When we recently packed up and headed out to Disney for a week or so, we were on the fence about purchasing the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker package. The idea is simple really, it’s an all you can eat buffet of downloaded photo goodness! Ok so that’s a bit dramatic, but while you in the parks, there are plenty of photographers who will gladly snap photos of you and your family then they scan your magic band or or ticket. When you get home you can download the photos or order prints. While there is no cost for them to snap the photos, the cost can rack up really quickly when you go to order a few prints.
So there is an all you can digitally eat option? That’s right, that’s the core concept of the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker. You can download all the photos taken and then have them printed elsewhere like Shutterfly, or even your local Walgreens. The downloads are very high quality photos and are rather large file size wise. There are a few restrictions on the licensing of the photos. This shouldn’t be a big deal for home users, but you can’t resell the photos. For example, if your son is wearing a Nike shirt while hugging Mickey, Nike can’t use the photo. You can however have them printed at local photoshops without issue. There is no watermark or restrictions that would even indicate that the Disney Memory Maker Photo Pass pictures are even commercial shots.
So lets get down to the nitty-gritty here. There are essentially three pricing options that you need to think about when considering the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker Package. It’s up to you to see if it’s worth it or not. If you purchase the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker package in advance it’s $169. It must be purchased three days prior to when you want to use it. If you want the same package, but don’t want to wait, it will cost you $199. You’re pretty much paying a $30 convenience charge because you didn’t do your homework. The third option is done on a per download basis for $14.95 per image, with no advanced purchase necessary. So determining if it worth it really depends on your family and how many pictures you want to take. The break even point for the discounted plan is about 12 photos, and 14 for the more expensive Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker package.
The way that the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker works, is that all of your photos are available for 45 days online via the Photo pass website. The Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker Package however only kicks in when you go to download your first photo. It’s also good for 30 days. Since we knew that we would be heading back to visit Mickey and his friends with our annual passes, we waited until our photos were about to expire before downloading them. We then had 30 days from the date of our first download. We were able to stretch the window out with some careful planning to about 70 days worth of pictures..
We were at Disney World for a week and we knew since our little ones were still very young, that my oldest would get a kick out of meeting Mickey and the gang for the first time. We approached it almost as if we were waiting in line for a ride. In addition there were many scenic opportunities where we could snap family photos all over the place. You just wait a moment or two until the person in front of you is done, snap the photo and BAM, the photographer scans your magic band. We knew we would have quite a few one in s lifetime type of pictures and we thought that we would certainly have more than 12 photos we would want to keep so we went for it. The photographers also have some free options called “Magic Shots” which can superimpose characters directly in the photos with you with is pretty cool. We had one where Tink looked like she landed in my wife’s hand! Via the Photo pass website you can also do some basic image editing, and add signatures of the characters and date stamps. It makes for a truly unique photo opportunity.
Now I know what you’re thinking.. How is this frugal? Well you don’t need to feel compelled to actually purchase the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker Package in order to get some great shots. Some folks don’t realize this, but if you wait your turn just like everyone else, the Disney photographers will actually snap pictures for you with your own camera or phone for FREE! They will still take some pro shots of you if you would like, but you’re not under any obligation. I wouldn’t expect them to turn out quite the same quality, but they generally do a fairly good job with your equipment.
While we were happy with our purchase there were a few disappointing points. We did take a morning and dines at the Crystal Palace where the boys were able to meet Winnie the Pooh and friends. Unfortunately there are no Disney photographers at the character dining. You’re welcome to take your own photos though. Because we purchased the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker package, we didn’t bring our camera to the parks. Luckily we had our phones which did a good enough job. I’m not sure the rhyme or reason, but there were also quite a few stock photos that managed to make it to our online photo albums. They are nice if you’re doing a scrap-book or something, but we managed to have quite a few duplicates. It took awhile to weed them all out when we did our download. Since the website and download process seems very slow to me, the stock photos just seemed to get in the way and add extra time to the overall prices.
A positive though is that any of the rides that take photos like Expedition Everest, are also included in the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker package. You just wave your magic band or ticket at the sensors under the screens when you exit the ride.
So should you purchase the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker Package? Bottom line, if you would like to keep at least 12 photos from any 70 day period, and you can splurge, then go for it! The photographers grabbed some really great shots of my family that I would have NEVER been able to capture. For example, they took action shots while my oldest would run up to the characters, and would take time to make sure they got a photo just right. Now there were a few duds in the group but for a week’s stay we racked up about 230 photos. Had we not purchased the Disney Photo Pass Memory Maker, downloading all of them would have been almost $3500! At less than a buck a photo we certainly thought it was money well spent. Now I’m off to find some Walgreens photo coupons!
You can get more information about purchase here: