Has Cedar Fair Gone To Far?

Monday, November 1, 2004 12:12 PM
Hello Coaster Fans Who Are Now Mourning The Closing of Cedar Point and Geauga Lake,

A interesting thing happened to me during closing day at Geauga Lake yesterday. ALL season long MANY people have taken pictures of Geauga Lake making the transition from SFWoA into GL, including myself and many people on this board. Well, yesterday when going to take pictures in Happy Harbor (which I have done ALL year...including last weekend.) I got stopped by a cop right at the Net Climb. He asked me to hand over my camera. I told him no. He told me I had to because I took a picture of the construction. I told him I knew my rights.

Mind you neither one of us got out of hand. I would say both of us were rather nice. I told him I was not about to hand over a $1000 camera to him. He said, "Cedar Fair no longer allows patrons to take pictures of things under construction at their parks for fear of what can happen on the web."

"Fear of what can happen?" I understand MANY people can say bad things about the park, but in general MANY people say pretty darn good things about the park...especially when they see the park is adding something.

All year long I have taken pictures of construction in Kidworks, new signs being added at the park, etc. I have never once been told this ruling at ANY Cedar Fair park. TTD Cedar Fair didn't have an issue. Not to mention all the other people taking picutres at other Cedar Fair Parks.

On top of that. You can see what is going on from outside the park along the picic grounds and GL road...which the public has access to. So it's not like this is some big top secret operation anymore.

I told the cop that, he said he agrees but he can't let anyone take any pictures. I know my rights as a photographer and had a good laugh, but I though this was just a little to ridiculous. Either way, if Cedar Fair has a problem with people finding out things, maybe they should go back to announcing things earlier on in the year, like they use to.

The funny thing is, he told me to have a nice day at the park and not to take any other construction pictures of things around the park.

Never mind that really big Spider ride that doesn't have any tubs on it...it's just a midway prop ;)

None the less the cop didn't get an attitude, and I took some pictures of "the trees around the structure."

Anyone else have this happen to them at Cedar Fair Parks?

Monday, November 1, 2004 12:17 PM
I believe almost this same exact thing has happened at this same park before, maybe back during the GL to SFO transformation. Might even be the same guy hassling you as from the time before.

Anyways...sounds like a case of somebody taking things a bit to far, and not really representing the parks' and/or comapany's true policies.

Monday, November 1, 2004 12:26 PM
Yes, Spinning Dragons consturction, from outside the park, and OE demolishion. Got yelled at and told to hand over my camera, we drove off really quick. Hell, I've gotten my camera on rides being allowed at WOF so many times, I've been to their employee events and I'm not an employee but I cant take pics of consturction.


Monday, November 1, 2004 12:29 PM
I think I'd have asked him to show me the posted rules on the park map, as well as any signage prohibiting that.

Perhaps it's a rule, but IMO a park has no basis for demanding that a camera be handed over unless they have posted, written rules expressing limitations on their use.

In my opinion, unless it is compromising someone's safety... it's a non issue.

Now if you had been taking pictures while on a ride... then I would completely agree with the park "holding" the camera until your visit was over.

Shaggy *** Edited 11/1/2004 5:29:56 PM UTC by Shaggy***

Monday, November 1, 2004 12:41 PM

RollerCoasterGod said:

I know my rights as a photographer and had a good laugh, but I though this was just a little to ridiculous.

Not sure you do know your rights. If you were on GL property in any way, they have the right to tell you not to photograph anything. It doesn't have to be posted, the fact that it is their property gives them that right.

The only agrument you may have is if they didn't enforce that rule across the board on everyone taking similar photos - and even then it'd be iffy.

If you were on public property, there is little they can do. However, on private property all the owner of the property has to do is tell you to stop and you're done.

With that said, I had film taken from me in the SFWOA days. I missed a posted sign about photos on the monrail.

The day before that at CP, I had an employee tell me not to take photos of Mantis - from the midway by the loop! Turns out that employee was incorrect in asking me to stop. (as was sorted out later, but I did stop when asked)

Sadly, as someone who enjoys photographing parks a lot, it's attitudes like "I know my rights, I'll take pics" and people who get POV without concern of park policy that make it harder for people like myself who follow all rules and then in turn abide by all intelectual/property laws once I have those photos.

As far as taking your camera. I doubt they have that right, but they can ask you to put it away or ask you to leave if you don't.

A camera is not a ticket to invade everyone's personal space and ignore person property rules.

