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Disney Responds to my Letter

Last week while I was on a business trip, I received a reply from Walt Disney World Guest Communications regarding the harassment I received from Disney Security. Here are the links to previous posts, in case you haven’t followed the story:

Disney Thinks Photographers Are Terrorists

My Letter to Disney

Disney Fails It’s Own Objective

Another Letter to Disney

Here is the response I received from Disney on May 4, 2010:

Dear Mr. Beem,

Thank you for contacting us regarding the Walt Disney World Resort.

We apologize for your inconvenience during your recent visit to Downtown
Disney. We understand taking photographs is an essential part of
creating lasting memories and encourage our Guests to take photographs
of their vacation.  As I am sure you understand, there are occasionally
security matters associated with certain types of photography.  In those
instances, our security team is trained to observe and, when
appropriate, engage those guests.

Since the safety and well-being of our Guests are of the utmost
importance to us, this policy has been implemented merely as an added
security measure for all Guests who visit the Walt Disney World Resort.

Thank you for your comments.

Sincerely,

[Name Redacted]
Guest Communication Services
Walt Disney World Resort

Let’s say that I’m underwhelmed and disappointed, but not completely surprised.  It’s politely phrased, but my own interpretation of this note is to suggest that Walt Disney World really doesn’t give a damn and they will continue with their policy of harassing photographers that they perceive as threats to security.  This was specifically referred to as “policy” at Walt Disney World.  That means it’s documented and supported by the company. This wasn’t a case of some overzealous security guard going beyond his responsibility.  Walt Disney World has written directions to harass photographers.  It’s their plan of action.

I responded and asked to see the policy in writing, but once again, I’ve heard nothing.  I pointed out that a guest has no way of knowing whether they are in compliance with Disney policy or not, since there are no signs prohibiting photography (one exception is a sign for the House of Blues concert hall, but not the exterior where I was shooting).  If this is policy, shouldn’t Disney inform its guests?

Personally, I don’t know of any security matters associated with photography in public places, even if those places are on private property.  Security goons like to recite 9/11 and terrorism, but that’s just a load of bunk.  The 9/11 attackers had planes, not cameras.  Timothy McVeigh used a rental truck and fertilizer, not cameras.  When investigators want to find out what happened at an event, they look for the results of video and still cameras.  Photography help.  It is not a security threat at all and I’m insulted that Disney would suggest as much in its response to me.

Despite the fact that I pointed out the fact that Disney did not address the questions in my original letter, and that I wrote back inquiring for clarification of this policy, I don’t expect to hear back.  I think that Walt Disney World just wants to sweep this incident under the rug and Don will continue to harass other photographers at Downtown Disney.  I’ve heard from others who were hassled by Disney Security there since my incident, and at least one of them had media credentials to shoot there and another who is under contract to shoot there.

Amazing, isn’t it?  Walt Disney World refers to any area accessible by the public as being “on stage.”  I guess the show is just more “security theater.”  I would have expected Walt Disney World to live up to a higher standard, but clearly it does not.

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34 comments

  • Bob May 10, 2010   Reply →

    William,

    I told you that you would get a response. And I also knew that it would be a patronizing answer to your complaints. Their letters to guest complaints are always the same. If I were you, I would just forget about it. Don’t let this one awful experience ruin your desire to shoot great photos in Disney theme parks.

    You have already wasted too much time and energy on this. Move on with your life. As my parents told me on more than one occasion,”CONSIDER THE SOURCE”. Disney security cast members are low paid cast members. They are just looking for some excitement and for someone to pick on. It’s their job to harass photographers because somebody above them told them to do so. They are just carrying out their orders, but sadly, it seems that they “enjoy” making a photographers life miserable. It is what it is. Please keep shooting beautiful pictures at Disney theme parks. Disney offers a visual paradise for the photographer’s camera. Just take the risk and you will find that most of the time you will be left alone. Trust me on this. I have been shooting professionally at Walt Disney World and Disneyland for over 23 years an counting. If I ever get harassed by Disney security, I sometimes play dumb. If that doesn’t work, I will get tough with them. I am usually shooting for them, have credentials with me saying so, and Disney security still won’t let up. It can be aggravating at times, but it is what it is. In conclusion, LET IT GO MAN!!!

  • gerry rosser May 10, 2010   Reply →

    We live in a mealy-mouthed world. No explanation from Disney Corporation will be forthcoming, I expect.

