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Old 07-28-2009, 10:35 AM   #1
Tiger926
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Just back - Photopass CM observations

Just returned from 14 days in all parks. Last year, we bought the pre-order CD for the 1st time, and did the GF photo shoot. We were not that impressed with many of the photos, but for the price, we didn't mind. This year, the CD went up, shipping to Canada is outrageous, and photoshoot went up in price, so we made the choice not to purchase Photopass CD months ago. That being said, since we love photos (I'm also a scrapbooker), we made some observations:

1. Attitudes - Some of them were downright rude and short with guests. They seemed to be bothered everywhere we went. Some guests were asking about magic shots, and some Photopass CMs were very sarcastic and rude about the shots. One CM was so rude on Friday, that the Character handler with Mulan shot him a dirty look. Another one at Epcot refused to take a photo with our own camera, and many of them could be seen sighing and looking annoyed. I can understand getting a bit frustrated if people keep handing you their cameras, and you don't get to use your Disney camera, but this is part of their job, and also, CMs were even annoyed with people who had Photopass cards available. I know it must be hard to do this job as people are constantly wanting you to pose them, kids not cooperating, etc, but it's not that hard... I know most of them aren't professional photographers, so perhaps this is where the problem lies...?

2. Availability - Could hardly find Photopass CMs in certain areas of parks. Some of them were just wandering around at times too, even though there were some guests waiting on photos. It was a bizarre scene at times...

3. Quality - We got about 45 photos on a few cards, and the quality was horrible! Even worse than last year - I would not be spending money on any of these photos at all. We have the exact same photos with one of our 3 cameras (Panasonic bridge SLR type, Nikon P & S and Canon G10), and the Canon G10 photos blow them all away! Seriously, the CMs are all about snappping, and that is it! They don't centre the photos, nor, take the time to get people ready. So many of our shots are ruined because of this, and I suspect this is the case for most guests. I know Disney is a busy place, but if the photos were a bit better, there would have been several that I would have paid individual shot prices for.

4. Photopass Shoots - Didn't see hardly any photopass shoots taking place at the resorts either. Talked to a CM who said it's been very slow in this regard.

All in all, we felt badly for guests who were looking for Photopass CMs as they had bought the pre-order CD. Like I said, between the attitudes, general lack of unavailability of Photopass CMs, and horrible quality of photos, not sure how this program will stay in place? Although, as with many things Disney, people still seem to pay for subpar quality items, as it's Disney!

Hopefully, they revamp this program soon as it has the potential to be better than it is.

Good luck to all of those who use this service in the future, Tiger

Last edited by Tiger926; 07-28-2009 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:40 AM   #2
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I have to agree with some of what you said. While I've never encountered a downright nasty photopass CM, sometimes they are standoffish. I don't really count on getting great photopass pics anymore either. They don't even take the time to center the subject in the pics. I've had plenty of pics with the tops of our heads cut off or too far left or right.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:40 AM   #3
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This isn't very encouraging. We've already pre-paid for our Photo Pass CD. I was really looking forward to this, service. I honestly feel it's the economy and they've had to let so many people go, that it's just too much of a work-load for the CM's to handle AND to enjoy like they used to. Hopefully things will be back to how they used to be!
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:52 AM   #4
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We just got back from our 12 day trip and I had pre ordered the photopass CD but am in a share group, so it was only $24. I would have asked for my money back if I had paid the full price.

We saw photopass CM's at the entrances to each of the four major parks. They were at the entrance to Blizzard Beach and in the water in the lazy river.

I saw a photopass photographer near the tower of terror and one in the Animal Kingdom.

There were very few with the characters that I saw, in fact I think I just saw two...with Lilo in the AK and with Captain Hook in MK. The other characters we took pics with our own camera as they were not around.

I did use the photopass ID for the test track photo.

I haven't viewed the pictures yet as I got back Sunday and went straight to work Monday So I can't comment on the quality.

As far as magic shots....I didn't get one because I never asked. I didn't know about it which is probably my fault for not researching it but not one Photopass photographer even asked me about it.

I was looking for the photographers too because I was aware of having the pre purchased CD. I saw not one at my resort, CBR.

