Petition To Ditch Camera Boxes And Bring Back Photopass Photographers
Disney generally do a good job listening to guest feedback and making things better as a result. However, when cost savings and cuts come in from upper management, it's harder for guest feedback to have an impact, unless a large noise is created.
The price of a Disney holiday is going up and up, and some guests feel that they're getting less for their money as some Disney management are losing sight of what makes Disney special. One of the examples of this is replacing Photopass photographers with automated cameras. You may have noticed them if you've been to the parks lately.
I've read about these boxes, but not encountered one until we did the Star Wars: Galactic Spectacular dessert party in September.
I was SUPER excited to meet Darth Vader. He's been a meet and greet I've wanted to do for many years, and this trip it was finally time as he was returned to Star Wars: Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios. As I entered the meet & greet (not knowing in advance it used one of these camera boxes), the cast member waved us in and there he was.
I felt something was a little off at first, but couldn't put my finger on it. Vader said his lines and it was a good laugh, and after a minute or so the cast member spoke up and said "look here" and pointed at something (I couldn't work out what exactly).
And that was it. It did hinder the experience for a meet and greet ive waited so long to do. It was really weird and a bit awkward. But perhaps I'm just used to having a Photopass photographer there taking pictures.
That's a moment and facial expression we needed to capture!
It sort of randomly takes pictures it seems, but it can't really capture moments that we'd want to capture. Smiles and reactions to the character, things that a Photopass Photographer can much better get a photo of. I'm not saying you can't have bad Photopass pictures taken - because we've had some stinkers. But a Photopass Photographer can react better to moments that need to be captured, not randomly timed wide angle images.
Disney fan Martin has started a change.org petition to bring back the Photopass photographers at meet and greet locations that have been (or appear to be soon) replaced by automated camera boxes. At the time of writing the petition has 92,000 signatures.
While generally these petitions don't usually result in much, starting from October 1, talking Mickey is back at the Town Square Theater and the automated camera box has appeared to be removed and a Photopass photographer is back in place.
If you dont like these boxes (or anything that hinders your magical day at Disney) - speak up. Disney won't change unless you give them feedback (good or bad). Cast members are the life-force of the parks, and we don't want them replaced by AI.
After making this post we've had people share their frustrations at the photos they've received with these camera boxes. It's quite disappointing to get these types of photos after long waits.