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Two is company, three’s a crowd and 13,000 is…

By:  Calissa Reid

Earlier this month I went to the happiest place on earth—Disneyland! I spent a few days in sunny California with my family visiting the theme parks, doing a bit of shopping and we ended off the trip with the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. It was such a fun getaway.

The half marathon had over 13,000 people running through Disneyland and California Adventure, which seems like a huge crowd, but that’s just a normal day for Disney. It’s estimated that the 85-acre park draws around 44,000 visitors a day, and the park has in the past reached capacity (rumored to be around 80,000 guests) on special holidays like Christmas. That’s one popular mouse.

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My reward for finishing 21.1 km. I also was honored with some blisters—lucky me!

While I was at the parks I started to think about safety in large crowds. Disney is a pro at managing thousands of people, but that’s not the case everywhere—crowds can be dangerous. Most of us will be a face in a crowd at some point, for work or for play, and there are some key things to keep in mind when you’re getting up close and personal with 13,000 other people.

Go with the flow.  Most of us know this one already. A crowd is very much like a rushing river, and you don’t want to swim upstream. Find a pathway which is moving in the same direction as you and you’ll feel much more comfortable— you’ll move faster too! Crowds seem to follow the same rules as the road, stick to the right and you’ll be good.

Patience, young worker.  How much fun is waiting in a line for 30 minutes? None. But it’s so important to respect the venue, and the people working. Waiting sucks. Being kicked out because you cut in line at the bathroom sucks way more.

Rendezvous for two (or three, or four). If you’re travelling in a group, determine a meeting point in case you get separated or there’s an emergency. This isn’t as big of an issue now that everyone and their dog has a cellphone, but it’s a good to have a backup plan in case technology fails.

Keep your eyes open and heads up.  That means no walking and texting! Pay attention when walking in a high traffic area; you could crash into a person or object, or make some people around you angry with your pace. Something to keep in mind (although not at Disneyland of course) is that there may be some suspicious troublemakers around, who may threaten your safety or try and sneak away with some of your belongings. Your chances of being pick pocketed more than double if you’re in a large crowd, so be sure to stay aware and protect your belongings.

Some of the most fun events involve large crowds. (Music festivals, theme parks, plays and movies—­­just to name a few!) Just because there’s going to be lots of people, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go, you just need to be prepared. And sometimes a crowd can be a good thing…I mean, how cool is it when you’re in a packed arena and everyone is singing your favourite song? Crowds can be overwhelming, but they’re often worth the cool experience on the other side.

If three’s a crowd, then what’s 13,000 people running through Disneyland? Let’s go with awesome. I think that describes it perfectly.

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