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Disneyland’s selfie stick ban: 5 workarounds for 360 cameras

Workarounds for Disneyland's selfie stick ban
Workarounds for Disneyland’s selfie stick ban

Selfie sticks have been banned at Disneyland since 2015.  This has been a big problem for 360 camera because selfie sticks are a necessity for 360 cameras.  Here are some workarounds.

Selfie sticks were banned at Disneyland in 2015 due to concerns about safety.  The problem was that visitors were using selfie sticks even during rides, ignoring signs and admonitions from Disneyland staff, creating a hazard.  The selfie stick could fall and hit someone, or the guest might lift the selfie stick so high while riding that the camera or stick can hit the ceiling or something.   Disneyland therefore banned them completely.

What is the scope of the ban?

Disneyland prohibits “selfie sticks” but allows “folding tripod stands” or “monopod stands.”  The distinction appears to be (i) whether it is for handheld use, and (ii) whether it extends.  Monopod stands or folding tripod stands are allowed  because they are supposed to rest on the ground.  On the other hand, a handheld ‘extension pole’ would be banned because it is for handheld use and it extends.   In other words, just imagine if a person can use the device to lift a camera so high that it might hit the ceiling in a ride through a tunnel.  If that can happen, then it will be banned.

Hands-free third person view mount
Hands-free third person view mount

If for example, you bring a backpack with a hands-free mount (like the one above), the arm can be adjusted to go higher than 3 feet above the head, so I think there is a good chance it would be banned.

Effect on 360 cameras

Not having a selfie stick is a minor inconvenience for other cameras.  But for 360 cameras, this is a huge problem.  360 cameras capture everything around them, so if you take a shot while holding the camera in your hand, your hands and fingers will appear very prominent in the shot.  Selfie sticks allow you to move the camera away from your hands, making them look more proportionate.

On a recent trip to Disney California Adventure, I tried several solutions.  Some worked better than others.

1. Tripod: Selfie sticks are banned, but tripods and light stands are not.  If you bring a small tripod or light stand, you can hold it and use it as a selfie stick.  Just make sure the tripod or light stand is not too large (large tripods are also banned at Disneyland), nor so small that the security staff will consider it as a selfie stick.

And to avoid having the tripod show up too prominently in the nadir, you need a tripod with a smaller head.  Here are some that can work:

Promaster LS-CT compact light stand
Promaster LS-CT compact light stand

Promaster LS-CT Compact Light Stand.  I love this stand.  It is like a monopod with built-in tripod.  Each leg moves independently and can be extended. The legs can also be set at three possible angles.  It can therefore be used in many uneven surfaces.  It is also quite tall (up to 75.5 inches) and folds down to 16 inches.  As a bonus for 360 cameras, it has no ballhead, and has a standard 1/4-20 mount.  I also love the very high build quality.

Manfrotto 5001B and Nanopole
Manfrotto 5001B and Nanopole

Manfrotto Nano.  This compact light stand is easy to carry and can extend to seven feet.  At the same time is light and can easily be used as a selfie stick (tip: with the legs folded, hold the stand above the legs so the folded legs won’t show up in the shot.

Another stand that they allowed me to use is this Foneso Yunteng stand.  It’s called a selfie stick but it has built-in tripod legs so it passes for a tripod at Disneyland.

2. A nonextending handle.  Disneyland allows handles that do not extend.  Non-extending GoPro-style floating hand grips are therefore allowed.  I found this one with a 1/4-20 tripod hole in the bottom so you can attach legs to it.  Don’t make the handle too long though or it might be banned.

3. Tripod legs or a stand.  Kodak has a monopod with detachable legs.  When folded, the legs are about 1 foot tall and I was able to use them as a selfie stick, and the profile is narrow enough that they are invisible to all but the thinnest 360 cameras. This is the solution I used for the virtual tour I posted (shot on the GoPro Fusion):

Unfortunately, the legs aren’t available to purchase separately.  If you don’t want to buy the monopod, you can instead get these legs from EEEkit.  Not as long as Kodak’s but they are much cheaper.

Another option is the Flexbase – 12-inch long flexible tripod legs.

Note: the Fusion Grip might work (as long as you don’t extend it), both because it looks like a nonextendable handle and because it has tripod legs and could arguably be a tripod.  But that’s a risk you may or may not want to take (if they prohibit it, you’ll need to put it back in your car, or rent a locker).  Thanks to Don Currie and Lisa Marie Crane for this tip!

4. Clip mount.  I was able to attach 360 cameras to these rotating clip mounts that can clip to your backpack straps to mount them on your shoulders.  You can also clip them to caps, although I believe they will ask you to remove your cap before you get on a ride.

5. Chesty mount plus “narwhal” mount.  You can wear a GoPro-style chest harness and pair it with a ‘narwhal’-type mount to place the 360 camera about 1 foot in front of you.  For a 360 camera, this is enough distance to be able to get a reasonable field of view.    Here’s a sample video that uses this mount:

Note that these workarounds are only for Disney and its affiliated parks.  Some parks and places are stricter than others.

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