How Memory Maker works

(Article last updated: June 12th, 2017)

Memory Maker is a hot topic since Disney promotes it a lot but many (most?) people are really confused about how it works and whether or not they should buy it for their trip.

Today, I have details about how it works, what's included, who should buy it and how to save money by pre-purchasing it.

Let's get started...

What it is

We need to start with some definitions since this is the root of a lot of confusion.

First of all, PhotoPass is the overall system that Disney uses to take your pics in the parks, on rides and at some character meals. Anybody can use the PhotoPass system whether staying off-site or on-site.

How PhotoPass works at Disney World - Memory Maker

Within the PhotoPass system, you can do lots of things including:

  • Adding Disney-themed borders/effects to your photos
  • Having pics taken in the parks, including Magic Shots where Disney will place characters in your pics after they are taken

There are several kinds of products you can buy with your PhotoPass pics including:

  • Items with your photos printed on them - calendars, greeting cards, mugs, mouse pads (do people still use those?), etc.
  • Individual photos - for $15, you can order individual prints or digital photos
  • Memory Maker - a digital download of all of your pics taken in the parks and on rides. People who buy this package have the rights to use the photos however they'd like, including printing them at a local printer and ordering products with the photos (such as ordering products from Shutterfly or Snapfish). Memory Maker purchasers also get on-ride videos and animated Magic Shots that are not available to anyone else.

How to use Memory Maker

First of all, you can purchase Memory Maker at any time (including after your trip), but to take advantage of the pre-purchase price (which saves you $30), you'll need to buy it at least 3 days before your trip using the pre-purchase link. The pre-purchase price is $169 and the full price is $199.

Side note: many types of Annual Passholders get free photo downloads, which is basically getting Memory Maker for free.

When you're in the parks, you can just take photos with the photographers as you encounter them. Disney has a map of PhotoPass photographer locations (scroll down the page at that link to see it), but the reality is that it can really vary and they aren't always in these spots.

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 1.56.07 PM

They'll scan your MagicBand or Memory Maker card (park tickets can also be used if they are linked in your My Disney Experience account; people with park tickets that are not linked should use PhotoPass cards given out by photographers instead to avoid losing photos). Scanning these will link your pictures to your MDE account.

When you're on rides, Disney will automatically add your ride photos to your My Disney Experience account because they can detect your MagicBand on rides. It does seem to work well for most people, but just to be sure, you can scan your MagicBand under the ride photo screen as you exit. If you don't see it in your PhotoPass account within a day, call 407-560-4300 and give them your ride photo info (such as the date and time you were there) to see if they can find your pic and add it to your account.

Special situation with on-ride photos: you must either purchase them in the parks or have Memory Maker to get them.

The attractions that offer on-ride photos are:

  • Magic Kingdom - Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Epcot - Test Track, Frozen Ever After
  • Hollywood Studios - Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror
  • Animal Kingdom - Dinosaur, Expedition Everest

In addition to photos, on-ride videos are also currently available to people who purchase Memory Maker:

  • Magic Kingdom - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Hollywood Studios - Tower of Terror

These meals/shows offer PhotoPass photographers and the digital photos will be added for Memory Maker:

  • 1900 Park Fare
  • 'Ohana (breakfast)
  • Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
  • Chef Mickey's
  • Cinderella's Royal Table
  • Tusker House (breakfast)
  • Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue
  • Akershus
  • Be Our Guest* This isn't a guaranteed opportunity (read Disney doesn't promote the fact that the Beast often takes photos) and it only happens at dinner and the Beast is the only character available

A couple of notes: 1.) most of those photos are taken outside the restaurant/show, not at your table and 2.) these are digital photos; the printed pics were no longer offered at the meal as of January 2015.

There are other opportunities for photos as well:

  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique takes LOTS of pics and Pirate's League will have a photographer available as well
  • Most scheduled character meet-and-greets have photographers
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle has photos taken of the people who participate in the show
  • Most parties (including the Halloween and Christmas parties) offer PhotoPass pics.
  • Deluxe Resorts during the holidays have photographers at times to take pics
  • Many other things that aren't listed here, but the bottom line is that there are lots of opportunities for pics

Sharing Memory Maker with other people

In order to share Memory Maker with other people, you can either:

  • Make sure you're all listed in the same My Disney Experience account OR
  • Make sure you're linked as friends within My Disney Experience and have checked the option to allow sharing of photos for all people

When you're logged in, go to the family and friends page and make sure this option is selected for the people you're connected to.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.52.08 AM

Only the person that has purchased Memory Maker and holds the "entitlement" will be able to edit and download the photos, but anybody that's linked can add pics.

The person with the entitlement does not need to be present to have pics added. Anybody who is linked can do that.

What happens after you pre-purchase?

The simple answer: not much. You've essentially pre-purchased a credit which resides in your My Disney Experience account and can be applied after your trip.

Some people will receive a Memory Maker card by mail, but most people don't. You should make sure it shows up in your My Disney Experience account.

Note: you should consider waiting until after package/room discounts have been released for your trip dates to add Memory Maker because modifying an existing resort reservation to use a promotion is much more difficult when you have Memory Maker than modifying one without it.

