Is it the heat in Florida that makes people crazy? Is it the overstimulation of the theme parks? The pure joy of being on vacation or just away from soul-smothering workplaces?
Whatever the reason, there's no excuse for leaving your social graces at home while visiting the attractions. As a professional theme-park visitor, I've sat by quietly for years. But with another busy summer starting at the parks, it's time to be frank. It's time for the "Seven Deadly Sins of Theme Park Visitors."
I'd love to say only young people were theme-park sinners. At least then the Seven Deadly Sins could be blamed on the folly of youth. But that's just not so. So please, everyone: Avoid these infractions or risk my evil eye.
It's wrong to come down on dads trying to be uplifting for their kids … but we have our limits. Let's say you're standing and waiting for a parade. You've scoped out your spot, and it has decent sightlines. The music starts, and the daddy in front of you, in a bit of one-upmanship, has hoisted his urchin onto his shoulders, effectively creating a 7-foot-2 barrier. We want kids to see. Let them rest at eye level with their human holders, though.
Didn't your mama tell you not to play in traffic? This deadly sin is spotted in front of the entrances, out in the parking lots and garages. Disney World visitors get out of their vehicles and walk toward the parks … directly, dangerously into the oncoming line of cars, the very pedestrian-dodging line they just left. It's easy to avoid. That's what the attendants are trying to tell you: Make just a little extra effort and walk up to the next row of previously parked cars. It's not crowded there, and it's not a hazard to your health.
Cutters! Where and when is OK to break in line? Although all of our parks have official methods to get closer to the front of the line, that doesn't make it acceptable to slink up the sides to get the position you covet. Wait your turn. And, by the way, everybody's on to your "Oh, I'm just joining my friends who are right up there, sorry" ruse.
When an attraction has signs that say, "Please, no climbing on rocks," that should not be translated as "Please, no climbing on the rocks — except for you because you have exceptional athletic ability. Be our guest." Warnings such as these are generally made with safety in mind. They'd rather you not crack your head open.
Lining up for food can be time-consuming. It's a good chance to gather your thoughts, center yourself and, well, decide what you'd like for lunch. Yet diners get up to the cashier only to be stumped, stupefied and otherwise mystified by the food selections. Oh, and should little Johnny have fries or apple slices? Discuss in advance, please.
Can't we all just get along? Are we not here to have a good time? Then why are you and your loved ones constantly arguing and sometimes threatening bodily harm? Sometimes comedy does ensue from such exchanges, however, including this one at Epcot: "I did not [gasp] come all the way to Florida [gasp] not to go to France!"
Finally, a deadly sin for the 21st century. It's committed by people so infatuated with their full-sized iPads that they hold them up to record a parade or show, blocking the view of dozens behind them. Delightfully, there are Twitter accounts with photos of these sinners. Public shaming is alive and well.
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