I’m not sure what happened to the Destination Disney project from earlier in the decade, but I seem to remember that part of the details of it were to somehow incorporate more ride photos and guest interaction. I think part of the project involved Pal Mickey, and even Photopass, but I don’t think it fully lived up to what was intended. I seem to remember something about giving guests the ability to have multiple pictures of them and their family from all over the resort. I would imagine that there were privacy issues and other hurdles they couldn’t get around.
However, it seems to me that one area WDW could focus on to possibly generate more revenue as well as improve the guests experience would be to improve photopass. On our visits to WDW in the past, we’ve used the photopass photographers, but never bought the CD because we felt it was too expensive and the photos weren’t all that great. Here’s a few suggestions on how I think it could be made better for both the guests and Disney.
- Ride Photos. Why hasn’t Disney made all rides with a photo shoot available for photopass? Every ride, or almost every ride should have a photo shoot point and the ability to get these photos onto the Photopass CD. I think this was talked about, but never really implemented, but have guests carry something like a small Mickey or Minnie with a built-in RF tag that would automatically trigger photos on certain rides, then those photos would be automatically uploaded to the guests’ Photopass account. Of course automated pictures can be a problem, remember Flash Mountain from several years ago? That was where people would make rude or obscene gestures at the camera than post those pictures on the web. But, I have a fairly simple solution to that. Involve local authorities for indecent material. Record guest information on photos, encrypted into the photo digitally to allow sending to authorities if needed.
- Offer the ability to view and edit photos from in the hotel rooms on the TV screen. This would seem like a big crowd pleaser. I mean, wouldn’t it be neat to turn on the TV set in your room every night after being at the parks and see your photos from the day?
- Lower the price. By mine and many other people’s rationale, the price of the photopass CD at $149 is too much, and for the same price could be used to buy a decent small digital camera and memory card and have most of the photos printed. So, why not lower it, then maybe more people will buy it.
- More photopass spots. Photopass photographers should be available at most every resort, especially in the morning’s when people are arriving, getting off the Magical Express bus, checking in, etc. The photographers should be available at most all of the sit down restaurants as well.
- Photopass studios. They could establish a few studios across property, where guests could have their own custom photo shoot session by a real photographer that would feature backdrops of all the biggest attractions and icons, plus live appearances by the most popular characters. They could charge for this, and even have other options like some of the less-popular characters available by request. They could also offer Green room photo shoots where they could put you virtually anywhere on any attraction at WDW or even elsewhere not on Disney property. Can’t you imagine maybe virtually climbing the mountain of Expedition Everest, or perhaps capturing the poachers from Kiliminjaro Safaris, or maybe a shot of you singing on the stage at American Idol Experience? The possibilities here could be endless.
- More options. Offer a read-only memory card, a USB flash drive or the ability to have photos emailed to you. Offer the ability to download them from the photopass site and/or buy them individually at a reasonable price.
- Photopass Videos. What if you could have a video of you and your family on Tower of Terror, or Space Mountain or Test Track or any of the other attractions at WDW? This one might be a little more difficult, but I believe they could do it, and people would be willing to buy.
In general, I think Disney’s Photopass is a good feature and offers something pretty neat for guests, but if they’re going to keep the prices like they are, they really should look at ways to improve it and offer something that you can’t get by using your own camera.