Mickey and Friends

Let’s get one thing out of the way—theme park crowds are a pain.

If you’re visiting Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, or even Sea World, you’re going to have to deal with crowds. Even in the off-season, theme park crowds can be intimidating, but during peak visiting times, the hordes of tourist that descend upon Orlando for summer break and holidays can turn legitimately bonkers. Anyone who has endured the cramped locker cave inside Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey or who has dared to brave Disney’s World of Pandora on a Saturday night can attest to the fact that aggressive park crowds can test even the most patient psyche.

Most theme park visitors have probably had the passing thought to… overreact to crowds. We generally explore news and travel tips on Theme Park Tourist, but this week, we decided to take a slightly different tack.

Here are the top five things we’ve all wanted to do in crazy theme park crowds but probably—make that definitely shouldn’t...

1. Challenge fellow parkgoers to single combat

Terminator skull

Image: John Lawlor, Flickr (license)

Most theme park tourists have endured at least one awkward encounter with another guest. These can range from, “I’m so sorry! Can I get you a napkin to wipe off your new Dole Whip necktie?” to “I must say, sir, your behavior strikes me as less than cordial. No, I do not think you were adhering to proper etiquette in shattering both my ankles with your triplets’ mega-stroller simply to procure a seat on the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. You, sir, are no gentleman.”

Something like that.

The most awkward encounter of all, however, is one we’ve touched on before—crazed guests who decide to play chicken with anyone in their path. In bustling theme park crowds, everyone has to give way sometimes, but things never turn out well when one nutter gets that dead-eyed Terminator stare and proceeds to plow right through everyone in their path like they have zero flips left to give.

It happens once, no big deal. It happens twice, okay, that’s annoying. It happens three times, and some of us may feel an unexpected compulsion to throw down our refillable mug, point a Hulk Hogan forefinger in the face of the offending rival, and shout for all Epcot to hear that, “THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!”

Too much? Sadly, it would also be equally unacceptable to tear one’s shirt open, look your fellow guest in the eye, and shout that you accept their challenge of single combat. Alas, even though some theme park visitors probably have it coming, the benevolent overlords of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios do not consider “duels of honor” a passable guest practice. It seems the best strategy will have to remain retreating to the sweet embrace of L'Artisan des Glaces when the pressure of crowds becomes too much to bear.


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