Disney Cruise Line Photopass

Why isn’t Disney Cruise Line using Photopass?

Photopass is Disney’s digital photo service that allows you to preview and purchase photos right from your “My Disney Experience” account. If you are using one of the Disney Parks apps I’ve spoken so fondly about, your “My Disney Experience” account is linked right to the app, and you can see all of your photos from attractions you’ve ridden or from Disney photographers. The photos are available for 45 days (60 if you purchase an extension) after your visit. If you are a Premier Passport, Platinum Plus, Platinum, or Gold Passholder, you get to keep all of your digital photos for no additional cost.

Disney Cruise Line uses a different photo system, however. There are plenty of photo opps on board the ship, and you can stop by Shutters photo service on Deck 4 to preview your images – your actual hard copy images.

I would have to conduct some additional marketing research, but I’m inclined to believe that seeing a hard copy print would not encourage someone to purchase a photo more so than a digital version of it. I’d also like to know how many of these photos get thrown away after the voyage.

Here’s my take – the photos are so expensive that I’ve only ever purchased one photo from the four voyages I’ve done (this photo was extra special to me because it was during my honeymoon).


Here it is. The only photo I’ve ever purchased from DCL.

But I can’t use my own experience to judge – I don’t think I’m Disney’s target market for DCL photos. I’m not that photogenic and I’ve got no children.

Even so, in my very sad days following each voyage, I often wish I could take a second look at some of the photos that were taken. Sure, I’ve got my own digital photos on my iPhone, but the professionals do have a way of capturing certain moments I missed. If these photos were part of Photopass and I could view them online via my “My Disney Experience” account, I might just feel nostalgic enough to pay for a few photos.

But – since they aren’t – no photo sale is made. By adding DCL photos to Photopass, Disney could help the environment by printing less AND helping their bottom line with more photo sales.


Star Wars Camp

If you hadn’t noticed, I kind of love Star Wars.


Who doesn’t, really?

I’ve got Star Wars on the brain when I visit Disney Springs. I loved Star Wars Day at Sea aboard Disney Cruise Line. I want to put myself in one of the movies.

So I get totally jazzed when I think of the possibility of a fully immersive Star Wars experience at either Disney World or Disneyland.

My vision for this would be like a weekend “camp” for Star Wars fans of all ages, inclusive of experiential learning, arts and crafts, and outdoor activities.

Your full camp experience would depend on whether you choose the “Light Side” or the “Dark Side,” but everyone would walk out with the following knowledge:

  • how to have a (safe) lightsaber battle,
  • how to make a costume of your choice (Stormtrooper? Jedi? Sith Lord?); and
  • how to keep your enthusiasm alive after leaving your Disney camp. (There are two charitable groups I’m thinking of specifically that would benefit from recruiting attendees at such a camp – the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion).

Attendees would, of course, stay at Disney resort hotels for the weekend and bring their entire families. Disney could generate additional revenue (besides the camp fee itself) from dining, park tickets, and merchandise sales.

And if Disney needs a master marketer to plan and “sell” this Star Wars Camp to the world, I know someone who is available. (It’s me.)

Disney Princess WannaBe

Found on the Disney Cruise ships and at the Parks, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique salon will transform your cherub into a fairy-tale princess or dashing young knight for a not-so-small fee. But think of the photos!

I have two complaints with the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (henceforth referred to as “BBB” to avoid having to spell-check each time I write it out):

  1. It’s for kids only (except on Pirate Night on DCL, adults can be transformed into scurvy buccaneers)
  2. I see one princess conspicuously absent from their menu


Who doesn’t want Leia buns?

Maybe the Leia-look doesn’t need to be added to every BBB menu, but it would certainly enhance one’s experience for Star Wars Day at Sea aboard the Disney Fantasy.

Not that Star Wars Day at Sea needs much enhancing, mind you. I wish every day of my life could be Star Wars Day at Sea. (Want to know what goes on? Read this account on Nerdist.com).

