A wise man once said, “The test of good manners is to be patient with the bad ones.”
Walt Disney World draws a wildly diverse crowd—young, old, teens, singles, couples, families from every corner of the globe. With an average of 56,000 visitors a day at Magic Kingdom alone, it is not uncommon to witness cringeworthy etiquette violations or for values to just get rubbed the wrong way.
How is one to stay polite in a place that is so insanely busy, though? We’ve gathered six universal rules of theme park etiquette that can benefit any visitor.
1. Do unto others as you’d have them do to you
The famous Golden Rule also has a reverse: don’t do something to others you wouldn’t want done to yourself. Going both ways, this adage is an essential element of theme park etiquette.
An obvious place where this applies is in lines. Stay aware of your fellow guests and keep lines moving. You’re all headed to the same place, but it’s a general courtesy. Line jumping is never, ever okay. The only exception is if kids get separated from their families. People usually give grace when one or two members of a party meet up with family in a long queue, but having six people jump ahead to catch up with others in a line? Not so much.
Avoiding blatant line cutting seems like common sense, but regular parkgoers see it all the time. I watched two women cut fifteen riders ahead in the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean once, making an excuse with each jump why it was okay. “They’re piddling on their smartphones”, “They’re not paying attention”, etc. There is no logic or rationale that makes this behavior okay.
Another area where the Golden Rule applies is in respecting people’s personal space. Different cultures have different perceptions for what is an appropriate “bubble” to maintain from others, but in general, if you can literally breathe on the neck of the person in front of you, it is time to take a step back. Never push or shove other guests, and in general, it is best to keep your walking path fluid while travelling through the parks rather than “playing chicken” with anyone in your trajectory. Avoid walking in a marching formation across a walkway so guests moving at a brisker pace can pass you if need be.
The best way to stay courteous to remain aware of other guests. Every other person at Disney is, in theory, attempting to enjoy a vacation just like you are. Just maintaining this awareness that other guests are individuals who need respect too can result in a much better vacation experience. The smiles you get as you give way to another person and maintain courtesy will far outweigh any negative experiences.