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Disney World’s Sudden Ban on Decades-Long Practice in the Parks Leaves Guests Unemployed & Penniless

guests at fantasyland at magic kingdom disney world at dusk
Credit: Becky Burkett

Without warning, Disney World has suddenly banned a decades-long practice in the parks, leaving shattered dreams and a loss of income in its wake.

READ ALSO: Disney World Guest Allegedly Jumps From Bridge on a Bet–With a $60,000 Payout

magic kingdom partners statue

Credit: Becky Burkett

In October, guest Nicholas Deniz and his clients were standing in line, waiting to enter the parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Central Florida. Deniz is a bit of an expert when it comes to Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs, because he visits the parks regularly. It’s part of his job.

READ ALSO: Disney Preps For Its BIGGEST Closure Since the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020

But just before the gates opened that morning, Deniz was pulled from the line by Disney World park management and detained by two Orange County Sheriff’s deputies.

“It felt like he had done something terribly wrong, the way that they pulled him aside and spoke to him,” said Corinne, one of Deniz’s clients who was waiting in line with Deniz at the time. She says she “felt horrible” for Deniz as she witnessed the scene playing out in front of her.

Banned With No Warning

After a conversation with Disney World management, Deniz was handed a trespass warning by one of the Orange County Sheriff’s deputies, who then shared the awful news: Deniz had been banned indefinitely from any part of Disney’s Florida parks property. According to the officer, the ban can be appealed in a year.

Deniz had no choice. Though he works as a third-party tour guide, assisting guests in navigating the sprawling Disney World resort, Orange County statutes will permit deputies to arrest him if he fails to comply with the order.

disney world magic kingdom cinderella castle during daytime with visitors standing in front of castle

Credit: Becky Burkett

“Unauthorized commercial activities are not permitted at Disney World as clearly stated in our property rules,” a Disney spokesperson explained in a statement.

A Decades-Long Practice, Suddenly Prohibited

Deniz isn’t alone. According to Insider, several third-party tour guides have recently been met with the same fate at Disney World’s entrance–being stopped in their tracks and handed trespass warnings. But most of them say that assisting guests in experiencing the parks and navigating the ins and outs of the massive theme park resort is something they’ve done for years. One of the tour guides said it’s been his job for almost 30 years.

Tour guides and business owners who offer similar services say there has never been an issue with them providing tours at the Walt Disney World Resort. Now, however, Disney’s apparent ban on those activities is costing the guides their financial security and livelihood.

man with mickey mouse

Courtesy of Nicholas Deniz

Many third-party tour guides in Central Florida help their clients with things like booking reservations at Disney World dining venues, planning out their days in the parks, and securing Disney Resort hotel reservations. Guides also accompany guests to help them physically navigate the parks to make the most of their time–a service they offer at a far more affordable rate than guests would have to pay for a private tour at Disney World.

Depending on the time and duration of the tour, guests often pay between $450 and $900 per hour for private tours of the resort. Third-party guides’ per-hour rates often vary from $180 to $300 per hour. Disney World tour guides usher guests to the front of the line at attractions, whereas third-party guides don’t have that accessibility to offer to their clients.

disney world private vip tour guide at epcot

Credit: Disney Parks

“None of us are attempting to portray Disney in a negative light,” says Alayna Crutchfield, a guide and the owner of Elevate Amusement, who received a trespass warning in October while waiting to enter the parks. “[We’re] just desperate for answers. Crutchfield’s business assists many guests who have disabilities as well. “I’ve had to cancel, and a lot of my families have children with disabilities.”

Ramón Rodriguez, owner of Theme Park Concierges, also received a trespass warning. He points out that while his business offers a service to clients, it also serves Disney as well.

spaceship earth at night at EPCOT

Credit: Becky Burkett

“We provide a service to Disney itself by bringing clients–high-end clients,” Rodriguez said. “My clients aren’t eating hamburgers and hot dogs and popcorn. They go to Disney’s high-end restaurants. They stay at Disney’s luxury hotels.”

Murray Krasnoff owns a concierge and tour guide business, Suntastic Service, and says he’s been in the business since 1996. Krasnoff specializes in assisting guests with disabilities in the parks. He had never had a problem until October 11, when he received a trespass notice from Orange County.

man at disney world

Courtesy of Murray Krasnoff

“I have four families in November, and I have a party of 17 over Christmas week with three people with special needs,” Krasnoff said. “I’ve been on the phone with [my clients], saying, ‘I’m sorry to tell you this.’ Now they’re all stressing about what can be done.”

What’s Behind the Sudden Crackdown?

Krasnoff says he knows that Disney World is private property, but he doesn’t understand why the crackdown is happening now after allowing these businesses to operate for decades. “Why now, all of a sudden, is this happening?” he asked.