So many unique hairstyles came out of the Star Wars franchise.



And that’s just Leia… Padme and Rey should be added to the BBB menu too!

Disney would really make one feel as though they have jumped to hyperspace if they could do these hairstyles for people of all ages. I imagine they would have to keep hair extensions of every possible hair color available, though.

I think BBB is pretty popular as it stands today, so Disney would have to staff up to add this offering. Or price it appropriately – I’m sure demand would be very high for this service.


Post-Postgraduate Externships

One of my greatest regrets in life is not completing the Disney College Program when I was an undergraduate student at Penn State. Disney came to my alma mater twice each year to recruit for the program, but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I was between the ages of 18-21. I didn’t have the “calling” to Disney that I’ve experienced within the last ten years of my professional life.  And over these past few years, I have heard that getting a full-time job with the Walt Disney Company is impossible unless you are a graduate of the Disney College Program (DCP), had an internship, or worked part-time in the parks.

I had a chance today to speak with a former Disney cast member who confirmed what I had heard.


I get it, Disney. You are doing a smart thing by hiring from within, minimizing your risk by first seeing what someone is capable of in a temporary capacity before offering them a full-time job. But don’t you think it’s possible you are narrowing your talent pool for open jobs a little too much?

I wish I was in a position to leave my full-time professional marketing career to either take a part-time job with Disney or go back to school (even though I already have a master’s degree) in the hopes of landing an internship, but it’s just not feasible at this stage of my life. Perhaps Disney and I (and others like me who don’t have that DCP experience) can meet in the middle on this.

I suggest Disney create a part-time externship program for professionals who are mid-career. The externship program would take place on weekends (a busy time in the parks, for sure) for a period of 8 to 12 weeks, and could be marketed as either an experiential learning opportunity for professionals who want to take back some Disney “magic” to their current employers (an alternative experience to the Disney Institute) OR a chance for a professional to add some internal experience to their resume to get their foot in the door for a full-time role with Disney.

I’d be willing to volunteer my time for this. Yes, I’ll do it for free. I’m sure I’m not alone here.

OR Disney can hire me full-time to create, market, and execute this program. My background in both marketing and higher education certainly makes me qualified to do this – I just need to see what’s going on behind the curtain at Disney to understand the magic first, and if that means selling giant turkey legs in Frontierland for my first two weeks on the job, I’m in!

Star Wars Midship Detective Agency

If you have been aboard the Disney Dream or the Disney Fantasy, you may be familiar with the Midship Detective Agency. For those who haven’t sailed with Disney, MDA is a fun, interactive mystery-solving game that sends you racing around the ship looking for clues within Disney’s “enchanted” artwork. I understand there is a similar experience called “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom” at Disney Parks, but I have yet to play. Something to do on my next jaunt over to Orlando.

For those unfamiliar with MDA, this video from YouTube shows an example of one stop you might make while trying to solve “The Case of the Plundered Paintings”:

There are two additional mysteries to choose from – “The Case of the Missing Puppies” featuring 101 Dalmatians and “The Case of the Stolen Show” featuring the Muppets. For each mystery, there are multiple possible endings, so you can play more than once and get a different experience each time!

But since I first sailed with Disney in 2012, they haven’t changed the mysteries at all. So I think it’s about time they added a new case – featuring the Star Wars droids. It would certainly fit in with the recent introduction of “Star Wars Day at Sea,” and would give rabid fans like me extra incentive to book a Disney Cruise.

Need somebody to write the case story, Disney? Give me a holler.

The Good Stuff

I’ve gushed on and on about Disney Cruise Line. I’m not on the payroll (although clearly, I want to be), so you know when I say that it really is the best vacation anybody could want, I’m speaking from the heart. Just when you think Disney can’t possibly make it better, they find a way.

