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Disney Solution

Helping busy families build their dream vacation

Automated PhotoPass – Good Idea or Bad Move?

PhotoPass/Memory Maker is a photo package that can be purchased to capture unlimited photos of you and your family with characters, on attractions, and in front of iconic Disney backdrops.

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Pandora – Animal Kingdom

Rumors involving Disney swirl around all the time. And to be honest, I initially thought this was just that…a rumor. Eliminating PhotoPass Photographers? This couldn’t be true.

During my search for the answer, I found the proof I was looking for on the Walt Disney World website, putting all doubts to rest. It turns out that automated cameras are absolutely coming to Walt Disney World.

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For now, PhotoPass photographers only being replaced with these automated cameras in 9 of its locations. You will have your photos taken by these cameras before moving to a nearby kiosk to see your photos. There, you can scan your MagicBand to capture the photo, like you do at ride photo locations.

While there are still over 100 locations where PhotoPass photographers will still be taking pictures, the locations that I’ve heard could be included are very popular character meet-and-greet locations (meaning heavily themed character spots and including more than one character per location).

Photo Credit: Prospective Pixie Dust

Locations

Although Disney has been confirmed that 9 locations will be switching over, I’ve seen some conflicting reports about what those “confirmed” locations are.

So, the following locations are my guesses based on what I have seen posted on several sources.

  • Town Square Theater, Magic Kingdom
  • Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Magic Kingdom
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – Magic Kingdom
  • Adventures Outpost, Animal Kingdom
  • Character Spot – EPCOT
  • Red Carpet Dreams – Hollywood Studios
  • Star Wars Launch Bay – Hollywood Studios
  • Celebrity Spotlight – Hollywood Studios
  • Royal Summerahus – EPCOT

If I can find confirmation from Disney, I will absolutely update with the link. If Disney is really starting to roll this system out in early 2019, I should be receiving this information through Disney’s Travel Agents site in the near future.

As someone who has been in many of these locations, logistically I can see why these locations would stand out. But, as a Guest, I’ve had such wonderful interactions with the PhotoPass photographers, that it won’t be the same without them there.

It should be noted that Disney has confirmed that character attendants will still be present at these locations to assist guests with taking photos on smartphones and with personal cameras. But, I know that it won’t be the same.

We knew we were only going to be in the Magic Kingdom for a few hours one day, so I opted to only bring my Mickey lanyard (which Mickey really enjoyed 🙂 ). My youngest son had brought a Mickey hat and wanted to get it signed by Mickey, but since I had left my backpack in the hotel, I didn’t have a sharpie (and apparently neither did his older brother).

Cast Members to the rescue! They brought out sharpies, in just about every color, for him to choose from. Although a simple gesture, it’s things like this that has made coming to Disney so magical.

My Two Cents

I may have shown my hands pretty early in this post, but personally, I don’t think this is a good move. I’m not going to get into the financial aspect of this change because that is not what this post is about. I’m sure it makes sense on paper, or else they wouldn’t be making the changes they are.

But, part of the magic of getting your picture taken at Disney comes from the PhotoPass Photographers. Not only do they help you take a better photo (or wait while you brush hair out of your face), the interactions you have with these wonderful Cast Members just can’t be duplicated with a machine.

In a time when machines and computers are becoming more and more present in our lives, it’s nice to actually see a smiling face every now and then.

As far as what these automated cameras can really do and how well these photos will turn out, I guess all we can do is wait and see for ourselves.

What is your opinion on these automated cameras? Will it change your decision to purchase Memory Maker?

 

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