14 of the wildest things that happened at Disney theme parks this year

Street view of Magic Kingdom and Cinderella Castle at Disney World.
A view of Main Street, USA, and Cinderella Castle at Disney World in August 2020. Charles Sykes/AP
  • Wild things have been happening at Disney destinations around the world since the start of 2021.
  • TikTokers have wreaked havoc at the theme parks by going against rules and breaking the dress code.
  • Some Disney ride vehicles have also experienced technical difficulties on numerous occasions.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Fans asked Disney World to hide Donald Trump’s animatronic inside the Hall of Presidents attraction after Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Trump hall of presidents
The Donald Trump animatronic in Disney World’s Hall of Presidents. Disney Parks
Almost immediately after Joe Biden was inaugurated in January, Disney World closed its Hall of Presidents attraction at Magic Kingdom to make room for a new animatronic of the 46th President.

The maintenance led some Disney fans to share their opinions on the attraction and its controversial Donald Trump animatronic. Some argued the theme park should “hide” Trump behind previous presidents, while others asked Disney to remove him entirely now that he’s no longer in office. 

It’s currently unclear if Disney World will honor any fan wishes regarding the Trump animatronic, as the attraction is still closed for maintenance at the time of writing.

A woman became a “theme-park nanny” after videos of her babysitting at Disney World went viral.
Cyan nanny business
Cyan Nardiello and a child she sometimes babysits at Disney World. Courtesy of Cyan Nardiello
Cyan Nardiello is a college student based in Florida. In a February interview with Insider, she said she had been bringing her babysitting clients to Disney World for a few years, but that she didn’t think to create Once Upon a Nanny until videos of their adventures started getting millions of views on TikTok.

“I decided to make a business out of it before someone stole my idea,” she told Insider. “I wasn’t really planning on making Once Upon a Nanny what it is, but I realized that there’s a demand for it.”

Now, she works with both local families and those on vacation to help care for their children at theme parks like Disney World.

Some Disney World employees were harassed by parkgoers over COVID-19 safety measures.
Disney world covid
A Disney employee sells balloons at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Charles Sykes/AP
According to a March report from the Orlando Sentinel, Disney World employees recalled being spit on and yelled at while trying to enforce the theme park’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, like mask-wearing and social distancing.

One anonymous worker told the publication that there’s “never a day” when they don’t have a bad story about interacting with angry parkgoers, and another said they “would have already quit” if not for having good colleagues.

Disney World has since removed most social-distancing measures in its parks, removed mask mandates, stopped temperature checks, and more.

A man said he was fired by Disney World after posting controversial TikTok videos about the theme park.
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TikToker Jason Jeter scoops water out of a decorative Disney fountain to drink it. ShowMeLoveJete/TikTok
Jason Jeter, who is best known online as Jete and @showmelovejete, has more than one million TikTok followers at the time of writing. His large following is largely the result of two Disney-related videos he posted in early 2021.

In one clip, he’s seen entering Disney’s wedding pavilion, located at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, without any employee assistance. In the other, he filmed himself drinking water from decorative fountains throughout Disney World and saying they tasted bad.

In March, Jeter said in a TikTok video that he was fired by Disney World as a result of his videos.

Jeter has said on social media that he was a member of the Disney College Program before the pandemic hit, and later worked in Epcot. Insider has been unable to confirm Jeter’s employment at the park.

A man who said he spent $US15,000 ($AU21,013) on a Disney vacation was arrested for refusing a temperature check in April.
A view of the Walt Disney World entrance sign.
A view of the Disney World entrance sign in Orlando, Florida. John Raoux/AP
Kelly Sills from Louisiana was reportedly arrested and charged with trespassing after refusing to have his temperature taken — one of Disney World’s previous COVID-19 safety precautions — at the Disney Springs shopping center.

“I paid $US15,000 ($AU21,013). You can’t trespass me for paying $US15,000 ($AU21,013),” Sills reportedly said in a video seen by the Tampa Bay Times.

The publication also reported that Sills changed his mind after being handcuffed, and said: “Will you take my temperature before you kick me out, please?”

“They’ll do that in jail, sir,” a deputy reportedly replied.

Later that month, a Disneyland Paris hotel was turned into a vaccine site.
People register to receive a dose of the 'Comirnaty' Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Disneyland Paris theme park vaccination center in Marne-la-Vallee, near Paris, as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in France, April 24, 2021.
People register for COVID-19 vaccines at Disneyland Paris on April 24, 2021. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
As Insider’s Joey Hadden previously reported, Disney’s Newport Bay Club resort in Chessy, France, began distributing vaccines on April 24. The mass vaccination site was open on weekends, and visitors could catch a glimpse of the destination’s nautical-themed hotel while there.

Disneyland Paris has been closed since October 2020 as a COVID-19 precaution, but it plans to reopen to the public on June 17.

Gondolas on Disney World’s Skyliner crashed into each other in late April.
Disney world skyliner
A view of Disney World’s Skyliner transportation system. Orlando Sentinel/Getty Images
The two Skyliner gondolas crashed at Hollywood Studios on April 22, shattering glass in the process. Alyssa of the Disney-themed blog Next Stop Main Street was there for the collision and shared a video of the two vehicles sitting side-by-side.

In an email sent to Insider at the time, Alyssa said she took the video at 6:15 p.m., and that the Skyliner was already stopped when she got in line. She also noted that no one seemed to be injured.

