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GoPro Banned At Disney Parks

In the late 80’s Walt Disney World Resort (WDW) had to place a ban on video cameras after park guests started using them to record family vacations, even when they while they were on rides.

This posed a risk for the safety of all riders, which lead to a ban on video cameras on all rides.

Fast forward 20 years and WDW and other area parks – Universal Studios Resort & SeaWorld Orlando included-have begun banning the popular pocket-sized recorders on select rides.

Where They Aren’t Allowed

A number of theme parks are looking to minimize accidents and ride disruptions by discontinuing GoPros and similar cameras on their rides.

With the rise of the selfie-stick and other camera mounts comes the desire for users to record ever facet of their vacations, including thrill rides.

Universal Studios Resort - has installed metal detectors at three rides in Orlando - Dragon Challenge, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and the Incredible Hulk- to keep any items that can become projectiles from making onto the ride.

There are free lockers available at the entrance to these rides.

Universal and Islands of Adventure - ban cameras from being visible on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Krustyland, Men in Black and The Mummy rides.

SeaWorld - you are only able to bring these devices on Journey to Atlantis, Kraken and Manta if you encase your camera in a chest mount.

There are no free lockers available at the park, but you can store items for a day at lockers located near these rides.

This may not be the best option since you will have to rent a new locker if you want to use your devices between thrill rides.

Water parks are beginning to jump on the bandwagon.

At SeaWorld’s Aquatica you are not allowed on Ihu’s Breakaway Falls due to the risk that it could damage the ride.

Walt Disney World Regulations

WDW rules are currently more lax than other area parks, or at least enforced less.

On many rides as long as you have a wrist/chest strap securing your camera you are able to carry it on to the ride with you.

On the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster there are currently no patdowns or metal detectors barring cameras.

Selfie-sticks must be checked upon arrival to each park.

If a Cast Member sees your selfie-stick they will escort you to the front of the park where you can have your item stored until your departure.

How to Safely Capture Priceless Moments

On some rides you can simply store the camera in your pocket or day bag if you have already made it through the queue with your device.

This is the easiest solution.

Another option would be to have a non-rider family member or friend record your adventures.

Many parks also capture photos of you mid-ride so you can view and/or purchase those exciting moments.

In order to make the most of your time in each theme park you should consider the benefits.

Save yourself the headache at the last minute and plan to store your camera on rides.

You have plenty of places throughout the park to capture precious moments that you can share into perpetuity.

Go ahead and take a photo at the entrance of each ride your group goes on.

Just because there is no ban on a specific ride does not mean that you are entitled to whip out your selfie-stick and snap photos while you are looping through a roller coaster.

Something like this could pose a risk to you and others, you also risk damaging or losing your items if they fall during the ride.

You could also damage the ride, keeping other guests from enjoying the ride they traveled to hundreds or thousands of miles to enjoy.

What the Future Holds

You can expect for the rules to be fluid until parks fully evaluate the risk involved.

Whether you have a cell phone, Google Glass or GoPro you should still bring it on your trip to Central Florida, but note that not every attraction will allow you full control over what you can capture with your device.

If you have a selfie-stick be considerate of your fellow parkgoers, when you are taking a photo make sure that you are not blocking walkways, entrances or exits.

Similarly you should minimize movement so you don’t walk into anyone or put your device in the path of others.

If you encounter a group of Star Wars Tusken Raiders (sand people) wandering though Hollywood Studios you definitely want to capture their antics, but having your camera fall off while you are fighting 

Megatron with the Transformers is not as memorable.

Breaking the rules on a ride can earn you a place on a park’s one-year ban list; it’s not worth it!

By Marie Ospina

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