For this piece, we’ll be focusing on the programs as they operate at Walt Disney World. Disneyland offers comparable programs that function slightly differently. Beyond function, we’ll also offer our thought on if it is worth the money. For some guests, no review is necessary. Memory Maker may be included in your Walt Disney World vacation package, or it might be included with your annual pass.
What is Memory Maker?
Memory Maker Vs. PhotoPass, What’s The Difference?
At Walt Disney World, the easiest way to differentiate between Memory Maker and PhotoPass is that Memory Maker is a package to be purchased that gives you access to the photos, and PhotoPass is the service that Disney offers with Cast Members taking your photo around the park. PhotoPass is a free service available to everyone, whether you buy Memory Maker or not.
Things can get a little confusing because there are other PhotoPass-branded products around the parks. Specifically, you may see ads for single-photo downloads, coffee cups and other merchandise with photos on them, albums, etc. available for purchase. The important thing to keep in mind is that PhotoPass is the service and Memory Maker is the product/photos.
Memory Maker Costs & Value
There are two different price points for Memory Maker. If purchased at least 3 days prior to your trip it costs $169 and if purchased to start immediately it costs $199. For Annual Pass holders, digital downloads of all photos are included at no additional charge.
A big perk to the PhotoPass and Memory Maker package is that it also includes on-ride photos and character dining. Currently, the ride photos included in the new package at Walt Disney World are; Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train offers both on-ride photos and an on-ride video.
Character dining locations included in Memory Maker at Walt Disney World are; 1900 Park Fare, Ohana (breakfast), Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Tusker House Restaurant (breakfast), Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
Sessions at the new PhotoPass Studios are also included in the package. While not at the same quality of a private photo session they do provide some memorable pictures.
Not to mention the various opportunities throughout the parks, which can be found with the MDE app, and during the various festivals like the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
Linking your group in My Disney Experience also provides a big advantage. With creating the group, every photo scanned by any of your MagicBands are available to everyone within the party. This way, you don’t have to stick with a single person that has the PhotoPass+ card.
Is Disney’s Memory Maker worth it?
For everyone, this becomes an individual decision. I can’t say this is an easy yes or no. It comes down to a number of factors. The first to consider is how many photos do you realistically think you’ll have taken? If you’re planning on visiting most of the characters and want to focus on photos; it’s an easy yes.
I think people should also consider if they’ll do anything with those photos. If they’re just going to wind up on a thumb drive somewhere, is that really worth it? Probably not.
For us, the answer has always been an easy yes. Our first trip we didn’t purchase ahead of time and reviewed after getting home and purchased them then. Yes, this is an option – but it will be at a higher price. There really is something to be said for having everyone in the photos and many of the MagicShots are just that, magic. A few examples are below:
No matter what you may still just not be able to justify the money. It is not an insignificant amount. PhotoPass is still a free service. The photographer will always take a few pictures for you with your own camera.
But wait, there’s more…
There are some additional benefits to the Memory Maker package. You’ll also be able to add borders and other graphics to the photos if you want.
If you’re going to Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon water parks at Walt Disney World, Memory Maker also has more value because these photographers are positioned in a lot of fun locations where you probably couldn’t get your own photos from; like in the wave pools and at the end of attractions like Crush N Gusher. These photos can be a lot of fun, and definitely make PhotoPass a much better value.
Beyond that, it certainly becomes a better value if you have a larger party or are taking a longer trip. If you’re going on a two-week-long family reunion and 10 of you will be using PhotoPass photographers, you could realistically wind up with thousands of photos from the special trip, the cost per picture of Memory Maker may become worth it to you. Obviously everyone’s circumstances are different in this regard, so weigh your circumstances accordingly when determining whether you should purchase Memory Maker.
Overall, we tend to recommend it more often than against it. Even if you’ve never purchased on-ride photos before, which we never have, they can make for some great pictures.
Especially consider it if you’re going to be taking a longer or special occasion trip. If you are taking a week or longer vacation with a lot of family members, it is certainly easier to rationalize and you can always split the cost amongst the group.
Thus, the longer your trip and the more people in your traveling party, the better of a value Memory Maker is. Openly, we’re usually pretty bad about remembering to take photos. With Memory Maker we find ourselves ensuring that we get the pictures and have found ourselves really treasuring them.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Let Us Help YOU!
Heyday Travel Company can plan a Disney vacation that’s perfect for you. We are a free Disney travel planner with expert knowledge of the entire Disney catalog and Universal Parks destinations. No matter where you want to go, our experienced team is excited to help you make it happen. We provide our service at no charge, so you’ll only have to pay for the vacation itself. If you want help planning a Disney trip that’ll make your dreams come true while also fitting your budget, let’s talk!