If you’re familiar with PhotoPass at Disney World, you may be wondering if the Memory Maker option is worth the cost. Let’s take a look!
Is Memory Maker worth it at Disney World? We’ll give you the pros and cons.
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When you visit Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, you naturally want to capture the magic in the form of both beautiful photos and candid shots of your loved ones.
That’s why the Disney Parks offer an add-on service when you visit their parks, known as the Memory Maker.
If you’re not familiar with it, Memory Maker is a service that allows you to essentially create a digital gallery of your trip.
Each time that you have your photo taken by a PhotoPass photographer located throughout Disney parks, the photographer will scan your Magic Band or Disney ticket and it will automatically upload these photos into your My Disney Experience app.
The same is true of attraction photos taken while you’re on the rides!
Then you have access to all of the photos as digital downloads.
This sounds like a fantastic benefit, and you may be wondering…why wouldn’t I want to do that?! The answer really depends on a few factors.
Should I Buy Memory Maker?
If you would have asked me several years ago, I would’ve told you to absolutely purchase Memory Maker, that it’s a no-brainer and one of the Disney World splurges you should take.
But as time has passed and technology has advanced, it now becomes less of a no-brainer, and more of an evaluation of the pros and cons for your particular situation.
Today I am going to break down what’s included with Memory Maker, how it works, and the details of the service (such as cost and limitations).
This will help you decide if Memory Maker is worth it for your vacation!
What’s Included with Memory Maker
Let’s start with what you actually receive when you purchase the Memory Maker service.
Memory Maker allows you access to view and download all of the photos and videos taken by a PhotoPass photographer in the parks.
It also gives you access to the photos that are taken on rides and attractions (think the photos of screaming family members on Everest in Animal Kingdom)!
How Much Does Memory Maker Cost?
As I mentioned previously, the Memory Maker is an add-on service that requires additional purchase beyond your park ticket cost.
There are a few different options that you can select.
Keep in mind that prices and options are subject to change (you can always check prices here), but at the time of this article’s publishing, Disney offers:
Memory Maker One Day – $69.00
This package allows you to view and download all of your photos and videos from one day of your choosing.
Memory Maker Advance Purchase – $169.00
This package allows you to view and download all photos and videos for the extent of your vacation.
Because this is an advance purchase discount, the package must be purchased more than 3 days before the start of your trip.
If you purchase this option and take any photos/videos within 3 days of your purchase they will NOT be included or accessible with your memory maker purchase.
Memory Maker Same Day Purchase – $199.00
If you decide to wait to purchase Memory Maker within 3 days prior to your trip or the day of your trip, the cost is slightly more.
Again this allows you to view and download all photos and videos for the full extent of your vacation.
How Memory Maker Works
When you’re in the Disney theme parks, you’ll notice there are Disney PhotoPass photographers stationed throughout the parks, who are available to take photos of you and your travel party.
There are also cameras on many of the rides, which automatically snap a photo of guests during the attraction.
With Memory Maker, each time your photo is taken by one of these means, you will need to either have your Magic Band or PhotoPass card scanned.
This connects your photos to your PhotoPass account and gives you the access to view and download them.
Please note: If you skip this step and don’t have your account scanned, you will NOT be able to access those photos.
Although your photos will typically be available for viewing and downloading within minutes of scanning, it can take up to 24 hours for photos to load to your My Disney Experience account.
Why You SHOULDN’T Purchase Disney Memory Maker
Now that we have broken down what Memory Maker actually is and the details of what it entails, let’s take a look at some reasons why you may not want to spend the extra money on this service.
As I’m sure you are aware, the cost of a Walt Disney World vacation is nothing to sneeze at.
Although the Disney payment plan is helpful, it still comes down to whether or not you can or want to spend the money.
If you’re on a tight budget, shelling out an additional $169-$199 for the purchase of your photos is really not necessary.
Today’s Technology and Cameras
Years ago, having a professional photographer snap your pic in front of Cinderella’s Castle was a great way to get a quality photo.
But with the advancement of smart phones and their cameras over the last few years, you can get really stellar photos with your own smart devices.
I will mention, the only downside of using your own device for these photos is that you will not be able to access the photos from select attractions without making a purchase, and you of course have to use your storage/battery of your own device in order to take your photos.
Utilize PhotoPass Photographers
Many guests don’t know this, but you can ask any of the PhotoPass photographers throughout the parks if they will take your photo using your own camera or device.
And they will absolutely do it for you!
This allows you to still have your family photos taken by someone that knows the best shots and angles, but you are saving money by using your own device.
Want to have your photo taken in front of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom? Ask the PhotoPass photographer to shoot your photo!
Handing over your device to a trusted cast member of Disney Parks is also less risky than than asking another guest/stranger to take your photo.
Photographers Can Be Hard to Find
In previous years, there were PhotoPass photographers everywhere throughout the park.
Today, it’s a little bit harder to find a photographer, which limits the benefit of the Memory Maker service.
It seems that most of the photographers now have designated stations and photo stops. So there just aren’t quite as many opportunities for magic shots as in the past.
Who Would Benefit From a Memory Maker Package?
If you don’t have a smart phone with a great camera, don’t have enough storage on your device, or lose battery power quickly, Memory Maker could be a great fail-safe option for getting some great photos.
If you have your heart set on getting access to all of the ride photos, you will likely want to purchase Memory Maker, since those aren’t photos you can take with your own device.
Or, if you want to make sure every possible photo opportunity is taken advantage of, Memory Maker may be a Disney splurge worth taking.
Whether or Not to Buy Memory Maker at Disney
Ultimately, only you can decide whether this purchase is worth it to you.
In my personal opinion, the average Disney vacation guest doesn’t need to spend extra money on the Memory Maker service.
Using your own smart device to take your photos/videos in Disney Parks is the route to take for most guests, especially if you are looking to cut costs for your vacation.
More Helpful Disney Planning Resources:
- The Cheapest Time to Go to Disney World
- How the Disney Payment Plan Works
- Must-Know Disney World Transportation Tips
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