Disney’s PhotoPass

When I was a kid and our family headed to Disney World I remember having our photo taken by Disney photographers outside the parks, inside the parks, on rides, etc., etc. But I also remember standing in a mass crowd of people after a long hot day at the parks to view the photos the Disney photographers had taken. Back then my parents had to stand in that line to view the photos and then try to decide (on the spot) which photo’s they wanted to buy. It was never a fun experience. As a kid, I wanted to go back to the hotel and I’m sure my parents dealing with 3 kids whining about being tired didn’t help, eventually exasperation would set in and we always seemed to head out of the parks without any photo’s taken by the Disney photographers.

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I learned at a young age, however, that even though my parents didn’t buy those Disney photo’s they took a ton of pictures while we were on vacation. We shared them with friends and family and as technology has advanced scanned them all into our computers so we can watch them on digital frames and our computers.  Having as many photo’s as possible to capture everything about a vacation was ingrained in me at a young age. The biggest downfall, at least 1 member of your family is always NOT in the picture (of course they are behind the camera). Unless of course you are traveling with family or friends that can take your family photo, or can find a stranger you can trust to take your photo. It’s always a dilemma, and that’s where the photo’s that Disney took were always great (too bad my parents never purchased them).

So, in November of 2008 when our family of 6 headed to Disney World for a  jam-packed, fun-filled 4 days, I was excited not only about the vacation but about all those photo opportunities! With my brand new Nikon digital camera in hand, our old digital camera (you can never have enough cameras) and information on Disney’s PhotoPass, I was ready to record family memories.

We took hundreds of pictures while on our trip. But by far, one of the best things we did was use Disney’s PhotoPass and order the Photo CD when we returned.  Disney PhotoPass started in December of 2004, and I have to say Disney has perfected the art of taking photo’s of guests in the parks. Here’s how it works.

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You get a little card (like the one pictured) or a smaller version and on the back is a bar code. The Disney photographers scan this bar code, take your photo’s, and then hand you back the card. It’s so easy. Then you can use this card over and over again while your at Disney. You can also accumulate multiple cards (the Disney photographers have them and will give you a new one if you need it). Hang on to your cards, or the numbers at the very least, because they are your only link to your photo’s. I made sure to write down each card number as soon as I received it – just in case we lost one. Although with today’s technology you could just as easily take a photo with your SmartPhone so you don’t have to worry about writing down the number.

When you return from your trip you log into www.disneyphotopass.com and enter all of your PhotoPass cards (they all have numbers on them). Then you have 30 days to decide what photo’s you want, if you want things made (mugs, photo albums, individual prints, etc), or if you want to purcahse a CD with Copyright Release to keep. We paid about $125 or so to order a PhotoPass CD and then when I received the CD I was able to get the photo’s I wanted made at my local printer using the copyright release – it was wonderful. Plus I have all those photos saved now on my computer and a CD.

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Since 2008, when I last used PhotoPass, Disney has made some changes to the program. When I was there I was able to include all my Disney photo’s (including the ones taken at dining venues) in my PhotoPass CD. However, now you have to choose either the standard or PhotoPass Plus plan to get those. I took some information from my PhotoPass account to share (current as of July 11, 2013 – info subject to change):

Disney’s PhotoPass CD includes:

  • Unlimited PhotoPass photos in your account
  • The ability to customize your photos with fun Disney borders
  • Magic Shot photos

PhotoPass Plus which includes:

  • Unlimited PhotoPass photos in your account
  • The ability to customize your photos with fun Disney borders
  • Magic Shot photos
  • Photos from select dining locations
  • Photos from select attractions
  • Photos from other Disney experiences
  • Your Disney PhotoPass+ card for Photographers to recognize

You can also save if you pre-purchase your Photo Pass before you travel (at least 14-days prior to travel). You can get more information online at www.disneyphotopass.com.

In hindsight, if I could go back to 2008 and do anything differently I would have had the Disney photographers TAKE MORE PICTURES! I didn’t realize at the time that I was able to have unlimited photo’s on my CD so I didn’t have Disney take as many photo’s as I should have, in total we only took 54 (many similar pictures to make sure the photo turned out). The next time I”m at Disney we will definitely pre-purchase the PhotoPass to save money, most likely the PhotoPass plus, and we will take MORE PICTURES!

For all of you heading to Disney, Happy Memory Making!.

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