About the Column

Admit it. You do it a lot. You ask yourself: Why Did Disney DO That?!? Maybe you ask others, too. Maybe you gather in groups, gnaw on turkey legs, and ponder what Disney does. But any such gab sessions inevitably lead to confusion and perhaps frustration. Because none of us have the answers. Disney has the answers, but it's not telling. The Mouse justifies its actions either with "it's part of our business plan" or the even more nebulous "it's part of Walt's vision". You deserve better. In his column, Lee Beatens will uncover the truth. Or at least deliver some entertaining rants.

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FROM: Why Did Disney DO That?!? Published As Necessary

Pirates of the PhotoPass

Most folks are aware of software piracy, music piracy, all kinds of on-line piracy, but PhotoPass piracy? As Lee Beatens will tell you, it's true. The high cost of Disney's PhotoPass program prompts many to mutter not just "ugh!" but "argh"!

So you've been at The Happiest Place on Earth for 5 full days and 4 fun-filled nights. You've visited every Park and eaten at all of your favorite restaurants. As you pack to leave, you're finding it hard to fit all of those souvenirs into your suitcase.

Yes, it's another successful Disney vacation!

But wait! Did you save enough cash for your Disney's PhotoPass PhotoCD? Nope!

The Crazy High Cost of PhotoPass

For five years, I prowled around the Parks looking for those crowded Meet-and-Greets with the Disney Characters, and then posed away a small part of my vacation. Sometimes, I would manage only 10 or 20 good shots. Other times, over 75.

Some of my friends have managed to rack up an impressive 200 or 300 shots! One wonders how they had any time for fun.

Now, we all know the drill:

When you get home, log on to the Disney's PhotoPass site and enter your card number to see your pictures which you can modify by cropping or by adding borders. Once done, you click on the PhotoCD option, and you will soon be... $149.95 poorer!


Would it surprise you to learn that one of the most popular searches on the Internet these days is 'how to steal Disney PhotoPass pictures'? I kid you not.

Now from this, a reasonable person would conclude that maybe, just maybe, the price is a little high. Which, although no excuse for theft, is definitely a head's up for Disney. The message being: Lower your price!

But we're not all reasonable persons, are we? Case in point...

The Law Comes Lookin' for Lee

I have a blog called Disleelandia. And I cover things like Disney's PhotoPass program. Recently, I was surprised to find a comment awaiting moderation for one of my older posts about this program (posted on August 21, 2010). In that post, I had included some low-resolution screen captures of average PhotoPass pictures that anyone might get if they ordered the PhotoCD.

Now, here's where it gets fun!

The comment was left by Mr. Anonymous. He claimed to be a PhotoPass photographer who just happened to come across my blog (in fact, he was searching for PhotoPass violations). So, because I had included screen captures, he proceeded to call me a thief, claiming that I was putting his job in danger and that when his family was homeless, he would come find me and demand I help him.

Holy Over-reaction Batman!

In my defense, I review quite a lot of Disney programs on my Blog. I always include pictures of the thing being reviewed, as does any other reviewer. As an example, just think of the last Disney movie review you read. Was it accompanied by screen captures of the movie? Yup. Theft? Nope.

I just don't think including promotional stills qualifies as criminal behavior, however obtained! Especially if it gives free promotional consideration to the Studio in question.

Mr. Anonymous missed the main problem. It's not my inclusion of screen captures in one post on one blog that is endangering his livelihood. The reason his job may be in danger is because Disney is gouging the public. And we know it. And that's we often pass on the PhotoCD.

So to both I say: THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH!

Lee Puts Forth a Reasonable Plea

Think Disney doesn't know this? Then why have they offered a lower price if you order the PhotoCD before you even arrive at the Parks? And they've added what they call Bonus Content, which is a series of 'free' shots of Disney characters included with your purchase. This new promotion is aimed at getting your vacation cash earlier, and before you spend it elsewhere. But this still leaves the price for a PhotoCD at upwards of $100.00.

Here is my solution:

Offer a reduced package for a set number of shots. I would suggest $49.99 for 50 shots. A buck a shot. Still higher than the 19 cents a shot charged by WalMart to process your own shots, but for that extra magical element, I'd pay the increase.

I can't help but believe that Disney would thusly sell many more PhotoCDs to appreciative guests who would return year after year to buy yet more PhotoCDs.

This equals a win-win situation for all involved: Disney gets money. Disney's PhotoPass Photographer's, including Mr. Anonymous, get job security. And we get great shots.

But as usual, Disney misses the point and the opportunity...

Why does Disney DO that?!?


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