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Amusement Park Bans PDAs and Smartphones

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the cold-dead-fingers dept.

Handhelds 474

Ant writes in with news that an amusement park in the UK is trying out a ban on smartphones and PDAs, with the intent to enable families actually to have fun together. The press release says that from May 25 to June 1, adults found using a PDA will be asked to drop it off at a "PDA Drop Off Zone" — no word on what happens if they refuse. But both the Sun and BoingBoing, which picked up their brief story, strike a more ominous note with the claim that "special wardens" will confiscate the devices. If the experiment is deemed a success the park may make the ban permanent.

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474 comments

I understand their point... (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537157)

...but stepping up and taking away someone's personal property is nothing but thuggery.

Re:I understand their point... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537219)

You're a virgin, right? Never had sex or been out of your parent's basement? Eh?

Re:I understand their point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537231)

You're a virgin, right?

That's not the point.

Re:I understand their point... (-1, Troll)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537233)

property, privacy, rights, entitlements, money, etc... welcome to .uk. Enjoy your stay.

Re:I understand their point... (5, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537489)

...but stepping up and taking away someone's personal property is nothing but thuggery.
property, privacy, rights, entitlements, money, etc... welcome to .uk. Enjoy your stay
Oh, fuck off. Seriously, this is the kind of kneejerk reaction that detracts from the damages to civil liberties that are happening in the UK.

It's a minor story about a crap gimmick Alton Towers are using to get some publicity, and it's being presented here as an "OMG!!!!! They're taking away our rights!!!!!!!!11111" story.

Aside from the fact it's a private amusement park (not a pseudo-public space like a shopping centre), it's not even being done for the usual surveillance-state bullshit "pedos might take photos of our children" type reasons. (*)

You don't like it? Don't go to fucking Alton Towers! I wouldn't...

(*) Given the popularity of using pedos to justify every ludicrous measure, if this isn't the reason being given in public, then it sure as hell isn't the true reason either.

Oh Please... (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537237)

...but stepping up and taking away someone's personal property is nothing but thuggery.
No it's not. They have a policy at a private amusement. I f you don't like it, you can "recreate" elsewhere.

Re:Oh Please... (1, Troll)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537333)

No it's not. They have a policy at a private amusement. I f you don't like it, you can "recreate" elsewhere.
Ahh.. policy.. The bureaucratic form of "I was only following orders"

Re:Oh Please... (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537617)

Ahh.. policy.. The bureaucratic form of "I was only following orders"
What's the difference? This is not a government establishemtn, it's a PRIVATE business. Move on, troll...

Re:Oh Please... (2, Insightful)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537359)

They have a policy at a private amusement.
So ? A policy at whatever place cannot override the law. If I have a policy that says I'm allowed to kill you on my private property, I'm still going away for murder if I do.

Re:Oh Please... (1)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537467)

But they are not saying that. They are saying that you have 3 options: Drop your PDA off, don't bring it, or go somewhere else. They aren't overriding any law, because there's the always-available "go somewhere else" option.

Re:Oh Please... (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537505)

Sure, but the post I replied to implied that the policy would allow them to take away a PDA or cellphone.

Re:Oh Please... (1)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537579)

No, they simply said that they had a policy. The policy states that you can drop off the PDA at a PDA holding place, if you like, but you are never forced to.

Re:Oh Please... (3, Informative)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537409)

Perhaps I should have expanded. Having a policy is fine. I have accidentally run afoul of a no cell phones policy at a country club. However, the difference is that I was asked to not use the phone rather than having someone take it away from me.

Re:Oh Please... (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537415)

As long as they have a huge sign posted out front BEFORE I PAY that's just fine with me. I would just take my money elsewhere.

Re:Oh Please... (-1, Troll)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537497)

I would just take my money elsewhere.

Good. You just do that. We don't want sad pathetic losers who can't leave their damn phone alone for five minutes in here anyway.

Try not to step out into traffic because you're too wrapped up in your own sad little mobile phone world when you leave.

Re:Oh Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537633)

Leave the looms alone.

