Disney World has found itself in the middle of a minor, but bizarre, controversy, after it began photoshopping digital masks on attendees photographed sans mask.
California’s Disneyland remains closed, but the Florida parks have been open again since July, supposedly imposing strict mask requirements and temperature checks for attendees. One effect of these rules is that park-goers caught without their masks on in the coveted end-of-ride photos that are automatically snapped off on all the major rides were not allowed to purchase their photos.
According to The Washington Post, some patrons were complaining that their masks simply shifted on the ride, and didn’t feel they should be penalized for that.
So Disney came up with a workaround: they would photoshop masks onto the faces of people whose masks “slipped off” or were being worn improperly, and the customers would be allowed to purchase the altered photos.
The parks have been attracting scrutiny ever since reopening this summer, with hardcore Disney-goers sharing tips and tricks regarding how to get past the temperature checks if you actually are sick, and footage of people walking around the parks talking about how ill they are going viral. Most attendees in photos over the last few months have been masked, but not all.
With all the anti-maskers in the United States, and in Disney World, as well, it stands to reason that people would wonder whether some folks were taking their masks off on the rides on purpose, either to experience them maskless or to get a maskless photo to take home as a souvenir.
It’s unclear if this concern had anything to do with Disney World’s recent decision to stop digitally altering photos to include masks, but a statement released after backlash regarding the practice hit the Disney blogs reinforces the parks’ mask requirements.
“In response to guest requests, we tested modifying some ride photos,” it read. “We are no longer doing this and continue to expect guests to wear face coverings except when actively eating or drinking while stationary.”
2020 truly continues to be the strangest year of this lifetime.