“Top” 10 Worst Guests at Disneyland

Sometimes, people behave badly at Disneyland. This covers the types of visitors who have earned the dubious distinction of being the worst types of guests at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. It’s a just-for-fun “top” 10 list that ranks obnoxious behavior, and vents, but shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

The reason it shouldn’t be taken too seriously is because we’ve all been bad guests. Now, it’s fair to say that there are varying degrees of “badness” and ingesting illicit substances or otherwise breaking the law at Disneyland is probably a little worse than, say, talking loudly in the Haunted Mansion Stretching Room or recording the fireworks on your phone.

But the point is that nobody is perfect. Not you and certainly not me. We’ve all been overly tired, excited, confused, etc., and done something that got on another guest’s nerves. In fact, it’s probably a regular occurrence! You never know what’s going to bother someone else, and we’re all “in the way” of one another at some point. Such is the nature of visiting theme parks packed with people! 

It’s also fair to say that the tremendous pressure of planning and executing a “perfect” Disneyland vacation raises the stakes and puts everyone on edge. That’s confounded by the high costs, confusing systems, chaotic crowds, and more. Even if you’re trying your best to have a great day, from time to time, that stress can overwhelm even guests who are absolute angels.

If you’re thinking this post sounds a little familiar, that’s because this is a sequel to our List of the “Top” 10 Worst Guests at Walt Disney World. Since we prefer sequels with originality and that don’t just rehash or remake the superior source material, every single entry on this list is new. With that said, there is overlap between bad behaviors on the two coasts, and what already made the Walt Disney World list almost assuredly would if we started with Disneyland instead–and vice-versa.

Here were the main and ‘bonus’ entries on the Walt Disney World worst guests list:

  1. The Ones Who Have Never Walked in Public
  2. The Mall Walkers
  3. The Road Ragers
  4. The Line Jumpers
  5. The DAS Abusers
  6. The Ones Whose Vacation “Cost A Lot”
  7. The Flashers
  8. The Ones Who Don’t Want To Be There, And Want Everyone To Know
  9. The Ones With Other “Message Shirts”
  10. The Passholes
  11. The Ones Who Pillage and Plunder
  12. The Party Animals
  13. The Parents of Shoulder Kids
  14. The Meltdown Parents
  15. The Ones Who Never Worked a Day in Customer Service

For this list, we’re also trying to keep things fresh by focusing on at least some bad behaviors that are more common in California. But almost all of these are also questionable conduct you’ll also encounter at Walt Disney World. Anyway, on with the list of the “top” 10 worst guest types at Disneyland…

The Planners – In our politically-charged times, “Don’t California My [Insert State]” has become a popular message. I can only assume these people are protesting mild weather, beaches, diverse cuisine, sunshine, state and national parks, relaxed vibes, and In-N-Out Burger. (I’m kidding–no need to explain what you hate about California.)

Well, turnabout is fair play, so here’s one: “Don’t Walt Disney World My Disneyland.” Which is to say that there are valid fears among locals about Disneyland becoming a bona fide tourist destination like Walt Disney World. Lower guest expectations and blander food are two big ones, but a main concern for me is ruining the laid-back vibe.

One of the things that makes Disneyland is great is how much more relaxed it is. Longtime Walt Disney World fans routinely praise this, and yet, many of these same people want to actively undo that by raising the stakes on planning–more competitive dining reservations, pre-booking Lightning Lanes, and just more information (and earlier!) about everything. (It would seem that you’re winning this war, as Disney has already released the Full 2024 Calendar of Events at Disneyland.)

By all means, plan to your heart’s content–we get why some people love doing it–but don’t ask Disneyland to change its style to suit planners. That will not end well, and will erode one of the very qualities pretty much everyone seems to love about Disneyland!

The Magic Keymasters – Turnabout is fair play in more ways than one, and it would be impossible to criticize the planners without also setting my sights on the locals. Again, Disneyland has a totally different vibe from Walt Disney World, and in many ways, that’s for the better. One way it’s not so great is in the sense that many Disneyland locals treat the parks as leisurely hangout spots.

A laidback locals’ culture is great, but Disneyland should be special–not an alternative to visiting Irvine Spectrum or the Grove. Although this has changed a bit in the era of reservations and most tiers of Annual Passes charging for parking, it’s still common to have Annual Passholders who loiter about Disneyland like the local mall–showing up for a few hours at a time to simply hang out, clogging up walkways and seating areas despite having no purpose for being there.

