Grumpy Women at Disney (and what they can teach us about technology)


by: Alex Stubenbort"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."-Walt Disney

At the age of 31, Disney begins to lose a bit of its luster. Dragging my 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter through mosh pits of families jockeying for position in the great race to meet the all mighty corporate mouse is NOT as magical as some would have you believe. However, as a father, it is my duty to expose my children to this "wonderland" in hopes that someday they too will make the great pilgrimage with little ones of their own to the land that Walt built and experience comparable torture resulting in empathy towards their abundantly loving and under-appreciated father.

But I digress. During my family's most recent trip to the Diz, we happened to find ourselves waiting in the thankfully short line for the most classic of rides— It's a Small World. Anyone familiar with this particular line knows that there comes a point when patrons cross a bridge that transports them from a line formed at the front of the attraction, passes over the man-made body of water below, and delivers future riders to the last leg of waiting before boarding their boats. From the bridge's purview, patrons overlook boats filled with passengers returning from their voyage through mechanized animation and song.

While awaiting the line's permission to take three more steps forward on the bridge, I overheard the grumblings of a woman nearby: "What a shame, Carl! 75% of the adults are on their cellphones as the ride comes to an end! What a sad world where these grown people can't unplug for a day and simply enjoy." I immediately looked over the ledge to confirm the woman's observation. The vast majority of adults were, in fact, on their devices. However, upon closer observation, what could ignorantly be deemed a sad and abysmal example of the times became an inspiring testament to the very theme the ride celebrates!

In the hands of one young mom was a screen aglow with the presence of what appeared to be her child's grandmother. Via FaceTime, the toddler giggled as he played hide and seek with a woman that, without this device, would never have been able to share this moment in her grandchild's life. In the hands of an older gentleman, I saw pictures being cropped and prepared to be posted to his Facebook wall. Every picture contained generations of this man's family enjoying their excursion to Magic Kingdom. In the hands of a middle-aged father of 4, the My Disney Experience app was pulled up as he planned his family's next strategy to avoid lines and maximize their day at Disney.  Thanks to the supercomputers in their hands, these men and women were living breathing proof of how small and connected our world has become. Through these devices, families were brought together, memories were shared, and interacting with the world was made easy. 

As we boarded our vessel, I noticed that mere rows in front of me sat the very woman that shook her head in disgust. As we entered through the opening tunnel, I took out my phone, opened the Periscope app, and livestreamed my family's experience to the world. 64 individuals from my PLN joined us aboard our boat that day. Suddenly, Disney became magic again. What a wonderfully small world we share! 

Join my family and enjoy the ride by clicking the following link:

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