PhotoPass Perks and Pitfalls

As you walk around the parks you’ve probably noticed cast members in safari type khaki vests and blue shorts; although they look like they’ve escaped from the Animal Kingdom, I assure you, they are where they belong. Who are these people and what are they doing roaming the streets of Mainstreet U.S.A.? They are PhotoPass Photographers.

For those of you not familiar with the purpose of PhotoPass, take a look at your family photos from your past vacations…you probably notice that one of the family members is always missing (someone has to take the picture!) Disney’s PhotoPass eliminates that missing family member and gives you family photos in front of your favorite Disney landmarks, with everyone included, you can even have them “magically” enhanced.

There are many opinions on the value of PhotoPass and of course there are perks and pitfalls to the PhotoPass service. The perks:


Everyone wants that perfect family photo in front of your favorite Disney landmark, a PhotoPass photographer may be your best bet at getting that to happen.

PhotoPass services are free, you don’t have to pay a photographer to take your photo, they will even take one with your personal camera as well.

You can get more than a basic print when you choose the PhotoPass option. You can choose to have your photo “magically” enhanced with some fun Disney characters and special effects. In addition to enhanced photos you can turn your pictures into luggage tags, magnets, coffee mugs and more!

You can view and share your photos with family and friends online through the Disney PhotoPass website. You will have access to your photos for 30 days.

When you purchase the PhotoPass CD you get access to “the gallery” which has professional prints of each park, fireworks, characters and attractions from which you can purchase prints.

There are also PhotoPass portrait sessions available, visit a PhotoPass kiosk at your Disney resort for pricing and availability.

Those are just a few of the perks that PhotoPass has to offer; now let’s take a look at their corresponding pitfalls.

The Pitfalls:
Your dream photo could take a healthy chunk of change out of your budget. A single 5×7 print is $12.95, an 8×10 is $16.95.

You might end up loving the PhotoPass photo (and its options) and then you’ll incur the cost associated with purchasing the prints or package that you desire.

Yet again the cost of these memorable items might be outside of your budget.

You have to keep track of all of your PhotoPass cards, which each have a unique alpha numeric code. Each code must be entered online to access your photo (you will receive a PhotoPass card when your first picture is taken, try to use the same card for all of your photos, if you end up with multiple cards, go to a PhotoPass kiosk and ask them to consolidate your cards into one).

There are many things to love about PhotoPass, it’s convenient and creative and you can capture those magical moments with your entire family. For some folks the costs associated with bringing their dream photos home isn’t worth it, and some purchase multiple prints before even leaving the parks.

Tips for PhotoPass: If you know you are going to utilize the PhotoPass system, pre-purchase the CD online before your trip. The pre-purchase cost is $99.95 (regular cost $149.95), if you are unsure if the CD is a good value for you consider this: if you purchased (7) 5×7 prints, the CD would have paid for itself.

If you decide to use PhotoPass then USE it, A LOT. Look for all the locations of the PhotoPass photographers and take advantage of it, there is no limit to the number of photos you can have on your CD. If you have more than 300 photos, you’ll receive multiple CD’s but you won’t incur additional costs.

Remember that quality photography is not an absolute, so don’t trust that just because a PhotoPass photographer took your family photo it’s going to be perfect. Ask to view the photo on their camera and if you aren’t happy with it, take another. It might also be a good idea to have them take a photo with your camera as well, it doesn’t cost a penny and on occasion we’ve had our personal photos turn out better than the one’s taken on the PhotoPass camera.

The last tip, if you are attending a special event (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) look for the special event PhotoPass opportunities, you can even be photographed with the hitch-hinking ghosts from the Haunted Mansion! Guests at these special ticket events will also receive a special event PhotoPass card and a 40% off savings from any photo product ordered from that card, on that night. If you are interested in your prints, get to exposition hall plenty early before closing, it gets very crowded later in the night!

Whatever you decide about Disney’s PhotoPass service, we hope your trip is picture perfect! Now smile…and say MICKEY!

PhotoPass Perks and Pitfalls was last modified: April 9th, 2013 by guest blogging

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  • lk

    Even if you’re not attending a special event, it’s worth asking the photographer if they can do “magic” photos. We’ve had photos taken where they’ve added in Tinker Bell in someone’s hands, Stitch popping up from underground, a bunch of Mickey balloons in someone’s hand, baby Simba in someone’s arms, and several others.

  • Hairangel21

    I think the photos are good for viewing on the computer after trip for 30 days. Also the last 2 years I went to MNNSHP I had a pin for the photopass and the first time I viewed the MNNSHP (and only the first time) I was able to punch in the code and it gave me my forty percent off. That was great because I didn’t have to stand in line for photos and waste party time. Did they change these two things this year?