Worse yet are the locals who actively diminish the guest experience for first-timers, erroneously assuming that because they have experienced Disneyland or an attraction hundreds of times, so too has everyone else. Among other things, these Magic Keymasters have ordinary conversations through attractions and quote ride dialogue to “prove” their experience (if you do this, I’d implore you to stop–no one is impressed by your knowledge).

In general, locals can be a little too laid back at a place that’s magical and memorable for Disneyland first-timers and infrequent guests. Disneyland is a special place, and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Walt may have had the inspiration for Disneyland while sitting in Griffith Park, but I don’t think he ever intended for it to be a substitute for that municipal park, where locals would go for casual recreation.

The Ones Who Fight – Call me a square, but no one should get into bare-knuckled brawls at the Happiest Place on Earth. Disney seems to agree with me, as the company kicks out and trespasses guests who throw fists. (Taking those “Most Expensive Day Ever” shirts to an entirely new level.) That makes this one of the few entries on this list with actual consequences.

Guest-on-guest violence is not unique to California. Although there have been some, ahem, memorable melees in Toontown and outside Tower of Terror (two specific examples that I remember seeing/hearing about), I’d actually say that this seems slightly worse at Walt Disney World. The heat and higher stakes are a powder keg for this type of thing.

I would go a step further and say that these feuds, fights, fracases, free-for-alls, and fisticuffs probably aren’t as bad or common as they might seem. Everyone has a computer in their pocket with a video camera and unlimited film, so it’s much easier to capture and upload that to the internet in seconds.

None of that was possible during the “Yippie Invasion” back in 1970 when radical activists stormed Disneyland, tried to overthrow City Hall and liberate Minnie Mouse. (None of that is a joke.) Fights broke out between the Yippies and tourists, the park had to be closed, and hundreds of riot police had to be called to restore order. Hmmm…perhaps “The Yippies” should’ve made our list!

The Gangs – Speaking of gangs causing a ruckus, the spiritual successors of the Yippies are Disneyland social clubs. For those who have never heard the term, these are essentially clubs of like-minded individuals who wear matching denim jackets or vests with patches, like the Hell’s Angels, but make it dorky.

Disneyland social clubs vehemently deny that they are gangs, but they are gangs. Most are nonviolent gangs, sure, and for the most part they are not criminal enterprises. But there’s been enough controversy, weird and questionable behavior that the “gang” label fits. Then again, maybe I’m just bitter that I’ve never been invited to join one of the gangs…or that no one joined my crew, the “Sons of Eisnerchy.”

There are essentially two issues with the Disneyland gangs. One is that they’re possessive and aggressive gatekeepers. They take up a lot of space in common areas of the park, get confrontational and condescending, and act like they own the place. The other is that they, quite literally, dress like they’re in a motorcycle gang.

Personally, if I were really defensive about my posse being dubbed a gang, you know what I wouldn’t do? Dress in stereotypical gang wardrobes. Yes, perhaps it is true that not all Disneyland social clubs are bad or annoying or whatever, but when you dress exactly like the other gangs (and real world ones!), don’t feign surprise or outrage when outsiders think you’re part of a gang.

The Potheads – This is a uniquely California one. At least, in my olfactory experience. This is similar to “The Party Animals” from our Walt Disney World list, except instead of collegiate drinking teams at EPCOT, we’re talking about smoking the reefer. Way too often, the skunky scent of mary jane lingers in the parking lot or quiet pathways between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.

It should go without saying, but doing drugs in a family-friendly theme park is not cool. On the plus side, we have observed security (presumably) intervene on more than one occasion when this has happened, and I’m guessing those guests get kicked out of the park. It is somewhat ironic, though, for this to be Disney’s reaction to pot, whereas “monetize it!” is their attitude towards alcohol. It’s probably a matter of social stigma…so maybe you can look forward to a dispensary on Main Street in the 2030s.

The Bridge Trolls – This is another type of “The Ones Who Have Never Walked in Public” from our Walt Disney World list. Again, this is people who have, seemingly, never navigated in public. The main difference is that entry applied primarily to motion: zig-zagging all around, changing multiple ‘lanes’ with zero notice, swerving around without paying attention to oncoming traffic, moving significantly slower than the speed of traffic, and a party of 7 walk side-by-side holding hands, taking up the entire walkway.

This applies to the lack of motion. There’s nothing quite like encountering a long line of traffic at the parking structures, cutting over to the ‘fast lane’ and blowing past a bunch everyone else…only to come to a screeching halt because the car at the front of the line has decided to ask the attendant every single conceivable question about Disneyland. If you’ve never driven to the parks because you always stay at the hotels on Harbor, surely you’ve had this exact same experience at the turnstiles. Pay no mind to that line of people or cars behind you!

