Are Selfie Sticks Banned in Theme Parks?
Twitter was abuzz with reports this evening that Walt Disney World had banned the use of selfie sticks inside its theme parks. A few readers added that Universal Orlando was banning use of the devices, too. So I reached out to both Disney and Universal for clarification on their policies.
A Disney attractions cast member confirmed that Walt Disney World is restricting the use of selfie sticks on attractions, insisting that they be stowed within the ride vehicle and not extended or otherwise used on the ride. But the cast member also said that this has been the policy for several months, and is not new. The cast member also denied that Disney is confiscating selfie sticks — cast members simply are asking guests to put them away.
A Universal spokesperson confirmed that selfie sticks, along with all other loose items, are not permitted on rides at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Of course, parks also ban flash photography on rides and anyone who's sat behind someone shining a spotlight throughout the Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion rides knows how people ignore those rules. Another Disney cast member said that ride operators will shut down an attraction if they see a selfie stick in use, as it is a potential safety hazard, unlike the use of flash photos, which is most often simply an annoyance and "bad show."
Universal's traditionally been tougher on enforcing a ban on the use of loose articles on its rides, as anyone who's been through the metal detectors on Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit can attest.
Earlier this year, Theme Park Insider readers voted by a margin of almost four to one that they wanted parks to ban the use of selfie sticks. Some tourist attractions around the world, including the Smithsonian, the Palace of Versailles, and the Colosseum in Rome have banned selfie sticks on their grounds.
Will theme parks do the same? If attractions operators have to shut down rides more frequently in response to guests using the sticks, parks might just find it easier to ban their entry into the park. If guests continue to complain that others' use of selfie sticks on pathways is interfering with or harming them, that also might prompt a park-wide ban. But for now, selfie sticks remain permitted in major theme parks in the United States, though not while you are riding.
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If they're going to pass a rule like this, I hope they will actually enforce it. I'm sick of self righteous theme park guests flouting the rules, as if they don't apply to them.
Could banning the use of IPads during fireworks shows be next? We shall see.
Of course it's quite possible that like any fad or fashion the selfie-stick will be huge for a few months and then disappear into total obscurity. I suspect the selfie itself might do the same as Fashion decides that they are narcissistic or selfish or simply not cool... If that does prove to be the case then theme parks won't need to legislate against them as they'll simply disappear.
From a photographer's perspective, selfie sticks are a clever invention since it allows you to capture images "above the crowd" or from angles that would otherwise be extremely awkward to capture. However, their proliferation in public areas has become annoying as people are too busy taking pictures of themselves to enjoy where they are and what they're doing along with being courteous to those around them. I can appreciate some of that since I fall into that trap from time to time trying to take dozens of pictures when I first see something new. Selfie sticks also seem to have introduced a new level of brashness from people that feel it is their right to stop in the middle of the busiest spot they can find, extend their pole, and grab some photos that maybe 10 other people in the world will appreciate. They are slowly becoming a menace, because they are emboldening tourists to take pictures anywhere, regardless of what's going on around them.
Every time I see someone getting in the way of everyone else just to take selfie, I want to grab their device and throw it in the nearest pond, it is that annoying to me.
Russell's out to a strong lead in the "comment of the year" race.
Russell, that's what I was talking about. Personally, I don't mind if someone uses them outside of rides, unless they block walkways. But if someone repeatedly flouts a rule intended for safety, the way to enforce it is to eject them from the park. But how often do people break the rules and just get away with it? It's as if theme park security was helpless, and CMs reduced to asking "pretty please", while entitled jerks just keep doing whatever they want.
Selfie sticks are fadish. They will go away soon as it falls out of favor. The theme parks should tell guests they are intrusive and not allow guests to use them on rides and shows.
I worked at Disney last year, The Haunted Mansion to be more specific, and the selfie sticks would be extended and in use on attractions, in which would e-stop the ride, either manually by a cast member, or cause it detects an intrusion. Highly annoying. Hate them all.
I don't really see this being a new rule for either park because I am pretty sure you really can't hold a camera on most attractions either. Plus, keeping your hands and feet inside a vehicle is required anyway.
