Daytime Fireworks at Cinderella Castle

For some, it’s just not a Walt Disney World vacation without a little trip to our own personal Mad Tea Party…

Now, now, it’s easy to point the finger at others, but we’ve all succumbed to a little Disney madness from time to time. The eccentricities of die hard Disney fans can manifest in charming forms like zeal for pin trading, Disneybounding, or engaging in a kooky vacation challenge with friends and family. With a healthy dose a courtesy, these individuals add vibrancy and a sense of the unpredictable to Walt Disney World.

Unfortunately, there are other areas where some Walt Disney World visitors seem to completely lose their Mouse-Ear-Wearing minds, and the results aren’t always pretty…

1. Playing chicken and other crowd shenanigans

Long Stand By Wait time

Image: HarshLight, Flickr (license)

There is no way around it—navigating theme park crowds is hard. It simply is not possible to cram 20,000-60,000 people into a space only a tenth the size of New York’s Central Park and things not occasionally get weird. However, there is a difference between weird and some of the dancing-in-poppy-fields insanity that occurs when Disney parkgoers lose it in a crowd.

We’ve talked about some of the more obvious cases before. Stroller and scooter etiquette is one of the more volatile topics fans can discuss, and the craziness goes both ways. Many Disney guests have a nasty habit of assuming families with strollers and scooters can stop on a dime, and this can result in some gnarly accidents when guests come to a screeching halt in front of one. At the same time, most Disney regulars have encountered a twitchy-eyed parent who just ran out of the last thread of patience in their purse and decided to use their stroller as a battering ram. As has been discussed before, courtesy is important both ways.

Also common is the general chaos that ensues when guests forget how crowds work. It’s just a fact of visiting Walt Disney World that, at some point, someone is going to stop in the midst of a moving sea of people and cause a human traffic jam or a family is going to line up marching band style across a walkway and obliviously block all others from passing. It’s annoying, but in most cases, it’s simply a matter of guests not realizing what is going on behind them.

Crowds at Haunted Mansion

However, there is one particularly uncomfortable crowd shenanigan that most Walt Disney World regulars have encountered that stretches beyond mere faux pas into crazytown: guests deciding the best strategy to navigate the parks is by playing chicken.

I’m not talking about two guests who inadvertently almost walk into each other then politely fumble their way onto separate trajectories after exchanging chuckles and apologies. I’m talking about the unique flavor of delirium when a fellow guest locks eyes and decides the straightest path to their destination is through you.

It usually starts innocent enough. You realize you’re on a collision course with another visitor. Perhaps the crowd is thick and there’s nowhere else to divert to. You meet their gaze and realize something is… off. The guest ahead seems to stare right through you, Terminator-gaze fixed on an invisible point beyond your position. With nowhere else to change course, you press ahead, assuming the person will realize the predicament and adjust. You get closer and closer.

It’s already too late when you realize the steel-eyed machine before you has no more flips to give and you are in the way of "the mission"…

Terminator Head

Image: John Lawlor, Flickr (license)

It’s weird. It’s awkward for everyone involved. It’s insulting when it results in plowing bodies, muttered curses, or flagrant shoulder-bumps when it all could have been avoided by two people turning sideways for two seconds.

Short story? Don’t play chicken with your fellow guests. A moment of uncomfortable shuffling and an assuring smile can do wonders to diffuse a crowd collision. Leave T-1000 impressions to the Universal fans…


Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...