A visit to Walt Disney World is full of fun, excitement, and magic. But it can also be hot, crowded, and exhausting, things that don’t always bring out the best in us. You can help keep the Happiest Place on Earth happy, beautiful, and running smoothly by being a polite Disney Guest. Here are ten ways to be a responsible Disney fan.
10. Dispose of Trash Appropriately
There’s a famous story that Walt Disney bought a hot dog and counted that it took him 30 steps to finish eating it. He thus insisted that there be a trashcan every 30 steps at his parks. This holds true today, there are trashcans and recycling containers everywhere at Walt Disney World. So please use them! If you don’t see one immediately, just walk for a few steps and you’re sure to find one. Don’t leave your garbage lying around!
9. Respect the Line Rules
This one should go without saying, but alas, we see it from time to time. Don’t cut in line. This includes sending someone ahead and then “catching up” with them twenty minutes later! Yes, occasionally groups get separated when entering a queue and you need to ask to catch up, and that’s fine. But don’t just shove ahead, ask nicely to get past your fellow guests! If the standby line comes close to the FastPass+ line, resist the temptation to switch. Sometimes a cast member will be re-checking magic bands further along in the line, and it’s simply bad manners. If you miss your FastPass+ reservation or arrive too early, respect the cast member’s instructions. No one loves to wait in line, but it’s just part of visiting Disney World. Don’t try to cheat!
8. Don’t Stop in the Middle of Traffic
I don’t mean in your car (though you shouldn’t do that, either) but rather on the busy walkways in the parks. If you need to regroup your party, have a discussion, look at your map, or take a photo, kindly step to the side to conduct your business and allow others to keep going. It’s a huge help in keeping the crowds moving, and it’s no trouble at all for you!
7. Be Aware of Wheelchairs, Scooters, Strollers, and Children
As a tall person my eye level is high, and it can be easy to literally overlook wheelchairs, scooters, strollers, and kids. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings both at eye level and below, so you don’t cut out in front of a scooter, crash into a stroller, or run over a small child. Disney is a busy, crowded place, and those who are navigating below eye level need a bit of special consideration. And if you do accidently bump someone or cut them off, just say you’re sorry! An apology goes a long way.
6. Be Careful with Your Wheelchairs, Scooters, Strollers, and Children
Yes, I’m turning this one around! While others should be sure to watch out for you, you also need to use your vehicles responsibly! Don’t use your stroller as a battering ram to get through busy crowds. If you aren’t accustomed to using a power scooter or wheelchair, practice before you get to the parks so you are sure you know how to control it. Maintain a safe speed and following distance. Check your surroundings before you back up or pull into the flow of traffic. Keep kids close by so they don’t wander in front of other guests. And again, if you do accidentally bump someone, say you’re sorry!
5. Watch Your Language
I know, profanity is tossed around pretty lightly these days. But Walt Disney World is first and foremost a place for families, and foul language is not acceptable. Even though some events and activities can seem really adult oriented, like the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, it’s still Disney World and there are still kids everywhere. It’s upsetting to be eating dinner with your family and hear F-bombs coming from the adjacent table. So stick to G-rated language, please. Think of the children!
4. Get Help with Big Messes
It happens to all of us. You’re trying to be a respectful guest and keep the park clean, but you accidentally spill your newly-refilled large drink all over the restaurant floor. Or your child (who you thought was totally OK in big-girl underpants) doesn’t make it to the restroom in time. Or having too many churros before riding Space Mountain results in a “protein spill” on the sidewalk. It’s ok, these things happen and it sometimes can’t be helped. When it does happen, the best thing you can do is to alert a cast member. Your first inclination may be to try and clean up the mess yourself, but the appropriate cast member has the proper tools to do a really thorough job, and when necessary, to sanitize the area. You may feel like you’re imposing, but it’s much easier for the cast members to deal with these issues as soon as they happen. If you are polite and friendly I promise they’ll be happy to help you.
3. Don’t Take It Out on the Cast Member
I’m sad to say that I have (more than once) witnessed a guest screaming at a cast member for something that he or she absolutely couldn’t control. Why? Once it was because the Dumbo ride had to close due to lightning in the area. Another time because a child wasn’t tall enough to ride Mission: Space. You may have noticed that neither of these issues is the fault of the cast member! Cast members are awesome, but they do not control the height restrictions for a ride or the weather! Yes, it can be frustrating and disappointing when a cast member gives you bad news. But don’t shoot the messenger! She’s just doing her job. And I promise, no matter how much you yell, you aren’t going to change anything.
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2. Drink Responsibly
Alcohol is now offered for sale in all four of the Walt Disney World Parks. A glass of wine or a Margarita can really enhance your meal, and a drink or two around the World Showcase is a fun way to explore international cultures. But please, keep yourself in check. Drinking too much makes you far more likely to exhibit the behaviors we’ve mentioned above! Remember, even though alcohol is served you’re still in a Disney Park and there are kids and families everywhere. If you’re really inebriated you may find yourself being escorted out of the park by security, or even on a stretcher. That’s never a fun way to end your night! Be smart! “Drinking Around the World” should be a lifetime goal, no one for a single day!
1. Be Kind
No one comes to Walt Disney World hoping to have a lousy time; we all want to have fun. A little but of kindness and understanding goes a long way. Try to have some empathy for your fellow guests! People are often trying to keep a group together while navigating an unfamiliar place full of amazing distractions – people are bound to bump into each other. A smile and an apology go a long way! People visit the Disney Parks from all over the world, so be patient if someone doesn’t understand you because of a language barrier. Kids don’t always do what they’re told, so don’t start griping about lazy parents if a kid walks right into you. Give people the benefit of the doubt and hopefully they’ll do the same for you.
As you can see, most of the ways to be a respectful guest are easy! But somehow when you’re hot, tired, and overstimulated, it can get more and more difficult to follow the rules. Remember that a good attitude, common courtesy, and some understanding will make everyone’s visit to Walt Disney World more pleasant, including your own! Be the kind of guest that cast members want to welcome to the park each day.
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