Disney World has an answer, though, as a spokesperson for the Central Florida Disney parks explained that even though guests are paying for the third-party tour guide services outside of Disney’s property, warnings are being handed out to the guides and business owners because they are delivering a service to guests while on park property, which is considered “unauthorized activity” in the parks.
magi kingdom mickey and minnie bronze sculptures

Credit: Becky Burkett

Many of those affected by the crackdown on third-party tour guides say they just want to understand what happened, and they’d like to work with Disney World management to come to a potential solution. They say the sudden ban on their services in the parks has not only instantly stopped their income and their means of providing for themselves and their families, but it has also forced them to tell their clients–who have been counting down the days to their respective Disney World trips–that they have to cancel.

“We’re not trying to bash Disney,” Krasnoff said. “We’re just confused, saying, ‘What just happened?'”

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

65 comments

  1. Several Disney blogs have been writing about this issue this week. While I am certainly sympathetic to the tour operators, it seems that all of them were fully aware that this type of operation was actually not allowed at Disney. They all just assumed that since Disney had never enforced the rule that it was okay, and that those notices about 3rd party businesses operating in the parks were just boilerplate text. The operators are entitled to an explanation, but you can bet the explanation that eventually comes from Disney will have something to do with 3rd parties violating the DAS service rules, which are being discussed on other sites …

    • I guess disney should have stopped it decades ago when it started. Instead letting tourist people start it as a business, and then take their business in jeopardy of having to close down. I feel bad for these people losing there businesses. Of course, I would never go to anything disney. In my opinion ( and using my first amendment rights to FREEDOM OF SPEECH) I feel that it is a sespool of evil demented people trying to teach our children their fithly agenda.

      • Why the heck are you on this site at all then?

      • Their filthy agenda of… Being kind to people who are different than you? Letting people live their lives?

      • If you think the existence of gay people is sexually explicit but a grown man kissing a sleeping teenage princess is cool you’re just a bigot. Just start owning the word instead of whining every time you demonize entire minority groups and get called out.

        • Do you know history ? Do you know who life is like I other countries ?
          My great grandmother was married at 14 . Many pioneer woman married at 15 to 16 .
          The movie was made 50+ years ago and came from a fairy tale ! You are jumping on a band wagon ! I bet you had no clue at her age until someone told you . Snow white was tge 1st movie I ever saw and I was very young . To little girls it was a happily ever afrer story.
          Get a life . I bet you bash the Bible! Ugh ! How old are you ? You young I’m sure !

      • No, that would be Desantis aka KKK Desantis… Evil, ugly, nasty, that’s the GOP way. Godless Overpaid Pedophiles.

      • Evil demented people but you probably go to church and have a religion where priests molest young boys. Also why are you here if Disney is evil?

      • Only Government actors can “violate” your free speech—you know, Government such as the Governor of Florida, who is running for President and violated Disney’s Freedom of Speech.

      • You obviously do not understand what Freedom of Speech means. And, it is cesspool, not sespool. Try cracking a book.

    • Your first amendment FREEDOM OF SPEECH has Jack all to do with commenting online. Timing of when they enforce the rule is entirely irrelevant, and a scary business person can shift their focus to other karma, of which they’re are plenty in Orlando.

  2. My clients aren’t eating hamburgers and hot dogs and popcorn. They go to Disney’s high-end restaurants. They stay at Disney’s luxury hotels.”

    And they still will. You brought no business to Disney. Just a paid leech.

    • I agree with you . Can you imagine standing in line for an hour with your children and you are almost to the front of the line and a tour comes in and goes right in front of you !
      .what do you tell your children? Cutting is allowed or money buys everything???? I took my kids to Disney and one children had cancer and was in a wheelchair. Disney took us right in. They take care of guest if you go through the correct channels. I did not pay extra and we were greatful. Buy the book and learn that way on how to navigate Disney .

  3. I understand disney enforcing the rules. Did they have to be so rude to them? Seems like there could have been a better way to handle the situation with OC law enforcement being there.

  4. I have no sympathy. It’s against the rules and Disney provides their own tours.

  5. Well, wah. I’m a tour guide in Boston. I don’t allow others to take the microphone and give my tour on my bus.

  6. This is like me getting upset at Publix for kicking me out of their store for setting up my own stand in their meat aisle and selling my own beef jerky inside their store. Operating a business inside another business without proper contracts/agreements exposes some serious liability. I don’t always agree with Disney’s decisions, but this was a no brainier to enforce.

    • Exactly!!

    • “Like” to the “Liketh” power! 👍😆 Simplest/best way to put it! 🙃

    • LOVE IT!!! Could not have said it better myself Bill!!!
      And let’s say you did it in more like people standing in line and you whispered, hey come here, you don’t have to wait in that line for the delli, I’ve got some cold cuts here and I’ll give them to you at 30% off.

