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Trip Planning

The process of planning your trip to Walt Disney World.

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Should you use Disney Photo Pass? It depends; I have and I will likely use again.

  • Jun 26, 2011

Blogger Bruce and DW Mary Ann
captured by a Disney PhotoPass Photographer

Today I’d like to talk about the Disney PhotoPass Service. Some people will rave about PhotoPass and others will say the charges are too high for the number of pictures. My opinion is that it depends.

  • It depends on whether this is your first time using PhotoPass. I think there is real value to using PhotoPass at least for one vacation; or every vacation when new groups of people accompany you. But I wouldn’t use PhotoPass every trip the “World”.
  • It depends on whether you like to be creative with your photos and do editing on the computer. If you like to add Disney borders and designs on your pictures or if you are a scrap-book person, you might like the options available to you on the PhotoPass site.
  • It depends on the type of pictures you take. If you like to get pictures with you in the photo, and if you like to have you appear with major Disney landmarks, then PhotoPass will be really helpful in this regard.
I’ve used Disney PhotoPass Service one time in the last two visits. And I do study what's available at Disney and elsewhere on the web in order to get the best deal in prints and web posts. Also, premium items affixing your photographs are not cheap, and it may be worthwhile to check out the best prices at various sources before ordering specialty items just through PhotoPass.

However, there is some real value to taking advantage of the at least the basic photo package available through PhotoPass for a number of reasons. For example, since our next trip will include some new family members including one of the grandchildren, I will likely consider PhotoPass to help record this first time visitor.

Let's begin at the beginning. Throughout the parks and in other places around Walt Disney World you will find Disney-trained professional photographers just waiting to take your picture. Simply walk up to a Disney PhotoPass photographer (the ones with the distinctive clothing and holding a camera), ask for a PhotoPass card and pose. After that, every time you see another PhotoPass cast member, give them your card and have another photo taken.

Let's now go home (oh, it's always way too soon), register for the Disney PhotoPass web account if you haven't already, and see all those pictures taken of you and your family throughout your visit. At this point, you decide what you want to purchase. But remember you need to check out your pictures within 30 days of your vacation. There is a time limit before they disappear, although you can pay to extend the time.

OK, let's go back to Disney and resume your vacation (yippee) and talk about PhotoPass.

You can easily spot the PhotoPass Cast Members.

Disney PhotoPass photographers are always found in places offering some of the best background for pictures. You see them on Main Street in front of Cinderella's Castle, for example, or on the bridge across from the International Gateway in Epcot. And they are ready day or night to capture from one member to your whole family in a picture or series of pictures. And they will take your picture with your camera too.

Getting everyone in the shot is a real benefit, since the person taking pictures during your vacation is usually the one NOT in all the photos. Many times when I'm walking around the park, I offer to take pictures when I see a situation like that; and I've asked others to help out me as well. But not everyone knows how to take a good picture (i.e. use of the telephoto or how to focus correctly). So the Disney photographers are really good for this purpose.

And with PhotoPass, you don’t just have the pictures they take as is. There is an editing feature and some extras such as borders so you can "plus" the product. The photographers themselves have some tricks they use to make your pictures a little more interesting. They may ask you to cup your hands, and the final picture will have you holding Tinkerbelle for example. Several different poses are available to the photographer so follow their directions (There is a sample link below).

PhotoPass Character Pose

And Disney also offers many photo products like mugs and mouse pads and tee shirts onto which you can add a photograph. This is where you might want to do a little comparison shopping. But first, you need to purchase the pictures so you can decide what's best for you. As such, the basic item which is the best offer is to purchase the Disney Photo CD.

By the way, you can also upload your own photos onto the PhotoPass site for editing and adding to Disney products (but not to the Disney Photo CD). And Disney provides some of their own photographs you can include as well.

So let's look at some of the basic pricing. Disney does offer specials, usually based on a minimum purchase amount, but check out your travel documents also since Disney often includes specials with your resort reservations. But, here are some examples.
  • Disney PhotoPass PhotoCD - $149.95 (additional copies $19.95). This is the best deal since if you were going to download 10 photos, you paid for the CD. (See special below.)
  • Disney Photo Book starting at $79.95. Choose a layout and design, add captions and other text, put up to 5 photos a page and up to 60 pages in this letter-size booklet. (See another special below).
  • Individual Photo Downloads at $14.95 for .jpg file
  • Prints at 4 x 6 for 19 cents each
  • Disney Photo Mug for $19.95
  • Disney Ears Magnet at $14.95
You can check out all the products and their pricing by registering on the Disney Photo Pass site at any time, and in fact, you might as well register before you go and start thinking about how you will use PhotoPass. One way is to let everyone in your party have their own PhotoPass card. This way, you can have pictures taken as a large group, smaller groups or individuals. Then, you when you get home and login to the site, you can combine everyone's PhotoPass ID number onto the one PhotoPass CD.
I did find a special price if you purchase the DisneyCD prior to your visit for pictures taken after you pay for the CD. The price is $99.95, a $50 savings. Use this website.

You can also get an $80 savings on the Disney Ultimate Memory Package that starts with the DisneyCD but also includes a Disney Photo Book. Use the same website for more information.
But remember, specials and prices can change without notice. This is Disney you know.

Here is a pretty complete list of Disney photo products: Photo Book, Photo Cards, Photo CD, Individual Photo Downloads, Gallary CD (Disney provided photos), Mug, Prints, Puzzle, Luggage Tags, Water Bottle, Note Pads, Labels, Calendars, Mouse Pad, Magnet, Christmas Ornaments, and a Canvas Print.

Another feature of the Disney PhotoPass website is the ability to share your photos with others, to email greeting cards or to post some of your virtual products. And you can send cards now even before your trip.

Another great Disney PhotoPass memory.

Here are some other answers to questions you might have about Disney PhotoPass:
  • Secure a photo pass card from any PhotoPass photographer, they are free. Get one for every person in your party. Have everyone take pictures everywhere they go.
  • The picture you have taken can also be put on multiple cards among your party, if you want, but each person will use their own ID numbers on their PhotoPass account. You can’t duplicate ID numbers among the various accounts on the website.
  • There is no limit to the number of PhotoPass pictures you can put on a PhotoCD. The photos you take, however, are separate. So gather up all the PhotoPass ID numbers from your group and put them on a single CD order, since you can add multiple ID numbers to one account.
  • Ride photos are generally excluded from the PhotoPass, except for Test Track.
  • You can upload photos from your own camera to use in our photo products or to order prints. Note that uploaded photos follow the same storage policy as Disney's PhotoPass photos. You'll have a maximum of 30 days from when you upload them to use them.
In addition to outside locations in front of attractions all over the parks, here are some other places you'll find Disney PhotoPass Photographers taking pictures you can add to your PhotoCD or apply to premium items:
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Parks
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (before, during and after your child’s makeover)
  • At select Dining Locations: But you must first purchase the photos offered tableside, those photos can be added to your Disney’s PhotoPass account: Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus; Norway in Epcot; Restaurantosauras at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park; Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort; Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at; Disney’s Polynesian Resort; ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort; Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue and the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue Dinner show at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort; Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom® Park (photos included with meal price)
  • Professional Portrait Service at Selected Resorts, but they will add a sitting fee which is required
Websites for more information about PhotoPass:

A World View - Enjoying Walt Disney World

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Bruce Brodsky ()
Ranked #116
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