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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