Re:Oh Please... (1, Informative)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537421)

Having a 'policy' doesn't allow you to confiscate someone's personal property. They always have the option of declining to abide by the rules and leave the premises.

Re:Oh Please... (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537517)

Thats almost certainly whats intended - the Sun is nothing more than a fearmongering, story hunting tabloid which I wouldn't even wipe my arse on.

Re:Oh Please... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537587)

Having a 'policy' doesn't allow you to confiscate someone's personal property.
Really? Are you *absolutely* about that or just repeating something you believe to be true? How do you know this anyway?

(Also wondering if you've made a common-but-wrong assumption here).

They always have the option of declining to abide by the rules and leave the premises.
They always have the option of not going in the first place!

Re:Oh Please... (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537607)

A local store has a sign they hang up that you can only see as you're leaving, which says "we reserve the right to inspect bags". Security guards ask nicely, but I walk past them with a sneer. How do I get away with it? They _don't_ have that right to begin with, so they can't reserve it.
A manager at the store blocked my path once, immediately after I purchased something, and asked to see my bag.. the bag the check-out clerk just gave me. I told him to get out of my way or I'm calling the police. He first looked like he'd be happy to have the police there until a little spark went off in his little reptilian brain and he got out of my way.

If I hang up a sign in my house saying "I reserve the right to cavity search" or "I reserve the right to confiscate your property", it doesn't mean I suddenly am exempt from laws against assault or theft perpetrated against people I asked onto my property.

Sniff, sniff.. (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537239)

I don't get it

âoeItâ(TM)s important for parents and kids to focus on nothing more than having the best possible time.â

What? Seriously, am I paranoid or does this sound so outrageously stupid that it's concealing a darker purpose?

I can't figure out -- even in this insane world -- what that purpose might be, but ..

Re:Sniff, sniff.. (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537311)

Well, I can think of a few people who would actually enforce a policy that stupid, but...

First question: Are they confiscating all cell phones, or only smartphones?

If it's only smartphones, it's a liveable policy -- provided you can buy everyone a non-smartphone. It's still moronic that they're trying to enforce fun -- it's not like it spoils anyone else's fun if you want to spoil your trip by playing Solitaire on your smartphone the whole time.

If it's all phones, well, you've just eliminated a useful tool for finding lost kids, or for preventing kids from getting lost. It's all well and good to say "We'll meet here at 5:30," but it's nice to be able to call if they don't make it.

Re:Sniff, sniff.. (1, Troll)

arivanov (12034) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537453)

It's still moronic that they're trying to enforce fun.

Welcome to the UK mate. And we laugh at Germans about their ordnung and organisation...

We should just look at ourselves. We run "mandatory entertainment" during kids birthdays, "entertainment" is regularyly brought to the nurseries for all notable occasions. And the kids that refuse to participate are tagged for referral to the SENCO (for the non-brits: Special Educational Needs COodinator) for fast track to meet the child psychologist.

No wonder some people after that go and decide that when fun is delivered it has to be mandated. All I can say: Welcome to Britain and enjoy your stay.

Re:I understand their point... (4, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537309)

stepping up and taking away someone's personal property is nothing but thuggery.
Perhaps, but bear in mind they can retrieve their PDA when they leave, and one can avoid the issue altogether by leaving your PDA at home, turning it off, or just plain not using it.

The fact is, private amusement parks can have rules, and can ask you to leave if you refuse to follow them. This is just an example of that.

If you're so very important that you can't turn your blackberry off for a day, you have the option of not visiting Alton Towers. If you really are that important, maybe you should turn your PDA off anyway, so your employers can be prepared for if you ever die or move jobs.

The smartphone dilemma (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537361)

and one can avoid the issue altogether by leaving your PDA at home, turning it off, or just plain not using it.
How does one turn off a PDA without turning off the mobile phone that's joined to it at the hip?

Re:The smartphone dilemma (3, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537533)

You don't. I think you're missing the point of the ban.

