Don’t do what Donny Don’t Does
Hello again. Today is just a quick article going over some of my “Disney Don’ts”. There are many things that you should not do at a Disney Park, or any other Theme Park for that matter. I just wanted to go over a few of them that I have been thinking about recently. Remember to take them all with a grain of salt, especially when they apply directly to you. I have a feeling that this will be the first of several articles like this. There are tons of unwritten rules to follow when you are at Disney, and I have plenty of my own rules for my family when we are there.
Don’t wear clothes that are too tight for your body type. No one wants so see you falling out of your clothes as you go down the big hill on Splash, and you don’t want to be fidgeting with ill-fitting clothes all day, and that applies to shoes too. I don’t know how many high heels I see walking around. It’s not a fashion show. Also remember about clothes that are see-thru when wet. There are lots more opportunities for clothes to get wet than just the rides, so make sure you won’t be putting on a show of your own when you’re there.
Don’t dress completely like a slob. Remember that you, in theory, will be in many, many pictures. Not just your own, but photo pass ones as well. You can’t be the dad wearing the dirty white undershirt, cut offs and sock garters. However, it’s important to be comfortable, yet be acceptable for photos that will be around for years. “Acceptable” is a wide open definition based on each individual group, so decide on your own. It goes without saying that you should never wear anything profane or inappropriate. Disney would probably ask you to turn it inside out if you did anyway.
Don’t claim to be an expert. No one wants to hear you rambling all the time, especially when your facts are wrong. This also applies to ride spiels. Good for you, you know the entire Haunted Mansion narration; now shut up – I didn’t pay to hear you recite it. If you were an expert, you would know who the real experts are, and you would know enough to know that you know nothing compared to them.
Don’t correct the know-it-alls. It’s not worth your time. Just post it online after for people to laugh at later. Also, don’t correct the copy cats. Just let it go. Talk to the cast member at the unload of the ride, and most of the time, they’ll let you ride again, or go back through the Fast Pass or something.
Don’t be the jerk that yells things at characters like “Andy’s Coming”. No matter what you have seen on the internet, they are going to ignore you, and you will just look dumb.
Don’t be afraid to ask the face characters character appropriate questions. They are trained to handle them, and can come up with answers. Things like where’s your prince? What is (insert characters best friend’s name here) doing? You can even go online to find suggestions of things to ask characters that are in context and appropriate. Interaction between your child (or yourself, I suppose) is better than just the photo opportunity and optional autograph. A great resource for this is Kenny the Pirate’s site where he gives lots of god suggestions.
Don’t be the one that stands right in front of people that have waited for hours on the curb for the parade. Those people who wait are serious! You better not think that you can come minutes before the parade starts, and expect your entire family to get a curb side seat. The one exception to this is your youngest child. Some people don’t mind if a child stands in front of them, but that means that you will stand behind them, and the back of the pack, and you will have to ask their permission for your child to stand there. If the parade is important to you, like it is to these people, get your seats early. (Up to an hour or more if you want the prime seats).
Don’t worry about sitting on the curb for hours before the parade! It’s silly! You don’t need to. Fine, anything less than half an hour can be acceptable, especially when you have a Mickey Ice Cream while you wait. However, the parade route is long. You can find a spot behind a row of some people somewhere. You can almost always find places other than Main Street, that’s where everyone wants to be for the parade. Luckily, I am taller, so I stand in the back of the group (making sure no one is behind me) and put my kid on my shoulders and we all see fine and are not blocking anyone. If you are going to do Kid/Shoulders for anything, make sure no one is behind you! That’s extra rude. However, if they show up after you are already in place with the kid, that’s their problem, as long as you are at/near the back already.
Don’t be the group of people that stop in the middle of the sidewalk. I know it’s overwhelming, and you just want to take a minute to look at the map, and figure out where you want to go next. However, please move to the side. There are lots of people around you, so please be aware of your situation, and don’t force others to stop dead in their tracks without warning just because you do.
Don’t get frustrated with the group of people that just stopped right in front of you. Remember, it’s overwhelming for them. They don’t have a “plan of attach” for the day like you do. They couldn’t find Space Mountain without a map if they tried. They are the ones that think the “Big Ball” at Epcot has a coaster inside, and are asking cast members how to get to Twilight Zone Tower of Terror when they are standing in front of the Haunted Mansion. When I am there, I basically walk around preparing to run into stopped groups of tourists, and planned to get rammed in the heels by strollers. It’s part of the deal, so just expect it and adapt to it. Besides, do you really think that your dirty look at them is going to do anything? They won’t even notice.
Don’t give the cast members grief. Most of them are just working there because they like the place, or are in the college program. It’s definitely not for the money. You can tell that a lot of them genuinely appreciate the opportunity to interact with guests, so don’t go out of your way to harass them. This only takes away from their enjoyment of the job, and may make them less likely to make other guests experience “Magical”.
Don’t be afraid to ask cast members real questions, and interact with them. Some of them are quite knowledgeable, and can be helpful. Also, you never know if they are able to do something “Magical” for you, like free fast passes, extra buttons, etc. but that’s hardly a reason to treat them with the respect they deserve. We had a server one time who could tell our little girl was out of sorts, it had been a long day. He went out of his way to get her a special dessert, and we all played “Birthday” at the table just for her, out of the blue. We were all surprised, and it turned the situation around immediately.
Don’t complain about the price of souvenirs out loud in the store. Sure, everything is overpriced, I totally get it and don’t deny it. No, your kid does not need another stuffed animal for $25 that they can’t even name. However, don’t bother complaining about the price. It just makes you look bad to the other guests around you. Say no to child without referencing the amount of money Disney is attempting to suck from your wallet. Obviously you can tell yourself “No” regarding frivolous purchases without speaking (I hope.)
Don’t worry too much about the souvenirs there. Look for things that are Disney Park specific and meaningful to you. Also, things that are limited edition park merchandise. If that means you spend more per item, but get fewer items, the items you do get will be a lot more memorable, and probably last longer. A lot of that stuff you can find elsewhere, closer to you, and for much less. Generic plush toys and stupid souvenirs that are just going to break in the first few minutes are not worth it. My general rule is that if I can get it at Target, or at the Disney Store, then I don’t need to buy it on my trip.
On a different note, some of us are able to shop for park stuff off property, and I am not talking about the crappy t-shirt and souvenir stores all over the area that sell rip-off shirts. I am talking about Disney Outlet Stores. If you have one near you, you probably already know about it. There are several around the country. The closest one to me is 4 hours away in Wisconsin Dells, WI. If you are going to the Dells, or if you are driving past, it is absolutely worth going into the Disney Outlet Store in the Tanager Outlet Mall. You get your typical Disney Store clothes, toys, plush characters, etc., but you also can find park merchandise. I mean real, authentic, genuine Disney Park merchandise. We have gotten so much stuff there, especially for the kid. I am talking about T-Shirts and Sweat Shirts, with Disneyland or Disney World logos and references for like 90% off what you pay in the parks. (Like $50 sweatshirts for $5) People think that we spoil our kid when we go on vacation to the parks because of the amount of Disneyland and Disney World clothes she has, but we really don’t buy her anything when we’re there. We know we can get it at the outlet store for way less, and buy sizes that are too big sometimes for her to grow into. The stores don’t have everything, but they do have a lot. Obviously there is no guarantee on stock, it’s usually stuff they want to get rid of, so if you have to have the Haunted Mansion Candle Holder you see when you are at Disney World, you better get it there. If you are staying in The Dells, it may also be possible to get a coupon book for the mall itself when you present your room key at the administration office, but your hotel would give you information on that. There’s also information about coupons for the mall on their website.
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