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News PhotoPass at some character locations being replaced by automated cameras

ImperfectPixie

Well-Known Member
Ask the attendants that are there with the characters to take photos with your camera. They will be more than willing, and the handle a good number of cameras handed to them by guests. So they'll be able to get some decent photos for you- likely better than the box will.

The good news is it's only a couple of locations- Star Wars Launch Bay, Tink, and soon Mickey/ Minnie at Town Square. The rest of the locations that used to have photographers still should, though not every character has them.
Town Square Theater, too?!? First we lose talking Mickey...now this. GRRRR.
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
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Town Square Theater, too?!? First we lose talking Mickey...now this. GRRRR.
the Tink meet and greet there was the first location they went active. They're installed for Mickey and Minnie, but were not being used yet when I was there. But they look like they could be activated anytime.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
Yeah, going to have to say this is a major downgrade. I have the odd ability to be able to wiggle my nose like a rabbit or mouse, weird I know. Three years ago at the Mickey meet and greet in Epcot, Mickey noticed this and we got into a nose wiggling contest. The photographer got pictures that no machine would ever be able to capture. The best part of the photo is my son's reaction in the background.
View attachment 397242
With all due respect... That's not a good photo. It's the memory you're recalling with fondness, not the photo.
 

plutofan15

Well-Known Member
With all due respect... That's not a good photo. It's the memory you're recalling with fondness, not the photo.
With all due respect.... you’re missing the point. I am not commenting on the artistic merits of the photo; whether the lighting is well done or the framing is perfect. The point is that a automated camera would never have been able to capture the moment regardless of how good or bad some judge the quality of the photo.
 

Chomama

Active Member
We had these last month for tink, Kyle and chewie. The photos are terrible. You are required to stand inside a small rectangle painted on the floor or you won’t be in the correct spot for photos. Very difficult with an excited preschooler. No good candid photos and a ton of awful
Ones. Also there is something lost in not interacting with a photographer who is encouraging different shots with the kids. I really truly hated these
 

larryz

Can't 'Member Anything
Premium Member
Yeah, but I'm a passholder (for the next 2 months at least) so they are included with my AP. No refund there. But as these are rolled out, I'm becoming less and less inclined to tell people to get Memory Maker. Which is a really sad thing for a former photopass photographer to say.
A Cherry Coke says they dismiss your complaints as those of a disgruntled former employee.
 

larryz

Can't 'Member Anything
Premium Member
Yeah, going to have to say this is a major downgrade. I have the odd ability to be able to wiggle my nose like a rabbit or mouse, weird I know. Three years ago at the Mickey meet and greet in Epcot, Mickey noticed this and we got into a nose wiggling contest. The photographer got pictures that no machine would ever be able to capture. The best part of the photo is my son's reaction in the background.
View attachment 397242
Can't see your nose wiggling. This photo, without your backstory, comes across as slightly ... creepy, almost as if you're challenging Mickey to some untimely fisticuffs.
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
A Cherry Coke says they dismiss your complaints as those of a disgruntled former employee.
that wouldn't terribly surprise me. But I've also received the same responses that many others have- ones that aren't former cast members. And I make it pretty clear in my videos that I'm not a disgruntled former cast member. Honestly, the things that I complain about in the parks are rare. But I'm also small enough that they more than likely don't pay that much attention to me anyways. :)

Can't see your nose wiggling. This photo, without your backstory, comes across as slightly ... creepy, almost as if you're challenging Mickey to some untimely fisticuffs.
Except for the kid right behind them laughing, making it pretty obvious that it's not "fisticuffs" but something else going on. I thought it was a pretty amusing photo myself, even without knowing the back story. But it's also a great visual reminder of a treasured moment. Sure it might not be for everyone, but it is for them. And that's why it's a great photo.
 

plkkak

Member
We just visited Hotel Xcaret and the Xcaret parks in Playa del Carmen. One thing we were blown away by was the ubiquitous Xelfie cameras they have all over their properties. Just scan your band and the themed automated cameras take your picture at hundreds of locations. Whenever you come back to your hotel room, the TV starts showing you all of your most recent pictures. This is so well done and such an amazing experience that I can't believe Disney hasn't done the same thing.

