Last July, Disney World instituted a policy that required guests to wear masks on the property, with the added step of denying ride photos to those who were not wearing them. The company recently briefly tested digitally adding masks in such cases.
When Disney World reopened in July, the company made it clear that masks would be required on the premises at all times except in designated areas. For those who did not want to wear a mask, Disney World asked them to “reschedule” their visit.
“Acceptable face coverings must be worn over your nose and mouth at all times except in designated areas. If you’re unable to do this, please reschedule your Walt Disney World visit to a later time,” the company said on its “Know Before You Go” landing page.
The mask mandate also applies to any rides, and Disney World was enforcing the rule by denying access to photos that are taken of guests on rides (think the classic roller coaster photos). Walt Disney World News Today confirmed at the time that guests who remove their face masks while on an attraction will have their on-ride photo pulled and deleted from the PhotoPass system.
In early December, Disney World started testing the practice of digitally adding masks to guests – that is to say, Photoshopping – who were not wearing them on rides. The choice was apparently designed to not punish guests whose masks had been moved as a result of the ride or not to deny access to photos of guests who were in a party with others who were not obeying the mask mandate.
— WDW News Today (@WDWNT) December 9, 2020
The digital application of masks takes longer to process than other photos taken at the same time, but the goal was to encourage compliance and eliminate the idea that it would be ok to remove masks on rides. The digital face mask enhancements were rolled out only to a select number of rides at the park, namely the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom and the DINOSAUR in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. At the time, it was expected this policy would roll out to other rides across the park.
However, The Walt Disney World will no longer be digitally adding masks to guests, and will likely be reverting to the previous policy of deleting images of those who are not in compliance. This, unfortunately, means that if guests are sharing a car on a ride with others who are not in compliance, they will once again also be denied images of their time.
“In response to guest requests, we tested modifying some ride photos,” the Walt Disney World said in a statement. “We are no longer doing this and continue to expect guests to wear face coverings except when actively eating or drinking while stationary.”
It is not clear why the company has decided to stop the process, but it appears that the experiment/test Walt Disney World was running is now over. Speculating, it’s possible that the results of the digital masks were unsatisfactory and mixed with the extended time it took to process the images, was not seen as a viable solution to the problem. In the most commonly shared image of the digitally added masks, the woman in the back of the roller coaster features a comically oversized mask that looks almost like clip art, which is likely not ideal.
Photo credits: Header photo by Tony Townsend on Facebook