Although individuals in these groups may have caused problems over recent years, a much more troubling group is destroying the magic of the Disney theme parks: Disney Addicts.
They Don’t Admit They Have a Problem
During a recent visit to Walt Disney World Resort – including all four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom) and Disney Springs, I can speak firsthand to this toxic segment of the Disney-going population.
These people love Disney (as we all do). But they have an unhealthy relationship with the company that has perverted their love into a destructive passion that ruins the parks and makes visits unbearable for Cast Members and other Guests. These individuals have been on Space Mountain 1,000 times but won’t think twice to cut ahead of an eight-year-old waiting to ride it (and it may be his first and only time visiting the Park). They will push others out of the way to be in the front row of a parade, or fireworks show – one they’ve seen countless times before and have cataloged recordings of it. They will bait a Cast Member into a debate and try to embarrass them over a lack of Disney knowledge. They figure out every trick, tip, and workaround regarding Genie+, security lines, transportation hacks, or other “secrets” and then chuckle to themselves as tourists – perhaps even ones from other countries – struggle to figure out Disney’s policies or apps.
They will put their Disney experience above all else. Like any addict – their primary focus is on how to get their next fix, regardless of who they hurt, how much it costs, or how their actions affect others. And this inadvertently (or perhaps even maliciously) impacts the experience of everyone else visiting.
It would be like going to a bar and being around others who enjoy a night out. But then, one individual (perhaps an alcoholic) ruins everyone else’s good time by overindulging, misbehaving, or starting a fight.
And just like all other addictions, it can affect people of all shapes, sizes, races, religions, genders, and ages. So they COULD be a Disney Adult or an influencer, a liberal or conservative, a man or a woman, or any other person walking down Main Street, U.S.A.
They may even hide their addiction – if they can. But deep down, they still itch for that fix that only Disney magic can provide them. And unfortunately for Walt Disney World and Disneyland, these individuals turn what should be a fun theme Park experience into one of stress or conflict.
I have seen many of these Disney Addicts firsthand during a recent Walt Disney World Resort trip. Some interrupted live shows by shouting over characters, songs, and dialog, and some felt their superior fandom should allow them to skip lines. Other Disney Addicts felt that loving Disney entitled them to make rude or inappropriate comments to Cast Members and/or other Guests (including arguments over politics and religion).
Some Guests didn’t think twice as they pushed their way through people in wheelchairs or infants in strollers as they raced to grab a popcorn bucket or cut ahead in security while bragging to their friends how many times they’ve seen Fantasmic!, stayed at the Grand Floridian, or rode Tron Lightcycle / Run.
Clarification and Disclaimer
This is in no way a mockery of people battling an addiction to alcohol or other substances. This is also not an attack on any Disney Dining writers or readers who are Disney fans (as I am one, too). A Disney Addict is not your standard Disney fan or average AP holder who goes to the Park frequently. It’s the individual who will stop at nothing to feed his or her addiction. Like all addicts – they have a “compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity” (as defined by Merriam-Webster).
Unfortunately, Disney Parks have welcomed the most toxic Disney fans with open arms. But if Disney isn’t careful, the extreme Disney Addicts will drive away many other Guests, including families, international tourists, and casual Park goers (including Disney Adults and influencers). And they may send them to somewhere not far away…places where there are dolphins, dragons, and wizards.