The 2 Code Words You Never Want to Hear in Disney Parks

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While visiting the Happiest Place on Earth, hope you don't hear these two phrases—or the fairytale might be about to turn into a nightmare.

Disney World and Disneyland are well-known for being the happiest places in the world, but sometimes, some less than idyllic things happen. When they do, staff have code words to let other staff know what has taken place without wrecking your perfectly happy day with gross details. For example, when the combination of fast rides and fast food proves too much for someone, rather than alerting everyone by yelling “vomit,” a cast member will simply warn another cast member that there has been a “protein spill,” triggering a “Code V.” Rude people are called “treasured guests,” and if you ever hear a “Code Winnie,” get out of the pool until the pee has been cleaned up. Wondering why we’re calling all Disney employees “cast members”? Learn that and the answers to 22 other Disney secrets Disney employees won’t tell you.

One of the worst phrases to hear is “White Powder Alert”

Still, a little case of vomit isn’t one of the worst things that could happen. Disney World works like a well-oiled machine, so chances are, even if you hear the words, you won’t notice the actual evidence. According to the New York Post, one of the worst things you can hear a cast member say at Disney World is a “White Powder Alert.”

A “White Powder Alert” means that a guest has brought the ashes of their dearly departed in order to make the Happiest Place on Earth their final resting place. Eww! According to Susan Veness, author of Walt Disney World Hacks, this most commonly occurs on the Haunted Mansion ride. This is both illegal and can get you banned from Disney for life. Not only that, but whether you are caught or not, the end result is the same: Those ashes are going to be vacuumed up, and will eventually end up in a landfill. Not exactly what these people had in mind.

The second word is something other amusement parks might use, too

If you are caught dumping ashes, you are about to hear the second Disney code word you never want to hear: “E-stop.” This one is a bit more straightforward and isn’t reserved just for Disney. In order to remain as perfectly clear in an emergency situation as possible, most amusement parks and fair rides use the same phrase. It means “Emergency Stop.” If a ride must be shut down due to a sanitary issue—like someone “protein spilling” or dumping ashes—or a safety issue, an E-stop is called and the ride is instantly shut down while park officials decide if the ride should be evacuated immediately or simply paused for maintenance. No matter what code words are said, you’ll never hear a Disney cast member use these three words.

These two scary situations aside, there’s a reason Disneyland is the happiest, most magical place on Earth. Or is it Disney World? You’ll have to decide, but while you’re choosing where to go first, keep in mind that between Disneyland and Disney World, this one is cheaper.

Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy has been a writer and editor for since February of 2019. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric. She is thrilled to be living and working in the Big Apple although she misses the easy access to freshly made Wisconsin cheese curds and Kopps Custard. When not at the Reader’s Digest office, you can find her downing too many chai lattes and rereading her favorite Harry Potter books.