While the photo is quite spectacular – it’s also spectacularly against the rules to even attempt.
In addition to the selfie stick being a loose article aboard the ride – the dangers of smacking a low beam, hitting a fellow passenger or jamming part of the ride’s mechanical systems SHOULD have made it clear not to even attempt. Park rules clearly state this not only in line, but also as you board. We also heard reports of riders with mounted cameras on their body being asked NOT to wear them.
They don’t call those beams “headchoppers” for nothing.
So called, “selfie sticks” have damaged rides at both Disneyland and Disney World due to clearance issues, in addition to ruining the experience for everyone around the user.
The New Texas Giant – the ride featured in the photo – hits a top speed of 65 miles per hour with a first drop of 79 degrees.
Surprisingly, when you filtered out the inevitable spam, every single comment on the photo questioned why the company would post a photo that so blatantly broke the rules and endangered other riders. You’ll note I’m writing in the past tense – that’s because the company took the photo down just a few hours after initially posting it.
Let’s be blunt – they got HAMMERED with negative comments.
But I believe the hammering might be for the better in the long run, as it indicates something greater: a vast majority of people are finally recognizing that the “selfie stick” is not only incredibly annoying, it’s downright dangerous in many situations it’s being put into.
And it’s not just ride enthusiasts recognizing this. Many in the “general public” are finally seeing that extending a three foot pole on a ride moving at freeway speeds – all for a photo or video – isn’t the smartest decision.
In other words, there’s hope that the “selfie stick fad” may be just that – a fad.
We can hope cell phone recording on rides goes away too, right?
What do you think? Will so-called “selfie sticks” eventually find their way to the trash heap? Or will incidents like this become more common? Tell us on our social media channels, or leave a comment below:
I am proud today to release our third episode in the “Lost Parks of Northern California” series, focusing on the “famous” Manteca Waterslides!
Learn how the modern water slide was born just off of Highway 120 in Manteca, where you can still go to experience pieces of the park today and why people still call the chamber of commerce, asking about the slides…nine years after the park closed for good.
This was on all accounts – the most difficult video we have produced thus far. The technical aspects alone were enough to make both myself and my producer, Nicholas Laschkewitsch throw a fit. But, we persevered – and are proud to show you our work of the past few months.
“The Lost Parks of Northern California” is produced in association with the American Coaster Enthusiasts, Northern California region. Learn more about them at: www.acenorcal.org
If you think filming on rides is harmless behavior – how would YOU like to be hit with a GoPro Hero3 at 55mph?
Thankfully, no one was apparently injured in this situation.
Here’s the kicker – while the ride starts well after the train has been dispatched and out of the eyesight of ride employees – the lift has not one, but TWO cameras on it. There’s got to be a better way of preventing this – and there is!
This large, banner ad is currently up at Six Flags Over Texas, hanging on the outside of the “La Vibora” bobsled coaster station. It’s promoting MetroPCS – but the cute green Android figures aren’t what caught my eye…it’s the fact that the ad is encouraging people to have their phones out on rides:
It’s okay to film and photograph on rides with your phone, according to this ad – but not according to park rules and announcements.
Don’t believe me? Check out the figure with the “M” on their shirt. Yup. They’re snapping a photo while the ride is going. What’s even more troubling – they’re snapping a photo on what appears to be a swing ride – an attraction that had just debuted when I visited this year (2013); in fact, it’s the tallest in the world at 400 feet.
It also happens to be located next to the main roadway entrance to the park. Boy, that be a heck of a way to start your day when you’re driving into the park and your windshield shatters from a loose cell phone, don’t you think?
If you’ve read my previous post on this topic, this epidemic of cell phone filming is only going to become worse as the Millennial generation becomes of the age to own a cell phone. Showing ads like this, then telling them to not have loose articles aboard the ride? It just wreaks of, “What were they thinking?!?” and it’s just plain DUMB in my opinion.
Seriously – how did this ad proof get by both the corporate offices AND the local marketing officials?!?
“But loose cell phones never hit people or fall out of hands! They’re not as big of a threat as you make them out to be!”
I probably would have confided to you that I’ve never seen an injury as a result of a phone getting loose and hitting someone…though I do have proof that phones are coming loose:
Cell phone carnage under Mr. Freeze: Reverse Blast at Six Flags St. Louis.
