“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is…”
Master Yoda hit the nail on the head—life is truly more magical through the eyes of a child. Kids experience things differently, imagine worlds beyond worlds where every day is a new opportunity to explore. This is especially true at Disney parks—kids are what makes the Most Magical Place on Earth magical. Their excitement spreads like wildfire, and they can lift the countenance even of the crankiest adult.
We’ve touched before on this subject before when we explored some of the ridiculous (and totally adorable) things we believed as Disney kids, like the way everything seemed massive and how you might have assumed every ride was a death-defying experience. We wanted to take this idea one step further…
If you grew up as a Disney kid, what were some of the goofy things you (probably) did during a visit to Disney parks? Even if you didn’t, you might hold some similar memories. Here are a few that stand out to us…
1. Handrail shenanigans
For a kid, what are handrails but a miniature jungle gym?
I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I couldn’t help but mess with handrails and line dividers at Disney parks. They were the ultimate time-passer during a long wait, particular in the 80’s and 90’s when mobile phones weren’t particularly smart (Huge? Yes. Smart? Nope.). As a kid, I remember an almost magnetic pull towards handrails—they were just so perfect for swinging on, for climbing, for hanging upside-down. As for the rope dividers, those may not have been so sturdy, but they were so fun to fiddle with.
If you were particularly lucky, you might even manage to sit on the rail—then when the line moves, all you’d have to do is scoot!
I know. I can feel the adults reading this cringing through the screen.
As grown-ups, it’s easy to recognize how nasty a kid butt-scooting down a handrail is (makes you more thankful for all those new hand sanitizer stations), or for us to quickly shut down kids’ gymnastic tendencies that might lead to bonked heads or bother other guests. I was warned by my parents many times to curb my handrail tomfoolery, and I respected it even if I didn’t get it—didn’t they see how much fun it was?
I’m definitely not saying parents should just let their kids swing willy-nilly on dividers or ignore “no climbing” warnings… but as a kid, you know you enjoyed goofing off on those ever-so-tempting rails when you could get away with it.
2. Trying to move glued-down props
If they left it out, it’s meant to be touched, right?
Once I was tall enough to reach, I tried to touch everything at Disney parks. I dipped my hand into the water on water rides (Germs? Doesn’t the water wash off the germs?), I poked at wall carvings in the tunnels of the Indiana Jones Adventure, and I desperately wanted to know what was in the jars in the queue for Splash Mountain.
I quickly realized that Disney employed some clever tricks to deal with kids like me—specifically, that they glued everything down.
I was taught well enough to know not to yank on props or try to damage them but learning that Disney glued everything down didn’t necessarily dissuade me from testing everything I could get my hands on. Things at Disney just felt so different, so cool, like the way the rocks all felt otherworldly. I was particularly delighted when I found items meant to be fiddled with, like the special “Do Not Pull” rope in the Great Movie Ride queue or the bending bamboo support in the Indiana Jones Adventure. I especially loved the advent of Disney’s first interactive attractions like Horizons.
Needless to say, I would have lost my cheese over interactive modern rides full of buttons and levers like Mission: Space or Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Do you still fiddle with all the buttons as a grown up too?