Walt Disney World is literally the Most Magical Place on Earth, (It’s their tagline after all), and I’m lucky enough to visit almost every single day.
My job as a Content Manager for AllEars, means I hit the theme parks (primarily Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando) to make content for our YouTube channel, social media, and website, about 4-5 days a week.
Now, I don’t know if you know this, but theme parks are certified as the greatest place in the world to people watch. (Certified by me.) Sometimes that means you encounter cute moments — like hearing a kid’s reaction to seeing Tinker Bell fly for the first time. And sometimes, that means you watch the worst moments (like people yelling at Cast Members).
I’ve seen all kinds of wild behavior, from adults walking barefoot through World Showcase to people proposing on Space Mountain (they used the on-ride photo. It was v. cute.) I’m not one to judge, and I truly hope Disney and Universal parks can be used as an escape from reality for all who visit. Wear whatever you’d like, ride and eat whatever you’d like, have a 30 minute photo sesh with the Castle if you’d like. But what really grinds my gears is when guests’ behavior negatively impacts other guests. Nothing will send a fury through my body faster than someone ruining a magical moment for someone else.
Here are some of my perpetual pet peeves which consistently ruin the magic and enjoyment for those around the offenders.
Here are the WORST things people do at theme parks
1. Being Rude to Cast Members / Team Members
This isn’t my first time (virtually) yelling about this, and it probably won’t be my last. In fact, it was the thing I noticed most about 2021 in the parks. But there is no faster way to get my side-eye thrown at you than to yell at a Cast Member.
I understand things don’t always go according to plan during your Disney World trip. I also understand theme parks are incredibly expensive, and it can be very frustrating when things go wrong. I even understand that Genie+ is confusing, that crowds are annoying (and sometimes unexpected), and that people (both guests and cast) make mistakes.
What I will NEVER understand is when people yell at Cast Members and Team Members. For starters, that is another human being — and that human being quite possibly has the key to solving your problem. Do you think they’re going to help you fix your Lightning Lane if you’re yelling at them!? I wouldn’t.
That Cast Member didn’t make that ride break down, they can’t control the weather, and they didn’t invent Genie+. But they CAN fix a lot of problems, so by all means seek them out if something goes wrong! Speak kindly, and you never know what could happen. But at the very least, you can rest assured knowing you’re not a grown adult yelling at another person over a theme park incident.
2. Taking Flash Photos on Dark Rides
Oh em gee this is annoying, for about 100 reasons.
For starters, this isn’t even allowed, and you’ll likely be told about the loudspeaker to stop. (How embarrassing.) When a Cast Member has to talk on a loudspeaker, it plays over the attraction audio — so all other guests who were vibin’ to ‘Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirate’s Life for Me’, are now interrupted by “FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT ALLOWED.”
Not only that, but the flash will light up a huge chunk of the ride, ruining the dark effects for not only your family but many others around you. There’s a reason dark rides are dark — the Imagineers carefully design them a particular way, so only certain things are visible. By lighting up a whole area, you’re going to reveal things that are meant to be hidden. Or in the case of the projection animatronics (like Frozen Ever After), you’re literally going to erase the characters’ faces when the flash is on them.
If ruining a classic dark ride for those around you isn’t enough, then know that your photos will be terrible. Your kids will have red eyes, the animatronics and figures won’t look right, and the ride itself will be ruined in the flash photo.
By all means, take all the non-flash pictures you want. Film the whole thing if you’d like (put your screen on low brightness so as to not obscure anyone else’s experience)! But every time someone’s flash goes off on Pirates of the Caribbean, a little piece of my soul dies because I think about how it’s likely someone’s VERY FIRST time on that ride, and it’s being ruined by someone taking horrible photos.
3. Reciting the Ghost Host’s game (and other audible offenses)
Without fail, every single time I step into the Stretch Room of the Haunted Mansion, SOMEONE tells me this chamber has no windows and no doors. (And it’s not just the Ghost Host.)
I’m really proud of you for knowing the whole Ghost Host game. Really, I am. But…no one else cares.
No one paid $$$ to hear you speak about the most iconic pre-show in the Disney Universe. (Note: this also applies to Rod Serling in Tower of Terror, Dr. Grant Seeker in Dinosaur, and any and all other preshows. Also…on rides. ESPECIALLY in shared ride vehicles. I’ve been on Pirates of the Caribbean with a family in front of me that spent the entire ride LOUDLY discussing their lunch orders. Now is not the time!!)
You wanna sing quietly along to “You Can Fly” while in your OWN pirate ship during Peter Pan’s Flight? Go for it. Poke fun at your friend during a competitive round of Toy Story Mania? sure! Laugh your way through Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (which you can only do at Disneyland these days)? Why not!
But keep in mind when you’re in a shared space, it’s probably someone’s very first time on that attraction. And while you shouldn’t be silent — of course you should scream on Expedition Everest and laugh at Muppet*Vision 3D — try to be respectful of others around you.
4. Disrespecting the wildlife
There are tons of adorable creatures all around Walt Disney World — and not just at Animal Kingdom! There are bunnies, ducks (and ducklings!), and other cuties just living their best life.
But sometimes, guests of all ages, cannot seem to control themselves around the wildlife.
Ready to be sad? See how that one duckling is sitting down while the rest are standing? He was limping around after his siblings and mother. When I asked the Cast Member guarding them what happened, she said A DRUNK ADULT PICKED HIM UP AND THEN DROPPED HIM. Are you KIDDING ME!?
They also cannot give out cans in Animal Kingdom anymore and must pour drinks into a cup because people were THROWING SAID CANS AT THE DINOLAND CROCODILE.
Not to mention the number of people who feed the animals on the regular, which then trains them to be more aggressive towards humans and steal food. (I know you want to feed the ducks popcorn but it’s actually not good for them.) Or people who let their kids chase off bunnies and ducks who are minding their own business.
There is absolutely no excuse to mess with the animals at Disney. hard stop
5. Ruining the Magic
If you’re reading this, I assume you know how the magic of Disney characters is brought to life. But just in case you don’t, skip to the end.
But just because YOU know how characters work, doesn’t mean everyone around you does — especially those little ears.
Even if you don’t have kids in your party, it’s likely there’s one around you. And let’s be honest, kids are always listening. Try to avoid saying things like “WOW, I bet the guy in the Goofy suit is SUPER SWEATY” or “Whoa, that’s a cool wig on Rapunzel, I bet it’s heavy.” (The answers are yes he is, and yet it is. Now you don’t even need to wonder.)
Part of the magic of Disney (and Universal! They have fun characters too!) is seeing beloved characters IRL in shows, parades, and meet and greets. Try and suspend reality just for a moment, and believe in the magic. And while that may be too far for most adults, at least don’t ruin it for those around you.
Well there you have it, friends, the five worst things other guests do in theme parks on a regular basis. Try to avoid these behaviors if you can…and you totally can. 😉
How Other Guests Can Totally Change Your Experience at Disney World — Click Here!
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Have you experienced any of these theme park offenses? Share your story in the comments so we can all heal together.