Anyway, the last time we were at the parks was a few years ago. Several things have changed since we were last there - they've added a new section to Magic Kingdom with a few new rides and attractions, they've tweaked a few things at Epcot. I also noticed a few minor changes at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
But I have to say that the most noticeable and distressing difference was how many people were on their cellphones or iPads, at the park and during the time of the fun with friends or family. I was seriously shocked, no kidding. And I really enjoy my cellphone! Every single line that we were on, approximately 75% of the people waiting had their eyes facing down at their screens. They'd even clog the line because they were too distracted to notice that people ahead of them had moved forward. There was such a complete lack of interest in anything that was happening outside of their handheld devices, their virtual worlds.
How sad is that?! You're at Disney World! The most magical god damned place on Earth! Why can't people look at each other and talk to each other?
I get that lines can be long and sucky, I really do. I'm sure using games or perusing Facebook helps pass the time. But nobody was even interacting! Not that it has to be a party-like atmosphere at all times or anything, but like, nobody seemed to be bouncing around with excitement at almost being on a ride. It didn't seem like anyone was talking about what might be ahead, about what was around the next corner, about what to expect on the ride or at the attraction, or what they were going to do next after the ride.
Parents were distracted on their phones, kids were busy on their devices... like, "no big deal... it's only Disney World..."
I used my cellphone for a few things, for sure. I used it as a camera. It was nice not to have to lug around my DSLR, and the quality of my iPhone camera is pretty good. I used it to check on wait times for certain attractions. I didn't want to trek a mile to the Tower of Terror if the line was 75 minutes long, so that was convenient. I also used it to remind myself what times my Fast Passes were. But jeez, going through the parks, so many people were walking with their faces down, completely missing all of the cool and awesome things surrounding them.
Maybe I'm dumb, and maybe I should be normalized to such a thing, but I really was surprised and sad about it. My ten-year-old kid even said, "Why are so many people not even paying attention? We're at Disney!"
How in the world are people going to get back to actually being in the moment, instead of "kind of near" the moment? Do people even want to?
A while back, I was walking to the beach with my kids and some family, and I was carrying my iPhone in such a way that you could see the sky and the clouds - I was trying to get a cool shot for Instagram. So I said to Megan, "Hey Meg, look at how blue the sky looks on my phone!" And her response was, "Or you could actually look at the real sky," and she pointed upwards.
And I was like, oh wow. It was a huge eye-opener, a light bulb moment, and she was totally right. The real sky and being in the moment is so much better than a picture.
I just hope people haven't already completely forgotten that...