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Complete Guide to Disney PhotoPass (Is It Worth It?)

Complete Guide to Disney PhotoPass (Is It Worth It?)

Photographs have long been one of our most favorite souvenirs from our Walt Disney World trips – and thanks to Disney’s PhotoPass service, you can make sure that everyone is actually in the photo and nobody is stuck holding the camera.

While PhotoPass is easy to use, there are some common questions that we get about how it works, how long the photos last, and how much it costs, etc. And of course, people always want to know whether it is worth it or not, and we have thoughts on that below, too.

To make it easy, we’ve put all of those FAQs into a Complete Guide to Disney PhotoPass.

Let’s get started…

What is PhotoPass?

If you already understand what PhotoPass is, feel free to skip down to the next section. But, if you are new to Disney planning, you’ll want to stick around to learn the basics.

PhotoPass is the name of the photo service found at Walt Disney World.

If you’ve ever been to other theme parks, you may have seen a few photographers taking pictures in a couple of spots, but Disney’s photo service is on a totally different level of efficiency and ease.

First of all, Disney has far more photographers than any other theme park we’ve ever been to. That means, you’ll have lots (and lots) of opportunities to get some great pics.

Secondly, PhotoPass photographers will take pictures with their camera AND with yours.

That’s right:

Even if you never purchase a single photo from Disney, you can still have PhotoPass photographers snap pictures with your phone or camera.

This is a great tip and something we recommend; it basically doubles your chance of snagging the perfect shot.

And finally, if you do decide to buy a photo, you have several different ways you can do that, including:

  • Buying a single photo
  • Buying Memory Maker, which allows you to download all your photos (including ride photos)
  • Buying Memory Maker One Day, which works like the full Memory Maker except it is only for a single day’s photos
  • Buying products like mugs or calendars with your PhotoPass photos on them

With a combination of PhotoPass photographers strategically stationed at fan-favorite photo spots throughout the parks and ride photos on select attractions, you’ll have lots of opportunities for photos during your visit.

With PhotoPass, you can:

  • Have pics taken in the parks, including Magic Shots where Disney will place special effects in your pictures after they are taken
  • Capture photos from runDisney events (by linking your bib number)
  • Snag ride photos on several of the most popular rides
  • Get pics taken with the characters.

And since somebody else is taking the picture, you’ll actually be able to have everyone in your photo with you, too.

runDisney picture

How does Disney’s PhotoPass work?

Using PhotoPass is easy; and unless you want to purchase Memory Maker ahead of time for the discount, you don’t have to do anything before you get your first photo to use PhotoPass.

Here’s how it works:

  • Look for PhotoPass photographers in the parks. Most are dressed in a bright-green shirt. There are a few PhotoPass photographers on Main Street U.S.A. who are dressed in themed costumes, but the rest (including the other parks) are in bright-green shirts.
photopass green shirt
  • Link your photos. Ever wonder how Disney knows who you are? All of your account information is linked together. PhotoPass photographers will scan either your MagicBand, Disney PhotoPass card, theme park ticket, or Annual Pass. You can also access a QR code they can scan in the My Disney Experience App.
photopass code
  • Strike a pose. Your PhotoPass photographer will then take your picture. Even if you don’t plan to purchase any of the photos – they are still going to take a picture with their camera first. Make sure you ask them to grab a few pics with your camera or phone, too. Many of the spots also offer Magic Shots. Photographers are pretty good at getting multiple poses at each location, but we always like to ask if they can do any Magic Shots, too.
photopass
  • Review photos. After you’ve taken photos, you’ll be able to review them all in the My Disney Experience App. If you have purchased Memory Maker or Memory Maker One Day, or if you are an Annual Passholder who has added on the PhotoPass option, you’ll be able to download your pics. If you haven’t purchased Memory Maker, your photos will have a watermark, and you won’t be able to download them unless you select a photo product to purchase.
photopass in my disney experience
  • Note: If you have purchased Memory Maker and would like to download all your photos, it is easier to download a large batch of photos on a computer. Go to the Photopass website, and after you’ve selected at least one photo, in the upper right corner of the screen, you’ll have the option to select ALL visible media.

