Disney Dreadful: The Buffet Buffoon

Bob takes a plate, gets in line, and bags some buffoons

Let me set the record straight: Disney is never dreadful.

But occasionally there are dreadful Disney moments caused by dreadful Disney people - park visitors or cast members - unaware that they're turning our magical moment into a miserable memory.

That's what I plan to chronicle here.

And before I get hate mail: relax, it's all in fun.

Before we bag our first Buffoon, let's sit in a circle and listen up.

I was thrilled by the tremendous traffic to my last Disney Dreadful article (the 'Bus Beast'): much of that traffic came from the nice folks at DiSBoards.com. As of today, over 10,000 people have read (or at least looked at) the Bus Beast article. Thanks! It feels great.

But a few didn't get the point. The point is ... there is no point. I'm not being serious here. I'm barely being lucid. If you get a laugh, great!

And if you don't, well, I can point you to the latest discussion about refillable mugs...

The Slopper

Of the many different Buffet Buffoons, Sloppers are the ones who most deserve our pity. They often know not what they do - nor how not to do it. What they do, of course, is slop. Soup, mostly, but also sauce, juice, and any other liquid or solid that requires ladling, spooning, or even grasping. If it were just a drip or two, a speck or three, the Slopper would not even be a Dreadful. But more often they leave in their wake a puddle or a pile. And the worst Sloppers don't just slop: they synthesize. These graceless gibbons integrate foods never meant to meet such as Au Jus over salad, barbecue sauce on bananas, peanut butter on pate. The Slopper is not a true danger and its creations can be expunged quickly by a well-trained buffet crew.

The Food Fondler

The Food Fondler, contrary to popular belief, is a delicate creature; its touch is gentle, and it often appears to caress items, especially rolls or cookies, before gently replacing them. But too late! The spoor of the Fondler now crawls microscopically on that roll, ready for transfer to the palate of whomever selects it next. Children, technically, can be food fondlers, though they lack the requisite grace of the real deal - some scholars term them Grub Grabbers, a more accurate description of their antics. When faced with a Food Fondler, the important thing is to keep your wits about you and your eyes on the fondled food. Do not touch it yourself. For added safety, do not touch any of the food touched by the fondled food. Your best bet is to select items from far in the back as Fondlers are inherently lazy and tend to finger only the food closest to themselves.

The Dessert Darter

For whatever reason, the dessert section of the buffet seems to encourage lawless, chaotic behavior. The Dessert Darter, a pesky though short-lived Buffet Buffoon, slips into line to snatch a sweet and then retreats. Some Darters retreat only to dart again, others take their initial booty and retire. Darters are easily identified by their approach to the dessert buffet: they stand back from the line, spying at a distance the various confections, and then upon choosing their target swiftly strike. They are adept at finding 'weak points' in the line - wide spaces between people - and use those almost exclusively, though aggressive Darters will approach quite close, often startling non-Darters but never remaining long enough to hear the occasional rebukes.

The Inane Inquisitor

I'm sure this buffoon means well. It sincerely wants to learn about the culture of the person at the carving station, especially in restaurants like Boma. That person, of course, is there to slice pork loin not gabble at length with the guests. The Inane Inquisitor never has the sense to move off to the side. Instead, it roots itself in front of the steaming meat and babbles away as others push their plates forward to catch slices carved by the distracted server. The finale of this tour-de-force in self-absorbed selfishness comes when the Inquisitor, suddenly having had enough talk, turns around quickly and collides with one of the hungry hopefuls waiting for it to shut up. A direct attack against the Inquisitor often works: interrupt its patter with a loud request to the carver. That will break the spell, confuse the Inquisitor, and send it off in search of its next sociological study.

The Head-on Heavy

One of the most aggressive, formidible Buffet Buffoons is the Head-on Heavy. These hungry locomotives either don't care or are unaware of where a line starts. They begin at the opposite end, forcing their way against the stream of buffet traffic, stubbornly refusing to yield. Heavies often wear bulky purses over their shoulders, adding yet more heft to their sturdy frames. When confronted with a Heavy, you have two choices: cede your place in line or treat the Heavy as your opponent in an absurd game of chicken. When you're finally shoulder to shoulder, the slight core of courtesy that dimly twinkles inside most Heavies will at this point flare in a momentary show of manners and compel the Heavy to move around you - a most delicious victory and one for which you should be proud.

The Lazy Leaver

When it's time to go, it's time to go. Believe me: your server would prefer you to leave quickly, and often so would the people around you. But the Lazy Leaver can't quite muster the initiative. This buffoon makes a production out of its inevitable departure by noisily gathering its possessions, guzzling down the dregs of its beverage, gesticulating at its wayward children. And when the Leaver does stand, it still does not move. It looks at its table, checks its pockets, discusses in a loud voice with its family why the meal lacked merit. The worst Leavers are those from an adjacent table who stand mere inches away, their butts quite close to your personal space as they lean over to rummage about on their table or check their seats for forgotten doo-dads. In these cases, the ideal solution is a sharp fork, but the recommended one is forebearance.

The Buffet Buffoon branch of the Disney Dreadful pantheon can turn any buffet into a brouhaha - but only if you let it happen. Remember, you're at Disney, and no one can steal your happiness. Not even a Disney Dreadful.

Next Time on Disney Dreadful...

In the next installment of Disney Dreadful, we'll tread cautiously in pursuit of the most common type of Dreadful, the Park Pariah (Part 1).

Don't stop there! More Features Await...

Stuff Not to Skip

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