Everything You Wanted to know about Disney’s PhotoPass Service

One of the things that people seem to continually ask about on the Facebook Group “You Might Be a Disney Addict” is to ask about Disney’s Photopass service, the ins and outs of it, and whether it is worth it.  Since my family has ordered the Photopass CD the last two years, I told Chip that I would write about it when he asked if anyone would cover it.

First, a little background.  Most of you have probably seen the Disney PhotoPass Photographers throughout the parks, and have probably even had your picture taken with them.  Those PhotoPass photographers have special technology with their cameras, and they are able to submit the photos they take to special cards.  These cards, known as the PhotoPass cards, have a special code on them that you will need to have in order to access your photos.

If you are interested in ordering either the PhotoPass CD or the new PhotoPass+ CD, there are some things that you need to know before you make your decision.

  1. You will need to create a Disney PhotoPass account if you do not have one already.  Click on this link to get started with that.
  2. You must pre-order your CD before you go on vacation to ensure that you get all photos that are taken with the PhotoPass cards.  If you have some pictures taken on a PhotoPass card, and then pre-order the CD at the special rate, those pictures you had taken will not be included.
  3. When you get photos taken with your PhotoPass cards, those photos are only stored on the site for 30 days before they expire out.  You can purchase extra time, though.
  4. The savings for doing the pre-order of the CD is quite significant.  If you pre-order the regular PhotoPass CD, the cost is $119.95, but if you don’t, you’ll be paying $169.95.  The PhotoPass+ Card is $169.95 when you pre-order (for Walt Disney World; it is $69.95 when you pre-order for Disneyland), but $199.95 when you purchase it at Walt Disney World ($99.95 when purchased for Disneyland).

Now lets get into all the fine details.  We’re going to start with the original PhotoPass CD for Walt Disney World.

As I mentioned above, the Disney PhotoPass CD is $119.95 when you pre-order from the Disney PhotoPass site.  Remember though, that you must pre-order before you start having pictures taken on PhotoPass cards because if you don’t, those photos will not be included in your CD.

Now that you have pre-ordered your CD, when your vacation begins, go out and get some pictures taken!  As you do, make sure that you have a PhotoPass card for each member of your party.  That way, if you are off doing your own thing, and you want a photo taken, you can use that card.  One tip that I’ve seen is to either write your name on the back of the card, or take a photo of it so that you have the card ID number.  It is that number that will allow you to load your pictures into your PhotoPass account later.

There is no limit to the number of PhotoPass pictures you can have taken!  You can have thousands of photos taken of your party during your trip, and all of them will be available for you to edit and have on your PhotoPass CD.  You will receive as many CDs as necessary to store all of your photos.

The thing that distinguishes the Disney PhotoPass service is that the pictures that you have taken with the photographers are able to be edited before you create the CD.  This is really cool because you can take a picture, and crop it in closer, or add a border, and then, when you save the photo and create the CD, you’ll get the original photo, plus the photo that you created with the edit.  The borders that you can choose depends on where the photo was taken.  For example, when you have your picture taken while you are at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, you can add this special border.

The original photo.
With the border.

Adding borders isn’t all that can be done when a PhotoPass Photographer takes your picture.  In some poses, they’ll ask you to make a certain pose, and when you see the photo afterwards online, you know why they asked you to do that.  In this photo, my niece, her fiancee, and his brother were asked to point at the ground.  They didn’t really know why, but when they saw the photo, they knew why!  Take a look at the original, and then see the border I put on it afterwards.

The original photo.
After the border.

After you make all the edits that you want — and feel free to take the same picture and add a lot of different borders — you’ll be able to order the CD.  When you do so, your account will see that you have the PhotoPass CD Credit, and that will take care of the cost of the CD.  You will, though, have to pay for the shipping also, which for me, was $4.95 each year.

