Thousands of Disney Parents Shamed for Controversial Behavior During Fireworks

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom crowds in front of Cinderella Castle on Happily Ever After finale night

Credit: Inside the Magic

There are many controversial things that Disney guests may do, which can, at times, ruin the day of those around them. One of the biggest debates is now taking place, and parents are getting ripped apart for how they have been handling their children.

Child wearing Mickey Mouse hat with parents in front of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

When it comes to parenting at Disney, many have had a lot to say about what they witnessed while at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Whether its the way a child walks on a leash while getting in line for Slinky Dog Dash, or how a parent can allow their infant to be alone in a pool while they get drunk at a bar and a lifeguard has to save their child — the internet always enjoys sharing their experiences, and opinions.

Walt Disney World Resort is a magical place that we have all been visiting for the past 50+ years. Not only do we feel the magic of Disney when we walk down Main Street, U.S.A. and see Cinderella Castle, but we also get it when Disney releases a new movie, like the upcoming film Wish, which brings us into a new fairy tale or world each time. Disney also holds a lot of nostalgia for many. Whether you grew up watching Mickey Mouse cartoons or you ate breakfast during Micheal Eisner’s Disney Renaissance, sharing films like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, there are key elements and stories from Disney’s films that have stuck with us throughout life.

Two sons sit on their parents' laps as they ride the Peoplemover amidst talks of Disney parents "bullying" kids
Credit: Disney

Because of this, many parents decide to go to Walt Disney World, not only to relive the joy that they experienced as a child as all of their favorite characters come to life, but also, to indoctrinate their kids into the world of Disney.

With the high cost of visiting Walt Disney World and the desire to make the vacation perfect, sometimes things can get out of hand.

Lately, parental behavior has actually made the once-detested “Disney adult” look like they are more responsible and sane.

The term “Disney adult” is often used in a derogatory situation, referring to Disney fans older than their late teens who still enjoy the delightful cartoonish whimsy the brand is known for. Even Walt Disney himself defended the “oldsters” who came to Disneyland in the ’50s and ’60s. However, it might be the case that only one portion of the fanbase is what gives it such a bad rep in some circles.

children riding tron at magic kingdom
Credit: Disney

In the past, we shred Disney park guests naming off their “Disney Icks,” things at the Parks that upset them or gross them out. While there were several comments pertaining to gnarly subjects like body odor, bathroom conditions, and other such matters, many complaints are directed at unhappy and unruly parents who come for a family vacation.

People are quick to burn Disney Adults at the stake for Disneybounding, going to the Parks alone and without children, or simply enjoying an animated feature, but the real problem lies with parents who can’t control their young while on Disney property. These same people are the ones who are salty about childless millennials buying Mickey pretzels while their own kids are running rabid around the Magic Kingdom.

One comment noted, “Saw a guy letting his toddler run around Woody’s Lunchbox seating area totally barefoot. What the hell is wrong with people? Not only is is super gross and unhygienic, but the ground has to be hot because Toy Story Land is hotter than the surface of the sun in the middle of the day.”

Kids Enjoying New Disney Tech | Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

There have also been a ton of reports this summer of children suffering severe dehydration in the parks, and then suffering heat stroke. Parents are responsible for ensuring their child is drinking in the sweltering heat — especially during the excessive heat warnings Orlando fell under this summer, but many did not.

That being said, one of the biggest ongoing issues that guests have with parents at Disney World, is how they allow their child to watch fireworks.

Recently, the popular Happily Ever After fireworks spectacular returned to Magic Kingdom. Replacing Wishes, Happily Ever After was a trailblazer in nighttime entertainment, teaming lights, fireworks, and projections in harmony on the walls and spires of Cinderella Castle.

Upon the arrival of the Disney Resort’s 50th anniversary celebrations, “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” Happily Ever After was removed from park operations and replaced with Disney Enchantment. When it debuted, Enchantment failed to live up to the magic of its predecessor, with many guests blasting the House of Mouse for replacing such an iconic show.

Happily Ever After fireworks and Castle projection display
Credit: Disney

Disney then brought back Happily Ever After, but this time with projections not only on Cinderella Castle, but Main Street, U.S.A. as well.

If you have ever watched fireworks at Disney, you know that if you want a spot up close to the castle, you will likely be waiting hours to hold that spot. If you are ok with arriving 20 minutes before the show, then Main Street, U.S.A. will make a great viewing area for you. There is one thing that tends to happen to many guests just as the lights dim and the show begins that can ruin any spot, no matter how close you are to the castle, and that is a child being placed on a parent’s shoulder.

Although it is nice to know a child is enjoying the show, there are many others who remain on the ground and have their view blocked. On top of that, there are often children of much older ages sitting on their shoulders, creating what looks to be an eight or nine-foot giant. The argument to hold a child up to a parent’s eye level at maximum has been around for a while, and now, votes are being gathered in regard to what age is acceptable to have a child sit on a parent’s shoulders during fireworks, if any.

