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When planning a trip to Disney World, one of the many decisions you need to make is whether to buy Disney’s Memory Maker. Like so many other aspects of a Disney World trip, the answer will vary from family to family. For some, it is a must. For others, it is a waste of money. Here is everything you need to know about Disney’s Memory Maker so you can decide whether it is the best decision for your family. (Updated July 26, 2019)
What Is the Memory Maker?
Disney’s Memory Maker is basically an all-inclusive photo package of your Walt Disney World vacation. Disney World has a whole staff of professional photographers scattered throughout the parks. Anytime one of them take your picture with their camera, it will be added to your Photopass account. You can later view those photos and order individual prints of the ones you like. But, by purchasing the Memory Maker, you will get digital downloads of every photo in your account. Disney releases the copyright on those photos, meaning that you can use them for your personal use however you want. You can share them on social media, print them, or use them on your Christmas cards.
Factors to Consider
Below are several factors for you to consider in determining whether the Memory Maker is a good purchase for you.
If purchased in advance of your trip, the Memory Maker will cost you $169. But, you will not have access to any photos taken within three days of your purchase. If you wait until you arrive at Disney World to buy the package, you will pay $199. I would suggest making the decision on whether to buy it prior to your trip, so that you can save that $30 by buying it early.
If your vacation dollars are tight and every penny counts, then this is an easy place to save some money. You can still enjoy all the fun and magic of Disney World without the having this package. And if you take your own camera, you can still capture some great memories of your trip. The Photopass photographers and other cast members will happily take your photo with your camera free of charge.
If, however, you have some room in the budget, then definitely consider buying the Memory Maker. It will give you access to some amazing pictures and some extras like magic shots and on-ride photos.
Not all rides have on-ride photo capabilities. However, for the ones that do, you get these pictures free of charge with the Memory Maker. Some rides, like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Frozen Ever After, read your magic band and automatically add your on-ride photos to your Photopass account without any action on your part. For other rides, like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Test Track, you will need to scan your magic band at the photo counter at the end of the ride in order to add them to your account. If you like on-ride photos, then the Memory Maker is a great, cost-effective way to get all of these pictures.
At some character meal locations, you will find a Photopass photographer. Usually, these photographers will be stationed in the lobby area of the restaurant. They will take your photo prior to entering for your meal. These character meal photos will be added to your Photopass account and included with the Memory Maker.
The character meals that have Photopass photographers are Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom, Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway, 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort, Tusker House in Animal Kingdom, Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort, Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Polynesian Village, and Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review at Fort Wildnerness Resort.
If your family enjoys, or plans to eat at, one or more character meals on your trip, you should consider buying the Memory Maker. These character meal photos can be some of the best pictures of the entire trip. Like with the on-ride photos, the Memory Maker can be a budget-friendly way to buy these photos.
Magic Shots are photos taken by Photopass photographers that characters pop up in when viewed in your account. Sometimes, you will be posed for a normal picture only to find out later that one or more characters jumped into the photo. Sometimes, the photographer will have you pose in a silly position. This is to add the characters in later. There are a variety of characters that make magic shot appearances, including Tinkerbell, Mickey and Minnie, Baymax, Timon and Pumbaa, Stitch and others. Magic Shots always make for fun surprises when you view your photos. If you are a fan of Magic Shots, you should definitely get the Memory Maker so you can take full advantage of the ability to get Magic Shots taken.
Creative Frames and Stickers
Before downloading your photos, you can add a variety of creative frames and stickers to them. These can include character autographs, banners and frames. You must add these enhancements to the photos prior to downloading or purchasing the prints. If you do add any of these digital extras, you can add them as a copy, so you will have access to the original photo as well. If you are a scrapbooker, these creative additions can really enhance your photos.
You Love Photos or Can’t Decide
If you just love photos and can’t get enough, then you will want to buy the Memory Maker. This is true, even if you take your own camera. Sometimes, the Photopass photographers will capture moments that you don’t even notice at the time. This is especially true when meeting characters.
If you have trouble deciding which pictures to get, you will want to purchase the Memory Maker. This way, you won’t have to choose. You can have them all! If you take a lot of photos during your trip, the Memory Maker will be well worth the cost. It is not unusual for us to end up with hundreds of Photopass photos at the end of a week-long trip.
Everyone Can Be in the Photos
With Photopass, everyone gets to be in the pictures. This will prevent you from having to explain to your kids years from now that you did not send them to Disney World with just dad. You will have the pictures to prove that you were there with them too!
No Camera or a Bad One
If you have no camera or a bad one, get the Memory Maker. This will allow you to have photos of all of those magical memories that you make during the trip. While you can take photos with your phone, I guarantee you that the pictures taken by the Photopass photographers will be much better than those you take with your phone.
We always get the Memory Maker when we go to Disney World. I feel that it is worth every penny. I like that I don’t have to decide which photos I want to buy. We always take plenty of photos to make it worth the price. Another thing that I love about Photopass photographers is that they are so good at capturing the candid moments as they happen. They will start taking pictures of my son the moment he walks up to a character. Sometimes these candid pictures are the best ones! I also enjoy getting all of the on-ride and character meal photos too. For us, the Memory Maker is a must.
Whether you get the Memory Maker is a personal decision. It won’t ruin your trip if you skip it, but it can greatly enhance your trip if you do buy it. I hope that this list of factors helps you to decide what is best for your next trip. For more on the Memory Maker, see my tips for using it. For help planning your trip, see my step-by-step guide and best resources. To book your trip, visit Disney’s website. Happy travels!
P.S. Want more help planning your next Disney World trip? Get all of our FREE Disney planning tools, including our Disney packing list and Disney Trip Itinerary at a Glance in our Travel Resource Library. See the box below for details on how to get the password to the library.