Theme Park Insider

Disney Shuts Roller Coaster over a Selfie Stick

June 24, 2015, 9:01 PM · No, Disney is not kidding when it says that you can't use your selfie sticks on its theme park rides.

A visitor tested that policy this afternoon on California Screamin', leading to a temporary shut-down of the Disney California Adventure roller coaster.

California Screamin'

Despite media reports, Disney has not (yet) banned selfie sticks at its U.S. theme parks. The company did recently begin posting signs on its attractions warning riders that selfie sticks are not permitted on rides — a policy Disney has had in place for some time, according to cast members.

Visitors who try to get around the rule by hiding their selfie sticks in the queue, only to bring them out on the ride, might just discover that Disney has cameras throughout many of its attractions, and that cast members see a lot of things you might not think that they see. Obviously, a California Screamin' cast member saw the selfie stick after the coaster train had left the station today and stopped the ride to confiscate it. The ride resumed operation soon after.

No word yet on what happened to the guest who was caught with the selfie stick.

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Replies (22)

June 24, 2015 at 9:58 PM · People just don't stop to think about the damage and injury that could be caused if they lose control of their equipment.
June 24, 2015 at 10:50 PM · I saw this at least twice at cedar point on maverick a few weeks ago. A car would move out of the station to the area before you climb the hill and someone would pull a phone out. They would hold the car and a ride op would walk out and confiscate it. One time it was just a phone and one was a phone on a stick. So it's not just a Disney thing. It's going on other places as well.
June 25, 2015 at 12:50 AM · I've also experienced that at Cedar Point, on Gemini, and it was with a lady who pulled out her phone to take pictures when we started up the lift hill. We came to a sudden stop (watching the other train continue and listening to their ridicule!) when the ride op came up and told her that we would not be going anywhere until she surrendered her camera, to be given back when we finished that run. She actually argued with the ride op for a few minutes but finally gave it over to her...and she got it back at the station, with lots of ridicule from the other riders for stopping the ride. That was last year, before the selfie stick had become an issue. I understand that at Cedar Point it's not just policy but Ohio law that you can't take pictures of any kind while riding on an amusement park ride.
June 25, 2015 at 1:41 AM · So tired of people and their pics.
June 25, 2015 at 2:12 AM · I was at Disneyland Paris last week and saw someone using a selfie stick while riding Thunder Mountain. I'm not sure if this is actually allowed there or if the cast members just missed it or didn't want to bother with it. During Tower of terror I had my GoPro secured to my wrist via a strap and was told by the ride operator to turn it off and put it in my pocket. C'est la vie...
June 25, 2015 at 4:20 AM · Throw them out the park. Only have to do that a few dozen times and people will get the message.
June 25, 2015 at 6:20 AM · Those cursed selfie sticks.
June 25, 2015 at 6:41 AM · I've seen them being used at parks, but only for off-ride group pics (thank god). But even as those selfie sticks started to become popular, people should be smart enough to realize that they shouldn't bring those things on to roller coasters. Just about every ride out there specifically states that flash photography and video recording are prohibited
June 25, 2015 at 8:55 AM · On a ride at California Screamin, there are a lot of tunnels the stick could crash in to, and if the stick breaks, it could cause debris
June 25, 2015 at 9:01 AM · Flogging - Bring back flogging to those visitors who use a Selfie Stick while on a ride...

7 Flogs will be adequate.

And I agree with Juan - These sticks could so some serious harm if stuck in a track.....

June 25, 2015 at 9:47 AM · Actually its just not at theme Park's gaming and cosplay convention either blizzard entertainment has banned them for the Anaheim convention in November.
June 25, 2015 at 9:48 AM · Former Universal Orlando theme park employee here. There are a staggeringly amount of selfie sticks, GoPros, and cellphone-toting people out there. For some rides, it's spelling to every other ride vehicle trying to tell people to put away cameras, ruining the show and making other guests unhappy.

Of course, the root of the problem is Disney, where they let guests get away with anything. They don't check children's heights, are lax about seating rules, and allow you to bring whatever loose articles on a ride. Just try to ride Pirates without someone taking flash photos or dipping their hands in the water. Did you know that Disney control booth operator can't spiel to guests for fear of "bad show?"

No wonder they're having PR problems being the "bad guy" and enforcing rules now. That's usually what the public associates with Universal with things like manditory lockers and metal detectors. Honestly, we're all here and doing our jobs for your safety. Some, more than others.