IMHO this ban is protection from asshole bosses who think they own you 24/7/365. When you go to one of these places you can say "I took my kids to such and such, they don't allow cell phones inside."

Clearly this doesn't work for anyone who has a job that requires 24/7 availability (for example, you need to be notified if your data center catches fire.) However, if your job is one where your availability ISN'T needed 24/7, but your asshole boss THINKS it is, then this works.

You're all missing the point (4, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537313)

The word "ban" isn't really what they're doing.

"Amusement Park Provides Secure Drop-Off Point for PDAs and Smartphones" would be more like it. To advertise this service they have a kid dressed as a policeman "banning" people from using PDAs and pointing them towards the drop-off point.

Just don't go. (3, Insightful)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537167)

I require my phone, not just to stay in touch with my friends and loved ones, but also to keep in touch with my business. It's fine if I'm in a theatre for a few hours (I usually put it on vibrate), but if I have to be without it for a day... screw that, I'm not going to your place.

Re:Just don't go. (3, Insightful)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537255)

Hmmm... That's exactly the point. If you go to an amusement park with your family, they won't be thrilled if you can't spend more than a few hours without taking a call.

Re:Just don't go. (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537335)

None of their damned business, first of all. That's between him and his family.

And second, being callable doesn't mean you'll necessarily take a call. My phone is always on, and always on me, short of airplane travel -- but I'm only rarely called.

Intrafamily phoning (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537377)

If you go to an amusement park with your family, they won't be thrilled if you can't spend more than a few hours without taking a call.
Even calls from other family members? Often, a family splits up: half go to one side of the park and half to the other, based on which attractions the different family members prefer. Mobile phones inside the park help family members find each other.

Re:Intrafamily phoning (1)

sohare (1032056) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537629)

If you go to an amusement park with your family, they won't be thrilled if you can't spend more than a few hours without taking a call.
Even calls from other family members? Often, a family splits up: half go to one side of the park and half to the other, based on which attractions the different family members prefer. Mobile phones inside the park help family members find each other.
Gee, I wonder how separated people found each other before cell phones...

Re:Just don't go. (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537513)

If you go to an amusement park with your family, they won't be thrilled if you can't spend more than a few hours without taking a call.

What if the alternative is not going at all? Mom or Dad can spend a few minutes taking a call while the kids have fun, instead of sitting home by the phone for a call that may or may not ever arrive.

Re:Just don't go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537307)

Its britain. What do you expect?

Re:Just don't go. (1)

Drenaran (1073150) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537479)

It's nice to see that you care enough about you're family to put them first, above all other considerations. You're kids will grow up far better adjusted having experienced an attentive father who makes an effort to give them his undivided attention.

Oh... wait... hmm.

Re:Just don't go. (2, Insightful)

iviagnus (854023) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537597)

And it is indeed your right not to go. But I might suggest that if you need to be tethered to your device when you go to an amusement park with your family, friends, or alone, that you need to seriously consider whether your current career choice is more valuable to you than your own vacation or time off. Many people want too much in life, and suffer working too many hours to compensate. If owning the toys you really can live without is more important than quality time with your family, then you shouldn't have one. If you want a family, work enough to pay for a home, the vehicles you absolutely need to get you to work and the market, plus something for a movie or to eat out once a week, plus a nestegg, and be happy. If getting that boat (plus a truck large enough to haul it) or a couple four-wheelers and a truck and trailer is going to mean working weekends at the expense of your family time, then you really shouldn't have them. There is no reason a husband and wife shouldn't be able to support the necessities with just two $20,000 incomes. You can work at a convenience store in Maine, which has a lower per-capita income than most states, and bring that home. Also, while on vibrate, do you answer your phone while in the theater, or do you exit and take/return the call in the lobby? You probably leave the theater. But many people open their phones right there and start holding a conversation. This is very rude, and the reason that banning is happening, and will get more confining as rudeness increases. Frankly, I'll be glad when some of these areas have localized interference set up so that no signal gets through . . . period.

So instead of having SOME family time... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537169)

The parent with the PDA/Smartphone just won't go at all.

