I just got back from my latest visit to Europe, and as I walked through the crowded streets of foreign countries, I could not help but realize that my days spent in the Theme Parks actually helped prepare me for cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, or even cities Stateside like New York. Sure, Disney World and Europe seem like polar opposites. But if you take a step back to think about it, the skills needed to navigate both areas are actually more similar than you might think. Here are the top three ways I noticed (at least as an American who did not grow up in a big, congested city).
How to Handle Crowds
Europe during the tourist season is an absolute zoo, especially in cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, where the tourist and locals end up doing many of the same things, which only makes the crowds compound. Any Disney Fanatic with Parks experience knows how to weave their way through a crowd, and Disney World is a great opportunity to learn how to handle crowds of people who do not speak the same language as you. I also personally experienced several instances where people tried to crowd around and cut in front of me, and I stood my ground the same way I would stand my ground in line or at a fireworks viewing spot. It was incredibly effective. And, on a more positive note, Disney Parks are also a great spot to meet and have fun with people from all over the world as one would in the great cosmopolitan cities of the world.
You can’t visit a European city without the expectation that you will be walking several kilometers a day. Likewise, you can’t visit Walt Disney World without being prepared to walk several kilometers a day. A seasoned Disney Parks visitor has subconsciously built up legs that can earn their place in any walking city. Personally, I walk an average of 6-8 miles every time I spend a day at Walt Disney World, and that puts the walking I did in Amsterdam and Copenhagen into serious perspective.
Understanding and Utilizing Public Transportation
This point may only really be applicable to some Americans, but for anybody who does not already live in a big city where utilizing mass transportation is a must, a visit to Disney World offers a fantastic and friendly way for people to get used to the public transportation. Disney World has trains, buses, and watercraft, and it provides a great subconscious way to train yourself–and especially your kids–how to utilize these systems in the “real world.” Walt Disney himself intended for his monorail to be a demonstration of practical application rather than just a Theme Park attraction, and Walt Disney World was praised for being one of the greatest spectacles of urban planning in America when it opened in 1971. Personally, I went almost my entire childhood in America without utilizing public transportation unless I visited New York City, Washington, DC, and Disney World, and I am grateful for the experience.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the overall sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.