Some Thoughts About Our Behavior While Guests at Walt Disney World

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There seem to be a lot more reports lately about fights between guests at Walt Disney World, (to say nothing of fights occurring on flights). Thanks to ubiquitous camera phones, you can watch people throwing punches in the airplane aisle or in the parks. I find this quite upsetting and wanted to share a few thoughts.

Speaking as an Official Old Man, this bad behavior reminded me of reading “Goofus and Gallant” in “Highlights for Children” as a kid. Gallant was always polite and mindful of others, Goofus was the opposite: self-centered and sometimes downright mean. “Do-Bee” and “Don’t-Bee” characters on Romper Room were similar (gee, I really AM old, aren’t I?). The point of each pair or characters was to show us good manners vs. bad; in other words, to model how we could and should behave and interact with others in society.

While visiting Walt Disney World, you’ll see examples of good and less than good behavior. And if we look in the mirror, it’s fair to say we’ve all been “there” at one time or another: we understand that a long day in the hot sun can turn otherwise nice folks into cranky, dehydrated, “had-it-up-to-here-with-screaming-two-year-old-kid” people with short fuses.

But when we’re in the happiest place in the known universe, it seems that we could benefit from amping up our manners and treating our fellow guests a bit better. After all, we all want the same things: a memorable visit, a great vacation and lots of family enjoyment.

JUST FOR FUN (emphasized added) this line of thinking led me to compile a highly subjective list comparing what I call Ideal Guest Behaviors (IGB) and Less Than Ideal Guest Behaviors (LTIGB). I honestly don’t believe ANY of us can exhibit Ideal Guest Behavior at all times, but JUST FOR FUN (he repeated) here’s what I’ve come up with (you may have your own observations to add in the comments below, but nothing mean-spirited, please).

In the parks:
IGB: Is courteous to Cast Members, complies when asked or when given directions.
LTIGB: Responds to Cast Members by loudly saying “This isn’t what Walt would want me to do!”

IGB: Allows little ones to stand in front of them at performances.
LTIGB: Believes others should be taller if they wanted to see better at performances.

IGB: Observes social distancing as much as possible while waiting in line for attractions or food.
LTIGB: Believes that by crowding the people in line ahead of them, the line will move faster.

IGB: Stays off fences and other areas and items not intended for sitting.
LTIGB: Sits on anything that doesn’t move including fences, trash cans, and resting guests.

IGB: Pays extra attention when pushing a stroller through a crowd so as not to trip others or hit someone’s ankle.
LTIGB:  Uses stroller as a battering ram to get through crowds and especially enjoys denting other people’s shins, often adding, “Sorry!” as they smile and continue on their magical way.

While using transportation:
IGB: Offers a seat to others who may want or need to sit.
LTIGB: Keeps sitting because they’re tired after a day of pushing a stroller into other people’s shins.

IGB: Follows directions when the monorail says, ““Please stand clear of the doors,” and “Por favor, manténgase alejado de las puertas.”
LTIGB: Does not “manténgase alejado de las puertas.”

 

In the hotel:

IGB: Ensures that their hotel room door closes quietly when exiting or entering.
LTIGB: Comes and goes frequently, allowing doors to slam, usually after midnight.

IGB: Speaks quietly in the hallways, aware that others may be sleeping or resting.
LTIGB: Carries on conversations in a voice you can hear from the lobby.

IGB: Knows that staffing shortages may affected Mousekeeping schedules.
LTIGB: Complains that Mousekeeping “isn’t what it used to be” and remembers “that time we visited when every night our room had free Mickey balloons with a lovely greeting attached, towel animals on the bed, the smell of the Polynesian lobby in the air, a free bottle of wine with a charcuterie board, and that good chocolate you can’t get anymore.”

At the quick service dining location:
IGB: Puts their tray back, throws disposables away, wipes spills off the table with napkins so it’s in shape for the next diners.
LTIGB: Leaves their tray filled with half-eaten fries on the table, plus a spot of ketchup on the chair where you don’t see it until you stand up and someone says, “Looks like you sat in some ketchup.”

At the breakfast buffet:
IGB: Doesn’t take all the bacon.
LTIGB: Takes all the bacon. Every. Single. Time.

Boma Breakfast

I’ve exaggerated here in an attempt to make a humorous point, but I intend to try to do better on our next trip. And that includes leaving some bacon for you.

Any other tips you can think of to show ideal guest behaviors? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Bob Jacobs

Bob Jacobs lives in Wisconsin where he recently retired as Editorial Director and writer for a well-known clothing catalog company. He and his wife Cristie have four children, seven grandchildren and a cocker spaniel named Penny the Dog. They’ve visited Walt Disney World regularly since 1992.

16 thoughts on “Some Thoughts About Our Behavior While Guests at Walt Disney World

  • September 19, 2021 at 11:23 am
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    I couldn’t agree more! It’s unfortunate that the prevailing attitude of too many Disney guests these days is that their needs and wants are the only things that matter, to the detriment of others. There is far too little understanding and compliance with respects the current situations like staffing and COVID protocols.

