The Few. The Proud. The Crazy.
This weekend I led an angry mob of people in a riot at Disney World.
Two hours of standing in a barely-moving line for Splash Mountain provided my friend Sean and me the opportunity to get to know the people around us very well.
We traded jokes with the 40-something Wisconsin couple standing in front of us. They both worked in dentistry. She spent her time in mouths as a hygienist, while he worked in prosthetics. They were at Disney World to see their oldest daughter perform in a band. They gave us tips on what beer to drink at Epcot later that day, and stressed about making their fast-approaching flight.
Then there was the mom with two kids from New Jersey standing behind us. About an hour into the wait, they started playing hand-clapping games that involved counting. I prided myself on throwing them off by yelling out random numbers as they counted. It only took one “F*ck off” for me to know that we were friends. (F*ck off is how people from Jersey say, “I love you.”)
The two blonde moms from Kentucky behind our Jersey friends were quiet at first, but quickly became our biggest advocates as our army of mercenaries began to form…
As the wait-time increased, and the Stand-By line to ride the infamous Mountain of Splash remained at a standstill, we watched the Fast-Passers blaze past us like giddy school children as they literally walked onto the best ride in the Magic Kingdom. The minutes crept by slowly for the rest of us as we watched in agony as hundreds of people literally ran past us.
The rebellion started small, with off-hand, half-joking complaints, and murmurs.
It was at about the 90-minute mark that we began to organize.
We united under the banner of shared injustice that was the unreasonable Disney wait-time! We formulated plans, and elected leaders. With our newfound unity, our complaints were growing more and more audible and impassioned.
Soon, it was decided by our new Splash Mountain Militia that if we had anything to do with it, the Mouse himself was going to receive a very detailed recounting of our concentration camp-like treatment in what was supposed to be known as “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
There was going to be hell to pay!
It started with a simple inquiry as I jumped the barrier that separated the line between the possessors of the FastPass, and the rest of us… aka the Disney 99%. I made it to the front of the FastPass line in mere moments and was promptly asked by the line operators for my FastPass.
“I don’t have one,” I said. “I just have a quick question.”
The young ride operator rolled her eyes.
“I was just wondering,” I continued, “if you’re going to allow the other half of the line to ride today. Is this a FastPass only ride or something?”
“I’m doing my best,” was her only response.
To which I replied, “I understand… I just thought I’d be on the ride about an hour ago, and yet I’m still in line. At this rate, I won’t get to ride for anther hour. It would just be nice if you could remember the rest of us over here.” And I walked away as she pulled out what Mrs. Potato Head would call the Angry Eyes.
When I recounted my conversation to my comrades in arms, the emotions started to flow… and then began the chanting.
It started small with three or four voices.
“Let us ride. Let us ride…”
It began to spread down the line…
“LET US RIDE! LET US RIDE!”
FastPassers began to stop and stare. The ride operators were getting visibly nervous.
The chant spread to the 2-hours-worth of line-standers.
“LET US RIDE! LET US RIDE!”
The chants were echoing off the plaster cave walls of the Briar Patch.
Suddenly, there was room to move forward. We cheered!
Within mere moments we were on the log flume singing with Briar Rabbit and Briar Bear.
We had become champions!
I have never been on a Disney ride with a sense of so much community and unity. The logs that stretched in front and behind us sand and joked and cheered throughout the ride.
I don’t take so much pride in the fact that I was a rabble-rouser on that memorable day as I do at the fact of how quickly I built a lasting bond and made an unforgettable memory with a group of 10 complete strangers in only a few minutes.
Every day we’re surrounded by strangers. We’re given countless opportunities to make an impact on each others lives. These memories… these moments are what make life worth living.
Next time you find yourself waiting in line, strike up a conversation with the person next to you. You never know, you might end up starting a movement together, and changing the world… or at least enjoying it more than you would alone.