Disney says they are cracking down on bad guest behavior but one guest witnessed, not only bad, but extremely dangerous behavior on their most recent visit to Disney World. Michael Arnold is a Disney Annual Passholder and friend to Disney Dining. He reached out after having serious concerns about something he witnessed on his most recent day at Magic Kingdom which took place on Thursday April 20, 2023.
Recently, Disney has been praised for taking a firmer hand with guests who cannot behave. Their website was updated to include a section on courtesy, using much stronger language than many would expect. This addition led many to believe Disney was finally cracking down on poor behavior in the Parks. The message on the website reads: “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.”
Despite this, Arnold says he witnessed something that utterly shocked him. He states that a teenager stood up during much of the ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Standing on any ride poses a safety risk but standing on a roller-coaster is incredibly dangerous. When asked, Arnold stated he did not get any photographs of the teen because he respects the rules at Disney,. Photography on a roller-coaster in motion isn’t safe (in fact, Disney recentlybanned cell phone usage on Big Thunder Mountain). We commend him on his commitment to the safety of himself and other guests.
“Jill…it was the entire ride. I don’t know how he didn’t get hurt,” Arnold said, expressing concern over the reckless behavior. “He was flipping the bird any time he wasn’t trying to touch stuff. He was actually able to reach over and touch the possum at one point,” said Arnold.
The incident visibly upset everyone who witnessed it. Arnold said, “People were yelling at him to stop and everything.” The teen ignored the pleas of everyone trying to get him to sit down, and continued to make rude gestures at anyone who expressed concern for his safety. The terrifying scene played out during the length of the four-minute roller-coaster ride. “I’ve never seen anyone with such disregard for their safety,” Arnold said.
Despite their tough words, Arnold said Disney seemingly did nothing about this behavior. While it would be difficult to stop a roller-coaster in motion (they rely on gravitational force) when asked if security was waiting for the guest at the end of the ride Arnold stated that they were not. The teen was permitted to walk off the ride and carry on with his day as if he hadn’t just endangered his life and potentially the loves of everyone aboard. “Nothing was done about it,” said Arnold, “he got away with it.” According to the rules stated on their website, Disney could have trespassed this individual. This would mean he would have been physically removed from the Park and told not to return for a specific (or indefinite) period of time. It is clearly stated on the Walt Disney World website:
“We reserve the right to deny admission, prevent entry, or require a person already admitted to leave the Walt Disney World Resort or any part thereof, without refund, liability, or compensation, for failure to comply with any of these rules, for unsafe, illegal or offensive behavior, to ensure safety, security or order, or if we consider that the circumstances otherwise so require, in our sole and absolute discretion.”
In fairness, Arnold did not follow the guest for the remainder of the day so it is possible that security caught up with him later and removed him. Even if that were the case, the guests aboard that horrific ride aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad deserved to know that the rules had been enforced and that the teen wouldn’t further risk the safety of others. It would have gone a long way to reassure guests that they were safe at Magic Kingdom had security been visible at the end of the ride.
Typically in instances like this the response is swift, almost immediate. In the past, rides have been stopped and the misbehaving guest removed even before the conclusion of the ride. This makes it highly unlikely, given their past handling of events, that anything was done to remove the teen from the Park.
This incident is just one of many in a rash of bad guest behavior ranging from merely annoying to criminal. Not long ago we reported on a huge brawl that took place at Magic Kingdom, and another at Hollywood Studios. We also reported that a man decided it was a good idea to surf in a fountain at Disney Springs. Most recently we reported that a theft ring had been sneaking into Disney and targeting guests. In all of these instances Security was Involved and the offenders were removed.