PhotoPass+ is the latest addition to the list of services offered by Disneyland Paris. Unveiled for use at the Ratatouille press event, we got the chance to get up close use it round the park.
Oddly the system behind PhotoPass has been in the parks for years, just never cohesively. At present you can grab photos from several attractions, you can store your session at “Meet Mickey” on a card, but you currently can’t store more than one attractions photo’s in one place. Paris being the only Disney resort lacking in this respect.
However like many other things, when Paris gets a plan together, it often exceeds what went before it.
PhotoPass(+) comes in two different forms, first it comes as a card, secondly it comes as an app for both iPhone and Android.
As you tour the park with your card, you can present your card at any attraction photo location or photographer and when they take your picture, they’ll scan it and it’ll appear on your card account later. Initially you need to enter the serial number from the card into the app or online at www.disneyphotopass.eu (You can also view the photo’s saved to the card at any photo location with the ability to print in the park and all hotels).
Shortly after scanning the card, the image will appear online and in the app. It seems to take a fair bit longer for the photographers photo’s to show up, where you can expect attraction photo’s fairly instantly. I suspect the photo’s only upload when the photographer returns to “base”.
Each photo can be downloaded to your phone in the app without a watermark ruining the picture (although they all have a border) or shared from directly within the app. I suppose thats the trade off, a tad of advertising for giving you direct access.
If you create an account with the app, you’re photo’s will appear every time you enter either the image code, which is on the bottom of each image display screen after a participating ride, or if you scan the QR code using the app’s built in reader. This is very clever, as already a ton of people take pictures of their picture. It shows Disneyland Paris have seen the emerging want to share those photo’s, and have actually made it easier for guests to save their photos, so far, the only park to actively encourage and push this behaviour.
If you have an account on the app, all the photo’s you add will save to that by either image code or QR code, rather than saving to the card number. If you add a card number within the app, then the photo’s specifically saved to the card by a Disney official will also show in the app. However at this time it doesn’t seem like you can move photo’s from your apps account to a photo card.
Online you can retrieve photo’s taken, either by logging in with the app’s login information, or by entering a valid PhotoPass card serial number. You can also order a variety of prints on either paper, accessories or novelty items.
Allowing guests to share images and doing so with a higher quality seems to be the aim of the game and its an impressive feat for the park, however it has a few niggly issues that Disneyland Paris are likely working on before launch. See the bottom of this page for a sample of what gets saved to the phone from the app.
For the application to work effectively and allow you to share as you go – you need very good data! While Disneyland Paris haven’t confirmed as much, we highly suspect either with the launch of PhotoPass or shortly after, park wide WiFi can be expected. The hotels and the village have been kit out with WiFi, in what we believe is the test phase of balancing the load and figuring out how to roll it out.
Additionally we asked Disneyland Paris whether this would result in an expansion of the current photography offering in the parks – specifically roaming photographers, such as one standing in front of the castle taking pictures. Officially we were informed they’re looking very closely at what works and what doesn’t in the other parks of the world but that at launch it would be the system and no additional photographers however will likely come in some form in time. This makes a lot of sense really, there’s no real need to expand the system on launch day and add in additional aspects until the initial bugs are ironed out.
Overall the system is a tad buggy, but we were the first real users of it, so it was to be expected. Disneyland Paris and partner Fujifilm will likely be looking at our usage data and feedback and improving it before general launch. The system will likely be the catalyst for further improvements in the park such as roaming photographers, park wide wifi, and dare I say MagicBand style systems. You see in Disneyland Paris you’re now carrying even more tickets – an Entrance Ticket, an EasyPass (If onsite), Dinner Vouchers, Fastpass, Hotel Entry Key and now PhotoPass – a system that could be hugely simplified with one card (ala MagicBand).
Overall its a nice system, long overdue, containing a ton of potential and shows a matching and to a degree an enhancement on what has been offered in other parks. Photo’s are available at least 30 days after being taken online in your account.