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Roller-coasters, cotton candy, water rides and costumed characters — summer is the season of theme parks. As you plan to take in the dolphins, dragon rides and dinosaur discoveries, keep in mind that each park has some strict limits on what you can and can’t bring with you. Here are some you ought to know.
1. Cosplay outfits
Rejected: Disney and its associated parks have hordes of professionally dressed and trained Belles, Elsas and Tinker Bells — so they generally frown on anyone trying to do the same with their homemade outfit. However, the parks recently changed their policy from being strictly anti-cosplay to allow for “Disneybounding” — wearing similar colored outfits, such as a green ensemble with a feathered hat to be Peter Pan, for example. The parks have strictly forbidden “engaging with other guests or impeding the operation while posing or portraying any character in costume,” according to reports.
Rejected: Heelys, skateboards, scooters, in-line skates, Segways, bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, pogo sticks and motorcycles are all transporters non grata in most major parks, including Disney, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. If you want to see the Mouse House, you’re going to have to walk.
Rejected: On a hot summer day, it’s important to drink plenty of water as you sprint from ride to ride. This is a fact not lost on the park operators, who are more than happy to sell you a $4 bottle of water that is $1.29 at your local convenience store. While they do allow you to bring in some beverages, most parks will not allow hard-sided coolers. Universal doesn’t allow soft coolers larger than 8.5”x6”x6”, either.
4. Graffiti art
Rejected: This is fairly self-explanatory, but even the best street artists aren’t welcome to practice their skills on the multi-million dollar landscape of theme parks. Magic markers and spray paints of any kind are almost always a ticket to return to the car.
Rejected: While most places have limits on outside food and beverages, parks such as SeaWorld and Disney’s Animal Kingdom do not want their animals noshing on anything they shouldn’t. So, no straws, glass bottles, drink lids or balloons.
6. Selfie sticks
Rejected: This is a recent addition to the Disney list of no-nos, added just this year after someone decided to pull one out during a roller-coaster ride at Disney California Adventure. That resulted in an hour delay and a new law added to the books. The rule puts Disney in the same no-selfie stick zone as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lollapalooza and Wimbledon.
7. Obscene tattoos
Rejected: While you can turn a shirt that proclaims “ (ADULT LANGUAGE) YOU” inside out and probably still get into a park, having “(WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT) YOUR SISTER” visibly tattooed will more than likely result in a security officer politely ordering you to get the (DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW YOU SAID THAT) out. Long sleeves or heavy-duty concealer might be safer bets. (Photo: Augusto Serna / Flickr)
8. Folding chairs
Rejected: The famous Main Street USA parade is a high-stepping colorful good time that is one of the highlights of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. People can gather hours in advance, waiting for one parade or another to come churning by. While it would be nice to have a folding chair to sit comfortably while you wait, they aren’t allowed.
Rejected: Cats, dogs, ducks, fish, squirrels, pandas, cows, elephants, horses, rabbits, birds — Disney has been the source of anthropomorphized animals since Mickey Mouse piloted that steamboat for the first time. But despite how human your puppy seems as it looks deep into your eyes, unless he or she is a service animal, they aren’t coming into a Disney park.
Rejected: Some people love Disney. I mean, they really, really, REALLY love Disney. But as much as they would like to, they can’t be part of Disney forever. Disney forbids the spreading of a loved one’s ashes around the park. But it doesn’t stop people from trying, particularly in the Haunted Mansion.
(Photos: Associated Press, Getty Images)