    I have expansive thoughts on the anti-photography foolishness we see these days, but they are just my theories, and not really worth explicating. Suffice it to say that the motives for much of the conduct we see in the world today are certainly different for the half-assed justifications which are floated around for that conduct.

  • Terry Reinert May 10, 2010   Reply →

    Yeah, this seems like a canned letter that they send out to anyone who has a complaint. What a load of mess. I still think we should organize a huge photo walk to take place at different places around Disney simultaneously so as to make their security managers heart pop. 🙂

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      I’ve heard a few other folks also propose a huge photo walk at Downtown Disney. At first, I didn’t think it would be necessary and I hoped that someone in the office would see how absurd it is to hassle photographers. Now it’s apparent that the corporate people are buying into the security BS. I would go along with the idea of a mass photo walk there now, though. I’m just not sure it would be effective at changing Disney policy, though. It would be a thorn in their side for a while and then it would be over.

      It will take a much more sustained effort to change policy at Walt Disney World.

  • Paul Gowder May 10, 2010   Reply →

    We visit WDW often, and I’ve taken literally hundreds of photos in the parks. I’ve never had any problems at WDW while taking photos.

    Here are photos from a recent trip:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/96077153@N00/sets/72157622377385256/

    I published over 900 on Flickr from that trip! Never was approached by anyone! Even did several HDR photos on that trip!

    There are even groups that have photo meets there!
    http://www.themagicinpixels.com/index.php/Table/Pixelmania/

    Thousands of photos published and no one else has had an issue!

    Remember that all of WDW is PRIVATE property. They can set any policy they want. And they don’t have to share those policies with us!

    Ever tried to take a photo in a mall? Most mall don’t even allow photos. We as photographer are lucky that Disney not only allows us to take photos there, but allows us to publish them on websites and blogs!

    I don’t agree with all of their policies, but I don’t get the right to argue them or try to change them. I just recently went to Disney on Ice and was stopped when trying to take in my 24-70mm. Their policy was that lenses bigger than your hand were not allowed. After discussing it with them, I was allowed to carry it in.

    Arguing with security and refusing a request is always going to cause problems! Lots of places are now implementing anti-photographer policies. But causing issues like this will NOT get them changed. You’re just going to cause even stricter policies.

    While you are on private property you can’t refuse a request of security! They have the right to ask anyone for ID and question them. I’m sure if someone without a camera had stood in that same spot for a long time, they would have been questioned too!

    Why in the world would you think that they would leave you alone after you refused their request for ID? At that point you are officially a trouble maker to them!

    You created your own mountain out of this mole hill! Show your ID, comply with their requests and keep on shooting!

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      With all due respect, Paul, I disagree with you. Private security has no more authority than you or I do. If you come to my house, I do not have a right to demand to see your ID. I don’t have a right to stop you from taking photographs. All I can really do is tell you to get off my property. The same is true of Disney Security or some mall security.

      You seem either very ignorant of your rights or willing to give them up. That’s your choice, but it’s not mine.

      Disney may set any policy it likes, and you’re right that they don’t have to tell us what that policy entails. However, that’s really pretty stupid of them. How is a guest supposed to adhere to an unpublished policy? Since Disney doesn’t publish its policy, how will you even know if my actions make the policy more strict or not?

      Feedback is good for any business that wants to attract paying customers. Some people may have elected to say nothing and never return. Disney would not have a chance to earn their business again. I’ve worked in enough businesses to know that they always want the opportunity to earn your business. In this case, I gave Disney that opportunity and it failed miserably.

      If I complied and showed my ID, as you suggested, what do you think they would have done with it? How would they securely store my private information? The security manager mentioned that he wanted to know who to look for if something “bad” happened. Do you honestly think it’s smart to hand over your ID to someone looking for an excuse to blame you for a crime you never committed? I certainly don’t.

  • Lisa May 10, 2010   Reply →

    As a previous post mentioned, it’s their property and they make the rules. Unfortunately, just like TSA at the airport, each agent enforcing those rules also uses their own discretion and that can vary widely from one agent to the next. I would have liked to see a more “situation-specific” letter from Disney, had I been you, but it is what it is, I guess. Sorry it ruined your experience.

    And if I come to your house, you DO have the “right” to ask to see my ID. And I have the “right” to tell you no at which point you can tell me to high-tail it off your property.