      Disney has a business and these people were encroaching.
      They were handing them out at the gate because that was when they could say “you are trespassing” What do people think they should have tracked them down at their homes and said they were trespassing….they would not have been trespassing then.

      It has always been against the rules. These folks knew it and they set up a business anyway. They were always living on borrowed time and they knew it.

  7. I understand completely why Disney is doing this. They have no control over these tour guides, their training, or how they operates on their property. Every one of them mentioned “guest with disabilities “ which no doubt will involve the DAS. I smell abuse of that program involving these unauthorized tour guides. Now that this commercial business is being shown the door, I wonder when the big time bloggers and vloggers on YouTube will be treated the same as some of them are in the parks everyday filming and publishing photos on public websites of Disney’s proprietary assets and property and making a great deal of money doing it. It’s interesting that they are allowed to walk around the resorts with expensive cameras and professional video equipment while not being a paying guest. And to make it even more interesting, many of them are actually given free nights at the resorts, and are invited to press events.

    • Most have the Incredipass annual pass. The bloggers do not get in free. And since Disney gladly invites them to preview events (therefore Disney gets free advertising).

  8. Let’s ask a couple of hypothetical questions about what “unauthorized” means if Disney has not listed what is authorized:
    1. If a family with a disabled child hires a nanny or other person to assist them, is that employment for services inside the park a violation?
    2. If a lawyer takes a phone call on his cell phone while in the park and bills his client, is that a violation?

    On the subject of “why now?”, I think the answer is simple: facial recognition
    Disney now has the ability to detect frequent visitors and cross reference their face to business websites or social media accounts that advertise their services. This is a new ability that makes it easy to identify and trespass third-party guides.

    • I think Disney’s biggest issue is with IP. They need to be able to control all the storylines and facts about the company or people could be told information that is untrue. I am 100% in agreement with Disney. The third party tour operators have had their day, albeit against the rules for years. Disney has every right to protect what they have built.

    • You know the answer to both of those. Being disingenuous doesn’t contribute anything useful.

    • No, these behaviors aren’t a problem because Disney isn’t providing that same service for a fee. I used to be a travel agent, and I booked many Disney tours, and they cost about $6000 ten years ago… can’t imagine how much it costs now. Why let that customer pay someone else? Plus, Disney’s guides probably put their foot down and said, “I’ll do this on my own and make all the money myself”.

  9. I can understand they are cracking down. But to what extent?

    If a person works remote and their company calls them, will they also get banned?

    I think they should have got a trespass warning for 30 days and told if they would continue the activity, then they could get a lifetime ban.

  10. I guess the YouTube stations are next. Oh wait that is free advertising. Nevermind……

    • Disney now needs take the next step and ban live streaming in the parks. Especially those who are collecting income from the free content of the attractions and promoting sponsors while on Disney property.

  11. Comparing the tour operators who are operating illegally to people taking a work call while in the parks is nonsensical. The tour operators are charging people to do things that Disney charges for, thereby infringing on Disney’s business. They should be banned for life. They knew they were acting illegally but didn’t care.

  12. I agree it is an infringement on Disney, but the question was why now.

    • Well Disney is looking for every dime they are not collecting from guests, raising prices on everything from accommodations to food, while giving less and less in the way of customer service. However , they are in the right, rules are rules . Why now? No matter when they pulled the plug on these people it would never be a good time. They were breaking the rules from day one.

    • Someone said it in another post…facial recognition. They had no way of stopping it before. They probably tracked these guides to confirm they were conducting business and not just being a guest. Once it was confirmed, they were flagged the next time they came. It’s not the same as hiring a nanny to help with your children. You are taking money from Disney guests to take them around Disney parks.

    • Disney is losing money in this high inflation economy, people aren’t going like they used to same reason they raised prices again recently… they need to make up revenue for the ones who aren’t coming in the backs of those who still do. Same reason all the streamers raised their monthly prices, indicative of penny pinching in a harsh economic environment.

      • Just as info: Disney Parks are not losing money. The parks are as crowed as ever and are keeping the company afloat with record profits. It’s the streaming services like Disney Plus and other questionable acquisitions that are losing money.

        • Yep. Disney is syphoning obscene profits off the parks and throwing it away on Fox, Comcast, now Hulu, while making increasingly bad movies. I’ve said it before. The best thing that could ever happen for Disney park fans would be for Disney to sell the parks back to the Disney heirs. The mega powerful Disney company doesn’t care about the magic, unless it’s the magic of fleecing park guests.

          • Wait was business first and profit minded as well. Why people insist on gorilla gluing rose colored glasses to their faces where he’s concerned is beyond me.

