Monday, June 17, 2013
Today's Rant: People Who Make Theme Parks No Fun
So the hubs and I just got back from taking the offspring to a major theme park in Florida. Yep, you know the one. We actually love the place, and we had a lot of fun. The kids loved it too.
But by the end of each day I was ready to maim someone. Seriously.
Let's start with the parking service. We stay on property, but we usually rent a car so we don't have to deal with the buses, and we have a bit more flexibility on when and where we want to go. We drive into the parking lot, and almost every damn time we end up starting a new row. For those of you that don't know what that means, it means that you end up with the longest walk to the tram, and thus the longest walk back after a long day at the park. Yes, I get that someone is going to end up parking out there, but did it have to be us every damn time? Annoying. WHY on earth do they not have parking garages? Seems like a simple enough solution.
And then there's the tram service. Here's where the rude, inconsiderate, self-absorbed people really start to get to me. You've got the people who cannot follow simple stated rules, such as staying behind the yellow line. "HELLO! The tram won't freaking MOVE until your ass is behind that yellow line!" Can I tell you how much I would love to yell that out loud while the very courteous operator is nicely telling people to "please step behind the yellow line"? And the strollers. NEWSFLASH!!! Fold the stroller BEFORE you board the tram. It's not rocket science. You also might want to think about starting this process before the tram has actually stopped in front of you. I'm watching people stand there, and then continue to stand there, as the tram pulls up and they have yet to remove a bag from the stroller, let alone the child. Even if our youngest was sleeping in the stroller we had her out of it, bags in hand and the stroller folded when the tram stopped. We even watched one couple try to put the stroller on the tram with the child STILL IN IT. Seriously.
And here's where I lost it. At the end of a very long day, we were waiting for the tram. I got in line for the two seat row, since the tram didn't look too crowded, and we had the stroller, so it would be a little more roomy. The gates open, I pull the stroller up to lock it (takes me about 2 seconds), turn around......and a mom and her teenage son had run from a line further up and jumped onto the row we had been waiting for. I looked right at them and said, "Are you kidding me right now?" The mother looked away, but the boy at least attempted to scoot over and say there was room. We took the row behind (which was empty), and I said that we'd be fine. He then tried to tell the hubs to put the stroller in their row, but the hubs also said no, we were fine. The mother said to the son, a few minutes later, "We shouldn't have come back here." No, bitch, you shouldn't have. Especially when you saw that someone was waiting in line.
Then we get to the bag checks. PEOPLE! Again!!! It is not that difficult! Get your bag OUT, OPEN it, and have it ready when you get to the table. Don't forget the bags you have in the bottom of the strollers. Don't try to bring in bottles of beer (yep, saw that happen). And don't try to go through the "no bag" line because you think your bag is "too small" to be checked. In other words, don't be an absolute moron.
Ok. So we get into the parks (any of them, the people are all the same) and try to start enjoying ourselves. The problem is, I am a stickler for rules. Social rules, written rules, theme park rules, whatever the rules are, I believe you should follow them. There are rules about lines, there are rules about the rides, there are rules about where you can take strollers, there are rules for everything. Think the rules don't apply to you? I've got news for ya, cupcake.....you're not special. The rules apply to everyone. Courtesy and manners are also big in my book. So yeah, me and theme parks don't really mesh well.
First, you have the people who mosey. You wanna mosey? Fine! Just don't mosey right in the center of the walkway. Then you have the people who mosey with their group, and they walk six people wide. UGH! I get that you're a big group, but come on. And I absolutely LOVE it when the moseying, six-people-wide-group suddenly STOPS right in front of you without warning. So fun. I was very verbal with the first born about moving out of people's way before we stopped. "Let's not be rude and stop right in front of people." "Let's move out of people's way before we stop." "We don't stop right where people are walking." She heard all of this several times, and I am sure others around us heard it too. Or at least I hope they did. You wanna stop to look at a map? That is absolutely fine, just don't do it right in the middle of a busy area. Please.
Second, you have people who cannot stop texting, no matter where they are. I said out loud several times as people were walking straight at me (and me with a stroller) looking down at their phones, "Please look up!". I would get such dirty looks, like I was the one causing the problem. I'm sorry, but it's much easier for you to steer yourself around a stroller than it is for me to steer the stroller around you. Besides that, you are the one not looking where you're going in the first place. I really felt like going out and buying a cattle guard to put on the front of the stroller. These same people are the ones who text through dark rides, through shows, during parades, etc. I mean really, why are you here?
