Disney World will reportedly stop “enhancing” on-ride photos by pasting digital face masks onto maskless park guests. And no, you aren’t reading the Onion. It’s 2020, baby, where reality is so much of a joke at this point that headlines and punchlines are literally synonymous.
It was already dystopian enough that Disney World decided to reopen its doors amid a raging pandemic and creepily frame it as welcoming park guests “home.” But in its determination to preserve its meticulously plastered “everything is fine” façade, the House of Mouse apparently went so far as to photoshop face masks, which park guests are required to wear at all times as part of covid-19 protocols, onto attendees who are uncovered in on-ride photos.
As first reported by WDW News Today, earlier this week Disney World guests spotted these digital mask enhancements being applied to ride photos for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom and Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom. As you can see in the outlet’s video below, the face masks on the riders in the back row appear oversized, as if pasted on digitally. Guests also reported having to wait longer for their pictures, as pasting in digital masks ostensibly lengthened the photo’s processing times.
However, Disney now says it’s putting a stop to the practice and clarified that these “enhancements” were part of a test run.
“In response to guest requests, we tested modifying some ride photos,” the company said in a statement to WDW News Today on Saturday. “We are no longer doing this and continue to expect guests to wear face coverings except when actively eating or drinking while stationary.”
It remains unclear whether any of Disney’s other parks tested out these “enhancements” (Disney did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment) or how Disney World plans to enforce mask-wearing on rides moving forward. Though the company didn’t elaborate on why it started testing digital edits to begin with, it’s likely an appeal to positively influence the behaviour of other guests, with the thinking being that if you see everyone else wearing a face mask and complying with covid-19 health and safety regulations, you’re less likely to single yourself out as a Karen by making a stink about it.
Of course, if Disney truly put the health and safety of its guests firsts, then it wouldn’t be encouraging them to marinate in a human petri dish of germs beneath the Florida sun at its theme park. Disney World reopened back in July, blatantly ignoring the state’s covid-19 case spikes at the time and since, with a bevy of additional health precautions to minimise the spread of the virus. These measures include occupancy limits, face mask mandates for staff and guests, and temperature screenings, among others.
Florida has reported roughly 20,000 coronavirus deaths to date and has gained more than 10,000 new cases per day for the last three days straight. Thankfully, there’s hope for relief soon as the Food and Drug Administration recently granted emergency use authorisation for the nation’s first covid-19 vaccine on Friday.