In the future, I would not order my CD until I got home.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:12 AM   #5
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We must have had extra-good luck, I guess. We were at WDW in June and saw tons of photographers, and I can't remember any of them being unpleasant. In fact, one guy at AK did a whole "photoshoot" of our kids. He did each kid separately, in all different poses and with the "magic" shots with Baby Simba. We were pleased and felt that our CD was well worth the price. (We split it with BIL's family, there at the same time.) By the time we added borders, we ended up with over 300 pictures, and they are wonderful.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:23 AM   #6
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I agree alot with the OP too. We just returned this weekend and we hardly ever saw a photopass CM. We saw lots of characters, but no photopass person. My DH noticed it too. We were very surprised. I told him that Disney got their money by selling the CD prior to trips, so now folks were struggling to find the photographer. Many cases when we did see them, folks were lining up to get their photos taken (in front of the castle). We stopped using them several trips ago and have not had any photos done by the photographers lately. We find the price of photopass too outrageous to purchase them now.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:28 AM   #7
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this one was taken in Animal Kingdom on our last trip, the CM there took so many different poses and ways with the kids, then me and the kids, then me and my sis and then the whole family... I simply adored him there... and we have some with the tree of life from an other angle and with Simba...

At Epcot, the CM was incredible, suggesting how to place the kids etc... it was great... we have some fantastic poses
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:43 AM   #8
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This is very disappointing news! I pre-purchased the CD before our trip last year and we had the best pictures and so many of them! I was looking forward to purchasing for our next trip.

I too wonder if it's CM cutbacks causing some of the issues..............
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevyNat View Post


this one was taken in Animal Kingdom on our last trip, the CM there took so many different poses and ways with the kids, then me and the kids, then me and my sis and then the whole family... I simply adored him there... and we have some with the tree of life from an other angle and with Simba...

At Epcot, the CM was incredible, suggesting how to place the kids etc... it was great... we have some fantastic poses
This is a wonderful shot of two beautiful kids - this Photopass CM knows how to do his job well. I do see a bit of saturation on their skin though (it's too bright, and this happens because they aren't allowed to adjust their camera settings at all), but nothing major at all as it was a bright day, so they look cute.

Thanks for sharing, Tiger
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevyNat View Post


this one was taken in Animal Kingdom on our last trip, the CM there took so many different poses and ways with the kids, then me and the kids, then me and my sis and then the whole family... I simply adored him there... and we have some with the tree of life from an other angle and with Simba...

At Epcot, the CM was incredible, suggesting how to place the kids etc... it was great... we have some fantastic poses
That's a great shot....I just looked at all my photos ..... and NONE look nearly that well. I am disappointed in photopass and probably won't use it again.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:47 AM   #11
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Chevynat--what a wonderful photo of your dc. Where was this taken?? I love the background

We leave in 6 days for WDW- have the photopass preordered. last year at AK they took an awesome pic of my dc on the bridge w/ tree of life in the back ground. It was soo good that I used it for our Christmas photo.

It is nice to know you found a CM willing to do individual shots of the DC. I was hoping to have the same done this trip. I dont' buy school pics bc it is too expensive. We always have done Jcpenney's phots but this year I want something different. I thought about the resort photo sessions but not sure 20 mins is enough time for getting 4 dc to cooperated. We are usually at JCP for almost 1hr when they do our pics.

We had a really good experience on the photopass last year (we did a share). I am hoping that the same is true this year
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevyNat View Post


this one was taken in Animal Kingdom on our last trip, the CM there took so many different poses and ways with the kids, then me and the kids, then me and my sis and then the whole family... I simply adored him there... and we have some with the tree of life from an other angle and with Simba...

At Epcot, the CM was incredible, suggesting how to place the kids etc... it was great... we have some fantastic poses
I am totally, completely, and seriously jealous. What beautiful kids!

I wonder if I paid my kids a million dollars if I could bribe them to pose and look like they like each other HALF as much as your two kids look like they do!

That is a *wonderful* picture!!!

Julie
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:28 PM   #13
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I think sometimes people expect too much from the photopass photograhers.

I think this is a beautiful pose of two beautiful children and will bring much enjoyment to the parents for many years as they remember their trip.

Isn't that what photopass is about.. memories?

I have some great pics from them from my last trip even when they weren't with characters and my fav is one of my DD that looks like shes sneezing and I laugh everytime I see it. I was so focused on the characters i didn't even see it but the photopass guy did and it's one of my fav photos from my trip.

I don't expect the pics to be perfect because even though Disney is magical no photographer can get all 3 of my kids to be happy about the same thing at the same time and all with a smile and their eyes open. Kids are not perfect and I wouldn't want the pics to try to make them something they are not. I LOVE photopass and will use it for every trip!
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:54 AM   #14
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Sorry, we did not experience any of this in June.

