Stupid Guest Tricks

by Steve Russo, staff writer
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Have you ever seen “Stupid Pet Tricks?"  It’s a long running skit on the Late Show with David Letterman. If you’re not familiar with it, guests bring their pets on the show to demonstrate a trick that is out of the ordinary— something like answering a phone. As you can probably guess, this is done primarily for laughs. The success of this segment gave birth to “Stupid Human Tricks”, a similar premise with humans wiggling their ears and such (have I ever told you I could play music on my teeth?).

So what does all this have to do with Disney? There’s a Web site, a forum really, called Stupid Guest Tricks. As you can probably surmise, this forum is frequented predominantly by Disney’s cast members. It presents an opportunity for them to discuss some of the more… er, interesting guest experiences from the Disney parks. As the introduction to the site suggests, it’s a “website devoted to those special guests we get every now and then, the ones who seem to leave their IQ at home when visiting a theme park."  My personal phrasing preference is to state that some of us are simply overwhelmed by our surroundings at Disney parks; but “leaving the IQ at home” says it well.

Nevertheless, there seems to be no shortage of Stupid Guest Tricks and I’m certain we’ve all seen more than a few—or maybe you’ve even participated in one or two, innocently, of course.

So… what, exactly, is a Stupid Guest Trick? I think it’s best symbolized by what I believe to be an urban legend; a guest approaches a cast member in the Magic Kingdom and asks, “What time does the 3:00 parade start?”

You’ve probably heard that one before and we all snicker at it, but I’m betting if this truly happened, that the guest’s only sin was poor phrasing. My suggestion is he or she meant to ask, “What time does the 3:00 parade arrive at my specific viewing area?” If one is positioned on Main Street and the parade begins in Frontierland, or vice versa, it’s a legitimate question.

We can be relatively certain that these little faux pas occur all the time. Like many of the Park Peeves I often discuss, most are innocent but a few, I’m sorry to say, are the result of malicious intent. We’ll begin with a couple of the more malevolent variety.

What? Me wait in line?

I was witness to an attempt at a very selfish ruse on my most recent trip. In the minutes following Epcot’s opening for the day, we made our way, with many others, to the Land pavilion for a trip on Soarin’. This particular day, the cast members held all guests on the upper level for a brief wait before releasing them in a steady stream down the right side to the down escalator and stairs.

One guest asked a cast member if there was an alternate way to the first level. He indicated he wasn’t there for Soarin’ but just wanted some food from the Sunshine Seasons food court. The cast member consulted another and then apologetically informed that guest that he would have to wait in that line. We, of course, went directly to the Soarin’ standby queue after stopping quickly to secure FastPasses for later in the day. While in the Soarin’ line, just prior to the pre-show area, I glanced back and saw that same guest a mere four people behind us. Apparently, he had changed his mind about the food.

To be fair, this guest could have been heading downstairs for food, and seeing the large number of people queuing for Soarin’ decided to ride before having his breakfast. It’s possible. This next one is less ambiguous and also in the line-cutting category.

We were at the Magic Kingdom bus stops just after park closing. We were in line, waiting to board a Boardwalk bus. As it sometimes does at park closing, the line completely filled the queue (the area with the railings) and extended back further. There were approximately 30-40 people out side the railings, but I expected multiple buses would be brought in to handle the crowd.

A bus pulled in and the folks inside the railings began loading. At this time, two couples were strolling alongside the extended queue. As they reached the area where the railings began, the fellow in front motioned to the couple behind him and all four people cut into the queue. There were a few shouts from the back but, really, is there anything anyone could do to discourage this behavior—short of a nasty confrontation? These folks obviously knew exactly what they were doing and were selfish enough not to care about those behind them. For most of us, waiting on a second bus means only an additional 5-10 minutes but… that doesn’t make what they did OK.

The Miss Informers

These are certainly of the more innocent variety but they always make me smile. It’s just amazing how many people will offer erroneous information about Disney World; however, they do it with such authority they’re often believed.

We were once traveling, by Disney bus, from Downtown Disney to our resort. We were riding by Old Key West, and if you’ve ever done this, you’ll notice that from the nearby roads Old Key West is partially hidden by some trees. What you can see are outdoor stairs, doors, windows, and balconies. To me, it more resembles an apartment complex than a resort hotel.

At about this time, a young girl behind me asks, “What’s that?”

One of her traveling companions explained that it was “where Disney houses its workers. It’s a nice place to live but they only pay them, like, $1.50 an hour.” I chuckled at that one. If it’s true, I think I’m looking for a part-time job at Disney World when I retire.

I met another Miss Informer while seated outside, enjoying dinner with my wife at the Big River Grille and Brewing Works on the Boardwalk. I overheard a conversation at the next table where a young woman was offering her tablemates insight into touring Walt Disney World. Among her suggestions was this tidbit: “You can do the Magic Kingdom in half a day.” Really? I’d love to see the touring plan for that.

