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You know it costs too much. You know you'd never buy it if you weren't at Disney. But that's the power of MouseMerch: the racks and shelves and bins and boxes full of Disney merchandise that your kids must have - and, let's not be coy about it, you must have, too. Don't worry. You're among friends. But how to separate the most magical merchandise from the most mundane? That's easy, and it's free! Read Chris Taylor's weekly column, MouseMerch, and then impress your friends with your fantastic finds.

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FROM: MouseMerch Published Thursdays

Disney Ride Photos

A source of easy revenue for Disney is ride photos. But, as Chris Taylor writes, the right picture of the right pose, preferably with few strangers stuck in the shot, can make a fantastic souvenir.

Convincing my daughter to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios was a chore. She loves roller coasters, but hates the dark. "What's it going to do?", she asked. It drops, I tell her. Fast. You'll love it.

And she did. Twice.

But what she loved more was the after-ride photo. My bride and I have purchased these in past visits to the Disney Parks, and we really like them. But my little girl - wow! Boy, did she laugh. "Look at your face, daddy!!!"

Ride Photos for the Lewd at Heart

You can get ride photos after disembarking Space Mountain, Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, Test Track, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and Aerosmith's Rock n' Roller Coaster, among others. In fact, Disney has offered guests a souvenir photo taken at the pinnacle of an attraction for years, most notabley Splash Mountain, which became a forum for, let's say, not-safe-for-family photos of couples.

There was even a case of someone actually caught groping another guest in a ride photo taken on Disneyland's Tower of Terror.

click an image to expand and read notes:


Ride Photo: Dinosaur


Ride Photo: Expedition Everest

The Proposal Shot

This didn't last long, as Disney tasked a team of Cast Members to monitor ride photos for lewd poses. However, according to TV station KTLA in Los Angeles, Disney stopped monitoring ride photos in 2009, explaining that "Actual inappropriate behavior by guests is rare."

Ride Photos, Ride by Ride

Disney does it right by putting the photos directly in front of the ride exits. You jump off and beat a path with 15 or so screaming and laughing teenagers to see how you looked going over the edge. You really can't miss it. I imagine that purchases based on ridership is in the single-digit percentages, but at $15-$20 a pop, it adds up.

A search online shows that more than a few people have even come up with clever ways of working the photo to their advantage, including someone proposing to his girlfriend who was in the front of the car, with seemingly no idea what was going on behind her.

The only ride photo that doesn't really work for me is Space Mountain. They do it at the beginning instead of the end, with the camera on the right as you're headed into a left-banking curve.

During one of our recent trips, a Cast Member told us exactly where the camera was located and how to get a better ride picture the next time we rode Space Mountain. We didn't have time to ride it again, but my instinct tells me that Disney may be moving that camera in the near future.

Test Track allows you to put your photo on your Disney PhotoPass card, though the last time I tried, I got the wrong photo, but it was my own fault for waiting too long. I wish they all did that, even if it required a kiosk where you could scan your card and input your photo number from the screen.

One of the coolest uses of your face is on Spaceship Earth. Your photo is taken and inserted into a video at the end of the ride, then you can email it to yourself. For free!

The photo we bought during our last trip was from Splash Mountain, and what my daughter and I discovered was my wife holding up bunny ears as went over the top. But what makes the photo is the man and his daughter behind us. She's screaming her head off, and he looks like he's in a 401-K planning meeting. They didn't buy a copy of the picture.

Smile, You're on a Souvenir!

I think ride photos are fantastic souvenirs that you'll enjoy for years. I mean, who doesn't like a good photo of themselves scared to death? I had every intention of using a ride photo as our Christmas card this year, but we could never find one that worked. However, our framed Splash Mountain pic is in the living room, and every time I see it, I smile.


Stuff Not to Skip

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