There’s never been a more important time for Disney’s PhotoPass service. As my husband, toddler, and I visited EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom this weekend it hit me: we won’t have any pictures of the three of us unless we utilize Disney’s PhotoPass.
Sure, we could do selfies. And if I really wanted to I could set up the phone on something stationary and set the timer, but I’d prefer not to. We certainly were not going to hand a phone to someone in this time of physical distancing. And, for the first time I can ever recall, Disney Cast Members are discouraged from taking photos for guests with the guests’ phones or cameras. It’s completely understandable. Not only does physical distancing become difficult when handing over a device, but then you’ve got the concerns about touching someone else’s stuff.
When we arrived at EPCOT there was one PhotoPass Cast Member stationed at the traditional spot right at the entrance, framing up Spaceship Earth in the center. With one other family ahead of us we physically distanced ourselves from the photographer and waited. When it was our turn they scanned our MagicBand before directing us to a piece of masking tape on the ground.
We then decided to use the Future World West walkway. There were far less guests on that side and the walkway is much wider. To our surprise a PhotoPass Cast Member was stationed there too, I assume because of the good angle of Spaceship Earth they can capture. You can see how few people there are using that entrance. I much prefer using Future World West, compared to feeling closed in by the walls of Future World East.
The next day we ventured to my favorite park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We spotted a PhotoPass Cast Member at the front gate facing the ticketing windows. She took a moment with each family to get a few photos of the kids by themselves. It is nice to have a quick photo session of your child. Somehow they pose better for the professionals than they do for their own parents. There was also a photographer in front of the Tree of Life, of course.
Overall, it did feel like there were slightly less photographers than normal stationed throughout the park. This makes sense with less guests in the park and no formal character meet and greets. So, if you see a PhotoPass Photographer I say “go for it” and seize the moment to get a family photo.
Masks are required to stay on at all times, even when taking photos, unless you are actively eating and drinking while stationary. Disney only wants to publish photos of guests with their masks on. This falls in line with policy that’s been in place well before COVID-19. The policy is essentially to suppress any photos taken by Disney that show unsafe behavior.
If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World anytime soon I would recommend making sure you have unlimited PhotoPass downloads included in your trip. We’re fortunate to have it included in our annual passes and this weekend it proved incredibly valuable. Yes, it feels very weird to have masks on in our photos, especially our little toddler. But, it is truly an interesting moment in time, captured in a way that only PhotoPass Photographers can provide.