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      You’re right. We all have the right to “ask” whatever we please. I can even demand it, but that’s about the extent of it. You can decline my request or demand. I can’t physically force you to hand it over just because you’re on my property. If I tried, you’d likely have me arrested for battery.

  • Paul Gowder May 10, 2010   Reply →

    [quote]With all due respect, Paul, I disagree with you. Private security has no more authority than you or I do. If you come to my house, I do not have a right to demand to see your ID. I don’t have a right to stop you from taking photographs. All I can really do is tell you to get off my property. The same is true of Disney Security or some mall security.

    [/quote]

    Actually you are misinformed! If someone is on your property taking a picture of your house, you DO have the right to stop them!

    And you can demand to see anyone’s ID that is on your property! If the person refuses, you can ask them to leave or even have police remove them. You as the property owner can request these things!

    Please read here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law#Private_property

    A property owner has the right to refuse you taking photos! You even have the right to compensation if someone publishes a photo of your property without expressed permission! Take the Eiffel Tower for example :

    http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0040xw

    And they expect you to comply when you are made aware of the policy. They made you aware of their policy. They asked you to comply with a request. You refused. And they, rightly so, asked you to leave!

    Do you really think that Disney is going to try an pin a terrorist conspiracy on you because you showed your ID? More than likely they would have kept your name to see if you ever published that work for profit! Or just kept it for their records.

    Also keep in mind that when you are carry a tripod in a public place you are a nuisance. You may have tried to stay out of everyone’s way. But in Disney’s mind you are a liability to other guests. You trip someone, that person sues Disney not you. They are well within their rights to keep your name on record for anything that may have happened.

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      Paul, you still seem ignorant of the facts. As I’ve written, they never told me to stop anything. They never told me to stop taking photos. They never mentioned a single word about my tripod. They never asked me to leave. You’re just making stuff up to suit your argument.

      As Lisa mentioned, we all have the right to make requests. Don asked and I declined. Why does this bother you so much?

      Let me ask you this question – how do you plan to stop someone who is taking photographs on your property? Sure, you can yell at them. You can tell them to get off your property. If they refuse, you can call the police. Your rights as a property owner are really limited to trespass, not photography.

      Contrary to your statement here, Disney has NEVER made me aware of their policy. Don didn’t mention it. There aren’t any signs about it on property. Disney’s Guest Communications didn’t offer any clarification of policy, either.

      As for Disney keeping my ID for their records, why do they need more data in their records? How does that enhance security?

      Once again, you seem quite content to submissively give up your rights and give Disney more rights than it has a right to expect under the law. It’s quite baffling to me why you would take this approach, but please don’t expect me to follow.

  • Paul Gowder May 10, 2010   Reply →

    One more thing to keep in mind, is that Disney property is not only private property. But they actually incorporated it into the Reddy Creek Improvement District. They have their own governmental jurisdiction. So the security there is not just private security!

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      Wrong again, Paul. Since you like Wikipedia, here’s the information:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reedy_Creek_Improvement_District#Security

      [edit] Security
      Main article: Disney Safety and Security
      The District does not have a police force, instead allowing Orange County and Osceola County to respond to incidents. The approximately 800 security staff are instead considered employees of the Walt Disney Company. Arrests and citations are issued by the Florida Highway Patrol along with the Orange County and Osceola County sheriffs deputies who patrol the roads. Disney security does maintain a fleet of security vans equipped with flares, traffic cones, and chalk commonly used by police officers. These security personnel are charged with traffic control by the RCID and may only issue personnel violation notices to Disney and RCID employees, not the general public.[2][3] Security vans previously had red flashing lights, but after public scrutiny following the Sipkema case,[4] were changed to amber to fall in line with Florida State Statutes.[5]

  • Paul Gowder May 10, 2010   Reply →

    First I didn’t say the security had the authority of police. I said they are more than just private security. You make them sound like just rent a cops.

    And Disney does have more rights than just the average private property owner since they incorporated the area.

    And I care so much because I enjoy taking pictures at WDW! And I don’t want people like you ruining that! With people like you causing problems with Disney security the rest of us tripod toting photographers will have more issues!

    I also didn’t say they asked you to stop. I said they are within their rights to do so. And when the security guard request your ID, you have been made aware that they have a policy about requesting IDs! Once they make the request you can’t argue you didn’t know they might want to see and ID. No you can’t physically pry it from my hands. But when you refuse, a property owner can then tell you to get off. But that doesn’t even matter. Private property owners can demand and have you removed from their property for anything! It doesn’t matter, it’s their property. They don’t like you, you can be asked to leave.

