Sep 182013

By Debbie Boehm

2013-09-12 PhotoPass+ article 004We’ve all seen the PhotoPass photographers at Walt Disney World.   There are at least six of them between the Emporium and Cinderella Castle on Main Street every day.  They’ll even use your camera or cell phone to capture that special moment for you.  It’s one of the things that I’ve always thought was a great idea.  Before the advent of PhotoPass, invariably one of the parents was always behind the camera unless you were lucky enough to find a kind stranger who would snap a picture for you.

Disney has used the term “plussing” for a long time.  It’s that little extra that makes something really special.  One of the best illustrations of “plussing” is the little touches of gold on the Walt Disney Classics Collection pieces.  Now they have used the “+” for the PhotoPass.  So, I had to see if it was truly “plussed.”

For years we’ve enjoyed the PhotoPass pictures and the ability to have a professional capture of our family vacation memories.  However, this past July we were traveling as a group of 18 ranging in age from 2 to 60.  Was it worth the money to pre-purchase the PhotoPass+ before our vacation had even begun?  After all, this was an investment before the fact – before we’d get to see even one picture from our trip.

Our group consisted of five siblings with most of our children.  If we used PhotoPass, we figured we would order two photos each and have it cost nearly the same, so why not go for it?  I called my travel agent and asked them to add PhotoPass+ to our trip and off we went.  If you order the PhotoPass+ in enough time you will receive everything you need in the mail. We made our decision too late, so we had to take the voucher included in our package at check in to the PhotoPass+ location found in one of the theme parks.  For us this was Town Hall at the Magic Kingdom and couldn’t have been easier.

2013-09-12 PhotoPass+ article 005The PhotoPass+ card is on a lanyard with a list of all of the ride and dining photos that could be included, found on the back.  The only hitch is that the card must be scanned at the ride to have photos added.  So, in our case, when our group split up and went to two different parks on the same day, one of us had to get to the other park in order to have those pictures added to the PhotoPass+.  This is honestly the only thing that really concerned me.  But my daughter and various nephews took care of that running.

Since we were told that we could add PhotoPass cards to our account after we were home we made sure that each group had a card with them throughout the trip.  When we did get home from our week of fun I collected everyone’s cards (seven in total) and added them to the PhotoPass+ card online.  We started out with 125 pictures but, with editing and changes to borders, we ended up with 455 pictures.

Here’s my confession – I could never understand how it was possible to even begin with 125 photos from a week at Walt Disney World let alone edit them to 455.  I would crop and add borders and order two pictures to add to our growing wall of photos from our family trips.  I am a convert!  Although it took me the entire 30 days before our photos expired to edit them perfectly. I now get it!

2013-09-12 PhotoPass puzzle 001The first picture of all 18 of us in front of Cinderella Castle has been changed to include eight different borders and cropped into separate group shots as well.  Since you never get that perfect shot with everyone smiling and looking at the photographer at the same time it’s helpful that each photographer will take multiple pictures.  We had so many pictures where the two year old niece is smiling but the three year old isn’t even facing the camera.  That was where the editing and cropping was put to the test.  I was able to get individual pictures for each of the girls with the characters for their autograph books with some clever cropping.  Adding the borders is so easy too.  Just scroll through, make a choice and then “Save”.  If you don’t like the chosen border just “Remove” and start over.

As I write this article, we’ve received a puzzle of our first group photo and are expecting the CDs any day.  We’ve made sure we have the photo paper and the ink for our printer and we’re looking forward to adding these pictures to our collection.

If you don’t have a photo printer you can just take your CD to any of the numerous businesses that will print photos.  You will have the release for photos right on the CD so there are no worries about copyright infringement.

2013-09-12 PhotoPass+ article 003As a bonus there is a CD included with the PhotoPass+ Archive Disc which includes stock photos of attractions and parks including some beautiful holiday pictures.  The release is included in the case and is also right on the CD so you can even print some for your own use.

Was it worth the $160.00 we paid for the PhotoPass+?  A resounding YES!  Having a professional photographer capture those special moments was priceless.  As we’re enjoying the moment with a character the photographer is continuously shooting pictures.  If we had been taking the pictures we would have missed our two year old niece kneeling next to Cinderella with her hands in her lap crossed in the same way that Cinderella crosses hers.  We wouldn’t have the look of wonder on both of the little one’s faces when they walked into the room to see “Punzoo” (Rapunzel to everyone else).

