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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Thursday, April 8, 2010


You know Disney; they think of everything! And when it comes to Disney's PHOTOPASS, they sure have. Since I mentioned PHOTOPASS when describing how to capture a fireworks photo in the Magic Kingdom (click here to read more), I thought I would take a moment to explain PHOTOPASS and how it works. It wasn't until our 2nd trip to the Walt Disney World Resort that we used Disney's PHOTOPASS and during our first trip, we tried to avoid the photographers. Now we actively search them out!

You can find PHOTOPASS photographers in any Disney park, including water parks. They typically dressed as show in the pictures below. They have a camera, either hand held or on a tripod, and a portable scanner thing, usually hanging at their waist.

FREE! FREE! Did you hear someone say free? Yes, someone said, well typed, free! Getting your photo taken by any PHOTOPASS photographer is FREE! Getting a PHOTOPASS card is FREE! What's not free is purchasing your photos, but we'll talk about that in a few minutes. . . On with how PHOTOPASS works. . .

The first time you have your picture taken with a PHOTOPASS photographer, they will scan and give you a PHOTOPASS card, just like you see below.

Each PHOTOPASS card has a 16 digit account number and that account number is digitally encrypted into the small square you see on the back of the card above. The small square is what the photographers scan using the scanner hanging at their waist, after taking your photo. Then all the photos they take and scan to that account, show up in your PHOTOPASS account.

Here's a PHOTOPASS photographer at work!

Here's a group of PHOTOPASS photographers waiting for you so that they can take your picture!

There can be a slight difference in what the PHOTOPASS photographers wear.
The one on the right is at Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.
So now you have a PHOTOPASS card and you have had your photo snapped by many PHOTOPASS photographers, what do you do?
  1. You can view and/or purchase your photos at any PHOTOPASS studio throughout the Walt Disney World Resort--just hand them our PHOTOPASS card. You can find the PHOTOPASS studios at all the parks, usually near the main entrance, at the deluxe resorts near the lobby, and at Downtown Disney.
  2. You can view and/or purchase (including downloads) your photos when you get home by logging into the PHOTOPASS web-site--click here--and using the 16 digit account number to access your photos. (NOTE: your photos will expire about 30 days from when you get home.)
  3. You can e-mail and share your photos from the PHOTOPASS web-site.
  4. You can do nothing and let your family photos and memories fade away into oblivion.

Here's what we typically do:

  • Somehow we get our PHOTOPASS card mailed to us with our paperwork prior to our trip and I go ahead and activate the 16 digit account on-line at the PHOTOPASS web-site.
  • I keep the PHOTOPASS card in the clear pocket at the end of my pin lanyard with the small square facing out. This way, the photographer can scan the card through the clear plastic without me having to remove the card. This can be handy as sometimes my hands get full. . . autograph books, pens, the boy, etc.
  • I take advantage of the PHOTOPASS photographers. If there is a photographer at a character meet and greet, my camera goes away and I rely on them, as I have already planned to purchase the CD or photos.
  • 3 out of 6 trips, I have purchased the PHOTOPASS CD on our last day in the parks and have brought it home with me; 2 out of 6 trips, I have waited until getting home and purchased the PHOTOPASS CD from the PHOTOPASS web-site after adding "details" to the photos. The PHOTOPASS web-site allows you to enhance your photos with Disney touches including character autographs. You can then save those edited photos as copies in your account and get all of the photos--original and edited--included in the CD.
  • Every once in while, someone in our family will end up with a PHOTOPASS photographer without the card. No worries, the photographer will issue another card and then that 16 digit account number can be combined with the other account either at a PHOTOPASS location or on-line.
  • Also, when we have been at special events, like Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, separate PHOTOPASS cards have been issued for just those events (as they often have discounts on the back!) and those special accounts can be combined with other accounts either at a PHOTOPASS location or on-line.

For me, PHOTOPASS photographers help put the vacation in vacation. I don't have to work as hard to capture the moments and the memories. They do it for me, so I can be a part of the moments and memories.

Our first trip to Walt Disney World, we had one photo of the three of us. It was taken by a server in a restaurant. Now we are all in the photos, thanks to Disney's PHOTOPASS!


  1. Did you know if you buy the photpass BEFORE your trip ( before the first picture is taken) you can get it for $99.95 instead of the regular $149...We just did that for our March 2011 trip, and took full advantage of every photopass phogo we encountered. here is the linkl for buying at a discount in advance of your trip: http://www.disneyphotopass.com/previsitoffer.aspx

  2. Nice! thanks for the tip but since then now are at $119 instead of $169.95 still a big saving. I love the idea. Nothing like magic memories.

    1. Maythem,
      You are right, still a bargain! Have a magical day!