Friday, August 19, 2011

Let’s Talk Disney-Part 3: PhotoPass

Disney has a neat option available to all who enter their parks.  Like some other places they have photographers scattered throughout the parks who are available to take pictures of you with Disney landmarks or with special characters.

One of the nice things about the Disney photographers though is that they are available to take your pictures but they won’t ask you so it saves being hounded over and over again.

The photographers are easy to spot as they wear the tan vests pictured on the gal on the left in this pic.  They are located near all the major icons of the parks (castle, sorcerer Mickey’s hat, Epcot ball, etc.) and can also be found at most if not all character greetings.  Disney photographers are also happy to take pictures of your family with your camera so pass them your camera and ‘smile!’

How the PhotoPass system works is that the first time a photographer takes your picture they will scan a PhotoPass card and give it to you.  One suggestion I would offer you would be to write down the number and/or take a picture of the back of the card showing the card number.  This way if you loose your card or it is accidentally given to someone else you can still claim your pictures.

As you go through your vacation carry this card with you and let the photographers snap away like crazy!  If you happen to forget your card in your resort room no problem, just get a new one and continue to have pictures taken.  At the end of your vacation you’ll be able to view the photos on all of the cards you’ve collected over the trip.  If you go to a waterpark I hear they even hand out PhotoPasses on wrist bands so that you can carry it with you throughout the water park.  Yes, Disney sure does seem to think of everything!

I’d also recommend having pictures taken at your favourite places more than once and at different times of the day.  When the parks first open the photographers will be busy but there are enough that hopefully only one or two families will be in front of you.  It’s also great to get pics in the different light that happen throughout the day and the night-time pics…wow!!  The Disney photographers have cameras that are set to take beautiful pictures even at those difficult times of the day and night.

Another thing Disney photographers can do are called ‘Magical Shots’.  The photographer may ask you to do something special but you won’t know why until you look at your pictures later.  Feel free to ask photographers if they do any magical shots.  Another tip is that it’s often photographers that don’t have tripods that are more prepared to do the magical shots.

So, now you have a card (or cards) full of pictures, what does that mean? When you get home sign on to Disney PhotoPass and view all the pictures taken during your trip.  Note:  Photos are only available for 30 days from the day that you first logon.

Once you look at your pictures there are many options available although I’ll say they come at a price and personally I feel that price is steep.  You can order prints, make gift items or do other things too including adding borders and autographs.

There is an option to pre-purchase a CD before your vacation which will include all the pictures taken during your vacation.  You then have the rights to all the pictures and can print as many as you want wherever you want.  The cost of the CD is $149.95 but there is a previsit offer available which offers the CD at a cost of $99.95.  When you get home from your visit if you don’t feel there are enough pictures on your CD that you want you can request a refund and Disney will return your prepayment to you.

Another pre-visit special available right now is the offer to purchase the CD + a Gift Book that you will create when you get home for the price of $149.95 (normally $229.90). I have never pre-purchased the CD but decided this trip to give it a try so have bought the CD and gift book offer.  I’m hoping with a 9 day trip that we’ll get lots of wonderful pictures together and it will take some of the pressure off me trying to take so many pictures myself.  I think that’s a good thing while chasing a busy 2yo around Disney!

Should you pre-purchase the CD I’ve heard that it’s good to tell the photographers as they know you’re serious and will take more pictures than normal. 

A picture is worth a thousand words!  Have fun with the photographers and bring those pictures home with you.  Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words!

For more details about Disney PhotoPasses you can go here.

Previous ‘Let’s Talk Disney’ posts:

Part 1: Where Do I Begin?

Part 2: Booking a Disney Vacation


  1. Great info Catherine!

    I plan to do this too. I wish they would combine the photopass (called something different for the cruise) for the cruise and the park, but they don't. However I'm going to get both.

  2. Long time reader, first time commenting.

    When my DH and I went to Disney World a few years ago we discovered how aweseme the PhotoPass was. I agree that the prices are steep but if you custom make a calender you can add a ton of pictures (up to 4 I believe) per page including the cover page. It's a lot cheaper than buying all the prints and you get to relive your Disney experience throughout the year. I like the custom make option because you can also input special dates like birthdays and anniversaries, they also print them with the option of fun facts on certain dates (like when such and such opened or came out).

    Melissa V

  3. We were at Disney last fall and I had lots of pictures taken with the photopass. I didn't end up buying any of them, because I too thought they were too expensive. But I really appreciated the willingness of the photographers to take family pictures with my camera. We got lots of great photo memories that way.

  4. Hey, Catherine...question...can't quite remember, but I believe that the ride photos are separate. Is that correct? I sure wish they'd add those to the Photo Pass. I'd pay the money for the CD for sure! I wanted to buy a photo of my kids on the Tower of Terror, but we had to hurry to our next location, and the photos were gone.

  5. Thanks for the heads up about the CD. I don't think they had that the last time we were there but will definitely look into it the next time we are heading to the big WDW.


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