11 Things Disney Park Guests Aren’t Allowed to Do
Disney is notorious for the strict rules that its employees must follow, but you may not know that guests are expected to follow plenty of rules too. Here's what you can't do on your next Disney getaway.
Every theme park has rules and regulations for its guests, meant to make the theme park experience as safe and comfortable as possible for everyone there. Disney is no exception—in fact, as the world’s most famous (and most famously clean-cut!) theme park, you could say it’s the rule! Some of these park rules are difficult to enforce, but others can even prevent you from being admitted to the park altogether. So can trying to bring in these everyday objects that are banned from Disney parks.
While it seems like Disney World would be a cosplayer’s dream, and that the park would be thrilled to have guests embrace the magic by getting fully into character, only some of them can do so. Disney is a great place to embrace your inner kid no matter what your age, but, sadly and perhaps surprisingly, older guests are not allowed to wear costumes. The park rules are not going to quash young children‘s desire to dress like a princess or a Padawan, but guests older than 14 aren’t allowed to dress up. The reason for this is that Disney doesn’t want guests pretending to be the characters or signing autographs, thereby taking away from legitimate, costumed Disney Cast Members and even potentially confusing other guests.
There is an exception, however. During certain park events, like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Star Wars: Galactic Nights, guests of all ages can come in costume. But they’re still not allowed to pose for pictures with other guests. Learn even more about why grown-up Disney fans can’t come in costume.
Be overly lovey-dovey
Disney films are famous for happily-ever-afters and literal fairytale romances. So a Disney park might seem like a dreamy honeymoon destination, or a great place to escape the February cold for Valentine’s Day. But, be that as it may, Disney is still a very kid-oriented, kid-friendly place, and even the most in-love couples are expected to treat it as such. So, couples, make sure to keep your PDA strictly PG while you’re in the parks.
Be rude or disruptive
Of course, illegal behavior, bad language, roughhousing, and other such shenanigans are discouraged at any family-friendly theme park. But Disney prides itself on being especially kid-friendly—not to mention the “Happiest Place on Earth,” free from any rudeness or shady behavior that isn’t good ol’ Disney villain mischief. So the Disney World site warns against “engaging in unsafe, illegal, disruptive or offensive behavior.” Learn the truth about what Disney doesn’t allow in their movies.
Wear (or not wear) certain types of clothing
It’s not just costumes that Disney parks frown upon. Certain other wardrobe choices are also not allowed in the park. You can’t wear floor-length clothing, be it a flowing cape, a lengthy scarf, or a long gown. Disney doesn’t want the clothing tripping up guests or presenting a hazardous situation on rides. You can wear layers of clothing, but Disney’s site warns would-be guests that “clothing with multiple layers is subject to search.” Guests also must wear shoes at all times, unless they’re wearing shoes that have the potential to fall off on an aerial ride like Soarin’. If this is the case, guests can stash their footwear in a designated area while they ride. And these rules have nothing on the wardrobe requirements for working at Disney.
Take flash photos indoors
This is a rule you’ll see in plenty of places, from museums to performance venues, and the reasoning is the same at Disney parks. Though they’re permitted outside, camera flashes can hurt the eyes of Cast Members or other guests in darker indoor areas. Disney also doesn’t want flashes going off inside the park’s “dark rides,” where a sudden burst of light could ruin the illusions and magic.
It’s basically a no-brainer that cutting in line is not allowed at any theme park, but Disney also frowns upon having another park-goer save your space in line. Though it’s surely difficult for employees to crack down on every instance of it, you’ll want to be careful about leaving a line and then trying to reclaim the same space when you return. In addition to being an actual rule, it’s just of the rude habits Disney park employees wish guests would stop.
While this may seem silly, since Disney parks are stuffed to the gills with advertising and trademarked imagery, guests themselves are not allowed to sell or promote anything on park property. This also means that they can’t hand out or post fliers. On a more serious note, guests are not allowed to host protests or rallies, no matter the cause, in Disney parks. And any would-be orator must gain authorization to give a speech in the parks. Learn all of the secrets Disney employees won’t tell you.
Take photo or video for commercial purposes
Disney would never try to discourage you from documenting your magical experiences, but there are some restrictions on cameras and recording. In addition to the flash rule, you also can’t film anything that you’ll use for commercial purposes. Fancy camera equipment like tripods or drones, as well as not-so-fancy camera equipment like selfie sticks, aren’t permitted in the parks. You’re also encouraged to be smart and responsible with your camera—don’t block any other patrons’ views with it, and don’t take it on a ride where it could become distracting or hazardous.
While guests are not allowed to take commercial images or videos on Disney property, the opposite rule essentially applies for the Disney powers-that-be. Any guest who arrives at a Disney park must consent to potentially having their image (or voice) appear in Disney’s promotional material. And, no, if Disney uses footage of you in an ad, you won’t get paid for it. Find out the truth about these 12 popular Disney park rumors you may have heard.
If you’re tempted to bolt toward your favorite ride or character, you may want to think twice. “For your safety and the safety of others, please refrain from running,” the park’s guidelines implore. And, while this might seem at first like Disney trying to put a damper on excitement, it is fair to say that no one wants a young-at-heart child of the Disney Renaissance suddenly barreling full-speed into a toddler. But, like for some of these other rules, there is an exception. Disney does hold a marathon weekend once a year that’s literally called “runDisney,” after all. Special events are some of the things you definitely need to book in advance for a Disney trip.
Feed the animals
It might be a no-brainer that you can’t toss your chow to the potentially ferocious animals in Animal Kingdom’s safari, but this rule is about more than that. You can’t feed any animals in the park, even ones that aren’t part of park attractions like free-flying birds. If you can get on board with all of those rules, read on for the list of etiquette rules Disney employees have to follow.