Back in the early-to-mid 1990s, Joe and I were both members of a theme parks-themed message group on the long-extinct online service called Prodigy (anybody? Beuller? Beuller?).
There were several hundred of us, mostly Disney World fans, in the group and after a few years of writing back and forth, we decided to have a get together that we called “The Gathering” (for you Disney fans out there, it was YEARS before “Disney’s Magical Gatherings,” when they were promoting big groups, and it had nothing to do with “Magic: The Gathering,” either). About 100 of us came to Walt Disney World at the same time and finally got to meet each other in person. It’s also, BTW, when I first met Joe (who was nothing – and I mean NOTHING – like I expected. This was before you could really post photos on the internet and I was expecting some middle-aged dude with a wife, kids and a white picket fence around his house. He turned out to be an unattached college student. Go figure.).
Anyway, the 100 of us spent the week going on the attractions together, eating meals together, etc. And that Gathering, and the ones we went to afterward (we had about a half dozen over the course of almost 10 years), taught me a WHOLE LOT about traveling with medium and large-sized groups.
This has got to be the biggest waste of precious vacation time when you’re traveling with a group:
Person A: What do you want to do?
Person B: I dunno, what do you want to do?
Person A: Wanna do this?
Person C: OMG, I hate this! Let’s do that instead.
Person B: No, I don’t wanna do that.
Person D: Well, how about we do the other thing, instead?
Person E: I’m not in the mood for the other thing.
Person F: Well, we could always do such and such.
Persons A and C: No, I’m allergic to such and such.
Person B: Well then, how about this thing?
Person G: Ewwwww, no!
Person H: I’m with Person C – let’s do that!
Person I: Are you crazy? No, let’s just do that thing.
Person J: Noooooo!
Person K: Look, you guys just go figure something out. I’m gonna go sit on that bench over there. Let me know when you’ve made up your minds.
Person L: Oh, for crying out loud. Can’t anybody here make a decision? We’re doing such and such now.
Persons A and C: But we’re allergic to such and such!
Person L: Well, do you have a better idea? No. So we’re doing such and such.
Persons A, B, C and H: We’re not doing that. See you later.
Person F to Person K: Hey, do you want to do such and such?
Person K: Such and such? Really? REALLY?
Person L: We’re going to do such and such. NOW! End of discussion.
Person G to person J: I hate when he does that. Jerk.
Sound familiar? You can literally stand in one place for 30 minutes, with a bunch of people trying to figure out what you’re going to do next. And more often than not, the person with the biggest personality (or the biggest voice) makes the decision and at least one person in the group will have a chip in his/her shoulder for the rest of the trip because of it.
Here are some ways to avoid it: