How Other Guests Can Totally Ruin Your Disney Parks Experience

Let’s talk about Theme Park Etiquette. Walt Disney World is a big, communal experience, and there are some things that should just be common sense: don’t cut in line, don’t stand in the middle of a busy walkway to take a photo. Other stuff… not so much.

With so many people in one place, you’ve gotta tread lightly.

There are a few rides and experiences at Disney World that can be totally ruined by a fellow guest. Here’s a guide to just a few examples and how to avoid a massive theme park faux pas.

The Worst Co-Pilot in the Galaxy

Let’s get one of the more frustrating ones out of the way.

This ain’t Star Tours, kid. © Disney

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is one of the most interactive rides at Walt Disney World, and it represents a lifelong dream for many Star Wars fans. You get to fly the Millennium Falcon! Keywords being “you” and “fly”.

I’ve encountered a disturbing trend on my past few runs with Hondo. Namely, guests who get so mesmerized by the screen that they forget the ride is interactive. I’ve gone entire rides where people in the Gunner and Engineering seats didn’t do anything, despite Hondo’s insistent nudges. Pilots aren’t immune to this either; while most pilots tend to be pretty engaged, I frequently see guests completely ignore the boosters and the hyperspace lever, despite it flashing in their faces.

Smugglers Run is a team experience; part of the fun is everyone frantically working together to ensure the mission succeeds. Yes, the ride does hold your hand at certain points; you’ll always get at least one container of Coaxium as a complete fluke.  But the second container requires the entire ship to cooperate. If you don’t even make an attempt, it cheapens the whole ride experience for everyone else. All it takes is some blind button mashing on your part for everyone to feel like they have a chance at victory.

Millennium Falcon isn’t the only ride to suffer from this problem. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Mad Tea Party, Mission: SPACE: the entire point of these rides is to engage in play. You’ve got to pick up what Disney is putting down for the optimal experience. If you aren’t willing to do that, why even wait in line?

The Buzzkill

I admit that, on rare occasions, despite being an adult, I like to meet up with the characters. Usually it’s just a slight wave as I walk by, but on one occasion I decided to give a gift to Scrooge McDuck.

What gift, you ask?
His Dime, of course!

Naturally, when I shared this experience, I got a lot of uh… interesting comments.

“You know that’s a teenager in a costume, right?”

“Aren’t you an adult?”

“I bet whoever was in there enjoyed the ten cent tip!”

So to those people, I say: CHILL. Seriously, I know it’s a person in a costume, I write about this for a living. Everything at Disney World is fake.  That’s not the point. The point is to suspend your disbelief for a few hours and have fun. That’s why Walt Disney built the parks! The whole point of Disney, especially for kids, is to engage with that fantasy. Not playing along, even a little bit, is the worst thing you can do at Disney. Accept the fantasy. Engage with cast members. Don’t try to spoil it for other people. Don’t be the person who tries to call at a magician as being fake. Everyone already knows it’s all fake. Pretending to be above deception doesn’t make you look smart or mature, it just makes you look like a buzzkill.

Don’t Be Rude to the Characters (Seriously).

Speaking of characters, I once happened to take a friend to Epcot who had enjoyed a few drinks around World Showcase when Alice happened to walk by toward a meet and greet. Immediately he started screaming.

“ALICE! I LOVE YOU ALICE!”

And I cringed. I cringed to the bottom of my soul. 

Because as any frequent guest knows, you do not do that. Part of the fantasy is accepting the story. Sure, that’s Alice, she’s in the UK Pavilion greeting guests, it’s cute.  However, part of being a responsible park goer means accepting that every Cast Member, characters included, is a human being.

This is a person doing her job. Don’t be rude.

Some people, usually adults, view the characters as props there solely for their amusement. They’ll cut in line to demand pictures, catcall from across the way, flirt with them, even try to touch them inappropriately in some cases. Presumably this is because they know they’re just actors. Kids always approach these characters with a sense of reverence… and occasionally fear.

Cast Members are working tirelessly to provide a magical experience for you. Be nice.

The “I Deserve This More Than You” People.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen more than our fair share of, shall we say, unsavory guest behavior. There’s even one infamous post on the internet written by an exhausted mother who was angry at all the people without kids who were at Walt Disney World. She described how she wanted to steal a pretzel from another guest because the line at the snack cart was too long, and she had to tell her son they’d get one later. She even went so far as to say that guests without children shouldn’t be allowed in the Parks.

Mickey Pretzels are good… but don’t steal them from fellow guests. 

Now, I understand that going to Disney with kids can be frustrating. That’s why we have so many guides dedicated to helping parents of young children. However, simply having children doesn’t entitle anyone to special treatment at Walt Disney World. Everyone has paid to be there, and Disney does its best to ensure everyone has a magical time. Seriously, it’s in the park’s manifesto.

Or as they say at Disneyland, “To all who come to this happy place, welcome.”

Disneyland (and World) is your land, no matter who you are. Whether you’re 8, 18, or 80, Disneyland is for everyone. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, it can be frustrating. That doesn’t give you the right to be rude to other guests, cut in line, or demand they bow to your whims. This isn’t just an entitled parent thing either; any form of rudeness toward another guest for any reason is just about the worst thing you can do at Disney.

