It may feel like almost everything is beginning to cost extra money in Walt Disney World (looking at you, Disney Genie+), so it can be hard to determine what’s worth the splurge and what you can skip.
While some additional spending, like paying to get from the airport to Disney World, is inevitable at this point, there are some extras that aren’t as essential! A biggie is the very pricey and very divisive photo service, Memory Maker. Today, we’re breaking down Disney’s Memory Maker so that YOU can decide if it’s worth the extra money!
What is Memory Maker?
Disney’s Memory Maker packages allow you to own and download Disney PhotoPass pictures and attraction photos throughout the Walt Disney World parks and resorts. Basically all those on-ride photos you look at after the ride or all those pictures you see guests taking with PhotoPass photographers in front Cinderella Castle or around the parks? You get all those for one flat fee.
Memory Maker includes:
- Digital downloads of your Disney PhotoPass photos and videos
- Attraction photos and videos
- Professional photos taken by PhotoPass photographers
- Magic Shots
From there, you can link your Memory Maker package to your MyDisneyExperience account and start posing! The photos are easy to download from MyDisneyPhotoPass.com or your My Disney Experience account, and you have 45 days after each picture was taken to download your pictures!
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, what’s it gonna cost you? The price for Memory Maker is $69 for one day, or $169 for 30 days from the date of activation with Advanced Purchase, and $199 for the 30-day Memory Maker package that can be used immediately after purchasing. You’ll have unlimited access to view and download those photos for 30 days (but can purchase a 15-day extension, if you like). Keep in mind that any photos taken within 3 days of when Memory Maker is purchased are not included and must be purchased separately.
Sometimes, you can score a deal on select Memory Maker packages, so be sure to check online before you decide which package is best for you!
If you don’t purchase a Memory Maker Package, Disney allows you to buy individual pictures for $18.95 each. It’s very worth noting that one group got Memory Maker for (essentially) free: Annual Passholders. Well, MOST Annual Passholders (Gold, Platinum, and Platinum-Plus). Even better — these photos were accessible for a full year from the date taken. This changed very recently with the change to the new Annual Pass program. Now, Memory Maker is not included with these passes. Now, Passholders can opt to add it on for the whole year for $99.
Pros to purchasing Memory Maker:
One of the main advantages of Memory Maker is having access to ALL of your attraction photos.
From that hilarious Splash Mountain shot to your terrified Tower of Terror pose, Memory Maker allows you to download as many attraction photos as you want.
You can also edit and personalize all your photos with borders, clip art, and more! For those extra special photos, you can use the PhotoPass website to purchase photo keepsakes like magnets, ornaments, photo books, calendars, and more! (Pro Tip: if you purchase the calendar, you have 12 printed pictures from each month to keep after the year is over!)
This is also the only way you can keep and view Magic Shots taken around the parks.
If you aren’t familiar, Magic Shots are special PhotoPass photos with additional surprises edited into your photos after they are taken!
If you’re traveling with a large party, you can (theoretically) split the cost with another family, since Disney allows you to link your Memory Maker with up to 25 members of your family & friends who share media with you.
If you don’t typically stop and take the time to take family photos, owning a Memory Maker package can encourage you to capture some special moments that you might otherwise forget! After all, you’ll want to take as many pictures as possible to get your money’s worth.
Additionally, if mom or dad is usually the one holding the camera and frequently left out of family photos, PhotoPass photographers will make sure everyone fits in the picture (and you don’t have to worry about any fingers covering the lens 😉).
Another place Memory Maker is often worth its weight in gold is character meet and greets (when available). Too often parents spend the entire time their kiddo first meets their favorite character with their face behind a phone snapping memories. With PhotoPass, you can be in the moment and let yourself really enjoy the experience instead of rushing to get the perfect pic!
As you have probably gathered, Memory Maker is ideal for families who LOVE to have lots of pictures taken during their vacation. While it may be nice to let someone else take over the snapping, Memory Maker isn’t necessary for everyone… .
Cons to purchasing Memory Maker:
If you aren’t splitting the cost with any other people, Memory Maker is pretty expensive — especially when you start adding up the other extra charges that come with a Disney vacation, like paying for individual attraction selections, parking, and all that merchandise! Before you know it, you might be spending an extra thousand dollars in Disney World!
Depending on when you visit and what the current mask policy is, you might end up with lots of pictures of your family with masks on, too!
If you don’t want pictures where your face is covered, Memory Maker might not be a logical purchase as long as masks are required in Disney.
Keep in mind that Disney doesn’t print out your photos for free. Any pictures you like, you must pay to print separately. You can download the photos for free, though.
As previously mentioned, you have to take a LOT of pictures to get your money’s worth out of your Memory Maker package. If your family balks at stopping for photos, you might not want to force them into a (sometimes corny) pose.
For those that are completely oblivious to the ride photos, or if you are traveling with little ones who are too small for Disney’s larger attractions, there isn’t much of a point in purchasing Memory Maker.
Disney does not have cameras on most of their smaller attractions, so if your family doesn’t ride rollercoasters or thrill rides, you won’t need to worry about attraction photos.
Memory Maker is great for the people who meticulously plan out every ride photo pose or take full advantage of the PhotoPass photographers around Walt Disney World. But, with so many other added costs, like airport transportation, parking, After Hours events, and overall price increases across the parks and resorts, you might want to save your money for something else.
It really comes down to YOU. Are you looking to seriously “capture the magic?” If so — and you are up for the challenge of posing for LOTS of photos — this will be perfect for you. But if you’re more of a casual photo-taker or have been to Disney World enough that you’re not desperately wanting those perfect photos in front of the Castle, you might be able to skip. Also if you don’t care much for Magic Shots, (highly) posed photos, or attraction shots, you can probably skip it. If you have a little extra money in the budget though, Disney’s Memory Maker could be a good add-on (photos and memories will likely not be something you regret having down the road!). Ultimately, the value of Memory Maker will vary from family to family!