Smokers. Oh, the smokers. I have to say, I just don't get people who smoke. It's not like it's a secret what it will do to you. I honestly think people who smoke should be ineligible for health insurance. You wanna do something that causes you to have all of those health problems, something that is totally preventable, then YOU pay for it. Oh but wait, I digress. That's a topic for another day. So this park has designated smoking areas. I always think it's funny when people think those areas don't apply to them. They try to hide the cancer stick in their hand, behind their back, etc. Ummm, hello, the white billowing smoke coming from your mouth kind of gives you away. And you smell. Follow the rules. Because I WILL call you out on it and find the nearest cast member to tell you that you can't smoke there. You wanna go on and on about how it's your right? Fine. It's my right not to have to breathe that crap.
Personal space. Why can people not respect personal space? Standing in lines, I am very aware of people around me and I am also very aware of where my children are. I make sure they are not too close to other people, as my youngest loves to touch everyone and everything. I am always telling her that those people don't belong to us, we don't touch, etc. We were in line for something and there was a group behind us. Every time we took a step forward they would literally move up so close to us they were standing up against me. I finally turned around and said, "I'm sorry, I don't know you, can you please not stand so close?" I just got dirty looks from them, but I did get a few claps from other people around us. I am quite painfully aware that the parks are extremely crowded and there are a lot of people. I get it. But there is absolutely no reason for anyone to be standing so close to you that you can feel their breath, unless they are related to you. And even then, most times, that's too close. Back off.
Then you have the people who think they are going to submit the next ten million dollar photo to LIFE magazine. You know the ones. They're the ones taking flash pictures all the way through all of the dark rides.......any ride where flashes continually going off throughout the whole ride pretty much ruin it for everyone else in there. They're the ones who completely disregard the reminders of "no flash photography" during the ride, because, well, those rules are for everyone else, right? Of course they are. SMH. Oh and you gotta love the people who take flash pictures during fireworks. Yeah, because those always turn out great.
Something I do not tolerate well at all is people who are rude to the employees, especially without cause. It's hot, it's humid, it's crowded, and the lines are long, but that is no reason to take it out on the people who are there to do their jobs and just help you in any way they can. I told several workers that they had the patience of saints with some of these people. I saw one father, in front of his kids, completely lash out at a young woman at the entrance to a ride because she insisted on measuring his daughter's height to make sure she was ok to ride. That's her job. I felt really bad for her. I also felt really bad for the kids.....the dad made a complete ass out of himself. I saw people yell and scream when they were told they couldn't stand in a particular spot for a parade, or to smoke, or that they couldn't take food into a show. I mean really, these places really seem to bring out the worst in people.
I make a point to tell each and every server, checker, attendant, etc. thank you at every opportunity. The oldest knew to say thank you as she got off of each ride. Even the youngest caught on to that one. I even stopped to tell an employee who was sweeping up trash that he was doing a great job. I mean, how many people ever tell him that? We do this everywhere everyday, by the way, not just on vacation. I just cannot handle the blatant rudeness and complete sense of entitlement exhibited by so many people every day. The lack of common courtesy, coupled with a severe lack of common sense, is a dangerous combination, and it's only getting worse. I feel like it's getting so much harder to teach my children courtesy and manners because so few people in public show the same values. This was so very obvious during our theme park visit. Don't even get me started on the women in the restrooms.......
But you know what? There were some really great people, too. There were the Scottish people we met on the tram that found out that my first born's favorite character is from Scotland, and they were telling her about the country and sharing some things with her that just made her day. There was the man who was our waiter in one of the newer restaurants that went above and beyond to take care of everything we needed, as it was late and it was clear we were exhausted. There was the woman who played one of the characters who met my girls at two separate locations and remembered them, and that had them so excited they talked about it all day. There were the servers who had the hubs supplied with endless glasses of Diet Coke without him having to ask.....you people rock. There was the woman behind the counter late one night before a parade who decided to tell my oldest that she was just too pretty of a princess not to have dessert, and she gave her a chocolate cake for free. Thank you. There was the man working one particular ride who asked me how many was in my group, and then asked us to step aside, because he said he wanted my two princesses to have the front row on the next ride. Little things like that really meant a lot to us, and it really made up for so much of the other crap we had put up with all day.
So will I go back? Of course. Because as much as I complain, I still love it and I love the looks on the faces of my kids when they are having pure, simple, joyful fun.
And people will piss me off all over again. It's a vicious cycle.