Photos from Walt Disney World rides are a well-known travel souvenir: At the most thrilling part of a roller coaster or similar Disney World experience, an automatic camera snaps a picture that is made available to the riders for purchase through PhotoPass. The result can be pretty hilarious.
But during the coronavirus pandemic and with a strict mask policy in place, Disney World created a new rule for riders who want to purchase an image of themselves mid-ride: no mask, no photo.
That rule was briefly bent when parkgoers began requesting to purchase their photo if their mask moved or slipped free on the ride, which they complained was occurring on fast rides through no fault of their own.
A Disney spokesperson confirmed to The Washington Post on Friday that Disney World tested adding digital masks to riders’ PhotoPass images where masks had shifted mid-ride. The trial aimed to allow those riders to be able to purchase a ride photo that would not depict them as unmasked, and in a violation of park rules.
But after photos circulated on Disney blogs and social media, the park ended the trial.
“In response to guest requests, we tested modifying some ride photos,” a Disney World spokesperson said in an email. “We are no longer doing this and continue to expect guests to wear face coverings except when actively eating or drinking while stationary.”
Photos with the digital masks appeared this week in Disney World blogs that speculated riders were removing their masks for the photos. One such image on Animal Kingdom’s DINOSAUR ride appeared to show a woman with a large digital mask added over her face.
Headlines about the images also sparked criticism on social media. Disney fans and commenters weighed in that riders without masks in photos should be kicked out of the park. Others questioned if everyone in a ride photo would be able to buy their copy if anyone else in it was unmasked, whether the unmasking was accidental or not.
Disney World’s mask policy requires guests to wear face coverings on rides. “Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming,” Disney World states on its website. “You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing.”
The park spokesperson said the rule that unmasked riders will not be able to buy their PhotoPass remains in place.