Monday, July 12, 2010

Taking Pictures Is Making Memories

Great vacations and celebrations,
Can fade away in a year.
But when we're making memories,
Happy days are always here!

Disney’s PhotoPass – I feel a little guilty writing about it, as I’ve never actually purchased it myself.  But I finally decided that I could at least give you a quick rundown of it, as well as why I haven’t purchased it yet, and what changes Disney could make that would encourage me to do so.

What is Disney's PhotoPass?

It used to be Disney's photographers would take pictures of you in a park and give you a slip of paper to claim the photos at the end of the day. If you forgot or if you couldn't get the picture that day, you were out of luck. But now, that's all changed.  With the advantages of digital photography, Disney created a new system: the photographers still take pictures of your vacation, but now you can claim them any time, including online for 30 days after your trip is over. From there you can view your photos, order prints, and create photo keepsakes. Many guests say since PhotoPass has done away with the long lines to pick up their pictures, they had more photos taken.

How does PhotoPass Work?

As Disney likes to put it: Smile! View. Shop.

Smile!: PhotoPass Cast Members (no matter what park they are in) have a standard costume: blue shorts or pants, white shirt, khaki photographer's vest. Disney claims they are located throughout the parks, but I find they generally congregate near the park entrances, by a few signature attractions, and some character meet and greets. The photographers may ask you to do some fun poses. For example, the photographer will have you cup your hands or have you put them in the air like you're lifting something. When you view your photos, you'll see Tinkerbell, Figment, or Simba now added to your "magical photos”.
The first photographer will give you a plastic Disney's PhotoPass card with an ID number on the back. Hang onto that card and use it for the duration of your trip. Each time you see one of the roving photographers and want a photo taken, just go up and hand them your card - they'll get you situated, snap the pose, scan your card and off you go - and you can do this as often as you like. Don't worry if you end up with more than one card; your online PhotoPass account allows you to enter multiple cards.

View: You can view your pictures in two different ways:
1. In the parks: go to a Photo Center to view the pictures taken thus far.
2. At home: go to, register for free, and enter the I.D. number on your card.

Disney will break down your photos in different views: All of your photos, and then one category for each park. The number of photos that you have for each category is listed right next to its name.  You can also upload your own trip photos to take advantage of the PhotoPass system.

Shop: you can create prints, customized photobooks, T-shirts, mugs greeting cards, and more. For the best value on prints, get your PhotoPass photos on Disney's PhotoCD.
Be forewarned though; it’s not cheap.  The PhotoPass CD is $124.95 (occasional discounts available) and photo prints start at $12.95 for a 5”x7”.  Now you know why I haven’t purchased one yet.

I was really tempted to purchase it on our last trip.  My husband appeared in one of the American Idol Experience shows, and those photos can be added to your account as well.  But it’s just so stinking expensive. 

So what would induce me to take the plunge?  (Other than Disney drastically reducing the price, because we all know that’s not going to happen.)  If I were going on a once in a lifetime trip (i.e. those people who only go to Walt Disney World once in their lives, or perhaps going for the only time with extended family) I might be willing to splurge.  But there’s one thing Disney could easily do that would induce me to purchase the CD far more often: add the ride photos to your CD.  According to, Test Track at Epcot is the only ride on which you can add your photo to your Disney's PhotoPass card as you exit the attraction. Word has it that Space Mountain has recently been added as well, but that’s it.  I’m telling you right here, right now, that if Disney added the other rides where they take your photo onto this service, I’d buy the PhotoPass CD quite often, maybe even every trip.  But unless they do that, probably not.

How about you?  Are you a fan of the service?  If you’ve purchased it, what did you think?  I’d really love for you to let me know at!  

1 comment:

  1. The current list price has gone up to $149...YIKES!! You can preorder before you go for *only* $99 using this link Still expensive, but worth considering if you know you will be taking advantage of the parks' photogs!