    As for my plans on how to handle someone taking photos on my property, you CAN call the police and have them removed. Where you are misinformed, is that if I am on your property you can restrict what I do there–including taking pictures.

    You are obviously very upset that Disney had the nerve to ask to know who you are! That travesty of justice must be avenged!

    But the fact is you are just making a whole lot of something out of nothing.

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      Paul,
      What do you mean that they are more than just private security? If you aren’t a certified LEO, then you’re just another citizen with no more power than any of us. What is this special class of security guard you’re inventing here, and what makes you think they have any more authority than a rent-a-cop?

      I have to tell you, complaining in the comments of my blog is not going to impact Disney’s security efforts. I see the logs here and I know how often they check my site these days. It’s not much at all. If you get hassled by security at Disney, don’t blame me. Blame the guy who is hassling you per Disney policy.

      You still haven’t addressed how you expect to restrict someone from taking photographs on your property, aside from stating your preference. The only power you have is to demand that they leave your property. Photography is not a crime and you are not a king. Your recourse is about trespassing, not legal activity that you don’t like.

      I’m disturbed that Disney Security treated me like a criminal, but you’re the one using a lot of exclamation marks. My contact with Disney was to express my displeasure as a customer, not to avenge anything. Once again, you seem to be reading into things that aren’t there.

  • Jeff Sampson May 10, 2010   Reply →

    The security personnel involved here appear to have overreacted but the same can be said of you as well. It’s Disney’s property, they make the rules. If you dont want to abide by those rules (in this case producing some ID and answering some questions), your choices are simple, either leave or escalate it up the chain of management.

    Personally I would have asked the security personnel involved to accompany you to guest services to work things out. You’d be out some time but the situation could have been smoothed over much more effectively. Instead you made a big deal out of it and now it’s the rest of us who may may pay for it.

    Think of it this way, when these security personnel, and perhaps others who are briefed about your altercation, encounter a photographer, particularly one with a tripod, they may get hassled because of this. Thanks a lot.

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      Jeff,

      Please tell me how I overreacted? I never lost my temper (and neither did Don). If Disney wants me to abide by its rules, don’t you think they should make its guests AWARE of those rules? Why do I have a responsibility to abide by unpublished rules?

      As you said, I could leave or escalate. I left. Then I wrote to Guest Communications. While I was on property, I didn’t know about Guest Communications. Perhaps I would have addressed it with them at the time if I was aware of it, but Don didn’t inform me about it.

      You and Paul seem to think that you’re going to suffer some consequences for my actions. What you fail to realize is that this isn’t something new that just happened to me. Based upon the comments I’ve received on my posts about the issue, this has happend for quite a while. The fact that you (and I) are just now becoming aware of it doesn’t make the matter my fault if you’re the next one who gets hassled by Disney Security.

      At least I tried to do something about it. You’re welcome.

  • Paul Gowder May 10, 2010   Reply →

    Amen Jeff!

    And William, I don’t know how you acted with the Security guards. But all the blog posts, letters, etc is definitely overreacting. Posting there letter and the editorial comments about Disney is your way of getting even with them. You did more than just express displeasure to Disney. You’ve put this out in the public arena. It was a private matter between you and Disney. But because you aren’t happy with their end result, you decide to get up on your soap box via your blog.

    Yes, I am worried about it happening to others now. A search for Walt Disney World on Flickr brings back over 400k results. But you are the only one that has been harassed. If this was a wide spread problem with WDW, I would have seen in in the half dozen Disney forums I read. No one else seems to have this issue!

    Photography on private property is not a crime. But I as a private property owner, have the right to set any restrictions I want on my property. If you go against them, then I can have you removed or arrested. My point is that it isn’t just photography, I can restrict anything! On my property I can set a restriction that you can’t walk backwards. The act of walking backwards isn’t criminal, but being on my property against my wishes at that point is.

    The flaw in your logic is your failure to recognize Disney’s rights as a property owners. You are arguing that your right to privacy is violated by them asking to see your ID. But their rights override your right to privacy. You make the choice. If you want to keep your ID private, OK, then you must leave.

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      Paul:

      I acted calm and polite. In fact, I showed them what was on my camera and addressed their concerns about editorial or commercial photography. Then Don switched to being concerned about architectural photography. He asked for my name, I gave it. He asked for my ID, and I asked why he needed it. Perhaps you could read my previous posts on the matter to come up to speed, since we seem to be rehashing a lot of ground I’ve already covered.

