Disney Matt here, and I have some news for you:
The Huffington Post, known for its ability to break news ahead of media powers like the New York Times or Washington Post, gave me something a little less hard-hitting. I was surprised when the Huffington Post presented to me a few excerpts from a Disney employee Reddit page. I had a few good laughs with the stories that were told, children being children, and then some that left me flabbergasted that the stupidity of visitors. Regardless, after the reactions were finished, I came up with the next idea for this week.
Does Disney ever tell visitors how to act when enjoying their park experience? If there is some sort of civility code for Disney World visitors, I have not found it. I guess it just makes sense for me to present one to you, so that your story does not make it onto a Disney employee Reddit page. No one wants that fate.
Firstly, before you even make it to the park, make sure you have been properly fed and rested. Hungry kids, or parents for that matter, make quite grumpy guests to the Disney parks. Eat some hotel-provided breakfast or simply bring bagels, pop tarts, etc. with you to the park. I’ve never had kids, but I know what one sounds like when it is hungry. It goes something like this: “waaaaaaaaaah!” I, nor any Disney cast member, wants to here your child shriek. Feed your children and yourselves, please.
While you’re still packing up, make sure you bring proper fluids. If you are traveling over the summer, which I do every year, you know that it will be hot and humid throughout the day. Bring water so that you do not have to spend 10 dollars on it inside the parks. Also, thirst is a lot like hunger when it comes to whining. Don’t make me quote crying babies again, please just bring some water.
If you have children under the age of five or so, you should invest in a stroller. A day at the Magic Kingdom will give you energy, but not enough to sustain a whole day of walking. Small children will have trouble keeping up, and as much as you say you love giving piggy-back rides, I have a strange suspicion that it’s not something you want to do all day. With a stroller, you can move faster and more efficiently throughout. The good news is that Disney rents strollers out to you, so you are free to leave the contraptions at home.
Now, to the actual park etiquette. Don’t lose your children. This may sound like a given, but your children will be darting off in many directions, so you must keep an eye out for them. Disney casts member can only do so much in helping find your child, so you need to be aware at all times.
Yes, there are picture-taking opportunities everywhere, but don’t act like you are the only family taking pictures. Don’t walk through another family’s picture, because that moment is one they will remember forever. You don’t want to be remembered as the mom who walked through their picture. When you take pictures, as much as you want to cherish the moment, try to use the in-and-out philosophy. If you take to long posing and yelling at your children to smile, you’ll create a logjam of visitors that may create problems spanning hundred of feet.
Lastly, on a hot day like many in Florida, make sure you use the A/C to your advantage. Your kids will whine and cry if hot, and none of us want to hear that. I get hot walking around all day, but what keeps me going are the indoor rides. Each indoor ride at Disney has air conditioning, so ride as many as you can to keep your body temperature down. Hot children and sad children, and sad children make sad parents.
These are just a few of the many cautions parents should follow at Disney World. I could write an entire novel on the subject, but I simply do not have the time. However, I want to know what you think. What other tips do you have for first time parent visitors?