Home » 7 Faux Pas That Drive Walt Disney World Fans CRAZY

7 Faux Pas That Drive Walt Disney World Fans CRAZY

Cinderella Castle with Blue Skies

Yup, it’s time to blow off a little steam.

We are entering into one of the most exciting times ever to be a Walt Disney World fan. Here at Theme Park Tourist, we love celebrating all things Disney, like exploring the pioneers who made Walt Disney World possible, picking out the top bucket list meals to enjoy at the Most Magical Place on Earth, or identifying the best places at Walt Disney World to visit if you love animals. We love talking about Dole Whips, character encounters, butterfly gardens, and the Florida sunshine.

This is not one of those articles.

Our readers are passionate about Walt Disney World, and there are some things that really get a Disney fan’s mouse ears steaming. We’ve explored some of these cringeworthy behaviors and etiquette guidelines before. We have hit some so many times that there’s no need to revisit them: for example, we all know stroller and scooter courtesy is a huge issue, and most Disney fans share a common frustration with things like families blocking walkways by doddling along in a Follow-the-Yellow-Brick-Road formation. There are some other taboos, however, that many people may not even realize are WDW no-nos.

Disney is awesome, and it is about to get much, much busier as expansions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge roll in. With that in mind, we wanted to explore some of the top faux pas that drive Walt Disney World fans CRAZY, and most importantly, some easy steps you can take to avoid them.

1. “Disney World—you know, the one with the castle?”

Cinderella Castle under blue skies

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega (@mykingdomforamouse Instagram)

Few things push a Walt Disney World fan’s buttons quicker than a conversation that goes like this:

Fan: “We love Walt Disney World!”

Casual Frenemy: “Been there, done that. It was lame.”

Fan: “Oh, sorry to hear that. Which park did you go to?”

Casual Frenemy: “Disney World, the one with the castle.”

Fan: “You mean Magic Kingdom? Did you visit any of the other parks?”

Casual Frenemy: “I just said we went to Disney World, the one with the castle.”

Things usually go south from there.

It never fails to surprise fans how many people—even locals to Florida—have no idea Walt Disney World has more to offer than just Magic Kingdom. I have had extensive conversations with people who passionately debated how they knew everything they needed to know about Disney World from one 4th of July visit to Magic Kingdom as a six-year-old or that friends told them Magic Kingdom was the only park worth visiting.

Minnie and Mickey in front of castle

Image: Disney

Before the advent of the internet, this sort of misunderstanding was understandable, but it is getting harder and harder not to be frustrated by this attitude. Families planning a Walt Disney World vacation have access to more information than ever before to plan a vacation, yet this common assumption still comes up.

It understandably drives Walt Disney World fans nuts. Walt Disney World is more than just Fantasyland and Big Thunder Mountain. Culture and diversity is celebrated in Epcot. Disney’s Hollywood Studio is a blast for teens and families looking to dive into their favorite films. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is consistently ranked as one of the most innovative animal parks into the entire world. Adults visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth can enjoy food, romance, shopping, and fun while kids get to be kids, dreaming and exploring and even having fun while learning.


We don’t want to just gripe about these issues. For each item on this list, we’re offering an easy remedy. The first one is simple—encourage your friends to read Theme Park Tourist (#shamelessplug)! The internet is full of excellent guides to help families see all that Walt Disney World has to offer, and TPT features and news are the best place to start if you have a friend interested in planning a trip. A little research remedies this issue fast!

2. Flash photography and texting on rides

Spaceship Earth

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

Younger Walt Disney World fans may not realize that, back in the day (when we used to kill our own food and fend off dysentery on The Oregon Trail), Disney had very strict policies to prevent the use of flash photography on rides. Every dark ride included signage and warnings prohibiting flash photography, and they used to literally bring rides like Spaceship Earth to a full stop and broadcast a warning if a guest repeatedly violated the rules. It was generally understood the policy had to do both with preserving immersion as well as guarding technology secrets.

With the advent of the smartphone, the battle against ride photography has largely been lost. It’s just hard to police the issue when almost every guest in the park has a camera in their pocket. In most cases, photography isn’t a problem since most smartphones have decent quality in the dark. However, the issue hasn’t entirely died, and phones brought a whole new problem with them.