Do I have to have a MagicBand to use PhotoPass?

MagicBands and/or MagicBand+ are not required to use PhotoPass. But, if you don’t have a MagicBand or MagicBand+, your ride photos will not be automatically linked.

Instead, you would have to locate the screens at the exit of the attractions with ride photos and scan your ticket under the correct photo. But, it is important to note that not every attraction has this option. We’ve indicated which ones require a MagicBand for ride photos below.

How much does PhotoPass cost?

PhotoPass is free to use, and you can take as many photos as you want. But, if you want to keep any of your photos, you must purchase the digital downloads or prints:

  • Memory Maker ($199 + tax, or $169+ tax if purchased at least 3 days before your trip)
    Gives you unlimited downloads of all your photos and ride photos
  • Memory Maker One Day ($69 + tax)
    Like the regular Memory Maker, but the One Day version gives you unlimited downloads of all your photos and ride from a single day. This is a good option if you are attending one of the parties at Magic Kingdom (like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) or if you have scheduled Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and want to get lots of pics of your little one all dressed up.
  • Individual photo (starting at $18.95 each)
    If you just want to purchase 1 photo, you can do that, but the cost is kind of high.
  • Photo products (price varies)
    You can also purchase things like mugs, calendars, coasters, phone cases, etc. with your selected PhotoPass photo on it. Price for each item varies.
Memory maker price list

Can I purchase PhotoPass in advance?

You don’t have to purchase PhotoPass (because PhotoPass is the name of the service, and the service is free) BUT, if you want to purchase Memory Maker, we highly recommend you purchase that in advance because it gives you a $30 discount – $199 vs. $169 if purchased at least 3 days before your trip.

Annual Passholders

In the past, Annual Passholders received free downloads of all in-park photos, but that is no longer the case. Now, if you want pictures from your trips, you’ll need to add that feature to your Annual Pass at a cost of $99.00 per year.

Everywhere you can get PhotoPass pictures

Ready to grab some pictures? Here’s what you need to know about where you’ll find PhotoPass photographers.

Where are PhotoPass photographers located, and how do I find them?

PhotoPass photographers are stationed throughout all the parks (including the water parks). In general, you’ll find them at all the most popular photo op locations, like in front of Cinderella Castle, along Main Street U.S.A., in front of Spaceship Earth and the Tree of Life, etc.

But, if you aren’t sure where they are, PhotoPass photographer spots are also listed on the map in the My Disney Experience app. Just change the filter at the top of the map to “PhotoPass“.

photopass on my disney experience 
map

Characters with PhotoPass photographers

While lots of characters DO have PhotoPass photographers, not all of them do. And some characters have automated camera boxes to take pictures instead of a human.

Here’s where you can typically find characters with PhotoPass photographers:

Magic Kingdom

  • Aladdin (Adventureland)
  • Belle (Enchanted Tales with Belle; not everyone will get a pic with Belle)
  • Cinderella (Fantasyland – Princess Fairytale Hall)
  • Elena (Fantasyland – Princess Fairytale Hall)
  • Jasmine (Adventureland)
  • Merida (Fairytale Garden)
  • Rapunzel (Fantasyland – Princess Fairytale Hall)
  • Tiana (Fantasyland – Princess Fairytale Hall)
  • Tigger (Fantasyland – the Thotful Spot)
  • Winnie the Pooh (Fantasyland – the Thotful Spot)

Epcot

  • Alice* (World Showcase – United Kingdom)
  • Aurora* (World Showcase – France)
  • Belle* (World Showcase – France)
  • Donald Duck* (World Showcase – Mexico)
  • Goofy (Entrance, near Spaceship Earth)
  • Jasmine* (World Showcase – Morocco)
  • Joy (Imageworks)
  • Mary Poppins* (World Showcase – United Kingdom)
  • Mickey Mouse (Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival)
  • Mulan* (World Showcase – China)
  • Pluto (Entrance, near Spaceship Earth)
  • Snow White* (World Showcase – Germany)
  • Figment (Imageworks)

* These characters typically have PhotoPass Photographers, however, there may be times when they do not.

