There's a good reason for why theme parks are banning selfie sticks

A woman takes a photo using a Thomson ReutersYou can’t bring selfie sticks to Disney or Six Flags theme parks.

Six Flags, the world’s largest amusement park corporation (based on number of properties), just banned selfie sticks from its parks and entertainment centres, roughly one month after Disney banned the sticks from its own parks, NBC reports.

Six Flags changed its policy on Monday and issued the following statement to annual pass holders on Thursday:

Nothing is more important to us than your safety. After careful review we’ve decided to prohibit selfie sticks, monopods, and similar devices at all Six Flags theme and water parks effective immediately. Guests who bring selfie sticks to the park will be asked to store them in their cars during their visit. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes, and thank you for helping us keep Six Flags among the safest theme parks in the world!

The policy changes have nothing to do with restricting people’s picture-taking at these parks; it does, in fact, have everything to do with safety.

In late June, a cast member at Disneyland in California wrote a lengthy response on Reddit explaining Disney’s new policy on selfie sticks, which obviously applies to other theme parks as well.

According to that cast member, all attractions made since 1965 are designed with what’s called the “Envelope of Protection,” a giant contraption that’s placed on rides to simulate what would happen if a rider extended her arms or legs from the vehicle. The video below shows the Envelope of Protection on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride at Walt Disney World.

The Envelope of Protection ensures people’s limbs couldn’t possibly get hit while riding a roller coaster. The problem with selfie sticks is that they extend an extra three feet or so, which can be very dangerous for both you and the attractions.

If a selfie stick hits part of the attraction — especially if you’re going at a high speed, like 45 miles per hour — it can seriously damage the attraction, it can damage your phone or camera, and it’s possible the selfie stick could fly out of your hands and hit someone else on the ride, or worse, derail the vehicle behind you.

Here’s more from that Disney cast member speaking on Reddit:

We originally tried banning [selfie sticks] 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 can take a couple hours before they reopen — which, of course, is an inconvenience to other guests.

Originally, Disney tried restricting selfie sticks from rides only. But according to the Disneyland cast member, the policy change occurred 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 other people don’t listen (or don’t care) and think that their awesome selfie is worth potentially endangering others.”

Despite the restriction on selfie sticks, Disney theme parks, as well as Six Flags, still allow you to wear GoPros and body-mounted cameras, since those are considered to be more like clothing. But “you can’t bring in any kind of grip or pole that could potentially break our Envelope of Protection, and you still shouldn’t hang your arms out the side of the ride vehicle,” according to the Disney cast member. 

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