Universal Orlando Resort has issued a public service announcement to guests planning to visit the Central Florida theme park resort, reminding them about the importance of ensuring they’re not naked when they arrive to enjoy all the thrills, shows, rides, and fun that Universal Studios theme park, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay water park have to offer.
It’s only Tuesday, and already, it’s been a long week for guests and cast members at the Disneyland Resort in California. On Sunday, as guests of the southern California Disney parks were wrapping up their Thanksgiving weekend, one guest was making a name for himself by unwrapping–disrobing, that is–and streaking through the park.
A Naked Man Runs Amok at Disneyland
The 26-year-old man reportedly boarded a boat at the it’s a small world attraction at Disneyland Park, and when he entered the attraction, he was clothed.
But only moments later, the man’s clothing lay in a pile among the sets inside the classic opening day attraction as the man disembarked the ride vehicle, took off his clothing, and proceeded to parade through the sets in the attraction, many times getting up close and personal with the dolls in the attraction, as well as other fixtures and elements of the ride.
Disneyland employees called for assistance from the Anaheim Police Department, and once officers arrived, they were able to help Disneyland security team members with the strange situation. Officers ultimately subdued the man and arrested him for public indecency and for being under the influence of a controlled substance, though no information was given about the drug, and the man’s name has still not been released.
Word About Disney’s Naked Guest Gets Around to Universal Studios
Entertainment and theme park news outlets everywhere began to report on the situation that transpired at Disneyland late on Sunday, but the majority of the headlines didn’t make the news until Monday morning.
Guests who had witnessed the ordeal took to social media to post videos and photos, and those who heard about the incident second-hand got online to share in the commentary. Universal Studios Orlando Resort, however, set about the work of making fun of the chaotic situation at Disneyland.
An Ongoing “Rivalry” Between Florida’s Theme Park Giants
It’s not the first time Universal Studios has heckled the Walt Disney World Resort for things that have taken place in the Disney Parks. In fact, Universal responds so frequently to Disney Parks’ posts with satire, mockery, and other elements aimed at making fans laugh that lots of fans are about 99% sure Universal has a team of employees whose sole job is to act as watchtowers, just waiting for Disney’s next post to social media so that a response can be fired back.
Universal Uses Its Holiday Mascot to Blast Disney
On Tuesday, Universal Orlando Resort made fun of the Disneyland incident on Sunday with a post on X, formerly Twitter, that featured the resort’s holiday mascot, Earl the Squirrel. Almost immediately, Disney Parks fans were able to decipher the hidden message.
“Reminder,” the post reads, “Just because Earl doesn’t wear pants around the park doesn’t mean you can too.”
Reminder: Just because Earl doesn't wear pants around the park doesn't mean you can too. pic.twitter.com/rYETHRxmu3
— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) November 28, 2023
Universal Has This Habit
In January 2023, Disney Parks made a cryptic post online that was meant to be decoded by fans. Once Disney’s diehard fans-turned-supersleuths cracked the code, it was discovered that the post was meant to serve as a hint about the opening date for one of the most anticipated attractions to be constructed at Magic Kingdom.
>◎//: Need a Clu? pic.twitter.com/fRflNcphH7
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 9, 2023
The post, of course, referred to the new TRON/Lightcycle Run attraction at Magic Kingdom. Plans for the ride were announced in 2017, and constant delays meant that after five years, the ride had still not opened, and in all the time they were waiting, Disney World fans could have accomplished a lot in life. (Seriously, read our list of things fans could have done in that timeframe by clicking here.)
But the social media team at Universal Orlando saw the TRON post by Disney Parks and immediately thought of a response–one aimed at heckling the parks for its strange post.
Lots of layers here. pic.twitter.com/5AJmEqiFRU
— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) January 10, 2022
“Lots of layers here,” read Universal’s post that sought to make fun of Disney’s complicated post about TRON’s opening date.
In October, Universal saw yet another opportunity to poke fun at the Most Magical Place on Earth after a man jumped from a bridge along the World Showcase promenade at EPCOT, plunging into the waters of World Showcase Lagoon below. The incidence cast a spotlight on the reckless behavior some guests are willing to attempt to carry out inside the parks–often on a dare, in a bet, or in an effort to amass more followers online.
But despite the man’s recklessness at EPCOT, Universal Orlando saw an opportunity for a comedic post. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Universal Orlando Resort’s social media gurus made fun of the situation by reminding guests of the resort about where they should swim. “Please only swim in approved pools,” the post reads. “Thx, mgmt.”
Please only swim in approved pools. Thx, mgmt 😉 pic.twitter.com/kxTZmR308s
— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) October 24, 2023
Disney & Universal: Water Under the Bridge?
Though Disney and Universal are involved in a very stiff competition to win over visitors’ theme park ticket dollars, there’s no indication that the online rivalry and fun-poking are hate-filled or angry in any way. But in the early half of the 20th century, that rivalry was fierce–and it ultimately cost Walt Disney all of his animators and his newly drawn-to-life character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Thanks to a contract loophole in the late 1920s, Universal was able to take ownership of Oswald, and at the same time, a producer at Universal was able to woo Walt’s animators behind his back, ultimately convincing them to go to work for Universal. The only one to stay true to Walt Disney was his friend, Ub Iwerks.
Today, Oswald has been back at home with Disney for several years, and though the Mouse House seems to be winning the battle for theme park dominance in Central Florida, we’re not so sure Universal isn’t winning too–at throwing shade and making fun of Disney at every available juncture.