Walt Disney World theme parks have been trying to salvage the year and recover billion-dollar losses in profit by reopening in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. This includes requiring guests to wear face masks at all times, even on rides. In fact, guests who are found not wearing masks do not receive their on-ride photos.
Now, Walt Disney World is reportedly digitally altering guests’ on-ride photos to get around its own policy. In one photo posted by Facebook user Tony Townsend on a group called Disney World Junkies, a guest has what appears to be a face mask edited onto her face while aboard the Dinosaur ride in Orlando, Florida.
Guests who rode Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom also reported that it was inserting face masks into their on-ride photos as well, according to a recent report by WDW News Today.
Townsend posted the Dinosaur photo on the group on Sunday, Dec. 6. It was said to be taken that week. But it is unclear when exactly did the theme park start altering guests’ photos.
In his post, Townsend said that Walt Disney World could have altered the photos so that everyone aboard the ride can claim theirs, especially those who were following the park’s protocols by wearing face masks.
Walt Disney World’s policy entails that if a guest slipped off their face mask while on a ride and was captured in the group photo, no one in the group could get that photo, even those wearing their masks.
Therefore, the edited face masks allowed for actual mask-wearing guests to still purchase their photos. Edited photos could also encourage compliance since guests will not be led to believe that it is okay to remove masks while on an attraction.
The Dinosaur photo, which has since been shared on Facebook and Twitter, garnered different reactions. One member of Disney World Junkies said she was glad the park was inserting face masks into the photos because “it’s not fair to other people that want the picture and can’t get it because of someone else.”
Meanwhile, another member of the group defended the woman in the photo “wearing” the digitized face mask. “It looks like her mask fell off one ear and is hanging on her other ear,” the commenter said.
Over at Twitter, one user loved the idea. By editing photos with offending guests, “other passengers in the ride vehicle that are actually following the rules aren’t penalized for the actions of some.” Meanwhile, one user said that the theme park should just “kick the person out” for not following protocols.
Just a little over a week after Townsend posted the Dinosaur photo, Walt Disney World announced it will stop digitizing face masks over guests’ faces.
“In response to guest requests, we tested modifying some ride photos,” spokesperson Jacquee Wahler said in a statement. “We are no longer doing this and continue to expect guests to wear face coverings.” Wahler did not clarify whether guests who go on rides without face masks can still purchase their photos.
Walt Disney World theme parks require visitors to wear their masks except when eating or drinking. (Related: Disney goes full authoritarian, demands mask obedience even while you’re walking and eating.)
Visitors are also required to undergo a temperature check upon arrival and are encouraged to maintain social distance.
While a handful of rides and attractions are now open, those that involve close contact or interactive activities remain closed.
Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic at Pandemic.news.