How to get your Memory Maker photos after your trip

After your trip, be sure to log on to your PhotoPass account (from your computer, not in the MDE app) well before your 45 day expiration and do these things:

  • Make sure all of your photos are there and that any Magic Shot pics you took have the characters inserted. If anything seems off, call the PhotoPass support number at 407-560-4300 or you can report missing photos online.
  • Make a copy of the pictures you want to edit so you can keep the original and the edited version
  • Add any borders or any special effects that you'd like to use
  • Add the pictures you'd like to download to your cart
  • Go to "My Downloads" in your account and download pics as many times as you'd like within the allotted time period. The download is a zip file which doesn't work well from phones or tablets. You'll either need to install an unzip app on your phone/table or download from a computer.

Now that you have your photos, you can use them however you'd like.

Is it worth it?

I think Memory Maker is worth it for people who:

  • Have trips that are at least 5 days in length
  • Plan to ride most/all of the rides that offer ride photos
  • Will be eating at the locations that have PhotoPass photographers
  • Are willing to stop and get plenty of PhotoPass pics taken in the parks
  • Have special events such as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique booked since lots of pics are taken there
  • Will be meeting lots of characters, since PhotoPass photographers take lots of pics of these encounters, including both candid and posed shots (if you hand your camera to the photographer to take pics, he/she will likely just take 1 or 2 posed pics, so you get many more when the PhotoPass photographers use their own cameras)

You don't have to be doing all of the items above but at least a few of them should be true for your trip to make sure you get plenty of pics.

Memory Maker promotions

Disney occasionally offers promotions that included a free Memory Maker which is essentially a $150 savings to your package. Not only is that not a lot to save on a vacation package, but Disney usually ends up releasing another promotion after that which many people applied to their existing booking.

The newer promotions are worth more savings but since people have previously added the Memory Maker to their package, most ended up keeping it and don't remove it with the new promotion.

My advice is that these kinds of promotions generally aren't a good idea (you can usually save much more with another promotion) and you should be sure to remove Memory Maker from your package if you originally got it for "free" but don't want to pay for it under another promotion.

FAQs

I'm staying off-site so how does Memory Maker work for off-site vs. on-site?
Off-site guests won't have MagicBands to use unless they are purchased separately (they are available to buy in the parks) but can use PhotoPass cards or park tickets to scan pics. Since some new Memory Maker features (like on-ride videos) are only available to people who use MagicBands, it might be worth it to have at least 1 person buy one to get the full benefit.

I have more than 1 trip planned. Can I use Memory Maker on more than 1 trip?
You can take pics for up to 30 days after the first time you download a photo to your account and then Memory Maker photos must be downloaded within 45 days of the first day you download pics (translation: if you time it right, you could get up to 75 days of use out of Memory Maker). You'll most likely just end up using it for 1 trip unless your two trips take place within that 75 day period.

How do I get photos if I don't purchase Memory Maker?
You can still buy individual pics for $15 each, order products that use PhotoPass pics, etc.

I like having a CD backup. Can I get that with Memory Maker?
This used to be an option but doesn't appear to be available anymore.

Can I upload my own pics to the PhotoPass site?
You can upload your own pics for certain products on the PhotoPass site (like the photo book), but not for Memory Maker.

I'm combining Disney World with a Disney cruise. Can I use Memory Maker on both?
No, there aren't PhotoPass photographers on the ships so that's not possible. There are separate photo packages that you can purchase onboard.

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S

Hi! I have a question! We are a large party with combined families and would like to purchase memory maker to share. I understand we will have to enable photo sharing, but will this combine all of our dining and fastpasses? We don’t want to mix ALL of our plans together. Is there any way to share memory maker without sharing all of our plans? (It would be totally confusing for all of us if we are seeing everyone else’s dining and fastpasses in the my Disney experience app) Thanks!

Alejandra Garcia

Hi Shannon!!!
thank you for all your tips. We are at Disney now with my family of 11… 1st visit from Argentina. I planned everything for them following your guidelines. We had a VIP experience with almost no waits on this busy times!! Incredible. We can’t thank you enough.
We were yesterday at the FROZEN game in Epcot and they offer on ride Photo. Just a little contribution from us to add to your excellent site.
best regards
ale

Alejandra Garcia

Forgot to say that its only available for those who have magic bands.

Emma

I have an AP with photo benefit. I am friends with another family, but I can’t see all the attraction photos in my photopass account that they see. They can see Splash Mountain, Space Mountain & Big Thunder Mountain as well as the Buzz & 7 dwarfs train that I can see. Any idea why this is? Should I see all? What about restaurant photos? Any ideas if there is something we need to do extra?

BRANDY JONES

Does Big Thunder take pic? We didn’t see any?

Kris

Does Mickey’s backyard BBQ not have memory maker? I see it’s not listed. I’m asking in hopes that it was accidentally left off the list, lol.

Nina Evans

We have have 2 reservations for concurring days because of the free dining plan. First part is Dec 8-9 and 2nd part is Dec 10-15.Our app shows the memory maker on the 2nd part of the reservation. How can we use it on the first 2 days? Thanks

Lindsay Wilson

My best friend and I are going to Disney together next month with our families. So excited to surprise our kiddos with a joint trip! My question is: She currently has MM in her account and our intention is to share it. Do you know if I will be able to download photos if I log into her account after our trip even if she has already downloaded photos to her computer? (essentially double downloading the same photos?)
Thank you so much for all your tips and tricks and info about Disney! It’s been very helpful in our planning!

Elliott

It says in the post that you can download your photos as many times as you want.

Dita Greg

The photos of my last trip begin to expire Oct. 15. I’ll be back in WDW on Oct. 16. Will I still be within the “active” period, or will I need to purchase memory maker again for the upcoming trip?

Elaine Davidson

I can view and save my Memory Maker photos on the Disney app but I am sure I read somewhere that borders and stickers can be added but I can’t find out how to do it, can you help please?

Kelly

Hi quick question, just for clarification….the only rides at Magic Kingdom that offer an opportunity for photos are Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain?

Brianne O

Hey Shannon!
I’ve read tons about the Memory Maker and am tempted to do it. I’m going to Disney this September for my 30th birthday with my best friend. We’re going for 5 days at the parks (with hopper) and Mickey’s Halloween Party. Also will be at Disney Springs for a few hours when we first arrive (not part of the 5 days). Since it’s just the two of us going, we’re thinking it’s a bit pricey to pay for. We’re both rather picky people when it comes to photos (I especially hate myself in photos XD), so we were just going to do duo-selfies with our phones (or have the staff use our phones to take pics).

I’ve been leaning towards doing the Memory Maker for all the extras like the ride videos (which all of them we are going planning to go on) and the Halloween party but my friend is just thinking it’s another $75 for her. Money is kinda tight for us so it’s a hard expense to justify when there’s a HIGH chance of us not liking many of the pictures (though, I’m thinking photoshop and creative cropping could be a saving grace).

What do you think? Any tips that would help sway us one way or another? I’m thinking since it’s my 30th, go for broke. hahaha We still have 50 days before our trip (SO EXCITED!) but this is the last thing to decide before we go. Is it worth it to try and convince my friend that this might be a worthy investment?

ELIZABETH

Hello! For Starters I love this website it is so helpful! Thank you for all the time you have dedicated to create this, It’s very informative and is already making my life so much easier. I’m still a tad bit confused on this topic and was wondering if someone can help. I was planning on buying Annual Passes for my family of 4 but we were interested in the silver passes however I noticed the gold is the lease expensive to include photopass downloads. The Gold pass is an additional $60 so I was thinking of just buying my own annual pass as the gold pass to include the photopass and my husbands and 2 sons would get a silver pass. Would all of their pictures link to my account? also would this include videos? I noticed with the annual pass they call it photopass not memory maker is there a difference? Do I still need to pay additional to get the videos or will this inclusive photopass be sufficient?

Thanks in advance

Lenny Talerico

I have this same question – did anyone ever get an answer about this. The follow on question would be, if I am not IN the picture (my wife and kids get a picture while I’m elsewhere) do I still get to download the picture because their accounts are linked to mine?

I purchased tickets and memory maker separately, therefore, I don’t have a magic band; then how can I be sure the on-ride photos will be uploaded to my account? Does the card-ticket works the same?

Thank you!

Cz

Hi, I am going on a trip August 7 and my sister is going Sept. 10. I read above that it is possible to use for two trips, prolonging it to a 75 day period. How is this possible?

Sherry Casey

Basically, you have 45 days from the first download to use the system. So if you can resist the urge to download your photos from your personal trip until you return home it will extend the 45 days. Then the timer starts but new photos can still be added. So in essence your sister could use the Experience as well, as long as her trip is done BEFORE the 45 days of your first download.

Chris

I just wanted to clarify this, Shannon. I was just on the Memory Maker site and it states that the 45 days starts the day the picture is TAKEN, not downloaded. Did I read that correctly?
🙂

Christie Calderon

Are those rides and dining reservations that use the memory maker/ have photographers there taking pictures still current or have they been updated?

Eva Edgeworth

I have a question. Someone already purchased memory maker for her early June trip and I mentioned to her about memory share group. She is interested but would like me to be the leader. How do we go about making a “ghost” account? So that’ve can be the leader and have 4 other families join?

Sherry Casey

If you haven’t figured it out already:
There isn’t a way to do a “Ghost” account really. But you do have options. You can either link the groups to your Disney Experience and allow them to view and purchase your photos.
OR you can give them your Disney Experience password so they can go in, HOWEVER, be sure you select that they are unable to make plans and changes to your itinerary as to avoid mistakes.
OR you can go in personally and sort the photos and email them to the owners.

S

So you can link accounts for memory maker without meshing all your plans together? We are traveling with my friends family and would like to do memory maker together but have lots of different separate plans. We do not want to see ALL of each other’s fastpasses (shared is fine) We also don’t want to risk messing with each other’s plans (that are not together) When I called they told me we would see everything if we linked together. I decided against it because I don’t want the headache of the app combining all of our plans together but if this is not the case I’m definitely going to reconsider. Thanks!

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