Last fall, we wrote that automated cameras would be added to nine character greeting locations across Walt Disney World, in place of Disney PhotoPass photographers.
Today, a new petition on Change.org is circling the internet asking Disney to stop this change.
This petition presents the case that Disney PhotoPass photographers are able to ‘capture more than just a picture’ and offer ‘an added magical touch that can’t be replaced.’ The overall goal of the petition is to overturn Disney’s decision to add these automated camera boxes and bring back the photographers.
Currently, the boxes can be found at the character meet-and-greets for Chewbacca and Darth Vader at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey and Minnie and Tinkerbell in Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theater. The automated camera boxes have also been installed at Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland, but are not yet in use.
This isn’t the first uproar over the automated cameras. Since they started being installed last year, some guests have complained on social media about the change and the decrease in the quality of photos taken by the boxes. Candace Harmon on Facebook even went so far as to post comparisons of photos taken by a human photographer alongside those taken by the automated camera:
These new automated cameras utilize AI software to capture candids and posed character photos, but cannot move from their stationary position. As a result, it falls to the character performers and character attendants to ensure that everyone is in view of the camera.
While we haven’t heard of any PhotoPass photographers losing their jobs over this, it appears as though staffing has been cut back in favor of outdoor positions and low-priority positions that last all day rather than having multiple shifts. According to an anonymous cast member, many photographers have transferred because of the loss of hours.
Another anonymous PhotoPass cast member had this to say when it comes to the automated cameras:
“We were once cherished. The replacement with robots makes us feel replaceable. The morale has changed. People are leaving. It’s really sad to know that I can no longer take sweet close-ups of characters booping noses, that split-second moment when Elsa and a child locks eyes. No one can capture that.”
In response to the automated camera boxes, Disney had this to say:
We will be installing cameras at nine character greeting locations that will be in use beginning in early 2019. Multiple cameras will capture numerous memorable moments during a character interaction, allowing guests to choose from a wider variety of character photos.
While Disney PhotoPass Cast Members will no longer capture photography at these nine locations, photographers will continue to support the more than 100 other Disney PhotoPass locations across our parks so that they can use their creativity to take personalized photos for our Guests.
Currently, the automated camera boxes are set to roll out to nine different character greetings at Walt Disney World. So far, only five locations have seen this change implemented. At the time of this writing, the petition has amassed 45,604 signatures.
Stay tuned for more updates on this story as we receive them. You can check out the petition here.
If you wish to share your thoughts, good or bad, about these automated cameras, you can:
- Visit Guest Relations at Walt Disney World
- Calling Walt Disney World’s non-reservation line
- Emailing Walt Disney World’s Guest Services
- Volunteering to take the 5-minute surveys when visiting the parks
You can watch the hosts of “Early Night Live” experience the PhotoPass camera boxes in person below:
Editor’s Note: The opinions of the Early Night Live hosts do not necessarily represent the opinions of Attractions Magazine.