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Please Stop Doing This on Disney Dark Rides

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are taking a selfie with a flash at a spooky, cobweb-covered dining table with ghostly figures in the background. Donald Duck, looking agitated, is pointing and yelling at something out of the frame, adding to the eerie Disney atmosphere.
Credit: Disney Fanatic

What’s the one guest behavior that irritates you the most?

Is it getting too drunk at EPCOT? Maybe being rude to Cast Members, wearing inappropriate clothing, or stepping out of ride vehicles?

Well, on dark rides at Disney theme parks, there’s one guest behavior that is frustrating, disruptive, and can affect safety.

Haunted Mansion Disney World

Credit: Disney

At Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks, guests can find a whole array of classic attractions.

In the morning, you can tour a spooky Haunted Mansion, in the afternoon, join a swashbuckling journey on a Pirates of the Caribbean adventure, and in the evening, have a fairytale encounter on Under the Sea – Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

These Walt Disney World rides all have something in common – they are dark rides. Disney Imagineers created amazingly-themed indoor worlds that bring guests’ favorite Disney movies to life. They use lighting, music, special effects, and smells to create scenes that force you into believing that you really are in a haunted graveyard or in Peter Pan’s magical London.

And what’s the one thing that can ruin this dark-ride fantasy? The dreaded flash photographer.

Peter Pan's Flight Fantasyland Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

The Flash Photography Problem

We’ve all encountered one of these guests on a visit to Walt Disney World. (Or, maybe you are the flash photographer?).

Warning signs remind riders not to use flash photography for the safety and experience of other Disney Parks guests – and Cast Members. If any guest is seen taking flash photos on a dark ride, Cast Members will usually use a loudspeaker to remind them not to, which, of course, damages the flow of the ride’s soundtrack and magic.

Whether on Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean or EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth, guests are made aware that they should turn flash off their camera or cellphone. But there’s always someone who tries to sneak a shot of something along the way.

pirates-of-caribbean skull skeleton ride

Credit: Disney

Disney Ride Safety

Disney flash photography distorts the special effects used by Imagineers. The flash lights up areas that shouldn’t be seen by guests, drawing the eyes away from how Disney designed the ride. All of a sudden, Guests notice exposed operations in the background – particularly on older rides like “it’s a small world” and Peter Pan’s Flight. If you have ever experienced Space Mountain with the lights on, you know what we mean.

Further, some sudden camera flashes of light can be triggering for guests suffering from medical conditions like epilepsy and can affect the safety of Cast Members in certain live shows like The Festival of the Lion King.

Festival of the Lion King

Credit: Disney

These photos usually do not come out well anyway, and can often be blurry or too bright. With today’s technology, our phones and cameras can now capture amazing shots without flash, and there are plenty of theme park Photopass Photographers to get magical pictures.

If you’re reading this thinking, “That’s me, I do that,” we advise you to stop! Don’t be the guest who ruins the magic for everyone else with your camera during their dark ride Disney experience.

Capture your Disney memories (especially with Disney Photopass and Memory Maker), sure, but leave the flash off.

What is one of your Disney guest pet peeves? Let us know in the comments! 

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at @bear.hug.book

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