(Bad) psychology and WDW

I’ve been thinking about a couple of interesting psychological issues related to WDW (and life in general).

During my last trip to WDW, @Bubblez kindly gifted me a dinner at Bull and Bear at the Waldorf Astoria. This was memorable for all sorts of reasons, but one was the attitude I took to the food during the meal. Because I wasn’t paying for it, I only ate as much as I wanted. This was fantastically freeing. One issue I’ve only very recently noticed is that almost every food portion I get in my life is bigger than I want it to be. But I eat it anyway because I’ve paid for it and it seems wasteful not to. The brainsters amongst you will recognise this as the sunk cost fallacy. Throwing away the food I don’t want is exactly the same as eating it — the price doesn’t change, you don’t get a refund, and the food cannot magically be diverted to the poor and needy: one way or another, it’s going down the drain.

Disney even encourages this greed: at 50s PT, you get a sticker for being a member of the clean plate club, if you finish your entrée. Another example would be the old Deluxe DDP. I felt under a lot of self-imposed pressure to get the maximum possible value from it. Which meant I ordered expensive dishes rather than the ones I actually wanted, and I ate far too much food: I remember arriving to a dinner one evening still very full from the enormous lunch I’d had. It wasn’t a fun experience.

It seems clear to me that I would get more pleasure from eating if I always took the attitude I was able to take at the Bull and Bear. And I’d probably lose weight, too.

Another issue to which I’m very prone — and I know a lot of you are, too — is FOMO. This is, in a sense, another form of greed. It’s not enough to have a fantastic time at WDW (which most people, surely, do) it has to be the best time: you must do all the things. Yet some of the best days I’ve had at WDW are the ones where I haven’t done all the things: I’ve just done the things I’ve wanted to do and I’ve been pretty chilled out about it. FOMO is related to the sunk cost fallacy, I guess, because it’s about getting the best possible value for money.

I’m dealing with some of these issues in the planning of my upcoming Paris and DLP trip. For example, I’ve paid for the Premier Access Ultimate pass. This is essentially the same thing as the Express Pass at Universal. It gives me “lightning lane” access to 15 of the most popular rides. If you saw how my scheduling of my one day there is panning out, you might accuse me of wasting my money: I certainly won’t be riding all 15 rides. So why bother paying all that extra money for the pass? Because it enables me to do the things I want to do at the time I want to do them with minimal wait. And, so far as this is ever possible, it pretty much guarantees that.

Where I’m doing less well in my planning is Paris itself. I’m trying to cram too much in. I say I’ll do another trip, but I don’t know if I will, or when I will. So there’s a voice in my head insisting that I hit all the Big Ticket items this trip. But that will end up being stressful and will diminish each individual experience.

One of the best vacations I ever took was to Chicago in the 1990s. Back then it wasn’t a popular tourist destination from the UK and I was unable to find any guidebooks. I knew the Sears Tower existed, but that was it. Once I’d checked into my hotel, which was some way from the centre, I took a bus into the city and got off when I thought I was probably there. I wandered randomly down streets and, more by luck than judgment, ended up on Michigan Avenue. It was amazing. One day I discovered the Art Institute: I didn’t know it existed and I knew nothing about its collection, so there was no FOMO to spoil my visit.

The final psychological screw-up I want to talk about is what I’m going to call the Mona Lisa effect. The Louvre has a vast collection and many of the items are breathtakingly beautiful. Yet everyone crowds in to see the Mona Lisa. I read recently that the only reason it is as famous as it is is because it was stolen and this theft garnered world-wide attention. The art experts amongst you might be able to explain why it is such an extraordinary painting, but is it really so much better than every other item in the Louvre. My own favourite (so far) is the Rubens Medici cycle of paintings, which are in a room that has been virtually empty every time I’ve ever visited, despite containing twenty four huge paintings that are rich in detail and fascinating, with stunning colour and artistry.

The example at WDW might be PP or FEA. I just don’t get either of these. Explain to me why PP is so much better than Pooh, or the Little Mermaid ride, that makes it worth waiting in line for 90 minutes, when you can do the other two after a 20 minute wait.

It occurs to me there is one last one last thing: social media. I do kinda want to go to see the Mona Lisa during my visit to the Louvre, not because I want to see the Mona Lisa, but because I want to take a selfie with it and post it to my trip report and Instagram. And my motivation would not be to show off that I’ve seen it, but to be somewhat ironic about being there in that crazy crowd and line. You’ll all smile and like the post, but what I should be doing is educating y’all about Rubens and Marie de’ Medici.

Three and a bit of the 24 paintings. The one on the left makes me laugh. A fat Cupid points at the portrait of Marie de’ Medici as if to say to Henri IV “look how pretty she is!” The whole cycle is full of these wonderful moments. It gives me so much joy. The Mona Lisa? Meh.


I feel slighted now, no sticker for me in December. :frowning:


Because you fly! Same for the ET ride. I love that feeling that I’m flying over London. Seriously. :grin:

Plus I love Peter Pan as a story, whereas I don’t care that much about TLM or Frozen.


Good luck with that! You’ll be encouraged to move on, plus you’ll have to fight your way to the rope.

It was meh for me too. :woman_shrugging: It’s a bit creepy, the way her eyes follow you. Long before Disney did it with the Haunted Mansion!


Well said.

It is so tough to have that self-discipline to eat what and how much you want, to do only the things you truly want and saying “No” to others. In other words, it’s so tough to “You do you.”


