Did you know that most people who visit the most magical theme park in the world share a number of characteristics? Someone should really categorize them and then make a list that half mocks them for the entertainment of millions — or the three of you reading my article who aren’t directly related to me in some way.
Despite the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Walt Disney World on a daily basis, I believe you can group many of them into the same five or so categories. For the purposes of scientific inquiry, I am choosing to focus on adults since most kids default to one of two possible reactions: (1) the “OH MY GOD WE’RE AT DISNEY WORLD!” which results in a
generally joyous stupor, the kind you get from chocolate, Christmas morning, or OxyContin or (2) the “It’s all too much so I will alternate between hysterically crying, crying, whimpering, and sniffling with the occasional snotty burp cry thrown in for good measure” reaction that we’ll just call the Bald Britney Spears. Because the kids are easy enough to pin down, let’s stick with the adults. We all fall somewhere on the grand sliding scale of weirdness, so let me know in the comments in which category, or categories, you feel as though you and your family belong.
The We’re Ridiculously Overdressed Because We’re Wealthy People
You know what I’m talking about. The men are typically dressed in Polo shirts (tucked in, of course) and khaki shorts wearing Sperry Dumb-Boat-Names on their feet, and the women are typically wearing a dress of some kind by Female Name Name and sporting a pointy shoe with a bit of a heel. Double bonus points if their children (probably Sawyer and Grace) are dressed as miniature clones and look as though they just stepped out of a Nautica ad or belong anywhere in coastal Massachusetts. They probably have a Disney VIP Tour Guide with them who is secretly wishing that he or she didn’t go to art school and majored in something useful instead. They only eat at table service, and their souvenirs likely have some sort of leather or embossing on them. They’ve never seen Happily Ever After because they have never stayed in the park longer than an episode of Fox and Friends.
The We’re Only Here for Our Children Cynics
You’d think that it’s damn near impossible not to have fun at Walt Disney World, but strangely, there are a number of people who do just that. This category can be tough to pin down because people who find themselves in this category come in a variety of flavors — like a terribly dour Baskin Robbins full of missed opportunities, lost youth, and failed dreams. (Come to think of it, isn’t that most Baskin Robbins?) In any case, the folks of this category might be the hipsterish types who feel as though consumerism or the Disney corporate machine will somehow permeate their double-Vegan-Keto-GMO-free souls and cause them to derive pleasure from buying frivolous items that aren’t old film cameras or copies of Bernie Sanders’ autobiography. They look with disgust upon the vast multitudes — especially our aforementioned wealthy family — and haughtily retreat back to their Subarus at the end of the day. There are also those who loathe the heat, the lines, and the hustle and bustle because it’s all just “too much.” These people would probably be more comfortable gathered around a table of Magic: the Gathering in someone’s musty basement while their kids played with the vintage toys that weren’t kept in the original packaging! Why go to Disney when Netflix is at home?
The We Love Disney More Than is Normal or Healthy Frighteners
I’ll admit it: we here at the ZADD Crew mostly fall into this category, but there are people at the extreme end of this category who frighten even us. These are the ones who cosplay without reason or in inappropriate situations. (“Do you really need to wear your Little Mermaid shell bra to the bank, Jessica? We don’t live in Orlando. Or even Florida.”) They might insist upon being called by a certain character’s name or adopt that character’s mannerisms or way of speaking. I love a good impression as much as the next guy, but there’s a difference between an impression and a soul absorption. They chat with the characters in the parks as if they know them from their shared fictional universe, and they sewed every bit of their outfits by hand. (“I’ll look for a job tomorrow, mom! I haven’t finished my corset yet!”) They think everyone who dressed up on Dapper Day or Halloween is just a pretender, and they always write your name on your Starbucks order in wildly fantastical calligraphy.
The We Don’t Get Out Much People
A Disney trip can be a daunting experience even for seasoned veterans because there are a million variables to consider. Getting your trip plan right could mean the difference between hitting an extra ride or two, so it’s imperative that you walk into the parks with an itinerary of some kind. That’s why these people are so heartbreaking: they’re in the parks, they know they’re in over their heads, and talking to people elicits the same reactions from them as dental surgery or Jared Kushner. They meander confusedly around the parks, wondering who or what they should ask for help, not realizing that apps actually exist and the answers to most of their queries are on the phones in their pockets — which are probably iPhone 4s because the 5 was “just too tallish.” They’re not elderly, but they move and act like old Rose about to drop the Heart of the Sea off the back of the ship. They’re carrying paper maps in unironic fashions and not as keepsakes.
Ugh. Here we go again with Nancy. Nancy thinks that she has made all the right moves and planned the perfect Disney vacation, but Nancy is wrong. Nancy doesn’t know that the lines for Frozen stack up later than those for Test Track, so save yourself a sprint, get the FastPass for Test Track, and stroll casually to Frozen at rope drop. Nancy thinks that using a FastPass to meet characters is a good idea, which is a lot like saying that Golden Corral is a good idea: no matter how good it sounds it’s a genuinely terrible idea. Nancy takes her family to watch shows during the early morning when rides are less crowded (“but we’ll be the only ones in the Hall of Presidents!”), and she unabashedly claims that Jungle Cruise is better than Haunted Mansion, which would only make sense if Haunted Mansion burned to the ground, and even then… Nancy is constantly hurrying somewhere with her kids in tow, but it’s unlikely that she exactly knows where, or that those are her kids. When planning Disney she got lost in the minutiae and forgot that it’s about maximizing the experience.
So do you find yourself falling into any of these categories — even just a little bit? There’s one thing all of these categories have in common, and it runs counter to the core values of Walt Disney World: all of these people take themselves too seriously and worry too much. Remember that it’s all in good fun, and you’ll be a part of the largest category of all:
Those who visit Disney and have a magical time.
Rad Dad, out.