I have just recently discovered your website after hearing you on WDW
Today. I would like some advice from you if possible.
Let me start by saying that I’m a calm, stable man, and I don’t fly off the handle easily. In a word: Laid Back (well that’s two words). I know that in a stressful situation calmer heads always prevail.
My trips to Disney always start out fine but the aggressive behavior by some people (rudeness, cutting in line, running you over etc.) in the park start to grate on me by the end of the week. By the last day or so I become irritable. This year I want to let all of the bad stuff roll off my back so I can enjoy this magic time with my family. I know I can’t change another person’s behavior but I can change my own.
Here’s my question: What sort of state of mind or how do you prepare yourself mentally for the crowds and aggressive/rude people that come
along with it?
Any advice you can offer is appreciated.
Thanks, Determined to Roll With It
I know exactly what you are talking about concerning aggressiveness in the
parks. The people who cut. The people who push to get a particular aisle
of the theater and then don’t proceed to the end of the row like they are
instructed. The people who stand so close to you that if they lose their
balance, they will inadvertently push you over. The people who grab the
last plush just as you are reaching for it. It is difficult to deal with
it, especially during those hot, mid-day hours when you are beaten, tired,
sweaty, thirsty, and irritable.
Once when I was in the Siemen’s exhibit where Spaceship Earth drops you
off, my son and daughters were playing the car-driving game at two different
stations. I was anxious to play it myself, so I patiently waited for all of
my children to have their turn, planning to take mine next. While I was
checking on my daughters (who were at one station), a dad and son came up
behind my son (who was playing at the other station) and vied for position
in the imagined line. Adding up the time I waited for the children before
my son as well as my son, I had been waiting at least fifteen minutes for
this game. I was chomping at the bit to play because I just knew I could get
a good score. I left for 15 seconds to make sure my daughters were not
abducted from the other station, and these two guys jumped right in to usurp
I thought, I’ll just nicely explain the situation. After all, this is my
son playing, so it seems obvious that my clan was here before theirs. In my
mind, this would help them realize that I was there first and “had dibs.”
So I said, “Excuse me. I’m sorry, but this is my son playing. I was
waiting here for him to finish his game, and then I was going to take a
turn. I only left for a few seconds to check on my daughters who are just
on the other side of this station.” Rather than the expected, “Oh! We
didn’t realize it. Sure, go ahead!”, I was affronted with, “Oh! Come on!
We’ve have been standing here and waiting for a long time! Unbelievable!
You can’t just cut in like that!” This was accompanied with aggressive
body language and a variety of grunts and foul mumblings.
First of all, I knew they hadn’t been there long because I had only left my
spot for a few seconds. Secondly, no matter how long they’d been there, it
was evident that I had been there longer if my son was already at the
station when they arrived. I was very irritated by such undeserved
rudeness, and I felt myself getting ready to verbally undress the father.
Instead, I took a couple deep breaths, granted them my rightful position at
the game, and waited even longer for both my daughters to finish their games
at the other station before I took my turn. Here is why:
When we are at Disney, it is very easy to focus on *our* family’s vacation.
This is the root cause of all the aggressive behavior. People have paid a
great deal of money for a trip that promises a happy and exciting experience
full of unforgettable moments, and they intend to get their “money’s worth”.
If I take a few seconds to consider this, I can actually relate to the
feeling. If I’m honest I might even confess a time or two when my own
insistence on “getting mine” has gotten the better of me when I’m at Disney.
The problem is (as you have noted) that it is mean and encourages what I
call the “dog eat dog Disney World” mentality.
The only way to lessen the bite of this mentality is to refuse to take part
in it. Sometimes, though, “turning the other ear” can leave you bitter and
ruin your vacation if it isn’t done with a forgiving heart. So, my approach
is to put myself in the other person’s shoes and imagine what may have
caused such uncomely behavior.
Maybe this is the only time this foreign touring group will ever be in
Disney whereas I know that I will be back many more times in my life. Maybe
this family has a child with a condition (not visible to my eye) that
motivates them to “bend the rules” the one time that I happen to be near
them. Maybe this usually laid-back father has just been pushed to the edge
by other aggressive guests all week and–by coincidence–my family’s better
position in line is what triggers an unusual outburst. If I imagine
circumstances like this (whether they be true or not), it always helps
things roll off my back more quickly which, in turn, keeps my vacation from
being spoiled by irritability.
There are valuable life lessons that can be learned in The Disney Driven
Life. Extending grace in this fashion is one of them. I always hope that
by doing so, I will also be extended the same grace when (in a moment of
weakness) I throw myself on the last window table in Pinnochio’s Village
Haus even though I know there is probably another family that is wishing
they could occupy it.
Contributed by: JL (NDM#1). JL is our Disney Driven Lifestyle Coach and creator of The Disney Driven Life as well as the Neurotic Disney People Community. If you have a question that you would like to ask JL, write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “JL Speaks” in the subject line.