That was before this past weekend, however. That’s when I DID witness several people get injured by a loose cell phone at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The guest whipped out their cell phone after concealing it on the “Double Shot” freefall tower attraction just as it launched – and wouldn’t you know it – the phone got loose, fell 125 feet and promptly smashed into guests waiting in line.
This madness simply has to stop – before someone else is either injured or outright KILLED by a flying, loose article. Ads like this aren’t doing the parks any favors. They’re literally shooting themselves in the proverbial foot.
“I think you’re reading into this ad a little too much – people don’t get encouraged by ads or do what they say…”
You sure about that? Because I’m lovin’ it.
You thought of McDonald’s just now, didn’t you? Feeling a bit hungry all of a sudden? As much as we don’ t like to think it, advertising is a very powerful tool to control behavior – so to encourage the very behavior you’re trying to eliminate in your safety spiels and park map rules is well – not the smartest move in my book.
My point is this – advertise all you want to your guests, but at the very least, practice what you preach!
Review my prior posts about “Social Media and the Amusement Park” here.
Seems counter intuitive, right? How can the very thing that allows dangerous, illegal POV video to be so popular be used to stop it? Well, read on and find out:
Arguably, cell phones are one of the greatest inventions of the past century – the convenience of being on contact whenever, where ever. The freedom to upload photos and videos at any moment – including while guests are on your rides and attractions.
You don’t have to hear me tell you that cell phone filming on rides is an epidemic in our industry. It’s pushing insurance premiums higher and higher. A projectile of that density, loose at 65mph could be several injury lawsuits just waiting to happen, not to mention the bad publicity in the media.
Before the Gold Striker wooden roller coaster even opened to the public at California’s Great America this past month, guests were seen filming on the ride using cell phones. When opening day came, the second train of the day that featured general public passengers had three (3) cell phones out.
“But we already provide guests with storage options while they’re on rides!”
Sadly, that doesn’t matter. The mentality of guests today, specifically Millennials, is to not experience the ride they’re on, but to record and share the experience with all their friends. The more “Likes” on Facebook, the higher “Thumbs Up “ count on YouTube, the better.
“But, it’s free publicity!”
Yes, it is free publicity – telling everyone online that it’s okay to film on your rides – and risk the safety of everyone around them. It’s nothing a good marketing campaign of your own marketing team couldn’t accomplish (see #3).
So how then, does your park stop this major liability and potentially lower your insurance premiums at the same time? It’s actually a simple, three step process:
1.) When it Comes to your Park’s Policies, “Grow a Pair”
Stark as it is, it needs to be said. For so many years, park guests have received warnings about what NOT to do at a park. They’ve received so many that they’ve become complacent to them. A good comparison would be to think about the last time you actually picked up a safety card in an airplane and read it. That’s the same mentality going on with your younger guests.
Also to consider – Millennials expect warnings. They’re willing to go right up to the warning and only back down when confronted. This is a generation where “everybody’s a winner,” and there’s little to no consequences to their actions. If your sign says “anyone caught with a camera on a ride will be removed from the park” then DO IT. (While deleting or confiscating the offending device.) The only way to change guests’ behavior is to show them that you mean business.
For example, Six Flags New England has a single warning sign at every high profile attraction. It reads, “Any cell phone or filming on this ride will result in immediate ejection from the park, no refunds and a 5 year ban from the park.” That gets people’s attention. In addition, all of their ride auto spiels also include a warning: “Anyone using a cell phone or MP3 payer to record while on the ride is subject to immediate dismissal from the park by Six Flags Security.”
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk goes a step further. Ride attendants actively monitor the lift hill of the Giant Dipper roller coaster via security video. If a cell phone or other recording device is seen, the ride is immediately stopped and will not start again until the offending device is put away. If the device re-appears after the lift, security is called to wait at the station, takes away any tickets or passes the guest may have and is escorted immediately off park property.
Now that you’ve taken the first steps to stem the flow of content at the source, it’s time to move onto where the content lives…online.
2.) Actively monitor and police social media, especially YouTube.
