pop a Xanax, grab a favorite snack, and park my rear on a park bench and watch the bad behavior show as a spectator instead of a participant or a recipient. Now you can allow yourself to sing "Let It Go"!!!