Could This Universal Ban Come to Walt Disney World?

a group of people take a selfie on a phone in front of the universal globe entrance sign, the phone has a red x over it and next to that is a sign banning the use of loose items including phones
Credit: Universal / Orlando Informer

Universal Orlando prohibits all Guests from filming or recording while on any ride, with this ban even extending to metal detectors to locate phones on riders, a policy that may soon come to the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Universal Orlando Resort opened its first theme park in 1990, with the debut of Universal Studios Florida just one year behind Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Nine years after, Universal’s Islands of Adventure Park would open, with the entire Resort inviting Guests to experience the magic of movies through unique monster movie-style attractions and areas inspired by some of the most beloved non-Disney IP such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Dr. Suess, and ironically, the comic book characters of Marvel Comics.


Credit: Universal Studios

RELATED: This Classic Universal Studios Attraction Recently Reopened, Yet One Guest Noticed Something Wrong While Riding

Today, theme park fans love to enjoy some of the Resort’s best thrill rides, including roller coasters like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Jurassic World VelociCoaster, and the Incredible Hulk, three rides that require Guests to completely empty their pockets before boarding, even implementing a metal detector in the queue to ensure no rider boards while carrying loose items.

Of course, you can chalk this up to safety measures similar to those which Disney is currently setting up for its newest attraction at the Magic Kingdom, TRON Lightcycle / Run, billed to be one of the fastest coasters at any Disney Park worldwide. In fact, a statement on the Rider Safety page of the Universal Orlando website reads:

Both your safety, and that of our team members, are Universal Orlando’s top priority and we’ve taken important steps to make things safe for everyone. Loose articles like cell phones, cameras, umbrellas and keys are prohibited at most attractions, and should be left with a non-rider or secured in a locker. Items that could extend out of the ride vehicle—either before or during the ride—should be properly secured before riding. If you have particularly long hair, long and flowing clothing or long and flowing accessories, you’ll be required to take certain precautions before riding any attraction.

revenge of the mummy

Credit: Universal

RELATED: ‘Epic’ New Addition Coming to Universal Studios Orlando

Additionally, it notes that loose items are “strictly prohibited” on the three aforementioned coasters. Even so, is there another reason why Universal might require Guests to leave their mobile devices behind?

Well, it’s well-known that Universal Studios Orlando does not allow Guests to engage in filming of any kind on any ride, specifically via professional camera equipment or Go-Pros, which could injure or obstruct the view of another rider, it also applies to just filming with a cellphone. This is because Universal wants every Guest to be able to enjoy the ride experience in the moment without interruptions, something which many Disney Guests complain of as Disney Influencers and 4K ride-through videos become more popular online.

Universal E.T. Adventure Ride

Credit: Disney

RELATED: One Disney Resort Had Effectively Banned Influencers, Could the Rest Follow Suit?

So, will Disney World soon enact a full-on phone ban? It seems unlikely, at least for upcoming releases like TRON Lightcycle / Run, which requires Guests to store their bags inside a locker, but provides a small compartment in the ride vehicle advertised for sunglasses, keys, or a phone.

You probably shouldn’t try to film a ride-through video from your phone on the highspeed attraction… Just think of it like you’re taking a trip back in time to opening day before cellphones and Youtube ever got in the way of Disney magic.

About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.