Hollywood Studios

  • Buzz (Toy Story Land)
  • Doc McStuffins (Animation Courtyard)
  • Fancy Nancy (Animation Courtyard)
  • Hollywood Minnie (Red Carpet Dreams)
  • Jessie (Toy Story Land)
  • Mr. Incredible (Echo Lake)
  • Mrs. Incredible (Echo Lake)
  • Pluto (Animation Courtyard)
  • Powerline Max (Grand Avenue)
  • Sorcerer Mickey (Red Carpet Dreams)
  • Sulley (Walt Disney Presents)
  • Vacation Goofy (Grand Avenue)
  • Vampirina (Animation Courtyard)
  • Woody (Toy Story Land)

Animal Kingdom

  • Adventurer Mickey (Discovery Island)
  • Adventurer Minnie (Discovery Island)
  • Chip & Dale (DinoLand U.S.A.)
  • Daisy Duck (DinoLand U.S.A.)
  • Donald Duck (DinoLand U.S.A.)

Automated Camera Boxes

A few of the character meet and greets have automatic photo boxes instead of PhotoPass photographers.

These boxes take a series of candid photos during your interactions with the characters, and the character attendant will also typically help you pose for a couple of staged pics, too.

automated camera box

After you are done with the character meet, you’ll need to scan your MagicBand or ticket before you leave to link the photos to your account.

Characters with Automated Camera Boxes:

Magic Kingdom

  • Mickey (Town Square Theater)
  • Meet Dashing Pals | Daisy and Minnie Mouse (Fantasyland – Pete’s Silly Sideshow)
  • Meet Daring Pals | Donald and Goofy (Fantasyland – Pete’s Silly Sideshow)

Epcot

  • Anna (World Showcase – Norway)
  • Elsa (World Showcase – Norway)

Character Meals with PhotoPass Photographers

We’ve slowly started to see PhotoPass photographers returning to character meals.

Here’s where you can find them:

  • Story Book Dining at Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge)
  • Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary Resort)
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom)

Several other restaurants (like Tusker House) used to also have a photo op; however, there are no PhotoPass photographers there currently.

You don’t get a physical copy of the photo, but it will be added to your PhotoPass account and will be available to download – and the photos taken are included with Memory Maker, too.

Also – there are no PhotoPass photographers at the tables themselves, so you’ll need to be ready with your own camera or phone if you want your picture taken.

PhotoPass Ride Photos

Several attractions offer ride photos. Just like traditional PhotoPass pictures, you can purchase ride photos individually or if you have purchased Memory Maker, your ride photos will be included with that.

Additionally, guests who have purchased Genie+ also have their ride photos included with their purchase.

Magic Kingdom

Epcot

Hollywood Studios

Animal Kingdom

Attractions that offer ride videos

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

PhotoPass Photo Studios

PhotoPass Studios are one of the best kept secrets at Walt Disney World. There are 3 total studios (although 1 still has not reopened) and all are free to use:

Studio locations:

  • Magic Kingdom (inside Sir Mickey’s)
  • Epcot (inside the Wandering Reindeer located in the Norway Pavilion)
  • Disney Springs (in the MarketPlace section)
  • Grand Floridian (2nd floor of the main building)
Royal Portrait Studio

3 of those studios are conveniently located near the 3 Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique shops, but are open to anybody (no reservations needed!).

NEW! Capture Your Moment – Star Wars Sessions!

There is a BRAND-NEW option for a Capture Your Moment Session – Batuu!

Yes – get your lightsaber ready because beginning January 24, Disney PhotoPass photographers will start offering Capture Your Moment photo sessions a la Star Wars.

Possible locations for your photoshoot could include:

  • In front of the Millennium Falcon or a First Order shuttle
  • The Black Spire Outpost market
  • Ancient ruins
  • Another beloved spot at this remote outpost

The price for the Star Wars photo sessions is the same as the regular ones – $99 for 20 minutes. And, just like the “regular” photoshoots, you can purchase 2 sessions back-to-back for a 40-minute session.

It is important to note that you can bring your own props and costumes, but they must comply with Walt Disney World Property Rules.

Reservations open up on January 17 with the first sessions starting January 24.

