Friday, August 08, 2008

Potty Time at Disney World

I was perusing a Disney forum that I frequent, and someone posted a question about the cleanliness of the theme park restrooms. In days gone by, the Mouse had a reputation for being squeaky clean. In those days, you could always count on pristine potties. But nowadays, I'm sorry to say that gross restrooms are the norm. It's not Disney's fault so much as that of uncaring guests, but they're usually pretty filthy lately regardless of the reason.

Interestingly enough, there were a spate of responses praising the spotlessness of Disney johns. Of course, these were from occasional visitors who come maybe once a year and whose last visit might have been years ago. As someone who visits the parks once or twice a week and who downs copious amounts of water to stay hydrated in the Florida sun, I know very well how dirty the restrooms have become.

It's become a bit of a running joke between hubby and I as to how many stalls I have to peek into before a find one clean enough to rest my fussy butt. Many are the recipients of a golden shower, speckled with pee from a careless squatter who was too lazy to wipe off their mess. Those are nasty enough, but the worst are the stalls where you encounter a couple of chocolate logs floating on a nest of tissue. Nothing makes me back out quicker than that nasty present left by the last occupant.

For those latter disgusting circumstances, I blame the automatic flushers. People have become conditioned not to notice whether the flusher actually worked, or perhaps they just don't care. Problem is, lots of parents have kids who hate those things, so they put a sticker over the sensor to spare the trauma for Juniorette. Of course, they don't bother to remove it, and now you've got a sullied stall.

You've also got the guests who think that just because one Disney restroom has automatic flushers, that means that all of them do. Sadly, they don't and the ones with old-fashioned manual handles tends to contain some of the worst toilet bowl surprises. You've got the self centered sorts, too, like the woman who told her companion as she exited a stall with her leavings prominently floating, "I never touch toilet handles."

Disney tried to keep up with mess; almost every time I'm in a restroom, I see a poor, long-suffering Cast Member trying to clean up the chaos. Problem is, as soon as they scrub out one stall, there's someone slipping inside to sully it again.

Fortuntely, my regular visits to the park have endowed me with a near encyclopedic knowledge of the location of every restroom and the usual condition of each. Those on the main drag or near popular rides tend to be among the worst. There are a few that are tucked away in "hidden" areas, and those are usually tolerable. On average, I end up having to check three stalls before finding one without a pee spray or filled bowl. My world's record is a whopping seven stalls; it happened one peak season evening at Epcot, and I was almost ready to despair before I finally found an acceptable potty place.

This neverending quest for the Perfect Potty has even invaded my subconscious. When I'm sleeping but need to wake up to go to the restroom, I'll dream that I'm in a public potty searching futilely for a stall. Unfortunately every one of them is useless. In Dreamland it's not just because of filth. Some might not have a door on the stall, while others are missing the seat. Regardless, I search in vain till I finally slog back from sleep to consciousness and drag my carcass to the bathroom. I live in fear of what might happen if I actually find a useable potty before I wake up!


Juz said...

They are getting worse, well they feel that way.

Last week we got to our maximum of 5 stalls. Although as a good deed we did set the sensor off as we moved down...but didnt stick around to confirm whether cleanliness was completed :o)

Bob@thenest said...

As a frequent guest myself (15 minutes from the parks and just down Hwy 192 from you) I'll echo your observations. And those who think the standards haven't drastically changed are either long ago visitors or those who are making the mess in the first place.

By the way -- nice blog. First time here today.