Disney World employees share the 7 things they wish park-goers would stop doing

  • Walt Disney Worldemployees, also known as cast members, are trained in the art of creating a positive experience for guests.
  • But some visitors to the famed Orlando park don't make things easy for the people who work there.
  • Business Insider spoke with eight former Walt Disney World cast members to get an idea of the most annoying guest behaviors.
  • From overly-aggressive pin-hunting to blaming cast members for bad weather, here are things that are sure to annoy or concern Walt Disney World cast members.


Walt Disney World cast members interact with a ton of guests every year.

As many as 20.4 million people visited the park in 2016. Not all of cast members' interactions with guests are going to be positive and seamless.

Former Disney World cast member John Quagliano told Business Insider that most guests are perfectly nice to cast members.

"But at the same time a lot of people can be really testy," he said.

He added that he understood why some Disney visitors might be on edge at the park.

7 PHOTOS
Disney World employees reveal all
See Gallery
Disney World employees reveal all

Getting mad while waiting in line 

At Disney World, the lines can get long, and heat and boredom can cause tempers to flare.

But one former cast member who operated rides like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Mad Tea Party, told Business Insider that now that she had worked at the park, she'd "never get upset at a merge point, when a cast member lets all of the FastPass line go and not standby."

"There's a certain expectation in terms of how that is done — and knowing that, I am more than willing to be patient with the cast member at merge because I know they're just doing their job," she told Business Insider.

Ignoring cast members' instructions — especially when it comes to safety precautions

"A lot of guests sort of ignored safety-related directions," Devin Melendy, a former cast member who wrote "Devin Earns Her Ears: My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary," told Business Insider.

Melendy, who worked in Frontierland, said she often helped with crowd control during park parades. She said she felt uncomfortable when she had to ask guests to move to a better location and often got attitude in response.

Quagliano agreed, saying he sometimes encountered guests who were reluctant to comply with requests like moving strollers to the side to avoid blocking foot traffic.

"We don't tell people what to do just for the sake of doing it," Melendy said. "Disney is very devoted to safety and making sure that guests are happy and in a safe zone. We don't do it for fun — it's so everyone can enjoy the park and the parades in a safe manner."

Debating height requirements for rides 

"You'll have guests try to argue about the height requirement when they're at the front of the line," Christina Hartless, a former Disney cast member, told Business Insider. "You'll have guests who try to stuff their kids' shoes."

Hartless worked at the Epcot attraction The Sum of All Thrills, which allowed guests to design a simulated roller-coaster experience.

The ride had two height requirements: You had to be 48 inches tall to ride and 54 inches tall to use the feature that would flip the attraction upside down.

As a result, Hartless said, she often encountered people who'd try to persuade cast members to look the other way when it came to height requirements.

"I once had a family tell me that they had come all the way from Brazil just so their 3-year-old could ride that ride," she said, "which I kind of doubted."

Fortunately, Disney World's website allows you to check which rides have height requirementsbefore you waste your time waiting in line and bugging cast members.

Demanding "magical moments"

Magical moments are a Disney Parks tradition.

The Disney Information Station defines a magical moment as "a spur-of-the-moment act of kindness between cast members and the guests." It can be something like a cast member slipping a family a free FastPass or giving a child a free pin or Mickey Mouse sticker.

Jake Kleckner, a former Disney World cast member who worked in Frontierland, told Business Insider that "giving away free stuff" was one of his favorite things to do.

"I did it so much more than I was supposed to because I just thought it was so fun to surprise someone," he said.

Though the moments are supposed to be spontaneous, cast members often use them to fix problems or cheer up guests — they might give a kid who dropped their ice-cream cone a certificate for a replacement.

But you shouldn't ask for a magical moment. You'll just be putting cast members in an awkward spot.

Missy Farni, a former cast member, said she encountered several guests who explicitly asked for free stuff and magical moments.

"I was like, no, that's not how that works," she told Business Insider. "It's a magical moment because it happens when you're not expecting it, not when you ask for it.

"Don't ask cast members for magical moments, because it's probably not going to happen."

Kleckner described one magical moment that led to a situation he said left a bad taste in his mouth.

He had just given a kid who was at the park by himself a free FastPass to Splash Mountain to brighten his day, but then a man who had witnessed the magical moment walked up and demanded the passes for his whole family.

"It was just like, I can't believe you're taking advantage of the kindness that we have set aside for people who might actually be experiencing a bad time," he said. "I knew at the back of my mind that if I said no, I'd get in trouble. All he had to do was go tell someone that he asked me for something and I didn't give it to him, and I most likely would've gotten in trouble."