We pre ordered the CD and photobook and found ample Photo-pass opporturnites, over 170 pics. Now there were some that weren't great, but none were horrible. We never encountered a CM who was gruff, all were very nice. We got magic shots twice, without asking.

We don't ask the photographers to take pics with our camera, we already bought the CD we don't need pics on our camera. Photopass photographer's primary job is to take Photo-pass photos, and to take good ones so that people will buy them. Photopass is advertised as a "service" sure it is a service, but it is a service to make money (hence the rate of "snapping pics"). The more photos they take with guest's own cameras the less opporturnity for Disney to make money. I'm sure Disney tracks the number of pics a photographer takes and number of photos purchased. So I could understand where the aggravation is coming from if the photographers job performance is affected.

You didn't have a good experience with Photopass but it sounds like you really didn't want to have Photopass pics taken, just pics with your own camera. Since you stated that you have the exact same pics on your camera, so I'm guessing that some of the fantastic shots taken with your G10 were taken by Photopass photogs. So those were centered and came out great? Sorry I don't get your complaint, you got great pics and didn't have to pay for them. How is that bad?

However, I do agree that there is no excuse for cast members to be rude to guests.

I am under the opinion that Photopass is a great service, and as a result we have many many many great pictures containing my whole family and I didn't even have to ask complete strangers to take them!
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:05 PM   #15
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Sorry, we did not experience any of this in June.

We pre ordered the CD and photobook and found ample Photo-pass opporturnites, over 170 pics. Now there were some that weren't great, but none were horrible. We never encountered a CM who was gruff, all were very nice. We got magic shots twice, without asking.

We don't ask the photographers to take pics with our camera, we already bought the CD we don't need pics on our camera. Photopass photographer's primary job is to take Photo-pass photos, and to take good ones so that people will buy them. Photopass is advertised as a "service" sure it is a service, but it is a service to make money (hence the rate of "snapping pics"). The more photos they take with guest's own cameras the less opporturnity for Disney to make money. I'm sure Disney tracks the number of pics a photographer takes and number of photos purchased. So I could understand where the aggravation is coming from if the photographers job performance is affected.

You didn't have a good experience with Photopass but it sounds like you really didn't want to have Photopass pics taken, just pics with your own camera. Since you stated that you have the exact same pics on your camera, so I'm guessing that some of the fantastic shots taken with your G10 were taken by Photopass photogs. So those were centered and came out great? Sorry I don't get your complaint, you got great pics and didn't have to pay for them. How is that bad?

However, I do agree that there is no excuse for cast members to be rude to guests.

I am under the opinion that Photopass is a great service, and as a result we have many many many great pictures containing my whole family and I didn't even have to ask complete strangers to take them!
I'm not sure I'm following... I am not actually complaining, but mostly concerned. Concerned for the program and the people who are employed to maintain that program.

It doesn't matter that we had pretty much decided not to do the Photopass CD, there are other Photopass products available. Did you not read my statement that if the photos were better, we would have purchased individual shots of the ones we didn't have with our own camera? Just because I didn't want the whole CD, doesn't mean I didn't want other photo products. We always took a photopass shot with the photographer first, and if they weren't busy, we asked for him/her to take one with our camera. We came home with about 45 photos. We are WDW veterans, so we know park etiquette.

I'm glad that you didn't experience any of this, but as I stated, the attitudes of the Photopass CMs were vastly different than last year. We spent 16 days last year in all parks, and 14 this year, so this is a lot of park time. We are in the parks each day, at all different times, meeting many different Photopass CMs, and this was experienced on a consistent basis. If they are frustrated with the way the program runs, perhaps they need to bring it up with management. Regular CMs are encouraged to take guest photos, so if Photopass CMs only want to take photos with their own cameras, then there is a big disconnect there. As I stated, we only asked for our own camera if they weren't busy. And before anyone thinks I'm expecting perfection, I am far from that point. I am an amateur photographer and scrapbooker, so no perfection for me - kids move around, people are in the background, and there are squinting eyes. I do expect bodies not to be cut off, heads to be in the frame, and positive attitudes from the people taking the photos.

I am of the opinion that Photopass could be a great service, with some technical tweaking and photography training. Based on our experiences this year, we have seen this decline in service, just as we saw it in other areas of the parks. But, since this is a service that could bring in a big amount of revenue for Disney (people will usually make impulse photo purchases), then they need to improve.

At this point, I won't pay the prices they are asking for the quality that I am seeing. But, if the quality was better, I would pay for them - this is where Disney is out of touch, IMHO. Faster and quicker is never usually better, except when you are trying to get through the park gates.

Tiger

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