I hope Disney copies what they do.
 

plutofan15

Well-Known Member
We
Can't see your nose wiggling. This photo, without your backstory, comes across as slightly ... creepy, almost as if you're challenging Mickey to some untimely fisticuffs.
We did almost throw down. He said some things he shouldn’t have said, I said some things I shouldn’t have said. We ended up smoothing things out over a few beers. It’s all good now.
 

TOCPE82

Well-Known Member
We did these on our trip last week. The photos with Tink were AWFUL. The cameras were clearly already in the Mickey and Minnie Town Square location, as well as Anna/Elsa in Norway.

I'm sure these are passable for adults, but YOU try telling a 2 year old to look at the camera or capturing the perfect shot of kids walking up to the characters. I use Photopass so I don't HAVE TO use my own camera and can instead just enjoy the moment.

I emailed Photopass and wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com and would encourage others to do so as well. Numbers matter in the aggregate.
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
We just visited Hotel Xcaret and the Xcaret parks in Playa del Carmen. One thing we were blown away by was the ubiquitous Xelfie cameras they have all over their properties. Just scan your band and the themed automated cameras take your picture at hundreds of locations. Whenever you come back to your hotel room, the TV starts showing you all of your most recent pictures. This is so well done and such an amazing experience that I can't believe Disney hasn't done the same thing.

I hope Disney copies what they do.
Don't doubt that it's not in the works and coming at some point.

I'll say it again- a box can NEVER catch the same moments that a real photographer can- even a selfie box. It can't tell you how to pose, do anything different or fun, or coach a smile out of a crying kid that doesn't want to look at the box.

I'm happy you got some good photos out of it, but I'll bet you were the exception, and not the rule. And I'd really be curious how many of your photos would have been made much better with a bit of interaction with the one taking your photo.
 

plkkak

Member
Don't doubt that it's not in the works and coming at some point.

I'll say it again- a box can NEVER catch the same moments that a real photographer can- even a selfie box. It can't tell you how to pose, do anything different or fun, or coach a smile out of a crying kid that doesn't want to look at the box.

I'm happy you got some good photos out of it, but I'll bet you were the exception, and not the rule. And I'd really be curious how many of your photos would have been made much better with a bit of interaction with the one taking your photo.
It was just my wife and I. I agree if we had our kids a person would’ve been better. Still, I felt like the amount of photos we got, and the locations they are able to capture far outweighed the benefits of a human photographer.
 

LukeS7

Well-Known Member
I've posted earlier in the thread, but figured I'd drop back in. As a photographer and a guest, I absolutely hate the direction that they've gone with this. I 100% agree with the take that a box in a static position will never be able to stand up to a photographer who is actually capable of moving around. It literally can't from solely a technical standpoint (it can't capture any other angle aside from the one it is positioned at).

While I haven't had a great experience with my PhotoPass photos from photographers, I've chalked it up more to the equipment they have to use and the time they have to setup each shot. When we went on our last trip, I would adjust the exposure settings on my camera while we waited our turn and then ask the PhotoPass photographer to take a photo on my camera. 100% of the time, this photo was better than the one that the same photographer took on their PhotoPass camera.

I also want to speak to an aspect that's being lost that's been mentioned but should be emphasized more: uniqueness. We should not be striving towards everybody's vacation photos looking the exact same. Same angle, same positioning, same framing, just with a different person standing next to the character. If I go over to my friend and show them the one good posed photo of meeting a character, they shouldn't be able to pull up the exact same photo of themself. Having a human photographer, even if they don't get the exact perfect framing, creates variety. It creates some form of uniqueness.

