Park Peeves 2011 by Steve Russo
Our yearly look at the things that tick me off.
Read it here!
Park Peeves 2011 by Steve Russo
Our yearly look at the things that tick me off.
Read it here!
I have three park-peeves, one of which comes with a jaw-dropping story in its brazen idiocy.
1. The Need-a-Nap Parents. These parents need rest time just as much as their kids do but instead they physically take it out on their kids in displays that make me wish I had CPS on speed dial. I don't mean butt swats or wrist smacks, either. I mean draw the hand back and SLAP them, open palm, as hard as they can or yank their arm so hard I'm surprised the kid's shoulder doesn't pop out of socket. We're talking abusive behavior. One of the worst instances of this I ever saw was when a mother came around the front of the stroller because her child was leaning over the front a little too far trying to see everything... and instead of telling the child to sit back or moving them back physically, this mother slapped the child clear across the face and HARD... hard enough to leave a huge angry red welt on the side of the child's face. It was appalling. If the mother would hit her child THAT hard in PUBLIC, what did she do in private?!
2. The ESP-ers. You know, when you are standing somewhere decently out of the way to look at something and another guest walks up to you, stops, and either bores a hole in your skull with their eyes (as if willing you with The Force) until you move, or haughtily says "Ex-CUSE me!" before shoving past you... when the walkway was completely clear behind you. God forbid they take two extra steps to walk around you.
3. The Entitlement Parents. The ones who think the parks are there solely for the enjoyment of their children, and you can just go to you-know-where in a hand basket if you disagree (or are a party without young children). It doesn't matter that you paid the same amount they did to get into the parks; they have children with them so their money is more important than yours, as is their enjoyment. If you DO have children, yours are inferior to theirs because theirs are much more adorable and the world knows it.
The worst instance of this happened in 2009. I'm an adult in my mid 20s and still love going to Disney World with my parents every winter. As a party of adults we enjoy eating at the nicer restaurants and doing Disney the "grown up" way. One of our rare treats was being seated right against the aquariums at The Coral Reef for lunch, which hadn't happened since I was 4 in 1988.
We had ordered our lunch and were in the middle of eating it when the Mickey diver appeared with his handlers. Before we knew what was happening we were MOBBED by this family with three children who looked to be 8-10 years old (old enough to know better). The mother set one of the kids in the empty chair at our table, letting her stomp all over my mother and I's purses, my dad's hat, and my expensive sunglasses. The father almost shoved me chest first into my plate and the other two children were standing on the ledge in front of the aquarium RIGHT OVER OUR FOOD, one even tapping the toe of her sneaker right over my plate. All three kids were clamoring and screaming the entire time because oh dear GOD it was MICKEY. In the WATER. Our poor server was aghast as was most everyone else in the entire restaurant. Just imagine a sea of D: D: D: D: D: D: faces.
When we finally got the family to MOVE (because seriously, oh my God), the mother turned and snidely snapped at my mother "Well THANK YOU for remembering Disney World is for CHILDREN!" Before flouncing out of the restaurant as though they were the ones who had been wronged.
All of that is in no way exaggerated. If anything, it's understated.
I think the other cast members (manager included) were afraid of us going nuclear on them after the family finally left but we couldn't hold them at fault... after all, how was anybody to know something like THAT would happen? At least after the whole fiasco the Mickey diver came right up to our table and posed until we were able to take a picture of him and gave us the thumbs up before swimming away.
Did I mention it was the off-season in the middle of the afternoon so almost all of the other tables along the aquarium were empty? Because they were.
I'm going to vote for the "Know-it-Alls." This is the person or persons who absolutely positively knows every last detail about Disney World, 99% of which is wrong. Pick your favorite Disney urban myth (usually debunked on the web circa 1995) and he or she is telling it to everyone within hearing range. Mr. I know everything wil tell you that the hearse in front of the Haunted Mansion is the one that carried Brigham Young's body, the plane on the Great Movie Ride is the one from Casablanca, Walt Disney's head and body are frozen and hidden in the park... This person is most aggravating in really long queues or on bus rides, and ultimately makes you want to either a) stand up and correct them in front of their friends, family and rest of the bus (even though they know it's true because they saw it in an email forwarded to them from their second cousin, four time's removed, bestest friend who worked as a waittres in the favorite restaurant of a Disney Imagineer) or b) beat them soundly over their head and shoulders with the nearest plush animal.
