I set out to visit Hollywood Studios to have a beer with a buddy from the forum and enjoy a ride on Tower of Terror this afternoon. Wait. That doesn’t sound very good. Let’s try that again.
Your humble narrator selflessly ventured into the unbearable Florida heat to check on the new PhotoDownload system at Tower of Terror.
That sounds better, right?
It was reported a couple of days ago that Tower of Terror would offer a “PhotoDownload” service similar to what is currently available at Space Mountain. At Space Mountain, riders have the opportunity to purchase the on-ride photo separately as a digital download, as an image printed at the attraction, or a combination of both. The digital image can also be placed on a Disney-branded USB thumb drive.
There has been a lot of misinformation on the “new” PhotoDownload service, including several reports that on-ride photos would be included with the regular PhotoPass CD that can be preordered for $99 or purchased on-site for $149. That isn’t the case. With the exception of Test Track (currently), the on-ride photo is an additional charge. It can’t be added to the PhotoPass “for free.”
Let’s have a look at how PhotoDownload actually works.
Here are the PhotoDownload options. For $14.95, Disney will upload the on-ride picture to your computer, mobile device, etc. and basically let you do whatever you want with it. You can put it on Facebook, print it 1,000 times, email it to friends, or whatever else. For $18.95, you receive the same digital download and Disney will print an 8 x 10 for you on the spot at the Tower of Terror photo counter. $18.95 is the same price as it would have cost for an 8 x 10 print before PhotoDownload was offered. In other words, if you purchase the 8 x 10 photo, you get the PhotoDownload for free. That’s not so bad right?
Here’s the license agreement that comes with the PhotoDownload.
Your humble narrator is in the middle row on the far left. I have no idea why these people are laughing. At least the guys in the back row got the memo on the polo shirt thing. I think in my last post I said I have Snow White hands, so I guess I have a very small head too. That guy in the front left must be taking one for the team. Props for that.
Before PhotoDownload, you would have no way to distribute this image to your friends. You would pay the printing price at the desk, have a single print (or a couple if you want to pay more), and that would be that. Now, you can pay the download price and have full rights to print as many photos as you want. For the same price as an 8 x 10 print, you get the print and the same PhotoDownload . I’m not saying this is your Christmas card photo. I’m just saying you could all put on Santa hats and it would be perfect. I’m not saying you should propose to your future wife on the third drop. I’m just saying it would be a memorable photo. There are almost limitless opportunities for great photos on the Tower of Terror. I’m just saying.
The PhotoDownload can be added to your regular PhotoPass account or you can purchase the PhotoDownload separately. Let’s have a look at the process.
Here we are at www.PhotoPass.com. It doesn’t load well in FireFox, so we’re in Internet Explorer here.
I didn’t have an account, so I registered one by clicking the “Register Now” button above. It asked for my name, address, email, phone number, and the PhotoPass number on the back of the card I received when I purchased the PhotoDownload.
In the “My Downloads” section at the bottom left of the screen, you’ll see that I can download the image. This is the “PhotoDownload.” It comes in a .zip file, which may be confusing to some users. Luckily, current versions of Windows should be able to extract the image without incident. In this case, it extracts the image I purchased along with the licensing agreement above in a separate image file.
Now, this transaction wasn’t without problems. I could barely understand the first cast member that was helping me. She disappeared. The next cast member professed that she didn’t know how to process PhotoDownloads, but when asked a second time, knew how to do them. I was assured that although the photo I had printed would be zoomed in on me (as you see above), that the photo available for download would be of the full elevator. As you can see, no full elevator download is available. I emailed support and we’ll see if they come up with the appropriate image.
I’ll save the “photo pricing debate” for another post. For now, it is what it is.