Play Disney App

Image: Disney

Flash photography on rides is annoying enough. Nothing has changed in that regard since the flashes completely mess up the atmosphere on rides. However, just as annoying is the bright glare of a phone screen beaming from a ride vehicle ahead of you. Like the flash photography issue, Disney seems to have given up policing guests on the issue with any official rules, but it’s still a huge etiquette taboo. Especially if a family waited a long, long time to get on a beloved ride, a bright phone screen throwing off the atmosphere can really sour the experience.


Think of dark rides as an immersive movie theater. Texting in a movie theater is an issue because films are meant to be a fully engaging experience. The light of a cell phone throws off the immersion. The same goes for Disney dark rides. If you really need to check your phone on a ride, throw the brightness all the way down or even use a blue light filter like Twilight in Bed Reading mode to keep from distracting other guests. Keep your phone low, dark, and out of sight. As for flash photography, it is still always a no-no on rides. It just isn’t needed anymore with technology advances. Turn it off!

3. Line jumping

Gamora jumping in Guardians of the Galaxy live

Image: Disney

Some of you just went into straight up full-body shudders at the mention of this one.

Line jumping is fortunately not super common, but when it happens, good grief is it frustrating for Disney fans. It’s one thing when a bunch of raucous teenagers hope the barrier into a line. That’s what most of us picture. Most line jumping, however, is far more subtle and awkward in the moment.

I recall standing in line with our family once for Pirates of the Caribbean. We were updating Fastpass+ reservations as the queue slowly eked along. A pair of scowling women behind us complained loudly about people puttering with their phones, even though we were moving. To our surprise, when we stepped to move ahead in a spot where the line wasn’t clearly chained off, they shoved ahead of us. We were a little annoyed, but we didn’t want to cause a scene. Over the next few minutes, we watched as they proceeded to do the same thing every time the line moved, muttering complaints then squirming ahead of the party in front of them. What’s really funny is that they literally only saved themselves about 2 minutes of line time as the line really wasn’t that long. You could tell everyone in the queue was annoyed (and a little amused) though and didn’t know what to do.

Pandora utility suit

Image: Disney

A more controversial and common version of line jumping is the issue of parties leaving one person in line then rejoining mid-queue. In some cases, this is understandable and not an issue—let’s say a parent and child couldn’t make it to the queue in time or a child had to use the restroom. In most cases, the practice isn’t too much of a problem if only one or two people are rejoining the party, if a pair of older children are rejoining their family, or if the newcomers can jump in with their party in an outdoor queue area such as the edges of the Splash Mountain or Spaceship Earth lines.

Deep in the bowels of Flight of Passage or Expedition Everest, however? You’re creeping towards an etiquette violation. The practice also gets really frustrating when a large party leaves one person in line then proceed to shove through a long queue to get to the front right before the one person they left is about to reach the front of the line. It’s just not considerate of fellow guests.


For one thing, never outright line jump—it’s just rude. Everyone is having to wait in the same line. Don’t try to circumvent it or attempt weird shenanigans to get to the front.

Try to avoid rejoining a party mid-queue if you can. If it happens, it’s usually okay for like two people or a parent with a couple small kids to jump back in with family, but it creeps into bad behavior when a family of six hop in with dad at the end of a line. 

4. When people complain about crowds (but have only visited in the busy season)

Huge crowds around Peter Pan float for parade

Image: Disney

This one is similar to #1. Most Disney fans have had more than one conversation that goes a little like this:

Fan: “I can’t wait to go back to Walt Disney World!”

Casual Frenemy: “Ugh, why? All you do is wait in line. The crowds were a nightmare. Bugs, babies, and B.O. as far as the eyes can see.”

Fan: “Oh, wow. Sounds like you had a rough trip. When did you visit?”

Casual Frenemy: “For the holidays. Never going back. LAME.”

This is a trickier one as it is getting harder and harder to pin down a proper “off-season” for visiting Walt Disney World. October and March have quickly turned startlingly busy, and even the goldilocks seasons of September, January, and early December have all swollen in attendance. It is safe to say that timing a Walt Disney World vacation is more about finding a “lighter” season rather than finding a truly serene one.

However, when people gripe about crowds after booking a Walt Disney World vacation during mid-summer, Spring Break, or a holiday week, it can be hard to get across how much the timing of a trip really can make or break a Disney vacation. You just can’t get a full perspective on a fun Walt Disney World experience if you only visit when the parks are packed to the brim. Disney always has some crowds, but they don’t have to be trip-ruining. It can be harder to avoid these times if you’re waiting for kids to be out of school, but it still isn’t impossible.


