originally published August 2020, this is still an ongoing rollout in Disney Parks
There are two things I have from my childhood Disney trips- my autograph book (with a vintage 90s pen that no longer works) and a small photobook filled with old photos shot on a disposable camera.
I love those memories.
So when it came to adulting for myself – I knew I wanted to capture those memories too.
Thankfully, we’ve got the Photopass options, and connected with the Memory Maker, I’ve got the perfect digital scrapbook where I can pick and choose what high quality pictures I want with ease.
I can get great pics of my kids, I can watch them grow up at each trip to Disney World.
It’s really a magical thing!
And even when the kids aren’t with me, I still take advantage of the Photopass opportunities (scratch that- when the kids aren’t with me I DEFINITELY take advantage of having more pictures of me looking put together and not like I just solved three fights and spilled my starbucks on main street)
So it saddens me to say that some changes are coming to Photopass that aren’t going to benefit many people at all.
In fact, these changes could be the tipping point for people opting out of the memory maker option.
Let’s see what’s in store for our beloved pictures!
First things First- would PhotoPass be worth it if everything was automated?
This is a valid question.
What if there were no photopass photographers to snap the pic?
- All the pictures were automated?
- Everything was based on one point of view?
- All the pictures were from a box that couldn’t direct everyone in the picture into place?
here’s the thing- in a few select places, all the questions above are TRUE. and I’m going to show you a really embarrassing photo of what happens when you have a box taking the pictures and not a person.
New Changes to Photopass- rolled out in 2020 and revived in 2022
If you saw my photo above you know I’m talking about a BOX.
The box is on the wall in the character spot, and then instead of a human scanning your magic band or card, you go to a kiosk type setup where you can see your picture and scan your band.
We can confirm that they are still using/testing this feature with Mickey Mouse at Town Square theater in 2022.
This is currently in place at several locations like Tinker Bell on Main street and Kylo Ren in Hollywood Studios.
they are planning to replace other character spots too
Most recently they have installed kiosks at Mickey’s character meet at Town Square and I am devastated. 😭
How will a box ever capture sweet close ups like this?
How will a box ever get the emotion of seeing your beloved Mickey?
What’s worse, is they are going to be rolling these out all over the parks.
The Epcot Character Spot is getting “revamped” but I suspect they are breaking up the four characters there to have their own meeting spots with boxes.
Maria from minniemariamouse was one of the first people to report on the changes to the current PhotoPass setup.
I reached out to her and this is what she has to say
“I have memories I look back on that make me tear up… dancing with Mickey, having him show me his favorite magic trick, a giant hug where my smile is undeniably best bday ever worthy. A box can’t capture that. But it also ruins the magic by making Mickey or whomever stop your moment to tell you to pause and look into a box for a staged photo instead of capturing a real moment”
And that’s such a valid point. How weird is it for the handler to be like, “ok look at the box on the wall for your photo?”
I don’t stand in line saying, “I’m going to take my picture with Mickey!”
I say, “I’m going to MEET mickey”
Sure the pictures are important, but it’s also being able to connect with your character.
Yes, we like posed photos- but what about the candid photos, they unexpected ones that you didn’t realize the photographer shot. The personalized touch.
Here’s what pictures will look like going forward when you use a box.
Staged, distant and impersonal. I know that it doesnt appeal to me, especially for a character like Mickey, and if your like me, it won’t be a fun addition to your long awaited (and very expensive) vacation to the house of mouse.
Here’s the Box I spotted at Magic Kingdom Town Square (Where Mickey Meets Guests with hour long waits and hard to get Fast Passes)
Here’s what it looks like in real life
I’m all for nursing my baby but that picture is ridiculous! And yes, I laugh about it now- but seriously? Babe was 2 months old, I was rocking the post-partum mom bod, and we were taking a much needed big family trip to the happiest place on earth.
I know breastfeeding pictures are all the rave- but I’m not one to whip out the boob for a picture at disney world. I couldn’t escape the box though, you CAN’T go behind it!!!
No Worries, because I snapped a selfie with her. But it makes you wonder- if my selfie looks this good…
A real human photographer wouldn’t have captured the picture above- and even if they had, they would have made up for it by getting some good candid shots and closeups.
If there was a photographer there, I would have never ‘been in the way’, as I could have taken my screaming hungry baby behind the photographer.
But you can’t do that with the box on the wall.
And the box isn’t moving out of the way for you to sneak out of the shot.
So I was stuck walking in front of the box, and it was a really rushed experience with tink because of our group size.
But this isn’t about me- let’s talk about the changes coming to PhotoPass.
So what can we do?
Many people have taken to Instagram to voice their concern with the hashtag #savephotopass and #savephotopassphotographers
You can also reach out to Disney and send an email at
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
I encourage everyone to do this and I’ve sent one in today with my disappointment over how this has been handled (very subtly) and what I believe will be a poor decision in the long run. I will let update this post when I get a reply.
Where are the boxes located?
So far here’s what we confirmed- (this was in 2019 and the boxes are STILL there in 2020)- who knows what their plans are for this year!
Hollywood studios- Launch Bay Characters
Epcot- The Royal Sumerhaus with Anna and Elsa
Magic Kingdom- Town Square Theater- Mickey Mouse and Tinkerbell
We DO know that Disney has plans to roll out a total of 9 boxes. Do you know where they are located? Hit me up on Instagram or leave a comment here!
Sign the Petition
Don’t have time for a call or email? I get it. Life is already busy enough!
Sign the petition on Change.com– it will only take a minute of your time- the more moment we get, the better!
Let me here from you-
Do you like the idea of the box?
Is having an automated picture a good trade off for what would be a shorter wait (and a quicker meet and greet?) Snap the pic and go kinda thing?
Let me know on social media or in the comments- tag- #savephotopass