Disney World is open, ready, and waiting for you to visit. That said, there have been some changes to the way things are run. For instance, each park has limited capacity and all guests must make a reservation to enter the parks. Additionally, FastPass is unavailable, masks are required, and mobile ordering is encouraged now more than ever. Another aspect of your Disney visit that has seen some significant changes is PhotoPass. While the PhotoPass system is still in place, and while we do still recommend using it, there are some things you should know before diving in.
1. Masks Required
As mentioned before, masks are required for ages 2 and up. This is true in all of the Disney parks (as well as the resorts) with very few exceptions. In fact, the only times a person is allowed to be in the resort common areas without a mask are when they are seated and dining, or when they are swimming or lounging in a chair by the pool. Meanwhile, those in the parks can only remove their masks when in special designated Relaxation Stations or while stationary and dining. What does all of this have to do with PhotoPass? Well, it means you will need to wear your mask while taking photos. This applies to photos taken with personal devices, but also to photos taken by Disney photographers, and those photographers won’t snap a picture if your mask isn’t covering your face properly.
2. Rides Included
Despite incredible social distancing efforts and ramped-up cleaning routines, masks are also required on all rides in order to ensure guests are as safe as possible. Some riders feel they can get away with removing their mask during a ride to get a mask-less ride photo. Not only is this against the rules, it will also backfire. You see, those who remove their masks for on-ride photos will not have their photos linked to their My Disney Experience account, meaning they won’t have access to those mask-less photos they wanted so bad.
3. Can’t Use Your Phone
Before the pandemic came along, it was common knowledge that you could hand your device over to a PhotoPass photographer and ask them to snap some photos on your camera as well as their own. This was fantastic, as it meant you didn’t necessarily have to buy all the professional photos offered in order to have snapshots of your trip. Unfortunately, this offering is no longer available. In an effort to prevent the spread of infection, Disney has put an end to the practice for the foreseeable future, leaving guests to take their own photos if they aren’t willing to pay for the PhotoPass versions.
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4. No-Touch Props
Some PhotoPass photo locations include fun props that help guests strike some unique poses. These props are always quite popular with guests, and we definitely recommend finding some of these photo stops. That said, it should be noted that some props are now designated as no-touch props, meaning guests are asked to pose without touching. Additionally, those props that can be touched must be sanitized after each party, making for a slightly longer wait between guests.
5. No Character Meets
One of the things that Disney guests are missing most since the parks reopened are the character meet-and-greets. For some, these meetings are the heart and soul of a Disney trip. They also tend to provide some of the very best Disney World vacation photos. If character photos are something you look forward to, it’s good to know going in that you won’t be getting your traditional snapshot with Mickey this time around.
6. Fewer Photographers
It’s been reported that there are fewer PhotoPass stops throughout the parks at the moment. This makes sense. After all, all character photo spots are gone, and social distancing requires that Disney find ways to avoid crowding, meaning they must remove PhotoPass spots that could attract a crowd or clog a walkway. Still, there are plenty of spots to have your picture taken by Disney’s professional photography team, and the most quintessential photo ops (such as Cinderella Castle) are still available.
7. Awesome Photos and Shorter Waits
While many of the changes to the PhotoPass system are a bit disappointing, there are a couple of good changes worth noting. Thanks to smaller capacity limits and fewer people vacationing at the moment, crowd levels are much lower. This means extremely short waits for rides and food, and this same benefit carries over to the PhotoPass spots. Rarely will you see a lineup for a photo in the parks right now, even in front of the castle in Magic Kingdom. The second beneficial change? Better photos. Fewer people means cleaner backgrounds. If you’ve always wanted a photo in Disney World without dozens of people in the background, now is the time to go snap it. Crowd levels are so low that during certain parts of the day, you might even be able to snap a shot in front of the castle or the Tree of Life without any people behind you at all!