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10 Things TV Shows Get WRONG about the Disney Parks

3. Exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities can be handed out for free or arranged at a guest’s whim.

Cinderella Castle suite

Image: Disney

Unlike Michelle Tanner, you’re unlikely to be crowned “Princess of the Day” and see your photo posted around the Magic Kingdom, no matter how cute you are or how lucky you are to be granted three wishes from Aladdin’s magic lamp (which happens to be inexplicably parked in the middle of Town Square). You also won’t be treated to a private character tea party, nor will Disney allow you to ride in their afternoon parade or stage a fireworks proposal—literally, a proposal written in fireworks, the technology for which does not even exist yet—in the middle of their nightly fireworks spectacular over Cinderella Castle.

Most of these experiences simply do not exist at the parks, as fun as they might have been to daydream about as a kid. (Who doesn’t want the ability to order the Disney Princesses to have a tea party in your honor, after all?) That said, there are plenty of exclusive experiences you can purchase through Disney, like sailing the Seven Seas Lagoon on a private fireworks cruise or exploring preapproved backstage areas on a VIP tour. Of course, these can’t be arranged spontaneously, and they will cost you a pretty penny if you decide you need that extra bit of pixie dust on your vacation.

4. Compromising the safety and enjoyment of other guests is funny and doesn’t come with any serious consequences.

Caution sign at Disneyland

Image: boogafrito, Flickr (license)

Watch enough sitcoms, and it quickly becomes apparent that most plotlines hinge on exaggerated scenarios and over-the-top reactions. In the early 1990s, some of that silliness spilled over into the Disneyland/Walt Disney World episodes, and not always with the most innocent implications.

Take the “Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men” episode from the hit show Blossom, for example. Blossom Russo and her best friend, Six LeMeure, share an intense heart-to-heart on the Skyway when they decide to take some of their pent-up feelings out by dumping cups of ice on unsuspecting guests below the ride. Funny? Maybe, but most practical jokes—particularly those that could potentially injure or frighten a few dozen guests—are no laughing matter to cast members and Disney security and, had this one happened to real guests, may even have helped form the basis for an ill-advised lawsuit against the parks.

5. Face characters will occasionally break character integrity in order to show guests a good time.

Belle at Cinderella's Royal Table

Image: Thomas Jung, Flickr (license)

It may sound corny, but it’s true: At the Disney Parks, it’s all about preserving the magic. Everything from the whiff of vanilla wafting down Main Street, U.S.A. to the bursts of color illuminating Cinderella Castle during the Happily Ever After fireworks spectacular is designed to enrapture and immerse guests of all ages.

This is especially true when it comes to Disney character interactions. Any meetable character can chat (or mime) about their favorite parts of the movies and shows they were featured in, but their behavior and knowledge only extends to that of their animated counterparts. In other words: Donald Duck doesn’t dab, Snow White has never heard of Hufflepuffs, and Jasmine doesn’t flirt with anyone who isn’t Aladdin.

That wasn’t exactly the case in the 1990s—that is, whenever the Disney Parks happened to be featured on TV. Characters wandered outside their domain, babysat guests’ children, hung out with guests during live performances, and on more than one occasion, were suspected of making untoward advances toward young women, as one Blossom subplot revealed. The most notorious case of face characters breaking character integrity happened at the end of the Russos’ visit to Disneyland, when Nick was filmed making out with Belle. Not only is this a big no-no for guests when visiting Disneyland, it’s also entirely out-of-character behavior for any Disney princess, villain, or animal to exhibit… no matter how special of a day it is for you or how happy you are to be visiting the Disney Parks.

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