Capture Your Moment

For people looking for a little bit more than just a quick photo, you can also book a 20 or 40-minute session in the parks with a PhotoPass photographer.

Called Capture Your Moment, these sessions are perfect for special occasions like family reunions, engagements, honeymoons, birthdays, etc.

Photos taken by PhotoPass photographers during Capture Your Moment are not included in the cost, however, all the photos can be added to Memory Maker or if you are an Annual Passholder with a PhotoPass entitlement, you’d also get the pics, too.

capture your magic

The cost for a 20-minute session is $99. If you’d like, you can book 2, 20-minutes sessions back to back for a total of 40 minutes with the PhotoPass photographer.

Capture Your Moment locations:

PhotoPass FAQs

Have a question about PhotoPass? We have answers!

What is the difference between Memory Maker and PhotoPass?

It is really easy to confuse PhotoPass and Memory Maker, but here is how we like to explain it:

Do I have to buy Memory Maker to use PhotoPass?

Nope! You do NOT have to purchase Memory Maker to use PhotoPass.

But, if you think you will want to purchase more than a few photos or ride photos, Memory Maker is a much more economical way to do that since individual photos start at around $19 each.

Can I share my PhotoPass account with my family and friends?

You don’t have to share your account because as long as you are on each other’s Family and Friends list AND you have opted to share photos, you’ll be able to see and download each other’s photos, too.

Traveling with a group? You can share photos and videos with up to 25 people, which means you can also share 1 Memory Maker, too!

photopass permissions

Can I get PhotoPass pictures if it is raining?

Rain is really common in Central Florida, and while some bad weather will force the PhotoPass photographers indoors, if it isn’t too bad, you can find them out and about.

Truth be told, some of our most cherished photos are ones we took in the rain! Some PhotoPass photographers even have special Magic Shots just for rainy days.

rainy day magic shot

What are PhotoPass lenses?

If you purchase Genie+, you’ll have access to a special set of PhotoPass augmented reality lenses inside the My Disney Experience app.

PhotoPass lens

Here’s how that works:

  • Step 1: Purchase Disney Genie+ service 
  • Step 2: Upon entering a park, open the My Disney Experience app and tap on the “More” menu at the bottom of the home screen.
  • Step 3: Tap on “Disney PhotoPass Lenses” to find a special AR (augmented reality) camera, which will give you access to the Lenses.

What are PhotoPass Video Memories?

Video Memories are exclusive to Annual Passholders and people who have purchased Memory Maker.

photopass video memories

With it, you can create and customize Disney-themed videos using templates, stickers, music, and text.

photopass video memories

If you don’t want to do all the designing, it will even create a video for you!

Can you buy just one photo from PhotoPass?

Yes! If you only want to purchase 1 photo (and not buy something like Memory Maker), you can do that. Prints start at around $19.

photopass photo prints

How do I download all my PhotoPass photos?

If you want to download all of your photos all at once, the easiest way is to do it on a computer.

Step 1: Go to the PhotoPass website and log in.
Step 2: Select at least 1 photo. After you do that, a box should appear in the upper right-hand corner.
Step 3: Check the “Select all visible media” button
Step 4: Download your photos

The photos will be downloaded in zip files so you’ll need to extract them to open them up.

If you’d rather, you can also order your photos on a USB drive or on a CD for around $35 each.

Photopass screenshot from website

How long do PhotoPass photos stay in my account?

Your photos will stay in your account for 45 days from the date the photo was taken. During that 45-day window, you’ll be able to:

  • Download them as many times as you’d like (as long as you have purchased Memory Maker).
  • If you didn’t pre-purchase Memory Maker and decide after seeing your photos that you’d like to do that now, you can that during this 45-day window, too
  • Purchase individual photos
  • Purchase any of the other photo items like mugs, calendars, etc.

What happens if I run out of time? PhotoPass Extension

If time gets away from you after you are home, you can pay for a one-time extension to access to your photos. The cost is $19.95, and you can get 15 additional days to edit and download your vacation pics.

How long does it take for PhotoPass photos to appear in my account?

Photos that aren’t Magic Shots will appear quickly – sometimes within a minute or 2.

Magic Shots, however, can take several hours or even a day or so to show up.

What if photos are missing from my PhotoPass account?

If a photo is missing from your account, don’t panic.

Disney has a system for tracking down missing PhotoPass photos, and they do a really, really good job of finding them.

You can report missing PhotoPass photos online. The form is short and asks you basic questions about the day and time and location.

We’ve always had great success in them being able to locate our missing photos.

Is PhotoPass worth it?

Since it costs you nothing to take photos, we really think that it makes sense to grab at least a few PhotoPass pics, even if you don’t plan to buy any.

If you haven’t purchased Memory Maker, ideally we’d recommend that you try to get a pic or 2 in each park, with both the PhotoPass camera and your phone or camera. That way, you’d have a bunch to choose from – including free ones with everyone in the pic.

If you are on the fence about buying Memory Maker, here are a few reasons we think it is worth it:

First-timers or important trips

Special trip where you want to make sure you snap as many pics as possible? You’ll probably get a lot of use out of the PhotoPass system and find it handy to be able to download all of your pics using Memory Maker.

Large travel groups

Traveling in a group? Everyone in the group can add pics to their account, and whoever buys Memory Maker can download for everyone. Lots of people for the cost of 1 Memory Maker purchase makes it easier to justify.

Solo travelers

People traveling alone often like the convenience of having somebody else take their pic, so they don’t have to ask anybody to use their phone to snap a photo.

Special events/occasions

Planning to participate in a runDisney event, booked a Capture Your Moment session, or have some other special occasion planned? These all give lots of reasons for pics to be taken, making it more worth it to buy Memory Maker.

Disney PhotoPass Tips

Here are some of our favorite tips for making the most of Disney’s PhotoPass Service:

  1. Purchase Memory Maker in Advance: If you plan to take advantage of PhotoPass extensively, consider purchasing Memory Maker before your trip. This can save you money compared to buying individual photos later.
  2. Ask Photographers for Magic Shots: Disney photographers often offer “Magic Shots,” which include fun and creative additions like Disney characters or effects added to your photos. Don’t hesitate to ask photographers if they have any Magic Shots available.
  3. Capture Iconic Locations: Seek out photographers stationed at iconic spots like in front of Cinderella’s Castle or Spaceship Earth. These shots can become cherished keepsakes of your visit.
  4. Use MagicBands: You can use your MagicBand or MagicBand+ to link photos directly to your account. This makes the process seamless and eliminates the need for physical PhotoPass cards or hunting for the QR code in the app.
  5. Capture Character Interactions: PhotoPass photographers are often stationed near character meet-and-greet locations. Take advantage of these opportunities to get professional photos with your favorite Disney characters.
  6. Be Aware of Photo Opportunities: Look for the PhotoPass logo on signage or ask Cast Members about photo opportunities. Sometimes, there are special themed photo spots that are only available for a limited time. The Disney PhotoPass Facebook and Instagram pages are also good places to find the latest photo options.
  7. Plan for Nighttime Shots: PhotoPass photographers are often available during evening shows and fireworks displays. Capture the magical nighttime atmosphere with their assistance.
  8. Check for Discounts: Keep an eye out for any discounts or special offers on PhotoPass packages. Disney occasionally offers promotions that can help you save on photo purchases.
  9. Manage Your Expiration Dates: Remember that your photos will have an expiration date, usually around 45 days after they’re taken. Make sure to download or purchase your desired photos before they expire.
  10. Capture Candid Moments: While posed photos are wonderful, don’t forget to let the photographers capture candid moments too. These can often result in some of the most authentic and cherished memories.

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Do you use Disney’s PhotoPass service on your trips? Let us know about it in the comments!

WENTINT

Wednesday 12th of June 2024

I forgot to download my photos until 4 months later, can I have a chance to get them?

Andrea

Sunday 8th of October 2023

Do you know if Capture Your Moment is available during the Christmas party?

Bridget Walker

Saturday 11th of February 2023

Question … we are travelling in November. We have had to purchase a 2 day ticket and a 10 day ticket. Will our Memory Maker last our entire stay (14 nights) or do we need to purchase it twice for each ticket?