She did have my attention now and I continued eavesdropping and caught this gem, my personal favorite for misinformation: “Universal is totally separate. I don’t know why, but Disney makes you buy a separate ticket for it."  The nerve of those people at Disney.

The Captain Obvious Award

On our most recent trip, we were in the Magic Kingdom and just about to enter the Country Bears Jamboree when I overheard this exchange between a couple and a cast member:

Woman: “Where’s the Hall of Presidents?”
Cast member: (pointing) “Right over there.”

Woman: “What is it?”
Cast member: “It’s a show… about presidents.”

I don't know why I find that funny... but I do.

I know what it says, but… here’s your sign

We were once waiting for a Downtown Disney bus at the Contemporary Resort. A bus clearly labeled “Downtown Disney”, on both the front and side, pulls in. We boarded with six or eight other guests. We took our seats toward the front and watched as a woman boarded and asked the driver, “Will this bus take me to Epcot?” Somewhere, comedian Bill Engvall was heard uttering, “Here’s your sign.”

Want another? We were waiting for members of our party to exit Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. We decided to wait inside, at the ride’s exit, to take advantage of the air-conditioning. There’s an area in back where you can wait for your party and can see the ride vehicles as they pull in and the riders disembark.

In this area, there are six monitors where those exiting the ride can view their on-ride photos. Above those monitors is a large screen, which plays a video loop of the end of an Aerosmith concert. It’s very loud, runs for about two minutes and features band members high-fiving the audience and doing the things they would normally do at the end of a concert. After seeing, and hearing, this clip multiple times, a woman next to us commented, “Great. We get to stand here and listen to how loud the Rolling Stones are.” Rolling Stones? Here’s your sign.

Where am I?

I’ll leave you with what is probably my favorite experience with an “overwhelmed” guest at Walt Disney World. We were riding a bus from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the Saratoga Springs Resort. Because there had been some earlier problems, our bus also contained two couples that were returning to Old Key West. Our driver had informed us he’d be stopping there first but only at the Old Key West bus stop that these folks needed, then continuing on to Saratoga Springs.

We pulled up to that bus stop and our two couples exited the bus. I could see a small group of people there waiting and a woman with a particularly perplexed expression. After a moment, she hurried to the front of our bus, climbed the stairs and asked the driver, “Does this bus go to Disney World?”

Well, as you can see, I’ve spotted a few Stupid Guest Tricks on my visits to the World. I will also point out that, with just a couple of exceptions, they’re purely innocent. It’s just a few examples of vacationers, like you and me, sending our brains off on a vacation while we head to Disney World. I’d like to say I’ve never messed up while there but my family would immediately correct that.

How about you? I’d love to hear about things you’ve seen or, better yet, things you’ve done that would qualify as a Stupid Guest Trick. Let me know and, as always, thanks for reading and... Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Comments

  1. By potzbie

    Since I do not know the geographic layout of the Florida properties, I don't get the references, and why the behavior of the guest(s) is considered stupid.

    " ... levels ... eating ..." -- I don't get it.

    "... Old Key West ... bus ..." -- I don't get it.

  2. By Buckimion

    This is probably going to be one of the hottest topics as virtually everyone can share a stupid guest story. I've had some encounters of my own, but my favorite was my dad who visited Epcot once and complained about the lack of rides. When I inquired how could he miss going inside of such-and-such pavilion he said he didn't go inside any of the buildings because those things "were full of gift shops".

  3. By srusso100

    Quote Originally Posted by potzbie View Post
    Since I do not know the geographic layout of the Florida properties, I don't get the references, and why the behavior of the guest(s) is considered stupid.

    " ... levels ... eating ..." -- I don't get it.

    "... Old Key West ... bus ..." -- I don't get it.

    Sorry. I tried to be clear and keep it succinct and, I guess, I failed.

    One enters the Land pavilion on the upper level. Soarin' and the food court are on the lower level. The CMs had held all guests upstairs and were now letting them head to the stairs for the lower level. This particular guest tried to bypass the line because he only wanted the food court - not to ride Soarin'. In fact, he was less than truthful because he wound up in line right behind us.

    Old Key West is a DVC resort that can resemble an apartment complex. This young lady was mis-informing her friends that it was where Disney houses its cast members.

    Hope that helps.

  4. By wayne

    Even Disney vets can have their moments. I remember how while visiting on Thanksgiving my wife asked when is the big Thanksgiving parade that's on TV. Oops. That,s Christmas.We had a big laugh

  5. By sbmmickey

    My husband and I were in the pre-show of the Rock n Rollercoaster. A girl in front of us said to her friends (who were talking about Aerosmith) "Who's Aerosmith?" Just then the band walked into the studio, and her friend said "That guy" (pointing at Steven Tyler). "He's Aerosmith."

  6. By EVRCLEARo3

    I have a good (well I think it's good) story from when I was a cast member at Disneyland.

