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Disney Disappoints Fans With New Magic Kingdom “Photo Op”

TRON Test Seat Photo Op
Credit: Disney

The Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, or more specifically, Cinderella Castle, is one of the most photographed locations on Earth. Add in beloved character meet and greets and attractions, and even some shops, dining locations, and nighttime fireworks spectaculars, and the Magic Kingdom is one Disney Park where it’s difficult to come out at the end of the day without a packed camera roll.

This Disney Park is not only a place for breathtaking castle photos, though, as one upcoming photo op already has fans expressing disappointment on social media. (And no, it isn’t the automated boxes in place of PhotoPass Cast Members at select character meet and greets, though most Guests agree that is disappointing, too.)

Cinderella Castle 50th Anniversary

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Here’s How On-Ride Photos & Videos Will Work on Disney’s Next New Attraction

The next addition to the Magic Kingdom will be TRON Lightcycle / Run, which opens this April in Tomorrowland. The new thrill ride has been highly anticipated (and rightfully so, given that it took years to construct) and many Guests are excited to finally be able to experience the attraction firsthand.

TRON Lightcycle / Run is set to be one of the fastest attractions at Walt Disney World, allowing Guests to “Enter the Grid,” via an impressive launch. With the attraction already in its soft opening stage, select Guests have been able to preview the coaster, including Disney Cast Members, Disney Vacation Club Members, D23 Members, and Disney World Annual Passholders. Shortly after the previews began, Guests were quick to point out issues with the Lightcycle ride vehicles, with many Guests struggling to fit. Disney did design the ride with accessible seating on some of the trains; however, for Guests who are unable to ride on the Lightcycle vehicles.

What does this all have to do with Disney’s newest photo op, though? Well, it all comes down to the ride’s test seats.

TRON Lightcycle / Run

Credit: Disney

RELATED: What You Need to Know Before You Ride TRON Lightcycle / Run

Thrill rides with specialized seating or restraint systems often come with test seats so that Guests can try out the ride vehicles to see if they fit onto the attraction before waiting in line (or purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane in the case of TRON). Compared to many other theme parks, Disney is actually very inclusive when it comes to attractions that Guests of varied shapes and sizes are able to ride, however, some of the Resorts newest attractions especially, including Avatar – Flight of Passage and TRON Lightcycle / Run are prompting more Guests than ever to try out the test seats.

Many theme park fans agree that test seats are just that– test seats. As such, it can be frustrating (or even humiliating) for Guests who do want to check out how they fit in a ride vehicle when other Guests are using the seats as a photo op. And that is exactly why fans have begun expressing disappointment at Disney’s insistence that the new TRON test seats effectively double as a photo op:

RELATED: Riders Struggle to Fit on TRON Lightcycle / Run Vehicles During Early Previews

Shortly after Disney sent the above tweet, which was part of a series of “Know Before You Go” details for the new attraction, fans began sharing their reactions to the test seats officially being referred to as a photo op.

Twitter user @carebear133 noted how the optics of referring to the test seats as a photo op would only cause problems for Guests who actually need to try out the seats saying:

I HATE the optics of encouraging the test seat as a “photo op”. For those of us who actually need the rest seat to make sure we can comfortably ride this will increase the line and make it more uncomfortable to try in front of large crowds. @DisneyParks please don’t

Others pointed out how the TRON test seats are not even effective for testing whether or not riders actually fit. Some Guests who have already experienced the attraction have noted that the test seat does not include a light or a “click” when the leg restraints are safely in place, so even with the test seats it may not always be possible to know if you fit before reaching the actual ride vehicle.

@galaxarium echoed these concerns in their response to Disney’s tweet saying:

Kinda insane how the test seat is better as a photo op than a test seat. Like there’s no indication to let riders know if it’s even in the right position and it’s in front of the entire queue for all to see, but its a full model of the vehicle and has such a pretty background.

@meesh1980 share the suggestion of creating two separate ride vehicles outside of the attraction, one to use as a test seat and one as a photo op, sharing:

The problem is you have to wait in a long line if you want to test the seat bc everyone is using it as a photo op. At least put another set of seats out there. One for photos & one for testing.

This sounds like a great solution, though it is unclear how the logistics of this would work as Cast Members would likely be needed to keep photo op-only Guests moving to the area without the actual test seats.

In what seems to be an unpopular opinion, one Disney fan, @parkhopperzach viewed Disney’s comment as a way of normalizing using test seats as all Guests would then be using it as a photo op rather than only Guests of size using it to check if they can ride:

The Lightcycle ride vehicles on TRON Lightcycle / Run are nonconventional in the sense that few Guests have had issues fitting from the waist up with the chest and even the back restraints being mostly accommodating. The leg restraints, however, may not close on Guests who carry weight in their calves, meaning it can be difficult to discern whether or not you will fit, hence the increased need for the test seats compared to other Disney attractions.

As of this writing, Disney has not commented on the backlash of the test seats doubling as a photo op. Without any comment from Disney, we expect the photo op/test seat combination to continue when the ride opens on April 4, 2023; however, we will share an update if Disney responds to these Guest complaints.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."