Similar to the Know-It-Alls is the "Heard it Alls." This group has been on every ride way too often and knows every line spoken by a cast member, cartoon or animatronic figure in the park and must say it at exactly the right time... just in case the voice in the Haunted Mansion forgets this one time to challenge you to find a way out of the room with no doors and no windows (there is always his way of course.) See also, the "Respond to it alls" who feel the need to talk back to the animatronic figure, voice, and cartoon character, as if the Voice in the haunted mansion is going to start a dialogue.
Lastly, the "It Used to be Better" people. These people have attended Disney World every year since it opened, and went to Disneyland before that, and no matter what, "It used to be better." This crowd will tell you how Communicore was better than Innoventions, that Larry Dobkin was the best narrator in Spaceship Earth (better than Jeremy Irons, Dame Judie Dench, or that total hack, Walter Cronkite), that getting rid of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was the worst mistake ever, and so on. Don't get me wrong, we all have our favorites from Yesterday Land, and the imagineers don't always hit their updates to rides out of the park (see Journey to Imagination circa 1999-2001). I can appreciate someone who loves Disney so much that they come back frequently, but either enjoy the park that is there, wait until the park changes, or invent a time machine and go back to Disney World circa 1983. Please do not tell me all the ways the park is better.
Another great installment, Steve! And humpback Dad isn't just in the parks. Try sitting in the aisle of an airplane some time during boarding!!
One I discovered last trip with two of my nephews - The I Know Your Kids Better Than You guest. The award winner goes to the woman in the queue who basically told my brother-in-law that taking his not yet 4 year old son on Tower of Terror was being abusive. There are ways to make sure that a parent knows what they're getting their young children into (I've been known to discuss It's Tough To Be A Bug with parents of young children in the ant hill), but to basically say you should be reported to CPS for taking the kid on an attraction that he's solidly tall enough for, and excited about going 'really fast' in? To borrow a line from SNL (Seth and Amy) - Really?
Ugh, hunchback dad...I'm 5' nothing and am in precise striking range for both backpacks and elbows. Sigh.
Very fun list. Thanks Steve!
Keep Moving Forward!
Yeah, the large family groups just annoy me. Congrats on buying matching shirts. Now everyone can hate you equally and see even better what a wall of traffic you're creating everywhere.
Not to mention, they're almost always out-of-towners. (It's not like "Los Angeles Cheerleaders" or "Glendale whatevers") it's some family from across the country and they have NO CLUE about the rules or etiquette at the park and invariably use Flash on rides, or AUDIBLY SCOFF if someone is passing in front of them in the giant thick queue for World of Color.
I love these articles Steve! I will never forget the Bus Delayer who held up at least four buses at once, an epic feat in such an efficiently run place.
This occured in a cramped bus area (I think it was at one of the water parks) where there is one "lane" for parked buses and only one passing lane next to it. Bus A parked next to a long line and Bus B, seeing the long line and destined for the same resort, idled in the passing lane to let off passengers and take on the second half of the long line. Usually this goes without a hitch, blocking the passing lane for only a minute, but one woman stopped on the steps of Bus B and refused to move until her family caught up. ("They're right behind me!" ppffht.) So Bus A, filled and ready, was blocked in, Bus B couldn't move with her standing on the steps, and a lineup of at least two buses began behind Bus B. It obviously irritated me but I was also impressed against my will by how she singlehandedly put an entire bus stop out of commission. *sigh*
I am a Disneyland pace car and space invader!!! I practice my pace car habit in the Indy Tunnel, I like to look at the tunnel, I like the quiet/echoing sound effects, I like the slower pace with no one in front of me or behind me, sure people pass me all the time, even politely bunch up behind me till they suspect that I am a "pace car" and wait for the next wide spot to rush by, they RUSH BY, why do I ask, we are all headed to that long line at the end of the tunnel, to stop, to wait, to have folks crowd in behind and front of us. I pace to save gas, much like we should be doing in downtown urban cities, the lights are in synch, so pace yourself!!!!!
Space Invader, maybe because I didn't play the game as a child, I am making up for lost time. I practice this in the waiting area for Crush in DCA. Folks walk in, drop themselves along the wall, leaving about 3 feet between each group of people. Or maybe just plop down in the middle of the floor. 5 mins before the show doors open, the crowd of waiting visitors ( off season, though I don't believe in it) extend out into the viewing lobby of the center. So I arrive, weave my way up to the front, by myself, and find plenty of space. Why? Well I like the back row, far left corner seat. Its quiet, few folks venture that far left and I am the first one out the door when the show is over
Hey - I resemble that remark! I'm a hunchback dad - mainly because lockers are too expensive for us and we try to reduce our costs on food and drinks by bringing water bottles and snacks. We're Disneylanders but have been to WDW and know the issues. I, for one, do try to remove my backpack in queues and crowded areas since it's actually better than keeping it on (you can move more up front!). If lockers were cheaper, and food cheaper, and.... (look, being unemployed 2 years does take its toll) well, you get the picture. The ESPers is a great one (especially given the recent thread on electric cart users).
