Disney is known as “The Happiest Place on Earth” for good reason. While the cast members are mostly responsible for making that magic happen, part of that responsibility lies on the guest as well. Anyone who has been to any sort of theme park knows that a rude guest can sour the experience for EVERYONE in the vicinity. Not to mention, cast members have enough to deal with it as it is.
Here are just a few tips on how to be a courteous guest and help the Disney cast members keep the magic alive. Disney park etiquette is very important, so be sure you study up carefully!
**this post contains affiliate links! This means I may receive financial compensation for my recommendations. Please see my disclaimer for more information!**
Try to Get Cast Members to “Break Character”
I can’t stress it enough – do not try and make cast members break character! Disney park etiquette is in place not only to help you, but to also protect the careers of cast members. As a former Disney employee, I can tell you from experience that cast members have a strict script they have to follow. That goes double for character performers. Trying to get Belle to break character not only ruins the fun for those around you, but puts Belle’s career in actual jeopardy.
Instagram is full of horror stories of people who have exposed cast member’s real identities to people. The consequences are real – people have actually lost their jobs with Disney from it! Suspend your belief for just a few moments and appreciate the hard work that princess is putting in to make your visit magical. Resist the urge to tell her you loved her latest instagram post of her cat.
Hogging the Shade
No matter which US park you’re at, chances are, you’ll be there in a summer, and it’ll be hot. Disney is usually pretty good about keeping their guests cool and providing plenty of shaded areas. However, in places where the shade is sparse, be courteous and allow others to use it as well! Disney park etiquette comes in to play here, and let’s you and the guests around you get a bit more comfort in their day when the weather is hot.
Case in point – while waiting in line for the Finding Nemo Submarine ride in Disneyland on one particularly brutal SoCal day, umbrellas had been put up in the queue. The queue is pretty much all outside in the direct sunlight. If you’ve ever ridden this ride, you know that ride loading is sloooooow, so we were there for quite some time. Unfortunately, the woman in front of us was making our wait even worse.
She would stand in the shade of the umbrella, and then WAIT for the line in front of her to clear out until it had reached the next umbrella before moving up. That way, she never had to step outside of the shade, hogging the spot under the umbrella the whole queue! Those of us a few people behind didn’t get ANY shade, because she kept holding everyone up until she had the opportunity to take it for herself.
It’s rude, inconsiderate, and can actually cause others harm if they overheat. We’re all suffering here – so we should all share what shade we do have! If you simply cannot handle the shade, grab a sunhat before heading to the parks!
Complaining About Wait Times
Even though Fastpass exists, you’re going to have to wait in line sometimes. Now that everyone has cell phones, it shouldn’t be THAT hard for you to pass the time on your wait. Nothing bums me out more than hearing people complain about wait times. All it does is instantly lower the mood of those around you. Sometimes rides break. Sometimes a person needs assistance to be loaded into the ride vehicle, so they have to stop for a moment. You need to be prepared to stand in line for a while before you go to Disney. It will inevitably happen. Disney park etiquette dictates that you should be understanding if you have to wait – and please, don’t ask for free things for having to wait!
Same goes for reservations too. While waiting at The Coral Reef restaurant one time, they were very backed up and warned us when we checked in for our reservation that there was still going to be a wait. No worries from us – but the people next to us complained the entire time they were waiting about how ridiculous it was. They even went on and on about how unprofessional it was that Disney was making them wait. They acted as if Disney cast members have actual fairy dust that makes people clear out of restaurants in a timely manner.
Keep in mind this party checked in AFTER us. However, they literally made SUCH a stink that they got themselves seated after about 15 minutes because they kept complaining. Disney can’t control how fast people eat at the restaurant! Disney cast members are experts at moving people, and you WILL be seated and it WILL be worth it. There is no need to make such a scene.
This goes to show why it’s so important to provide yourself lots of wiggle room around your reservation. It may take longer than you think!
If waiting in line is THAT important to you, I recommend going during the off season. Less waiting and more DOING!
Ruining the Magic For Others
It may seem like a no-brainer, but I have legitimately seen people try to purposely ruin the magic for young kids that aren’t in their party because they think it’s funny. For example, if you’re waiting in line for Sleeping Beauty and the girl in front of you is telling her mom how excited she is to meet her, don’t interrupt and tell her she’s just a cast member in a costume.
I’ve really seen this happen, believe it or not, and in more ways than one. One specific time I remember this happening, we were waiting in line for Star Tours and the group of teens in front of me rudely told a young kid that Star Wars wasn’t real. He looked heartbroken and while he didn’t make a big deal of it, he was practically silent the entire time we waited in line after that. It was obvious that he was just crushed. To make it worse, the teens were laughing about it – they thought it was funny.
Basically – mind your own business!
People go to Disney to escape reality. Remember that people have paid thousands to have bring their kids for a magical experience. What do you get out of ruining that for someone? So just don’t do it.
There you have it – just a few things you should definitely avoid doing while at the Disney parks. Your fellow guests will thank you, and cast members won’t want to roll their eyes at you after you leave.
Got any more advice on what NOT to do at Disney parks? Post in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to my email! You will be notified when I have new posts on the way. Plus, you’ll get my NEW WDW PREP CHECKLIST as a FREE thank you for subscribing!