Most Frustrating Things at Disney
A trip to a Disney theme park is a joyous occasion. No matter which park you choose, you’ll spend countless hours creating unforgettable memories. That doesn’t mean that the entire visit will go perfectly, though.
To the contrary, theme park tourists know that even on the best days at the Happiest Place on Earth, something will go wrong. Momentary aggravations are inevitable at places where thousands of people are in close proximity, and this awareness begs a question. What are the most frustrating things that can happen during a Disney theme park visit?
Let’s be honest about the fact that getting to an attraction can be an ordeal. You’re fighting a wide swath of people to reach your destination. What’s the most heartbreaking sensation that you can experience at that moment?
You can see a sign indicating that the ride is down for maintenance, Code 101 in cast member parlance. This sign means that all the effort you expended was a waste. You have nothing to show for your trip. And the only way that you could feel worse is if you have a FastPass for that attraction. You could have and should have picked something, anything else.
The only good news these days is that Disney now offers guests a replacement FastPass in such situations, but that’s not ideal for attractions with huge wait-times. Whatever you select in its place won’t be the same.
Bad Jungle Cruise Skipper
This one is a real button of mine. It also applied to The Great Movie Ride prior to its closure in August of 2017. Some cast members are simply better at putting on a show than others. While Disney does have specific criteria in place to pick the best narrators for these attractions, they don’t always pick right.
Sometimes, you’ll wind up on a boat with a host whose idea of entertainment simply does not match up with your own. When this happens, an ordinarily wonderful ride becomes a frustration. You’ll spend the body of the journey lamenting the fact that you got placed on the wrong boat. Now, you’re stuck for ten minutes, and you’ll have to ride again to have the fun that you’d anticipated.
Just from those two words, you likely gave a knowing nod and reflexively remembered a situation or two where you felt like a parent was ready to take you out. And it happens thousands of times each day!
Parents have to push strollers around so that their children can enjoy a day at the park. Over time, this labor of love becomes, well, labor. Mom and dad stop worrying about safety, especially that of strangers. Once they reach this breaking point, anybody that’s in the way turns into a YP (your problem) rather than an MP (my problem). Cranky parents start driving right at you, figuring that if you care about your safety, you’ll get out of the way.
This is a good time to mention that I’m tall. That makes me a bigger target. Some clever parents actually use me as an offensive lineman, an unwilling blocker who creates open space for them. Others just aim for my knees and ankles, figuring that if anything gets broken, I’m equally responsible. I live in fear of kamikaze strollers.
Rude guests, especially to cast members
A rude guest is a blight on a Disney theme park visit. You’re supposed to be at the Most Magical Place on Earth, but it’s hard when other guests aren’t acting so magical. Sure, everyone gets in a bad mood from time to time, but the social contract dictates that you not take out your aggression on strangers.
That’s why theme park tourists feel so impotent and frustrated when they see guests acting horribly to Disney cast members. Folks, I don’t need to tell you that the people who work at Disney theme parks are the salt of the earth. They are kind, generous, loving people who spend the body of their workdays making magic for others.
Cast members provide guidance to the lost and confused, offer great tips to maximize a park visit, and even deliver surprise gifts from time to time. Their job is about bringing joy into the lives of others.
I beseech you to remember this when you feel frustrated about something at the parks. Please oh please don’t take out your aggravation on cast members. Instead, if you politely describe what has you upset, a cast member will do what they can to make things better.
I feel like this is a point where we can all agree. And that’s why it’s so infuriating to some guest berate a cast member. It’s not that person’s fault. They’re just the unfortunate soul in the line of fire when the guest’s rage boils over.
Rides that tear up in the middle
Have you ever ridden Dinosaur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? If so, you might remember a line of dialogue at the end of the ride. As a way to build last-second tension, the narrator shouts, “We’re not gonna make it!!!”
I swear to you that during a trip last year, Dinosaur tore up on us such that the lights came on at, “We’re not gonna…” We didn’t make it. During what’s intended to be a dark and foggy moment at the climax of Dinosaur, we sat in a well-lit area for 10 minutes. Needless to say, this turn of events ruined the ride for us. And this type of thing unfortunately happens a lot at Disney parks.
The explanation makes sense. Disney has some of the most complex attractions in the world, and they also have the most stringent safety system in place. When something malfunctions, the ride shuts down for the protection of the guests onboard. I’m grateful for that.
Still, the worst trip I ever had to Walt Disney World happened in 2015. We had an average of three rides a day tear up for us. After a while, members of my party joked that they didn’t want to get on rides with us because we were so jinxed…only they weren’t really joking. The whole point of a Disney theme park visit is to relish in the joy of Disney’s glorious attractions. When the rides tear up in the middle, it’s a true buzzkill.
Parents who push their kids too much
No one ever has the right to tell a parent how they should raise their children. In fact, that’s the quickest way to turn a friend into an acquaintance and a stranger into an enemy. That’s why a day at a Disney theme park is fraught with peril. You will inevitably see some parent asking too much of their poor child.
The explanation for the behavior is simple and understandable. Parents have to spend a fortune to take their kids on a dream trip to Disney. They want their children to have memories that will last a lifetime. And so they push hard to see and do everything possible. The problem is that Disney is taxing for adults in great shape. For kids who aren’t used to this sort of excitement, it’s overwhelming, which is why they sleep and cry and pout. They’re children, after all. As an observer, it’s hard to stand by and watch a parent push a child too hard just as it’s hard for a parent to notice when their kid has truly had enough.
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