My Disney bucket list is a mile long. It seems no matter how many things I accomplish, there’s always something new I simply must try! One thing that’s not on my bucket list, though, is getting arrested at Walt Disney World. Bafflingly, many people end up on the wrong side of the law every year at Disney World.
With the rise of poor behavior in the Parks, it’s probably a good idea to brush up on things that could land you in the clink. If hard time isn’t your idea of a vacation, check out these obvious (and not so obvious) things to avoid on your next Disney World vacation.
The legal drinking age in Florida is 21. Consuming alcohol underage is an offense Disney takes very seriously. Not long ago, Disney security intervened when children were spotted carrying beer to their mother. Despite not sipping it, even handling it is a no-no underage.
In October 2022, a local teen was arrested at Animal Kingdom for drinking and driving (in the parking lot, not the park itself).
In 2019 a 20-year-old from Louisiana was arrested 9n New Year’s Day for possession of alcohol.
A Google search will show that while this may seem like a no-brainer, many people think they can skirt the rules. Page after page fills the screen with questions like “How closely do they check IDs at Disney World” and “Can I get away with a fake ID at Disney?” We are here to say it’s not worth it. You won’t like what happens if you try.
Accepting the Wrong Luggage
As wild as this one sounds, there is at least one case where having the wrong luggage delivered resulted in an arrest. If Disney delivers luggage to your room that isn’t yours, you must return it. Not doing so will result in a grand theft arrest, which depending on the dollar amount the luggage and its contents are worth, could be a felony. It doesn’t matter that it was Disney’s mistake. You are under a legal obligation to return the items. One man visiting from Australia learned this the hard way when he insisted on keeping luggage delivered to him by mistake.
This scenario is less likely now that Magic Express has ended. Previously you would check your bags in at your home airport, and you wouldn’t see them again until they appeared in your Disney resort hotel room. That practice has now ended, but you can still drop your bags off with bell services, who will deliver them to your room later if you arrive before check-in.
Mountain (or Castle, or Pyramid) Climbing
Do not, under any circumstances, climb on a structure at Walt Disney World. Doing so will lead to your ejection from the Park and, if outrageous enough, could also result in arrest. The rise of so-called “influencers” have increased the likelihood of this bad behavior.
It began in 2015 when a (very) drunk man decided to climb the pyramid in the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT. Since then, several others have followed suit. You can climb many of the actual Mayan and Aztec ruins. You cannot climb Disney’s replica. One person attempted to climb Mt. Everest at Animal Kingdom (do we really have to tell you not to climb a roller-coaster?) At least two people have attempted to climb Cinderella Castle.
Climbing where you aren’t allowed to climb will earn you a criminal trespass arrest at a bare minimum (spoiler alert, unless you’re 5 and on playground equipment, you’re not allowed to climb anywhere).
Selling Counterfeit Tickets
File this one under “obvious ways to get arrested.” Selling counterfeit tickets may seem like a quick way to make a buck, but selling counterfeit tickets will result in grand theft and fraud charges. There have been notable cases where an individual tried to scam people with fake Disney theme park tickets from 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022, and most recently at Disneyland in April 2023. Avoid becoming the victim of a ticket scam by only purchasing tickets from an authorized seller.
Even selling legit tickets could land you in hot water. Resale of Disney tickets is not allowed, and you legally agreed not to when you checked that box with all the fine print you didn’t read when you bought your tickets. If you cannot use your tickets and are outside of the refund window, you are unfortunately out of luck. Luckily, Disney has a generous refund policy for all but last-minute issues. Your tickets are fully refundable.
Distribution of Pornography
Another seemingly obvious one. Then again, if it were obvious we wouldn’t have to report it. You cannot, anonymously or otherwise, distribute pornography at Walt Disney World. It doesn’t matter if everyone depicted is consenting, and it doesn’t matter if everyone depicted is of legal age. Distribution of pornography is a fast way to be banned for life and possibly arrested if left in view of minor children. This seems like it shouldn’t have to be said, but it happened twice in 2022 alone.
Attacking (or Groping) Costumed Characters
This one happens more often than you’d think. Disney Cast Members work hard to create magic for us every day. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It isn’t funny to punch or kick them. It’s also not a “social media challenge” or prank. It’s a crime. You can (and will) get arrested for assault for doing this, but more importantly, the rules of being a decent human being should prevent you from attacking a costumes Cast Member who is just doing their job.