  13. I’ve seen so many examples of people talking about either successfully taking advantage of the DAS program or expressing interest in doing so that I think it’s absolutely the reason behind this. I bet many of these “tour guides” do whatever they can to exploit anything they perceive as a loophole, and I agree that technology is the reason Disney is able to better crack down now.
    Plus, I think the official Disney VIP tour guide experiences have gained significant interest recently, and third parties who are apparently charging a third of what Disney charges are not going to be allowed because many of those “bargain hunters” actually would pay full price IF they had to.
    Lastly, I’m not sure why this tour guide has to tell his clients that the trip is off… HIS trip might be off, but if they have valid tickets, shouldn’t they still be able to go?

  14. Can disney do something about the overly excessive resale!!!

    • I hope that the crackdowns on DAS will not end up negatively impacting those who legitimately need it. We go to Disney every summer and would not be able to do so anymore without the ability to get a DAS pass for my 5 year old.

    • Wow if these tours are so popular and have been going on for so long why hasn’t Disney taken the opportunity to absorb the program into their experience? Clearly people want these tours and are paying for them. Hire the guides, have them train others. Tour guides will still make money, guests will get the tours they want, Disney will be in control of the program in their parks. Win win win

      • Disney already has this service. These outside, 3rd party operators were undercutting Disney’s tour service.

      • Why would the tour guide People agree to that anyways u think they r gonna get to keep all the profits if they did that actually they don’t win moron

  15. Although so much of this story was left out even though this is the trend these days it’s still a one sided story when you dig a little deeper the 10 yr comment came from the Illegal tour guide trying to justify their actions “ why is it a problem now we have been doing this for 10 yrs “.
    Just like if you walk into a restaurant and started selling your food to customers for a lower cost . Providing tours of a place that has their own tour is the same , there lucky Disney did not sue them for 10 yrs worth of business that they conducted without permission.

  16. Just when you think Disney couldn’t become a more awful company, they say hold my overpriced Disney souvenir.

    • Why they evil becuase they stopped someone’s overpriced tour guide in their own park ??

    • They actively have lawsuits against merchandise sellers that have been using the parks to market their cheap headbands and accessories. They do go after Etsy sellers as well, this has been known for years, Disneyland banned a tour guide who had given FREE tours (and accepted tips) a few years ago. Banning people or suing for copyright infringement who are making money on their Intellectual Property is nothing new. Disney is around to make money, they are a business. Anyone interfering with their ability to get that money in their parks, or based on their IP can be a target. That’s not wrong, that is just how business works.

  17. Get a real job and stop crying about your overpriced tour guides losers

  18. So the Brazilian group will finally stop because they are pretty much the same deal.

  19. I disagree with most of you. The third party tour guides provided a service that Disney could not provide at the price. While encouraging more business for Disney. This is short-sighted and mean spirited on their part. People who can afford these guides are good business for Disney. Where does the company draw the line? I’m not even sure their prohibition is worded properly. The guides are not conducting a business on the property. All of that takes place off site. On site, they pay to get in just like everyone else. While there, they talk, offering prepaid advice. Not sure how Disney loses in that scenario.

    And to the lady with the freedom of speech stuff, what exactly do you think Disney does? Train serial killers in the castle? Just a company trying to support families. No agenda.

  20. They are just cracking down on anyone making money off of their business. They are so busy looking at whatever relatively small slice of pie the next person is eating, that they arent even enjoying the ginormous slice in their face. Greediness is all it is. They dont care that these guides have brought them so much money over the years, there is zero loyalty. And they will pay for it in the end. You cannot treat people treacherously like this and think it will not effect you. Every person they harm has family, friends, businesses affiliated with them who will be informed of what happened. Disney may feel like an empire that can never fall no matter how ugly they are but they will see repercussions.

  21. LOL. Are they going to shut down all the third party ticket booths literally EVERYWHERE in Orlando too? There’s most likely a loophole about that too. I’m sure Disney Logic tells them these people guiding parties through the parks is bleeding money they could be making so to make up for it tickets are now $12billion a day. By this logic anyone who plans a Disney vacation is breaking the rules. There’s not any real advantage to paying a guide for their time management skills in a park except you have someone else keeping everyone on schedule.

  22. I haven’t been given a warning yet! Just a trespass/ban and an annual pass that can’t be used.
    Would have loved a warning.

  23. I feel bad that they’re suddenly being banned or given warnings, but I mean it IS against the rules… And come on, those people being toured around who are eating at expensive restaurants etc, would still eat at expensive restaurants. But honestly what I would really love to see banned is the ability to resell items. People buy heaps of popcorn buckets and then re-sell them for sometimes over $100. No clue how they’d stop that! But all these “Disney shoppers” bother me way more than someone helping another guest out around the parks for a fee… but yeah, they knew the rules, so come on, it’s not Disney’s fault. One more thing for people to blame Disney for I guess.

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