This is something that thousands of parents have done at Disney, and an ongoing issue that does not seem to be slowing down.

Magic Kingdom crowds on happily ever after finale night
Credit: Inside the Magic

One guest took to the internet and asked, “How old is it too old to let your kid sit on your shoulders during a fireworks show?”

They continued, “I’ve been reading that Tokyo Disney tells guests to sit down during the fireworks shows so more people can see.

In the Americas, we end up with situations like this:

Drove 3 hours to see the Christmas fireworks instead ended up with this view… parents please stop this.
byu/eyeshutopen inWaltDisneyWorld

Until Disney recommends guests in America to sit, what’s a respectful general rule of thumb for how old is it too old to let your kid sit on your shoulders during a fireworks show?”

It is true at Tokyo Disney Resort, all guests are required to sit during nighttime shows and parades at both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. The theme park even has numbering in some areas to assign seats to guests. This allows for all guests to have a good view of all Disney entertainment.

Right now, the poll options are that there is no acceptable age, under 2, under 4, under 6, under 8, and under 10 years old. Right now, no acceptable age is winning by more than double the second-place option, which is only guests under 4.

Magic Kingdom crowds in front of Cinderella Castle on Happily Ever After finale night
Credit: Inside the Magic

In the comments, guests have not shied away from giving their opinion.

One parent said, “I have kids and we never ever put them on our shoulders to be considerate. We do hold them on our hips, that way their head isn’t any higher than ours but they still have a better view. I hate when I think we have a great view and then someone hoists their kid up right in front of me and blocks the whole thing! If we weren’t smooshed in like sardines, you could adjust but there usually isn’t anywhere to go to avoid them.”

Another guest shared a similar sentiment, “Your child should be no higher than your own head level. Just hold your kid instead of lazily tossing them on your shoulders. There are probably children behind you that had their view blocked by doing that because they’re watching from the ground like a normal person.”

boy on parents shoulders at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Bankrate / Flickr

One guest said the exception to holding a child on their shoulders is “Only if you’re otherwise up against a building.”

Following that, one parent defended themselves with the location being a deciding factor, “No doubt about it–there are a lot of rude and entitled people at Disney. I used to be a passholder and would hold my kids on my shoulders because they couldn’t see anything when they’re waist high to the crowd. BUT–I always made sure I did that next to a building wall, in front of a tree, or we’d go to a less-prime viewing spot away from the castle/main street to watch so I knew I wasn’t blocking the view of anyone behind me.

New projections on Main Street during Happily Ever After
Credit: Disney

IMO–age is irrelevant. An adult with a 2 YO child on their shoulders can still be 8 feet tall and will always block the view of people behind them unless they are considerate about choosing a location.”

Some got quite heated regarding the debate, “Are you an a**hat that blocks people behind you inconsiderately? Then there is no age you’re just a garbage human. If you’re considerate of those around you though, the right age is between you and your back and shoulders.”

Others want Disney to follow Tokyo’s lead and implement sitting, “Sitting would be amazing!!! I definitely have memories from the 80s of sitting on the ground to watch Disneyland fireworks. Sigh… those were gentler times.” Another agreed, “I have been to Tokyo Disney, and it’s a wonderful experience😂 everyone is so respectful!”

kid on parents shoulders at disneyland
Credit: Orlando Country Register

One parent actually apologized for putting their child on their shoulders, “I definitely put my kid up on my shoulders to see the fireworks on my last visit. The full body shame hot-flash I just experienced. Y’all I’m so sorry. It never occurred to me I could be interrupting someone else’s enjoyment. I’m 5’0 if that makes me any less of an asshole, but I won’t do it again. Sitting sounds like a great option.”

Overall, the astounding response was to not allow sitting on shoulders unless there was an object behind the parent or guest so that no one would have their view and experience compromised at the cost of a child seeing the show perfectly.

What do you think? Should Disney ban parents from placing kids on their shoulders during fireworks?

Are you looking to visit Magic Kingdom on your next Disney World vacation? There is no better feeling than riding the monorail after parking at the Ticket and Transportation Center (or riding it from a monorail Resort such as Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa) and walking down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. U.S.A. with Cinderella Castle greeting you in the distance! Indulging in churros and Mickey Premium Bars while waiting in line for attractions like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is always a great way to enjoy the lines, and a midday break to watch Festival of Fantasy doesn’t hurt either. Nothing tops ending the night with their Happily Ever After fireworks spectacle. For more Disney information, information on Disney Genie+, and to look at booking a vacation, the Walt Disney World website is a perfect one-stop shop for all things Mickey Mouse. Plus, it has all the information you need on Disney Genie+, so you will be ready to go on your My Disney Experience app once you download it! Click here to check it out today.



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