Selfie sticks have been quite the controversial topic among park goers and while fans have been divided on the subject for quite some time, Walt Disney World has finally taken decisive action on this subject, making it official that all selfie sticks will be banned inside Walt Disney World's theme parks beginning June 30th.
Starting on this date, a new policy will be enforced where guests who are found with a selfie stick at bag check will be escorted directly to Guest Services where they can “check in” their selfie stick and then pick it up as they are exiting the park. If somehow a selfie stick is found to have gotten past bag check, guests will then be escorted to the front of the park by a Cast Member immediately where they will then be required to check their device in for retrieval later.
In a statement, Disney said “We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and unfortunately selfie sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast. The use of selfie sticks also compromises our ability to deliver on The Four Keys Basics: Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency.”
Interestingly, Walt Disney World isn’t the only place where this band will be taking effect. Disneyland Resort will be banning selfie sticks inside its parks as well beginning June 30th and both Hong Kong Disneyland as well as Disneyland Paris will also be instituting their own bans on selfie sticks starting just a day later on July 1st.
Although selfie sticks are hardly the only items banned from Walt Disney World, this latest policy change may seem a little drastic to those who see these accessories as, at worst, a minor inconvenience. However, this decision certainly didn’t come from nowhere, as there were several contributing factors that likely led Walt Disney World to making this permanent ban on selfie sticks in its parks.
1. A policy unenforced
Several months ago, Walt Disney World “clarified” it’s selfie stick policies by putting out an internal memo reminding Cast Members that these devices were considered to be “loose articles” and were not permitted to be taken out on rides. Cast Members were told to be on the lookout in front of attractions for guests with these devices, and to remind those carrying these acessories of this policy. In the event that a guest still took out their selfie stick during an attraction, Cast Members were instructed to stop rides until the guest put the device away. Signs were even added to the front of attractions like Big Thunder Mountain to remind guests that selfie sticks were not permitted.
However, even though Cast Members did their best to try and enforce this rule, it was still largely ignored by guests, on an increasingly frequent basis. Although Cast Members were supposed to stop rides when this happened, the sheer volume of violators made total enforcement of this policy near impossible, frustrating both Cast Members and guests alike.
Though responsible selfie stick users may feel like they are being punished unfairly for the actions of a few bad apples, the fact is that we're not talking about one or two people, as violations would happen so regularly that Cast Members simply couldn't keep up. While this outright ban may seem harsh at first, the fact is that keeping these devices out of the parks is the only way to ensure attractions continue to operate normally so that Cast Members can stay focused on providing a great guest experience instead of hunting for selfie sticks and tracking down guests who violate policy.