*** Edited 11/1/2004 5:43:15 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

Monday, November 1, 2004 1:08 PM
On the same note as Cal's. I was given permission BY WORLDS OF FUN to take pictures of the Orient Express deconstruction from WOF Avenue and 49th street. While I was taking pictures I had a security officer approach me while driving his truck. He told me I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the deconstruction. I told him that I had obtained permission from the park and was not breaking their verbal agreement in anyway. He asked my name, which I supplied as well who I was taking photos for. He radioed into the office and saw that I had obtained permission and was playing by the rules. He then appologized and bid me good day. I say if you get permission from the park then you should have no problem.
Monday, November 1, 2004 1:13 PM
I for one will never understand the don't-post-it mentality. I play by the rules they set, but I don't pretend to understand them. On the various CP construction tours they've asked us to take all the photos we want, but don't post them. They have generally been OK with posting them years later when I've asked.

But the thing is, what is it that they're worried about? I mean, every photo on the Internet helps generate interest for the new ride. BGT did this last week with their announcement. PKI did it last year in their water park. If I were a marketing type, I think I would want as much as possible to get as much exposure as possible.

Chalk that up as one of the world's greatest mysteries!

Monday, November 1, 2004 1:34 PM
Perhaps they think their competitors'll figure out what they are doing and out-do them in the off-season. Everyone knows how easy it is do design, plan, and build a new ride in 3 months! ;)
Monday, November 1, 2004 1:59 PM
Wow, I would be pissed if they took my camera (also 1000 bucks). To me, its in the public view, and anything that I can photograph I can probably remeber anyway and post on the internet. Silly Cedar Fair...
Monday, November 1, 2004 2:18 PM
Just a thought here... and grasping at straws...


Could a park be covering their tracks against a person who sees their face in a photo on the internet and then goes after the park with the complaint that they signed no release and do not want their image floating around out there? Even though the park did not post the photo, it was taken on their property.

Just a thought... as off base as it may be (and I am certain there are those who will tell me just how far off base I am).

Monday, November 1, 2004 2:43 PM
SLFAKE...yes that is one major reason because we all know how much Cedar Fair cares about the positive public image they project.

However often well telling employees the reasoning behind them is unclear, so employees often confuse them, and the issue is so small that nothing is done about it.

taking pictures from ride - unsafe and can result in 'holding' of camera (try explaining that to a guest...ARGH!)
taking pictures from midway - safe, but can result in legal issues if other people chose to make it so
Posting the pictures online - Legal issues - can result in other guest issues attempting to get pictures in unauthorized and unsafe areas

Monday, November 1, 2004 2:47 PM
Nice idea, SLFAKE - but read your ticket, season pass info or at the very least park rules/literature.

I don't think I've ever been to a decent sized park that didn't cover themselves and include something about "by entering the park you give permission to be videotaped, photographed, etc"

It's mostly to cover the park, but it would also blanket guests taking vacation pics or us weirdos that do park photos.

Essentially, any park could instate a 'no cameras' rule anytime. Same way I can in my house or the mall can or a restaraunt can.

To me, its in the public view, and anything that I can photograph I can probably remeber anyway and post on the internet.

Yes, you can - from public areas. Private property becomes private views and the owner of said property (and view) has the right to allow or disallow other to take advantage of the situation.

It's silly to try to control in most cases, but it is their right.

Monday, November 1, 2004 3:09 PM
The problem is... can they really stop you from taking pictures of one thing but not another? (Assuming you are in area you are allowed in).

What would stop them from saying you could only take "family fun day" pictures at approved photo spots with sponsers in the background?

Monday, November 1, 2004 3:20 PM
Parks may also have concerns about posted photos of construction providing evidence of safety violations in construction, or even the appearance of a possible safety violation, because the photo doesn't show the entire scene.

However, when you sell cameras and film in the park, you are certainly implying a lisence to photograph, and you had better be darn specific in posting any public areas where you don't want pictures taken. Otherwise, you are going to anger a lot of your patrons.

Note: Never expect to be allowed to take photos in non-public areas unless you are given express permission. Also don't expect to be allowed to do anything creates a hazard or invades the reasonable privacy of guests or employees.

Monday, November 1, 2004 4:48 PM
I had some bathroom attendant (the one behind Thunder Creek Mountain) at Dorney yell at me when I tried to take a picture of Hydra from back in that area. I simply said I didn't know and walked away to another spot where I could get some pictures.

If they don't want you taking pictures why don't they make signs for on the consturction fence that say no picture taking is permited in this area. They would just have to be like the ones they have up at the enterances to the restrooms saying cameras, video recorders, and cameraphone use is not permitted in this area.