He said guests shouldn't ask for free things and magical moments because it goes against the spirit of the tradition and is unfair to cast members and other guests.

Getting too obsessive about trading pins

Chantelle Judd, a former cast member who worked in Frontierland, told Business Insider that she was sometimes concerned with how older guests went about trading pins with children and cast members.

"Often, they would pick out the best ones for themselves and leave the kids with the ones that weren't so favorable," she told Business Insider. "Don't get me wrong, I understand how pin trading works — it was just sad at times to see younger kids miss out on some great pins as a result of older people wanting these."

Judd said she would purchase pins herself to give to younger guests.

"Often, kids would work so hard for pins," she said, "and they really deserved these."

Kleckner said he sometimes encountered pin hunters who'd interrupt him in the middle of a rush or even grab his shoulder to get his attention.

"They'd be like, 'Can I please see your pins?'" he said. "I'd be like, 'Of course you can.' But what I wanted to say was: 'Don't touch me. Your fascination with the pieces of metal around my neck is not more important than my personal space.' I never got to say that."

Kleckner said he understood that pins are fun to collect and said he had kept his collection. But he said some guests' "obsessive" behavior about the pins was enough to make him uncomfortable.

"We got in trouble if we didn't wear our pin lanyards," he said. "But truly and honestly sometimes I just left mine in my car."

Blaming cast members for things they can't control

Sometimes nobody's to blame when things go wrong.

Florida weather can be unpredictable. Many cast members at the park have nothing to do with operating rides, which need to shut down from time to time, and most have no say over the prices in the park.

So scapegoating cast members isn't the way to react to misfortune at Disney World.

"If a ride goes down, don't blame the cast members," Meghan O'Neill, a former Disney cast member who worked in Future World in Epcot, told Business Insider. "It isn't their fault. Just be nice. We appreciate it."

Kleckner said: "People would come to us with the strangest requests and complaints — like for some reason it was our job as the merchandise cast members near Splash Mountain to make up for someone having a bad experience on the ride itself when that wasn't even our department."

Judd said that while Disney trips can be pricey, it's not possible for cast members to arbitrarily hand out discounts, so don't ask.

"There are definite ways to cut costs," she said. "You are able to bring in your own food and drinks — no alcohol — so anything food-related could be sourced from home."

Quagliano told Business Insider he had interacted with guests who would start "screaming at you over something nobody has control over, like the rain."

"'Why is it raining? I paid so much to come here!' And you're standing there with a smile on your face like, all right, I'll control the weather next time, sorry about that," he said.

Forgetting that you're speaking to another human who's probably going to do their best to try to fix your problem

"Remember that the cast member that you're talking to is human," Farni said.

Farni asked that guests not assume the worst about cast members before they even have a chance to resolve the situation.

"Disney cast members are there for the guest first and foremost," she said. "They're going to try to help you out in any way that they can. Know that they're coming from a good place."

Kleckner said that some people who treat others working in customer service and retail jobs as beneath them have a mindset "that you're just a little bit lower than them because you're serving them" — and that Disney guests were no exception.

"I think that people when they go to Disney just have this inflated sense of self," he said. "Yeah, you're here. You paid a lot of money to be here. But if you could please tone it down a little bit, that'd be great, because you're really bringing me down right now.

"Just be kind," Kleckner added. "Please be kind. If you are having a bad day, just be nice. It takes zero energy to be nice, and it takes so much energy to be negative and take your frustrations out on the poor cast member who's just trying to do their job."

Are you a current or former Disney cast member with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"People have just spent this much money to have this wonderful vacation and come to Florida, and then all of a sudden they get to the park and they realize, 'Whoa. My family and I maybe have to stand in line for 20 minutes.' Or, 'It's raining and now the ride's closed down,'" said Quagliano, who worked in the Magic Kingdom. "A water's $3. So they get thirsty and they say, 'I just spent four grand on a hotel, how is the water $3?'"

But there are certain things that former cast members said you can avoid doing to avoid antagonizing cast members. Business Insider recently spoke to eight people who participated in the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Here's a number of annoying guest behaviors that they said they wished people would drop.

