The wait is finally over. The months (possibly years) of saving are through and you have arrived on Walt Disney World property. With all of the exciting restaurants, shows, and attractions in your future – this will be the best vacation ever. Nothing could mar this perfect experience, right? Well … almost right. While Disney vacations are wonderful, no place on Earth is truly perfect. In part, this can be blamed on people. People are imperfect and complicated, which can throw a wrench in an itinerary. (And Disney is full of them.) Whether you’re dealing with tough personalities in the parks or even in your own traveling party, here are some tips to navigate these conflicts.
1. Talk to Cast Members
Picture yourself standing in a two-hour line for Space Mountain. You’re patiently moving through the queue. Suddenly, a group of kids cut the line. Unfortunately, this is common and can dampen anyone’s day. In cases like this where guests are blatantly breaking park rules, point this out to the nearest Cast Member. They are trained to defuse tense situations, while also upholding standards for guest conduct. Also, if another guest ever makes you feel unsafe, please report the behavior immediately. Disney’s security is a force to be reckoned with and they have zero tolerance for unsavory actions. At the end of the day, Cast Members are ultimately there to improve your experience and keep you safe in the parks. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help.
2. Split Up the Gang
Here’s where things can get tricky. What do you do when the cranky people are in your party? If you’re traveling with adults or adolescent/teenage children, there is a simple solution. Encourage your group to occasionally split off into smaller groups. (Fellow travelers may even want some alone time.) The larger the group, the harder it will be to get everyone to agree on the same attraction and dining itinerary. In fact, I know many families that go their separate ways all day but always reconvene for dinner and the nightly fireworks. Trust us. If someone in your party feels that they aren’t being heard, they will settle into a bad mood faster than you can say “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo.” Accepting that it’s impossible to please everyone and encouraging more freedom amongst your traveling companions, can do wonders.
3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Nap
So what do you do when that cranky person is a baby or a toddler? Well, Disney is one of the most exhausting vacations one can take thanks to the miles and miles of walking. Even with a stroller in tow, your little ones can get worn out from the humidity, long days, and general over-stimulation. To reduce the number of meltdowns, make sure your little tykes are getting enough rest. Many families swear by going back to their resorts midday for a power nap. And others will plan an entire “rest day” during the trip that only consists of sleeping in and lounging by the hotel pool. It’s tempting to fill every minute of a Disney itinerary, but it is possible to wear yourself out beyond the point of enjoyment. Don’t let that happen.
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4. Take Advantage of Low-Wait Attractions
The craziest crowds seem to multiple in new and popular areas of the park. Whether you’re visiting during the holidays, a weekend, or on an exceptionally beautiful day – you can expect certain spots to have more cranky guests than others. If your patience (or sanity) needs a break, consider riding low-wait attractions or hanging out in less crowded areas of the parks. For example, Animal Kingdom is full of serene and practically hidden walking paths. EPCOT’s World Showcase pavilions are full of street performers and short films in spacious air-conditioned theaters. And despite being the busiest park, the Magic Kingdom is stuffed with beloved low-wait attractions like Mickey’s Philarmagic and Country Bear Jamboree. The crowds don’t have to stop the fun, but they may switch up your itinerary. Flexibility is key.
5. Have Grace for Yourself and Others
When tactics to avoid crowds and to find personal space fails, then make sure you packed some patience. Realize that most guests are coming in with the same mindset as you. They have waited and saved for this vacation. They want nothing more than to experience the vacation of their dreams. And unfortunately, this can distract people to the point where they may bump into you, block your view, or hurt your feelings without even realizing it. In those cases – take a deep breath, count to ten, and move on with your day. In the heat of the moment, it can be tempting to confront others. (This is especially true on extremely hot and busy days.) In the end, most confrontations only result in ruffled feathers and a sour mood for the rest of the day. Don’t let anyone detract from the magic of your trip.
While some tips are easier to execute than others, you’ll be glad you prepped for this vacation struggle. With a little extra patience, flexibility, and logical reasoning – the magic of a Disney trip can remain untainted.