Disney Is Permanently Banning Certain Guests Helping Others in Its Parks
Parkgoers will have to plan visits themselves or cough up a pretty penny.
The Disney parks can be a magical place, but also an overwhelming one—especially if it's your first time visiting, or you're traveling in a large group. With that in mind, many parkgoers decide to enlist the help of professional third-party Disney tour guides. But that practice may soon be coming to an end.
Disney tour businesses help clients plan their Disney adventure to the fullest, from making dining reservations to securing rental vehicles for guests with disabilities to creating ride itineraries. But while many clients rely on third-party tour guides to help make the most of their visit, Disney's new ban against unauthorized commercial activities may make that a thing of the past.
Nicholas Deniz is one of the latest third-party tour guides to be impacted by Disney's new ban. In an interview with Insider, Deniz said a police officer outside of Disney World served him a trespass notice when he tried to enter the park with clients back in October.
Deniz was told he isn't allowed to step foot on any Walt Disney World properties, and if he would like to appeal the ban, he can only do so after a year. For the time being, the ban is indefinite.
As it turns out, Deniz's story isn't uncommon among third-party tour guides. Of the nine third-party business owners and tour guides Insider spoke to, five have received the same letter as Deniz. As predicted, many have been left baffled by the seemingly sudden ban.
"None of us are attempting to portray Disney in a negative light, but are just desperate for answers," Alayna Crutchfield, a third-party guide and owner of Elevate Amusement, told Insider.
Multiple third-party business owners also pointed out that their services are bringing revenue to Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
"We provide a service to Disney itself by bringing clients, high-end clients," Ramón Rodriguez of Theme Park Concierges, told Insider. "My clients aren't eating hamburgers and hot dogs and popcorn. They go to Disney's high-end restaurants. They stay at Disney's luxury hotels."
Luxury hotels aside, third-party tour guides are often seen as a more affordable option for those who might otherwise not be able to afford Disney's tour rates. According to Disney's VIP Tour Guide page, private tours can run guests anywhere from $450-$900 per hour.
Meanwhile, third-party services cost a fraction of that; one business owner told Insider they charge $180-250 per hour, while another shared that their prices don't go above $300 per hour. Without help from a knowledgeable guide, some individuals might feel compelled to ditch their trip altogether.
For visitors with disabilities, booking a Disney visit with a tour guide is often considered the best option. Murray Krasnoff, whose business Suntastic Service specializes in disability accessibility tours, told Insider that he had to cancel five guided tours planned during the holidays after receiving the trespass notice.
Best Life reached out to Disney for comment on the current tour guide policy, and we will update this story with its response. But Disney did give a comment to Insider, saying, "Unauthorized commercial activities are not permitted at Disney World as clearly stated in our property rules."
The Disney spokesperson also claimed that there has been an abuse of power when it comes to the Disability Access Service and other services. They did not provide any documentation to Insider, however.
Nevertheless, Krasnoff is hopeful that Disney and third-party business owners can reach a common ground and work together peacefully.
"Why can't we have an association for the many guides here? Let's have an association. Let's put together guidelines of what's accepted, what's not accepted, and work together as affiliates," Krasnoff told Insider.