Let me say first that I know that this article may offend a few people I consider friends. It is not my intent in writing this to dictate to people how they ought to behave in Walt Disney World. Normative values in the case I’m about to describe are dictated by law, and since I don’t write the law or have a role in enforcement of the law, I cannot tell individuals what they ought or ought not to do.
This all being said, I am of the mindset that it’s not appropriate for guests to sneak around backstage in Walt Disney World. I have thought for a long time that Disney is trying as hard as they can to create an care-free, clean, safe and beautiful environment for guests to play. And they do this spectacularily well. As much as I rail against some of the attractions and park entertainment Disney has produced in recent years, this is all a matter of personal preference. As I stated in several articles back, I realize that not everything Disney does is for me. I even think that if Disney produces Avatarland as they say they will, it will be done extremely well. (My contention with an Avatar based land is simply that Avatar was a really stupid film and has had no lasting impact in culture. I hear people talk about it now as frequently as they talk about the Matrix.) Disney is very careful and precise about what they offer us, and we mostly appreciate what it is they do to make us happy.
I believe that the relationship that Disney and guests has should be one of mutual respect. Disney allows us to go backstage in a supervised manner, because candidly some of the things that happen backstage simply aren’t safe for people to wander in to. I have also been backstage plenty during my time working at Walt Disney World and really don’t understand the fascination with it either. I was admitted on several occassions to see what was underneath the ride track and behind the doors of the Haunted Mansion, and besides being able to see how the ride works and to get up close to the ballroom ghosts, there’s not a whole lot to do or see down there. Most of it is used as storage. When Disney admits us to the park, there is not only a legal understanding, but also a relational understanding that we will respect Disney’s private and intellectual property and they will respect us by providing excellent service and a phenominal park experience. Breaking the terms of that contract is a violation of what Disney is trying to do for us and leaves Disney with every right to sever their relationship with the guest.
Speaking as a previous cast member, I can also say that catching someone sneaking around backstage puts the every day workers at WDW in a difficult position. Most cast members don’t want to have people thrown out of the park, which is exactly what will happen if a person is caught. Yet, it is ethically right that a cast member should report someone caught sneaking around backstage. Remember, employees have a more important contract with Disney than you do as a guest. They have an obligation to keep individuals safe and to enforce the rules of the park if there’s misbehavior. So by entering private property, individuals are not just putting themselves at risk, but also potentially otherwise uninvolved employees. I speak firsthand when I tell you that employees are not let off easily when they make errors in judgement.
You may call me a prude or whatever you like, but I’ve never thought it wise to enter through closed doors. I don’t want to risk for myself or for my future children the possibility of severing the relationship I have with WDW. You may make up your own mind, of course. These are just my thoughts.
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