I will almost always recommend Disney’s Memory Maker and here is why…
It is highly likely that if you are taking a magical vacation to Walt Disney World that you will be taking pictures, and probably a bunch of them. If you are a mom like me, you are probably the one taking the pictures and not in most of them unless it’s a selfie, am I right?
This is a great way for everyone to be in the photo making it great to capture the memories of everyone together. It’s also proof that you were on vacation, too and not just the photographer!
- What is Disney’s Memory Maker?
- How Much Does Memory Maker Cost?
- How Does Memory Maker Work?
- Pros & Cons
- What Does Memory Maker Include?
- What Are Magic Shots?
- Where Are Memory Maker Magic Shots?
- Memory Maker Is Included for Disney’s Water Parks
- More Walt Disney World Information
What is Disney’s Memory Maker?
Memory Maker and PhotoPass are two in one and interchangeable.
PhotoPass is the actual service provided by Disney that stages photographers around the parks to take your pictures with certain backdrops of the park. You can purchase individual photos through PhotoPass.
Memory Maker is actually what Disney sells as the unlimited digital package deal that you can purchase with all of your PhotoPass photos.
You can pre-purchase Memory Maker up to 3-days prior to your vacation at a discount or you can purchase it at retail if you decide you want it later during your vacation. See pricing below.
Photos will remain in your PhotoPass account for 45 days after the picture was taken, so if you purchased Memory Maker or individual photos, make sure you download them or you will lose them.
How Much Does Memory Maker Cost?
Disney has two options for purchasing Memory Maker. You can do an advanced purchase for $169 or you can buy it at retail for $199.
For the retail purchase, you can start using it right away; however, for the advance purchase, you can’t use it for 3 days. For example, if you wait to buy it on your first day of vacation, you will have to pay individually for those photos until Memory Maker kicks in 3 days later. Plan ahead and purchase it in advance of your vacation!
NOTE: Memory Maker is non-refundable.
TIP: You only need one package for your entire party of your vacation. Make sure everyone is linked together in My Disney Experience. Memory Maker will work for up to 25 in your group.
How Does Memory Maker Work?
Once you purchase Memory Maker or even if you want individual PhotoPass photos, you will be able to access them via Photopass website here.
I find it even simpler to access my PhotoPass photos through My Disney Experience –> Disney PhotoPass.
Once a photographer takes your photo they will scan your magic band or if you don’t have a magic band, they will provide you a card that you can scan for all your photos and link to your account.
The photos will show up in your PhotoPass account. With My Disney Experience and if you have Memory Maker, it’s a quick push of a button to download that photo to your phone’s photos. Easy peasy!
Note: PhotoPass photos don’t always show up right away. They sometimes appear right away and sometimes it can be hours before they show up.
TIP: Take a picture of the card in case you lose it so you have the information to link it to your account. They can give you another card, but you don’t want to lose any photos!
Pros & Cons
Memory Maker Cons
You have to look for the PhotoPass cast member and at times wait in line for a photo. You have to remember to keep an eye out and purposefully stop and make time for a photo.
The photographers don’t always capture the most perfect or best pictures. They can definitely be hit or miss! I have had pictures turn out blurry or dark or just flat out awful. However, I have also have had some really amazing shots that I would never have gotten myself.
For most PhotoPass locations, you can hand your camera to the cast member and they can take the same photo for you with your camera/phone. (Not all locations, but most). This can save you the $169-199. In contrary to this, I have found that half of these photos do come back better quality with the PhotoPass, so this is hit or miss.
Memory Maker Pros
First and most importantly, EVERYONE is in the photo. Some of my favorite family photos are ones from Disney’s PhotoPass services.
The Magic Shots are so much fun! You have to know about these and request them, so make sure every time you get a photo, ask them for a Magic Shot! See below for some examples of magic shots from each park.
NOTE: There are a few Magic Shots at nighttime, so still ask; however, most of them don’t show up at night so they will tell you if they don’t offer it at that location.
What Does Memory Maker Include?
Memory Maker includes unlimited digital downloads of your PhotoPass photos taken, but it also includes videos. See below for a couple of examples. You will have access to ride photos, videos, select characters photos, Magic Shots, discounts on prints, as well as an option to purchase personalized products.
Every ride that has a photo camera and takes your picture will be included. These make fun memories especially when you capture the expressions of your friends and family their first time on a ride.
Check out the video for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Memory Maker includes photos taken at select restaurants and throughout the parks with select characters. Note that not all restaurants include PhotoPass services for character meet and greets, only specific ones like for the Beast at Be Our Guest, the Evil Queen at Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White, and others.
What Are Magic Shots?
Magic Shots are when Disney PhotoPass adds in special features or characters into the picture with you. These can also include video. Take a look at some below.
Where Are Memory Maker Magic Shots?
Magic Shots in the Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World is getting more creative with their photos. They now include video shots that zoom in and out. This shot, in particular, can be found towards Tommowland in the center of the hub.
You will be looking up at the camera, so strategically plan for a time in the day where you aren’t looking right into the sun like us or wear sunglasses!
Other places you can look for magic shots are at the entrance of the park. For the holiday special events, they will include some exclusive shots.
Main Street is another great place for some magic including balloons and Tinkerbell. Work on those surprise faces. (I guess we never learn and need some work!)
In the evening, if you are near Rapunzel’s Tower, you can capture a lantern photo. This one may be hit or miss as ours all turned out really dark and the ones with the four of us, well, you really couldn’t see the boys at all!
Make sure to head over to the Little Mermaid and capture a shot with Sebastian!
Magic Shots in Epcot
There are some fun shots in Epcot, too! If you are looking for Chip, head to France. You can find Figment throughout the park.
TIP: Each country will have its own special magic shot! Make it a challenge to get them all!
Magic Shots in Hollywood Studios
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge also has the video magic shot near the Millenium Falcon. Go the arched rock formation away from the Millenium Falcon and find the PhotoPass cast member.
Toy Story Land has a magic shot with the green army men and you can find one with Jack-Jack near Pixar Place. The main park entrance and Hollywood Blvd. are great places to look as well. Otherwise, I personally feel like Hollywood Studios doesn’t have as many as the other parks.
Magic Shots in the Animal Kingdom
First of all, Pandora is just a beautiful backdrop for pictures to begin with. The magic shot includes a Banshee which is perfect for this Magic Shot!
Make sure to stop around the Tree of Life as there are many magic shots you may get surprised with there among the hyenas from Lion King, Simba, Kevin from Up, and more.
You will find PhotoPass cast members throughout the park. Mount Everest makes a fun backdrop with some magic shots as well as areas around Harambe Market.
There are magic shots at the entrance just like all the other parks, too.
Memory Maker Is Included for Disney’s Water Parks
PhotoPass services are definitely more limited at the water parks, but they are there.
Have a MAGICAL vacation!