This should go without saying, especially if you read my last post – but if you don’t watch your social media channels continuously, you’re in for a shock…
What’s your signature ride at your park? Go ahead and search it on YouTube, I’ll wait…
Okay, you’re back? Great – how many results came up? Each one of those videos are potential lawsuits from injured guests, who will blame you for allowing people to film on rides. The real scary part – these are only the videos that were tagged properly on YouTube – many more could potentially exist without proper tagging or incorrect spellings. (Not to mention Facebook videos as well.)
Remember, this is your property people are filming on. You are well within your rights as a park to have videos on YouTube flagged or taken down for safety, security or other reasons.
Use the ban as an opportunity. In the complaint, be sure to add a link to an authorized POV (point of view) video that came from the park, with a friendly reminder to not film on rides.
Some park-centric websites have gone so far as to monetize videos filmed at parks . Yes, you heard me correctly – they were filming commercially – and they paid none of your fees, had no insurance coverage AND you didn’t even know they were there. You wouldn’t allow a film crew to just wander around the park without your spokesperson, so why would you allow this?
3.) Film (and share liberally) professional, on-ride video that you created or authorized.
Gone are the days of needing a film crew, jibs, cranes and more when it comes to making high quality video. A simple GoPro Hero with accompanying mounts will run your department about $400-$450 after tax. That’s a small price to pay to avoid millions in lawsuits.
Mount the camera on either the handlebars of the front car, or via the suction cup mount to a flat, non-porous surface. Duct tape can be used to stabilize the rig, but it’s not necessary in many cases. Never use any footage that could come across as shaky, or handheld. You’ll run the risk of having it look too much like a cell phone video; guests will be only encouraged to film on their own.
Now that you have authorized POV, post your video everywhere – not just on YouTube. Link to it via your other social media outlets – have it available for download for free (just be sure you include your personal watermark to show it’s really from the park). Have a QR code posted near the ride exit, so guests can scan it and receive a link to the video. It takes the work (and risk) of filming on a ride out of the hands of the guests – it’s already been done for them!
Combine that with active monitoring and better training for ride attendants, and you’ll see a significant decrease in after the ride and receive it on their phone. Take all the work out of guests filming and put it on yourself – you will see results quickly and hopefully, watch your insurance premiums decrease as well.
Review my prior posts about “Social Media and the Amusement Park” here.
Need a break at work today? Then come along for quite possibly the SLOWEST point of view (POV) video that you will ever see of any amusement park ride on Earth – here’s the complete ride cycle for the 200 foot tall Star Tower at California’s Great America. That being said, you’ll see all of the major attractions of the park in action – a rare feat to capture in just one ride!
With Gold Striker now officially open to the public at California’s Great America – enjoy this on-ride video of myself and “Lost Parks” Producer, Nicholas Laschkewitsch (who is also the ACE NorCal Asst. Regional Rep) taking in a ride.
No, that THAT type of POV pervs…I’m talking about roller coaster POV! (Sorry to disappoint you – but you DID read the blog subject, right?!?)
Have you ever watched roller coaster point of view video or POV online before? Lord knows I certainly have. Ever wondered why the videos are sometimes jolty or always start AFTER the ride has started? Today, I want to show you how to identify good coaster POV, bad POV and illegal ride POV.
POV has been around since the dawn of the motion picture – but it really gained notoriety after it was featured in the 1950’s film “This is Cinerama.” It saw its greatest surge in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, when Discovery Channel began featuring it regularly on Memorial Day. When Robb Alvey started producing on-ride videos from parks he visited, POV saw an even bigger surge. The internet is now awash with RIDE footage from thousands of users – thanks to cameras becoming smaller and more powerful. It’s become incredibly easy for anyone to film, well, anything. But does that make it right? Let’s find out…
Many parks have had to enact policies that discourage loose articles, especially cameras. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk will stop the Giant Dipper on its lift hill if operators see someone with a camera or cell phone trying to recording video. Expect a greeting and escort from security if you whip it out after the lift, by the way.
So, how do you stop this dangerous practice and keep your fellow guests safe? Simple – stop supporting it. If you see any of the tell-tale signs of illegal coaster POV, don’t keep watching it – unsubscribe from that user’s YouTube channel. You’ll keep admission process down and keep the line moving!