On my recent trip to Walt Disney World I decided to use their new Photopass+ service as I'm a big fan of the regular Photopass service. For those who don't know Disney has photographers stationed throughout their theme parks and some dining locations who will take your picture. After taking your picture they scan a Photopass card which then contains all of your photos. After returning home, the Photopass card number can then be entered on the Photopass website (www.disneyphotopass.com). You will then be able to view, make minor edits, and order prints or photo products. I love the photo CD because it contains all of the pictures (originals and edited pics) along with a limited copyright release.
Earlier this year, Disney announced a new addition to the Photopass service called Photopass +. For a fee of $200 ($170 if preordered) you will receive the photo CD with all of the photos from your trip and a photo CD with over 400 stock photos. What makes this service different from the standard Photopass is that you get all of your ride photos, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique/Pirate’s League photos, and photo packages from the dining locations that take your picture.
As a regular Photopass customer I was excited to try this new service, and I have to say that I am very happy with it so far. Photopass + must be ordered more than 14 days before your arrival at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. This is because they mail your CD with stock photos and a voucher that needs to be redeemed for a Photopass + card at any Photopass location on property. The Photopass + card is valid for 14 days and must be presented to have the ride and dining photos added to the card. Luckily Disney gives this card with an attached lanyard, so it's less likely to be lost, however, they only issue one card per voucher (more about this later).
Anytime your picture is taken by a Photopass photographer, you give them your Photopass + card which they scan just like they would with a regular Photopass card. At attractions that take a picture (Space Mountain, Test Track, Expedition Everest, Rock n Roller Coaster and more) you have to first locate the monitor that displays your picture and make note of the number associated with your photo. When it's not busy a cast member is usually there to hand out slips of paper with your number on it, or you can do like I did, and take a picture of the monitor using the camera on your phone. Then, you have to go to the photo desk and give the cast member your photo number and Photopass + card. The cast member will then display your photo and scan your card attaching the picture to your account. At dining locations, (Cinderella's Royal Table, Chef Mickey's, 1900 Park Fare, and more) you present your Photopass + card to the photographer prior to your picture being taken. Your family picture is taken and your are then seated at your table. With the exception of Cinderella's Royal Table and Akershus, you must purchase the photos if you would like to take them home. These photo packages generally cost between $30 - $40. With the photopass+ card these packages are included, so you receive the dining photos for no additional cost.
Now I'm going to address what I feel is a huge drawback to this service: you only receive 1 Photopass + card. You can only receive the dining photo packages and have the digital copies added if you physically present the Photopass + card to the Photopass cast member. If you don’t have the card with you, then you don’t receive your photos. The same goes with the ride photos...they can only be added when the card is physically presented at the photo desk. Ride photos can be added up to 48 hours after the ride as long as you have the photo number (a picture can be located without the number, but it’s time consuming). The problem here is that if you have a large group that splits up for rides, someone will have to return to the photo desk within 48 hours to have the photos added. This could potentially be very time consuming and take away from park touring time. I think the Photopass + service could be improved if Disney added a key tab Photopass + card that can be given to family members, so that someone doesn’t have backtrack to make sure all the photos are added to the account. The main Photopass + card could be the master card that is needed for the dining locations while the key tab card could be auxiliary cards that only allow the guest to add ride photos and regular photos.
Disney recently added another option to the Photopass service: Attractions+. For $44.95 Attractions+ allows guests to add all of the ride photos to a special Photopass card. This is a great option for guests who don’t want or need the dining photos or Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique/Pirate’s League photos.
I have loved and used the photopass service since my family’s first visit. The addition of Photopass+ is a huge improvement to this service, in my opinion. And the Attractions+ is another improvement to what has gotten to be a better service. Make sure to talk to your Mickey’s Dream Vacations travel agent about the pros and cons of this service. It’s something that I definitely think should be factored into your Disney vacation planning.
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Jerry Daly - Disney Travel Planner