Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Selfie Stick Ban and the "Envelope of Protection" Principle

As you may have read if you follow me on the D&M Facebook page, Disney has decided to ban selfie sticks in all Disney theme parks around the world - and apparently also tripods, at least at Disneyland Paris. Big debate started on forums with as many people happy of the decision than others thinking it should be banned on rides only. All medias talked about it and on someone named "EnglishMobster" claiming to be a Disneyland cast-member said that this decision is the only real way Disney could be sure that guests won’t get their arms forcibly separated, as due to their length, selfie sicks can be out of a ride "envelope of protection". Here is what he said:

"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 rollercoaster 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 rollercoasters 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 can take a couple hours before they reopen -- which, of course, is an inconvenience to other guests.

If you have a look at the video below - put on line by Kevin Yee - you'll see what this Disneyland cast-memeber mean about the "envelope of protection", and here it was used during the tests of the seven Dwarfs Mine Train vehicles before opening. It’s basically a big spindly disc which surrounds the vehicle and simulates the furthest possible reach that a human on ride could reach with his arms out of the train. If this "envelope of protection" can make it through the ride, guests can make it through the ride, too… as long as they don't have selfie sticks going further than the "envelope of protection".

Envelopes of protection” have sometime a different look like this one below.

EnglishMobster also added: "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 safety issues on 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."

A good news though, a he says: "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, and you still shouldn't hang your arms out the side of the ride vehicle."

Well, i think it couldn't be more clear, and this should answer to questions that some of you probably had about this selfie stick ban, though it don't really explain why they've also banned them outside of the rides.

Video: copyright Kevin Yee


Bekah Walsh said...

I think it IS explained why they're banned outside of rides - if people have them in the park at all, they don't listen and use them on rides despite multiple requests and warnings. It sounds like they wanted them allowed outside of rides but had to resort to an all out ban for safety since guests didn't comply. If they don't have them in the park, they can't sneak them onto rides.

Shawn Deny said...

This means that when a rollercoaster 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).
Selfie stick