No camera, no problem: Go with PhotoPass+

Disney Photo Pass Logo
Disney Photo Pass Logo

Leave your camera at home and use Disney's PhotoPass system instead.

No camera, no problem. On your next trip to a Disney Resort, consider buying the PhotoPass+ and letting the Disney photographers do all the work.

I’m headed to Disneyland later this month and just purchased the PhotoPass+ for the first time. I’m super-excited just thinking about all the fun photos we’re going to get and not having to drag around my heavy DSLR.

Let me explain. All over the parks, PhotoPass photographers are armed with fancy cameras ready to take your photo. Their cameras are set to take the perfect photo based on location, lighting and time of day. You hand them a card to scan (or they’ll give you one if you need it) and they take your photo. Then, after your Disney trip, you can go online, view the photos and order digital downloads of them or fun photo products like mugs, mouse pads and photo books.

By purchasing at least 14 days before your vacation, you pay $69.95 at Disneyland and $149 at Walt Disney World. (Passes purchased at the park are $99.99 and $199.95, respectively.)

So what do you actually get when you buy a PhotoPass+?

  • Unlimited PhotoPass photos in your account (digital downloads)
  • The ability to customize your photos with fun Disney borders
  • Magic Shot photos (photographers “magically” add Disney characters to your photos.)
  • Photos from select dining locations
  • Photos from select attractions
  • Photos from other Disney experiences


The savings on just a few of the above justify the price. For instance, without a PhotoPass+, a 5×7 ride photo is $14.95, and character dining experience photos can easily exceed $30 for minimal packages.

My family at breakfast with Minnie Mouse March 2012. We bought physical copies of the photo (one 8×10 and three 4x6s) for $29.95.

Once you buy your PhotoPass+, Disney will mail you a package with the materials you need to redeem the pass in the parks. (I just got an email from Disney telling me my package has shipped!). The package consists of a DVD case with a Disney Photo CD full of stock photography, an insert with a code for redeeming your Photo CD when you return home, and a voucher for the PhotoPass+ lanyard to redeem when you arrive at the parks.

When you get to the park, you’ll take that voucher to the PhotoPass redemption location and trade it for the lanyard. The lanyard has your PhotoPass+ card at the end of it, and holes punched to notify the cast members how long your pass is valid. (Seven days for Disneyland, 14 for Walt Disney World.)

Disney PhotoPass+ Lanyard

A peek at the Disney PhotoPass+ Lanyard (color and style might vary depending on when you purchase the pass).

Then, wherever you see a PhotoPass photographer, hand them your lanyard and they’ll take your picture. That means even mom (or dad, depending on who your family photographer is) will get in the shot. This is the No.1 reason I wanted to get the PhotoPass+. I’m never in the photos, or if I am, it’s an awkward iPhone photo my husband and I try to take and inevitably someone is cut off.

If your group splits up, don’t worry. The group that doesn’t have the PhotoPass+ card can ask the photographer for a standard PhotoPass card and then later, you can add those photos online to your PhotoPass+ account. When we hit Disneyland this month, we’re going with my parents and my brother’s family. It’s likely our group of 10 will split up, and I’m glad we’ll be able to get everyone’s photos no matter who has the PhotoPass+ lanyard.

I’ll be back with an update next month, with photos of our trip and a review of whether PhotoPass+ lives up to its billing.





PS Be sure to listen to our Capturing Magic episode all about PhotoPass+