Wake up extra early? Check. First in line at the bus? Check. Through the ticket gate and in time for Rope Drop? Check. Take digital SLR camera out in preparation of Welcome Show? Check. Take 1 test picture? Check. Drop camera and have pieces fly everywhere? Check. That was how we started our 2016 Walt Disney World vacation and the reason I became familiar with Disney PhotoPass.
The purpose of this blog post is to save you having to go to the trouble of smashing your camera to find out about Disney PhotoPass. We recently traveled to Disneyland and now I’m sharing my knowledge of the Disney PhotoPass at Disneyland with you!
What is Disney PhotoPass at Disneyland?
Disney has photographers located at most key photo spots (more on this below) where they will take your photo with their professional, high quality, digital cameras. The photographer will initially give you a bar code (via app, web, or a card) that links to your photos. You can continue to give this bar code to each photographer and the pictures get added to your account. A full list of photos included in the Disney PhotoPass is listed in the paragraphs that follow. After your vacation you can download your photos within 45 days. Trust me, it’s easy to use!
Why I Like the Disney PhotoPass at Disneyland:
- Saves you from bringing a camera.
- We rely on our phones for the majority of our photos, but we still want some vacation memories we can frame. The Disney PhotoPass pictures are top quality and perfect for framing.
- You can be in your vacation photos.
- No more playing photographer or asking a stranger to do that. We also like that some photos don’t look like you’re at Disneyland – they look like we sweat a lot and then hired a professional photographer for family photos.
- It is a good value to buy a Disney PhotoPass, especially if you want Dining Photos.
- One day is $39 and one week is $78.
Disney PhotoPass Options + Pricing
You can purchase a one day Disney PhotoPass for $39 or a one week Disney PhotoPass for $78. The photos covered by both options include:
- Disney PhotoPass photos (including RunDisney race photos and photos from character greetings).
- Attraction photos (i.e., see Splash Mountain).
- Dining photos (i.e., the coveted Mickey Mouse family photo from PCH Grill).
- Magic shots (i.e., photos with embellishments added by the photographer).
The price for the Disney PhotoPass at Disneyland doesn’t change based on when you purchase it. Unlike the Walt Disney World Memory Maker, the price for a Disney PhotoPass doesn’t increase if you buy it last minute. Also, when you buy it isn’t the same as when you activate it. I bought mine on a Monday, but didn’t activate it until the Thursday when we encountered Mickey Mouse out for an unexpected stroll.
One thing that surprised me was the cost of Dining Photos at the character dining restaurants. If I recall correctly, the photo package at Goofy’s Kitchen was almost $40 and if I didn’t already have the PhotoPass I’d be horrible at saying no. A person actually comes to your table with your photos printed out in a beautiful portfolio, which also includes recipes from the restaurant you’re at and they sell it as a package. Thankfully, if you have the Disney PhotoPass and can show that it is active for that time (take out the App and voila) then you get the digital pictures without having to buy the printed out package.
Stop for Photos
If you’ve spent the money on the Disney PhotoPass, make sure you stop and get your photos taken. Using the Disneyland App you can view where the photographers are located. That said, it is pretty intuitive – almost all of the must have photo spots have a Disney photographer present.
I mentioned above that you can get some photos taken that don’t look like you’re at Disneyland. This adds to the versatility of the Disney PhotoPass because now you have some great professional looking family photos that you don’t necessarily associate with a Disney vacation.
Also if you’re on an attraction that has photos, you’ll want to stop at the end and record the code associated with your photo so you can link it to your Disney PhotoPass account later. I found it easiest to snap a picture with my phone of the code rather than try to enter it on the App in the moment.
Tip: if you want a less crowded Castle picture then get it taken earlier in the day. However, we’ve never had a problem with the number of people floating through the background of our photos.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for a Magic Shot
We weren’t having any magic shots offered to us so towards the end of our trip I asked a photographer if they could take a Magic Shot. The photographer was happy to do so, but didn’t tell me what “magic” they’d be adding. The photographer only advised how to pose. I’m really happy with how the magic shot turned out and its extra special since we were in Disneyland for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.
Alternative to Disney PhotoPass
One alternative to the Disney PhotoPass is to ask the Disney PhotoPass photographer to take a photo with your camera. They are going to get a pretty good photo and while they’ll snap some with their official camera, you can simply choose not to buy them. Even during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, cast members (not official photographers) were ready to take a photo with your phone/camera for you.
Just so we’re clear..
I don’t get paid for supporting or speaking positively for any products on this blog. Anything I choose to endorse is because I truly believe in it.