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Walt Disney World fans have been left shocked and very disappointed as Disney have announced that they are going to be replacing some Disney PhotoPass photographers with automated machines in 9 different character meet and greet locations in their 4 Florida theme parks.
One of the big things that we always comment on is the amazing photographs we get as part of our Memory Maker package, and how the best pictures, without exception, are ALWAYS from character meets.
Meeting a character is an interaction like no other, as every time it is different, with different emotions or situations occurring, meaning every time new moments happen and new interactions take place.
There are a number of reasons we believe that you cannot recreate this with a machine. The human element means that the photographer reacts the situation, something a machine cannot do.
The photographer moves themselves around, gets to the correct level of the guest who is having the meet and greet, whether that is a 2 year old toddler or their 21 (say nothing...) year old Mam, and responds to the situation.
If there is a little nose kiss with your favourite mouse, it’s captured, or if Chip searches your pin collection on your hat for his pin, then it is captured.
A machine can not react to these little moments in time, as you have to be present in the moment to do that. These candid shots are the ones that take you back to a wonderful memory. In our experience it isn’t usually the group photo at the end where everyone is looking at the camera, that holds the most special memories, it is the actual ones in which the PhotoPass photographer captured the priceless moment between a guest and a character as they play and chat and have their fun together.
The candid shots are always the best ones. Take these pictures for example, Martha could not stop laughing as she played with Rafiki, and Niall had a pure magical moment with Mickey Mouse as he cuddled in and got tickled before Mickey stole his hat. These are priceless, and are very unlikely to be captured by a machine due to their spontaneity and angle at which everyone was positioned.
We could take our own pictures of the kids at the character meet and greet, but the very reason that people pay for the PhotoPass package, and love it so much, is that you don’t need to - you can BE in the moment, you can BE in the interaction, you can ENJOY every second without having to watch it through your camera screen. And of course if you are IN the picture, or are the one having the interaction, you obviously can’t capture those moments.
Disney are saying you can still do that with the new automated machines, that there will be still many photographs taken throughout the interaction at at the end, and the Meet and Greet Cast Member will still be present, to tell you where to stand for the best pictures. But to us that takes away the spontaneity, and to be honest, the magic a little.
We just don’t feel as confident that these will capture the moment as personally, or even at the correct level. They can’t get right over a character to snap a cuddle with Dug, or zoom in on your son’s face if Gaston makes a joke that makes your child do a belly laugh.
Disney have said that there will be nine locations that will have the automated machines, and the first of these will be starting after Thanksgiving at the end of November.
Twitter has done it’s thing and we have now been able to have a first look at the ‘green box’ which will be taking the pictures…
The two definite character locations that have been announced so far are Town Hall Theatre in Magic Kingdom and Adventurer’s Outpost at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with the other seven locations still to be announced. Disney have assured us that they will still have actual photograhers at over 100 locations around their theme parks.
Personally, we think if Disney MUST bring these machines in, then they would be better placing them at areas around the park where the backdrop is the focus, and where there are no interactions, but to stand and look at the camera and smile.
What are your thoughts on the automated cameras being brought in at Walt Disney World Florida?
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