This is a triumph. I'm making a note here... HUGE SUCCESS.

Not just PDAs (4, Interesting)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537183)

This reminds me of a restaurant in Colorado Springs that prided itself on cutting your tie in half if you stupidly showed up with one on. Casual diners only!

Re:Not just PDAs (-1, Offtopic)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537235)

That reminds me of a restaurant in Texas where if you can finish a 72-ounce steak, it's free. Offtopic? Yes. Stupid? Yes.

Re:Not just PDAs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537411)

That's the Traildust Steakhouse. There's one in Denver, CO and two others in Texas.

Re:Not just PDAs (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537653)

What surprises me is that the opposite (having a formal dress code/"no tie, no service") is considered normal.

texting on the PDA? (2, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537191)

Why yes...I'm talking to my kid who is waiting in line at another ride. You have a problem with that?

Kiss my ass.

Smart... (4, Insightful)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537199)

So the policy allows kids phones for safety purposes.

Who are they going to call? The parents without the cell phones?

Re:Smart... (1)

wronskyMan (676763) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537261)

Good point! If only there was a centralized, standard number in each country that people could call and be connected to emergency services such as police, paramedics, etc. Someone should develop that.

Re:Smart... (2, Insightful)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537327)

Do you really think it's a good idea to bother emergency services with countless "I lost my mommy" calls?

Re:Smart... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537355)

There's a whole world between 911 and, say, checking with your parents if they actually know this person they just sent you to pick you up.

They allow phone calls (2, Insightful)

aembleton (324527) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537565)

I think they will allow phone calls, just not the tapping away that you see when people are checking up on their emails from the office. And on another note, this preview feature takes a long time.

Heading the wrong way! (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537215)

I would hate to see attendance figures as they plummet - how many teenagers would want to go to a place where they have to give up the cell phone?

Instead they should be going the other way, and see how they can integrate mobile devices into the "fun" they are offering. Disney does this today in a limited way in an attraction at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, called the "Laugh Factry" or something like that. It's an animated live stand-up comic show, where while you are waiting to get in you can text jokes you like to them and they use some of them in the routine.

That's pretty limited, but you could imagine parks texting you when a show or parade you signed up for was about to start, or having some mobile app that could somehow integrate into a ride or receive SMS messages with pictures of you on a ride.

Anyway, there are lots of better things they could be doing that trying to strip away technology from people who will be very reluctant to do so.

Re:Heading the wrong way! (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537399)

That's pretty limited, but you could imagine parks texting you when a show or parade you signed up for was about to start, or having some mobile app that could somehow integrate into a ride or receive SMS messages with pictures of you on a ride.
But then they couldn't rent you a pager that tells you when your place in the que is getting close.

Re:Heading the wrong way! (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537463)

Instead they should be going the other way, and... ...see how they can integrate mobile devices into the "fun" they are offering. ..."see how they can make mobile devices a source of revenue."

There. Fixed that for you.

Like when you are watching TV and they implore you to text an answer to a quiz, or vote, or some other MORONIC activity during the show. Send in your answer now! Every entry gives a chance to win a ringtone!!! Send in your answer now, send in your answer often! Only $1.99 per TXT.

Personally I despise that shit. Its enough to make me stop watching a show. Is that really something anyone wants more of in their life?

Forced fun? (3, Interesting)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537227)

I'm not sure forced fun is going to work. It's a worthy cause, but I don't think this is the way to do it...

Worst case scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537229)

I cannot wait to laugh when a smart-minded individual steals the box which the lazy minimum-wage employees drops the PDAs in.

I'm not a libertarian, but my ability to punch with my money at your entertainment center stops at the point of your fascist face, if you know what I mean.

Isn't it the other way around? (2, Insightful)

pacroon (846604) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537241)

Isn't it usually more the problem with having kinds leave their gameboys and nintendo ds's in the cars, rather than adults spending time on their smartphones?

