By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co will ban selfie sticks starting next week at its theme parks around the world, the company said on Friday, joining a growing list of attractions that restrict the camera accessories for safety reasons.
Beginning Tuesday, the company will not allow selfie sticks - extension rods used for taking self-portraits with smartphones - at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, or Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The ban will begin on Wednesday at parks in Hong Kong and Paris.
“We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and unfortunately selfie sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast,” Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said in a statement.
Disney tried allowing selfie sticks in the park but not on rides, according to Prunty. But violators were forcing park staff to stop rides for extended periods of time, including on Wednesday when a roller coaster was shut down at Disneyland, frustrating other guests.
Starting next week, security personnel will ask Disney guests who arrive with selfie sticks at the parks to stow them at a storage facility or return the sticks to their hotels or cars, the company said.
Major museums worldwide, including those in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, have banned the sticks. Other major tourist destinations such as the Palace of Versailles outside of Paris and the Colosseum in Rome as well as music festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza have also prohibited them.
Universal Studios also bans selfie sticks on rides in its parks, spokesman Tom Schroder said
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc allows selfie sticks in the company's parks but not on rides or over animal habitats, spokeswoman Becca Bides said.
(Editing by Frank McGurty and Susan Heavey)