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The Dads of Disney

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Who are the dads of Disney and which one are you?

I love people watching, and having just returned from a week at Disney World, I can tell you that Disney makes for some of the best people watching out there. There are thousands of people to check out at Disney, but the amount of line waiting provides ample time to really observe and dig in, which I love doing. With that being said, these are the 9 different Dads that I observed at Disney.

The All in Dad

This Dad is decked out in Disney from head to toe. He’s got his custom Mickey Ears from his first trip in 1981. His lanyard bears the evidence of several successful pin trading transactions. He whistles “It’s a Small World” while standing in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean. This man had childhood fantasies of being a Mouseketeer. He is truly in his element surrounded by the magic of Disney World.

The Complainer Dad

It’s too hot. The churro line is how long? Why is everything so $%^#&*@ expensive! There is nothing
this dad won’t complain about. He even has a custom t-shirt with “Most Expensive Vacation Ever”
emblazoned across the chest and he’s not wearing it ironically.

The Meticulous Planner

He’s studied the maps. He’s written the itinerary. He has mapped out everything from bathroom stops
to where Mickey will be at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon. He read about a Portuguese guy who rode every
ride in the park using a unique algorithm. He’s hoping that he can not only master that algorithm but
also ride Splash Mountain Twice.

Disney Princess Castle

The Pack Mule

This Dad takes the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” to a whole new level. He’s got his cargo shorts,
fanny pack and a backpack that would make even the most experienced hiker jealous. Need a granola
bar? He’s got it. Need a Band-Aid? Check. Bit by a poisonous lizard? Let him reach into his Mary Poppins
level fanny pack. Whatever you need, he’s got it covered.

The Go with the Flow Dad

This Dad does what he’s told. He doesn’t plan the trip, he doesn’t pick the itinerary, he’s just putting one
foot in front of the other and enjoys everything about it. Ask him a month out which resort he’s staying
at or what park he is going to on which day and there’s no chance he’ll know, but he’ll be there. He will
happily ride any ride, see any show, and go anywhere anyone wants to go without any complaint. It
doesn’t mind how hot it is or how long the line is, he’s just happy to be there.

The Quest for the Shortest Line Dad

The Disney World app is the greatest thing since sliced bread for this Dad. To be able to see the
approximate wait times for ever attraction in the park is a level of deity like power that this Dad could
only have imagined. He is willing to traverse the entire park to save 5 minutes waiting in line, regardless
of any rationale thought on the time or effort involved in that travel. It’s all about the shortest wait.

Disney World Logo

The Wait by the Stroller Dad

This Dad has one job and one mission. Shade and a place to sit while his older kids wait in a line with
Mom. As long as the battery on his cell holds out, he’s ok with his place in the world.

The Oblivious Dad


To be fair, this is usually Grandpa, and he’s a Dad too. He will barrel through dozens of family photos.
He’ll inadvertently cut in line or cut off an exhausted Mom pushing a stroller. He’s just trying to keep up
and ignore the fact that his feet are killing him.

The Mayor of the Line

We all know this Dad because we have all talked to this guy. If you’ve been within 10 feet of this guy,
you have talked to him. You up about the football team on your shirt or the golf brand on your
hat. He still gets a Holiday card from Jim and Linda he met in line at Epcot in 1994. He knows the best
spot to eat in the park and the shortest line for Mickey Mouse shaped pretzels. You get to have 5-
minute conversations with him over and over as the line snakes toward the Jungle Cruise.

So now that you’ve read my list, which Disney Dad are you? Have I missed any?

Written by Dale Grant

Dale Grant is a dad to 6-year-old twins. He lives in Pittsburgh.