Please stand clear of the doors

Long before I started studying Spanish in school, Disneyland taught me two key phrases.

Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas” played before every Monorail ride (“please stand clear of the doors”).

Permanecer sentados por favor” played at the end of many rides (“remain seated please”).

In the grand scheme of human communication, these aren’t very helpful sentences to know. Still, it became a family habit to recite the Spanish whenever we heard these recordings. We’d even say it around the house, in a nod to our shared love for Disneyland.

282021_741940712732_7234942_nClearly we weren’t the only ones who developed a fondness for the Spanish recordings. This chocolate bar from a Disney hotel gift shop pays tribute to the fascinating popularity of functional safety instructions. Disney could not have anticipated such a popularity, but those recordings became part of fans’ collective memories of the park. As a kid who didn’t speak Spanish, there was something so intriguing about those sentences I kept hearing over and over again. It was part of my Disney ritual, and a doorway into a new language, too.

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