Here’s a light hearted look at Theme Park Etiquette!

Mary Poppins Epcot

Are you simply perfect in every way when you visit the theme parks?

We are absolutely certain that you have been to a theme park only to be dismayed at the behaviour of others.
Some guests are just way too excited as they rush around in the magic of the theme parks, others just don’t seem aware that other guests deserve a great vacation as well!
Sometimes, even the most courteous and politely mannered guests receive a withering look of disdain just because ‘they didn’t quite move quickly enough’.

With fabulous new attractions and developments arriving constantly in Orlando’s theme parks, it’s more important than ever to consider others, and to make allowances to those that ‘trespass against us’ while we enjoy our vacations!

We thought we’d look at a whole bunch of different scenarios and see what makes the difference between a theme park hero and villain!  Which are you?


Theme Park Hero Theme Park Villain
Blocking the Walkways You line up your family at the edge of the walkway, with Cinderella Castle in the background, and you patiently stand alongside them until the coast is clear enough for you to dash to the other side and take that dream photograph without disrupting guests.
If it is really busy, you move the family on, and you’ll try later when it’s less busy.
You make it absolutely clear that you are disgusted by guests spoiling your photograph as they cross between you and your smiling family members!
You’ve paid for your vacation and you are going to get that snap, no matter what!
The crowds can wait!
Shouting in the parks You know that people are recording video, so you only call out to a family member as a very last resort, and you never shout in anger. You love to dine on spicy food, particularly laden with plenty of garlic, washed down with a few beers before shouting right by the ear holes to your kids at the other end of Main St USA
You are the most recorded voice in history.
Chewing gum You know they don’t sell it in the parks to keep the sidewalks clean.  You never take it inside the main gate. Stick it anywhere you can when you are done with it.  You wouldn’t want to choke on Space Mountain, so ‘clag’ it under the line wait hand rails for another guest to enjoy.
Swearing You do it from time to time in the car, and always when you hit your thumb with a hammer but never where kids (or Mickey) could hear! You save your choicest words until the kids are really tired and restless, or whenever someone beside you is making their lifelong dream to video the Parade.
Swearing makes you feel socially better than the ‘snobby’ disgusted onlookers.
Large groups You know that your large group is going to have the time of their lives, but you also want other guests to as well.
You decide to split your group of thirty into 3 and assign a great leader in each.
You try your best to hit different attractions instead of choking up the line wait times in one quick go!
It’s a school leaver’s party and you simply aren’t going anywhere until all of your guests are back from the rest rooms.
Let’s congregate 60 guests by the attraction entrance, so they know where to find us!NOTE: Disney are now challenging the large groups that hold flags and chant their way around the parks.
Personal hygiene You know that Orlando is hot, so you shower each morning, use deodorant appropriately, and always brush your teeth.
You always wash your hands after visiting the restrooms and you’d never drop a paper towel in the corner of the restroom after using it as a ‘protective glove’ to open the door.
Before entering the resort pool, you shower well, rinse your hair well, because you know that if you don’t, the pool guy puts more chlorine in next morning.
You shower only as and when your family complains, which probably isn’t too often, as they themselves, probably work the same hygiene schedule as you.
Soap is something you watch on TV or take from your hotel en-suite, to pack in your cases as a souvenir or gift for friends back home.
Your kids wipe their hands on the shorts of the person in front of you in the line wait area.You save on packing by wearing PJ tops during the daytime.
Feet on seats Seats are for butts, not feet.
End of story, no exceptions!
The PeopleMover is just the perfect size for resting your weary feet and the Monorail is free so I can do what I like after a long hot tiring day in the parks.
Ignoring the Safety Rules Why ignore good advice that is meant to keep riders and other park guests safe? At worst, I will risk my own safety, or that of other guests.  But by ignoring safety advice, I am willing to have the ride shut down until I follow the rules.  I also don’t care one bit if the ride is permanently changed because of my stupidity!
Strollers You know it isn’t easy manipulating your way between thousands of park guests, so you accept that every now and then, you are bound to be inconvenienced by an occasional stroller operator.  You like seeing the happy Disney kids ‘in the making’ anyway.
If you are lucky enough to be steering your own kids or grandkids in WDW, you make every possible effort to keep clear of other guests.