Not Going to Work.......I Think (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537247)

While I can understand where they're coming from (using a Blackberry when you're out with your family on holiday is plain bloody sad as well as rude - let's just face it), but I'd love to know how they propose to 'enforce' this. A phone or a PDA is someone's personal property, just about everyone has a mobile phone, and some people sadly do need to remain contactable just in case.

Re:Not Going to Work.......I Think (3, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537275)

They aren't going to "enforce" it. It's just a way to remind dad that maybe, just maybe, he should be spending time with the kids rather than being glued to his PDA.

Heh. If we're talking about sad... (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537351)

Heh... I still remember first weekend in the previous town I've lived in. So it was a beautiful day of may, with sunshine, flowers and all. And I had to go through a park. Well, maybe not "have", but it was a bit of a detour to go via the other side. Anyway, so the birds were chirping, the sun was high, the breeze was warm, and you could see couples of teenagers everywhere.

But the couple that stuck to my mind were a boy and a girl having a picnic on a blanket on the grass. Well, when I say 'picnic', it was more like the girl was sitting there idle watching other couples go by, while the boy was typing furiously on his laptop.

Not sure if it would have been better with a policy to take his laptop, though. I had a feeling it would have been akin to taking the oxygen tank away from a scuba diver ;)

Re:Heh. If we're talking about sad... (2, Interesting)

kullnd (760403) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537487)

Funny you should combine the two, as last month I was at the lake doing some scuba diving when the call came in that work needed some emergency router configuration changes... Got my laptop, put in the cell card, and did the work I needed to do at the lake between dives... Sure am glad that I was able to use the available technology vs. having to leave the park, drive to work, and do what I needed to do, which would have ruined the remainder of my fun for the day...

What you should have done: (3, Funny)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537491)

Walked straight to them, and with authority, proclaimed yourself as Park Police. Whatever that means. Then, after explaining the Park policy of not allowing work with a laptop in its premises, explain ed the penalty: - I am sorry, sir, but I will be forced to confiscate. - No way, this is my private property and I am doing important work here. - I mean the girl.

Re:Not Going to Work.......I Think (1)

Ashtead (654610) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537521)

From what I gather from the featured article, the amusement park officials apparently will confiscate PDAs upon sight, and place them in a storage for the day, so the owner gets it back when they leave with their family in the evening. I'd imagine that the de-PDA'd owner will get some kind of claim check for it, to be returned for the PDA upon leaving. Similar to how coats are checked-in and checked-out at some restaurants during the winter.

Also, I think they better have the security details for this storage well worked out in advance. Consider what will happen when someone's PDA is stolen or lost here, and the fall-out from the resulting lawsuit...

Now, there is also this picture of a poster showing a kid dressed up as a police officer, (complete with bullet-proof vest) next to the sign proclaiming "The Alton Towers Resort is a PDA-free place" so there's still a few questions remaining. Apparently, regular mobile phones are not affected by this ban. But with the division between mobile phone and PDA becoming less and less distinct, there is the risk of losing communication access, with the resulting inconveniences.

Future article: "Amusement Park for Sale" (1)

DodgeRules (854165) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537249)

Unfortunately, some people need to be available for business emergencies. The only way they can spend time with their families is to have their smartphone/pda with them. So now, you just ruined the entire family's fun at your park. Will be interesting to see the drop in ticket sales.

Re:Future article: "Amusement Park for Sale" (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537459)

Unfortunately, some people need to be available for business emergencies

So they can't let themselves off the leash for an hour? What sad, pathetic lives they must lead. That is just about the limiting case of tragic failure.

Stupid. (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537251)

I understand the sentiment, but if a parent is such a jackass to not be able to ignore their phone for a single day to go have fun with their kid, there is no way the park is going to be able to "force" them to b a good parent by stealing their phone.

I've tried telling the office to only call me for emergencies when I'm on vacation. That didn't work. Now they know that I'll check my messages at night, and if they haven't fixed the problem, I'll remote in and fix it when I get a minute.

Vacation means vacation. The fact that they're not willing to hire someone else who can take some of the load off of me, doesn't mean that I'm going to give up my vacation time (says the puppy, posting from work on Sunday on a holiday weekend).