What happens if I find out that I’m going to run out of time before I can make my CD?  Remember that your pictures will only store in your account for 30 days.  If you find that you are running out of time, you can purchase a 15 day extension on that expiration date.  The cost for that is $19.95, and you can order that at the PhotoPass site.  Truth be told, though, I’ve never needed to get an extension, and if you plan your post vacation time, you shouldn’t need that either.

So, what is the difference between PhotoPass and PhotoPass+?

The biggest difference between the two services is that the PhotoPass+ allows you to save ride photos that are taken from specific attractions and dining venues.  Here is the current list that this applies to at Walt Disney World:

  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Expedition Everest
  • Dinosaur
  • 1900 Park Fare
  • ‘Ohana
  • Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
  • Chef Mickey’s
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Tusker House Restaurant
  • Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue
  • Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

If you are interested in pre-ordering for this package, click on the PhotoPass+ link for Walt Disney World.

If you will be visiting Disneyland instead, you can purchase the PhotoPass+ for Disneyland instead.  The PhotoPass+ for Disneyland doesn’t cover as many attractions and dining venues, so as a result, the cost is less.  Significantly less, in fact.  The Disneyland PhotoPass+ kit will cost you $69.95 for the pre-order price, or $99.95 if you buy it at the Parks.  Here are the attractions and dining venues that you have covered at Disneyland:

  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • California Screamin
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Goofy’s Kitchen
  • Ariel’s Grotto
  • Disney’s PCH Grill
  • Plaza Inn

If you want to pre-order the Disneyland PhotoPass+ kit, just click on the PhotoPass+ link for Disneyland.

So, before I wrap this up, I know you have one question that I haven’t answered.  Why can’t I just purchase the PhotoPass for Disneyland and use it at Walt Disney World?  The reason you can’t is because when you make the purchase, part of what you get is a voucher that you will exchange for a special PhotoPass Card.  That is how they make sure you purchase the one that is for the resort you are visiting.

I hope that you have gotten a lot of information out of this post.  The decision of whether or not to order the PhotoPass CD is ultimately a personal decision.  In our family, we base that decision on who is visiting with us.  If we have a big group of family and friends, some of whom won’t be back to Walt Disney World anytime soon, then it makes sense to us to order the CD.  If it is just Cindy, Sophie and I, though, then that’s a little different, and we won’t order the CD.  So tell me, do you order the PhotoPass CD?


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Chip and Co Past Writers and Friends

6 thoughts on “Everything You Wanted to know about Disney’s PhotoPass Service

  1. Hi! My question is. Can one make use of the complimentary service(without buying the CD) and still have access to the photos online. Do we have to pay to share the pictures online?
    Kind Regards,
    Chloe

  2. Photopass services is such an amazing service. I truly like borders you have used in your pictures……

  3. In the past, I have bought the pre-arrival CD and I think that is a good deal – for our upcoming trip, I’m leaning towards getting the regular photopass rather than the new Photopass Plus. I really don’t care about ride photos and I always take plenty of pictures at the few character meals we do so I dont think the extra cost is worth it for us.. My question is about Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – are photos from there included on the regular photo pass or do you have to buy the Photopass Plus? I swear a friend of mine had them on her regular photo pass, but I saw that it is included in Photopass Plus too, so I wasnt sure. My daughter is doing this for the first time this year and I want to be sure I get good pictures, so any help you can give me would be great!

  4. How do I get extra cards for my family memebers? Will they give me extras when we turn in our voucher?

  5. Mi, thanks for your question! My understanding is that if you purchase the PhotoPass credit before your trip, the credit is good indefinitely until you are ready to order your PhotoPass CD. I think it operates on a similar concept to park tickets. So, I could do the pre-order of the CD Credit, even though we won’t be going back to the parks until next year, and it will still be good. The thing you have to be careful of is the pictures you get taken with the PhotoPass Cards. Those are only good for 30 days unless you purchase extra time. I hope that this answer helps!

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