So, after having enacted a ban on selfie sticks just this past Spring, Disney Parks have stepped up the restriction and just flat-out banned these items throughout the parks. As of June 30, guests who bring selfie sticks into the park will have them confiscated and held at Security until they leave, at which time they can pick them back up.
The ban occurred after the original attempt to limit their use ended up being impossible to enforce; the parks’ first effort was to prohibit their use on fast-moving rides. I’m sure they thought they’d never even have to do that; honestly, what kind of sense does it make to take a high-priced, breakable item like a smart phone and stick it outside of a fast-moving roller coaster attached to nothing but a flimsy pole?! Nobody would do that, right?
But they did, and in such numbers that signs went up telling guests not to use them, and Cast Members were instructed to shut down the ride when they caught people breaking the rule. Unfortunately the rule was ignored in such numbers that, if CMs had shut down the rides every time, nothing would have been operating. Disney had already decided to ban them in the parks when, about two weeks ago, a guest pulled out a selfie stick at the top of California Screamin’ in Disney’s California Adventure. This incredibly brave disregarding of danger resulted in the whole ride being shut down for an hour; I’m sure the Selfie Adventurer considers it a worthwhile sacrifice. I really don’t think anyone could argue more strongly in favour of the ban even if they sat down and thought for an hour. 🙂
So, is this a fair ban, or is this a matter of a small handful of people ruining it for everyone else? From my perspective, I see the usefulness of selfie sticks. They were created for a specific purpose, which is to be able to get a good shot with everyone in the frame (including the photographer). There was a need, and someone created something to fill that need. But there’s an unintended, but really natural consequence of that, which is that the selfie stick enables us to actually remove everyone else from the experience. They individualize so much that we are able to ignore the fact that there are others around us whose experiences we are intruding upon. That’s not a problem if you want to take a photo of yourself, or your whole family, in front of the Castle at the start of your trip. It’s a bit more questionable if you’re using it to take a movie of a show or other experience – there’s a good chance you’re blocking someone else’s view, and thus, negating their right to experience the moment as fully as you. And the whole thing comes to a head when you pull out the stick on a fast ride where you are not in control of the movements and are putting other people, and yourself, at risk. And honestly, when people are individualizing the situation to that degree, I think it’s fair to remove the object making it possible.
Incidentally, it reminds me of when Disney parks banned Heelys in 2007. They were a nuisance and were causing safety concerns. Now here we are 8 years later and who talks about Heelys anymore? I’m kind of hoping the same fate is in store for selfie sticks. (OK, yes, people do still buy and wear these. I just see them a lot less than I used to.)
For some extra reading, here’s a great list from another blog (and NOT by me, just so we’re clear!) of 8 things that can get you tossed out of a Disney park. 🙂 Read up! (But don’t get any ideas!)