It’s hard not to get wrapped up in your Disney World vacation. There’s excitement to be explored in almost every nook and cranny of the parks, not to mention the chance to run into some of your favorite Disney characters, snack on the treats that you love, go on rides, watch parades, fireworks — the list goes on and on!
But as wonderful as all this stuff can be, believe it or not, you could be inadvertently ruining the magic for others at the parks without even realizing it! We’re letting you in on some major no-nos we highly recommend you try to avoid!
Most people just want to have the best time possible while vacationing and we totally get that. After all, isn’t that the point? But if everyone had a slightly better understanding of the things they’re doing that make others around them have a BAD time on their family vacations, maybe, just maybe, we could all enjoy ourselves more!
So in the interest of trying to be more aware of one another whenever the parks reopen, here’s a quick “how to (and not to) be a good guest” refresher. (Full disclosure — we here on the DFB team know about all of these things because at one point or another…we’ve done a few of them. Our apologies past and present.)
Taking a Counter Service Table Before You Get Your Food
Ever walked around a busy fast-food spot around lunchtime and felt like you were walking in circles NEVER finding a free table? You may have spotted a number of tables with one person sitting at them “holding” the table for their group while someone else is in line ordering. A lot of us are guilty of doing this — but here’s why that’s a bad idea.
It actually makes a crowded counter service restaurant even MORE crowded. Hear us out: it could take your family member 10 to 20 minutes (or even more!) to wait in line, order the food, and bring it back to the table you’ve been holding.
Believe it or not, that’s about the same amount of time it takes many families to eat a quick meal! So by reserving the table, you’re actually taking the table away from a family who could be sitting there and eating while your group is still waiting for their food. It’s a lose-lose scenario for everyone.
But here’s a solution to avoid this common problem: use Mobile Order on the My Disney Experience app to choose and order your food without waiting in line. Just let the restaurant know you’ve arrived through the app and you can sit right down and enjoy your meal. No need to hold a table!
And if the restaurant is busy, try not to hang around while other families are circling with their trays once you’ve finished your meal. Offer them your table so they can sit. Then you can find somewhere nearby to relax before your next FastPass instead of taking up a precious table if you still need a rest.
Talking During Rides and Shows
If we had a nickel for every time we’ve had the Ghost Host’s speech in the Haunted Mansion or the lyrics to “Yo Ho, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” on Pirates of the Caribbean drowned out by Karen or Bob loudly belting out the words, we’d probably have enough money for at LEAST a Mickey Pretzel! 🙂
We get it, many people are huge fans and want to show it off, but this can TOTALLY ruin the experience for guests, especially those who’ve never experienced the attraction.
It can be hard to contain your happiness on rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, but before you start belting out the tune, try to see things a little differently. This could be the first time and ONLY time someone riding with you will ever get to enjoy this attraction at Disney World. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want to have an uninterrupted experience? It might be your 298th time on Pirates, but be respectful that’s it’s always someone’s first.
If you’re planning YOUR first trip to Disney World, click here for our best advice for first-timers!
Not Being Courteous with Your Devices
Ever been on a ride like “it’s a small world” and had a guest in your boat taking a call on their cell phone the whole ride? We have.
Ever found yourself craning your head on Pirates to try and look around the massive iPad held up in the row in front of you (taking pictures with the flash the whole time!)? We have.
Ever tried to enjoy a meal at a sit-down restaurant and were forced to endure the phone at the table next to you belting out the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” theme song on loop at full volume for a fussy toddler? We have.
The marvels of cell phones and iPads have made it SO easy to have all the info and entertainment we need right at our fingertips, even at Disney World. But the flip side is that many guests are glued to these devices or don’t know how to courteously use them.
Having downtime between all the adventures you’ll be having can really be hard on little ones (and even adults!). You might need to keep your kids entertained to get them through queues or while in a restaurant (totally get that — we have littles, too!).
But try to be considerate that in tight spaces like a line or a restaurant others might not want to be subjected to whatever you or your kiddo is watching. Toss a small pair of headphones in your park bag so your kiddo can watch without disturbing those around them, or at least keep the volume as low as you can!
And if you must use your phone during a ride or performance, either step out (if you’re in a theater and able to do so) or turn the brightness and sound level all the way down. Your fellow park guests will really appreciate it!