June 25, 2015 at 9:58 AM · I wish people would realize that theme parks have these policies in place for a reason. These rules are not meant to suppress your fun, but keep everyone safe. Just because a person pays a lot of money to visit a theme park, it does not give them a license to do whatever they want.
June 25, 2015 at 10:07 AM · Hey, millennials: this is why we hate you.
June 25, 2015 at 11:02 AM · On the subject of cell phones, I wish that something could be done to enforce park policies. Three times in the past three weeks I ended up riding roller coasters with morons who were recording the rides with their phones. On Talon at Dorney Park, a ride op noticed that the girl sitting next to me was holding a cell phone and told her to put it away. Well, as soon as the train was dispatched the little bitch whipped it right back out and proceeded to videotape the ride. And if that's strong language, it's a reflection of how I feel about people with flagrant disregard of park policies and other guests' safety.
June 25, 2015 at 11:10 AM · We saw this! The ride was stopped at the very top of the drop, and they unloaded the entire car and made them walk down. It was closed for at least an hour. The cast member said (the idiot with the stick) was extremely apologetic and seemed honestly remorseful, so they didn't kick him (or his party) out. There is no excuse for stupidity like this. That stick could have impaled someone either on the ride or below on the ground. Kudos for the eagle-eye cast member who caught it.
June 25, 2015 at 11:24 AM · It all comes down to enforcement. I noticed signs at Six Flags St. Louis that strictly prohibited the use of any handheld devices on the rides, threatening ejection and a 1-year ban from the park. It only takes one or two publicized cases of guests being ejected and banned before the message is heard loud and clear.

Honestly, I think a lot of this has evolved from those of us lucky enough to attend park media days where the parks set up semi-professional on-ride video equipment. When people go on youtube and see on-ride POVs, they are naturally encouraged to make their own. With the advent of technology that has developed smaller and smaller video recording devices, it's next to impossible for ride ops, focused primarily on rider safety and load/unload expediency to catch these little devices sticking out of people's pockets. The GoPro phenomenon has also made it easier to take on-ride video, and while I think it's generally safe to do on-ride POV with a chest-mounted GoPro, the park ends up with the liability if for whatever reason that mount fails and injures another rider.

Perhaps parks should start doing POV filming days where guests pay extra and sign a waiver to ride and tape POVs on their favorite rides. I bet they could score some serious money, especially from the enthusiast crowd.

June 25, 2015 at 12:03 PM · First of all, selfie sticks just need to go away altogether. But they won't. Booooo. :(

Second, not only SHOULD the rides be stopped and phones be confiscated, these people should also be escorted out of the park after they finish the ride and retrieve their confiscated phones. If someone loses their grip on a phone, even that small, lightweight projectile traveling at high speed toward a person who is also traveling at high speed... the impact could cause a very serious injury. Not to mention if an object like that becomes lodged in the track or other ride mechanism.

There should be zero tolerance for this. Evict the offenders from the park as soon as the ride is over, and have local law enforcement issue a citation so the morons also have to pay a fine.

June 25, 2015 at 12:54 PM · I'm all for public shaming and the flogging of folks with their personal selfie sticks. In fact, they should do the flogging in front of guests that are about to ride as a reminder of what could happen to them if they don't obey the posted rules.

In all seriousness, what makes this more of a pain is that the ride operators now have to ensure each guest is secure in the ride and make sure they don't have any personal objects (cameras, phones, selfie sticks, pixie sticks, churros, and other various implements of destruction) in their hands before the ride leaves the station. This will inevitably increase wait times. In order to combat this it would take a large number of expulsions from any park before this enforcement would sink into the general public's head to not to do this. People on this site are obviously going to follow the rules, but someone who goes to Six Flags over Texas once or twice a year isn't going to have the same mindset.

So what is one viable solution for this? The current Universal way. Make people deposit all of their personal items in a locker and have them walk through a metal detector before proceeding to the line. Sure, it's a nuisance, it's inconvenient, intrusive, and time-consuming. Do you think anyone has smuggled a selfie stick or phone on the Hulk recently? Most likely not. If guests cannot follow the easy to understand, general rules that you should have to follow at the park, then other measures to make them compliant have to be put into place. I don't think lockers would be an answer for every ride, but it would be for the more intense ones. On average, a park probably has less than 6 of these.

I am not a fan of the enforcement practices that Universal has put into place. But I want to ride the Hulk too. So if I want to do that, I have to accept their rules and place all my belongings into a locker (even my wallet that I will be sitting on, ug). For the most part, they're not too bad (of course I'm visiting when the wait times are low). My only gripe with the current policy is the inability to re-ride Dueling Dragons (yep, I called it that) right after your initial ride. Instead you have to walk through the security area again.

June 26, 2015 at 6:04 AM · It would be difficult for Disney to justify taking away cell phones at the entrance to the park when they encourage use of the MDE app on your phone to schedule FP+, etc. Of course, there are the kiosks, but they would have to invest in many more of those to be effective.
June 27, 2015 at 11:31 AM · When you buy your admission ticket to a park, you are agreeing to abide to all park rules and regulations when you gain admission and, are subject to removal if you don't. Plain and simple. If you can't have fun with out the self obsessive need to constantly post pictures of yourself on Facebook, Twitter, or where ever, please leave the park and let the rest of us enjoy our visit. It's bad enough you now have to be even more careful where you walk through the theme parks because of all of the idiots with their faces buried in the phones without any regard for others while they are walking.
June 29, 2015 at 12:10 PM · If anyone wanted to watch a ride, I'm sure they could just pull up a Youtube video at this point. No need to create new videos.

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