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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Photopass + Is Now Memory Maker

One of the “new” things we tried during our July 2013 trip was Photopass +, an upgraded service that provides guests with ride/attraction photos and dining photos at select locations along with all Photopass photos on a CD—click here to read more information about Photopass +.  We fell in love with Disney’s Photopass service on our third trip, so since this was trip number eleven, we thought it was appropriate to give the new and upgraded Photopass + a try.  And, just like Disney, there is already a newer version that is all digital called Memory Maker—which we may take advantage of during our next trip.

So, this post is to review our use and opinion of Photopass + along with sharing what we do know about Disney’s Memory Maker.

We pre-ordered Photopass +, which allowed for savings, prior to our trip.  A voucher arrived in our trip materials.  We could take the voucher to any Photopass location in any of the four theme parks or to one of the restaurants that is included in the dining photo options.

The friendly Cast Member that exchanged our voucher at EPCOT.
We took our voucher to the Photopass location at EPCOT, as it was the first park we visited on our first day.  The Cast Member exchanged the voucher for a necklace that contained the digital code for Photopass photographers to scan.  In the necklace, he punched the date of the first use, as the Photopass + is only good for 14 days from the first punch (I am guessing that this keeps guests from sharing the account with others).  We were asked to show the necklace, especially the punches, on numerous occasions, so that Cast Members could check the dates.

The CD case with code inside, and the Photopass + necklace

The dates punched into the back of our Photopass tag

List of dining and attractions included in Photopass +

The gallery CD with 400 photos of Walt Disney World Resort.
When exchanging the voucher, we were also given a CD case that contained a gallery CD of 400 photos of the Walt Disney World Resort and inside that case was the code to use in our on-line Photopass account when we ordered the CD of all of our photos from the trip once we got home.  The code would make the price of CD free as we had already paid for it with our pre-ordering of the Photopass +.  Thankfully, I had a spot in my purse for the CD case that day and carried it until we returned to our resort.  Then, I put it in a very safe spot that I could access easily when we returned home—this was no small feat since we stayed for 12 days!

At the water parks, we were given different Photopass tags.  We put them on the necklace for safe keeping and then added those to our on-line Photopass account once we got home.  Same was true for the Photopass cards given to us at Jedi Training Academy and Enchanted Tales With Belle—we just kept the cards and added the photos to our on-line account when we got home.

Throughout our trip, we took advantage of Photopass photographers, and stood in lines after attractions and rides that had photos to add them to our Photopass + account by simply telling the Cast Member the number(s) of the ride photo and then having them scan our necklace—attraction photos typically cost $18-$20.  Again, we just received them digitally added to our account and would have to pay for prints if we wanted them.

At dining locations, the photos were added digitally to our account, but we also received the photo package themselves, a $35 value at each location.

When we got home, I logged into our on-line Photopass account, edited photos, put the CD in our cart, entered the code, and waited for the Photopass CD to arrive in the mail.  Easy peasy!

Well, Disney has now “plussed” the Photopass + with Memory Maker—click here to read more.

Memory Maker operates similarly to Photopass + in terms of ride/attraction photos and dining photos.  What is different is that all of the account information will be in Magic Bands.  And, instead of getting a CD in the mail after you get home and edit your Photopass photos in your on-line account, you then get to download the photos to your computer for free.  Sounds even easier, doesn’t it?

This is where my curiosity collides with my inner Disney fan.  Already Photopass has the capacity for guests to download all of their photos—in lieu of having the CD sent via mail.  When we got home from our last trip, there were some photos missing from our account and it was quickly remedied by a phone call.  I asked about the download option instead of waiting for another set of CD’s and was told that I had too many photos for a download.  Hmmm. . . will that be the case with Memory Maker?  Too many photos to download?

I get how the attraction photos will work with Memory Maker and expect that a swipe of the Magic Band will add the attraction photo to the account without having to stand in line to get the photo added after riding the attraction—okay, this is more of a “hopeful” rather than expect.  Also, rumors on the web are indicating that short ride closures this spring of attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Pirates of the Caribbean are to install ride photo capabilities which means there could be more attraction photos available!

I also understand how dining photos can be added as the photographer could scan the Magic Band and voila, photos would be added to the account.

What I don’t understand is how guest interactions such as Jedi Training Academy photos or Enchanted Tales With Belle photos will then be added to the account, unless it was like last time and ALL the photos of the entire group got added to our account and we had to edit them out.  If ALL the photos of the entire group get added, that just means MORE photos for the download, that I am already skeptical about.

Okay, let’s talk more about this magical download that is included with Memory Maker.  Right now, I have all of our previous trips’ Photopass photos on our computer, but I also have the CD—just in case, in their cases all labeled with trip dates.  If I want to back-up the downloaded photos from Memory Maker, I am on my own to create and burn a CD.  Disney won’t provide that to me anymore.  I know, I could save all of them to an external hard drive or a web-based server.

With Photopass + we had 14 days to use the service from the day of activation.  With Memory Maker, guests have 21 days of service from the first day of activation, which is great for those taking longer trips.

The amount of time to edit, order, and download photos on the Photopass on-line account remains the same--30 days, though there is an option to pay for an extension to give guests more time.

The pre-order cost for Memory Maker is $149, which is similar to the cost of Photopass + when pre-ordered.  With Photopass +, guests had to pre-order two weeks prior to their trip to make time to mail the voucher.  Otherwise, guests had to pay the higher price while at the parks.  With Memory Maker, the pre-order timeline is 3 days prior to trip or prior to use to get the pre-order price.  The site says that any photos taken within 3 days of purchase will not be included, which means that guests who hear about it en route or while on their trip, can pre-order, but will not get all of their Photopass photos.  This does not surprise me, as I have witnessed prospective guests whipping out their smart phones to conduct Disney business—like checking in on-line after we asked them if they had—while in the airport or on a Disney bus!

As of this writing, Photopass + is still being honored at Walt Disney World.  I understand that it is either not currently being sold or will soon not be sold and that Memory Maker will be the only option available.  This also means that guests will no longer have the option of JUST the regular Photopass photos which was a less expensive option, but will have to pay the increased price.

I guess on our next trip, I won’t be wearing a necklace; just a bracelet—a Magic Band!

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