Man Photobombs Disney World Proposal, Gets Turned Into an Internet Meme


Some unlucky fellow was minding his own business in Disney World recently when he happened to accidentally walk in front of a couple as the man was proposing to his girlfriend. The moment wasn’t just captured on camera (shown above) — it has spawned a quirky new Internet photo meme.

Reddit user SpnkyHappy uploaded the photo to the social news service yesterday with the simple title: “Tried to get a photo of our proposal…nailed it!” The photograph quickly attracted thousands of “upvotes” and was featured on the site’s front page.

This poor fellow is now known on the Internet as "In The Way Guy."

This poor fellow is now known on the Internet as “In The Way Guy.”

The Internet has a way of not letting slip-ups go away quietly and “unmocked”. Soon, people began to turn Mr. Photobomber into a humorous new meme called “In The Way Guy.” They Photoshopped him into old photos to make it look as though he accidentally photobombed iconic images. Here are some of the images that have appeared so far:






SpnkyHappy says that the Disney Photopass photographer he hired managed to get other non-photobombed pictures of the proposal as well — the one above is just the one that made the couple laugh.

(via HappyPlace via The Phoblographer)

  • Mantis

    It’s that “Oh sh*t, sorry! Sorry, sorry, sorry!” look on this face that makes it.

  • vinterchaos

    He made their cliche, overdone proposal photo a lot better. They should be happy.

  • Idenwen

    Why does no one care about the personal right of this poor fellow not to be published? Someone asked him if it’s ok to use the picture of him that way? Privacy anyone?

  • VicVader

    Digital cameras/phones and the internet knows no boundaries on privacy. C’mon, you should know that by now :).

  • Deb Alverson

    He was in a public place, the way I see it. You take that chance of your photo being taken. Now, if it is used for monetary gain I feel he should be compensated. Other than that though, if you don’t want your picture taken then don’t go out in public….or watch where you walk!

  • ilo_photo

    If you’re worried about privacy these days Disneyland is probably not the place for you.

  • jta0033

    He was in a public place and has no such freedom from having his photo taken. Just as he has no choice as to whether or not his image is recorded by Disney’s many security cameras, cameras of passersby whatever. When you’re in public, you’re in public view … try not to do anything embarrassing.

  • laura

    I’m sure he will be okay.

  • Criz

    Photobomb aside, maybe I’m not seeing the hidden challenge, but: He actually HIRED someone for that, as in “paid somebody” for this picture? (Assuming the non-photobombed-pictures weren’t completely different…)

  • Scott M

    Oh how I love you internet.

  • justphotographinglife

    Even before digital camera and phones, in the US, anyone in a public space can be documented in a photograph without asking consent. Only if the image is used for profit is it necessary to get a Model Release signed by the subject. This is not true in other countries, where there are laws about photographing people in public.

  • Mantis

    Let’s drop the snobby elitism. They were at Disney, and this looks like just a caputured memory, not some kind of artistic photographic statement.

  • Peter Acker

    “It is legal to photograph or videotape anything and anyone on any public property.”

  • Yuriy Petushkov

    Is Disneyland Really a place of public? I would think if you pay admission, it is no longer considered public except that of a national monument or forest? Is there a lawyer in the thread?

  • lindsayanng


  • Alex Pollen

    Hair-splitting – technically it wasn’t a public place. At Disney you pay to get in and it’s on private property, so you can assert that it isn’t a public place under those circumstances. If it was a public street / sidewalk then that would be another story.

    Of course the bride / groom were silly to try to take a proposal photo on the main drag during vacation season … so +1 vinterchaos on the cliche.

  • Ivor Wilson

    Was the one with the Vietnamese(?) children, frightened for their lives by the prospect of agonising death by napalm, really necessary?

  • Rudy Bega

    Oh PetaPixel comment section, you’re so predictable..

    Take a normal tourist snapsot? It’s cliche.
    Add dinosaurs or AT-AT walkers? It’s overdone and cheesy.

  • Fabien de Serres

    AFAIK Disneyland is NOT a public space. The theme park belongs to a private corporation and the land is private property. That’s one of the reason that allow them to charge you to get inside the park.

    So, even if his image is not used for commercial purposes, he still has a right to have this photo removed.

  • Eryn

    Disneyland IS private property, but as it is considered “open to the public” photography/privacy laws revert back laws the laws covering photographing people in public spaces.

    The only difference is that the land owner (Disney) has rights to control the images, but still not the people in the photos.

  • Fabien de Serres

    This type of comments baffles me: an open space is not necessarily a public space.

    AFAIK Disneyland is NOT a public space. The theme park belongs to a private corporation and the land is private property. That’s one of the reason that allow them to charge you to get inside the park.

    So, even if his image is not used for commercial purposes, he still has a right to have this photo removed.

  • Trisha26

    The lesson here is, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And he’s hardly photobombing in the original, he’s just “in the way.” Lame meme.

  • vinterchaos

    Um… proposing at Disney is cliche, the photo is expected.. I worded it the wrong way.

  • vinterchaos

    snobby elitism? k

  • Michael Zhang

    We’ve removed that one from the list. You’re right — that one’s not tasteful :-/

  • jta0033

    It is private property, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the public sphere. How can you expect privacy when thousands of people can see you at any given time?

