June 25th 2015 A Total Ban On Selfie Sticks In Walt Disney World Parks
According to WDW News Today, Disney will completely ban selfie sticks in the theme parks as it clamps down on guests that continue to use the devices in congested areas and moving attractions.
The ban is expected to come into effect from July 1st 2015, with selfie sticks not being allowed past the bag check area.  Disney are believed to be setting up a ‘Selfie Stick Store’ system, for those guests that arrive at the park entrance unaware of the rule.
(A kind of Selfie Stick Creche?)

May 18th 2015 Disney have added a ‘No Selfie Stick’ to Big Thunder Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, following a number of ride stoppages caused by guests using the devices mid ride.  Maybe we can expect to see more restrictions on other rides, if the problem persists.

April 25th 2015 Last week, Walt Disney World reiterated its policy for guests on rides at its theme parks.

Nothing in the policy has changed, but the old adage of ‘secure all belongings and keep arms and legs inside the ride vehicles at all times’ was almost certainly a response to the growing rise of the ‘selfie stick’ craze that has swept heavily into the theme parks over the last 9 months.

As the rise in guests making us of social media conjoins with the availability of these low cost devices, the chance to post an ‘arms length self portrait’ without stretching your own arm out too greatly has boomed.

Sales of the telescopic arms aren’t the only thing on the rise. Many guests are concerned by the irreverence that the selfie obsessed ‘intruders’ are displaying on the often congested and sometimes fast moving attractions.

Disney have been careful to provide a clamp down, yet, without actually amending its standard advice and safety guidelines. A cell phone, or a ‘selfie stick’ is in the eyes of WDW, a ‘loose item’.

While no reported injuries have yet been filed in the peculiarly secretive statutory incident reports at Orlando’s theme parks, it’s probably fair to assume that a number of minor injuries have occurred in recent months as a result of these lightweight extension arms.

The thing is, that the parks have special privileges that only need to report very serious injuries that require overnight hospitalization.

Disney, Universal and SeaWorld have not banned ‘selfie sticks’ from the parks, but that may eventually follow the ban on tripods that has inched in over the years as theme park operators work hard to balance guest safety with the guest ability to do certain things freely.

Narcissus-Caravaggio_(1594-96)Why are selfie takers so frowned upon by some?
Well, this is perhaps more deep routed in humanity than this modern trend might suggest.
Narcissus, was so obsessed with his own beauty, and in the end, this led to his untimely demise as he drowned in a pool as he admired his own reflection!

Just as the ancient Greeks used their fables to create a dominant ideology to show how its citizens should and should not behave, we now face a modern parallel of this same loathing for self adoration.

Most social media users have, at some time over the recent years, posted a ‘selfie’ of an important moment in our lives. But at that moment in time, it seemed fine, and still does as we captured a precious moment in our family lives that we are glad we’d taken.
If we overdo it however, our social media followers can soon tire of our endless admiration of ourselves!

So are we right to frown upon the Narcissistic family in the theme parks capturing a precious moment in time? After all, a trip to Walt Disney World is most likely to be the most expensive, and most hotly anticipated and planned moment in our lives, beyond a wedding of course!

Also, the knowledge of a ‘once in a lifetime’ visit coaches us to be as determined as ever to ‘capture every moment’ that we can for posterity.   After all, we all know that kids grow up so quickly and memories soon fade.

Well, when put in that context, I will stick my neck out (smile!) and say that I do support the ‘selfie takers’ with some conditions attached of course!

Sure, it’s Disney’s job to stop guests hurtling around Thunder Mountain with cameras waggling dangerously in front of the riders, but guests can only take care of the other bit themselves. Consideration.

That’s my concern with the selfie stick thing. Excited posers, scurrying across sidewalks to be in the shot, tend not to care for their fellow theme park guests. More selfies = more scurrying, more collisions, more rudeness and of course verbal backlashes.

I suspect that Disney perform daily metrics on guest behavioural problems and monitor incidents and their root causes with great rigor.   After all, they do make their money out of happiness. It’s their core business.

Happiness is the oddity in the selfie conundrum.

Rather than frown upon the excitable ‘selfie group’ next time you encounter them, just take a few moments to relax and smile as you observe how much fun the guests are/are not having!

More often than not, the group leader is in command, shouting orders for family members to take their positions. Poses have to be inch perfect, chins must not be double, smiles bright and cheery. The truth however is usually immediately revealed as the group gathers around the cell phone screen to inspect the results, and the family reverts back to being hot, tired and hungry, fed up of being corralled into endless posts on Facebook.

So the next time you see a selfie at Walt Disney World, ask yourself this simple question; Is this person really having a great time, or are they smiling and posing for my benefit?

Some people probably need to stop showing the world how great they all are, and perhaps spend some quality family time actually having fun!

Tips to help you avoid buying a selfi stick for Walt Disney World;

  • Ask any Cast Member to take your group photo
  • Ask a fellow guest if they would mind taking your group photo

One of the most beautiful things I find with a theme park is the people.

They have travelled far and wide to have a great time, and almost all would love to briefly say ‘Hi’ to your family, pick up your camera for you and give it their best shot with a great big smile from everyone all around!

As a movie maker and fantasist, Walt was acutely aware of people’s need to capture their most magical moments, and hat is still engrained within the Cast Members that we see in the parks to this very day. They are only there for one thing; ‘your enjoyment’, so please don’t forget to hand over your cell phone or camera for some family mementos, totally free of charge!

Brought to you, by the Total Orlando Blog Team