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Disney PhotoPass Automated Pictures Spark Debate on Quality of Shots

Disney PhotoPass Automated Pictures Spark Debate on Quality of Shots

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PhotoPass Automated Pictures Spark Debate on Quality of Shots
Melody, one of the KTP writers had a positive experience with the photobox when her family met Darth Vader.

By now, you may have seen the news that the automated photo boxes have begun to take over indoor PhotoPass locations around the Walt Disney World resort.  They have now made their way into Princess Fairytale Hall.  A petition against the boxes on has gathered close to the target of 50,000 signatures at the time of this writing.

What does this mean for your beloved Disney Character photos? While most people seem distressed by the change, many of the writers at Kenny the Pirate have managed to get some pretty good shots with the photoboxes!

First, let’s discuss the cons of the boxes.  Even if the photographers were put to work elsewhere in Walt Disney World rather than being totally displaced by the automated system, there is an innately human quality in knowing when to take a photo and at what angle.  Many of my personal favorite photographs from PhotoPass are candid shots.  A lot of them are from the first few seconds of the meet and greet when my child’s eyes light up and he throws his arms out for a hug! While the box theoretically could capture such shots, the box is stationary and unlike a human photographer can not move to get around any obstructions, such as mom handing off her backpack to get ready to take a pic.

mickey candid
This photo of my son from 2015 might not be possible without a human photographer.

But there is no need to lose hope! On the plus side, the boxes are operated by the cast member in the room with you, so there should be some decently posed shots of your session. For most guests, the posed photo at the end of the greet are the ones you would put in a frame anyway. Those shots should still be adequate with the boxes. If you’re buying memory maker in the hopes of getting great pics for your scrapbook or Christmas card, the value is still there.

tink photobox
One of our KTP writers captured this adorable photo with Tinkerbell using the photobox. Photo credit: Johanna Malec

What the photoboxes miss is capturing the fun of the interaction and the true joy we have when Olaf points himself out on my shirt or Goofy covers my son’s face with his hand and we all crack up. Personally, I don’t care as much for the posed, staged photos in part because my son has autism and doesn’t do well with staring at the camera and faking a smile.  For us, the laughing and goofing around photos are the ones we end up framing.

So, while we at Kenny the Pirate work to compile our best tips for getting great photos with the box, I urge readers to share their feedback and make their feelings known.  You can sign the petition on, send a tweet to @wdwtoday, or even email guest services at  One cast member stated that taking the surveys at the parks and after you return home is the best way to provide that feedback because the powers that be like quantifiable data on guest preferences.

I have always felt heard by Disney, and even if they don’t change course, perhaps they can work with us to address some of the concerns guests have in regards to taking photos with the automated box.

How do you feel about the boxes? Do you think anything can be done on Disney’s end to improve photo quality with them?

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B Wayne

Saturday 21st of September 2019

Just another example of Disney's greed. Exactly how much profit do they need to be satisfied? It's already becoming a playground for the rich.


Friday 20th of September 2019

I had issues receiving photo box pix to my photopass and was not directed to not stand in front of the camera, thus resulting in lots of backside pix of me


Friday 20th of September 2019

We visited Mickey and Minnie in Town Square earlier this week. While the pics with the box were not perfect, I will say they were better than what I anticipated.

As you've mentioned, the posed shots worked well but all the shots where we first met them are just of our butts and backs. Even if the characters could be 'trained' to move so that their heads are towards the back of the set, this would allow the guest's face to be captured during initial meeting.


Friday 20th of September 2019

I had heard that celebration Minnie and Mickey had the box but we went yesterday and it as a real photographer. You could see the magic band scanner that goes along with the automated system. I am so glad they changed it back. There was a sweetest moment between Mickey and a baby that had the room in awe. Those moments wouldn’t those been captured by the box

Michele Clauser

Friday 20th of September 2019

I was surprised to see BB8 got a real photographer but Chewbacca now has the droid photos which take sometimes a day or two to show up in photopass. Not sure I would want a remote being the one to catch moments with characters like this but I understand Disney has to cut corners someway.

Dreama Ujevich

Friday 20th of September 2019

They don't need to cut corners, they hike prices regularly on every little thing. The past year they have priced many completely out. The more services they cut, the less magic there is, without the little things people will go somewhere else or spend less time there. I think they try to recoup from us on their bad decisions.

Rebecca Davis

Friday 20th of September 2019

Interesting. I haven’t had the opportunity to try out the photo boxes myself. We didn’t fastpass Mickey last time and haven’t done the Star Wars greets. It seems that all the indoor greets are being converted over.

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