Disney World doesn’t allow flash photography on its rides (they even make a point to tell you that before you board on EVERY dark ride!), but we still see it happen All. The. Time. The blinding burst of light is really distracting and — hate to break it to you flashers — those photos usually come out blurry and washed out anyways! (Yep, you know we’ve done it ourselves, sadly.)
Our friendly advice is just to sit back and enjoy the experience instead of trying to capture it all on film (or at least learn how to turn the flash off on your phone. It’s not too hard.).
Not Giving Others Around You Enough Space
Disney World can get really packed, but most times it’s not impossible to give others a little extra breathing room. When you’re waiting in a queue for a ride, try giving the party in front of you a little distance, while also keeping up with them so that the line is always moving!
If they can feel you breathing on them, you’re probably too close! 🙂 It’s a little tricky to get the balance just right, but eventually, you’ll get the hang of it!
Another thing to consider: be kind and try not to squeeze into someone’s spot right before a parade or fireworks begin. Many people wait hours for prime spots and slipping right in front of them before the show starts isn’t cool.
If you don’t stake out a place early enough right in front of Cinderella Castle, you can usually still find a good viewing spot on Main Street, U.S.A. for the fireworks or Frontierland for the parades. Some people even prefer viewing the shows from farther back since you can see more of everything!
Blocking the View of People Behind You
It’s easy to forget you’re wearing a big ol’ set of Minnie Ears or that huge Goofy Hat on top of your head if you’ve been walking around with it on all day, but others are seeing them A LOT, especially if their view is being obstructed by them!
We all have a deep appreciation for Disney-themed headgear, but help the people behind you see better by removing your ears before showtime on rides, shows, AND parades and fireworks!
The same is true for guests who prefer to use iPads to capture fireworks or parents helping their kiddos score a better view by tossing them up on their shoulders at showtime. Keep in mind while YOU might be getting a great view, the people behind you might be struggling. It’s always considerate to step off to the side of the crowd if you know you’ll be blocking the view. You should still see everything ok, and others won’t be as affected.
Not Being Respectful Towards Cast Members
Disney World is full of some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet: Cast Members. And Cast Members play a big role in what makes the parks so special. But sometimes they might direct you to walk further towards a certain exit when your feet are killing you or they might move your stroller for you if it was parked in an undesignated area, making it hard for you to locate it right away.
Whatever the case may be, don’t take your hard feelings out on Cast Members. They don’t make up any of these rules and their primary goal is to keep everyone happy and safe. Cast Members are responsible for a lot of guests’ well-being, so listen to their instructions and follow any guidance they provide.
Smoking in Non-Designated Areas
Smoking is no longer allowed inside the Disney World parks as of last year. No, we don’t mean you shouldn’t smoke in crowded areas and to go off somewhere more secluded — we mean it’s BANNED inside the theme parks. Period. So if you must smoke, go to a location where it IS permitted. Each park has a designated smoking area located just outside the main entrance.
This rule applies to e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices as well. Disney World Resorts are also smoke-free but do provide designated smoking areas for guests. If you want a room with easy access to one of these locations, you can call and place a request.
Taking More Than You Need
Remember when Ziploc partnered with Disney to give out these free bags before boarding Splash Mountain? They help protect electronic devices from getting waterlogged! But while they’re a cool souvenir and the folks back home will get a kick out of them, don’t take more than one per person.
If you like having them handy for keeping autograph books dry or storing snacks for later on, do what we do and bring your own sandwich bags from home. They don’t have the cool graphic, but they still get the job done nicely!
Spoiling the Fun
This last slip of the mind sometimes happens since many of us don’t see Disney World through the eyes of a child anymore.
Remember that Disney World is full of limitless magic to children. They see meeting Mickey or their favorite characters much in the same way that many adults would envision meeting a celebrity.
They’re dazzled by the chance to see REAL ghosts, aliens, and more on rides. Don’t rain on that parade. Keep to yourself any rude comments or anything that could generally demystify the magic of Disney for a child.
And yep — you know that people on our team here at DFB have done some of these things in our day. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how your actions can affect others in the park. We’re not trying to preach; we’re trying to share our personal experience with you so that everyone can have the BEST. TRIP. EVER. <3 Hope this helps.
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
Are there some things you wish others didn’t do at Disney World that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments below!