Theme Park Etiquette 101

Ah, theme parks- where people seem to forget how to be decent, considerate human beings.

Harsh? Maybe. Accurate? You bet.

As a former Cast Member and a current annual passholder for both Disney and Universal, I can’t tell you the amount of irritating, inappropriate and downright rude things I’ve witnessed in the parks.

Maybe it’s vacation brain or maybe they just don’t know the do’s and don’ts of theme park etiquette (or maybe they really just don’t care, which is often the case). Whatever it is, I’m hoping to shed some light on this problem and rope you in on the five simple ways to not be THAT guest the next time you find yourself at a theme park:

5. Don’t Dress Inappropriately

It’s almost sad that this has to be said, but it does. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you’d wear it out to a club (or wouldn’t wear it around your parents), it’s probably not appropriate for a theme park. There are a lot of children around and you do want to be mindful of that. And, not for nothing, I don’t want to see anything hanging out, either, and I’m 24 years old. Save the provocative attire for Citywalk and throw on a cute outfit to take #wallsofdisney pictures in.

4. No PDA

When I say no PDA, I don’t mean the G-PG stuff, such as holding hands or sneaking kisses. Trust me–I know how awesome it feels to go to the park with your significant other and how romantic Disney can be. But you know what? Maybe you refrain from making out on line for Flight of Passage. It’s a bit uncomfortable watching people play tonsil hockey and, honestly, it’s not the time or place for it.

3. Don’t act entitled

This one is low key for my fellow annual pass holders and DVC members because I am tired of hearing you pull the “I’m an annual pass holder” card every time you’re in the parks. Say it with me–being an annual pass holder does not get me special treatment. I understand you paid a lot of money for your annual pass or DVC membership, but that doesn’t mean you get treated any better than any other guest. At the end of the day, we all paid to go to the park in one way or another and should all be treated fairly and be expected to play by the rules. And, not for nothing, we DO get perks–we get discounts on resorts, food and merchandise; we are able to book fastpasses well in advance; and we get access to exclusive merchandise and previews for new lands/attractions. So please step down from your entitled horse and join the rest of us in not being difficult individuals.

2. No flash on rides/during nighttime shows

If I had a dollar for every time someone whipped out their phone to take a flash picture on Pirates or put their flash on to film Happily Ever After, I could pay off my student loans. Here’s the bottom line–you ruin the experience for everyone around you when you decide that you need to put the flash on when it doesn’t need to be on. I have taken hundreds of photos of Happily Ever After sans flash. I’m not a professional photographer, but they look pretty damn good. I have friends who are professional photographers and they don’t use flash for their photos and somehow manage to take stunning photos. As for rides, technically your phone shouldn’t even be out. Now, I know we all do it anyway, but don’t be the person who has their flash on filming the whole DARK ride. It’s rude and inconsiderate, and people will have no problem telling you to turn it off.

1. Do not blame the cast for things that are out of their control

This one cannot be stressed enough and it’s something I witness every single time I go to a park. It’s also something I witnessed firsthand as a CM working in both merchandise and attractions. For some reason, people seem to think that every little thing that goes wrong is a cast/team member’s fault. Oh, the FastPass+ line is a little too long? Blame the CM. Oh, the ride is having a technical issue and is down for the time being? Blame the CM. Oh, you bought a full-priced ticket knowing full well the park closed early for a special event? Blame the CM.

STOP. BLAMING. THE. CAST. Contrary to popular belief, theme park employees do not control the weather, the park hours, the prices of food or merchandise or the fact that a ride breaks down. They also do not get paid nearly enough to deal with your misplaced anger and attitude. So the next time you want to get into a CM’s face or threaten them (yes, people actually do this) because you had to wait a whole two extra minutes in the FASTPASS line, perhaps you’ll take a moment to remember that they didn’t cause the line backup and that you shouldn’t speak to them in such a disgusting matter.


Moral of the story: be kind & considerate to those around you in every way possible.



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