Perhaps one of the hardest habits I've had to break when visiting Disneyland in my present post-Cast Member state is the overwhelming urge to step in and take control when the crowd gets backed up, lost or just a bit clueless.
This occurs most often before or after a parade. I look ahead at a jammed walkway and spot a "rookie" Cast Member who has yet to learn the power of an authoritative voice coupled with clear hand gestures and body language.
My heart drops. Come on, come on! Sing it out! Get 'em moving!! Don't let the herd have its way!
I bite my lip.
My left hand instinctively grabs for a non-existent flashlight hanging from a phantom holster on my left hip.
The voice inside me shouts - "Get these guests wrangled and move 'em out!" and I must consciously restrain the innate need to step ahead of the throng, climb atop a bench or planter, locate the guests who are plugging up this arterial walkway and GET THEM MOVING!
"Folks! This is a walkway and I need you to keep to the right and walk forward! That's it! Excellent! We can do this! There you go! Laughing, happy, glad to be at Disneyland!
Stay to your right and don't stop! This is a one-way walkway, keep following the people ahead of you and do NOT turn around unless you want to channel your inner salmon and fight the mighty current! Listen to me and we'll all make it out of here! Come on! You want to be the first one on the parking lot tram, don't you?! Keep moving this way and I'll bet there won't even be a line for the tram!
You! Love the Goofy hat! Thanks for continuing to move toward Main Street and for staying to your right! Everyone! Follow this young man in the Goofy hat! He knows where he's going! Perfect! Follow my waving flashlight and I'll have you out of here before you know it! OH! You are all doing so well! It looks like the 57 freeway! We are moving now! Last one to Main Street buys popcorn for the rest of us! Repeat after me: it's the Happiest Place on Earth, it's the Happiest Place on Earth! Good! Look at this walkway! It's like a mighty river, flowing to the sea---or at least to Main Street! Stay to your right, hold hands and keep together! Don't stop for stragglers! I understand he's your husband, ma'am, but you'll always have your memories of him----ooh, look, he's caught up---well, better luck next time! Right this way, folks, right this way!"
My daughter's voice calls me out of my manic Guest Control mode.
"Dad! People are looking at you funny, stop!"
I thought that seemed a bit too real.
Despite my sudden outburst,
Despite my lack of a name tag,
Despite having no coned flashlight,
Despite the puzzled and befuddled stare of the "rookie" Cast Member in the red vest standing before me,
Despite the size of the crowd that moments before had oozed to a lumbering stop there on the Hub,
...the walkway was now clear and moving, the guests obediently complying with the verbal commands of this former CM.
Heck, even the "rookie" seemed to enjoy it, as he was now at my side, waving his fashlight and raising his voice with polite but firm authority:
"Stay to the right, folks and keep moving, please!"
Kid, I think you're gonna do just fine from here on out.
My work here is through.
Guess I'll just mosey along.
"Hey, mister!" called the rookie, "I never got your name!"
"Mike. Tell 'em it was Mike."
Roll the credits as a slow, whistling western theme is played.
The camera pans slowly up and away from the Hub and follows the crowd marching down Main Street for the exit.