      Also, read the comments. You claim that I’m the only one who ever got hassled. The comments on this post and others about the issue clearly show that others have experienced harassment by Disney Security while taking photographs. Such action does NOTHING to enhance security. People who want to cause security risks don’t run around taking pictures first. Even if they did, you’ve noted there are over 400K images on Flickr alone. Google Earth provides excellent satellite coverage of Disney World. What’s the point in hassling a guy taking a picture? Is that going to be the ONE image that causes the House of Blues to explode? Hardly so.

      Terrorism just isn’t that big of a threat to most people’s lives. Per Bruce Schneier’s post today, the amount of deaths related to terrorism is roughly about the same as those related to household appliances – 200 per year. He points out that there aren’t many attacks because it’s very hard to do. So why hassle a guy with a camera on a tripod in the name of security? It’s stupid and rude.

      As for your assertions with regard to property rights, I feel I’m talking to a wall. You may set all the restrictions you want, but ultimately, the only right you have is against trespassing, The fact that you don’t grasp that concept doesn’t make it any less true.

      You also fail to grasp this truth – Disney never asked or ordered me to leave, and Disney’s rights certainly don’t override my rights to conceal my identity. That’s protected by the Constitution (except in Arizona).

      Paul, you have a plethora of mistaken ideas and bad information.

  • Paul Gowder May 10, 2010   Reply →

    Here is what you said in your initial post.

    “Don tells me that if I don’t provide him with more identification that he’s going to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.”

    They have that right. And you have the right to not show it. But when you don’t they can then have you removed. I didn’t say they did ask you to leave, I said they have the right to ask.

    As for the right of them to ask you not to photography their building see this:

    Copyright protection also extends to architectural works, specifically for architectural works created after March 1, 1989. However copyright protection also has limitations. A release is not needed to photograph a building or property visible from a public place. However, permission is needed to photograph and reproduce images of a building protected by copyright and not visible from a public place. Entering private property to photograph a building or related private property may also trigger a claim of trespass. To avoid such claims, photographers, publishers and filmmakers use a property release, sometimes known as a location release.

    http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter12/12-d.html

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      Paul,

      It’s interesting that you have an opinion, but it’s irrelevant. They never asked me to leave, nor did they ever tell me to stop taking photos. I don’t need a property release to take photos as a hobbyist. As noted in your example, a release is not necessary to photograph a building from a public place. Downtown Disney, while private property, is open to the public without discrimination (e.g., membership required) and therefore a public place.

  • Paul Gowder May 10, 2010   Reply →

    DTD is private property. Regardless of being open to the public it is private. Same with malls. It’s still private.

    • William May 10, 2010   Reply →

      Paul, do you know why restaurants (private property) in Florida have to prohibit smoking? It’s because they’re open to the public. So is Downtown Disney. Although private property, it does not give Disney license to do whatever it damn well pleases. There are legal restrictions in place on what a business open to the public may and may not do.

      At this point, I don’t even know what you’re arguing about. You’re all over the map here and completely off-course of the original discussion. While you can argue Disney’s right to do this or that, I’ll contend that it was an extremely stupid business decision to hassle me for taking pictures, and I question the dubious excuse of “security” as a pretense for the confrontation.

      Have a nice evening, Paul.

  • Paul Gowder May 10, 2010   Reply →

    No that isn’t why it is prohibited to smoke in Florida. The law states all workplaces, not public places!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_smoking_bans_in_the_United_States#.C2.A0Florida

    Anyways, I’ve said what I need to say. You apparently don’t get my points, that’s fine.

    Hope you return to WDW soon. Be sure to share you pictures.

    I’ll be back in December. And I’ve got it on my photo list to grab an HDR of the House of Blues. Be sure to subscribe to my Flickr stream to see it!

  • Geoff May 10, 2010   Reply →

    William,

    It appears that you’ve gotten so wrapped up in your tussle with Disney that you’re missing what’s already before you. I’ll save you the time of waiting for the 2nd letter from Disney in order to find out what is the “policy” referenced in the 1st letter. The definition of that policy is actually contained in the 1st letter itself. Here it is: “there are occasionally security matters associated with certain types of photography. In those instances, our security team is trained to observe and, when appropriate, engage those guests.”