"[Disneyland] has that thing - the imagination, and the feeling of happy excitement - I knew when I was a kid." - Walt Disney
I have a new category this year, stemming from an experience I had during our last trip. This is the "Complete and Total Idiot Who Should Not Be Allowed to Leave Her Own House."
I was standing somewhere in Adventureland, all the way to the side of the walkway, leaning against a fence. There was actually a sign near me that said "No stroller parking." There I am, waiting for the rest of my family to meet me, and a woman starts pushing a stroller into my legs.
"This isn't a stroller parking area," I said to the woman, pointing at the sign. She continued to push the stroller into me, as if she were trying to push me out of the way. I repeated, "You can't park your stroller here."
Her reply? "I'm not parking the stroller; I'm just looking for someplace out-of-the-way to leave it while we ride the Jungle Cruise."
And to think people like that are allowed to reproduce...
And did you help her leave it someplace out-of-the-way, like hidden behind the Indy Speedway?
I wish this could focus on Disneyland as well as WDW...Even though most things happen at both we have special people at Disneyland. Im lucky enough to have a pass so i don't really let people bother me because i can always come back. So the people that insist the only place for them and there lil kids to be is in Fantasyland, when in fact they can go anywhere in the whole entire park and ride everything but the coasters. I have taken my 1 year old on every ride in Fantasyland and hope that he knows he might never get to go back because i just refuse to hold him for 45 minutes to ride Peter Pan. Pinochio is totally empty, but Peter Pan is taking up half my day because some people won't venture out of the land. Its obscenely crowded and hard to even walk through. The other culprit is Dumbo...i mean really and hour wait, ill go wait for the Rockets for 20 minutes. There are other places in the park than Fantasyland for kids people...go out and explore. ive been taking my son since he was 6 weeks old.
I'm the Disney Princess your Mama Warned you About!
Keep them coming.
What about the I'm sitting here no matter what the CM says people. We all know them you enter the Hall of Presidents, It's tough to be a bug, or any theatre type attraction--the CM's announcing to everyone to pick a row and follow it until the end filling every seat and please do not stop in the middle of a row. An there they are with hundreds of people waiting 2 or 3 x-large people sitting in the middle of a row. Everyone must climb around them if you want to sit in that row. They give everyone nasty looks as they are climbed over because they are entitle to sit in the middle of the theatre because their special. CM's will make the announce to move to the end time and time again but they kept sitting there inconviencing everyone.
The Center Stoppers – this is, without a doubt, my single biggest pet peeve at Walt Disney World. Whenever you enter a theater, there is a cast member urging everyone to choose a row and then walk all the way to the end of the row before sitting, ensuring there’s room for everyone (Note: This is sometimes waived when, during non-peak times, there is obviously a crowd that will not fill the theater). Invariably, one or two groups will stop in the dead center of the theater and take their seats. This causes everyone behind them to have to climb over the entire party. It’s one of the rudest acts imaginable and, to me, really demonstrates what has been termed the Entitlement Theory—“I’ve paid my money and will sit wherever is best for me and I don’t care about anyone else.”
This is something I encountered during my (ongoing) vacation at Disneyland. Some rides are thrilling or surprising and sometimes you just have to scream -- I'm not talking about those perfectly natural responses. It's the overexcited little girls with those eardrum-bursting shriek or the people who carry on like they're being murdered, and do so either excessively or in entirely inappropriate circumstances (Really? You're feel the need to scream during World of Color?). The best (worst?) encounter with The Siren was on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This one little girl a few cars back screamed as the train was starting, any time it did anything other than move on a perfectly straight, level plane, and as the train was unloading. As in, people were leaving a perfectly stationary train, and she was screaming so piercingly and loudly I'm surprised anyone near her retained their hearing. All I have to say is, why?
Also, as an addition to the Humpback Dad: There's also the fact that they feel this need to root around in their backpacks constantly, holding up the line while they try to find the water bottle/snack/small child hidden deep within the recesses of their backpack.