RELATED: Vintage photos of Disney 

25 PHOTOS
Old photos of Disney World
See Gallery
Old photos of Disney World
(Original Caption) Disney: Pastel colored castle, where 'Sleeping Beauty was awakened by the Prince's kiss,' is the entrance to Fantasyland. Here also are the diamond minews of the Seven Dwarfs, Alice in Wonderland's looking glass world, and the habitat of many other characters in Walt Disney's famed cartoons.
THE GRAND OPENING OF WALT DISNEY WORLD -- Pictured: Goofy, Pluto, Julie Andrews, Pinocchio performs on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
THE GRAND OPENING OF WALT DISNEY WORLD -- Pictured: Mickey Mouse (center) with Disney World cast members -- Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
THE GRAND OPENING OF WALT DISNEY WORLD -- Pictured: Julie Andrews (center) performs on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
4th August 1972: A topiary model of an elephant at Disney World, Florida. (Photo by Alan Band/Keystone/Getty Images)
December 1960: Entrance to Adventureland at Disneyland, California. (Photo by Alan Band/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Prime Minister Nehru, of India, is shown as he toured Disneyland, World Famous amusement park, accompanied by Walt Disney, who drove the Prime Minister in an old fashioned electric vehicle. Prime Minister Nehru will spend the next two days in the Los Angeles area as part of his visit to the United States.
31st October 1969: Landscape artist Charlie Sepulveda creating life size topiary Disney characters for the Walt Disney World entertainment centre in Orlando, Florida (Photo by Alan Band/Keystone/Getty Images)
13th November 1969: The first phase of Walt Disney World under construction at Orlando, Florida. Covering 27,000 acres, it is the world's largest recreation centre. (Photo by Alan Band/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
THE GRAND OPENING OF WALT DISNEY WORLD -- Pictured: Julie Andrews performs in front of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in the Magic Kingdom -- Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
THE GRAND OPENING OF WALT DISNEY WORLD -- Pictured: Julie Andrews (center) performs on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
THE GRAND OPENING OF WALT DISNEY WORLD -- Pictured: Julie Andrews on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom -- Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
APR 7 1972, APR 10 1972; Denver-Made Dune Buggies Heading for Disney World; Gail Kauffman of Unique Mobility Inc., manufacturer of The Englewood firm recently bought a half-interest in a dune buggies at 3730 S. Jason St., Englewood, perches leisure-car rental operation at Orlando - home of Disney on one of the 21 units ready to be loaded onto Santa Fe World - and will manage the operation with a fleet of 70 rail cars over the weekend for a trip to Orlando, Fla. dune buggies, all being shipped by rail from Denver.; (Photo By Bill Johnson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
THE GRAND OPENING OF WALT DISNEY WORLD -- Pictured: Julie Andrews on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 1: Boston College Cheerleaders along with the BC band perform out in front of the Cinderella Castle at in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, December 1982. BC was in town to play Auburn in the Tangerine Bowl. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
US Secretary of Education William Bennett, his wife Elayne, son John and an unidentified woman and girl, waving flags and parading down Main Street USA in an old-fashioned fire truck while on a visit to Disney World. (Photo by Robert Sherbow/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
THE MAGICAL WORLD OF DISNEY -- 'Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration' Episode 15 -- Pictured: (l-r) Roy E. Disney, Michael Eisner, Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter, Robert Cummings -- (Photo by: Alice S. Hall/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Warren Beatty and Ron Galella during Press Conference For 'Dick Tracy' at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Crowds at Main Street of Disney World (Photo by Jonathan Blair/Corbis via Getty Images)
Crowds Waiting in Line at Disney World (Photo by Jonathan Blair/Corbis via Getty Images)
Group portrait of entire Walt Disney World staff, including cast of costumed Disney characters in fore, standing in front of Cinderella Castle prior to the grand opening of the amusement park. (Photo by Yale Joel/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - OCTOBER 15: LIFE cover 10-15-1971: Disney World opens. (Photo by Yale Joel/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images)
Views of Disney World's Skyway multicolored cable cars passing over Fantasyland on way to Tomorrowland. (Photo by Ray Fisher/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Disney World in Florida: exterior of Cinderella's Castle lit up at night and reflected in artificial stream. (Photo by Ray Fisher/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Interior of the Contemporary Resort Hotel's Grand Canyon Concourse lobby, whose ceiling is 14 stories high and has monorail terminal (background) ,at Disney World. (Photo by Ray Fisher/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

See Also:

 

 

SEE ALSO: A look inside the daily routine of Walt Disney, who wandered through the office after hours and always carried snacks in his pockets

DON'T MISS: 11 insider facts about working at Walt Disney World only cast members know

DON'T FORGET: 20 cities are left in the running for Amazon's second headquarters — and the story of Disney's secret hunt for land nearly 60 years ago could predict how Amazon's HQ2 will change its home city

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Travel Report by AOL newsletter to get exclusive deals and wanderlust inspiration delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.