Disney World Tips and Tricks: Dark Ride Etiquette

For first time visitors to Disney Parks, dark ride etiquette may seem confusing. Some rides allow photos with no external lighting, while others are somewhat vague. That’s just the tip of the iceberg concerning Dark Ride Etiquette.

Here is my Top 5 Dark Ride Don’ts.

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean. This ride does quietly announce “No flash photos”, however hearing the announcement can be quite difficult. I used to love riding Pirates of the Caribbean. It was one of my favorite attractions. After riding a few times with numerous flashers, my retinas began to ache and now I avoid riding unless it’s very late or very early in the day reducing the likelihood of flashers being in our boat. While you may want to remember the ride, the rest of the passengers in your boat want to experience the ride. When multiple flashes suddenly illuminate your surroundings, it really puts a damper on the entire experience, ruins the illusion of the ride and can cause serious health problems for some people. So, please be considerate and if you must take photos, turn the flash off. Your pictures will likely turn out better that way anyhow.
  2. Haunted Mansion. While flash photos aren’t as prevalent on this attraction, they are still a problem. However a much more pressing issue is trying to spook little kids by randomly shouting in Madame Leona’s room. For some kids, The Haunted Mansion is already spooky enough, while other children find the attraction silly and whimsical. For those few who are already spooked, let’s try to be considerate and not terrify them. Give them a chance to find the fun in a wonderfully, happily macabre attraction.
    Dinosaur. This is something I’m guilty of. Typically I remember to turn my cell off or on vibrate before getting on a ride. However, for Dinosaur I sometimes forget because I have “No Service” displayed across the screen from the time I enter the building until the Sauropod scene. That’s when my phone decides it’s a fantastic time to ring. I’m sure no one around me wants to hear my awesome ring tone as I fumble to turn it off in the jostling Time Rover. To my fellow passengers, I’m deeply sorry that I may have potentially altered our homing signal from the bright light of my LCD screen as I manage to decline the call and turn the ringer off. Aladar, I am sorry that you are lost in the Dino Institute because of my failure to do something considerate.
  3. It’s a Small World. If one of my kids decide to ride this ride, I really do not need to hear you sing, chant, or discuss this attraction very loudly. If you’re louder than the cute little dolls who never seem to stop, then you’re probably too loud. I sing along with the dolls, and sing quite badly, but I do not belt the words out to the top of my lungs. I don’t want everyone’s ears to bleed as we travel through the various rooms. I’m not a doctor and blood freaks me out and for that reason, I’ll sing or speak quietly to the person next to me so only they can hear. It would be nice if you would do the same.
  4. Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. It’s not a ride, to most of us anyway. Most kids seem to get really tall as the day progresses while at Walt Disney World. I had never seen a 7 or 8 foot tall toddler until our first viewing of Wishes. I get it, your kid wants to see over everyone’s head, in fact I understand it. Being vertically challenged, I have asked if my husband would perch me on his shoulders to see the fireworks. He declined my request, but I found that I could see the fireworks just as fine from my cold hard seat on the ground, until that 8 foot tall three year old stood in front of me, anyway. So, take a break, find an incredibly uncomfortable seat right at the Hub in front of the castle and relax with your kids. You will see the show and get some rest for the stroller derby all at once. Oh and I can see the fireworks too. Now, we’re all happy!

What rides have been the worst offenders on your vacation? Do you have any other etiquette tips to share? Are you guilty, like me, of being a dark ride bad etiquette offender?

Stay tuned to Part 2 coming soon!

Lisa writes here at Chip & Co. as well as her blog Adventures in Mousedom. As a local to Disney World, she offers a different insight into visiting the parks. If you’re super cool like Chip, you should check it out. Okay, even if you’re not super cool like Chip, you should check it out. Trust me. What’s the worst that could happen?

  • Proper Park Etiquette – What NOT to do at Disney World! (chipandco.com)
  • Disney World Quick Tips: Ten Tips for First Timers (chipandco.com)


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13 thoughts on “Disney World Tips and Tricks: Dark Ride Etiquette

  1. That’s a bad idea, it alters the homing signal! You’ll get lost and the meteor will strike and you’ll be featured in the Dino Institute’s Believe it or Not files…
    All jokes aside, I would be terrified to take photos on that ride. I would most certainly lose my camera, especially if I was sitting in the back row where it’s bumpier.

  2. Did the Gangster teach you lesson? Poor Aladar taught me a lesson. I always see him wandering around on the monitor. He looks so lost and it’s all my fault. (P.S. I know that feeling, everyone looks at you and it’s not intentional on your part at all! Sometimes you just forget with all the excitement!)

  3. Wow, that’s insane. I am happy to report that a cast member announced over the loud speaker last Wednesday for flashers to halt. I was so excited. I know, crazy thing to be excited about, but I was. I think this particular cast member was someone dispatched from Test Track, although I cannot confirm it.

  4. We were on Spaceship Earth a few years ago, and the people behind us kept flashing, so I asked them to stop, she actually waited for the seats to turn, so she can flash me in the face. I was not happy, but had to compose myself because I had my son with me. I did glare at her afterwards.

  5. I am also guilty of having my cell phone going off during a ride. It was during the movie films scenes on The Great Movie Ride. It was quite awkward and now I try to always have my phone on vibrate or the quietest setting.

  6. We had someone on Dinosaur taking pictures the entire time! I don’t like that ride to begin with, but it really makes me mad when people take flash pictures when the rules clearly say no. I am an avid photographer and would love to take the same pictures but I listen to the rules!

  7. Thanks for these un-common common-sense tips. Sadly, the people who most need to hear it won’t be the ones to read them… :/

  8. My kids used to be young once to, so I understand the want for them to see everything as best as possible at DW. But…..During certain things (parades, Illuminations etc.) if someone is standing in their spot (that they have probably been standing in for quite some time) please please be considerate and not push your child through the smallest of cracks just to get closer, or if they try to get through on their own please at least say something to them, apologize etc. I know in my case most times if you ask nicely I will let them get in front of me, but if you push, shove, step on my feet I am going to say something.

  9. Pictures on Spaceship Earth ruins the entire effect! I love that ride too 🙂 I would be over the moon and love that Cast Member every day for the rest of my life if someone would stop the flashers when I’m aboard.

  10. If your big group gets separated, don’t let them cut a ton of people in line to catch up to you. Instead, wait for them, or leave the line to join them. I’ve seen this happen far too many times and seeing the kids faces when a big group of people cut in front of them is so sad.

  11. Unfortunately, the people that *need* these tips do not read them! One of the worst offenders I’ve ever seen is people taking pictures at the top of Spaceship Earth. They blinded about 50 people with one flash! I will make your day though. On Pirates, they actually stopped the boat and announced they will not restart the ride until you turn the flash off on the camera (and the light on the camcorder). I guess the cast member got really angry at getting blinded too!

  12. I found the flash photography during Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in DCA particularly egregious. I rode it three times and every time there was so many disconcerting flashes throughout. Very disappointing. Wish Disney would enforce this rule more.

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