THIS Is Why Disney Banned Selfie Sticks At Theme Parks
June 30, 2015
A lot of people are upset about Disney's decision to ban selfie sticks at their theme parks. After reading this explanation from a current Disneyland cast member, you'll understand...
"Hey there! I'm a cast member at Disneyland in California... I work the Star Tours, Autopia, and Monorail attractions, but I have a general knowledge of how attractions at Disney work in general.
We have a thing called the "Envelope of Protection." Basically, all attractions made since 1965 are designed in such a way that the human body cannot reach out and touch anything -- here's a vehicle they use to test this (that's from Walt Disney World in Florida, but California uses the same concepts). This means that when a roller coaster is going 45 MPH, you can have your hands out and you won't get hit (it's not a good idea to test that, however -- we do tell you to keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times). A selfie stick is effectively an extra three feet that you can dangle out in any direction. The attractions weren't designed for that, and your selfie stick can hit part of the attraction. When you're going 45 MPH, that can seriously damage the attraction and your phone/camera. The selfie stick will likely fly out of your hands and in a worst-case scenario can either hit someone else on the ride (injuring them) or land on the track and derail the sled behind you. One of our largest roller coasters derailed because someone's backpack fell out once, and we don't want to risk a selfie stick causing the same issues.
We originally tried banning them on rides where they could affect some show element or impact part of the ride -- any ride with animatronics that could be poked, and any ride moving relatively fast through areas your selfie stick could hit. People still kept bringing them on the rides and kept dangling them out of the ride vehicles -- and again, if your selfie stick hit something, it could endanger the safety of yourself and those around you. If we saw it come out, we had to stop the ride and ask you to put it away. Some rides can't restart very easily and could take up to 2-3 hours to restart fully (all sleds have to be pushed back to the station so they can begin cycling again, then several cycles have to complete to make sure everything is still okay).
Now, we don't care that much about people seeing "backstage." We have lots of marathons and charity walks around the park that involve going into backstage areas (this one being a charity walk for the CHOC Children's Hospital in Orange County that we do yearly). We actually open up backstage areas daily this time of year as an "overflow" corridor to help people get around the park -- the pathway up and down Main Street gets really crowded around the fireworks and the time our new Paint the Night Electrical Parade comes out, so we open backstage areas that take you "around" Main Street. One of these pathways even goes right next to the boat storage area for the Jungle Cruise, so you can see any boats they aren't using that day! Some special events for our Annual Passholders "lock down" a land just for them to use -- there was an event in Adventureland a few months ago that had guests exit through our backstage areas.
We do try to preserve the magic for most guests, but we don't press it enough to warrant an all-out ban on something. Our "Four Keys" to Disney are Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency (in that order), and Courtesy comes before Show -- we want to be nice and allow you to take your selfie stick photos, even if they show backstage areas. However, Safety comes before Courtesy -- and this was a safety hazard. Lesser steps weren't having an effect, so we moved to an all-out ban.
It was totally because of the rides, and it was totally because guests weren't listening to us Attractions cast members. If people had listened to us and not taken out their selfie sticks on rides, they would still be allowed in the park -- but people don't listen (or don't care) and think that their awesome selfie is worth potentially endangering others.
You can still wear your GoPros and stuff -- we've been told that mounting your camera on your head is considered a "hat" and mounting a camera on your wrist or hand is considered a "glove," so they're allowed. But you can't bring in any kind of grip or pole that could potentially break our Envelope of Protection."
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