I’ve seen this question asked quite a bit over the past week and I thought I would chime in as to some thoughts.
First off… is it worth it? It depends. Believe me, this is not a wishy-washy answer. It really depends on if you will use the product to your advantage. Let me explain a bit…
Right now for guests visiting Walt Disney World, it costs $169. $149 if you preorder the product at least 3 days before you arrive. It may seem like a pricey offering. I mean, its not chump change by any stretch. It includes any and all pictures that the PhotoPass photographers take during your trip, pictures taken at certain attractions, character meetings, as well as character meals that include a picture package. For any other character meals where you choose to buy a photo package, you get a PhotoPass code where you can have it added to your Memory Maker package. In essence, if you get a photopass code from something -you can have it added to your package.
For us, during a typical 7 day trip, we get anywhere between 200-300 pictures taken by photographers. We stop and pause when we can. We interact with the different photographers, letting them know we preordered. Letting them know may prompt them to get creative. (A lot of them make it into a mini photo shoot.) When we split up as a family, we each take pictures by ourselves and capture those memories as many times as possible. There are serious pictures, funny pictures, goofy pictures, and even a few “photobombs” in there that really add to the collection. You just have to put in a bit of effort to get the widest collection of photos that capture the essence of your family.
There are Photographers all over the plave. Even if you think they are just wondering around, ask them to take your picture. Chances are, they will do so with a smile. They are also at the water parks and even at Disney Springs at times. Ask them if they have any magic shots and who knows might show up in your picture!!
When you get home, you can edit the photos many different ways. You can add borders, edit and crop the photos, as well as add small “magic” pictures to your pictures as well. My wife can easily double the number of pictures we have in our collection just through those edits.
So, lets say we have 500 pictures to choose from. What do we do with them?
The easy answer is – anything you want!
This is where the answer to the “is it worth it?” question comes into play.
- If you think you want to have certain pictures printed by Disney – they are about $15 each. That adds up very fast!!
- Want some sort of photo gift created like a mug, mouse pad, or calendar? Disney will charge a premium for those items and then you have to figure out how to get them home.
- Got that great family shot and you want to use it for your Christmas card? Its going to cost you even for the digital version.
- Do you like to create photobooks? Disney makes them – but they are limited in size and are very expensive.
- Do you need a photo for a work profile that shows you with a smile like you are having a great time? Now’s your chance. (Yes, my profile picture at work is me in front of the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom.)
- Take a selection of photos and put them in a digital picture frame.
As you can see, you can do a lot with those pictures. There are many more ideas than I can possibly list. However, you can take those same photos and use them any way you want with MemoryMaker. You get a release that allows you to use them at any place that prints picture products for you.
Is it worth it for you? As you can see, it really depends. If you love pictures and have ideas on how to use them – this could be a great investment. If you dont really want to stop for pictures or you dont think you will use them that extensively, then you might want to bypass the option.
For us? We include them in a large mega-sized photobook. Our books contain about 1100-1300 pictures, which consists about 15% or more of PhotoPass pictures. The rest are taken by my family. (Ok, most of them are taken by me, but every one of us contributes.) Our largest photobook was 400 pages (maxed out) and contained 1250 pictures. It was hard covered with a beautiful full-color print of one of my pictures. The book itself was not cheap, but it would have been more expensive to print out all the pictures, get the scrapbook materials, and the time to actually put it all together. Now, we have a collection of epic coffee-table “Disney Yearbooks” that capture all of us… and not just three of the four of us since one is behind the viewfinder of a camera.
Does PhotoPass and/or MemoryMaker replace taking your own pictures? Personally, I don’t think so. There are so many things such as cameos of my family and ride photos that I love to photograph that I still use my own camera.
I hope that gives you some info that will help you decide if the investment is worth it. If you think it is and you go for it – it would be great to hear how you use the pictures. Feel free to comment below and share with your friends.
Have a great and magical day!