20 Things You Didn’t Know Were Banned from Disney Parks
Disney is the Happiest Place on Earth...unless you had your heart set on bringing your pogo stick.
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What not to pack for your next Disney trip
Disney parks are known for a lot of things—their amazing rides, immersive park experiences, and delicious, quirky foods. But they’re also notorious for their rules. The sometimes strict rules all Disney employees have to follow are the stuff of legend, but there are plenty of regulations for would-be guests as well. For instance, there are numerous objects that you can’t bring into the parks, period. Some of these objects definitely make sense (wrapped packages, airhorns, and—seriously—human ashes), while others might seem more perplexing (what’s wrong with ice?!), or just downright random (pogo sticks, musical instruments). And COVID-19 has caused Disney to crack down on behaviors that would’ve been completely innocuous only months ago but could be a recipe for disaster in the middle of a pandemic.
Walking while eating and drinking
Of course, unlike most other things on this list, this isn’t a “thing” you can’t bring into the park. It’s a behavior—but one that is, in fact, banned as of July 20, 2020. When Disney World reopened in mid-July—Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on the 11th, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios in the 15th—masks were mandatory for guests and employees alike. But, as anyone who’s been to the parks knows, eating delicious food is a big part of a Disney vacation. And you can’t exactly wear masks while doing that. As perhaps Disney should have better foreseen, the first days of the reopening saw guests standing in line, getting within six feet of others, and snapping photos while eating—and therefore maskless. So on the 20th, they released a “clarification” of their mask policy, imploring guests to “be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing” while eating and drinking.
Meet and greets
Yes, meet and greets—formerly the bread and butter of a Disney park experience—are now prohibited. Thanks, COVID. Disney World’s website assured would-be post-pandemic guests (or perhaps disappointed them?) with this updated policy: “While character meet and greets will be temporarily unavailable, characters will be in the parks in new ways to entertain and delight guests.” Social distancing is the law of the land right now, and it remains to be seen when you’ll be able to give your favorite character a big hug again.
This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Plenty of Disney princesses might have furry friends, but alas, you still can’t bring yours into Disney parks. However, there is an on-site kennel where your pet can spend the day—and service animals are allowed, of course. Here are some insider tips for the best Disney World vacation.
Want to start a Lion King sing-along while you’re waiting in line for a ride? Well, you’re going to have to do it a cappella. Musical instruments aren’t permitted inside Disney parks. Likewise banned: These three words Disney employees are not allowed to say.
With the exception of mobility aids and cane-chairs, folding chairs are on both Disney World and Disneyland’s “restricted items” lists. It would sure be nice to be able to pack a chair and sit while you wait in long lines for rides, but alas, you cannot. Instead, pass the time by breaking out some Disney trivia that will keep the family entertained.
The occasionally controversial remote-controlled flying gadgets are not allowed inside Disney parks. Other types of remote-controlled objects, including toys, are not permitted either. But this actually goes beyond the fact that they can be disruptive—the U.S. Disney parks actually have no-fly zones.
Nope, you can’t pull your young child (or your massive collection of souvenirs) around the park in a Radio Flyer. For that matter, pretty much any item with wheels, including bikes, roller skates, or even suitcases, are banned. Even strollers, which it would be downright silly to ban considering Disney’s large target audience of youngsters, have to be under a certain size (more on them later)!
Sorry, would-be bouncers—the only one at Disney who will be jumping around on springs is Tigger. Here are the best jobs at Disney parks, according to employees.
Planning on celebrating a birthday (or any other gift-giving occasion) at Disney? You’ll have to wrap (or buy) your gifts inside the park limits. All items have to be unwrapped on their way into the parks so that the employees can see what they are. Unwrap the truth about these popular Disney park rumors.
Containers (of a certain size)
You can’t take suitcases, bags, or backpacks into Disneyland if they’re bigger than 18″ wide, 25″ high, and 37″ deep. Wouldn’t you know, that’s the exact same size as the parks’ big rentable lockers. We see what you did there, Disneyland. Coolers larger than that size aren’t allowed either—but yes, you can bring small coolers into Disney. These are the big differences between Disney World and Disneyland.
If you want to take a selfie in a Disney park, you’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. “Hand-held extension poles for cameras and mobile devices” are not allowed.
This rather vague category includes items like megaphones, air horns, stink bombs, and laser pointers. We’re definitely on board with this one—who wants to hear an air horn honking during a Disney parade? Like this, some Disney rules are unspoken…make sure to avoid these rude habits that cast members wish guests would stop.
Yup, you read that right. No matter how big of a Disney fan you are, you can’t have your remains scattered in one of the parks. In the past, some people did bring ashes to Disneyland, leaving them in some of the parks’ creepier attractions like the Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Don’t miss these other mind-blowing facts about Disneyland.
“No weapons in Disney” is definitely a no-brainer. But you also can’t bring items like pepper spray or mace. You also can’t bring anything that looks like a weapon, even a toy like a Nerf gun or a water pistol.
Leave your helmets, baseball bats, golf clubs, and even Frisbees at home. Here are the things you have to book in advance for Disney World vacations.
Balloons and straws
This seems like the most random rule of all, but it actually makes a lot of sense. These plastic items are only forbidden from Animal Kingdom, since they could pose a hazard to the animals if eaten. So if you’re hoping to reenact Up, keep the balloons out of Animal Kingdom.
This is a surprisingly recent ban! In March 2019, the official Disney Parks blog posted a few new and updated rules that went into effect on May 1, 2019. One of them? A complete ban on smoking, which was previously allowed only in designated areas in the parks. As of May 2019, smokers are only able to light up in certain spots outside the parks (and yes, that includes vaping). Considering that smoking is virtually banned from Disney movies, it’s not too surprising that they’ve also outright banned it from their parks.
Disney parks’ restriction on stroller size is nothing new. You used to be able to bring in your stroller as long as it was smaller than 36″ x 52″, but the new rules require all strollers to be slightly skinnier: 31″ x 52″. The new rules also prohibit stroller wagons, even if they fit within the allotted dimensions, in an effort to “ease guest flow” and “ease congestion.” Should you forget the rule and try to bring in a too-big stroller, though, Disney won’t make you carry your kid; they will have smaller strollers available for rent.
Considering that one of Disney’s most beloved, successful films of all time is entirely about ice, it might seem a little harsh to outright ban ice cubes from the parks. But the Disney FAQ page assures would-be visitors that its newly enacted ban on “loose and dry ice” is to allow for a more streamlined bag-check process. Fortunately, you can still bring in reusable ice packs and get cups of ice for free inside the parks.