What is the simplest way to get banned from a theme park?

July 9, 2019, 11:46 PM · With many people talking about the latest episode of theme park guests behaving badly, it occurs to me that some readers might not be aware of the simplest thing that guests do that can get them banned from a theme park.

Over the past several decades of theme park history, visitors have done countless things that have gotten them the boot. Some are obvious, such as fighting. Parks really don't like when people decide to stage western-stunt-show brawls IRL, without their permission. Unfurling big political banners will get you chucked out right away, too. Fans come to the parks in part to escape that divisiveness.

Talking back to theme park employees might get you thrown out, but making physical contact with them is an almost certain way to buy yourself a very long — if not permanent — ban from the park. No park will tolerate visitors who threaten the safety of their employees. And don't forget that in a "you say, they say" argument, that cameras are everywhere to tell who's lying.

But all of those transgressions take some effort. You've got to plan ahead to sneak in a banner. And by the time you start throwing punches, you've probably passed at least three or four points when reasonable people would have made a different choice.

So what's something even simpler that gets people tossed from theme parks? All it takes is something you can do in the time it takes an eye to blink.

Want a longtime ban from a theme park? Just hand a drink to someone under 21.

That's all it takes.

Theme parks value their liquor licenses, and there's no quicker way to lose one that to serve underage drinkers. It's not enough to card everyone who buys a drink. Theme parks have a legal responsibility to ensure that the alcohol they sell and serve does not under up in the hands (and mouths) of minors. That's why they swiftly will toss visitors they find handing drinks to underage family or friends.

Think no one will notice if you buy two beers and hand one over? Remember that parks employ many undercover "shoppers" charged with not just keeping people from shoplifting but also from preventing underage drinking. Trust me, countless fans have lost their tickets and annual passes after park employees watched them pass a drink to someone who could not have bought it on their own.

So consider this another Theme Park Insider PSA. With food and drink festivals becoming more popular, parks are taking extra care to ensure that they remain in compliance with the law. If parks believe that ejecting fans and banning them from returning for a year or more is what it takes to dissuade people from enabling underage drinking, they won't hesitate to do that.

Replies (7)

July 10, 2019 at 10:59 AM

Are you sure about there being cameras everywhere? Anaheim PD claimed there was no video of the fight the other day until cell phone footage surfaced online.

July 10, 2019 at 12:19 PM

I'll try to clear some things up here because anytime something bad happens everyone always says "Where is the video? Why don't they have cameras??"

Most parks (including Disney) have cameras pointed somewhere where money is such as cash registers, stores, etc mainly to make sure employees aren't stealing. Disney does have some cameras pointed on lines for the major rides that they use for the operations command center to help with crowd control.

But other than that most parts of the parks do not have cameras, and they purposely don't because if some sort of altercation or accident happens they do not want it on video. If a video of something bad happening exists that means there's a chance of a video of something bad happening leaking. If that guy wasn't recording with his camera phone, other than a police report saying a guy struck a girl nobody would know or care this happened at all (which obviously is what Disney would prefer). This is the same reason buses have cameras pointed at the driver and not anywhere else inside the bus. It's important for the management to know if the bus drivers are doing their job safely, but do you really think a transit company wants a video to exist of a bunch of people getting injured or killed?

July 10, 2019 at 12:57 PM

Thanks for clarifying that @the_man. Cameras everywhere inside the attractions make sense. Cameras everywhere inside the parks sounds like a myth.

July 10, 2019 at 6:15 PM

During our June visit to the Magic Kingdom, we saw a man in the water between Tom Sawyer's Island and the Liberty Square Riverboat searching for something he'd dropped in the water. Apparently, he'd climbed over the railing and through the bushes to get into the water. The Riverboat's cast members radioed security, who were quick to the scene, but the Riverboat and Tom Sawyer's Island were down for an hour or so to get the man out of the water and then determine if everything under the water was OK. Is getting in the water a bannable offense? My husband and I weren't sure if the man would be banned or just reprimanded.

July 11, 2019 at 8:02 AM

A former colleague of mine spontaneously ran out into the parade in Magic Kingdom and picked up a cast member. He was not just thrown out of the park but banned from all Disney parks for life. This was a few years ago. It still makes me chuckle picturing the scene as I write it now. It is so out of character, pardon the pun, as he is such a reserved, almost introvert and polite person. He has now got two small children but he can't take them to WDW.....or even Disneyland Paris.

July 11, 2019 at 11:12 AM

How exactly do they enforce the "Banned from any park for life"? Obviously Disney isn't using facial recognition.

July 11, 2019 at 11:22 AM

You have to give Disney your name when you buy your tickets and associate them with MDE, and when you enter the gate, you are giving them your biometric data.

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