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A Guide to Disney Memory Maker

If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World, you’ve probably heard about Memory Maker. This optional add-on is something you can purchase either before your trip or after your trip so that you can download your Disney photos. I recommend learning all about Disney Memory Maker in advance of your trip, and decide if it’s right for you and your family.

I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World resort, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.

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The Magic Kingdom Train Station decorated for Christmas

A Guide to Disney Memory Maker, including PhotoPass

What is Disney Memory Maker?

To first understand Disney Memory Maker, you’ll need to understand PhotoPass. PhotoPass is a service offered at the Disney Parks where photographers take photos of guests in the parks, by request.

If you see one of the Disney PhotoPass photographers, you can approach them (sometimes waiting in line), pose for a photo, and have them scan your MagicBand. Those photos will be uploaded into your My Disney Experience account.

You’ll find Disney PhotoPass photographers by popular spots at the theme parks (such as on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom), as well as by character greetings. In addition to the PhotoPass photographers, you’ll also have ride photos taken at some of the most popular attractions.

These PhotoPass photo downloads are available for individual purchase by guests. But with a Memory Maker package, you’ll get all of your photo downloads for one price. This can be a great way to save money on your Disney vacation but is only worthwhile if you plan to actually take photos.

Even though many of us take our own photos on vacation, using PhotoPass is still a great idea. It can often be the only way to get the whole family in the picture.

To make sure the photos are linked, you’ll provide your MagicBand or card to the Disney PhotoPass photographer. For ride photos, they will be automatically linked in some cases, or you’ll need to tap your band under the ride photo to get it added.

How much is Disney Memory Maker?

There are a few different Memory Maker options, depending upon when you purchase it. When you buy Memory Maker, you’ll get all photos/videos taken within 30 days until the photo expiration (which is 45 days from the date the photo is taken.

The advance purchase Memory Maker is currently $169. This advance purchase must be made at least three days in advance of when you plan to use it. Any photos taken within three days of the pre purchase will not be included, so don’t use the advance purchase option if your trip is within three days.

The regular Memory Maker is currently $199. Therefore, you’ll save $30 by planning in advance. It’s a good idea to do this if you are sure you’ll want it.

There’s also a new option, called the One Day Memory Maker. It’s currently offered at $69 and only includes pictures taken during one day.

Annual pass holders receive complimentary Memory Maker with their participating annual pass. These photo downloads will show up in your My Disney Experience account, just as if you purchased Memory Maker.

A photo with Cinderella at Epcot
A photo with Cinderella (personal photo, not from PhotoPass or Memory Maker)

What’s Included in Disney Memory Maker?

Memory Maker includes all photos and videos that are taken by PhotoPass photographers. This also includes photos taken in participating restaurants and rides/video on the participating rides.

Disney PhotoPass also offers Magic Shots. These pictures can include a virtual character, can be animated, or can include a zoom in/out. Research Magic Shots in advance of your vacation, and ask your PhotoPass photographer for options.

You’ll be able to download these photos from your account to your phone or computer. You are granted a non-commercial license so you can have these photos printed, use them in a photobook, have them enlarged, etc. (Note, because of this non-commercial license of digital downloads, all photos shown in this post were taken by me and are not PhotoPass pictures).

How Long Do the Memory Maker photos stay in your account?

PhotoPass photos expire 45 days from when they are taken. They are generally uploaded into your account within 24 hours of being taken. I’d recommend downloading them as soon as possible, because it can be easy to forget once you are back from vacation.

Once the pictures expire, they are permanently deleted. Therefore, there’s no way to get them back. Put the date in your calendar, or download right away if you can.

What are ride photos?

On select rides at Walt Disney World, photos are taken automatically at a specific point in the ride. In the past, guests had to purchase these photos individually at the attraction. But now, they are included in Memory Maker.

When you exit the ride, you’ll find a row of all of the photos taken. Find your picture, and then scan your MagicBand or park ticket under the picture. If you are wearing a MagicBand, these should be uploaded to your account automatically.

After about 24 hours, your attraction photo will show up in your account.

What types of videos are taken?

In addition to photos, videos are taken on two different attractions. On both the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there are fun, short videos taken. These include videos of you, as well as stock footage.

If you are wearing a MagicBand, these videos are automatically added to your account. Like the photos, they can be downloaded to your device and do expire within 45 days.

Can I add friends and family?

Guests have the option of adding up to 25 friends and family members to their My Disney Experience account. You’ll be able to see photos from these guests as well as yours. They’ll be able to see your photos as well, assuming you give them access.

Keep in mind that if you have Memory Maker, all photos you download (including from family and friends) will need to be for your personal use and not for the other guests. Read all of the terms and conditions and be familiar with them before purchasing and using the service.

Epcot at night
Epcot at night (personal photo, not from Memory Maker)

Do I have to buy Memory Maker for Your Walt Disney World vacation?

Guests are not required to purchase Memory Maker. It’s an add-on to your vacation and is strictly optional.

Even if you don’t buy Memory Maker, you are still able to have your photo taken with the PhotoPass photographer. Individual photos are available for purchase. If you only take a small amount of pictures, this may be the most cost-effective option for you.

In addition to photo downloads, there are also photo gifts available for purchase through the app/website.

Do you have to stay on property to use Memory Maker?

Unlike the Disney Dining Plan, you’ll be able to purchase Memory Maker whether or not you stay on property for your vacation. You won’t need to have a MagicBand, but it’s definitely easier to use if you do.

Is Disney Memory Maker worth it?

So, is Disney Memory Maker worth it? To me, it all depends on how many pictures you plan to have taken. Because you’ll be able to individually purchase pictures, you’ll want to make sure you purchase enough.

To maximize Memory Maker, I’d recommend that you purposely seek out PhotoPass photographers. Although some of the more prominently positioned ones will have lines for pictures, it’s worth waiting. That way, you’ll have lots of different pictures in your account.

Make sure that you take some photos with your whole family. This is such a unique opportunity to get pictures taken of the whole family. I find that I’m usually behind the camera, and PhotoPass allows me to actually be in a family picture.

Other things to consider before you go on your Walt Disney World vacation

In addition to deciding on and purchasing Memory Maker, there are other things you’ll want to consider and do before going on your Walt Disney World vacation:

Have you purchased Disney Memory Maker? Have you found it useful?

Wondering if Disney Memory Maker is right for you? Here's our complete guide to maximizing your Walt Disney World vacation with pricing, what's included, how PhotoPass works and much more.
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