They've got to add this word to the dictionary!The Darla
Reader Katherine N. suggested this one and I think its a beauty. Its named for that terrifying little girl in Finding Nemo who had a less than stellar record caring for animals. Ive witnessed a number of Darlas at Walt Disney World, mostly at Animal Kingdom, but Katherines experience best sums it up.
Used as a verb, an example being, "In that famous Twilight Zone episode ("It's a Good Life"), the man got Darla'd when little Anthony Fremont wished him into the corn field."
"It is, it is, a glorious thing, to be a Pirate King."
-- Gilbert & Sullivan, "Pirates of Penzance, or, The Slave of Duty"
The Fanatical Zealot (aka The Commando)
I really hate this guy! But see it all too often. We have taken our kids since they were three and as a parent you absolutely know when they are done and need the mid day break. Pushing them further only makes the parents more irratated and irratating to everyone else, but the kids will only get worse and be worse for everyone else.
Does this whine come with cheese?
I've encountered most all of the people you've described in your Pet Peeves blogs over the years. The one I have started seeing more and more is the YOU'RE ALL BOOKED? crowd. These people enter a restaurant and answer "No, I didn't know I needed one!" when asked if they have reservations. When told that the restaurant is fully booked or that there is an hour-plus wait, these people become exasperated with the poor host or hostess. "But I'm on the DINING PLAN!" Where else am I supposed to use my table service credit?" We encountered so many of these people on our trip last week. Most of them were incredulous when told that Le Cellier was fully booked for the rest of lunch and dinner. Most people acted like Le Cellier was the last watering hole in the desert, shoulders slumping as they were told they could try Rose & Crown or any of the other restaurants, be they TS or CS, in all of Epcot. I don't ever book DDP without making at least one reservation per day of our trip. I don't leave anything to chance anymore. The funniest people were the ones who showed up at Tusker House and were told there was at least an hour wait. They would ask, "Is there another sit down restaurant in Animal Kingdom that's on the dining plan?" The answer, of course, was Yak & Yeti. People decided to walk all the way over to Y&Y to try their luck there, thinking, of course, the wait would be shorter. I give props to the hosts and hostesses for remaining polite when dealing with the multiple people without reservations. I couldn't do it.
I usually love these. It was just snarky and cynical in a way that just wasn't very playful and just comes off very snobbish and uppity. A few of these it almost seems like we're reaching for things to whine about rather than enjoying the trip.
That said, this is an annual article and I realize that the well must be running a little dry. And the tone of the article should have a little snarkiness to it. I still like Russos's stuff the best and this is an entertaining enough read, but I fear he cast a pretty big net with these peeves.
This is something I encountered during my (ongoing) vacation at Disneyland. Some rides are thrilling or surprising and sometimes you just have to scream -- I'm not talking about those perfectly natural responses. It's the overexcited little girls with those eardrum-bursting shriek or the people who carry on like they're being murdered, and do so either excessively or in entirely inappropriate circumstances (Really? You're feel the need to scream during World of Color?). The best (worst?) encounter with The Siren was on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This one little girl a few cars back screamed as the train was starting, any time it did anything other than move on a perfectly straight, level plane, and as the train was unloading. As in, people were leaving a perfectly stationary train, and she was screaming so piercingly and loudly I'm surprised anyone near her retained their hearing. All I have to say is, why?QUOTE]
I often ecounter the same problem with ride screamers. Like you say, it is almost from beginning to end, even during the gentle parts of the ride, and it is ear-splitting. I find that if I am close to such a person I cannot enjoy the ride - my brain just keeps repeating "when will this end - can I get off this ride?" Such screamers have ruined many a ride and Fastpass for me. I can't figure out why they do it, other than it is some version of "it is better to look good than to feel good". It almost seems like those who do it are trying to show off what a good time they are having as if they are at a dance club. I can remember a time when this was not a big problem - it seems to have cropped up in the last ten years or so.
I have found that most of the people who scream constantly and as loud as they can on coasters are young females. Whenever I ride Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain (or any Disney coaster), while approaching the loading area I look at who will be behind me or immediately in front of me, and if I see females between the ages of 13 and 30, I allow others to go ahead of me in line (there are a few exceptions where I can tell from a person's facial features that their personality is not likely to be of the constant screaming variety). That way, the screamers can have their fun and I can have mine. Ideally I like to ride coasters with young families or males in the seats around me. I don't mind a few screams on coasters, it is just the beginning-to-end show-off screamers that give me headaches.
I can't understand the screaming either especially as Disney coasters are relatively tame....
It is known that the aircraft did appear in several films from the 1940's to the 1970's, but not Casablanca.