I love every aspect of our trips to Disney and cherish each and every memory. At times however, there is a darker side to the Disney experience and it has nothing to do with the Cast Members, Mickey or Minnie. I’m talking about the few souls that decide they’d rather be grumpy and snap at people around them. This mean-sprited behavior can cast a shadow over even the most exuberant Disney visitor.
Why do such negative encounters affect us specifically at the parks? I have been pondering this question after a rather unsavory experience at the parks with a disgruntled fellow. Here is what I think: My conclusion is that a day at a Disney park is magical experience that returns us to the awe and wonder of our child-like innocence. With our hearts open wide, minds ready to explore the wonder and the beauty around us we relax our guard in this magical place. Sadly, we become vulnerable to attack from people who act or speak rudely.
Here is our list of “do’s and dont’s” that’ll help us all have a better time in the parks.
1. Choose to respond gently and respectfully when irritated.
The Good Book says “a gentle answer turns away wrath” and I think that’s spot on. To respond angrily to an upset person only serves to escalate a situation into something nasty that you wouldn’t want the children around you to witness.
2. Prefer others above yourself.
For instance, my daughter had her heart set on riding the pink frocked elephant on the Dumbo ride. When the gates opened and we made our way to the Dumbo of choice, we were met by another mother and daughter who were approaching the same, pink Dumbo. I encouraged my daughter to relinquish her claim and let the other little girl have the pink one and choose a different vehicle. In the end, this exchange served two purposes. The first was to avoid unnecessary confrontation and more importantly, teaching my daughter a lesson on how not to be selfish and self-centered.
3. Be helpful.
On our last trip to Disney, the weather was extraordinarily hot and humid. I came upon a woman in the bathroom changing her daughters diaper and the poor little girl had started to develop heat rash. I offered to give her the small container of powder in my bag (I pack like a Girl Scout in preparation for spending a day in the parks). I knew it would be a simple matter of stopping at CVS on our way to our hotel outside the park to replace what I was offering. The woman I spoke to was extremely appreciative and after seeing the smile on the little girl’s face once she was more comfortable, I decided my sacrifice was was well worth it.
4. Be considerate.
Butting in line, driving a stroller recklessly through throngs of people running over toes as you go, throwing trash on the ground, grumbling to cast members about wait times, yelling at your children in public… these are all things I think we could agree are negative to anyone’s experience in Disney World.
Perhaps with the above suggestions in mind we can pause and think a moment when we become irritated and want to lash out at someone or something in the park. Instead, stop and remember that this is a valuable individual with needs just like you. A little patience, understanding and kind communication can clear up most issues that we have in the parks and in life.
Walt Disney did his utmost to design a place with magical proportions and endless wonder and that is something we all get to enjoy together. Next time I’m in the park… I’m going to look for opportunities to spread a little sunshine even to people who are decidedly grumpy. Remember the Disney film Pollyanna? She decided to be positive and encouraging despite the folks around her, and that attitude changed an entire town!
Thanks Walt for the reminder that we are all in this world together and that none of us have a free pass to be jerks!