Tony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537263)

omg a palm Vx lol

/.'ers don't have to worry (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537269)

Remember - to be affected by this policy, you'd a) have to be in a relationship; and b) have to venture outside. So breathe easy!

this should be +5 funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#23537515)

obviously upset a few nerds at home spanking the monkey

Class Warfare at its finest. (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537281)

So, by encouraging people who are wealthy enough that they have smartphones to either a) not have them on their persons in case of an emergency or b) leave them in the trust of a total stranger who could just hock their iPhones without a second thought...

this is a good business decision?

Re:Class Warfare at its finest. (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537599)

The summary didn't suggest they were going to be searching people. How would they know if you just had a PDA on you in case of an emergency?

Define 'fun' ? (1, Insightful)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537283)

Just imagine all the fun! You can't take any pictures or videos, you can't text or ring when you lose sight of each other, therefore you'll have to stick with the group even when your auntie visits the loo for the tenth time before lunch.. but the highlight must be when your best mate dies of an overdose because you have no way of reaching 999 (the UK equivalent of 911/112).

Fun fun fun!

Re:Define 'fun' ? (1)

hardlyleet (1293492) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537305)

Well that's quite a stupid thing to say... What you are saying to me is that you cannot have fun without a PDA/Cell phone? Also, please tell me why your mate would die of an overdose in the theme park... That's like saying, i daren't go outside now it's sunny, it could rain again. Or I don't want to sit down, i'll only have to stand up again. It's nonsense. No offence, but if you can't have fun without your phone, then I feel sorry for you.

Re:Define 'fun' ? (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537423)

No offence, but if you can't have fun without your phone, then I feel sorry for you.
I'd like to cause severe offence. If someone can't have fun without their phone, they have a severe problem and they might want to seek professional help.

I know this is Slashdot and this might be the wrong place to say this, but is technology really so crucial that a life could be devoid of happiness without it?

Re:Define 'fun' ? (1)

nbannerman (974715) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537539)

My phone is my camera.

I can have plenty of fun without my phone, but more often than not half the fun of going out is getting to a pub later and reliving the event with all your friends.

I'm from the UK, and have quite enjoyed Alton Towers a few times.

I certainly won't be going again if this policy becomes 'official'.

Actually, that is probably not true. I'll go, have fun, use my phone to take pictures, and kindly tell these phone police people to take a hike.

This is what we can all PR gimmick (3, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537285)

Alton Towers gets free publicity in the papers, a debate ensues, no-one actually gets their PDAs removed. Nothing to see here, move along please.

Re:This is what we can all PR gimmick (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537413)

Musn't post on too little sleep, that should have said "This is what we call a PR gimmick".

Good for them! (2, Insightful)

ragincajun1337 (1271286) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537287)

I think this is a great idea!

A corresponding story:
I think I am the only one in my family who actually hates sitting down for dinner because either 1. no one ever sits down for dinner at the same time, or more importantly and more relevant 2. everyone turns to watch whatever is on the TV at the moment, even if their back is to the TV they'll take a bite and turn around to watch while continuing to chew their food. (And before anyone tries to cry foul and point out the obvious, yes, I have mentioned my extreme distaste for their actions more than once, but they don't listen)

I am usually the aloof and solitude type, but I would love to sit down to dinner and have a full conversation with my whole family and be interested in what is happening with everyone else's lives and have others be even slightly interested in what I'm doing (since I'm off at college except for about three or four weeks out of the year). That never happens though. They'd all rather be watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or Dancing With The Stars or Desperate Housewives (yes I'm a guy living in a house with too many women).

You wonder why families seem to be so much more dysfunctional and broken nowadays? Well it's no illusion. Families are more discontent and broken nowadays because society is falling to the pits and worrying more about possessions, money, and kissing their bosses' ass than worrying about their families, loved ones, and the things that truly matter the most in life.

