It is no secret that I love Disneyland. It’s my happiest place on Earth and all that, but there are things at Disneyland that bug me and as such they should be addressed to keep me, er, the paying guest, happy.
1. Grumpy cast members. No, not Grumpy the dwarf, but actual people that work at Disneyland that are unpleasant. Granted, this doesn’t happen often which is probably why it makes such an impact when it does. Nothing stands out like a weed in a field full of flowers.
2. Grumpy guests. Again, not the dwarf. Sure, Disney would be hard-pressed to alter the grumpy guest, but who the hell yells and curses in Disneyland at A) their kids, B) their spouse, C) the soon to be grumpy cast member. If I wanted my kids to hear foul-mouths and anger I would take them to a Raiders game.
3. Crowds. Yes, this is rather obvious. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to navigate your family through a bunch of other people trying to navigate theirs through yours. To an extent this is expected and taken with a grain of salt, but here’s a secret- some of those crowds are created by Disney. They like to mess with perception and it’s annoying. They’re already getting my money so knock it off.
4. Smoking. If you are going to go to the trouble of banning smoking and creating large and lovely smoking areas then please enforce it. If I wanted my kids to inhale a cloud of smoke and ashes I would take them to a Raiders game.
5. Pin traders. Somewhere between the hobbies of stamp collecting and pigeon fancying sits the pin trader. At first glance they seem harmless enough, just a group of people taking up all of the shade-covered seats outside the eatery, but don’t even think about asking to use one of their many empty chairs so that your wife and children can actually sit down for a moment. That’s when the claws come out. Those chairs are for their customers- other pin traders, most of which are sitting at shade-covered tables around them amid a sea of empty chairs. Disneyland is not their personal eBay store, contrary to their popular belief. Pin traders are directly responsible for many a grumpy guest- see how this is all circular? The Lion King was right.
6. Little Rascals. Not Alfalfa and Buckwheat, but the guests that use scooters to maneuver the park. Obviously most people on a scooter are not doing anything wrong, but there are those (you know who you are) that try to weave in and out of traffic on their scooter like it’s rush hour on the interstate. A scooter is not made for weaving, or speed for that matter. And then there is the horn. Seriously, a freaking horn? There is a special place in hell for the honker of the scooter horn.
7. Stroller Derby. We use a stroller at Disneyland. It’s the only place we use one. The crowds are too big and the scooters too fast for kids to be wandering around aimlessly all day. Plus, it’s a great place to keep your stuff. However, pushing a stroller does not mean that you are any more important than anyone else. It does not mean that you are allowed to cut people off, bump their ankles or double-park in front of Peter Pan. This does not make one a good parent, it makes one an ass.
8. Ride closures. On our last trip we stood in line for 5 different rides that broke down before we got to ride them. Sure, it’s better than actually being on them when they break, but 5 rides in one day? That’s a lot, isn’t it?
9. Photo prices. Disneyland is getting my money. I know this when I walk through the gate, just like I know the house is getting it when I stumble into Vegas. I accept it. However, it would be nice if I could stretch it a bit further before it goes.
Disney has a great service where they take your photo throughout the park and then you can purchase them later… for 15 bucks. What? It’s a damn digital print. You can print those out for less than a dollar at Target. Sure, someone else took the photo, but I’m not sold on their skills as a professional photographer. It’s not like Annie Leibovitz is spending her weekends in front of the castle.
There is also the option of buying the photos online when you get home- just in case you weren’t quite done spending money yet.
$15 is a tad high. Maybe two tads.
10. More character opportunities. I remember a time when the Disney characters were everywhere. They roamed streets and restaurants and brought an element of magic and surprise to the day. Now they are in certain areas with huge lines, which isn’t a bad thing, but it loses something. Characters were born to be free and to work the streets of Disneyland like their own cocktail party. Keep the set lines with the select few, but put the rest back into the mix. One quick glance from a favorite character goes a long way. Who knows, it might even ease the grumpy guest.
So that’s it. Nitpicking? Perhaps. Doable? Maybe not. To be honest I’d settle for a ban on horns… and maybe a churro.
Photos by Whit and Tricia Honea