So there you have it. Ways a Disney vacation can be totally ruined by your fellow guests. The number one thing to remember? Disney is a world of fantasy and fun. Accept it. Embrace it. Leave your attitude and baggage behind and play along. Most importantly? Don’t be mean. You’ll be much happier in the long run.

How do you spread human decency on your trips to the Disney Parks? Tell us in the comments!

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Austin Lang is an Orlando local with a love of Disney, puns, and Disney puns. He's been a contributing writer for AllEars since 2019, and has been sharing his quirky view of Disney life ever since.

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29 Replies to “How Other Guests Can Totally Ruin Your Disney Parks Experience”

  1. Something i would like to add when you take your kids to see characters don’t rush them! The amount of times parents interrupted the interaction to say “ok now look over here for the picture” drove me bonkers you waited in line for so long to meet them let them meet and interact with them other wise you might as well have just meet a cardboard cutout. I promise you’ll get your picture but let them have fun too 🙂

  2. People who constantly bump into me because they are standing so close in line. Bumping into me the entire way to Big Thunder Mountain is not going to make us get to the ride any faster. My husband and I take turns being the last one in our party to have to deal with this nonsense. And it isn’t just kids who do this.

  3. I love learning about other cultures and languages, so don’t see me as someone who is xenophobic. But, it is incredibly frustrating when someone that doesn’t speak English starts detracting from the experience because unless you speak their language there is no way to communicate to them. I was riding the Haunted Mansion at WDW on one occasion and a Hispanic woman kept her phone’s flashlight on the ENTIRE TIME, and when we asked her to turn it off she didn’t understand us. I could see how a language barrier could further affect rides such as Smuggler’s Run, and make it less enjoyable.

  4. Throwing your hands up on a ride! If you want to do that sit at the back. I usually get PhotoPass. The only time my daughter & I have been able to ride Frozen the picture was ruined because some grown man felt the need to throw his hands up at the photo.

  5. On our last trip, we rode Living with the Land. It was our family of 4, plus another family who filled the remaining seats on the boat. During most of the ride, the teenage kids shook the boat, especially during the dark scenes. They swayed side to side making the boat rock and the adults didn’t say a word to them. I was so mad. I should have said something to a cast member when we got off the boat. That was the only time we rode Living with the Land on that trip and that was my memory. I was floored that people would actually do something like that!

  6. Actually, my biggest, biggest pet peeve is people talking during a ride, or during a performance. While watching the Liberty Singers in the American pavilion at Epcot, a woman walked in and talked loudly and incessantly during the performance. Like it was a background piano player at a restaurant or something. No matter how many times I glared at her she didn’t take the hint and I moved to the other side of the building. And while riding Pirates, two 20-something women talked about their travel plans, changing their flights, gossiping, THROUGH THE WHOLE RIDE. How could you do that without even wondering if it bothered other people?

  7. Back in 1993 on my honeymoon, we were waiting in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. (before fastpasses) Up at the top a guy with a big camcorder on his shoulder stopped to film, and his family kept moving. There was a huge gap in the line, so I went around him and went down into the ride, assuming he would catch up with his group. When he got down there he went OFF about how I was cutting in front of him and carried on the whole time we continued to wait. We were stunned, and at the time put it down to being “back east” where we’d never been before since we came from the Pacific Northwest! We encountered a lot of that kind of behavior, actually, on that trip. Thankfully, I feel like we never experienced quite that much rudeness on any other trip, 13 or so trips since.

  8. Guests ruining things:
    The absolute worst thing that ever happened to me in 30 years of going to WDW happened last year.
    I was in line for MK security and looked in my bag to unzip a pouch a had. In the time it took for this the line moved by about 1 person. (We were a party of 3) A woman from the line to my left then proceeded to step in front of me, so she was between my family and I. I said, ‘oh I’m sorry that’s my party and I was just moving up, excuse me’ and went to walk past her to get my place back. (This was literally all in about 15 seconds, if I hadn’t moved for 2 minutes she can go in front of me, that’s fine)
    I was literally screamed at, sworn at, threatened with violence and told to go back to my own country (I’m British).

    One of the nicest things also happened that day as an American lady overheard this and said, please do not think all Americans are like this, most of us welcome guests to our country and I really hope this doesn’t spoil your Disney day and vacation.
    What a lovely classy lady – that is what I choose to remember most that morning.

  9. Just getting around the parks: My husband had his feet fun over by someone obviously not familiar with a scooter used for folks with disabilities. Now a couple of months later, he has lost two toenails on one foot and was badly bruised on the other.
    Now I do not have an issue with electric wheelchairs or use of scooters for mobility, my father now requires one to enjoy the parks. However, when people simply rent them so they don’t have to walk the parks and are unfamiliar with how to use one, it can be really dangerous for the rest of us.

  10. Smugglers Run: my husband and I rode this the first and probably the last time. We were in with people with young children who insisted on sitting in the two front seats. They did nothing just sat there. Made for an awful experience. Disney should put an age restriction on the age of who can sit in the front!!