Strollers are your main method of clearing space on your voyage from A to B.  It’s big enough for everyone to see right?
How else could you manage to carry your cool bag, shopping and baggage if you couldn’t pile it all onto your stroller while your 8 year old runs riot?
ECVs & wheelchairs You know that the day may come that you might need to use an ECV or wheelchair, so you keep an extra eye out and offer a courteous passage for those that need or want to use wheelchairs or ECVs.
You never judge those that use them in the parks.
You think that everyone with an ECV is ‘just fat’, or is using disability as an excuse to get priority access to line waits.
Guests with disabilities You always give a little extra room and always smile and speak to the guest and any assistants/parents.
If your kids stare, you apologize discreetly to the guest and let them know that you won’t make a scene with your kids, but will explain that it’s not right to stare.
You recognise that some guests with disabilities are not always able to be as conscious of their surroundings as some other guests and you make allowances.
You always try to hold the door for guests in wheelchairs, or give room to help them keep clear of kerb edges.
Everyone in a wheelchair is taking advantage of the priority line wait system and it simply isn’t fair.
It’s not my job to look after other guests in the parks, in fact let’s go out of our way to be rude and discourteous.
Theatre seats You follow the guidance from the cast members and keep moving all the way along the seat rows as the theatre fills up. I want to sit in the middle and I’m going to do so, no matter how many times I’m asked to move.
Parades You try your best to be discreet with your camera and video equipment in order to grab the show forever, without obstructing guests behind you.
You ask the family behind you if they want to let their kids sit on the floor in front of you to watch the show.
You use your personal hygiene issues as a weapon of mass distraction to carve a tiny gap to wriggle your way through to a better vantage point.  Elbows, knees and badly behaved kids are your backup plan as it’s the last day in Disney and you need some fabulous shots to brag to your friends with on Facebook.
iPads are great aren’t they?
If I hold it up high, I can block your view completely, but don’t worry, as you can see the whole show on the screen!
Cell phones Cell phones are great in the parks, you can use them to connect to the resort’s apps to find the best line waits, and also to message family members to save you from shouting from one end of Main St USA to the other.
You never have the ringer on just in case you disturb shows, and you never speak loudly in the line wait areas on calls.
Cell phones are a great way to communicate to your group so that they know when to shove past everyone on the Peter Pan ride to join you.
They are also great for taking endless ‘selfies’ of you looking happy, even though everyone else around you wants you to vanish in a puff of pixie dust!
Walking You realise that walking in the theme parks is an impossible art, but you do your best not to stop suddenly, cross the paths of others unnecessarily, or drift along at snail’s pace in fast moving walkways.
You avoid marching/jogging as you know this is valuable vacation time not runDisney!
You’ve paid to be there, and as a result you will go wherever you please, at whatever pace you like, and everyone else can ‘shove it’ buster!
If another guest crosses your path accidentally, you deliver that sarcastic and withering apology of; ‘excuse me!‘ even though you don’t mean it.
Personal space In fairly open spaces, you try to keep a couple of paces away from other park guests whenever you can.
In more confined spaces, about a foot is as close as you are prepared go to another guest.
You are prepared to go as close as you possibly can if it helps you get to where you want to be.
You value your own sweaty arms and bodily extremities as invincible weapons in your fight to the front line.
Coupled with an appalling hygiene strategy, you can cut through lines quicker than you can say Fastpass!
Silence during talks and performances Phones off, back straight, smile set to maximum and you are filled with anticipation, excitement and Disney Magic, why spoil it by talking? The award winning Disney shows are ‘rubbish’, and they are just annoying distractions that you’d mistakenly wandered into.
You are now planning your next move by chattering to the other members of your group scattered around the rows nearby.
Tipping You always tip your server.
If you are deeply unhappy with the service, you regrettably, but politely, request another server.
You can save 15-20% from your vacation’s food budget by being rude to waiting staff.
Flash photography You comply with the attraction rules and turn off your flash.
You also know that flash rarely gives you the effect you hope for on dark rides or indoor shows or whenever the subject is more than 4 feet away.