Listen we know the purpose of a meet and greets is to make guests happy, but the line is drawn at touching them inappropriately. You cannot touch a princess’s “bathing suit parts” without their express consent (I hate to break it to you, but no princess is going to consent to this). You also cannot attempt to undress them. Again, beyond the legality, the laws of being a decent human being should prevent this from happening. Sadly though, that isn’t always the case. You will be arrested for sexual assault if you engage in unwanted touch with a character (princess or otherwise).
Thousands of people worldwide would like to make Disney World their final resting place. Trust me, no one wants to be the Haunted Mansion’s 1000th ghost more than I do (in due time, im not in any rush). However, scattering ashes in public is a health code violation. While many places will turn a blind eye to this. Disney World will not. If you attempt to scatter a loved one’s ashes anywhere on resort property, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor. Before you decide it’s worth it in order to give your loved one a permanent place at Walt Disney World, keep in mind that Disney will either vacuum or sweep the ashes up and throw them away. Grieving is hard enough, don’t make it harder by getting arrested.
As hard as it may be to believe, people attempt to bring guns to Walt Disney World all the time. The number of incidents has risen sharply since 2020. There are no weapons allowed on Disney Property. Disney’s website makes their policy very clear, “Firearms, ammunition, knives and weapons of any kind are prohibited.” They are not even allowed in your hotel room Attempting to bring one along will result in your arrest.
Just ask Nathaniel Franco Freeman. The 35-year-old was arrested last July after he attempted to bring a gun into Hollywood Studios. It was found during a bag search and confiscated. Police were called, and Freeman got a set of matching bracelets that he most certainly did not want.
Leave your weapons at home. It doesn’t matter how pro-2A you are or how unsafe you feel. You aren’t allowed to have a weapon at Walt Disney World for any reason. No excuse will be allowed as an exception to this rule.
Recreating Lion King Scenes With Your Child
A couple was arrested for “Simba-ing” their baby. You know what “Simba-ing” is, even if you don’t recognize the term. Do you remember the iconic scene at the beginning of The Lion King where Rafiki holds baby Simba in the air over Pride Rock? That’s “Simba-ing.”
We’ve all done it. However, most of us have done it safely on the ground where no risk to our babies is involved. One couple, though, decided they’d take it a step further. They dangled their baby from the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom. The one that is 18 feet in the air. Yeah….don’t do that. They were met by law enforcement officers at the end of the ride and arrested for child endangerment.
Drinking Around the World…Badly
There’s nothing wrong with drinking around the world. When done correctly, it’s one of our favorite ways to spend an evening at EPCOT. Do it wrong, though, and you’ll end up with a trespass warning or worse.
- Chase Holderby will tell you this is true. After getting drunk at EPCOT last November, he became disruptive, and security asked him to leave. That’s when he attempted to get on the Skyliner and nearly fell while shouting obscenities. He was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct.
- In 2018 Amanda Soto, wife of Congressman Darren Soto, was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct.
- Earlier this year, Dakota Horger was arrested after getting drunk at EPCOT and shouting obscenities.
- In April, Edward Stephenson got so drunk at Disney Springs that he began swearing at children. When officials tried to get him to leave, he became violent.
- In 2017, Joseph Murphy became so drunk that he assaulted himself while shouting “police brutality” and urinated on a police officer’s leg as he was being arrested.
The list goes on and on. Drunk and disorderly is probably the most common arrest at Disney World. It’s also the easiest crime to commit accidentally.
The moral of the story is “know thyself.” If you are a belligerent, obnoxious, rule-breaking, or violent drunk, you should probably avoid intoxication at Disney World. If you’re going to drink around the world, read this first. We have experimented with many ways to drink around the world, and this method is tried and true (and presents the least chance of being arrested).
While attitudes about marijuana have softened overall, some states even allow public consumption. The substance, and its THC derivative, is illegal for recreational use in Florida. This applies to vape cartridges with THC as well.
You cannot possess any recreational amount of the substance legally in Florida. Possession of less than 20 grams is a misdemeanor but amounts greater than 20 grams are a felony. Additionally, Florida does not accept out-of-state medical cards as a valid defense, despite medical marijuana being legal for residents with a valid medical card.
Make sure your visit stays magical by avoiding the bad (and illegal) behaviors on your next Disney World vacation. Every one of the stories above resulted in not only an arrest but a lifetime ban from Disney Parks. Forgive me for having a Hermione moment, but if you choose to engage in any of the above activities, you could be arrested…or worse, expelled.