Our new frame, given to us by our son and his girlfriend, is on the mantle waiting to show a memory of our family trip. They “plussed” the frame by having it engraved with “Walt Disney World 2013” across the top and “Thanks for the Magical Memories” on the bottom.  I have already picked out the special 8 x 10 photograph for that frame!

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  6 Responses to “PhotoPass+ – Yay or Nay?”

  1. Our family used the PhotoPass+ in February, 2013. I have to say it was well worth the money. Like you, we had family members who would go off to do other events…they just got the photo pass from the photographer & we added it to our card. We cropped & added borders and while it was somewhat “labor intensive”, it was worth the effort! We were all delighted with the results. I took my CD to Sam’s club and made a copy of the CD for my daughter’s family. I kept the original. That way she could pick & choose what prints she wanted to get. I also got prints from the CD from Sam’s Club which were a lot less expensive than for us to print on our own. I “think” the cost was less than 20 cents per 4 X 6 print. I would certainly recommend that families, groups, etc… get the PhotoPass+ for the value and convenience of having the dining & attractions as part of the price. I am definitely a fan!!! PS: Some of our pics were not included in our PhotoPass+ CD… I contacted their customer service and after some research, WDW was able to locate our missing pictures and add them to our PhotoPass+ prior to ordering the finished product. It was GREAT!

  2. Thanks for this article! I am thinking in our next trip we will purchase this! I wish that we would have for this past one. We had a group of 7 of us. I alone took 200+ photos. Wishing I had all the ride ones though :-/.
    I appreciate the breakdown of it also!

  3. yay, but there doesn’t seem to be as many photographers as there use to be, and always take a picture of your card. I lost my lanyard after the first day, I don’t know what happened to it. Keep a check on the fastener on the neck it can come loose. Anyway, with your number on your camera or phone Disney staff can pull up your card and issue a new one.

  4. My husband, 2 children and I went to Disney in May 2012. As the photopass+ was just released that April I did not quite understand it. I really wish I would have taken the time to be informed and make the purchase. On a fluke, I had the good fortune to return in November 2012 with my 2 children and grandmother who just turned 85. We are used to a trip that is twice as long as the trip we took in November which was only 5 days. However, I decided that this was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity due to Grandma’s age and that it was worth it for the photographers to capture even 1 priceless shot. I think we started with less photos than the writer of the story and ended up with 600+ photos when I was done adding borders. I just can’t seem to let go and have to put every border around the best picture of a set because I might want that other border some day! I only had one complaint which I shared with a cast member in November asking her to please pass it up the chain to the head mouse. I don’t know if it has been fixed or not, but I suggested that they need to have a dedicated line at rides for adding your photo to the card. It was frustrating to get off of the ride and have to wait behind 10 people that were deciding if they wanted to buy pictures and if so what to buy when I knew what I wanted. I just needed them to scan my card with my photo so that I could be on my magical way. That being said, I would make this purchase again in a heartbeat without thought or hesitation! It is so worth it. We took pictures with our own camera, but to be able to have everyone in the picture without having to take time to find a kind passerby to take our picture is wonderful. Not to mention that the photographers at Disney have magic shots which are adorable! The cost for you to be able to print whatever you want with the release at Walmart or Sam’s Club as many times and when you want as opposed to choosing which shots you want to purchase from Disney is so worth the price. The cost of the photopass+ over the regular photopass is minimal when you consider the cost of purchasing even one ride or dining photo.

  5. I used photo pass in the past and did enjoy the pictures I recieved. The only problem I found was that in the last couple of years I used it, the program ran so slowly that it was a real bother to modify the pics to get what I wanted. They even changed the program to make the one doing the pic modification go back to the original pic every time and select it over even if you were using the same pic just differents modifiers. I called Disney and the only explination was that the site was busy. I tried all, yes I mean all, hours and had the same result.

    That coupled with the price, it is easier to not purchase the pics from Disney, just have the people take the pics. They do take good pictures and know where to place you for good shots.

    See it is not all bad, just became cost and program prohibitive…

  6. I tried it this week & it is so convenient, & easy. Will be able to tell more after viewing all the photos.

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