Latest Disney World Rule Said to Unfairly Target Guests

in Walt Disney World

Piglet hugs a guest next to their father at Disney World's Crystal Palace

Credit: Disney

In a groundbreaking decision this month, Walt Disney World Resort issued ban notices to and revoked Annual Passes from numerous third-party tour guides. The non-Disney services previously operated for years, taking guests through Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Walt Disney World Resort’s Newest Ban

Walt Disney World Resort offers its own VIP Tour Guides – at a hefty cost ($450 to $900 an hour with a minimum number of hours depending on season). Third-party tour guides can beat Disney prices. They act as trip managers, handling Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane, advising the best time to ride attractions, or looking for last-minute dining reservations.

A Cast Member in VIP Tour guide costume high fiving a kid and his father in front of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, showing the only vip tour guides available after the walt disney world ban
Credit: Disney

Nicholas Deniz was one of the third-party tour guides impacted. Disney management and Orange County Police Department officers approached him while he was working with a family at EPCOT. They told him he could appeal with a handwritten letter no sooner than one year after his Walt Disney World ban.

“It felt like he had done something terribly wrong, the way that they pulled him aside and spoke to him,” one of Deniz’s clients told Insider.

A Disney spokesperson responded: “Unauthorized commercial activities are not permitted at Disney World as clearly stated in our property rules.”

Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Brittany DiCologero, Inside the Magic

While commercial activity at the Disney theme parks has long been banned, there was a bigger issue at hand. Some third-party guides had Disability Access Service (DAS) linked to their Annual Passes and would abuse it to sneak their paying customers into the Lightning Lane queue for free.

How Far Will Disney Go?

This week, some Disney influencers spoke out about the ban. TikToker Sara (@the3.mouseketeers) said it felt like the Central Florida Disney park was “cherry-picking” what third-party services are allowed to operate on its properties. Watch here:

@the3.mouseketeers

Disney needs to not cherry pick what they allow amd not allow #disney #disneytourguide #disneydrama #disneyworld #disneyland #disneytea

♬ original sound – Sara

“[Third-party tour guides] lived in kind of a gray area, is what I’m getting, almost like live streamers do,” Sara said. “They live in a gray area where they’re getting subscriptions, and they’re getting gifts on property.”

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney World
Credit: Chad Sparkes via Flickr

Related: Man Confirmed Dead in Disneyland Resort Incident

“So my question to Disney is, if you’re going to do one, you can’t not do another, or else isn’t that cherry-picking?” she continued. “Unless they are going to drop the hammer down and come down across the board just as they did with photoshoots in the parks.”

“How far does that go?” Sara asked. “Does that go to Uber? Does that go to Lyft? Does that go to the personal chefs that bring food on property or go cook in the DVC Villas? Does that go to the charcuterie services that are offered and sold on property?”

At the very least, the content creator felt Disney should’ve offered the tour guides a cease and desist instead of making an example out of them.

Mickey Mouse in front of the Cinderella Castle inside the Magic Kingdom with a couple of children
Credit: Disney

“You wanted to make an example out of these people, and clearly you did,” she concluded. “But this is part of your base, too, and it’s also affecting your guests. Because these guests had no idea. Tour guides were under the impression, given from Disney that they were okay.”

Kourt (@makingmagickourt) also shared her thoughts on the third-party tour guide crackdown:

@makingmagickourt

Replying to @Sara What do you guys think? #disney disney third party tour guides #disneyparks #disneyworld #distok disney world tour guide #disneyland #disneytiktok #disneydrama #disneytiktokcommunity disney ban #disneyban #banned disney world bans #travel #waltdisneyworld #wdw

♬ original sound – Kourt

“If Disney is going to come down hard on one business or one person making money while at their parks, I think it should be the same across the board,” Kourt said. “And that goes for live streamers who are getting gifts and subscribers while in the parks… that goes for babysitters… I feel like if we are going to hit one, we need to hit them all to make it fair.”

Signage for Disney Springs
Credit: Disney Dining

Some families pay nannies to take their children to Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park. Other families hire in-room babysitters to watch their children at Disney Resort hotels.

Many order custom flower bouquets, gift baskets, and room decorations or hire cosmetologists for princess makeovers cheaper than Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. An entire Facebook group is devoted to former Disney cast members providing unofficial Disney services on property. If Disney applied the third-party business ban across the board, these services would disappear.

Guests Respond to Walt Disney World Banning Third-Party Tour Guides

Hundreds of Disney Parks fans also shared their thoughts on the ban. Some were concerned about services they used previously.

Blizzard Beach's wave pool as seen from the sky over Walt Disney World.
Credit: @bioreconstruct

“We just paid someone to decorate our resort door last week, is that going to be banned next?” @circustravis asked.

“This is a good point,” @momrunsdis commented. “I am considering an off property nanny service for an upcoming Rundisney weekend! I need someone to possibly watch the kiddo!”

“I’m so over everything with Disney, are they going to cut the babysitters, or why not stop the influencers?” @bolen5designs_tinaka said.

Pop Century hotel room
Credit: Disney

Related: Universal Studios Secretly Raises Prices of All Tickets, Effective Immediately

However, others agreed that The Walt Disney Company should treat all third-party services operating on Disney property equally.

“Livestreamers need to be stopped,” @pixiedustcastlelife wrote. “They’re ruining the experience for people who may only get to visit once – taking my mom on her 1st trip this year was eye opening. I do think there should’ve been a warning before banning, but it needs to be across the board for sure.”

“Next up is cracking down re-sellers,” @bmule1 wrote. “I hope.”

Mickey Mouse in front of the pool at Typhoon Lagoon
Credit: Disney

Allegedly, Walt Disney World Resort issued a statement warning travel agents about working with social media influencers, though it didn’t mention the ban.

“My feeling is there will be more rules coming very soon for anyone that is doing anything to make money while in the parks,” said @themeparklizzy, an approved Disney travel agent. “We were just issued new guidelines if as a travel agency we were to hire an ‘influencer’ to do promotional work for us. We also have strict guidelines to follow as an agency when on property including absolutely zero tolerance for solicitation on property.”

A resort hotel room at disney's polynesian village resort.
Credit: Disney

Related: Outraged Fans Demand Change After CEO Bob Iger Invokes Walt Disney

“I think you’re right about a lot of changes coming soon,” @shidajayy echoed. “They released some statement to TAs about the influencers we work with and I’m like sooo how does that impact me as a content creator. How do I fall in that? I think a lot of changes may be coming I just wish they were more open and direct. It’s like they’ve got a silencer on what they are doing. They are taking ppl out but quiet abt it so not to incite a backlash.”

Should Walt Disney World Resort ban other guests who conduct business on its property? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on personal Disney Parks guest experiences. No two guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

View Comment (1)