A Guide to Disney’s PhotoPass Service

By:  Laura

If there is one thing I love almost as much as being at WDW, its photo memories of past WDW trips! That is why I am a HUGE fan of Disney’s Photo Pass program. Some of my favorite pictures were taken by Disney’s Photo Pass photographers. Memories I will forever treasure. Take a look:

For those who aren’t familiar with Photo Pass, it’s really a fun concept. Most theme parks today do something similar, but because of the size of WDW and length of the average stay, Disney adapted a unique concept where as you’re not buying individual pictures everywhere (which you can still do) but giving the guest the ability to get then all AND have the rights to these photos for reproduction.

The premise is simple. When you arrive at the park on your first day and see a cast member wearing the tan vest (and armed with a camera) walk on up to them. They may be situated, for example on Main Street, in front of the castle. They will take your group’s photo and then scan a small card (about the size of a room or credit card) and hand it to you. It’s blue & tan and reads PHOTOPASS across the front.  This begins your Photo Pass experience.

Disney’s photographers can be found all over the four parks, in the water parks, some resorts, at character meets, the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique, Pirates League, and various other spots. There is no initial fee for Photo Pass, all you need to do is hand the photographer your card and let them do their magic! You can view your photos throughout your trip at the camera shops, online (once you sign up at www.disneyphotopass.com ) or wait till you get home. If you don’t like the photos, they are automatically deleted from Disney in 30 days and there is never a cost to you.

Now, I am sure there are some naysayers out there who will say “I can take my own pictures”. True, you can and I do. (My dear husband is so thankful for the invention of the digital camera and that a return home does not mean developing many rolls of film to view my pictures.)  BUT, many of these photos taken by the Disney photographers are ones we tend to miss in the excitement of the moment because they have the ability to shoot several photos in succession sometimes catching just the right shot. Or how many pictures do you have of the ENTIRE family from your trip? Be honest, there is typically one person missing from all group shots because they are the one taking the picture, right? With Photo Pass, that problem is solved.

And Photo Pass is more than just simple pictures to order….there are many products that can be ordered: digital prints, photo CD’s; photo books, mugs, calanders, holiday cards, and more! For our Holiday trip last year, we ordered an ornament with our family photo on it. It’s beautiful & well worth the $15 or so I paid for it! My must have souvenier for the past 5 trips has been the Photo Pass CD. While the price may sound shocking to some (currently at about $150) this CD gives you all the photos taken during your trip and the rights to these photos.  The pictures you have seen above are all from CD’s I have purchased over the years.  Several have been used as Christmas cards or birthday invites just by taking the CD to my local drug store and uploading them on their kiosks. And in recent years, Disney has added the option online of adding special borders and effects to enhance your pictures. If you do that, your CD will have both the original and the enhanced photo on it. There is no limit to the amount of pictures you can have for that price, (my last CD had 380) and if they don’t all fit on one CD, they will put them on as many as needed at no additional cost.  A CM once told me that someone had 10 CD’s worth of photos! That’s a lot of pictures!  Oh, and here’s a little known secret….there are specials out there! I used this one in DEC and its still available. The only stipulation is that it MUST be ordered prior to your first photo being taken and once you purchase it does not expire AND if you change your mind, as long as you haven’t applied the code, its fully refundable!   http://www.disneyphotopass.com/previsitoffer.aspx

Now, some  hints from the Photo Pass veteran:

  • FIRST and FOREMOST write down the number on the back of your photo pass card & keep it SAFE. You can also use your cell phone or camera to take a picture of the card. If the card is ever lost during your trip, the pictures can be recovered and put on a new card….TRUST me, it’s a marriage saver, ask my husband!
  • If your party splits up, they can get a 2nd card and all cards can be added to the online account. Just don’t forget to repeat my first hint!
  • If a photographer asks you to do something that may sound silly, do it – it can ultimately turn out to be a really fun picture thru Disney Magic!


  • If ordering the CD, use the borders and enhancements. They make the pictures more memorable and fun! This picture was taken at the American Adventure in Epcot in December.  I printed these as our Christmas cards at home this year as a 4 x 6 size and paid much less per print than if I’d uploaded it into a card!


  • Some of the dining experiences and attractions with photos will add your photos to your card. ASK! At last check, I know that this was possible at Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus Princess Dining in Norway at Epcot, and at Test Track.

I have found Photo Pass is what you make of it. The more you put into it, the more bang for your buck – and who doesn’t like a bargain? I am sure I have missed some info along the way in this discussion, so if you have any questions, please ask. I wanted to touch on the high points yet cover as much as possible.  I am always open to comments. 

I hope you have enjoyed this photo journey thru my experiences with Disney Photo Pass!

Sending pixie dust wishes & magical dreams your way – until next time…


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