I would be interested to know if the wait time is because there are more people in the queue or because PP is the slowest loading thing ever. Is throughput the word I’m looking for? I don’t know, it’s casting back into the cobwebs in my head.

Calling @ryan1 to get his take.


PP and WtP have similar ride capacities. It is true WtP technically is higher, but negligibly so.

I think it is more a matter of perceived demand and possibly location. PP is centrally located across from high capacity IASW, so not only do people want to ride it…you have more people who are right there TO ride it.

TLM, however, has about triple the capacity of both PP and WtP, so I would expect wait times to be significantly lower there.


Very interesting.

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PP is just a better ride than WTP too. WTP is OK, but it reminds me of a small/local theme park type of ride, so it’s skippable to me. I’m not especially attached to the PP story, but the ride is cute, and I like flying over London. However, I’m not waiting 90 minutes for it, or rope dropping it either. If I didn’t get Genie this last trip on our MK day, we might have skipped it too.


I’m there with you. I love it a lot, it’s often my first LL choice, but I won’t wait that long for it (or for much of anything, really). I do prefer it to WtP, and I think the flight over London is the reason.

I’m also a big ET ride fan, with the flight being the reason.


Oh, sure. That’s a given.

What is interesting is that at the end of the day, roughly the same number of people will have successfully ridden WtP as PP…but people seem to be more willing to actually wait longer for PP.


I hope you skip the Mona Lisa. And schedule in some “walk around” time where you have no where to go but walk around. There are so many things in this world to do and see, it’s impossible to do it all. You may or may not visit Paris again. But isn’t the point of taking a vacation to get a break? Plus if you leave things left to be explored, you may eventually find yourself back there in the future. But then, since you’ve crossed things off, you may be able to couple it with another destination.


My thoughts. As a young child, there is no preparing for the magic that is PP.

The forced perception, try explaining that to a 3 year old. The feel of actually flying, in a PIRATE SHIP! The swaying of the ship around the islands, it’s the best roller coaster ever and I don’t care what you say is a roller coaster, what I just went on was it! And lastly, the parents next to you, equally geeked out at the city in miniature as they point out things about the story they remember from their childhood.

That’s all the thoughts a young child has with their family as they ride PP, then they grow up and keep riding for nostalgia and pretty soon they’re riding with their kids, or watching their parents ride with their kids. It’s a huge emotional thing.

I happen to feel that magic more with WtP because of my own memories with DS, but I’ll jump on PP in either a VIP tour or right after fireworks.


@sanstitre_has_left_the_building those paintings are stunning.

Technique and trickery is fine, but give me art that moves me. I’m not sure how I’d feel looking at the Mona Lisa in person. I actually think I’d be more focused on the crowds than her. But I’d be intrigued if I were alone in a dark room with her. I’d want to see if I’m as curious about her as a I want to be, or if I’d be more concerned with when the person next to me last showered or if they have the ‘Rona.

I think I could too spend hours looking at the ones you are suggesting. The richness and the complexity. Stunning.


Lastly. Food.

I’ll be at B&B in December. There’s apparently more dishes to be washed. The one bite a plate was fine, apparently they took issue with you throwing the rest of the plate at people passing by.


Can you order a half order at Disney? Is that a thing? Like I would legitimately say leaving food on my plate gives me anxiety and it’s not healthy for me to eat the entire thing, is there any way you can help me?

DH now asks for servers to split the food in two and immediately box the other portion. That way he can enjoy his meal, ease his “finish your plate” trauma, and has the option to take the food back to the room/house or not with no guilt.

You are a King among kings, do not give a second thought about asking for what you need. You do not owe Disney any guilt for asking for smaller portions.


Seriously. I remeber it as a child. It was just so magical and it still gives me that feeling.

I see @Bubblez knows what I am talking about!

Alice in DLR is almost as good a dark ride. But you don’t fly.

FEA does not have the same impact, but the first time I rode it we came around the first corner and Olaf’s face lit up. It was special. Really, one special moment will make a ride magical for me.


As to food - I am known to bring home left overs I will never eat, just because the possibility of eating them makes me feel better. I completely get your point.

The one time I did the dining plan I calculated the savings based on what we would have gotten. Seeing that number (there qas a savings) made me feel okay ordering what I wanted and sharing 1 or 2 deserts among us. But I never got the super deluxe package

I like planning the non-ride things into my scehdule. If they are in the plan, they be ome equally as important. But that means I see Devine and most importantly I always see Winged Encounters. I challenge anyone to find anything more magical than those birds.


Pretty much. It’s ubiquitous now, and it isn’t even something of beauty to enjoy. I saw it in the 80s, and it looked, well, not noteworthy.


I’m going to defend The Mona Lisa. For me, seeing it in person was like a link to the past. It wasn’t just the painting in a book, it was being in the presence of something touched by DaVinci’s hand. I appreciate it for a variety of other reasons, but this is the easiest to explain.

As to WDW, there is so much of it I could skip. Most of Fantasyland was great when the kids were little and we will still ride if one of them is having a moment of nostalgia.


I can’t explain this. It just is what it is. I’ll never wait in line for PP but I will either rope drop it or use Lightning Lane. I like the Little Mermaid too. I could skip the Little Mermaid but I never want to go to Magic Kingdom without riding PP. I just love it. I love him. I love Wendy, I love flying in the air over the lands.

I will NEVER ride Pooh again. All that bouncing made me so sick. And the black light. No thank you.

I don’t think I’ll ever go to the Louvre again either. I agree about the Mona Lisa. You can’t even get close enough to see the painting.

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