If you have, somehow, never experienced either of those blockages, surely you’ve encountered the person who stops in the middle of a doorway, stairs, or any other point of ingress and egress. One of my personal “favorites” is stopping at the top of an escalator…what is every behind you supposed to do, fall down? Another favorite is those who stop in the middle of Disneyland’s many narrow bridges, blocking all traffic and effectively becoming bridge trolls.

The Grads – Despite doing regular updates on crowds, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve visited Disneyland during the last decade and upon arrival one of us has said, “ah shoot, it’s a Grad Nite!” Sometimes we’re bad about following our own advice. Ask pretty much any local Disneyland fan what they think of the parks during Grad Nites and you’ll hear pretty much the same complaints about vulgarity, line-cutting, garbage on the ground, inebriated kids, loud and disrespectful behavior, etc. The list goes on and on.

The thing is, if you ask these same locals about their Grad Nites, they will regale you with fond memories and tales of the best nights of their lives. I’m sure they were complete angels, and those memories are all squeaky-clean! So yeah, the Grads annoy us. But also, my own Grad Nite was at a local go-kart course and I remember (for the most part!) exactly what type of shenanigans occurred. I can only imagine how much better/worse that would’ve been at Disneyland.

So I also have a bit of a ‘let kids be kids/you’re only young once‘ attitude towards the event. Except when it’s time for Megatron’s Grad Nite, which we will be supervising to ensure there’s no funny business going on!

The iPhoneographers – This is a tricky one for me, a photographer and blogger. I am always taking photos at Disneyland, but I try to be cognizant of how it might impact first-timers or infrequent visitors. Nevertheless, others probably hear my shutter from time to time on “it’s a small world” or wonder what the heck I’m doing taking so many photos of a random churro.

Point being, I’m aware this entry might make me a hypocrite. Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and all that. Nevertheless, I’ll never understand why so many other guests–especially first-timers and infrequent visitors–experience so much of their vacation through the screen on their phones.

To be sure, I totally get it when it’s of their kids and families–but random rides and fireworks shows? I’ve been behind these people and have also experienced these things through their screens (not by choice), and I can say with complete confidence that there are thousands of better recordings on YouTube. That is, unless they’re going for a shaky ‘found footage’ or avant-garde style video, in which case, mission accomplished.

The Cursers – No, we’re not taking issue with Mama Odie casting curses on passing boats on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. That might actually be kinda cool depending upon what the curse entailed. Instead, we’re talking about swearing–foul language in the parks. These are family-friendly places, and I don’t think any parent wants to explain what X or Y means, or worse yet, have their kids repeat it.

Not only is this not unique to Disneyland, but I feel like it’s something we actually hear less at Disneyland than at Walt Disney World. After doing some in-depth investigating (two Google searches) and reading the research (three highly suspect “studies” and a Buzzfeed article), I’m pretty convinced that Disneyland’s core demo is actually less likely to curse than Walt Disney World’s.

To be honest, this also doesn’t really bother me. I watch HBO and am married to Sarah (most of you are never going to believe this, but she swore a lot prior to this year), so I’m numb to expletives. But it still doesn’t have a place in the parks. With this type of stuff, our rule is never say, do, or wear anything to Disneyland that you wouldn’t be comfortable with your grandma hearing or seeing. She’d be beside herself with a lot of what’s said, done, and worn at Disneyland, I’ll tell you that!

The Ones Who Streak – If I had a nickel for every explicit video of a naked man streaking through “it’s a small world” that I’ve seen, I’d have two nickels. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice, right? I probably should’ve stopped watching social media after the first video auto-played in my feed, but I didn’t possibly think there would be two instances of full front male nudity on “it’s a small world.” I was very wrong.

I honestly still can’t get over the fact that this happened in the first place, or even how it played out once it did happen. It was a veritable comedy of errors and poor judgment, by all parties involved. By comparison, all of the other entries on this list are small potatoes. Far and away the worst guest (singular at this point, thankfully) at Disneyland is the one who streaks through “it’s a small world.” Since I know copycat crime is a big problem, let me be the first to beseech you: don’t do this at Disneyland, it’s bad behavior. If you must streak in an amusement park, at least have the decency to take it to Magic Mountain.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts…

Which types of Disneyland guests do you think are the worst ones? Agree or disagree with the entries on our list? Feel free to vent in the comments. You won’t change anything about how other guests behave in the parks, but at least it’s therapeutic! Hearing your feedback–even if you think that bloggers are the worst guests–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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