Theme Park Etiquette 101

Theme parks are busier than ever these days. That means a large amount of first timers who are taking their introductory trips to some of the most popular vacation destinations on earth. Whether you you are newbie or a veteran, the fact of the matter is, some people just don't know how to act. Here are some essential rules of etiquette that everyone should follow when visiting their theme park of choice.

The more densely packed these theme parks get the more you'll be getting cozy some of your fellow guests. I get it, Florida and southern California are hot places. You should know by now how smelly you can get in the heat, so be kind to your neighbor. No one wants to smell your Turkey Leg infused sweat mixed with Splash Mountain water.

No one wants to smell your Turkey Leg infused sweat...

Bad Language
I'm no stranger to throwing a bad word or two around, but there is a time and place for everything. Cursing and talking about off color topics does not have a place in the theme parks. 

Rude Tee Shirts
This one is a variation of the previous point and possibly a worse offense. While cursing is bad, not everyone in eyeshot is subject to it. In most cases such clothing will be spotted by security and that person will be asked to leave and come back with something more appropriate. However, I have seen a few slip through the cracks. Walking around a park with curses, lewd, imagery or suggestive sayings is offensive to anyone with taste. We all don't need to see the "hilarious shirt" you and your friends picked out at Spencers.

Kids on Shoulders
So you've waited hours for a perfect spot of a nighttime show and then 30 seconds before it starts the dad in front of you puts little Timmy on his shoulders so he can see above the crowd, completely blocking off your view. There is nothing wrong with lifting your little one up to have a fighting chance but there are limits. Parents should be holding their children at their waist so their heads are at equal heights. A win for everyone.

...two people holding space for 15 is completely unacceptable.

Cutting in Line
The queues are no ones favorite part of the theme park but that doesn't give you the right to increase anyone else's wait in favor of your own. Certain circumstances could permit, like one parent taking a young child to the bathroom and hoping back in line with the other parent. But two people holding space for 15 (I've actually seen that happen before) is completely unacceptable.

Don't Block the Path
The best time to discuss your party's next FastPass is not in the dead center of Main Street right after Wishes ends. The flow of traffic in a crowded park isn't just important to guest enjoyment but also to safety. Find a place out of the way to coordinate your plans or make any necessary stops.

Pick Up After Yourself
One of the reason's I love Disney and Universal is because they are so clean. Especially compared to local parks. Do your part and clean up after yourself. It's common decency. Garbage cans are conveniently placed just steps away at all times, there are no excuses.

Know Your Party Size
When you are waiting in line and the cast member asks you "how many are in your party" it is 'go time'. Know the total number of riders in your group well before you get to the front. It is courteous to guests behind you because it keeps the queue moving and courteous to the cast member who are required to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Your pictures will still come out like garbage and you are ruining the ride for everyone else.

No Flash Pictures
Nearly every ride warns guests not to take flash pictures or use external video lighting. And yet time and time again a scene is ruined by someone using flash on their point and shoot camera. You even see it during fireworks. As if your dinky little flash will illuminate the entire frame. Here's a tip for those shooting in low light: your flash will not help. Turn it off. Your pictures will still come out like garbage and you are ruining the ride for everyone else.

In addition, lights from the screens of your camera could be intrusive on some attractions and shows, try to cover it up or turn down the brightness.

Ruining the Magic
This is the cardinal sin you could commit in a theme park. When you come to a theme park and paid all that money you want to enjoy the entire experience. When you are in these places you have to invest, on even the lowest level. The princesses are royalty and the wizards really know magic. Even if you don't want to believe or even refuse to, don't take away the joy of immersion for those around you.

We know that effect is called a "pepper's ghost" you don't have to scream it out on the ride. No one needs to hear that the "other Elsa" was better, than 'this' Elsa. Don't try to make the characters uncomfortable with your knowledge of what is 'really' going on. Play into their story, no one in line behind you is going to be impressed that you've seen through the facade. You gain noting from taking away the magic from someone else.