    In another words, it is Disney’s policy to have their security staff engage guests that they suspect(!) of being up to photographic “no good”. I don’t think this just includes the possibility that they think that the photographer is plotting a crime. I also think that this includes the suspicion that the photographer is engaging in unauthorized commercial or editorial photography. Disney security isn’t only charged with protecting the physical property of the company and guests, as well as the bodily safety of cast members and guests… they’re also charged on being on the look out for threats against the company’s intellectual property and works. Instead, you’ve fixated on this “they think I’m a terrorist!” angle. I also just asked my 19-year-old daughter to read the response letter and asked her “What’s the policy they’re talking about in the 3rd paragraph?” She looked at it again and in under 5 seconds pointed to the same definition that I posted above.

    I think in the end, after talking to “Don” they likely feel that there was justifiable reason to think that you were being less than honest with them after declining (which was your right) to back details up with some hard ID. Again, I think you were 100% honest with them and they overreacted towards you… but, I think you’re continuing to repay them in kind. I realize that you remained claim in your exchanges with Disney security staff, but overreacting doesn’t require that you shout while waving your arms about.

    • William May 11, 2010   Reply →

      Geoff,

      I understand your points. I still am bothered by the notion that Disney would treat a guest in such a manner based upon the unproven and dubious notion that photography is a security threat. To use Bruce Schneier’s phrase, it’s a “movie plot” threat, not a real one. Ultimately, this kind of behavior is damaging to Disney’s business interests. I’m also bothered that you can’t get a straight answer. I realize what’s before me, but it’s vague and undefined. It doesn’t allow a guest the opportunity to know what is or is not acceptable within Disney policy.

      Imagine if the roads at Disney didn’t have line, signs or traffic signals. Everyone would have to guess based upon their own previous experience. Well, some people may think differently about the same scenario. I certainly didn’t have any concerns that taking some HDR photos would cause a problem. In fact, it didn’t cause any problem at all. The people around me seemed not to care. As I mentioned, some even approached me and asked me to take their family photo. The only problem was with Security.

      The intellectual property angle is pretty weak for a security perspective. I would be much more afraid of facing Disney lawyers than Disney security.

  • Geoff May 11, 2010   Reply →

    William, It was late and “IP and works” were the only terms I could think of. More appropriately, I should have said protecting Disney’s “image and goodwill”. For example, if you’d instead opted to do a tasteful glamor shoot with a model in front of the HoB instead of doing HDR stuff, I think Don & Co. would have hotfooted it out towards you even faster. My point is that the “security” function that the security staff is charged with isn’t just to deter criminal activity.

    As for not spelling things out for you, well unless you’re signing a press credential release odds are very very few places will explicitly state what is and isn’t permissible photographically. Ditto for guest behavior in general. Disney no doubt does have some things that are guaranteed to get you thrown out of the park, such as shoplifting or trying to take the head off a CM in character, but there’s no official list of offenses. Likewise, Disney requires “appropriate attire” for admission to the parks, but other than knowing that adult guests can’t dress as characters (except for the ticketed Halloween party), there’s no official policy about what’s OK and what isn’t. This vagueness is common and understandable. It allows for flexibility on the part of park CMs and Disney Security to respond to situations. The downside of this approach is that at times CMs can overreact (see “Don”), but in their decades of operation Disney has apparently found that this approach is more positive than negative for them. And I think it’s not usual for Disney to spell out their security protocols for you or anyone else.

    As for damaging their business interests, quite frankly I don’t think solo guys with pro-camera equipment taking photos with tripods is a demographic group that’s high on WDW’s list. They may consider ticking off a couple of such people a year unfairly is a price worth paying for trying to keep possible unauthorized professional photographers from operating on their property. When they start doing things like regularly harassing families of five from Indianapolis that are spending a week at Wilderness Lodge about suspected commercial photography, then they should worry.

    • William May 11, 2010   Reply →

      Agreed that security does more than worry about criminal behavior. I’ll even agree that Disney doesn’t give a damn about me. I still don’t see any benefit to Disney by this policy, though. It’s a waste of energy, doesn’t enhance security, and pisses off guests.

      Not exactly a winning business strategy.

  • Geoff May 11, 2010   Reply →

    Er, make that “And I think it’s not usual for Disney to not want to spell out their security protocols for you or anyone else.”

