October 27, 2022

Disney World is the most famous theme park in the world. Families come for its thrilling rides and delicious food. But could teens start lining up for … alcohol?

A post by Mouse Trap News went viral on TikTok after it claimed that The Walt Disney Co. was seeking a resort exemption to lower the drinking age within its Florida park. But is Disney really trying to get a resort exemption to allow people as young as 18 to drink on their property?

This is how we fact-checked it.

Check for evidence

First, I visited the article attached to the viral video to see if I could find any additional information. This is a media literacy tip called “reading upstream.” You should always follow any links that are shared to see the evidence for yourself.

The article from Mouse Trap News says Disney is battling Florida in the courts over the minimum drinking age. But the writer provides no evidence such as sources or court filings. 

But more than the lack of evidence for the claim, I noticed that the writing is kind of clunky, there are punctuation mistakes and there is no byline on the story. A byline tells the reader who wrote the story, and most legitimate news sites have stories with bylines. This article didn’t. This made me a little suspicious.

Diving into the source

Then I went back to TikTok. If there’s one small piece of advice that makes a huge difference in sorting fact from fiction online it’s this: Always check the bio. It’s easy to see something, laugh and share it before digging deeper. But with a single click or swipe to a TikToker’s bio you can find out whether something may be real or fake.

Mouse Trap News’ bio says, “‼️Real Disney News That is 100% FAKE.” This is the first clue that this is probably a fake claim. But the way this is worded is a little confusing so I decided to dive a little deeper.

I went to the website’s “About” page. Think of the About page like the bio — but for a news organization. On a legit news source’s About page, you should be able to see:

  • what type of news they cover;
  • and who or what organization runs the site.

This can help you to determine whether the news site might be biased — or completely bogus.

Mouse Trap News describes itself as “… the world’s best satire site. We write fake stories about Disney Parks stuff.” So, bottom line, the entire Mouse Trap News site is satire.

Satire vs. misinformation

Satire is false information that tries to make a point, often through humor or exaggeration. This site about Disney is just one of many popular satire sites. Some other examples of satire include The Onion, ClickHole, Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show

The problem with satire is it is up to the reader or viewer to figure it out. Recognizing online satire is not always easy. These types of stories become misinformation when people don’t know it is satire and they re-share it as fact. 

Even professional news organizations can be duped. The New York Post in 2010 ran a story about a Serbian man who accidentally killed a hammerhead shark — with his butt while drunk — not realizing that it was from a new satirical news site called Njuz.net. 

So here are a couple of tips to help you recognize whether something you see online might be satire:

  • Research the author. Are they real? Do they have expertise?
  • Investigate the site itself — read the About page, which will often come right out and label the site as satire.
  • Finally, if it seems too absurd, too comical, too ridiculous, it might be satire.

Bottom line, before sharing anything online, make sure you find out more about the TikTokker or news site.


Not Legit. There is no evidence that Disney is fighting the Florida government in court or lobbying to lower the drinking age within their park. There is a lack of transparency about the author, and finally a quick check of the About page on the website tells us the story is clearly intended to be satire.

ATTENTION TEACHERS: This fact-check is featured in a free, one-hour lesson plan about satire and misinformation. Lesson plan: How to identify satire before sharing it as misinformation” is available through PBS NewsHour Classroom, and includes slides and a handout, among other resources for teachers.

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Matthew Bird is a member of the Teen Fact-Checking Network.
Matthew Bird

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