Walt Disney World (FL)

Avoiding A Case of The Grumps

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Copyright 2014 Claire Nat
Looks like Grumpy has a case of the Grumps.

When it comes to Walt Disney World, it needs to be understood that it is almost like stepping into a different country. Suddenly your life has background music, everything is 20% more expensive, and anything taking place outside of Disney consciousness feels incredibly irrelevant.

Unfortunately, it also means coming into contact with more than a few people with the Grumps.

No, I’m not talking about Grumpy, one of the Seven Dwarfs (though he may suffer from a chronic case). I am talking about the Grumps, a feeling you get where everything is wrong and nothing is good. When a person or group of people gets the Grumps, they can contain a Dementor’s touch (if you don’t mind me stepping away from Disney to include a Harry Potter reference) and ruin the happiness you have.

People with the Grumps are everywhere, but they seem to thrive in Disney Parks. Have to wait for the monorail for more than 10 minutes? Rant and rave to the cast member, loudly. Stuck in a queue that hasn’t moved in a while? Make sure everyone around you knows how displeased you are. Does it seem like that person in the motorized scooter doesn’t need that scooter? Make sure your groans and eye rolls are heard and seen!

So what is the best way to keep the Grumps at bay? Take this advice:

Copyright 2010 Claire Nat
Why so grumpy, Minnie?

Step 1: Don’t Let the Grumps Destroy Your Happiness.

Just because people with the Grumps are having a Moment doesn’t mean your enjoyment has to burn up. Most of the time, it’s as easy as stepping away to the other side of the street or exiting the gift shop. But sometimes it’s the person eating next to you or the family behind you in the queue. How do you escape that?

Sometimes it’s by looking inward and cheering up your group. Talk to each other about the fun stuff you’ve done. Make your plans for the next few hours. If you’re splitting up, discuss a meeting time and place. Share photos. Play a game.

But occasionally, it’s by looking outward. Do they need some help making plans? Does their child need a new game to play? Or do they just need to vent to someone? Smile and nod and let them get it out of their system. These people aren’t always Grumps, you know. (But make sure you gauge if that person really wants to be talked to. Sometimes attempting to engage someone to cheer them up only makes things worse.)

Copyright 2010 Claire Nat
Cast Members can be very good at treating a case of the Grumps. Berlina did that for us!

Step 2: Don’t Become the Grump.

This is tough. Even if we’ve made all the plans in the World, things can just fall through. The Fastpass+ queue is longer than the actual line. The food tastes bad. The bus will never come! 

It can be as easy as taking a deep breath and counting to ten. Sometimes it might take a little more: we can remember why we’re there in the first place. Take out our phones and browse all the pictures of the amazing trip we’ve had so far. Or just smile!

Don’t let one moment of chaos spoil the whole trip. Things happen. We just need to be smart enough to ease out of a sticky situation instead of creating more of the mess. And when we look back on the problem, it will reveal itself to be pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things!

Step 3: Understand that We All Get the Grumps 

Copyright 2014 Claire Nat
Most characters at Disney Parks have smiles! Smile along with them!

Someone you meet might be the sweetest, most amazing person you’ll ever meet. Unfortunately, you end up meeting them at their worst moment, and your first impression is negative.

We all suffer from getting the Grumps. Once we realize that, someone having a Grump moment (whether it is us or someone around us) can be understood as someone who is doing something that has been experienced by every person, either at Walt Disney World or in the Real World.

So in your upcoming trip, keep that Grump attitude at bay, embrace whatever joys or pains come your way, and the Happiest Place on Earth will stay that way!

(Hey, that rhymes!)


Have you gotten the chance to help out a person suffering from the Grumps at Walt Disney World? Has anyone ever helped you? Do you have any more tips for maintaining a positive attitude in negative circumstances? Comment below!


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Claire Nat

I've been enjoying Walt Disney World since my Nana pushed my sister's and my strollers back in the late 1980s. I enjoy my day job here in the Denver area as a teacher and music coordinator at our church. I love music, reading, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Michigan sports!

10 thoughts on “Avoiding A Case of The Grumps

  • One thing we can always count on during a visit at WDW is either myself and/or my husband having a little meltdown. Once that happens, we do a reset and then we know we’re good the rest of the trip. Knowing this mini meltdown is inevitable, we now embrace the reset moment and hope for it happens early in the trip.

  • In an attempt to avoiding becoming Grumps ourselves, we actually make a game of it and count the Grumps we encounter at Disney. All those crying kids or the ones throwing a fit over whatever perceived slight we count. Our faves are when the adults lose it of course as those are worth “bonus points”. It’s a fun game and can distract you from that never-ending queue with something to do…

  • Funny, but unfortunately true. We call it our “snickers” meltdown, usually occurs when someone is hungry!!

  • When someone in my family starts to have the grumps, I think it’s super important to stop and reassess. Are hunger or needing to go to the bathroom playing a part? Is someone tired and/or overstimulated? Am I pushing too hard to complete the itinerary?

    My son started our first morning at AK in a horrible mood. He was tired from time change and probably a little overwhelmed with all the activity of several days. I was pushing really hard to keep on track with our touring plan, until he saw Wilderness Explorers and he got totally interested in it. I was wise enough at that point to regroup and focus on WE, which he adored, and really allowed everyone to slow down and soak in AK.

  • We like to call this having “too much Disney”. I think people are just underprepared for the heat and the people which is enough to make the sanest of people get a little crazy. We try to just ignore it.

  • Another piece of advice I have is: Don’t ignore the root cause of a small case of the grumps, or a larger one will be along shortly!

    I’ve found that too often, either my husband and I will start having issues rebounding from things like long lines or the heat, and I’ll push us to just continue on with our plans for the day. This means we have an even bigger meltdown later! It works much better to realize we’ve been pushing ourselves too hard, and take that as a sign to cut the day short, or spend an hour in some A/C, even if it means missing a FastPass or 2.

  • My mom and I like to call this “having a Disney meltdown.” It usually happens when someone is hot, tired or hungry. And be warned, adults have these meltdowns too! It’s not just the kids who need to take a break and find a quiet spot.

    • totally agree that a lot of times the grumps begin due to being hot,tired or hungry. I know I’d be susceptible to this so we’ve always tried to avoid the hotter months and higher crowds by going in an off peak time in the winter. Nice moderate temps and fewer crowds are like an inoculation against the grumps.

    • Sleep-deprived & dehydrated, sunburnt sweaty misery means it’s time to grab some water & a snack, then head to your nearest AC theater.

      MK- Hall of Presidents or Carousel of Progress
      EP- Ellen’s Energy rejuvenator
      HS- just leave this park for a pool break… come back later
      AK- Lion King or Nemo show

      Try to intercept exhaustion before it takes its toll on your party.

  • “The bus will never come!” I laughed out loud at that, as I have a picture of my grumpy kids sitting on a bench at Wilderness Lodge very early in the morning, waiting for an Animal Kingdom bus they swore was never coming. Not the best way to start a day.

    We were at DLR just a few weeks ago, and my 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter got in line for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at DCA. At the last minute, my daughter decided she didn’t want to go on. My son was so angry with her and I was greeted at the exit by two fighting children. We walked away, went on another ride, and came back later. When my son started to get worked up again about how much longer the wait now was, a cast member recognized us from our earlier scene (so embarrassing), and she led us to the front of the queue. We thanked her profusely (and again after the ride), then put in a good word for her at the Chamber of Commerce. She taught us all a great lesson in patience, kindness and Disney Magic that morning.

    As you say, being grumpy happens, even at the happiest and most magical places. But remembering this too shall pass and trying to stay positive can help.


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