  • Francois May 30, 2010   Reply →

    Funny how some people here are referencing Disney’s intellectual property vs. security (which any normal human being with a modicum of common sense knows is simply another word for corporate control). Those folks should check out “Freedom of Expression ©: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity”. They might learn something. Disney is a bully. Period. Don’t take that “security” crap for anything else (I’m not leaning on the agents here – they’re simply doing what they’ve been told to do if they want to keep their job). As long as they’re at it, what about spy glasses, microphones, little old ladies with false bras? Stop the paranoia and start looking at your dwindling rights. Disney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you. You go there, you’re paying them. Tough!

  • Bonnie November 3, 2011   Reply →

    Security at Disney World stinks, to put it mildly. My brother had taken a large package of purchase to the car, while I stood inside the park with his resort cup and camera bag. Trying to return through the “no bag” area, he was rudely asked by a male security guard “what’s in your pants?” A sexual question if I ever heard one. Of course, he was forced to show kleenex and two inhalers for allergies and asthma. Talk about harrassment. You better believe it. Other men asked why my brother was being treated this way, but never got an answer. The next day we were talking to a manager (?) at Hollywood Studios, and were threatened with being thrown from the park for simply questioning why we were treated the way we were. After visiting Disney World twice a year in the past five years, and once a year since 1983, I never would have believed the treatment would be presented to a guest. Believe me, we will NEVER go to Disney again. I know, some will say Awww, but let it happen to your family, and then you can let me know how you feel about it.

  • Disney Disaster Victim January 30, 2012   Reply →

    I still can’t believe our bizarre experience at Epcot. We were there last week with a group of 11 extended family members. We were trying to have that “making memories” moment for our kids at the large monetary cost of a 5 day, four park visit. We were in Epcot under 2 hours when my husband wanted my son to wait on line to have his picture taken with a character. As my son stood on line with my brother, my husband and I stood in front of the character to take the photo of our son. As my son smiled at us, we took a picture, and the character’s handler jumped in front of us, blocked us from taking a picture, pushed my husband’s camera into his chest, stood guard between us and our son, and shouted, “Stop! This is not your child!” She frantically waved her hand in front of my husband’s face almost knocking off his glasses. My poor son stood there in shock. I said,” This is our son.” She said, “No it isn’t, you were not in line with him!” I said, “He was in line with his Uncle and his cousins!” After that, a team of security people followed us, making everyone very uncomfortable. My husband was so upset, he wanted to complain to someone in charge, so he went back to the entrance to talk to a security person and was surrounded and interrogated by 12 security people and was asked to leave the park for the day!!! This was his first day at the park with his son! He refused to come back to any of the Disney parks after that. Disney ruined our family vacation, and stole all the magic out of what was a lifetime of memories for me and potentially for my son. It also strained our marriage because he didn’t want to give one dime to DIsney after that. We all had nightmares about this tragic day for about five days. We are still in disbelief! They humiliated us in public and embarrassed us in front of other family members and strained our marriage. Now that’s some powerful magic! Not the good kind. All she needed to say was, “Ma’am is this your son?” All would have been oh so different.

    • William January 30, 2012   Reply →

      You’re right. That could have so easily been handled with a question rather a confrontational reaction. Sorry to hear that it happened to your family.

  • Daisy August 20, 2015   Reply →

    I was a Character performer for 16 years Daisy Donald and can remrmber at the Studios I’m thinking the Summer of 2010 we were concerned that random people were taking pictures of the Children during the interactions as the Company Photographers were doing their photos. We wee told by a Character Manager that because of tPublic Domain” the Character Attendant could not tell strangers to not photograph Children that wernt theirs. It for good reason did not go over well with the Character Attendants or me as a Character Performer. Why you were harassed when clearly you are within the public domain protected catagory.

  • Daisy August 20, 2015   Reply →

    I was a Character performer for 16 years Daisy Donald and can remrmber at the Studios I’m thinking the Summer of 2010 we were concerned that random people were taking pictures of the Children during the interactions as the Company Photographers were doing their photos. We wee told by a Character Manager that because of tPublic Domain” the Character Attendant could not tell strangers to not photograph Children that wernt theirs. It for good reason did not go over well with the Character Attendants or me as a Character Performer. Why you were harassed when clearly you are within the public domain protected catagory. In addition after reading the above responses it sounds like some of the responses are from “trolls” trying to minimize your justified complaint. Look at the above responses closely and you’ll see what I’m meaning. Furthermore my Character Performing Manager was clear when she stated the words “PUBLIC DOMAIN”.

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