A Disney vacation is full of magic. From attractions such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Jungle Cruise and nighttime spectaculars like Fantasmic! and Happily Ever After, to character dining and meeting Mickey Mouse himself, we all want a perfect trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.
When visiting any of the Disney Parks or Resorts across the world, though, Guests must follow certain rules and regulations that when ignored, could result in getting kicked out – or even being banned – from the Parks.
And it seems it’s not just us “normal folks” who can get kicked out of the theme parks. Celebrities have also been ousted from both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
There is a broad mix of actors, musicians, and politicians who have been banned or ejected from Disneyland and Walt Disney World over the years for behaving badly.
Let’s dive into this Disneyland crime list and see who the biggest offenders are from the celebrity world!
Blake Lively has a very wholesome celebrity persona, with a rare, successful Hollywood marriage to Ryan Reynolds, a string of hit movies, and a bunch of kids kept out of the spotlight.
But little did we know that Lively has a criminal past. Well, on Disney Park standards anyway!
In an interview with David Letterman in 2009, Lively revealed that she, “was banned from Disneyland for a year. This was all my brother’s fault. If you get a stamp when you leave the Park, if you spray hairspray on it you can transfer it onto someone else’s hand.”
“In the parking lot, he went up to someone and said, ‘Hey, can we spray hairspray on your hand and we transferred it.” When they went through the theme park entrance turnstile, they were approached by some Disneyland Cast Members who asked her and her brother to go with them.
“I’m like 6 years old and my brother says, ‘No matter what they say, do not confess. I will not admit that we did this,'” Lively said. She added that her brother, Eric, was about 12 years of age at the time.
Lively said they were taken to a place she described as a “Disney prison” with “all white rooms.” “It was really scary and traumatizing,” Lively noted of the experience. “They wanted us to admit that we were trying to get in for free and then ban us for life. But we were strong. We said we didn’t do it.”
President Barack Obama
Yes, you read that correctly. Even political leaders can’t escape Disney security!
During a 2018 campaign rally in Anaheim, California, President Obama recalled his shame at being once kicked out of Disneyland Park as a student at Occidental College. He attended Occidental College for two years from August 1979 to June 1981, during which he got booted out of the Happiest Place on Earth.
“A few of us were smoking [cigarettes] on the gondolas,” Obama said of the Park’s Disneyland Skyway attraction, which closed back in 1994.
As Obama and his friends reached the end of the ride, he said they were approached by “two very large Disneyland police officers. They say, ‘Sir, can you come with us?’ And they escorted us out of Disneyland. This is a true story, everybody. I was booted from the Magic Kingdom.”
Of course, this wasn’t at the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World, but rather at Disneyland Park in California. Although former U.S. President Barack Obama was told he had to leave that day for breaking Disneyland’s rule — smoking isn’t permitted in the Parks unless you’re in a designated smoking area — he revealed he was “welcome to come back any time.”
Robert Downey Jr.
Marvel Studios icon and Iron Man (2008) star Robert Downey Jr. has a similar story to that of Obama, as revealed while receiving his Disney Legends Award at the D23 Expo in 2019.
During his first Disneyland experience, the young actor was busted for smoking pot on the gondola ride.
“Here’s a bit of trivia. My first time to Disneyland, I was transported to another place, within moments of being arrested,” Downey Jr. revealed.
“I would like to make amends to whoever had to detain me for smoking pot in the gondola without a license,” he continued, joking that he knew “a pot-smoking license is not in any way attainable” for the gondola or any ride at Disneyland.
It’s not just smoking that can get you a ban from Disney Parks. Taking unauthorized photos can also lead to punishment from the Mouse.
Actress Rebel Wilson knows just that. During an appearance on “The Daily Show,” Wilson revealed she was banned from Disneyland after taking a bathroom selfie.
“I took a photo in a secret bathroom inside Disneyland, which is illegal at Disneyland, and I got officially banned for 30 days,” Wilson explained. (The bathroom in question is inside the exclusive Club 33).
It wasn’t an immediate ban, however. Wilson said Disney actually reached out to her, asking which 30 days she didn’t want to come to the theme park.
“They called me up and said, ‘Rebel, what 30 days do you not want to come to Disneyland because you’re away filming a movie or something? And I said, ‘Oh, June would be fine,'” Wilson added.
It appears Wilson has been welcomed back to the theme parks, as she recently got every Disney fan’s dream by getting engaged at Disneyland to Australian girlfriend Tamona Agruma.
Actresses, Presidents, and even iconic musicians aren’t immune to Disneyland security, especially when it comes to Disney’s dress code.
In Bruce Springsteen’s 2017 autobiography, “Born to Run,” the popular musician recounted the time he was “unceremoniously thrown out of Disneyland for refusing to remove” his bandana.
Springsteen writes of his Disneyland theme park experience:
“We buy our tickets. Steve [Van Zandt], giggling excitedly, can’t wait and enters through the turnstiles first. He proceeds approximately thirty feet inside, where he is stopped, asked to step aside, and told that in order to remain in the Park, he will need to remove his bandana.
This, say the powers that be, is so he will not be misidentified as a gang member, Blood or Crip, and fall victim to a drive-by while hurling his cookies on Space Mountain.”
Springsteen said they left, exclaiming, “We’re outta here! Screw you, fascist mouse! We’re going to Knott’s Berry Farm,” in reference to another California theme park. When arriving at Knott’s, however, Springsteen said they were informed they wouldn’t be allowed into the Park for the same reason.
Disney’s dress code was also an issue for model and singer Grace Jones. The “Slave to the Rhythm” songstress was kicked out of Disney for something a lot more controversial than a bandana.
According to a September 13, 1998 article in The Orlando Sentinal, Grace Jones “pulled her top off” during a performance at House of Blues. The popular restaurant and bar is located in the Disney Springs (then-Downtown Disney) area at Walt Disney World in Florida.
At the time, a spokesperson for the Walt Disney World Resort told The Orlando Sentinal that “House of Blues does not condone or permit such behavior.” The incident resulted in the performer getting “banned from all Disney properties.” It is unknown how long her Disney Park ban lasted.
Did any of these surprise you? Remember, next time you want to head to Disneyland Park. Disney’s California Adventure, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom, stick to the rules, and leave your skateboard, drone, selfie stick, and adult costumes at home!