On any given week here at the SATURDAY SIX you’ll find us looking at our favorite attractions, hotels, or food in the theme park world we all love so much. However, sometimes we have to go even deeper. This week we are going to look at a subject that many guests think about, but often keep to themselves: Walt Disney World Pet Peeves. Like you, Dear Reader, I consider myself a relatively patient man who just wants to enjoy his time at Disney. That said, on rare occasions, I witness actions by other guests that are completely insignificant in the Big Picture Of Life, but absolutely drive me bananas. Today we are going to look at some of the things in which I felt wronged – imagined or otherwise – starting with…
# 6 – “Reserving” Lounge Chairs
For this one, I am going to have to begrudgingly give the offending perpetrators some credit. While most of us are relaxing and sleeping in on our vacation, there are a dedicated few who wake up at the crack of dawn just so they can go to a resort’s pool and put their stuff on lounge chairs. This is not just a WDW “thing” as I also witnessed it on the Disney Cruise Line (especially on sea days). Now, there are signs everywhere that specifically say you can’t do this, but finding a Cast Member who enforces this rule is rarer than seeing a working Yeti at Expedition Everest.
A walk around any WDW pool will show a sea of reserved lounge chairs, many of which are being held for family members who don’t even end up going to the pool. How to solve this may be tricky, but as a Floridian I think I have the solution. Because the state of Florida doesn’t require cars to be inspected, you’ll never go a day on the highway (or I-4) without seeing a car just left on the side of the road. Generally speaking, if you leave your car on the side of the road you have about two hours before it is towed by the state (at your expense.) Disney could have Cast Members “patrol” the pool area, taking notes of chairs which have clean, folded towels reserving them. If a guest doesn’t come back to the chair within, say, 30 minutes, the towels are picked up and the chair goes back into rotation for guests who are actively looking for one.
# 5 – eBay Pirates
I will concede that for the average guest at WDW, ebay pirates are probably generally low on the list of grievances. As someone who writes a monthly merchandise report, it is an issue that sticks in my craw. Any time there is a hard ticket party, a “celebration,” or any event in which Disney puts out exclusive merchandise, the eBay pirates swoop in like buzzards picking the carcass of a dead animal. They hoard park maps, pins, shirts, and anything else they can quickly flip on eBay. In a brazen move, there are reports of these scoundrels actually flipping items to other guests while inside the parks!
In the past year or so, Disney has made a half hearted effort into trying to curb this problem by instituting buying limits (2 per day for some items, 5 and 10 per day for others) but the pirates get around that by working in teams. There really is not much Disney can do other than just producing higher quantities of the “limited edition” merchandise and making it easier for people not at the parks to purchase (such as the Shop Disney Parks App.) Meanwhile I’ll just take an extra dose of Xanax, chant “Serenity Now” and try not to let the guy carrying 20 Cinderella carriage popcorn buckets drive me too crazy.
# 4 – Smoking in Inappropriate Places
Truly one of the most amazing accomplishments in my lifetime is how much America has reduced smoking in public. When I was growing up, they were still allowing smoking inside airplanes, but now it is almost odd to be somewhere that actually permits smoking. The Disney Parks are one public place where you can find people smoking, in designated areas generally away from anything us non-smokers would want to be around. Some guests don’t feel the need to actually go to these areas, and instead light up wherever they want.
# 3 – Group Stopping in a Congested Area
It never fails. You’re walking up Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom and you almost run into a group who decided to stop in the middle of their tracks to have a conversation. Bonus points if this happens during a busy time and it’s in an even more inconvenient place, like a sidewalk. Walking etiquette just does not exist at the Disney theme parks. Stroller convoys going side by side not allowing anyone to pass, yet walking at a speed that would make Disney Construction say “maybe we could go a bit faster here, what do you think?” Nothing tops the people coming to a dead stop in the middle of walking, apparently having decided that RIGHT NOW is the perfect time and place to have that family conversation about tomorrow’s dinner.
# 2 – Flash Photography on a Dark Ride
I am going to start a Change.Org petition asking Disney to create “park jail.” Like a brig on a sailing vessel, this would be a place where we could keep guests in Time Out for offenses that ruin the theme park experience of others. Not saying keep them in there all day, just for the amount of time guests around them had to wait in a queue only to have their ride ruined by some jerk taking flash photos. Give them some time to think about what they have done. On the walls on this
prison cell holding center we can even put blown up pictures that were taken in dark rides by people using flash to show them THAT THE PICTURES LOOK HORRIBLE ANYWAY.
# 1 – Not Giving Up a Seat on the Monorail or Bus
Alright fellow men, for this one I’m looking directly at YOU. No one is better at transportation than Disney. There are so many incredible ways that we can get to and from the parks and hotels. Many times we can enjoy the rides on the various boats, busses, and monorails without a care in the world as there is generally a lot of space to go around. Sometimes though, the busses and monorails can be standing room only. In those cases you will invariably find some goof taking up too much space and – even worse – not offering up his seat to an older person or family who has their hands full.
HONORABLE MENTION: Using a Tablet to Take Photos and Video at the Parks
The only thing I can account for guests using tablets to take videos and pictures in the parks is they must think “bigger is better.” They must not realize the camera in their phone is much better quality than the one in their tablet, nor how crazy they look holding these monstrosities up. This is even better to see in WDW shows with a couple people in front of you holding up large iPads to film the show and their screen is so bright you are naturally drawn to that instead of the actual show on stage.
“I sure hope we can watch your video of the fireworks show.” – No one, ever
So there you have it: A SATURDAY SIX Investigative Report on Disney World Pet Peeves! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, master photo manipulator Matt Cleary, “Professor” Daniel Miller of Drunk@Disney fame, the long suffering Carrie, Orlando Everyday‘s Caitlin Dineen, the intrepid 3 O’Clock Parade news team correspondent Ellen, Jammin’ Julia Mascardo, Tim Grassey of WDWThemeparks.com, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2017 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!