Research, research, research. Yes, it is harder to find a quiet time to visit Walt Disney World, but that doesn’t mean the whole year looks like New Years Day. Consider timing a trip in such a way that you can take kids out of school for a day or two—this will immediately improve your crowd experience. The best times of year so far continue to be January avoiding holiday weeks and marathons, September after Labor Day (the opening of Galaxy’s Edge will likely change this), and early December and November on weekdays.

5. Ignoring signage and cast member instructions

Warning sign for fountain that mentions no kids with diarrhea

Just read this slowly…

Some of the warning signs at Walt Disney World can really get your head scratching. How many people are hopping off the Living with the Land boat, for example? Are people just plucking vegetables from the shore straight off the ride? And, by Goofy’s ears, what poo-tastrophe inspired the warning signs at the Liquid Layer fountains in Epcot?

Most warning signs at Walt Disney World are common sense, but it can prove frustrating fast when people outright ignore them and cast member instructions. We’ve talked before about things people need to stop trying to sneak into Walt Disney World, like selfie sticks and bottles of wine—half of these things could be avoided by just paying attention to signage and listening to cast members.

If a cast member tells you that your child can’t climb on an object, they’re not picking on your kid. They’re preventing your kids from getting injured or from damaging equipment and scenery. If a cast member says you need to move all the way along a row, just do so—staunchly planting your butt in the center of the theater is just going to delay the show for everyone else. This one isn’t complicated. There’s a reason Walt Disney World guests are called just that—guests.


This one’s not hard. Stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to signage. Treat cast members with respect and teach your kids to do the same.

6. Photopass fumbles

Patriots players on Slinky Dog Dash

Image: Disney

We could probably do an entire article about Photopass etiquette, but there are a few key behaviors that really drive Disney fans batty. The good news is they are all easy to avoid.

I think almost every Walt Disney World regular has experienced the dreaded post-ride Photopass rush. Guests hurry from the ride to the Photopass screens to scan their MagicBands—only you can’t get to the button because a family has camped out in front of it. Usually this isn’t an issue as Disney has some great technology to pair Photopass photos with riders without bands ever needing to be scanned, but it is always better to be sure as photos can be lost, and it can sometimes be a pain to get a picture pulled back up just to add it to your account.

Photopass fits are another cringeworthy behavior. These are rarer, but every once in a while, you run into a family who just isn’t happy with their Photopass photo. Maybe they were sharing a car with another party who wanted to do something fun in their photo, like make funny faces or pose. If you’re a Walt Disney World regular, you’re probably used to the fact that not all Photopass photos are gems, but things can get awkward very quickly when people take Photopass fumbles as a personal affront and make a scene.


Stay courteous at Photopass stops. Share the space with other guests and make way quickly for others to scan their Magic Bands. As for ruined pictures, if someone does something genuinely offensive in a Photopass photo (such as making a rude gesture), talk to a cast member and see if anything can be done. They might be able to get you a ride pass or refer you to Guest Relations for help. If the issue is just that a different party had different tastes than you, in the words of Elsa, learn how to “Let it go”. Laugh it off and remember that Walt Disney World is a shared experience. There will be more Photopass opportunities on your vacation.

7. Treating cast members poorly

Cinderella hugging adorable child

The Walt Disney World experience isn’t possible without the cast members who work hard every day to make guest visits magical. It can be easy to forget that even the most “fun” Disney jobs are not always sunshine and rainbows. Cast members are fellow humans with feelings, good days, and bad days.

The most cringeworthy faux pas of all is to ever mistreat them.

Now, we’ve talked before about what to do if you have a legitimate issue crop up with a Disney cast member. Unfortunately, most issues where cast members are mistreated do not fall into this category. The cast member letting people know a ride has been temporarily closed has no power to reopen it. The cast member in character at Haunted Mansion or the Tower of Terror isn’t actually a brooding weirdo—they are actors in character who bring laughter to guests who get the joke. Your Photopass photographer is not an automaton to be ordered about.


Treat cast members kindly and courteously. The world becomes a better place when we stop seeing people we interact with just as functionaries, and we remember to see them as human beings. This goes for cast members and fellow guests. Walt Disney World truly becomes the Most Magical Place on Earth when we learn how to be courteous to each other. Kindness and patience are truly the best remedy, and we can make a cast member or fellow guest’s day by sharing it.