This also goes along with those people who take "vacations" yet take their smartphones with them and never really disconnect from the office and their work while they're supposed to be relaxing and enjoying time off from work. I never want my cell phone to do anything other than make phone calls. Like this phone: http://dvice.com/archives/2008/04/claritylife_pho.php [dvice.com] Hell, I'd be happier without a cell phone.

I am disgusted with society today, but major props to these people for trying to do something right by the world and society.

Just so you know... (2, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537337)

My friends and I go to Alton Towers all the time (We have season tickets), the staff there are generally very helpful and friendly, so I doubt they're going to change that policy just to make families feel a bit better, there's a good chance it's more of a tongue-in-cheek sort of thing to help Dad relax on his day off rather than to cause real distress.

I highly doubt they're going to kick up a fuss or cause an argument for the sake of it, they'll more than likely go to the kids and be all "hey kids, tell daddy to put the phone away! I'll even take it off his hands and put it in a safe place, how about that?!". As cheesy as it sounds, it might ACTUALLY work.

Re:Just so you know... (1)

UnxMully (805504) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537659)

"hey kids, tell daddy to put the phone away! I'll even take it off his hands and put it in a safe place, how about that?!"
Seriously? You want staff at Alton Towers to suggest to kids that they tell their dad or mum to hand over their smartphone to some complete stranger? I can think of no way on earth that would be considered socially acceptable.

Personally I think Alton Towers would be mad to try to implement this. The whole idea is fraught with problems and smartphones, I guess mainly Blackberries, are such a small part of the phone population in the UK that it hardly seems worth doing.

Now Chavs and Chavettes with music playing over their tinny phone speakers, that's a whole different kettle of fish.

Nice way to get sacked (1)

TAZ6416 (584004) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537347)

If assuming like me your PDA is provided by your firm, if you gave to one of these drop off points and it got nicked, you would probably be in a heap of trouble at work and their insurance wouldn't pay out. Even if it didn't get nicked, you can have confidentional emails and documents available for any bored security guard to read. Which could backfire if you work for MI5 and the security guard has a mate who is a journalist.

Jonathan

It's a great idea but... (0, Troll)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537349)

I wouldn't make it mandatory.  It is enough to simply introduce the concept to a lot of people that it is actually possible to not ignore your family all the time with your f*cking face stuffed in your f*cking phone.

Ban watches, phones, mp3 players... (4, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537357)

Ban everything everywhere. Ban it. You WILL have fun goddamnit.

What about blackberries? (1)

seymansey (654465) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537379)

They look like phones (well, my Pearl certainly does) and it handles "Smartphone" or "PDA" functions, but its primarily my phone. They can bugger off.

Thuggery? (1)

iviagnus (854023) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537427)

1. It's not your park. It's owned and run by them. If you don't like it, don't go there. 2. The device is indeed your property just as your automobile is, but driving it is a priviledge, not a right. Too often people lose sight of that simple fact. Cellular users should be banned from using their devices while driving, in restaurants, theaters, EMR-sensitive zones within hospitals, etc. You're banned by law from driving within amusement parks, through hay fields, across airport runways, etc. Do you hear people complain about that? No. Why? Because it's common sense and shouldn't need debating.

I Think It's A Good Idea (1)

ChrisBader (1232968) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537435)

I think that it is actually a good idea. most people will probably fight it at first partly because of keeping in touch with the outside world but then if you think about it they are only banning smartphones and PDAs so you can still have some types of cell phones to make sure no one gets lost or keep in contact with the outside world.

Oh Really? (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537439)

What a great bit of PR. Alton Towers get their name in the papers, and lots of people think about going.

I saw 1 person at Legoland using his crackberry. Did think he was a bit sad for it, but didn't bother me.

I'm going to play the asshat (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537443)

People who bring a PDA/Smartphone and wip it out all of the time at an amusement park are likely missing the whole point of the amusement park. No loss if they don't go anyway.

I think the ban is just as much for the kids as the grown ups. You are missing half of the amusement park experience if you don't pull your eyes away from the PDA every once in a while. You stop noticing things like the smells of the food etc.