Whatever happened to just asking someone to take your picture?
Now if we can only get people to stop from halting in the middle of a crowded walkway to take selfies, but that's gonna happen regardless of what people are doing.
I've only ever seen selfie-sticks used by groups of Asians. Lo and behold, the image accompanying this article...Asians.
I'm going to have to disagree with you Anon. Parks should not be encouraging guests to take pictures with phones while on rides, period, except where they deliberately want them to (Jungle Cruise, Kilimanjaro Safaris and The Land are the only ones that come to mind). They especially should not be changing lighting conditions to make it easier to take photos of their attraction while on the ride. Part of the magic of many attractions like Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and the Living Seas with Nemo is that the lighting helps to make the characters appear more real and lifelike. If you light up these attractions, you ruin their aesthetic and expose many of the minor flaws that would otherwise go unnoticed.
@Russell: Back to your detailed responses again. Whether or not parks should be discouraging guests to do anything, people are going to do it. I was addressing whether flash photography should be minimized. It certainly can be decreased with the use of low light cameras and you'll find more of them with the excellent iPhone 6 cameras. You have an iPhone 5S. Let me tell you, the iPhone 6 is even better.
You also seemed to miss my point, which was that parks should not be actively encouraging guests to take photos on rides, whether that be with a phone, a point and shoot, or any other type of camera, unless the park thinks it's a good idea. They also should not be catering to those attempting to take on-ride photos by changing existing lighting on attractions as you have suggested..."The dark rides could be better lighted so no flash is needed."
You sound hesitant on parks that allow photographs on rides. The only restriction I've heard is no flash. So I advise using cameras suitable for low light photography without flash. Then you advocate point and shoots, which are not suitable at all. They might take good pictures for typical situations, but their low light capability is not optimal. Only a few P&S cameras are designed for low light and they usually cost over $400. Most cheap P&S are designed for novices and they will auto-flash in most low light situations since the cameras have smaller apertures.
"You sound hesitant on parks that allow photographs on rides. The only restriction I've heard is no flash. So I advise using cameras suitable for low light photography without flash."
I don't understand the whole concept of selfies anyway. Lots of people are ugly. Why would they want to take a picture of themselves? Narcissism? Get a load of how bad I look in shorts! Doesn't anyone want to go on a ride to relax and enjoy themselves, or admire the beauty of a well-done dark ride? If people don't stop using selfie sticks, someone is bound to lose an eye.
I think you're exaggerating the extent of how distracting a camera is. In a larger boat like Small World or Pirates, a person with a camera might bother people sitting behind, but this depends on how high they are carrying the device and where they are sitting in the row. I don't often notice on some rides. Some rides like Haunted Mansion is more personal. The next car isn't affected.
I find it incredibly distracting, even on an attraction like Haunted Mansion. I've seen people hanging out the front of their Doom Buggie trying to get a closeup shot or attempting to steady their hands on the lab bar. The Seance Room is the absolute worst, and sometimes the lights from camera phones are so bright that it gives away the secret behind the effects. People don't need to be taking photos on a ride, period. It's just simple courtesy. Even in shows I see people whipping out their cameras (and tablets, the absolute WORST) to take pictures or video of the performance, and they don't think twice about how that affects the enjoyment of those around them. When I take photos, I'm always trying to be mindful of those around me, to the point that when I'm in a dark area, I turn off or flip over the LCD screen (depending on which camera I'm using) so that the lights don't turn on. I also turn off all of my metering/focus auxiliary lighting so it does not distract those around me. It really irks me when people can't think of others when they're in public, and are simply too busy thinking about themselves and how they can best "capture the moment". It's becoming a real problem, and I would totally support any park that would put strict rules into place to police this inconsiderate behavior.
Last year I was at California Adventure and at the end of the night, of course, I went to watch the 'World of Color' water/light show. Suffice to say, I was 1 of maybe 5, not watching the entire thing through a "lens/screen", so it's sad to say that so many are no longer experiencing these attractions the way they were meant.
Maybe taking photos IS their choice for fun?
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