Disney Enforces New “Filming Ban”, Approval Now Necessary

in Disney Parks

Guests walking down Main Street, U.S.A. in Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Lee (myfrozenlife), Flickr

The Disney Company is looking to protect their theme parks and has now implemented a new rule that forbids travel agencies from working with certain Disney influencers or news sites.

Elsa from Frozen during For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

The image of Disney World, and the other Disney parks around the world is magic. Whether you are visiting Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is oftentimes an overwhelming sense of perfection. Disney does what they can to ensure that guests can feel like they are entering a new world, leaving their troubles at the door.

Before entering Magic Kingdom, guests will read, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.”

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana attraction
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

Moreover, there are two water parks, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach, in addition to Disney Springs. Here, you can indulge in delectable dining experiences at establishments like Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and Boathouse while perusing souvenirs at World of Disney.

Guests also have the choice of staying at over 25 Disney resorts! Immerse yourself in the worlds of The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, and Cars at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, where the skyliner adds an extra layer of enjoyment. Alternatively, ride the monorail back “home” if you’ve chosen Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The possibilities are truly limitless.

A Disney cast member hands a family some drinks at one of the two Disney World water parks.
Credit: Disney

Within the theme parks, you not only get to meet Mickey Mouse and other beloved characters but also revel in iconic attractions. Experience thrills at The Haunted Mansion, journey through space on Space Mountain, embark on the wildest ride in the wilderness with Big Thunder Mountain, traverse the fifth dimension on the Tower of Terror, rock out with the Guardians on Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, and much more.

Walt Disney World is renowned as the most magical place on earth, with cast members consistently going above and beyond to ensure the happiness of guests.

Disney even has their cast members constantly creating “magical moments”, which are moments when a guest receives above and beyond treatment. For example, if a cast member sees that a child is sad, they might ask the parent if they can give their kid a free Mickey bar. Disney’s goal is to ensure that no child is ever sad (it’s actually a rule), and when they can, they will do it for adults, too!

Credit: @DrewDisneyDude

Lately, however, the Disney image has been tainted. 

Since the pandemic, we have seen a big boom on social media when it comes to Disney content. Not only are YouTube vlogs and Instagram photos the current trend, but with short-form content taking over and TikTok finding its light, there are more creators filming in the parks now than ever. While some creators are able to respectfully show the theme parks, and share their day, there are others that are taking advantage of the parks in a negative way.

Due to social media, we are seeing a lot more fights break out, people getting banned from the parks, people being denied entry, and many breaking the rules. This is often due to the fact that the guests are being recorded and are looking to create more “controversial” content in order to go viral. 

We have seen this many times when it comes to being turned away for dress code violations, with women attempting to enter the park in a bikini top, as well as some disregarding the rules and safety of the parks. One guest recently jumped into the World Showcase lagoon, many others have jumped out of moving ride vehicles, and others have physically harmed performers: the list goes on.

Crowds in Magic Kingdom pre-pandemic
Credit: Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr

The common denominator in all of these instances is that the guests are all filming.

Of course, when videos such as these surface, it tends to reflect poorly on The Walt Disney Company, especially if the social media creator has a large following.

Now, Disney is making an attempt to mitigate what people are representing the company. While Disney does have their media list which allows certain influencers and media outlets special perks to learn about new offerings and experiences, travel agents are another big way the company promotes the theme parks.

Many travel agents use popular social media creators to publicize their business, often offering them a free Disney resort stay or cruise in exchange for content.

Now, Disney is going to be controlling who travel agents are allowed to work with.

Disney recently sent out a letter to travel agents, noting that they will be in charge of who is promoting the company moving forward:

When selecting and engaging an influencer to create content about Disney vacation products, we want to provide you with the tools to make the best decision possible for your business as well as Disney Destinations.

The new guidelines are linked below and can be found on DisneyCopyright.com, keyword “Influencer” or “Influencer Guidelines.” The new guidelines will go into effect on Nov. 12, 2023. Please remember that the new guidelines are specifically for non-personnel of travel trade clients.

Personnel of your company visiting Disney locations to create content should continue to follow the “Spontaneous Posting Social Media Policy” available on DisneyCopyright.com.

The new guidelines include a new request process. A few notable aspects of the request process are summarized below, but in all cases, remain subject to the guidelines:

* Select your influencer(s) with the criteria set forth in the guidelines in mind.
* Download and fill out the Influencer
Request Form, which is linked below and can be found on DisneyCopyright.com.
* A Disney representative will review your request and provide feedback. If any request is not specifically approved in writing by Disney, your request will be deemed disapproved.
* If your request is approved by Disney, you must complete and share the applicable Influencer Notice Letter to your approved influencer before their activation. These are also linked below and can be found on DisneyCopyright.com.
* After your approved influencer’s activation, you will be responsible for monitoring the content produced by the influencer, ensuring that all applicable laws and the guidelines are followed

Magic Kingdom entrance at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Paul Beattie, Flickr

Now, Disney will be able to dictate who specifically is allowed to promote the company through travel agencies, giving them a higher monopoly in the world of social media, also controlling the outcome of their external PR as this will likely cause many creators to share a lot more positive content in hopes to be approved by Disney.

Do you think that Disney has gone too far in an attempt to control the media and narrative of their theme parks? 


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