With strong presences on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, Disney World has proven that it is not one to shy away from the “selfie generation.” In fact, many of Disney World’s strategic moves in recent years have been an attempt to court this demographic, from embracing and integrating mobile technology with MyMagic+ to the strong social media presence to parades and events in the parks that encourage guests to post their selfies to social media with specific hashtags. Even Minnie Mouse can be seen taking a selfie (above).

However, Disney is drawing a line in the sand in regards to a tool some tourists use to up their selfie game: Disney has banned the selfie stick in all of its parks, including Walt Disney World.

Starting today, Disney has started cracking down on the much mocked mobile photography tool. Signage has been put up at bag check and pamphlets have been given out to guests stating that “Handheld camera / cell phone extension poles, such as selfie sticks, are prohibited in Theme Parks, Water Parks, and Disney Quest.” Disney is checking for selfie sticks at bag check. Guest who have brought a selfie stick will have to turn it in, but will be able to pick it up as they exit the park. The ban is in effect at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and the parks in Paris and Hong Kong will soon follow suit.


So, why is Disney paying so much attention to a little stick? It’s not just the optics of guests positioning a pole in front of the castle. Selfie sticks had become a real safety concern. Disney has been trying to prevent guests from using selfie sticks on rides like Big Thunder Mountain that weren’t designed with guests holding onto a several foot-long pole while riding it. If the selfie stick collides with part of the ride or if the guest loses their grip, real damage or injury could occur. Despite banning selfie sticks from its rides, California Adventure recently had an incident where the roller coaster California Screamin’ had to be stopped for an hour due to a guest who snuck on their selfie stick. I’ve heard many other anecdotes of guests using selfie sticks on rides, which, to editorialize a bit, is plain stupid.

Beyond the ride safety issues, I would also guess that selfie sticks had been affecting guest flow. It’s one thing if someone only took out their selfie stick when posing for a picture with a character or in front of Cinderella’s Castle. However, it became a pretty common sight to see guests using their selfie stick while walking from attraction to attraction, focused more on the view of themselves than what was right ahead of them. While not as serious as selfie sticks on rides, this is also problematic, which is most likely why Disney chose to just outright ban them.

So, what if you are mourning the loss of your favorite selfie tool at Disney World? Here are a couple of tips to still get some killer selfies:

  • Use your arm! It’s nature’s selfie stick.
  • Ask a fellow guest to take your picture. Sure, it requires asking a favor from a stranger and technically isn’t a selfie, but your picture will look so much better since the rear camera in a cell phone is always going to be better than the selfie camera.