Getting photos with your favorite characters is a time-honored Disney Parks tradition. Who doesn’t love to see their favorite character and give them a hug before posing with a picture together? With so many characters to see, you can easily spend a whole day just meeting characters in Disney Parks. From Mickey to Winnie the Pooh (and sometimes even rare appearances by obscure characters), you’ve always been able to find your favorites.
Recently though, Disney has created a new offering that gave us immediate red flags. Disney is searching for ways to cut costs as Park revenue falls, but could they be considering cutting character meet and greets? We hope not, but the all-new Character Clicks seems like it could be a test run for a virtual (i.e. cheaper) replacement.
According to Disney, Character Clicks is a “fun and complimentary new digital Disney PhotoPass experience available for a limited time in the lobbies of Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort.” They went on to explain that you can now “virtually pose with digital likenesses” of Mickey Mouse and friends.
Disney recently shared a video to illustrate how it works, and it looks very simple. You approach a Character Clicks kiosk (currently, there are only two: one in the lobby of Disney’s All-Star Movies and one in the lobby of Disney’s All-Star Sports Resorts). You scan either your MagicBand or your Magic Mobile Pass, and you’ll see a collection of characters to choose from. The video makes it look like you can select more than one character at a time, but Disney’s announcement wasn’t clear on that. Once you select your character, they’ll appear on screen, and you can step into the frame and pose however you like. A photo is taken, photo booth style, and it’s loaded into your My Disney Experience account automatically.
While Disney is stating that this is a temporary offering, we expect it will be around long-term since dedicated kiosks were purposefully built and likely not cheap. We also can’t help but wonder if this is a trial run to a new standard for character photos. Disney has dabbled with attempting to make character meet-and-greets cheaper in the past. In 2019, they tried to replace photographers with an automated camera. Fans were furious, and the photo boxes quickly went away.
Knowing that it’s not hard to imagine that Disney may not have let go of the automated photo idea completely and are simply trying again. It’s possible that they are only installing two of these new kiosks in order to judge fan reactions before adding more. We hope that isn’t the case. Character Clicks seem like a fun new addition, but the keyword there is addition. As a replacement, it would be terrible, but it’s cute as a stand-alone offering.