  • ramanauskas

    No. Because it’s not a public place, Disney would have the right to prohibit photography (of course they don’t), but even if they did, that would not give this guy any right to have the photo removed.

    He probably has recourse if the image were used in advertising or in a defamatory way, but otherwise I think not.

    He might be able to make some use of it–I seem to recall that the woman in the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme was able to promote her own projects a bit.

  • Ugg

    Well aren’t you just a little ray of sunshine.
    What did you do for YOUR proposal?

  • vinterchaos

    Sorry, let me try again. What a hilarious situation. I’m sure the couple gets a good kick out of it. They’ll obviously never forget it, and that is what really counts!

  • Fastball Photography

    He will be on the late night talk circuit within days

  • Matthew Everett

    How come nobody has mentioned the girl doing her best McKayla Maroney just behind and to the left of the couple?

  • pnv

    Geez, lighten up. Proposing at Disney is overdone? Paris, maybe, but Disney? Where are you from? Appalachia?

  • Matthew Everett

    Disneyland is definitely not a “public space” in the sense that it is privately-owned, but in the US anyway, Disneyland most likely qualifies as a place of public accommodation. Meaning, they could reasonably ban photography/videography on their property and they do charge for admission, but it’s still technically a “public space”.

    That said, I don’t think that really has much bearing on this man’s case. Instead I would think about his expectation of privacy, which seems quite low to me. He would have a similarly low expectation of privacy in a hotel lobby with public access compared to his hotel room, which would carry with it a very high expectation of privacy.

  • Peter Acker

    The other difference here is that whereas this picture would normally have just been tossed as a reject and the clumsy interloper forgotten, now the image is viral and the guy will probably end up on the Today Show getting his 15 minutes of Warholian fame.

  • M@

    maybe the dude on one knee will want to go somewhere ROMANTIC!!!!!!!!
    not disney-land!, and try again!
    mateys face is proper funny tho! hope he has a sense of humour and not a law-firm!

  • photoguy

    You’re absolutely right but just to clarify, Disneyland is not public space. It is actually private land but this guy most likely waived his rights by buying a ticket – legally, it’s referred to as implied consent. There’s probably even some fine print on his ticket that says Disney could take his picture and use it in their promotional stuff without a model release or compensation.

  • AnnieLA

    Ugg what a bully. Let it rest!

  • Kodachrome64

    I’m not trying to argue, just discuss the issue. He is on privately owned land, but as far as I understand it, he can take photos unless it is posted that he can’t. Even if Disney employees asked him not to photograph after taking this, all they could do is force him to leave the premises. I think he would still retain full copyright of the photo. I don’t see how they could take the copyright without him signing something.

  • religionandhistory

    He would be missing for months if trying this New years Eve in Times Square ! Even in the Magic Kingdom a man should expect to be trampled , photographed or worse if down on one knee proposing marriage to a random female passerby or two !

  • jhj

    forget about privacy, NSA law apply here

  • Burnin Biomass

    Here is a legal definition of public place…

    The first sentence covers it.

  • DCminn

    The photo that is in the link captures the moment of the proposal beautifully for the couple. It’s the moment. Whatever you may think of proposing at Disney World. To me this photo should of just been dumped. It is one of the rejects. Yes they have every right to show it to friends, post it, what have you but there was no need for it. Just kind of tacky to now make this guy the butt of jokes when they got their moment captured. He didn’t ruin anything for the couple but now he’s a joke. Don’t know why we as people need to do that to people. Sure it might not be a problem with the guy, he may even find the memes funny but really what was the point. Did it need to be posted though?

  • Jordan Butters

    Who gives a damn? Lighten up.

  • Ivor Wilson

    Thanks Michael.

  • Corporate Photographer

    nice idea- love the Ali one

  • anncoultersadamsapple

    How did you propose to your wife? Or is a proposal of any kind “cliché”? I mean, seriously, a RING? EVERYONE does that? Right?

  • Bill

    The photo was probably just what the happy couple wanted, nothing super fancy.

    Remember, these Disney Photopass people are hourly paid employees that have a camera, they are not high-end photographers. Is the photo, meh? well maybe, but like fore-mentioned, the couple seems happy with them.

    Not trying to bring down the moment or the “photographer”, it may be “cliche” or overdone, but it is a magic moment for that couple, they will cherish it for the res of their lives. That’s all that matters, right?

    As for the public space issue everyone seems to be commenting on:

    One commenter summed it up basically, just because it is open space, does not mean it is public space.

    Public space is anywhere, where people can move freely about where the property is not owned or regulated by any person, group or entity. Like walking down practically any street in the US.

    Main Street USA @ Disney is a private-owned space that is open to the public, it’s called public ingress/egress, so what ever photo policies that they deem to enforce would be in effect. They do not enforce many, if any due to the fact that it is a tourist attraction. A screen-shot of their policy is below along with Six Flags, another Southern California theme park.

    Now try using their image of Cinderella’s castle for profit, and your going down a whole different avenue.

  • wakkoroti

    This isnt at Disneyland. This is the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.

  • rokstikfyre

    Watch “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. There is a scene where Disneyland security abducts a man who was filming another artist.

    They held him for almost 5 hours with no reason.

  • vinterchaos

    Already did, thanks for chiming in!