A while back, I wrote a post about the relative offense of various theme park etiquette infractions. How bad is it to stop in a walkway, skip the tip, or decorate your door? Since that post, I’ve been back to Walt Disney World a few times and have noticed more things that might, or might not be breaches of civilized behavior.
As before, my caveats apply: With any opinion-based topic, there is bound to be a substantial gray area. What slightly miffs one person might absolutely horrify another. In the interest of promoting discussion, here are some possible theme park infractions and my personal assessment of their level of severity.
I’m going to rank items on a scale of 1-5.
1 = Perfectly fine. No bother at all.
2 = Mildly annoying.
3 = Pretty yucky.
4 = Bad. This is really no way to behave.
5 = Really super bad. Just stop now, you’re embarrassing yourself and those around you.
Wearing Pajamas to the food court
What’s the issue?: You just woke up and need your coffee. I roll out of bed at home to get my brew, why not do it on vacation?
My rating?: 1 if you’re under the age of 8. 3 if you’re under the age of 18. 4-5 if you’re an adult.
My rationale?: I’ve got no problem with little kids in their PJs in the food court for an evening snack. I’m somewhat less tolerant of the packs of teenage girls that head to breakfast wearing PJ bottoms and a tank top during cheerleading competition season. While Disney may feel like home, it is not actually your house. It takes about a second to throw on some jeans, but I give teens a moderate pass because they’re still learning the ropes. However, on several occasions, I’ve encountered adult men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s in the resort food courts wearing pajamas. Be a grown-up and put on some actual clothes.
Saving seats at the pool
What’s the issue?: You’re going to want a prime pool-side chaise later. Better mark our territory by leaving some towels and personal items on the chairs we want.
My rating?: 2-4 depending on the time of year and the duration of the hold.
My rationale?: It’s not really a big deal if one member of your party heads down to stake out a spot and the others follow down within half an hour or so, particularly if it’s not during peak swim season. However, leaving personal items on chairs and then heading out to the parks for several hours is just plain rude.
Saving a spot on an attraction queue
What’s the issue?: The line is long and we don’t all want to wait. I’ll just hold the spot while the rest of the family chills out elsewhere.
My rating?: Usually a 4.
My rationale?: It’s one thing if you’re in a two-hour queue and a youngster needs a brief restroom break. You can apologize to your neighbors and pop out and back for just a second. Anything other than this is a big no-no in my book. Most queues are configured such that in order for someone to get to a friend in line, you have to squeeze past potentially hundreds of other people, bumping elbows and stepping on toes the whole way. But more importantly, not waiting with your group misrepresents the number of guests in line to both cast members and other guests, making projected wait times inaccurate. Also, it displays an unseemly sense of entitlement.
Taking the pen, soap, notepad, or plastic dry cleaning bag from your hotel room
What’s the issue?: It’s in the room that I paid for, doesn’t that make it mine?
My rating?: 1.
My rationale?: If it’s a disposable item in the room, yes it is yours. Moreover, if you really like a particular disposable item in your room, the yummy smelling shampoo for example, then you can feel free to ask your housekeeper for a few extra as a souvenir. Nine times out of ten, they’ll say yes.
Taking the Bible from your hotel room
What’s the issue?: Taking the Bible? It’s not disposable and it’s not mine, isn’t that a big time sin?
My rating?: 1.
My rationale?: Bibles are in hotel rooms due to a missionary effort by the Gideon organization, aimed at providing access to the word of God to all who want it. The Bibles are there to provide comfort to those in need. If you fall into that category, for whatever reason, and feel that keeping the Bible will help your spirit, then feel free to keep it. No questions asked.
Taking a towel animal from your hotel room
What’s the issue?: Those towel animals are sooooo cute. I want to enjoy them at home as well as at my hotel.
My rating?: 1.
My rationale?: I’ve spoken with a number of housekeepers and housekeeping managers at Walt Disney World. Every one has said that the decorated towel animals are yours to keep, if you desire. These are the ones that are held together with rubber bands, chenille stems, or tape, and decorated with stickers and the like. The classic three-towel Mickey shape you might find on your bed is just a nice arrangement of towels, leave those in the room.
Wearing your backpack while waiting in an attraction queue
What’s the issue?: I gotta take my valuables with me on the ride, what’s the problem?
My rating?: 3.
My rationale?: I’m not one who travels light. I tend to tote a large backpack in the parks, filled with enough rain ponchos and water bottles to survive anywhere on the flood-to-drought spectrum for at least a week. That’s fine, except when said backpack becomes a weapon. If you’re in tight quarters at Disney World, such as a narrow attraction queue, be aware that anyone behind you is in the line is a potential target for blunt force trauma. Move slowly, and if things are particularly close, take off the backpack and carry it in your hands for a while.
Sitting in the middle of the row
What’s the issue?: The best view is in the middle. That’s where I want to sit.
My rating?: 4
My rationale?: The best view may indeed be from the middle of the row, but clearly not everyone can sit there. If you absolutely MUST sit there (and I’m not sure why this would be the case), then stand in the aisle and let an appropriate number of people into the row until it’s half way full. If you park yourself in the middle at the outset, you’re posing a tripping hazard for other guests.
Not being ready at the security bag check
What’s the issue?: Everyone must have their bags inspected before entering the parks. It’s no surprise that you need to have thing ready to be searched.
My rating? 3-4
My rationale?: It’s no surprise that you need to have thing ready to be searched. Do everything you can to keep the line behind you moving. This means having your zippers unzipped, taking bags out of strollers, moving bulky items away from the bottom of the bag. Don’t make the guard’s job more challenging than it need to be, and don’t waste other guests’ time.
Messing with the wildlife
What’s the issue?: Those lizards, bunnies, squirrels, and ducks are adorable. Why can’t I play with them?
My rating: 5
My rationale: Disney can be a confusing place, with the line between real and imaginary easily blurred. But there are actual wild creatures inhabiting the parks. You’re on their turf, they’re not on yours. Don’t try to catch them, pick them up, or otherwise manhandle the wildlife. It’s really just cruel.
Leaving personal items in the resort halls or on the balconies
What’s the issue?: A view of your stuff interrupts other guests’ views of the resort themeing and decor.
My rating: 2-3
My rationale: I get it. You want to dry your swimsuit on the balcony or recharge your ECV in the hall so that it’s not in your way when you’re taking a shower or walking around the room. Makes sense, except that when it’s not in your way, it is in someone else’s way. I’ve paid a lot of money to get away from the clutter in my own house, I don’t want to go on vacation and encounter other people’s clutter. If you can keep it in your own space, please do so.
OK folks, it’s discussion time. Am I just a curmudgeon? Let me know (nicely) what I got wrong. What would you rank differently? Are there other park infractions that merit ranking? Tell us what’s on your mind.