The Role of PhotoPass:
PhotoPass usually gets 30-40 scheduled hours a week. You can pick up other PhotoPass shifts in other locations as long as you have the proper training. For example: if you aren’t finished with training (which can last a few months) then you cannot trade/pick up shifts because there is a chance that you will be put in a location that you are not trained for. Each park runs a little differently than others but are similar for the most part. Each park has different “deployments” meaning the way the park positions are divided into are different. For example: Hollywood Studios has three deployments - Characters, Icons, and Backlands while Magic Kingdom is divided into lands and geographical location - Main Street, North, East, West. You won’t be assigned a specific work area for your entire program but you will most likely only get one deployment per shift - unless they are short staffed and need to switch you to another deployment. There are certain positions that will require additional training or specialty training and are not always available. But the most common positions you will get trained for will be: The Viewstation, Icons, and Characters. The View(station) is where Guests can view their photos and order prints or other photo novelties. Icons are shooting people in front of your park’s icons, such as: the castle at Magic Kingdom, the sorcerer’s hat at Hollywood Studios, the “golf ball” at Epcot, and the tree of life at Animal Kingdom, as well as other icons like Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest, etc. Night shifts are also Icon shifts and you will be trained for that separately. Character shifts are - you guessed it - photographing the interaction between Guests and characters! You will also be trained for Magic Shots which is basically adding magic to your shots, which can be a snowflake or a character popping out of the page or even holding a character, etc. Some specialty training options could be: Rover (wandering the parks taking candid shots), Jedi Training, Spectacle of Dancing Lights, Frozen, talking Mickey, etc.
You won’t find out your location until you get to Disney (and don’t ask current Cast Members to look you up because you can both be termed for that). Don’t be bummed if you don’t end up where you want (or where you THINK you want). Every location has good things and bad things.
My experience with PhotoPass:
PhotoPass at Hollywood Studios is a dream come true! I absolutely LOVE it! I am so glad that I have this wonderful opportunity. The day I was accepted I couldn’t believe this was really (finally) happening. PhotoPass is one of the hardest positions to get, so if you get accepted - congrats! If not, you can try again! If you really want PhotoPass and/or want to work for the company in the long run, you have some options: you can do a program in the role you were accepted for originally and then do a second program another time and hopefully get placed in PhotoPass (which is what I did). If you do more than one program usually you get higher priority the second time around. You can also do your program in the role you were placed in and try to extend and get PhotoPass. You can also turn down your acceptance and wait and apply again and hope for PhotoPass. No matter what role you get, there are always Magical Moments to be had - sometimes even the Guests make Magical Moments for us Cast Members! Just have fun (while doing your job, of course)!
My Work Location:
During my phone interview I requested Hollywood Studios because it’s my favorite park! So when I got to check in and found out that I got my dream location I was even more excited for my program! I absolutely LOVE Hollywood Studios DPI (Disney’s Photo Imaging/another name for PhotoPass)…I love the park, I love my coworkers, I love my bosses/coordinators/leaders, we are the dream team! My second program has been more magical than my first (which I didn’t even think was possible)! I just cannot express how much I love my job and how magical it is to be working PhotoPass at Hollywood Studios!
When you first get to Disney you will move into your apartment and have a housing meeting either that day or the next day and you will also go to Casting where you get fingerprinted and find out about your work location and work documents. After that you will have all your basic Disney training (like Traditions) before you do your work-specific and on location training. Traditions is when you get to learn all about the company and history of Disney and you get to tour Magic Kingdom. Traditions is usually your fourth day and you can’t use your Maingate to get into the parks for free until after Traditions. Some people will start their work location/role training the next day and some will have a day off. Then you will have that training for a few days and then you will start training at your work location. There is nothing to worry about because they teach you everything you need to know!
Usually after your general training you will be trained for Icons and then you will work Icon shifts for a few weeks. Then you will be View and Night trained and you will work for a few weeks. Then you will finally get Character trained about a month+ later! And then you can finally trade/pick up shifts. Congrats! Go make some magic!