Over the past few days, there has been a bit of a hoo-ha on Twitter. Okay, yes, there is USUALLY something happening on Twitter.. But this one piqued my interest because it’s a matter close to my heart. It involves Theme Parks and Filming.

It all started two days ago when Theme Park Worldwide shared this picture

Fairly innocuous I suppose.. However Alton Towers replied –

You see the thing is. Alton Towers and all the other Merlin parks – and actually most of the UK theme parks don’t allow you to film on rides.

These tweets then sparked a massive debate as to whether it is definitely forbidden, and indeed if it should be. Judging from the official Twitter feed, and indeed this from the FAQs – you definitely can’t film / take pictures on rides.

“I can do what I like!!!”

We are a self filming, forever documenting, selfie taking generation. Our phones poised to capture everything around us. The thought of someone telling us ‘No’, is difficult to process. Someone argued that having paid to get into the Towers, they can do what they like. I’m not so sure that is a sensible statement. I’d like to stamp on the glorified USB sticks that Vapers use to blow plumes of candy floss scented fog out from. I’d like to kick the people who queue jump. However – I can’t. Even though I’ve paid to get in, it doesn’t allow me to commit criminal damage, or assault.

You might argue that ‘what harm can filming on a Rapids do?’ I’m not going to lie to you, in times gone by, I’ve done this myself. However last year, our boat took a massive whack against a wall. It knocked Mrs H out of her seat, and sent me flying too – despite both of us holding on! These rides are generally fairly sedate – however they can definitely bite back. If I’d have been filming at that point and not holding on, then I imagine I’d be down a camera, and possibly up a swim in the Rapids.

Should we be able to film on Wicker Man? Or will our cameras feed the flames?

Theme Parks in the UK, especially Merlin owned ones have to be so careful with risk. We’re increasingly a litigious society. Merlin need to be seen to avoiding risk at every opportunity. If they allow every oik with a GoPro to run riot, then, 9 out of 10 times – everything will be fine. It’s that 1 out of 10 time when things can be difficult. The £3 filming mount from China might let you down. The lanyard might snap. Then, you’ve got a flying camera. It won’t hit the person who had been holding it. It will fly and smack some other poor sod. If you’re taking a snap on the rapids and your phone slips out of your hand – it will end up either in the water, on the floor of the boat, or bouncing off a fellow passenger. The first two are hard luck for you, the last hard luck for whoever it hits!

Have Alton Towers confused matters by having a sign on the entrance saying ‘Video equipment and cameras are taken on this ride at the owners risk’ ? Perhaps.. I tend to read it in that you have to take all your belongings on with you, and they aren’t liable for any damage if it gets wet. Not so much ‘film and take photos with gay abandon’.

Although according to this tweet – AT have said it’s fine to film (although in an unofficial – unconfirmed manner)

Although this contradicts what was shared by Attraction Images

I’ve reached out to Alton Towers for official comment, and an Alton Towers spokesperson has said –

“To ensure the safety of all our guests, we cannot allow filming on our rides and attractions. Our ride operators use CCTV to monitor guests and, where appropriate, are trained to stop some of our rides if they see a guest using their phone or camera.

This is primarily for the safety of our guests, but also to reduce the risk of damage to our rides if a phone is dropped, and to ensure the availability of our rides is not disrupted for other guests.

This is an issue that’s very important to us, and we will take any breaches of our ride rules very seriously.”

There we go – absolutely clear – no filming or photography on rides at Alton Towers.

You can of course submit official filming requests to most theme parks, as well as having some proper equipment, you’ll undoubtedly need public liability insurance. That way your pocket takes a dent instead of the park operators if there is an issue.

What’s your opinion? Should we be allowed to film what we like, when we like? Or accept not every minutiae should be committed to digital storage? Drop a comment.

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