In-regards to the selfie cameras that were mentioned from another resort: I hope those never enter a Disney park. This is both for the above reasons and also due to the fact that I hate the trend of people's only photos of things being selfies. (This next bit is not aimed at anyone, just a general statement), I'm sorry, but nobody wants to see 50 pictures of you and your friends/family staring at a camera and filling more than half the screen.

Sorry this dwelt into a mild rant, just slightly passionate about the topic 😅
 
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SirWillow

Well-Known Member
Great post, and agree with everything you've said

While I haven't had a great experience with my PhotoPass photos from photographers, I've chalked it up more to the equipment they have to use and the time they have to setup each shot. When we went on our last trip, I would adjust the exposure settings on my camera while we waited our turn and then ask the PhotoPass photographer to take a photo on my camera. 100% of the time, this photo was better than that the one the same photographer took on their PhotoPass camera.
Two other factors I'd add-
1. Photopass aren't allowed to adjust their settings. They are given a fixed setting to use, depending on where they are assigned, and can't change that based on changes in lighting or other factors. Honestly, most of them likely wouldn't know what to change them to anyways, which leads to...

2. Lack of training. The amount of training that the photographers get now is reduced quite a bit from when I worked there. Even on areas like the type of photo, framing the shot, rule of thirds, and how to pose the guests has been cut. My last couple of trips I saw a noticeable decline in those area compared to in the past. While there are many that still take a good photo, the numbers are declining on how many will do a good quality, unique, and fun photo.
 

LukeS7

Well-Known Member
Great post, and agree with everything you've said



Two other factors I'd add-
1. Photopass aren't allowed to adjust their settings. They are given a fixed setting to use, depending on where they are assigned, and can't change that based on changes in lighting or other factors. Honestly, most of them likely wouldn't know what to change them to anyways, which leads to...

2. Lack of training. The amount of training that the photographers get now is reduced quite a bit from when I worked there. Even on areas like the type of photo, framing the shot, rule of thirds, and how to pose the guests has been cut. My last couple of trips I saw a noticeable decline in those area compared to in the past. While there are many that still take a good photo, the numbers are declining on how many will do a good quality, unique, and fun photo.
I didn't know that they weren't allowed to adjust their settings. I can see why they would go that route given your second point about lack of training, but that's a horrible choice. That explains the large differences between the photos that I set the exposure settings for and the PhotoPass versions.
 

plkkak

Member
Here are some of the pictures captured by the Xelfie cameras at Xcaret.

The cameras cover some unique perspectives a person couldn't easily capture. Some of the shots would be hard with lots of people around.

Consider the possibility of having these cameras all over the resorts. For example, getting your picture at AoA in the Cars ir Lion King areas. This would be available 24x7 and they could have them everywhere. I still think they could and should use human photographers in notable places like in front of the castle.

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Ponderer

Active Member
2. Lack of training. The amount of training that the photographers get now is reduced quite a bit from when I worked there. Even on areas like the type of photo, framing the shot, rule of thirds, and how to pose the guests has been cut. My last couple of trips I saw a noticeable decline in those area compared to in the past. While there are many that still take a good photo, the numbers are declining on how many will do a good quality, unique, and fun photo.
Though a well-trained photographer can be a double-edged sword. We were getting a PhotoPass shot outside the Hoop-De-Doo last October, and I was LONGING for an automated robot. This guy thought he was Annie Leibowitz. He was surly, went out of his way to contort us, and was absolutely condescending about how we had to just listen to him, because he was the one who knew how to take a good photo and he didn’t have time to explain it to us. (I only shoot video for a living, so I guess I’m an effing amateur.)

Anyway, it wasn’t a huge thing, but it was easily the most subpar CM experience we had the whole trip. And we looked so stiff and uncomfortable in the photo. It was technically fine, but we didn’t look like we were having half the fun as in our other PhotoPas shots.

(We didn’t really realize it was that bad until the next night at the Halloween party, when some of the photographers were delighted by how hammy we were and willing to play along with props and such.)
 
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