Making My Own Philharmagic

This is a bit of a departure today from our usual hard-hitting news and breathtaking secrets, but today I would like to spend a few moments talking about a serious disorder that affects 9 out of every 10 parkeologists.  It’s called GAS, which doctors inform me stands for Giveit Away Syndrome.

In one sense, it’s very much like OCD.  Going to the parks a lot, you tend to develop your own little ticks and rituals.  This is because you know everything so well.  Rather than being surprised by every little Carnotaurus encounter or remote control stunt car, you can recite entire spiels right down to an exact mimic of the Ghost Host’s laugh.

I mean seriously, are ANY of Jungle Cruise jokes funny to us anymore?  We have not only heard them all, but we can catalog a dozen variations of the joke for each scene in the ride.  The fun for us is not in hearing the joke, but in our ability to guess whether we’ll get the rare “TGIFridays” reference or the more standard “Head Salesman” joke (and since you know exactly what I’m referring to, I diagnose you with a severe case of GAS).

It’s okay to stare, they’ll all get the point in the backside of water.  Or something.

This is clearly a problem.  Even I annoy myself when I find my arms waving as if I’m conducting tonight’s performance of Illuminations:  Reflections of Earth (and if while reading the italics, you added a puff of air at the end as if blowing out a candle, then you have GAS).  Yet sometimes I can’t help it.  I not only know the music, I know which fireworks match which music cues, and doggone it, it looks like magic when I can wave my arms and set off those loud hissing ones!

The parks have become sort of our own little Rocky Horror Picture show.  That’s probably why we get so obsessed over the latest news, even if it’s just moving the plastic tree from one side of the Fantasyland sidewalk to the other.  It’s new, darnit!  Something different than hearing “Caution!  You are approaching the unloading area” for the umpteenth time, or mimicking the hiss of the parking lot tram brakes every time you put your car in Drive (yes, I do this).

The beam is clean!  The beam is clean!  How can you normal everyday guests not be thrilled by this?!

At least for the most part, we’re polite about it.  I think WDW fans are a little more reluctant to spoil the show for everyone.  We may be mouthing “Welcome, foolish mortals…” but we’re not yelling it out for everyone in the room.  Disneylanders don’t seem to have the same respect.  A couple years ago, I rode Pirates out there several times during my trip and not a single time did I not have some AP-er yapping through the entire ride.

Furthermore, WDW fans actually will go out of their way to make sure people aren’t missing things.  For instance, there’s a neat little surprise that happens at the end of Mickey’s Philharmagic, where Donald Duck actually gets shot through the back wall.  And if you are bright enough to turn around, you will see his animatronic hindquarters sticking out for a brief moment before he falls into the wall and squawks “Ah, Phooey!”

Raise your hand if you turn around and look at it every time — not because you necessarily enjoy watching, but because you want to alert the newbies around you that there’s something back there that they don’t want to miss.  Uh huh, that’s what I thought.

Bonus points if you reach out for Donald when he calls “Help me, help me, help me!”   Yeah, you’ve done it.

Ditto the Swedish Chef in MuppetVision.  And how many of us like to innocently pull that rope outside Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, but only if there’s other guests around?  I’m guilty of it.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it, maybe even a little concerning.  I mean, how many times do we really need to see Canada in Circlevision?  But we keep going back.  It’s in our blood.  And besides, if it weren’t for us to cue them, how would guests know to drink from that one particular water fountain?

Comments (11)

  1. Sounds like a plan, Michael! Just look for me at the parks. I’ll be the one wearing the hair glitter and a sash from Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. Can’t get any less creepy than that.

  2. We need to hang out.
    I will make this happen as soon as I can find a non-creepy way to do it.

  3. Kathy, that whole “putting your arms up at every drop” thing is a PERFECT example of this! I’ve done that too, just to keep the newbies guessing! (though not every time).

  4. Not only do “we” go out of our way not to be spoilers, my family of Disney Fan-atics raises their hands on EVERY little potential drop on Splash! Mountain just to make sure no one really knows when the “big” drop is coming up. However, we are guilty of pointing out some of our favorite Hidden Mickeys, especially to little kids who are scared to go on the Doombuggies (“watch in the ballroom on the table…”)

  5. Thanks Patrick! I really do think that Disney fans like us are a special breed. Maybe a little crazy, but we like it best that way.

  6. Wow, couldn’t have been more spot on.

    Now we need “I have GAS” t-shirts…

  7. As a West Coaster now, I definitely have seen the spoiling effect of regulars at Disneyland. I see it most often, though, among teenagers who find it cool to scream at the top of their lungs on Space Mountain or in the elevator for the Haunted Mansion, or who make obnoxious comments on the Jungle Cruise. The last time I was on Space Mountain I literally couldn’t hear for a while thanks to the intentional screaming of two teen girls behind me.

    Part of me chalks it up to youth, part of me is annoyed as all get out–especially for the visitors that *are* actually there for the first time.

    Again, with World having fewer locals, it’s much more rare to have groups of roaming teens all on their own….

  8. Even though it’s a strange club, I’m still happy to belong. And it’s great to find others out there who are like that.

    Oh, and I knew that Disneyland comment would rattle your cage, Teev. But that really did happen to me on pirates. It wasn’t like constant whispering, it was a full volume conversation going on, every single time I rode.

  9. i’m not so sure that WDW fans are more polite than their west coast cousins, rather at any given time in DL about 80% of the guests are locals who have been on every ride a trillion times. It’s like WDW is full of newbies with the rare Disney geek wandering around to clue everyone in while DL is the polar opposite.

    But next time you visit Toon Town, the REAL Toon Town (CA. Or Tokyo)stay away from the power station door will you!

  10. Sign me up for the club. You had me at the “blow out the candle at Illuminations” bit.

    That’s ok though. Worse clubs I could be part of!

  11. I ABSOLUTELY agree with what you said here. I “suffer” the same condition, as I visit WDW at least 3 times a week! The thing that really made me think is when you said “WDW fans actually will go out of their way to make sure people aren’t missing things.” I’m so guilty about that! I am always the first in the theater to turn around so that other people don’t miss Donald Duck and the Swedish Chef!!!! I’m glad I’m not the only one though!
    Great article, really.

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