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