“After a few minutes, it started moving, then stopped again,” she previously told Insider. “When it started going a second time, something got stuck and you can see that in the video. I think they were adding a car to the line — it was almost like two cars ran into each other.”

The incident marked the second Skyliner crash since the attraction opened in 2019.

TikToker Jason Jeter was eventually barred from Disney World properties for trespassing.
A screenshow of TikToker Jason Jeter speaking about being banned from Disney World.
TikToker Jason Jeter speaks about being banned from Disney World in a video. Jason Jeter/TikTok
Jeter said in a TikTok video on May 3 that Disney security circled his car while he was parked outside the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, where he said he was visiting to get food.

“The worst happened,” Jeter said in his video. “As soon as I get out of the car, Orange County Police Department pulls up. ‘Hi, Jason Jeter, we have a trespass warning for you from Disney. You’re no longer allowed on the property.'”

Insider reviewed the warning at the time. It said Jeter has been barred from all Disney World property, including water parks and the Disney Springs shopping center.

Though Jeter didn’t say in his video what area of Disney he’d apparently trespassed in, he could be seen entering Disney World’s wedding pavilion without employee assistance in a TikTok video from March 13.

A different TikTok star said she got a free shirt at Magic Kingdom by breaking the theme park’s dress code.
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Amanda DiMeo shows a pink jersey she says she got for free at Disney World. Amanda DiMeo/TikTok
Amanda DiMeo, a TikTok star with more than 840,000 followers, posted a video on May 19 in which she said she got a $US75 ($AU105) Disney World shirt for free after wearing a crop top that showed her underboob.

In an email previously sent to Insider, DiMeo said she didn’t know her shirt went against Disney World’s dress code, as she’d worn it to the park once before, in January. She also said that the free-shirt voucher had a $US50 ($AU70) limit but that she asked to get the $US75 ($AU105) jersey and “the manager approved it for the cashier.”

Some people have applauded her actions and said they want to try her “free-shirt hack,” while Disney employees have said doing so will cause problems for those who work at the theme parks.

An original Disneyland mosaic sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in May.
Disneyland mosaic
The mosaic was originally featured at Sleeping Beauty Castle Disneyland. Jay L. Clendenin/Getty Images and Van Eaton Galleries
More than 1,200 pieces of Disney park memorabilia were sold as part of the Rediscovering Disneyland auction held by Van Eaton Galleries on May 22 and 23. One such item was a “Sleeping Beauty”-themed mosaic, which sold for $US363,000 ($AU508,518).

Though the artwork was only estimated to sell for a price between $US30,000 ($AU42,026) and $US50 ($AU70),000, its historic ties to the Anaheim, California, theme park likely increased its value.

According to the gallery’s auction catalog, the mosaic was handcrafted for the Sleeping Beauty Castle courtyard in Disneyland, though it moved around Fantasyland until the section was renovated in 1983. It’s made from tiles, which are infused into a “mesh wire backing” that previously served as “an original section” of the castle’s walls, according to the gallery.

The Disney World Skyliner experienced another crash in June.
The Disney World Skyliner over water.
The Disney Skyliner transports visitors between different parks and resorts. Charles Sykes/AP
A Disney fan who goes by @camerondudeck first shared photos of the incident via Twitter on June 8 around 7 p.m. The images showed yellow gondolas sitting against each other after crashing, and Disney employees surveying the scene. 

WDW News Today later reported that the gondolas collided at the EPCOT Station, where parkgoers can board to travel to three Disney World resorts and the Hollywood Studios theme park. It’s unclear if anyone was inside the vehicles at the time of the crash.

Also that month, Mickey Mouse went scuba diving at Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion.
Mickey mouse scuba diving
Mickey Mouse swims with other scuba divers at Disney World. Disney Parks/YouTube
As reported by WDW News Today, Mickey Mouse took the dive in celebration of World Oceans Day. He wore diving equipment and a black-and-yellow swimsuit, and swam through an aquarium tank to interact with fans.

The distanced meet-and-greet was the closest Disney fans have been able to get to Mickey Mouse since the theme park implemented COVID-19 safety protocols last year. The theme park’s standard character interactions, which include everything from photo opportunities to hugs, have been halted since early 2020.

A woman jumped off a moving boat in Epcot’s Living with the Land attraction and stole a cucumber in late June.
The monorail in Disney World rides past Spaceship Earth at Epcot.
Living with the Land is a greenhouse ride located within Disney World’s Epcot park. Orlando Sentinel/Getty Images
The TikTok video, reposted by Instagram user @alex64gaming, shows a woman jumping off a moving boat within the Disney World ride around 8:30 p.m in late June. She’s then seen grabbing a cucumber off of a vine before stumbling and failing to get back on the boat.

People are heard saying “Martha!” in the background, and another parkgoer is seen attempting to help her in the video.

Another Disney fan who said they were on the same boat said they didn’t see Disney security get involved during or after the incident.

At the end of August, a man and child reportedly stepped out of a Splash Mountain boat mid-ride.
Splash mountain disney world reopening
Guests sit rows apart on Splash Mountain. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images
Inside the Magic reported that the two parkgoers exited the ride vehicle while it was moving just before the ride’s big drop. The ride was then quickly stopped by employees, according to the publication.

It’s unclear at the time of writing what happened afterward, and if the parkgoers faced any consequences.