Updated for 2017!
If you ever handed your camera to a PhotoPass Cast Member in a Disney theme park to get a photo of your whole family, thus bypassing the cost of paying for Disney’s PhotoPass, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. But should you skip it to save the cash?
PhotoPass is a complimentary service that anyone visiting Disney World can use, regardless of whether you stay on or off property, that is designed to make it easy for you to see and share vacation photos and other digital content, plus you have the option to purchase gifts showcasing your digital images.
How does it work?
1. Have your photograph taken by Cast Members known as Disney PhotoPass Photographers. These Cast Members will scan your MagicBand, Memory Maker card, theme park admission ticket, or they will give you a new Memory Maker or PhotoPass card.
2. Be sure you complete the online registration at MyDisneyPhotoPass.com. You’ll need to link your MagicBands or cards to your My Disney Experience profile.
3. Go online and see your photos and other digital content. You can use a traditional computer, laptop or cell phone. From there, you can view, share, and order photos and content.
When you are on rides, your captured photos will automatically be added to your My Disney Experience account. Disney-magical technology detects MagicBands on rides, and this usually works very well. For double coverage, just scan your MagicBands under the ride photo screen when you exit the attraction.
Magic Shots add Disney Characters and other fun surprises to your photos after they’re taken.
Where Can You Have Your Photos taken?
- Magic Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Animal Kingdom
- Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Blizzard Beach Water Park
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques at Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster
- Expedition Everest
- Test Track
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Videos available on the following rides by scanning a MagicBand:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Tower of Terror
- Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom
- Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus; Norway in Epcot
- Chef Mickey’s at
- Contemporary Resort
- 1900 Park Fare at Grand Floridian Resort
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
- Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Polynesian Village Resort
- ‘Ohana at Polynesian Village Resort
Photographers will be available on the course and at the finish line taking photos of the runners during races. You should smile and keep your race number in clear view/uncovered.
The PhotoPass Service and all these locations can change without notice.
What Can You Purchase?
There are lots of options for spending money on PhotoPass photos.
For $169, all of the photos taken are yours. You don’t have to purchase photos individually, because you get digital copies of them all.
If you purchase Memory Maker in advance, you can save $20, with a pre-purchase price of $149.
All PhotoPass photos in your account will expire 45 days from the date the photo was taken. If you want to extend the expiration date to 60 days from the date the photo was taken, you simply purchase an expiration extension. These expiration dates for photos can only be extended once. Enlarge the photos to see expiration dates beneath the photos; some of these dates can vary from photo to photo.
There are currently no options for permanently storing your photos, and once expired, they will be deleted from the system.
Disney Premier, Platinum Plus, Platinum, or Gold Annual Passholders
If you are a member of any of these groups, all your photos and digital content will be available for download until they expire 365 days after they were captured.
Here are reasons you should (gasp) splurge on the extra money for PhotoPass.
1. Disney’s PhotoPass Service is an excellent way to ensure you get quality photographs of your expensive vacation with everyone in the picture, because you personally are not taking it.
2. Not only can you view your photos at the theme parks, you can view your photos online when you get back home and have more time. Now that you are not riding roller coasters, you can share your photos with your friends and family through e-mail and social media.
3. Have a certain photo you love? Or more than one favorite? You can purchase products and gifts that will ensure your vacation memories last forever.
4. You can obtain a PhotoPass card from any Disney PhotoPass photographer, so you are not limited as to when you can start the process. If you forget, just pick one up when you see a Cast Member holding a large camera.
5. You do not have to order any photos from Disney, so there is no extra cost in printing your photos. Just print them at your house or store like Walgreens or Wal-Mart and like Disney Magic, poof, there they are!
6. The pictures are high-resolution JPEG images, so you don’t have to worry about quality. Many people say these photos taken by Disney professional photographers are far better than the photos they took with their own cameras.
7. If you edit, crop or add “magic” to your photos, a copy of the original is saved, so you never have to worry about ruining a photo.
8. You can re-print your photos years from now because Disney includes a copyright release.
Is PhotoPass Worth the Money?
Individual pictures cost $15 each. At that price, no way, in my opinion, unless it was just a super AmAzInG moment you missed with your own camera.
Now MemoryMaker? While I am the cheapest princess of them all, I would say yes, this add-on can definitely can be worth the money, especially if you purchase it in advance to save the $20.
Group splitting up? Now you can see and keep their pictures too.
Traveling with a big group? Split the cost.
Have teens? Mine loved having their photos taken, which was a big shock for me. They asked to stop and get pictures made in certain spots.
Staying 3, 4, 5 days or more? Your cost goes down per day the longer you stay and play.
Want character photos? Taking pictures with them can’t be any easier, and I’ll bet my Mickey ears that the photos will be fantastic. The pictures with my own camera were often off-center and sometimes blurry. They are professionals; I am not, and neither are most people.
While Memory Maker, the best use of PhotoPass in our opinion is pricey, photographs can be some of your best souvenirs from a Disney trip. The quality is high and the variety is wide, which seems like a win win in terms of best use of vacation dollars.
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you in line with a PhotoPass photographer…
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Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Erin and Elizabeth. You can also e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.