Religious Orders

Good Idea Turned Into a Rip-Off

Posted: Wednesday April 01 2009 @ 4:42pm

Religious Order: Travel

Don't you hate it when someone has a great idea, then totally ruins it by charging way too damn much?

Here's Disney's idea: Let's give each guest a Disney PhotoPass card with a UPC code on it. And let's station staff members with high-end digicams around the park at nice picturesque locations. The staff can take photos of people, scan their PhotoPass card, and wirelessly transmit the photos to a centralized server. Guests can then log into an account and print out the photos or create books and other personalized products.

It's a genius idea! And then they screwed it all up by charging loony-toon prices!

Here's the pricing structure for prints:

Thirteen bucks for a 5x7 print? SnapFish charges just 79 cents. And a pair of 4x6 prints is just 18 cents.

And the pricing just gets worse from there. The only advantage Disney offers is the ability to add cartoon borders on the prints. That's it.

You can make a book online. It's only $74.95 for 20 pages. Holy crap! At that rate, the 432 page, sub-$200, Norway book we printed via Blurb would have cost nearly $800. And their book-builder has a measly 7 themes and only 3 photo layouts, each nearly identical.

Well, maybe it's better in the digital world? Let's see, how much to download a copy of one of the photos? Holy shit! It's $14.95 for a digital download! Per image!

Well, they do cut you a break if you get all your photos sent to you on a CD. For all 53 of the photos they took of us on a CD, it's a mere $129.95.

Now, I know Disney's response. They'll claim that the high prices are due to them providing professional photography services. But that's just bullshit. These folks were taking decent photos, but they're not gonna be doing it for a living outside of Disney any time soon. While most had tripods for night shots, not a single one used a remote shutter release. Composition was generally okay, but not creative and sometimes just plain bad. (Yeah, having Cinderella Castle jutting out of the top of my head is a great idea!)

The Disney staff would also take photos of you using your own digicam, which was very nice of them. (I would actually expect Disney to crack down on that in the future.) Of course, unless you're really an avid photog, your digicam isn't as good and won't produce as nice an image as the Disney-supplied ones.

Actually, that was another giveaway that these folks weren't pros. We saw more than one hold a guest's digicam in portrait mode by the bottom end only. That's not how you hold a camera. Either they were doing a crap job on purpose or they just didn't know any better.

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