When theme park visitors go bad
Written by Robert NilesTime for another edition of "Theme Park Guests Behaving Badly."
Published: June 24, 2011 at 1:01 PM
We visited the Disneyland Resort yesterday for Brian's 11th birthday. While we had our usual delightful time at Disneyland, I noticed three examples of people whose bad behavior was spoiling the moment for others.
(Pictures are unrelated to the story today, but include a few other notes I wanted to make.) Brian and his sister take the Mad Tea Party for a spin. I love how the mild California weather allows Disneyland to keep so many attractions out in the open like this.
First: Many of us have encountered Disney guests who, for whatever reason, have never heard of the Fastpass program. They blow up the first time they reach a queue merge point, loudly demanding to know why they are being held back while other people with little slips of paper in their hands get to jump ahead of them into the line.
Last night, as we returned to Space Mountain at 9:05 pm (having picked up our Fastpasses around 3 pm), we had to wait a moment while a man and woman laid into the cast members at the merge point, screaming at them for letting the Fastpass line through while they waited.
It amazes me how so many people in our world immediately default to the assumption that they're getting screwed when they encounter a situation that they don't understand. Usually, though, I see such scenes relatively early in the day, as visitors in a stand-by line get held at Fastpass return point for the first time. Nine in the evening was the latest in the day I've even seen this happen. Were they just not paying attention all day long? Or did they just arrive in the park, making them even more clueless visitors for blowing an entire day's ticket on the last three hours before closing?
I'm also grateful that the Disneyland Resort offers food selections that rise above carnival fare, such as the Planetary Pizza Salad (with pepperoni, Roma tomatoes, mixed olives, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and vinaigrette dressing for $8.49) at Redd Rockett's Pizza Port, a blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich (with fries or fruit, $10.19) at Tomorrowland Terrace, and a tofu rice bowl with Thai coconut curry sauce (with stir-fry vegetables and fortune cookie, $9.49) at the Lucky Fortune Cookery.
Second: I marvel at the thought that's gone into Disneyland's evening crowd control system. Disneyland each night constructs an elaborate system of traffic lanes that protect the places of people who've been waiting for the fireworks and Fantasmic! while swiftly moving other park traffic around them, instead of crushing up against those spectators as they try to walk to other attractions or out of the park.
But it seems that there's always some guy (and it is always a guy, in my experience) who sees the ropes, stanchions and flashlight-waving cast members and figures out that Disney's doing it all wrong, and if people would just listen to him, everything would work much better. Last night's guy was berating an unlucky cast member at the Adventureland entrance who was trying to keep the traffic moving in the one-way, counter-clockwise direction that Disneyland enforces around the Hub during and after the fireworks.
Mr. Smartpants wanted to go the other way, and couldn't see why a system that didn't make an exception for him could possibly work. Even as it did.
The entrance to Disney California Adventure is looking more and more like the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.
Finally: As we were waiting for churros behind a mother and her two small children, a guy in his late teens or early twenties decided that walking around the line was just too much hassle for him. So rather than break stride while running across Tomorrowland, he decided to hurdle the little kids. His girlfriend, appropriately mortified, turned to apologize to the mother as she ran behind her boyfriend. The mom didn't have time to respond before the couple ran away.
Since the mom didn't have time to say anything, I'll say it here. To the girlfriend: Your boyfriend is a selfish person who doesn't treat children with respect. And as a result, you're in a position where you feel like you have to apologize for your boyfriend's actions. Well, guess what? If you choose to spend the rest of your life with this guy, you'll be spending your life with a selfish man who treats children with disrespect and for whom you'll always have to be apologizing.
Keep that in mind, will you?
The Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta restaurant at California Adventure is coming along, but it's going to be a rush to make its announced July 1 opening date.
Please post in the comments your horror stories about fellow theme park guests.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
More Theme Park News
Previous article: What should Matt Ouimet do with the Cedar Fair amusement parks?
Stories from a Theme Park Insider
What's it like to work in a theme park? Stories from a Theme Park Insider takes you inside the famous tunnels and backstage at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for a look at how theme parks really work, sharing the funny moments and embarrassments that can happen when your job is someone else's vacation.
Order now: Kindle | iBooks | Paperback | Kindle (UK)
Theme Park Insider Guidebooks
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2014 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive