One of the things I’ve loved doing since returning from Disney World is helping friends, especially those going on their first trip, plan for their visit. I make suggestions about many things, but they are just that suggestions. Every family is different and so I can’t say you MUST do something because it might not fit your family like it did mine. There is one exception to this: You MUST purchase Memory Maker and utilize PhotoPass photographers! You really, really must.
Buying in advance will cost you $169. That might sound like a lot until you think that your family photo session at home probably costs more than that. At many amusement parks, zoos, or other events your photo will be taken when you walk in and then ask you for $10, $15, $20 or more to buy that photo on your way out. For the price of Memory Maker you can use it for your length of stay and you can download and print all the photos taken.
PhotoPass photographers are located all over Disney property. By the third day of our trip Grumpy was pointing them out and saying “Let’s get a picture here.” On our first trip we had over 1,000 photos during our eight days from PhotoPass! Our second trip was a little shorter and included almost 900 photos. Some of the quantity comes from interactive group experiences, but most of them are of our family around the parks or meeting characters. We took 94 PhotoPass photos at Epcot in one day!
One of the most common uses of PhotoPass photographers is at character meet-and-greets. Their position gives them a unique ability to capture amazing magical first moments meeting the characters. As a parent standing in line I don’t have the ability to jump in front of my child to get the right angle to see her reaction. Plus, if I do that I’ve changed the whole moment anyway. The most magical meet and greet moment was captured by a PhotoPass photographer that snapped our family portraits in Germany then answered some questions on when and exactly where to see Snow White. He walked us right to her spot. We were first in line and he was ready to capture my daughter’s excitement the moment she saw Snow White. She ran and gave her the biggest hug!
Another amazing moment was the look on my Diva’s face as she met Joy. I promised her we would do the meeting and an emergency potty break almost got in the way of it. Photopass didn’t miss the moment when her dream had come true!
Diva isn’t the only one that was captured on camera. Peanut couldn’t wait to show Buzz his little Buzz toy! He ran right to him with so much enthusiasm.
He also surprised us by greeting Minnie with a giant hug!
And ushered his sister off to meet Minnie at Epcot:
As he pushed her away Diva just stopped and turned her head to Minnie. Photopass caught the picture below. I was confused why she was frozen in place and then I realized she had stopped to show Minnie her tiny silver Minnie earrings.
What’s really cool is when they capture Grumpy, who doesn’t interact much with characters, doing a double high-five with Woody!
These are just a few of my favorite magical meeting moments that I never could have capture from my position in line. We also have many posed photos with the characters as well, but those aren’t the same as what happens at first sight!
Ride Photos (and videos)
Ride photos are almost as fun as character meets. You never know what you’re going to get. We actually didn’t even know about the the videos until someone in line to meet Gaston showed us. Most photos/videos are linked right to your Magic Band. Photos from Buzz Lightyear Space Spin need to be scanned to your band. Peanut now knows which rides have photos and wants to check out MyDisneyExperience right away to see his latest photo even though he generally looks terrified! Diva can’t wait to listen to Heigh Ho on the video over and over again!
Interactive Group Experiences
Photopass photographers are present at interactive experiences like Jedi Training, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial, and more. The photographers at these locations have their own ‘territory.’ Honestly, sometimes they were in my way, but they were doing their job and I was just a mom trying to snap a picture. It is important to know that you will get A LOT of photos from these events and only some will include your child. Depending on their “part” the amount will vary. Even if you’re in the audience you may end up in the shot!
(Note: Peanut is crying in our photos from Jedi Training and left the stage. I don’t feel I need to repeat the photo, but if you’d like to look back check out the Magical Malfunction post.)
PhotoPass photographers are also found at each park’s most common landmarks: Magic Kingdom’s Castle (from a variety of angles and several points along Main Street USA), the Train Station, Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life, Hollywood Studio’s Hollywood Boulevard and so many other points throughout all parks. No trip to Disney World would be complete without a picture in front of Cinderella Castle!
Magic Shots just fun little add-ons that Disney pops into the picture. (Think: Photoshop) They honestly don’t rank high in my favorite, but they are cute. It’s a bonus that the kids often find them to be funny. You can almost bet money that if your Photopass photographer asks you to do something you think will look rather awkward there’s a Magic Shot behind it.
There are so many places for PhotoPass around the parks. One of my favorites started in spring 2017 and quickly became very popular: The Tangled Lanterns! This is such a pretty backdrop and the picture of the kids holding the lantern is too cute! (Yes, I’m biased.)
There is no way I could choose one, two, or even just ten photos from each of our trips to download as souvenirs. The cost of downloading that many photos adds right back up to the advance purchase price for Memory Maker. I downloaded nearly two thousand photos (which took forever) and everyone in the family could pick their favorites and get prints. It’s the one thing that no question is worth every penny!