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About the Column

Ashley Metz keeps a special book in her South Carolina chateau. It's called the Disney Book of Stinkin' Love. Into that book she pours her passion for the parks, her devotion to Disney World, and from that book, every week, she'll draw forth with characteristic exuberance a chapter exclusively for Disney Dispatch. Ashley welcomes questions, but no matter what you ask, the answer will always be the same, and it will always be correct: Because I Stinkin' Love Disney World!

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FROM: Because I Stinkin' Love Disney World Published Thursdays

Disney Parade Pandemonium, Part 1

At parades, even Disney parades, people can turn into animals. All they care about is the SPOT, and it doesn't matter if you were there first - they still want it. Ashley has had strife over her spots, but now she knows how to fight back.

Oh, I love a parade, the tramping of feet,
I love every beat I hear of a drum.
I love a parade, when I hear a band
I just want to stand and cheer as they come.

Gosh, I love parades, especially Disney parades.

I love the magic, the fantasy, the characters, the songs, the jazz handed dancers, and the rude parade viewers.

Wait a minute. Just as in real life, rude parade viewers have busted their way up in the middle of a good thing. While I stinkin' love Disney World, I stinkin' loathe rudeness. One of the absolute worst ways to rain on my parade is to interfere with my viewing spot.

During my trips to Disney World, I have learned a few tips and tricks on finding that perfect spot, but occasionally you will have intruders of the worst kind. This week and next we'll be looking at a couple of different park parade scenarios and dissecting them to find out what went wrong. Like a sports commentator after a double-take play, we'll be "x" ing and "arrow"ing all over these heinous parade etiquette blunders.

If you have ever been intruded upon while interacting with your favorite characters, trampled over while taking in the floats, or squeeze by spectators into an utterly unsqueezable space, then you need to read on. And if you have ever committed any of these unthinkables, then I would like to invite you to read on as well and fall into formation. Parade formation!

Pain at the Parade

The scene was this:

It was our last night in the Magic Kingdom. The sun was descending as park guests clambered to board rides and wolfed down food But we knew something. Something that gave us an advantage. If we searched now and held down the fort, a prime viewing spot for Spectromagic was in our grasp. My family spread into that spot and resolved to hold it all costs. We took turns on guard duty: some of us still and deadly as sentinels, or others afield to procure provisions and use the facilities.

We had an hour to kill. And that hour passed slowly - it's hard to sit on your bottom when the rides are still going, the shows still showing. We felt like fish swimming upstream as most of the crowd enjoyed the park while we... sat. But we had to do it, and we saw around us other grizzled park veterans doing likewise, eyeing our spot and evaluating it againt theirs.

Soon, the crowds began to fill Main Street, U.S.A., sizing up and staking down less desirable spots. Then Jiminy Cricket gave his 'warning' that the nightly parade was about to begin! I couldn't wait.

And then we saw them. A couple. The man held a video camera, the wife sported two (count 'em, two) DVC fanny packs. At first their infringement upon our spot was minor; a shoe here, an elbow there. That was acceptable. Then we realized they were probing for weaknesses. The assault commenced with a heel smashed into the top of my foot, then elbows like battering rams began to pry us loose from our spot, the chinks in our armor filled with strange, sweaty folks desperate for a view.


That's my spot. I found it, I waited for it. So I groaned, in my best passive aggressive style, and redeployed myself. They retreated, ever so slightly, and victory appeared to be ours. But not so fast! A few minutes later, I heard my brother chatting with video camera guy, who was pleading the typical case: they had a small child who needed a better view, and so could we, would we...

My brother, a true gentleman, agreed. Too late he realized it had been a ploy: as soon as the kid crossed our border, his father shoved him aside and began recording the parade with his 1990s era 'camcorder', which he positioned directly in front of my precious brother's face.

At the time, my brother was about 20 years old, which is the age that doesn't back down. But he didn't want to start a scene and ruin the parade for everyone else, so he kept quiet and tolerated the incursion, though his body language made it clear to me that he was fuming inside.

The parade ends, and with it I hope the 'incident', but we weren't to get off so easily. My brother had reached his limit. He struck up another conversaion with the invaders:

"Hey, did you get a good shot?" he asked video camera guy.

"Yeah, man. I got the whole thing!"

"I hope you did, because I just waited here an hour so that you could. I hope you enjoyed it."

It may sound sensible and friendly to you, but my brother literally had steam coming out of his ears. Video camera guy was dumbfounded. We were aggravated. Way to ruin a good thing!

Pointers for a Better Parade

This scene is filled with fumbles.

#1 We waited and they didn't.

The best thing I learned from this experience is that I have to stick up for myself. I waited and they didn't. I will not be stepped on and shoved anymore. I have a voice. If a similar incident ever occurs, I will (calmly and as nicely as possible) say "I have been waiting here for x minutes/hours. This is my spot. You'll have to find somewhere else because you are not sitting here!"

#2 Don't fall for tricks.

Those people straight up lied about the kid. While that tactic worked that night, it won't work again. If you actually do have a kid, then that is more of a reason for you to find a place and wait. I want kids to see the parade, and if they waited alongside me the whole time and still can't see it, then we can negotiate. As far as this heartless couple playing on our heart strings, from now on my answer is going to be "sorry".

#3 Don't become a punching bag.

I can't stand being stepped upon, elbowed into, and pushed around. I know parades provide a lot of up close and personal time, but there is no reason why someone should be beaten up. I have decided that passive aggressiveness only gets me more frustrated. If someone steps on me, I will kindly ask them to stop or to back up a bit. It is only fair.

Grrr. I get all worked up just thinking about it!

I'll be back next week with another tale of parade trouble, but this time it works out for us! I hope my pointers will lead you to a better parade formation. If you have any experiences or tips of your own, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Together, we can stop parade bullies. See ya next week!


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