Since Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage, there has been a strict Photography Ban at Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando. Halloween Horror Nights security and Orlando police officers are authorized to go to extreme measures to discipline people caught filming/picture-taking, and guests are reminded at the beginning of each show that ignoring the rule is grounds for ejection from the theater. Although Universal Studios management has never announced a solid reason for banning photography at Bill & Ted, rumors indicate that rival Disney was preparing a lawsuit against Universal for copyright infringement when several videos of the 2006 show were posted on YouTube (Warner Bros. was also said to be considering legal action).
At the Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights version of Bill & Ted, although an announcement about "no photography" was issued in 2009, the park has been otherwise lax about people filming the show compared to the strict guidelines of the Orlando version.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure (2006) at Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16 was the last Bill and Ted show in Florida to allow photography and videotaping. At the end of Halloween Horror Nights for the year, rumors arose that Disney, an arch rival to Universal in the theme park business, had been preparing a large legal lawsuit against Universal for copyright infringement on their characters from the Pirates of The Caribbean films after multiple videos of Bill and Ted were uploaded to YouTube. Warner Bros. was also reported to be threatening legal action for copyright infringement due to a parody of Lex Luthor being in the show (a character from Warner-owned DC Comics). As a result of the issue with Lex Luthor, Universal had to replace the character with Dr. Evil (from Austin Powers) for the last few nights of Halloween Horror Nights. However, Disney came so close to suing Universal that Bill & Ted could have been cancelled for good after Sweet 16. As a result, Universal decided that to continue having Bill & Ted in Halloween Horror Nights Orlando, they could not permit any more photography or video recording of the show due to risk of getting sued again.
Starting with Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage, Universal began strictly prohibiting any photography or videotaping of Bill & Ted, with an announcement made at the beginning of the show making guests aware of the rules. As of 2010, there are now warning signs posted outside of the theater stating that guest who break the "no camera" rule will be ejected from the park.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights resumed having their version of Bill and Ted starting in 2007. Unlike Orlando, which strictly forbids photography/videotaping of the show, Hollywood has historically allowed and generally encouraged photography and videotaping of their Bill and Ted show. This is evidenced by the many videos of Bill and Ted posted to YouTube, some of which are filmed with multiple cameras with different angles by guests. However, the Hollywood Bill and Ted did make an announcement in 2009, similar to the Orlando version, that photography and videotaping are grounds for ejection from the theater. Never-the-less, some team members still that not enforce the rule and many guests still filmed it successfully without getting caught and posted their videos to YouTube. The following year, Halloween Horror Nights 2010, no announcement was made regarding photography bans and cameras were openly encouraged by the park at Bill & Ted. Similarly, in 2011, no announcement was made about "No Photography" and cameras were encouraged.
Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights began making an announcement about "no photography" at the beginning of the show starting in 2007. In 2009, a computer robot began announcing the guidelines at the beginning of the show, and made it very clear that people are do not follow the "no photography" guidelines will be thrown out of the show, stating the following:
"There is to be no flash photography or videotaping. Ignoring this rule is grounds for ejection from the theater, as well as a serious beat-down from Chris Brown. Seriously; We have him in a cage backstage and he hasn't eaten in weeks. He'll be looking for a nice juicy steak in you if he's unleashed. Except, instead of looking for a steak, he's looking for...Rhianna's face!!!"
Similarly, at the Halloween Horror Nights Orlando 2010 Bill and Ted show, the computer robot stated the "no photography" guidelines and then stated:
"Don't believe me? Well maybe you'll take it seriously from this guy"
Following was The Home Break-In Rap, a popular viral video from YouTube (which in reality is an auto-tuned rap song derived from a news report regarding the aforementioned home invasion). Since 2009, a notice has been placed at Bill and Ted's description on the Halloween Horror Nights Map and in the map/guide's Rules about the "no photography" guidelines, and in 2010, warning signs were posted outside the theater warning rule breakers that they will be banned from the event if they take pictures/videos of the show.
At Bill and Ted in Halloween Horror Nights Orlando, the disciplinary actions against people who are caught using photography or videotaping are fairly strong. According to reports from Bill and Ted audience members in 2009 and 2010, team members assigned to the show, security guards, and officers of the Orlando Police Department have a top priority of seeking would-be photographers in the theater, and all keep their eyes sharply focused on each audience member and will run right up to them with a flashlight the moment somebody whips a camera out. If violators try to film the show once again after they have been sternly asked to put their camera away, they will be thrown out of the theater, and sometimes, the park. Universal has also said to be borrowing top-ranked officers from the Orlando Police Department to work Bill and Ted, and Universal employees or security guards will often turn the violator over to an OPD officer if they are caught, and will allow them to deal with the person.
Some guests who have been caught using photography and subsequently turned over to OPD officers claimed to have been roughly treated by the cops on their way out of Universal, and some have claimed, among other details, that they had their camera permanently confiscated, were taken to a backstage area where they were interrogated by an officer for answers, were physically harmed, or were incarcerated at the Orange County Corrections Facility for the night. Most of the people thrown out had also been reported to have been banned from Universal Studios property ranging from a year to even a lifetime.
"No Flash Photography" vs. "No Photography"
Some violators who were called out for taking photos of the show claimed that they were not breaking the rules because the announcement at the beginning of Bill and Ted stated "no flash photography or videotaping" rather then "no photography of any kind" and that they turned the flash on their cameras off to take pictures. The official guidelines on the policy still state that there is to be no photography or video recording of any kind of the Bill and Ted show despite the announcement.
Despite the extremely strict guidelines on photography and videotaping which began in 2007, some videos of the show still came out in recent years, but with an emphasis on "some". In 2007 and 2008, multiple guests were able to get away with filming the whole show by closing the view-screen on their camera and holding it very low, and then posted the footage. to YouTube. Any footage of the 2007 and 2008 shows that was leaked out was immediately removed by Universal. In 2009 and 2010, any leaked videos or photos of the show has been almost entirely unheard of. Although in 2009, a set of pictures from the show taken during the opening weekend was posted by Behind the Thrills, although these were subsequently deleted by Universal. In 2010, a user on YouTube managed to film about half of the show (the first 14 minutes) but was then caught by a team member, and could not film the rest of it after that. In 2011, any photos or video of the show has so far been entirely nonexistent, with the exception of a very brief clip of the opening to the pre-show.
At Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood 2009, when an announcement was made about "no photography" many guests still took pictures and filmed the show and most got away with it and were able to post it to YouTube. This may have been due to some Hollywood team members being more lax on the guidelines then others. So far, 2009 has been the only year that Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood has disallowed photography and videotaping of Bill and Ted.