Sunday, April 14, 2013

The 5 Worst People You'll Find in Disney World

I love Walt Disney World so, so much. It's my happy place. But for others, it's the place where nightmares come true. It's crowded, there are giant groups of people (and when people get in groups, there's no telling what can happen), and ya know, it's hot and filled with screaming children. And while this may seem like a mean-spirited idea for a blog post, it's simply my response to one of the most common questions I get regarding my love affair with Disney: "How do you deal with all of those people?" Well, it's a fair question, since I've been known to have small freak-outs when crowded by too many people. For starters, there's a big difference between large groups of vacation-goers, and hordes of drunk people at a bar. I'm not oblivious to the annoyances of the most-traveled vacation spot in the U.S. (it ranks up there in the world, too). As a matter of fact, since my last trip to see The Mouse, I've been thinking about this quite a bit. So, here are the five most annoying types of people you'll find in Disney - and some tips on how to deal with them.

The competitor

The competitor is the person who, for whatever reason, feels the need to push and shove to the front of each and every line. They'll break up your party, get too close for comfort to brush past you, and generally just create moments of tension...all to most likely end up on the same ride vehicle as you anyway. There are a lot of opportunities around Walt Disney World where this can happen. Rock n' Roller Coaster, for example, is a big one. You wait in line for 30-40 minutes only to be grouped in a room where there is no line, and then you move out to another line, before you finally catch your limo. The competitor will make sure to push his or her way through this crowd to be the first in line. What are these people so anxious for? Is it really that big of a deal that they beat everyone? How do you deal? While this clearly gets my blood boiling, and believe me, it does, here's my way of dealing with it: Just hang back. Seriously. Who cares if you're the last person out of the room? What, it's going to take an extra 5-10 minutes out of your day? Enjoy the wait. Have a conversation with your family or whoever you're traveling with. You'll be on the ride soon enough, and it'll be over in 2.5 minutes anyway.

The White Rabbit

I'm late! I'm late! Similar to the competitor, these are the folks who are always in a rush, frantically dashing around each park to get to the next ride. They push, and shove, and sprint, so they can trim 10 minutes off of their next 90 minute wait at Toy Story Mania. Dude, chill. I mean seriously, go with the flow. How can you expect to enjoy one of the greatest places on earth if you're just running all the time? How do you deal? I feel bad for them. Either they couldn't book a long enough vacation, or they just don't know how to enjoy themselves. Going to Disney World isn't about making sure you hit all the big rides (and if you've booked a week, you'll be fine and then some). It's about enjoying the atmosphere, stopping to smell the roses, taking note of the small detail that makes these parks stand apart from the competitors that will never, ever compare. Grab your loved one by the hand, stroll around, and laugh at all the people who look so stressed out. Need a vacation from your vacation? You aren't doing it right.

Parents with strollers

This is a really bad one, and by no means does this mean all parents take part in this. But let's set the scene: You're in Fantasyland. The world has gone mad. Seriously, it's like, every child on the planet is here. It's difficult to wade your way through the crowd. But then, what's this? A crazy person with a stroller coming right at you? Yup, it happens, all too often, I'm afraid. Parents, please don't use your children as weapons. I know you think it seems like no one is going to stand in the way of a stroller, but you're terrifying your child, and you're being reckless. Stop it. How do you deal? I honestly don't have a great suggestion on how to deal with this, because, who the heck wants to get hit by a stroller holding a crying kid? The parents probably fall under categories 1 and 2 above, and think they have a pass because they're pushing around a siren on wheels. Just get the heck out of the way, maybe utter a few curse words under your breath to feel better, and get on with your day. 

The smokers

First of all, ew. Like I know somehow the 1950's made smoking look sexy, but it's been sixty years, and now it's disgusting. Disney has graciously made smoking sections available to those who feel the need to do so. It's really unpleasant for non-smokers to have to walk behind someone puffing away and clogging up your fresh air. Friend, this is a clean shirt. I'm wearing new perfume, and just might be carrying a kid with lungs I'd like to keep clean. Do not stink us up with your habit. You're probably a really lovely person, and I'm sorry for being so rude. Please just do that in your designated spot. How do you deal? Travelers, if you're ever stuck in this situation, you can do one of two things: Move away as fast as possible, or, if you're stuck in a crowd, start coughing. Like, a lot. They can't be mad at you, because they're not supposed to be smoking there anyway. Unless of course you accidentally stumbled into the designated smoking area, and then you'll just feel really bad. 

The unsupervised children

This one doesn't bother me personally as much, but I've seen many a parent roll their eyes. Let's face it, kids tend to get a little rambunctious when they're with a group of friends, and they're feeling independent and ballsy. Disney may have actually taken care of this one for you. It was recently announced that all children under the age of 14 cannot enter the park without a parent or guardian. This probably won't solve the problem of kids getting rowdy and acting like punks, but it's a step in the right direction. How do you deal? It's kind of annoying yes, but didn't you ever act like that? These kids want to cut loose and hang with their friends, away from their parents. If they've recently picked up some choice words from the English language and they're touting them around your 5-year-old, we've got a problem. But in most cases, they're harmless kids. Annoying, harmless kids. Unless they're wearing Heelys. Then permission to bring the pain granted. 