This vacation cost me a fortune and there’s no way I’m going home without every single snap I can possibly take, even if it does mean that I will ruin the show effects and ruin everyone’s night vision for the entire duration of the attraction.Facebook here I come!
Loose items on rides Loose items are dangerous if they break loose from a ride.
You always secure anything safely before entering the line wait area.
I’d love a selfie while I’m on Splash Mountain, even if it does mean that I severely injure another rider.
(Editor: A serious injury has actually occurred in this way in another theme park.)
Changing Diapers (Nappies) in the parks The restrooms are for this.
Why would any theme park guest want to see body waste?
If I waste time looking for the rest rooms, I won’t be able to find out which attraction I need to push my way to the front of to catch up with my family.
Group Chants I’m here to be entertained by Disney, not by a group of 60 college graduates. We are so pleased to be at Disney, we are going to make you wish you weren’t here!
Hotel hallways at night You know that even a whisper in the hotel hallways can wake the dead in the depth of night.
You reduce your voices and close doors softly and your kids don’t thud around the floors or walls as they walk.
We are up, you should be too!
Hey, it’s vacation time, don’t waste it by being in bed at 1am, when you could be drinking late in the bars!
By the way, please be quiet in the morning as we will be in bed until Noon!
Forcing kids on rides It’s not fun unless you enjoy it! Oh man did you see her face on there?
We’ve got a shot of her throwing up/passing out/crying, it was awesome!
Character greets You wait patiently with your camera ready, say Hi to Mickey/Others but definitely take enough time to get a great photograph or two, then move on! You enter the character greet for a group shot of your family and your extended family, but you can’t find your camera, or the battery is gone, so you need to borrow a friend’s.
Then you decide to arrange individual shots of each and every one of your guests, but, you also feel the need to check the shots on the sun drenched LCD screen and retake each shot at least 3 times per person in a process that lasts a dreadful 10 minutes.  By the time you’ve finished, Mickey is burned out and needs a saucer of milk or whatever he uses to get himself through the day with people like you!
Selfie Sticks
You much prefer asking a Cast Member or fellow guest to help you with your photo.
You see it as a great opportunity to briefly meet someone new, share your enthusiasm for your day at WDW and show your gratitude for the help you received!
You don’t care if you shout and scream for your poor family members to smile just how you want them to, or the fact that you are poking your selfie stick into other people’s personal space or blocking their route.
You’d much rather post a perfect picture of WDW on social media than for your own family (and everyone around you)
Disney Spirit You fully accept and expect people to be rude, and you don’t let their behaviour trouble you.
Instead of challenging bad behavour, you gain satisfaction from interacting with villains to try and make them happier, more patient and more in touch with their Disney Side!
You and your family will probably never stumble across this blog post.
Line Dodging & Jumping the Queue You simply stand in line and wait your turn.
If you need to leave the line, you find a Cast Member right away and seek their advice on how to rejoin the line after your bathroom stop (It happens!)
You can’t be bothered to wait 60 minutes with the entire family, so you designate one person to go in line while you go shopping and eat yummy snacks!
Why should you and the kids wait all that time when you can just receive a text message from your husband?
When it’s time to ride, just bash your way through calling <insert spouse’s name here>.
Of course we will step aside for you, simply because we don’t want to stop you and listen to your dysfunctional family right behind us for an hour!
Bullying Stranger’s Kids If a kid runs in front of you and makes you stop in your tracks, or if your party of 3 has a kid that’s a single rider join the ride (and ride photo), you ask them how they are doing and make great conversation!
After all, they are so excited to be at the parks!
You hated your own kids, so you will make it clear that anyone else’s kids are put in their place.
How DARE they be sat on the same row of a ride just as the camera goes off?
You even humiliate the kid by telling them that they ruined your precious ride photo.


A final word about our theme park etiquette guide

Please don’t take our theme park etiquette guide too seriously.
We aren’t making rules, or suggesting for one minute that there’s a secret code of conduct for guests to adhere to on vacation.

In our office, we all agreed that each and every one of us had drifted over to the ‘Villains side‘ for at least a quarter of the sections in some shape or form.
Naturally, some sections are more important than others, but we do hope that you enjoy as much as we do, the process of stepping further towards the ‘Heroes side‘!


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