Real Fans Don't Need Reminders to Behave at Disney

December 28, 2022, 9:25 PM · Disney has been getting quite a bit of media attention this week for its decision earlier this month to add a "Courtesy" notice to its Walt Disney World and Disneyland websites. The week between Christmas and New Year's is usually the busiest of the year at the parks, but it's Death Valley for news publications, so anything that can be interpreted as the latest sign of the apocalypse from a big draw like Disney is going to get extra attention from reporters this week.

I did an interview yesterday with a radio station here in Los Angeles about Disney's new "Courtesy" information, so I figured I probably ought to address it here on my home turf, too.

You can find the new "Courtesy" notice on the Top Things You Should Know and Preparing for Your Visit pages on and, respectively. It's utterly basic stuff that should go without saying to anyone who has successfully completed kindergarten. On Disneyland's website, the statement reads:

"We ask all who come to this happy place to treat others with respect, kindness and compassion. To help Guests have a safe and enjoyable experience, we regularly update our Disneyland Resort rules."

Walt Disney World visitors get:

"Be the magic you want to see in the world. You must always remember to treat others with respect, kindness and compassion. Those who can't live up to this simple wish may be asked to leave Walt Disney World Resort."

It's mildly interesting to me, at least, that Walt Disney World holds the threat of expulsion over wayward visitors via its message, while Disneyland just directed them to the fine print. You can find Disney's theme park resort rules here and here. They're the same on each coast, with some extra rules at Disney World for Disney's Animal Kingdom park (no balloons or plastic straws).

Disney - along with every other destination in the vacation business - sells would-be guests on the fun times they'll have while visiting. But vacations can be stressful, especially when you're spending big bucks to be there. Even people who understand and try to live by the kind spirit expressed in Disney's statements can break from time to time. While we all aspire to live a stress-free life, no one I know has gotten there. And few people I've met have mastered the magic of hiding their stress from every person they encounter.

But how do you blow up when you can't hold it in any longer? One popular response is to melt down while hurling expletives into the space around you. (I shall pause here for a moment to cringe over some bad memories. I apologize - again - to anyone who may have been there to witness them.) I look at those moments more as a cry for help than an attack on anyone. Great customer service pros know how to recognize those moments brewing and jump in with relief before the tantrums start. If they're too late, compassionate bystanders simply look away and move along.

Some guests don't just embarrass themselves with an inelegant cry for help when things go south, however. These are the people who think it's somehow justified to actually attack another human being over a problem in a theme park. These are the people to whom Disney's new "Courtesy" reminders are directed, though I don't know that any such reminder will help deter guests who have so little respect for other people that their immediate, gut reaction to a problem includes battery.

In addition to those who are just plain selfish, it seems that there are a lot of people out there - an increasing number over the past generation, perhaps - who see themselves as martyrs. Whether it's for a personal, political or religious cause, they believe that the "others" are out to get them. No one is out to get them, of course, so these would-be martyrs on occasion decide that they need to provoke some "others" to elicit the fight for which they've long dreamt.

Whatever their motivation, these people deserve nothing more than to be shown the door. Don't give them the fight they want. Let those running the place throw them out.

Which they should do, and quickly. As a theme park fan and guest, I am happy to ignore, forget, and forgive others' non-violent meltdowns in the parks, but I always will give my thanks for the park employees who step in to kick out anyone who even begins to throw hands at another theme park guest or worker.

I suspect that the vast majority of Disney fans feel the same way.

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Replies (9)

December 29, 2022 at 7:05 AM

You don't see this behavior only at Disney unfortunately. I've seen it in shops, restaurants, supermarkets, airports, service-desks and all other service locations where some people behave horrendously. That said Cast Members have a special word for passholders and it doesn't include a "p".

December 29, 2022 at 7:27 AM

O T: I was just about to post the same thing…

Anybody who’s spent any type of time in a customer service position over the past three years or so, would fully tell you there’s be a devolution of human behavior to an alarming extent…Entitlement is the name of the game as it were…EVERYBODY views themselves as the most important thing ever, and there’s absolutely zero argument that can be made to sway their opinion on that…

December 29, 2022 at 10:16 AM

Ah, O T hating on (p)assholders again ... LOL

December 29, 2022 at 1:00 PM

I can't comment on passholders specifically I have recently come off a 14 night cruise. I had a brilliant time but reading the forums beforehand you wouldn't believe it was possible given the level of outrage and complaints being vented. What I noted most of all was that the majority of complainers were those on higher tiers or loyalty schemes whose sense of entitlement had been raised to extreme levels. The slightest imperfection was enough to ruin their entire holiday.

I see the same pattern in all sorts of walks of life. People with a sense of entitlement blowing up over the most minor issues that 99% of people wouldn't even notice. I'm not saying that passholders all have this sense of entitlement but from my observations people who pay for a premium experience tend to get their knickers in a twist far more easily than those who simply choose to roll with things and set out determined to enjoy themselves. I'm a great believer in self-fulfilling prophecy. When you've already decided that things ain't what they used to be you're just looking for any excuse to prove yourself 'right' If you expect to enjoy yourself whatever odds are you'll have a great time - irrespective of whether everything goes to plan or not.

December 29, 2022 at 1:29 PM

Not just fans, adults shouldn't need reminders ANYWHERE on how to behave in society.

December 29, 2022 at 2:38 PM

It's a shame it can happen and really not a new phenomenon. I saw it occur a lot on jobs in the 1990s and in Disney parks too, social media just enhancing how it gets attention. There's always people with over-entitlement beliefs, that hasn't changed, just seems a bit bigger to the point companies feel a need to do this.

December 31, 2022 at 7:28 AM

What was the point of all this? - I guess after preaching how you’re so special you’re actually not so special anymore .?

December 31, 2022 at 6:00 PM

It a particularly American phenomenon. We Americans have always been self-righteous and more than willing to let other people know what we think of them, but as you say Robert, lately we've all become butt-hurt whiners, too. Any perceived indignity gives Americans license to have an absolute hissy fit. Accidentally cause me a second's inconvenience and watch me meltdown on you like you're Hitler.

That said, the Disney fight videos from last year didn't show Disney regulars who lost it. They showed families of vacationing rubes who attacked others, or fought among themselves. The hilarious irony is that one assumes those folks had paid a pretty penny to vacation to Disney, and threw all that money down the toilet by getting themselves kicked out.

Act like trash, get dumped.

December 31, 2022 at 9:33 PM

It is only certain areas of the country that act that way, Colonel, particularly in certain cities. Those city’s inhabitants pride themselves in being loud and obnoxious to each other and especially to citizens of other areas. As usual, it’s the loud, vocal minority that ruins it for the silent majority.

I have witnessed a few fights on my trips to Orlando, and I dare say that those fights were not regulars. They all happened late in the day or near closing when people are hot, tired, and finished with dealing with crowds. The regulars (whether they are AP holders or not) know enough what to expect and are better equipped with how to deal with it.

I think this is in contrast to the regional parks where large scale fights are among local teens and college aged kids as the majority of the crowd are not tourists.

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