Stories and thoughts about family and life

Theme Park Manners

on December 30, 2014

I would submit that theme parks aren’t the best places to reinforce the manners you’ve been teaching your children.  The kids are tired and usually hot, as are the parents.  I would also, however, submit that theme parks are not a place to LOSE one’s manners either.

I have been utterly amazed at the behavior of the people we’ve encountered the past several days.  The most surprising is that I’m the most amazed about the adult behavior, not the kids.  With kids you expect a degree of forgetfulness, as they scurry to the next Mickey ride, or see their favorite superhero in the distance.  The adults, well, that’s another story all together.  I began to ponder this seriously today as I was nearly maimed (ok, so a slight exaggeration) by an adult who bull-dozed me over with the stroller he was pushing to try to beat me to the ice cream shop by approximately five paces.  I’m a big fan of Edy’s too, but really?

This message really began to hit home at the Magic Kingdom today.  Granted, half of Florida was there with us, but the sheer number of people and activities occurring would have prompted me to mind my manners more diligently, not forget them altogether.  I would like to excuse this as simply “cultural differences” or a barrier in language comfort or something of the like. None of those excuses hold water, though.  It was simply a case of just as many Americans as other nationalities and cultures doing things I would not tolerate out of my own children.  This has prompted a number of conversations between my husband and myself this week about how and why those things occur, and how hard it is to help you children understand how and why they should use good manners when they’re faced with such a large group of people who obviously don’t feel the same way.

Between people pushing and shoving to get through any gate in front of them to the ones who would use their stroller, wheelchair, or any other durable equipment to clear a path, as well as the ones who would just step in front of you in line and then look at you like YOU are the one who wasn’t moving fast enough or following the rules, I’m thankful to be back in the condo tonight with my peace and quiet and my laptop.

Don’t get me wrong–we’ve really enjoyed our vacation, but I can only hope our last park visit tomorrow will be a bit more relaxed and respectful than the one we experienced today.  A lot of it is sheer volume, and the fact that everyone wants to beat that 110 minute wait time at Space Mountain, 120 minutes at Soarin’, or 60 minutes at Splash Mountain.  Added to the mix today was the combination of intermittent sprinkles and full-on rain we experienced multiple times.  All of that with a whiny kid is bound to fray a few nerves–I get it.  I saw several kids throw a foot-stompin’, scream “I don’t WANT TO,” and throw something down way more than once or twice today.  I’m also proud to say that my kids were looking at those kids like they were psychotic.

I nearly stopped the guy with the stroller to show him my bruised up shin.  Two employees looked at me sympathetically when I screamed “ouch!” and stepped over to the side of the line.  I’m sure they see that kind of stuff every day.  It probably wouldn’t have done any good, and he was well on his way down the sidewalk by the time I recovered anyway.  It’s a good thing we were both moving, or he might have just mowed me completely over.

So, I guess, rant over.  I’m sure most of the people reading this are in the same category as me and are wondering what the mothers of those rude people might say.  If you’re not, though, please remember when you’re in an environment like that:  there are those of us struggling to teach our children respect and consideration for others, and those others include you.  Please return the favor.


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