    I was sweeping in Adventureland and was near the entrance to the Enchanted Tiki Room. Two men walked up to me with their kids (each had one kids with him). They asked me a common question, "Where is Indiana Jones Adventure.'

    I proceeded to explain where the entrance was. At this point, one of the guys looks at the other guy and says, "See, it is the one with the sign that says Indiana Jones Adventure!"

    One more....

    Another time I was sweeping the line for Pirates of the Caribbean. When I got to the entrance and was standing right at the edge of the bridge right under the sign for the ride, a guest comes up and asks me where Pirates of the Caribbean is.

    I respond telling the guy to do a 360 degree circle and look up. The guy looks at me with a puzzled look and just looks up. He sees the sign and turns bright red. At this point, he turns to his wife who is about 50 feet behind him cracking up with the rest of the family. Turns out he was victim to a cruel (but funny) joke.

    Anyway, both of these made me think of Bill Engvall as well..."Here's your sign!"

  7. By TJsAuntB

    I worked at a tourist venue in Baltimore for many years. My favorite question was "Do these stairs go up?"

  8. By srusso100

    Quote Originally Posted by TJsAuntB View Post
    I worked at a tourist venue in Baltimore for many years. My favorite question was "Do these stairs go up?"

    That's a good one. How did you answer that?

  9. By Mansion101

    tend to get good handful of guest asking, "whens the 9:05 Fantasmic show"..................... or my fav, how come we cant wait in the handicap view section (talking about handicap section for fantasmic).....

  10. By suebear

    My daughter is a cast member who previously worked on a ride that closed for lightning and other inclement weather. Cast members had the task of telling guests, "I'm sorry the ride is closed due to lightning" The most frequent guest question, "When will it re-open?" as if cast members could guess what mother nature had in mind.

  11. By amyuilani

    I remember years ago when I was working unload at the Jungle Cruise (DL). A man came up to me and the other CM to ask some inane question. He was doing his best to distract us, but because I wasn't answering his question, I saw what he was trying to distract us from. While he was talking, he had his older son taking his younger son behind a wall by Aladdin to pee. Funny thing is, if he had turned around, he would have seen there was a restroom about 40 feet from the Jungle Cruise exit.

  12. By jmb910

    When I worked for Disney on the college program in 2002 we made $6.35 an hour. Then they took out $67 a week for our living expenses. We lived in apartments near the Premium Outlet mall.

    My stupid guest trick happened a couple of weeks ago. We were on the monorail in Epcot and we were circling around inside the park. I wanted to see if my 2 year old daughter knew where we were. So I asked her, "Jasmine, what park is this?" To which the man behind me said, "We're in Epcot." I think he may have thought that I was the stupid guest that didn't know where I was .

    When I worked at RRC, I would hear people say all the time that this ride didn't go upside down. You only thought you did because it was in the dark.

    Thanks for another amusing article .

  13. By bennette

    I'm stretching this one since it's a Wicked reference but since both Eden Espinosa and Idina Menzel (who both starred as Elphalba, the Wicked Witch of the West) have Disney experience, I'm going for it.

    We were at the play last year and on our way out, heard a lady emphatically say she loved it, but she didn't get "why the witch had to be green?"

  14. By AJDerrick

    Quote Originally Posted by srusso100 View Post
    That's a good one. How did you answer that?

    I'd be really tempted to say "If you ask nicely!"

  15. By jbguy

    I answer phones for a company that has visitors visit their plant. I don't know how many time someone will do this:

    Caller: When is your visitor's center open?
    Me: We are open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm.
    Caller: Sundays too?

  16. By mouseearmickey

    i was riding the tram in the very back seat near the spotter he announced please exit the drivers side of the tram i said but i want to go that way he said no then i said ok safety first i will go that way remember safety first

  17. By Digital Jedi

    Admittedly, this was when EPCOT first opened, but my dad and I once had to explain to a woman that Epcot was not just the area where all the Disney resteraunts were. What bugged me a little is that she lives in Pompano Beach, I lived in NC.

  18. By cbate717

    So I know this was written back in November, but I read it and had to comment.

    While waiting in line for Magical Express in March 2009 I had a brilliant guest in front of me. A cast member was coming around making sure everyone was all set and had their little ME booklets. He asked the lady in front of me "which resort are you staying at?" She replied "I'm looking for the bus to Disneyland"
    I almost turned and said "well you need to head back upstairs and board another plane....youíre in the wrong state all together"
    But fortunately the CM was much more patient than I am and assisted her. Also she didnít know which resort she was going to. He had to look at her booklet to find out. And wouldnt you know, she was headed to the same resort as me.....

  19. By Ohthatjeff

    Quote Originally Posted by TJsAuntB View Post
    I worked at a tourist venue in Baltimore for many years. My favorite question was "Do these stairs go up?"

    I'd say, "Only on this floor. On the second floor they go down."

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