News filtered through in recent weeks that Disney are planning to start replacing Photopass photographers with computer programmed robots at certain characters spots.
Now it has been controversial in so much that people aren’t happy with this and it was something that I was expecting to talk about on Dis After Dark, but sadly we were some team members down so it didn’t come up.
This is where I get even more controversial, in that I am not surprised in the slightest by this turn of events and I am not entirely against it.
Yes I totally understand why people don’t like it, but this is what it has come to. I get that people get a lot of memories from their children meeting characters (hell even the adults myself included), but I also think it shouldn’t be the photographers that are creating these experiences.
First of all I think the characters themselves create a lot of the experience. They are the ones who get in the spirit, creating fun poses etc.
I have also seen a lot of people saying ‘what happens when you have a crying/agitated child who won’t stand still?’ sorry but that isn’t a photographer’s job, that should surely be the parent’s responsibility, not some stranger who doesn’t know your child.
This also then brings me on to the subject of why I feel it was inevitable. Disney doesn’t work on projects on a whim, if they have a some wonderful creation from Imagineering then they are going to use it to make it worthwhile.
I hate to say it, but more and more I am hearing complaints about Disney’s customer services, surely this eliminates this problem to a certain extent. If these robots are set up correctly surely there is little wiggle room for complaint (though I am sure there will still be some that do) therefore very little customer service should be required.
On another point, cost cutting, yes people will be loosing their jobs , cutting back costs. But we have to look at reasonings for this.
Bob Iger has never been a theme park guy. He came through the studio system to become the head of The Walt Disney Company, therefore his priority will always be the studio. He will be remembered (once he eventually retired) for his purchases of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and now 21st Century Fox, not for opening Shanghai Disneyland or Disneyland Paris becoming fully owned by The Walt Disney Company (though this does come into my reasoning)
Mr Iger’s theme park man also isn’t a ‘theme park man’. Bob Chapak has his history as a money man, retail being his forte. He has been brought over to parks to basically still keep giving park goers a magical experience, while also pulling back on the costs, so the likes of purchasing Paris and building Shanghai has to then be covered by cuts elsewhere.
And now comes the big one, Galaxy’s Edge. This is a massive expense to create probably the most in-depth experience you will have ever experienced in a theme park. Those funds have to come from somewhere, and that means maybe cutting back on some of the larger costs in park management. That doesn’t just mean the photographers, but also some of the in park entertainment (think the likes of the streetmosphere shows etc)
This honestly felt like it was just round the corner for a while, if it wasn’t this there would have been cost cutting elsewhere.
This cost cutting won’t last forever, but while there are multiple parks going through major refurbishments (not just Walt Disney World, but Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris) we have to take certain changes to make for a better experience in the near future.