    Reply
    • September 20, 2021 at 11:43 am
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      As others have commented, some of our behaviors (and I include myself) are less than great, partly as a by-product of the pandemic. I know I can do better!

      Reply
  • September 19, 2021 at 3:20 pm
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    I’m old enough to start being a part of your cohort and I agree with this post 100%. (including Romper Room.)

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    • September 20, 2021 at 4:55 pm
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      Do Bee and Don’t Bee…..haven’t thought of them in ages! I’m glad we had them for role models “back when the dinosaurs roamed.” I find your. List very accurate.

      Reply
  • September 19, 2021 at 7:21 pm
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    IGB: Pays extra attention to others who are pushing a stroller/wheelchair/ecv through a crowd so as not to cut them off and get their ankles hit.

    I have to spend my time pushing looking only at the front of the stroller/wheelchair/ecv instead of the sights as people see a couple feet in front of you and feel they can jump into that space. Try to stop a wheelchair in less than 1 foot.

    Reply
    • September 19, 2021 at 10:46 pm
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      I once went to a Dave and Busters breakfast with Santa event. My wife, my son, and I were the first to arrive. They advertised it as a breakfast buffet. I worked 3rd shift in a factory at the time and had just gotten off work and drove and hour and a half to get there. So, I immediately went over and between my son and myself we emptied the tray of bacon thinking it would be refilled. A few minutes later when other guests were asking when they were bringing out more bacon the manager loudly announced that the food was “buffet style” and not an actual buffet and that no items would be refilled. I felt like a real @$$ after that. Your comment about the bacon at the buffet reminded me of that event.

      Reply
    • September 20, 2021 at 8:15 am
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      I push my wife’s wheelchair and can’t even see my wife’s legs. She has to grab the wheels if I get too close. She has muscular issues, kidney failure, and parathyroid issues. She’s only in her 30s, btw. You have to try and watch out for darting little kids (totally not their fault, they don’t know any better and most parents are trying their best), people who intentionally run in front of wheelchairs because obviously you should stop for them, and people who will literally sprint over wheelchairs (my wife nearly got kicked in the face once). So, I totally get what you’re saying. We were trying to leave after fireworks on New Years eve a few years ago and I accidentally ran into the same guys legs twice! He wasn’t too bad about it. The chaos / crowding levels along with the speed the crowd was forcing me to move made it impossible to push the wheelchair safely. HHN is another fine example, once they get you in the houses the employees demand you stay right behind the person in front of you. You can’t do that if you’re pushing a wheelchair in a dark room, you will hit the person in front of you. It gets very stressful when almost every plainclothes employee is telling you you need to hurry up and rush through the house with the wheelchair.

      Reply
    • September 20, 2021 at 11:44 am
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      This is a great point. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  • September 19, 2021 at 7:52 pm
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    Oh, oh do I agree. I’m well past qualifying as an Official Old Woman and over the 50 years I’ve been going to Disney World, I once believed I’ve seen close to all LTIGB there is to see, yet recently people (I don’t want to classify them as “guests” because I was taught, as a guest, you behave and use your manners) can and do come up with new outrageous and nasty behaviors. It amazes me every time.

    I’m just an old person so maybe that’s why I just don’t get it!!!

    Reply
  • September 19, 2021 at 10:20 pm
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    Are Disneyworld customers who fight there removed from the parks?

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    • September 20, 2021 at 11:33 am
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      Gene, I’m not in a position to know the answer to your question, but felt a response was in order. I have a guess – and it’s only a guess – that if a Cast Member was involved in an altercation that the Guest would be evicted, but as I said, I don’t know for sure.

      Reply
  • September 19, 2021 at 11:45 pm
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    There’s been a couple articles written lately about how the prolonged stress and uncertainty of the pandemic is making people’s behavior worse. Everyone’s fuse is shorter. We can see that in every service industry, including the theme parks. I appreciate you taking the the time to address this issue.

    Reply
  • September 20, 2021 at 10:15 am
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    Well written, Bob! I keep reminding myself to be grateful for the waitstaff or deli clerk or anyone willing to work in an understaffed service job, to go out of my way to be considerate, patient and kind. (Works most, not all of the time.) I think we’ve all seen enough examples of bad behavior and almost permission to be nasty to others. I would like to report a wonderful flight to Denver in June that was incident-free. I sat between two women around my age. We didn’t speak or make eye contact the entire flight. But as we landed, we all expressed gratitude for each other. Almost a kumbaya moment. As for Disney World, your words brought back many good and many bad memories of human behavior.

    Reply
  • September 20, 2021 at 12:49 pm
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    I’ve never been to Disneyworld, but I have been to Disneyland several times. As I was reading, I sat here and nodded my head, vaguely remembering many of those same scenarios. But when I really thought about it, I actually couldn’t think of anything in particular. All I can recall is the joy I feel when I’m there and the fact that I’m surrounded by so many people who feel the same way I do.

    Reply
  • September 20, 2021 at 8:46 pm
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    So DONE with Woke Disney.

    Reply
    • September 21, 2021 at 4:06 pm
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      What does this even mean?

      Reply

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