Talking on a cell phone can be obnoxious, making other paying customers enjoy their experience less. It's a bit like using a cell phone in a movie theatre, though less dramatic.

If nothing else, the fireworks from this should be interesting because people love to get all pissed off over nothing. I wish them the best of luck anyway. ;-)

Relax everyone... (1)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537481)

This isn't an attempt to force people to have fun...
It isn't them trying to control your activities in the park...
It isn't a commentary on whether or not PDAs are bad...
So ergo, it isn't about the poor kids waiting in line while moronic dads have their noses in a PDA...

It is a publicity stunt, and apparently it's working very well.

In a further effort... (1)

Tigerwolf (679619) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537585)

to enhance the fun-having experience, waiters and waitresses at park restaurants will point loaded guns at patrons when they demand 'ENJOY YOUR MEAL!'

Marketing (1)

aembleton (324527) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537591)

Interesting, but I suspect that they've done this as a way to get plenty of press attention and free advertising for the May half-term holiday. And its worked!

Good Daycycle Citizen! (3, Funny)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537595)

Good Daycycle, Citizen, and welcome to Alton Towers, where fun is mandatory! Please bear in mind that failure to have fun is considered Treason, and is punishable by painful death reserved for Commie Mutant Traitors and those Citizens who failed to have fun.

Thank you for your cooperation, Citizen, and remember to have fun!

Your Friend,

The Computer

No more PDA at the Amusement Park? (1)

JoshDM (741866) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537601)

I guess my girlfriend and I will have to resign ourselves to making passersby uncomfortable in the mall.

This is a great idea! (1)

The Breeze (140484) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537641)

The UK is already becoming known as a nation of sheep that allows the government and private corporations to do whatever they want to their citizens - but the US is quickly catching up! If drastic action is not taken, the US may actually take the title of super-nanny-police-state-that-only-speaks-in-doublespeak.

Actions like this, where large multi-million euro corporations arbitrarily impose their will without regard go a long way towards reinforcing the attitude of British Subjects that they are merely units that exist for the benefit of the state tax coffers and corporate revenues and should be seen and not heard. Perhaps the lessons learning in once-proud England will go towards properly conditioning those backwards colonials in America, who still have to be lied to by their government before they will accept being treated like cattle.

As much as this is a non-story. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537643)

What about those using their phones/PDAs as cameras? Seems like a flawed strategy if you ask me.

Picking up on a good idea from earlier (1)

Stu101 (1031686) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537645)

Why not partner with a mobile company and offer a special service (for non pdas ;) ) and offer a "text to book your place" type thing. Could make the whole park thing a lot more pleasurable AND generate advertising for mobile company. Then it could text you 10 minutes before your ride is ready.

why, I like it (1)

Escogido (884359) | more than 4 years ago | (#23537649)

This actually makes perfect sense - if implemented properly, that is. And by implementing properly I mean that people are provided secure boxes to store their stuff in. It would also make perfect sense if they would give out portable radio sets for free in exchange of the phones for the duration of the stay, so that family members still can communicate while inside the park even if they split.

Otherwise, this is good. The age of information really calls for some changes to the unwritten laws of common courtesy and tact. Flame me all you want, but it is just not 'nice' to visit an entertainment site and not actually talk to your family members. Especially kids, who really need attention from their parents. It is not much of a secret that social skills are not the strongest traits among many computer-guy types, so this measure would help both the kids - providing them something they need - and their fathers - gently pushing them to learn to work on themselves. Not to mention that being close to one's family makes one more happy, like it or not :) and if *that* requires a little push, what the heck.

And no, this is not a privacy violation, not any more than other common courtesy restrictions are. We (well, most of us) are grown up knowing it is not polite to not visibly pay attention when you're being talked to, and this is not regarded as a breach of privacy. Not paying attention to one's spouse and kids at an entertainment site is being 'not comme-il-faut' about as much, and giving people a clue about it is not a bad idea at all. After all, you're always free to stay home anyway.

All in all, I really hope Alton Towers' experiment will not result in diminished incomes.. assuming they do it the right way, of course.
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