I was rather pleased to see security guards enforcing line jumping at the haunted attractions yesterday. While we waited the 15 minutes in line the guard kicked 3 or 4 people out of line and talked to one person whos basketball got loose and left the queue. He did let him back in line.

Monday, November 1, 2004 4:53 PM
Sounds like they need a few photo spots like in RCT3D. ;)
Monday, November 1, 2004 5:32 PM
Jeff: It has been suggested to me that at least part of the reason that Cedar Point doesn't want those construction tour shots posted is simply that they are trying to avoid the phone calls from people begging for tours, saying, "But you let {insert webmaster name here} come in and take pictures for his site, why can't I take pictures for mine?" In other words, they don't have a problem with playing favorites, but they would rather play favorites privately. Which makes perfect sense to me. Recall that you have also been asked (at the time of the tour) not to reveal that the tour was going to happen.

RollerCoasterGod: You, of all people should know that Geauga Lake security has a reputation for being nasty to photographers, going back to long before Premier Parks ever bought the place. I don't think an anti-photography policy has EVER been in place there, but park security has been intimidating photographers in that park for years. I don't think this has anything to do with Cedar Fair, and it probably goes back to some 'policy' that somebody made up decades ago that has never been official, but keeps getting passed down in the corporate culture, and the only way to get rid of it is to re-educate and/or terminate with extreme prejudice anybody on the staff who has ever heard of it.

My opinion: Assuming the park is open to the public and you are in a public area...unless the park tells you in writing (a sign would, in my opinion, count as 'in writing', as would a comment in the park guide), "Thou shalt not take photos here," the park effectively gives you the permission to take pictures of anything you can see. You might be on shaky ground if you are shooting over fences and through holes in tarps or stuff like that...but if the park wants to keep you from photographing something, they should take steps to prevent you from seeing it, not intimidate you into not shooting. When you are not in a public area, or if the park is not open to the public, the rules might be a little different. But as noted by others, the fact that they sell cameras and film and establish 'photo spots' in the park pretty much gives you permission to shoot.

What you do with those photos after you take them is another matter. Notice that Six Flags specifically has a restriction that while you can take all the photos you want in their parks, you can't use them for 'commercial' purposes. Does that include posting the photos on a website? I have no idea (IANAL). But it isn't the responsibility of the park security guard to make that decision at the time you take the photo.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, November 1, 2004 5:49 PM
Wow, I have never heard of this in my life. When they were building TTD at CP, myself and tons of other people were standing around taking pictures of the construction. Park workers and other officials walked by several times but never said a word!

I just don't understand why they wouldn't let you take pictures of it.

And if you're really not supposed to, they should really make an effort to let the public know. How would we know if there aren't any signs posted or anything?

That's ridiculous, I wouldn't have handed over my camera. No way. But if I was taking pics on a ride and got caught, then yes, take my camera, I was wrong.

Monday, November 1, 2004 5:57 PM

SLFAKE said:
Just a thought here... and grasping at straws...


Could a park be covering their tracks against a person who sees their face in a photo on the internet and then goes after the park with the complaint that they signed no release and do not want their image floating around out there? Even though the park did not post the photo, it was taken on their property.

Just a thought... as off base as it may be (and I am certain there are those who will tell me just how far off base I am).

Well if you look on the Mid-Atlantic Coaster Club web site there is a picture of the club officers as well as an unidentified woman in the background. Steve Thompson told me he asked if the woman could've been removed from the pic since the club didn't have her permission to post her pic. I told him not to worry about it since the woman-MY WIFE- didn't mind and actually thought it was very funny that her pic was on the web site for a coaster club when she won't ride any.

For those of you who know my Kimberly Lake rct parks. that's the Kimberly they are named for

Monday, November 1, 2004 6:03 PM
I think Dave has hit it right on the head. As a business owner who has been on the cutting edge at times I can definitely relate, which is odd considering how I felt at the start of this post.

Instinctively, I was agreeing that it didn't seem to make sense why you wouldn't be able to take photos. But, from going through the same type of experience, I would instinctively want to 'show off' what I was doing, but wouldn't want my competition to see it for several reasons.

Dave also makes the point about the 'you let them take photos - why not me' scenario, which would also factor into the equation.

Besides, with the state of society we are in, you have to consider terrorism. I obviously hope that all the photos that we take are used for positive purposes, but unfortunately there are people taking photos that aren't. Sad, but true....


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