Disney-MGM Studios Cover Story CMs, 19/20/22 June 2005
On June 19, 2005, my family and a family of friends arrived at Walt Disney World. We all started at the Magic Kingdom (as is our tradition), but then my nine-year-old son Anthony and I split off from the rest and headed over to the Star Wars weekend activities at the Studios.
We just made it in time to meet Darth Vader, which was my son’s one big goal; to have his picture taken with the Dark Lord.
After waiting the required amount of time, to allow the pictures to be loaded into the system, we checked in at the Cover Story shop.
The cast member scanned our PhotoPass card, but came up empty. All he could get was an error message that there were no files found. Hmmmm.
We went through the whole process of “where”, “with whom”, “what time”, etc., and still couldn’t find the pictures of Anthony and Vader. Lots of folks that we recognized as being in line ahead of us, but none of ours. In fact, there seemed to be quite a few missing, as suddenly the pictures of Vader became pictures of Mace Windu.
The first cast member (who’s name I DIDN’T catch, unfortunately), scanned through a HUGE list of pictures, looking for ours, to no avail.
“Perhaps they’ve just not been loaded yet,” we were told.
Knowing that we were going back to the Studios the very next day, I convinced my son that all would be well. We’d check back in on Monday, and the pictures would be there.
So that’s what we did. Unfortunately, we got the same results. No pictures at all. Now my son is REALLY getting upset (and dad, too), because we’d already had major plans for Friday (the first day of the NEXT Star Wars weekend), and weren’t sure we’d be able to retake the pictures.
Onto the scene comes John, the manager on duty. We went through the whole deal of where, when, with whom, what time, etc., all over again. John checked his book and found the photographer for that shift. The two of them looked at the pictures that WERE available, but found nothing. Even the photographer was at a loss for what could have become of that particular set of pictures that were missing. Finally John says “well, how about this…we’ve got some pictures of just the characters…you pick out the ones you like, and we’ll print you up some of them, on the mouse. Deal?” So Anthony picked out some of his favorite characters and got some really nice shots. John continued to tell us “IF you can change your plans, and come back to the park on Friday, be here AT THIS SHOP at 9:00 a.m. We’ll have a cast member take you back, take you to the FRONT of the Darth Vader line, take all the pictures you want, swap out the card on the camera, bring THAT up here to our shop, and you’ll have your pictures before you walk out!” We told him that sounded great, and may very well take him up on that offer.
We had to go on with the rest of our plans then. “Sure would be nice if we had those Darth Vader pictures,” Anthony kept saying. I kept trying to tell him that there’d be time to take more, but he was so bummed, not even sure if he wanted to go through the process again "They'll probably just lose those pictures too."
Fast forward to Wednesday of our week-long stay. We’re back at the Studios for dinner at the Sci-Fi, and while we’re waiting, I decided to check one last time. I walked in, and there were two cast members working again that I’d worked with earlier in the week. They asked if we’d had any luck, and I told them that’s what I was there to check on.
Barry heard my story from Lauren when I was the “next guest”. He said “here…let me check”, took my PhotoPass and held it to his head. “I have magical powers,” he said, “the pictures will be there now.”
Sure enough. There they were. They scanned the card and up popped the two shots of Anthony and Darth Vader.
Now, another cast member who had helped earlier, Thomas, stepped over to our station. Thomas told me that he and John started a personal search to find the missing pictures, and after wading through numerous cards, DID find a card that hadn’t been loaded into the system. They were pretty sure they’d found the ones we were looking for, because they recognized the description of the clothes Anthony was wearing in the pictures. They said they were glad I’d come back in, because they had no idea how to let me know, since I didn’t leave my name or resort information with them.
Needless to say, I bought some pictures. I thanked them all profusely, and told them that they’d made one little boy AND his dad BOTH very happy! Thomas even offered MORE character photos to us, but I told him that John was nice enough to give Anthony his pick earlier, and we didn't want to be greedy. After all, the missing pictures DID turn up! (and they'd already given me a break on the Vader pictures that I bought, since I had to keep coming back...and yeah, I know, I could have checked on-line after our trip, but still....)
To John, Thomas, Lauren, Barry, and all the other great cast members (who’s names I didn’t get or didn’t think to write down) that work the Cover Story, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
You folks really are the magic BEHIND the magic!