Mouse Manners

Keep Your Distance

Dear Mouse Manners,
I’ve noticed that in the ride queues, a number of my fellow Disney guests did not practice social distancing (or is the better term physical distancing?). I thought that was a big no-no, but cast members weren’t saying anything. What’s up?
I Want My Space

Dear My Space,

I hear you. While Disney guests are pretty good at mask wearing, their distancing skills STINK! (And you’re right, the proper term is physical distancing. Social distancing refers to the practice of staying home and not interacting with anyone outside your household or pod. Physical distancing is the practice of standing at least six feet away from others while in public.)

Where are the guests who should be standing here?

Please note the feature photo picked for this post. It shows a sticker on the ground that says, “Please Wait Here”. Did you notice that there are not any feet in the photo? That’s because at the time it was taken the people ahead of me were ignoring physical distancing guidelines and standing right behind the folks ahead of them.

Disney has every queue marked out in six-foot intervals. When the party in front of you moves to the next sticker, you are clear to move ahead. The instructions are pretty simple – Please Wait Here. It doesn’t say “Stand Between These Two Stickers” or “Stand Directly Behind Someone”.

I don’t understand why guests are so nonchalant about this. I KNOW that they can see the ground markings because they are looking down at their phones (and consequently, the pavement) and avoiding my stink-eye. The stickers appear every six feet, so guests literally walk over hundreds during the day.

OK. Rant over.

Does Disney want guests to practice physical distancing? Yes, it does. Signage and ground markings are everywhere to help guests navigate the parks, physical barriers exist in some areas, and cars are parked using every other space, so even vehicles start the day at six feet apart!

When theater seating is an issue, Disney is hyper vigilant about physical distancing, but I’m not sure why they don’t make a similar effort with the standby lines. Maybe they simply have too much on their plates. In any case, you’ll have to take matters into your own hands.

Since it is difficult and sometimes dangerous to bark at someone you may be standing next to for the next hour or more, I have two non-confrontational (some would say cowardly) tactics to try.

The first I call, “throw my kids under the bus.” How it works is that I loudly correct my own children for a misdeed they may or may not be doing. This alerts others to what I am peeved about and guilts them into compliance.

When that tactic doesn’t work, I try passing on the problem to someone else. For this, I pretend to be searching for something in my backpack and ask the party or two behind me to go ahead. (Hold your breath as they pass.)

Unfortunately, respecting other people’s personal space has been a problem at Disney longer than the COVID crisis. Pandemic or not, it’s never okay to invade another guest’s personal space. When this is all over, Mouse Manners is still going to advocate for keeping a respectful amount of space between you and your fellow Disney guests.

You can do so by remembering the following:

  • If your toe is touching another guest’s heel. You’re too close. 
  • If smell the churro on another guest’s breath. You’re too close.
  • If you cannot glance at your phone without hitting your head on another guest’s backpack. You’re too close.
The queue for Smuggler’s Run took us behind the landscape of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

On a positive note, there are a number of benefits to physically distanced lines; for one, they are much less claustrophobic; second, they are in constant motion (feels like exercise); and, most important, they let you see more of the park. (At one point in the Smuggler’s Run queue, we wound into an area outside of the park. It was like being behind-the-scenes of a movie set.)

Unfortunately, My Space, having other Disney guests all up in your business is a problem that’s going to be around forever. But doing your best to stay away from these scofflaws is now more important than ever. Your own health depends on it.


Mouse Manners

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