June 23, 2024, 6:16 PM ·

Let’s talk about on-ride photos. To be honest, I have not given a thought to on-ride photos since… well, I can’t remember when. On attractions where parks still operate on-ride photos, I try to end-run around the gaggle of people taking cell-phone shots of their photos so I can get out the exit path quickly and on to my next ride.

Even when Disneyland started offering free downloads of their on-ride photos, I still did not bother. But when I got an emailed reminder from Walt Disney World last week about my PhotoPass downloads from my recent Florida trip, I decided to take a look.Granted, this photo is a bit unusual, since I am recording an on-ride video here. Clearly, you can see my concern that some random turtle who just appeared in my flume log might now be blocking my shot. Fortunately, they stayed out the way, and the POV turned out fine.That said, does anyone prefer these overly-decorated photos to more traditional, realistic shots? I mean, as much as Disney has tried to remove all traces of “Song of the South” from what is now Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, it appears that they cannot resist continuing to place live people within animated scenes.I get what parks are thinking here. Characters and logos are branding that help fans remember just what thrill ride they were on and where when this photo was taken. Beyond that, you can’t get those characters in your shot by taking a cell phone selfie. All the extra decoration can help sell a souvenir that people literally cannot create on their own.But I also think that the focus on a great on-ride photo should remain on the people riding, not whatever extra stuff the park drops into image around them. To that end, however, the choice where to take an on-ride photo makes or breaks it. In my book, an on-ride photo should not snap at the most intense moment of the ride, but immediately after that.

The best on-ride photos capture us at either our best or our worst – or, ideally, both at the same time. On a flume ride such as Tiana’s, photos of people after the drop are almost always more fun than shots of them going down the hill. Pretty much everyone has the same expression on their faces during the drop, but it’s after the splash that you see a wider variety of reactions.The juxtaposition of those various reactions make for much more interesting photos. Who’s laughing? Crying? Angry? Defeated? The best post-soak shots should like a cast photo of “Inside Out 2.”Unfortunately, my Tiana’s shot just looks like some TV production assistant stressing out while watching a scene replay in video village. Oh, well. So let me throw this topic to you. Are you a fan of on-ride photos? What is your favorite on-ride photo, and what would you like to see theme parks such as Disney do with this opportunity?To keep up to date with more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider’s weekly newsletter. And to help support Theme Park Insider while saving money on discounted theme park tickets, please visit our international and U.S. attraction ticket partners.

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