I’m not sure why, but somehow I’ve always been confused about how the Disney PhotoPass Service and Memory Maker worked. On our last Thanksgiving trip, I did some research and decided to give Memory Maker a try and I’m so glad I did! If you’ve never given Memory Maker a try this might be interesting to you!
What is the difference between Disney PhotoPass Service (which I’ll call PhotoPass for the rest of this article) and Memory Maker? In all four of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, you’ll find Cast Members with fancy cameras and distinctive photographer’s vests. PhotoPass Service is having one of those photographers take a photo of you and your family. There is no cost for having the photos taken and you can visit as many of the PhotoPass Cast Members as you’d like to have the pictures taken. Without purchasing Memory Maker, each of those photos can be purchased individually at the parks or online in print form or as a digital download. Memory Maker allows you to pre-purchase the digital download of an unlimited number of your PhotoPass photos!
Where can I find PhotoPass Cast Members? PhotoPass Cast Members can be found in each of the theme parks, usually located around the popular photo opportunity areas. For example, they are always lined up along Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom to help Guests get an iconic family photo with Cinderella Castle in the background. Similarly, you can find them in Epcot right at the entrance set up for great shots with Spaceship Earth. Some of my favorite PhotoPass pictures have been taken by PhotoPass Cast Members who were just strolling through the parks looking for fun shots.Now that I’ve found a PhotoPass Cast Member, how do I get my picture taken and how do I get my picture linked to me? There is often a short line of other Guests waiting to get their picture taken, so take a glance around to make sure you don’t accidentally skip in front of another family. For photos with characters, there can be longer lines! If you see a PhotoPass Cast Member without any line, just go up and ask if they can take your picture! After having your picture(s) taken, let the Cast Member scan your MagicBand or ask for a free PhotoPass card which you can reuse for other photos and can link to your account to view your photos. Easy peasey.
What about ride photos? If you are wearing a MagicBand, your ride photos (and videos on some rides!) will automatically be uploaded to your account. Otherwise, you can use your park ticket at the ride exit (at the photo monitors) to link your photo to you. These photos are included in your Memory Maker photos!
How far in advance do I need to purchase Memory Maker? As of this writing, you can save $30 if you buy it at least three days in advance of the first time you use it. And as frequent visitors, we were excited to find out that it is valid for thirty days after the first time you use it! For us, that meant that two mini-trips we took in early December were also covered. The purchase price is non-refundable, so you should probably wait until a week or so before you leave to purchase so that you still get the discount! What is the benefit of purchasing Memory Maker instead of just buying my favorite photos individually? Because we go often for lots of short trips, we don’t buy Memory Maker unless we’re going for at least a full week. Right now, the advance purchase price is $169. An individual download is $14.95. So, if you think you’ll have more than eleven photos that you download, then the simple math says to go with the pre-purchased Memory Maker. However, I found that there is another reason to consider the Memory Maker. The trip that we had it, we went out of our way to seek out photo opportunities. Knowing we’d paid for the service made us extra aware of the PhotoPass photographers and gave us an incentive to take the few minutes to get those family pictures. Normally, our photos are just of our children, or at best of my husband and the kids. As the mom, I’m usually behind the camera and having Memory Maker got us some wonderful pictures of our whole family together!
Does the person who purchased Memory Maker have have their MagicBand scanned every time, or can other group members have their photos included even if the primary account holder isn’t there at the time? Memory Maker is good for everyone linked to your My Disney Experience account as Friends and Family who are set up to share photos with you. My mom and my husband went on a ride without the rest of us and their ride photo showed up in our account with no problems!
OK, I’ve had my photo taken, how do I see it and download it? If you have a MagicBand, your photo will automatically show up in your My Disney Experience account when you log in and click on PhotoPass. The pictures are sorted by each location (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, etc), so look for the tabs at the top of the page so you don’t miss any! If you have a PhotoPass card instead, you’ll need to link it to your account and then it will work the same way. You can select individual photos to download (or order prints or other merchandise) or if you have Memory Maker, you can download all eligible photos. You can even add borders and stickers to your PhotoPass photos or upload your own and apply the graphics!
Have more questions? The Disney Parks Moms Panel has a whole section on PhotoPass here. Check out their Q&As and definitely submit any other questions there to get a quick and expert answer!
I was a little hesitant to plunk down $169 for digital photos, but I’m so glad we did! All the pictures in this article were taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers and we ended up with even more that we love! Even if you’re not ready to take the plunge all the way, make sure to get a few pictures taken by the Disney PhotoPass Cast Members. I’ll bet you find that you can’t help buy buy a few!
I’m linking up with run.geek.run(Disney) again today. Check out the other fun Disney posts in the linkup, especially his about the exciting runDisney announcement!