They even improve the details where they can. For example, every night your stateroom host will turn down your bed and leave a piece of chocolate for you. Nice, right? But this time, I noticed the stateroom host was leaving Ghiradelli chocolate each night. The chocolate I had on previous voyages was a generic brand and it was just fine, but they went and improved it anyway.

Since Disney seems to be friendly with Ghiradelli, I’d like to suggest another area they can bring Ghiradelli into the “mix”: hot chocolate.

I would not have noticed what kind of hot chocolate Disney serves except my husband happens to be among the rare few who does not drink coffee.  So if he’s looking for a warm beverage to start his day with, he will occasionally turn to hot chocolate. It’s a rare indulgence for him, whereas I feel that my daily coffee should just be hooked up to an IV drip for me.

When we happen to have a stateroom with a balcony, we like to sometimes order room service coffee to arrive very early in the morning so that we can drink our beverages while watching the sun rise. The coffee service for me is quite perfect, but the hot chocolate service for my husband is a little bit “meh”:



If you order room service hot cocoa, DCL brings you packets of Nestle and a carafe of hot water.

I know this is going to sound like #firstworldproblems for a moment. Nestle hot cocoa is … well, it’s not terrible, but it just doesn’t really measure up to the first class experience we have during other parts of the voyage.

My expectation would be that DCL be able to prepare hot chocolate made with real milk, or maybe one of those hot chocolate machines you would see at a convenience store that can make a pre-mixed cocoa. Even if DCL must continue to provide packets of hot cocoa and hot water, then why not provide the Ghiradelli brand? They have a decent hot cocoa mix.

So today’s idea definitely doesn’t generate any revenue for the Mouse. Sorry about that, Disney. But I do think it will provide an enhanced guest experience for future cruisers who love hot chocolate. My husband would certainly thank you.


Walt Disney World Gondola

There have been rumors going around that Walt Disney World is building a cable car system as a new park-to-park transportation option. Before we dive into that a little bit more, let’s explore Walt Disney World’s other transportation options, in order from my least to most favorite:

  1. Buses are widely available, but certainly not the most convenient option. If you’re on a tight schedule, you might find yourself wasting too much valuable park time waiting for a bus, waiting in traffic, and waiting at traffic lights.
  2. Running from park to park is fun, but that’s only a good option if you’re signed up for a runDisney race; and in that case, you’re not going to be able to stay too long at any one park.
  3. If you happen to be driving your own car (as my husband and I do, since we live a little over an hour away), you can just drive yourself from park to park. There’s no waiting for buses with this option, and you get bonus steps on your pedometer for walking across multiple parking lots in one day. However, most guests to WDW resort are probably not driving their own car.
  4. We all know and love the monorail, but it only brings you to Epcot or the Magic Kingdom. Adding more tracks would probably be expensive and could have disastrous consequences a la the best episode of the Simpsons ever:

So a gondola system is an excellent way for Disney to help people park-hop (and encourage purchases of those upgraded park hopper passes). However, my husband and I were discussing this and wondering how a gondola would work for guests using a wheelchair.

If you haven’t used a gondola or cable car before, then you might not be aware that these things typically don’t stop. They slow down as they approach the guest pick-up area, but they are continuously in motion. Once the chair leaves the guest pick-up area, it speeds up to get guests to their destination.

It could very well be that Disney is planning to stop the cable car each time a disabled guest needs to board; however, the wheelchair count tends to be pretty high and this could slow down the cable car system tremendously.

The only thing my husband and I could think of to solve this problem would be to have a way to re-route a cable car to a standby disabled passenger area, where it could stop and allow the passengers to board safely, while the rest of the line continued to operate normally. When an opening presented itself, the re-routed car carrying disabled passengers could be moved back to the main operating line.

There are probably engineers who already know and have a solution to this in mind, but I’m just throwing this out there in the very minor chance it has been overlooked. Or maybe there isn’t a planned gondola system after all, as it is still only speculation at this point.