How do you deal with crowd-created frustrations in Disney World? Have you ever had a bad experience? Would love to hear from you.

Happy, stress-free traveling! 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Disney on the Web, Week of March 31

Hit the links with this week's Disney happenings on the Web.

Buzzfeed gives us a look inside what it's like to be the luckiest person in the world.

This one's perfect because it mixes elements of my day job with my obsession love of Disney. Looking for a ring to match your favorite Disney princess?

Disney Parks Blog give us a first look at Stars Wars Weekend moichandise. I like the hat.

Longtime Disney editor Norman Palmer has died at 94.

First sightings of the Iron Man 3 monorail, branded with Stark Industries.

Did you know that all of these 90's sitcoms went to Disney World? T.G.I.F.

Excuse me, parents, but Mickey Mouse is not your damn babysitter.

In other somewhat creepy news, VHI has ranked the top 20 sexiest Disney animals.

On the human front, here are 11 stars who shed their Disney image.

Buzzfeed poses the question: Are these Disney movies racist? Does anyone care?

Great article from PR Daily: 3 Types of Content That Drive Disney's Blog.

Selena and Vanessa who? This Spring Breakers stars the Disney Princesses, and it's so wrong.

Now-married couple in the same Disney World photo 15 years before they met. Disney destiny?

Buzzfeed's 12 questions for Beauty and the Beast will poke holes in your favorite movie.

Minnie Mouse gets a Lanvin makeover and she is fabulous!

Man's annoyance with It's a Small World elevated to medical meltdown, Disney pays $8,000.

Well, here's one way to teach anatomy to your kids. No seriously, do not show this to them.

And finally, can anyone please confirm if this amazingness is true?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The 5 Best Dishes From the 2012 Food & Wine Festival (The Better Late Than Never Edition)

A note on the new year: I know the dangers of declaring New Year's resolutions on January 1, but in an effort to maintain a happier, better me, I've decided that, along with the traditional "I will work out and lose 20 pounds this year" spiel, I will also make more of an effort to fill my life with more Disney, hence the reason I started this blog in the first place. I make excuses since my professional life has been so fulfilling, I don't find much need to come home and write more after a long day. But darnit, it's what I love. And as you may have noticed, I always have plenty to say. So, now that I've gotten that out of the way, a happy and healthy new year to all, and here we go!

This is painfully late, somewhat embarrassingly so, but having had an amazing experience at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this year (or last year, my goodness it's 2013!) I just had to tell you about it. Take a look at what I think were the 5 best eats from the gorge-fest that is the Food & Wine Festival.

Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies, Australia

I'd hardly consider myself a meat person. In fact, if you had asked me before digging into this dish if I liked lamb, I probably would have said no way. The lamb dish from the Australia booth changed all that in just a few bites. The combination of the salty, crispy potato crunchies (read: crumbled up chips) paired with the zest of the mint pesto was enough to make my taste buds dance. And the lamb itself was cooked perfectly, and not at all fatty or too "meaty," as my sometimes-vegetarian self would say. It was just so perfectly yum.

Mongolian beef in a steamed bun, China

Any way you slice it, one of the dishes from China was bound to be a favorite. Of the three, it just so happened to be the Mongolian beef bun. Here we go again with the meat - but this was tender, and it wasn't the main ingredient that had our tongues wagging. It was the tangy spicy sauce, the crunchy noodles that I rarely eat a salad without, and the slightly sweet bun that made this dish. This paired with China's Happy Lychee vodka concoction, and we were pretty happy indeed. 

Kahlua pork slider with pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise, Hawaii

All of the hub-bub about Hawaii's famous pork sliders was 100 percent accurate. The pairing of spicy mayo and sweet pineapple was enough to make me forget I was eating pork (which I could have sworn I didn't love, though I'm starting to notice a pattern here). It's obvious why they brought this back, and I hope it will continue to be a festival mainstay for years to come. 

Belgian waffle with berry compote and whipped cream, Belgium

You might be thinking, "So what? It's just a waffle." Well, that may be. But it was one darn good waffle. These babies were served fresh, and piping hot, with a delectable compote sauce and perfect dollop of whipped cream. And after eating all of those meat dishes, this is just what we needed. Just wonderful.

Beef empanada, Argentina

Here in D.C., we have a place called Julia's Empanadas. It's most often frequented at 3am, when one wants to fill one's tummy with a fried concoction to balance out the night's surplus of cocktails. This was not one of those empanadas. This was an amazing, melt-in-your-mouth dish, with a warm filling and light crispy crust. Muy bien.

Stay tuned for what I thought were the worst dishes from the Food & Wine Festival, if you can forgive my tardiness on the subject!

Happy eating!