  11. My family and I had a run-in a number of years ago with a guy who decided he had to smoke while waiting for the afternoon parade. We were downwind and he was a heavy smoker. I politely noted that this was a no-smoking area and asked him to stop. He told me to mind my own business. I called a CM over and asked for help. The CM informed the guy that he could either stop smoking or leave the area. The guy angrily threw his cigarette down on the street. From that point on, whenever I (or my daughters) tried to take a picture of the approaching parade, he leaned out as far as he could to block us (fortunately for me, I just switched to a wide-angle lens and got some great shots straight in front of me).

  12. We had a teenager hold up her cell phone and put the flashlight on the whole time we were riding space mountain. She kept yelling she didn’t like the dark and needed to see the tracks when riding. We had waited in line over an hour and this was not acceptable.

    We did complain to a cast member and they took us through the back and let us do the ride again, the correct way.

  13. I had a similar experience on MF the first time I rode. The lady in front of me screamed the entire time to her daughter saying, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M SUPPOSED TO BE DOING, TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” I wanted to say, don’t ride the ride as you ruined it for me and my husband. Probably for her teenage kid too!

  14. There was a time when nearly every park guest was on their best behavior. It was sort of an unwritten law that you just act EXTRA nice because it’s Disney World. That time has passed. Now it’s like going to six flags

    1. My husband and I both need the scooters and we usually go out of our way to NOT disturb other riders. One time it was pouring rain at Epcot and it was rather chilly. We insisted that we would wait for the next bus so the people could get on the bus quickly. Everyone actually cheered and thanked us profusely and then they INSISTED that we get on the bus first. Why cannot everyone just “take a breath” and be kind. We all ended up having a ball on that bus ride with singing and laughing. A sweet memory for sure.

  15. My granddaughter & I had the exact experience you describe on MF. The problem in our case was that very young children were the pilots so it’s naturally difficult for them to be able to perform tasks required. When a party of 2 (us) get ‘stuck’ with a Party of 4 (parents & very younge kids), it messes up our enjoyment of the ride, but it’s no one’s ‘fault’, just the way it is.

  16. I Deserve This More Than You – Part 2

    You see, Disney actually fuels this behavior by segregating guests into different classes – resort guests vs. non-resort guests. VIPs. Meal packages. Dessert packages. Tours.

    I miss the days when all guests truly were equal. We all stood in the same lines. And we actually became friends instead of competitors.

  17. I can’t say I have honestly experienced to many negative interactions. I’ve gone once to twice a year the last 3 years from KY. I’ve seen people lose their mind, but it wasn’t directed at me. once at Wishes a girl I expect was probably “high” stood up with her light saber and started waving it around right in the middle of the show and this was in the circle right in front of the castle. There were literally hundreds of people sitting down behind her and she was oblivious. Some people did say something but her husband did not look like the type I wanted to have words with so I left it alone.

  18. A special shout out to the woman who changed her infants diaper in the middle of entire crowd. That was pleasant. Also a fan of the woman who literally shoved her kids in front of my wife and I after we had waited for over a half hour to see the night show at Epcot. Then there was our favorite, the two adults screaming at each other while their kids just stood there frightened and crying.

  19. One time when I was 6 or 7 this crazy mother took my Minnie ears off of my head because they were sold out at the one location she checked and wanted them for her daughter(who was older than me). We eventually got them back but man was she angry.

  20. Agree with the rude riders. If you are on a dark ride where you want to take in the ambiance and experience the ride, please don’t talk through the entire ride or take pictures leaning and weaving and flashing.

    Parents yelling at children or each other right in lines or walkways. Take that stuff to the side or find a hidden area.

    Be kind, give grace, and say thank you to the hard working cast members making the days magical.

  21. I saw a woman force her stroller over another guests foot despite the woman literally screaming at her and the AMPLE amount of space the woman had to go around her foot. I think the biggest way people ruin their own day and other people’s day is not being prepared for how tired the day is going to make you. It’s not an excuse to act ugly and a LOT of people think it is. (But then I always wonder if she and that woman had exchanged words earlier)

  22. I want to add standing in line for a ride, vividly spoiling every detail of the ride out loud in conversation. You never know when it’s someone’s first time!

    1. That is my biggest fear. We go every year but I havent been to galaxy’s edge or Mickey & Minnie runaway railway. I avoid all YouTube spoiler videos. My fear is that after all that I will need to wear earplugs in line at these attractions.

  23. Another one is the people who send one person to hold a spot in line for like 6 other people and those folks then try to cut in front of everyone, and using their kids as the excuse to do that.

  24. My Wife and i were on Pirates of the Caribbean probably several years ago and a woman was taking flash photos and it was messing with the ride system and all the other people on the boat, we quietly said something about stopping the flash photos and she intentionally did it more and even turned around and flashed it right in our faces. As we got off the ride we gave her a look and didn’t say a word , see grumbled at us and we just ignored her and went on our way. It was just amazing that she could do whatever she wanted without regard to others who may have only had that one chance to enjoy the ride, felt we had done her wrong and everything was our fault.