Is Disney’s Memory Maker worth the money on your next vacation? My answer to this question would have been different about 6 months ago. I would have inevitably told you that it would be a better to spend that money elsewhere. Your photos will be good enough to capture the experiences that you have and you really don’t need the staged photos. Who has time to stop and get their picture taken at Walt Disney World anyway? Disney PhotoPass photographers were cast members that we would mostly avoid. We may try to seek one out to get that iconic photo with the entire family in front of Cinderella Castle or one of the other park icons. Even during character meet and greets we were more interested in the photo pass photographer using our camera than we were with their photos. The reason is pretty obvious, we just didn’t have the money to spend on the photos. I really wouldn’t give Memory Maker a chance. Little did I know that something was about to happen that might change everything.
This past fall Disney did some restructuring with their annual passes. Long story short we now were paying a higher price and now had the benefit of Memory Maker with our annual pass. By adding this little perk to the annual pass Disney has now made us look around for PhotoPass photographers and keep our cameras and phones in our pockets during character meet and greets. This has changed things drastically and honestly led to much better experiences in the park and undoubtedly much better photos to remember them. For this reason my opinion on whether it is worth it to buy Memory Maker has changed. We were forced into paying a premium for our annual pass to include Memory Maker and now that we have it I don’t think that I would give it up if they gave us the option. So the answer is YES I believe it is absolutely worth it. (Read to the end for some other tips related to this answer)
Here are some benefits of Memory Maker (As I see it)
Great Photos at Great Locations
Disney Photo Pass photographers are placed where they are for a reason. These are the locations that truly make magical photographs.
The one carrying the camera always appears to not have been on the vacation when you arrive home. Great way to avoid that!
Disney Photo Pass photographers have preset options called Magic Shots to do cool things with your photo. They can add Disney characters in the photo with you. Sometimes those characters are moving around as they turn the photo to a short video.
A lot of dining locations have special photo opportunities and those will be added directly to your Memory Maker.
You can put the camera away and stop jockeying for position to get the perfect photo of your child with their favorite character. Maybe you can use that free hand to get some video or maybe you can just take the moment in as you bask in the glory of making this experience happen for your child!
Your Photos are in the Cloud
Even if you lose your camera, it gets ruined by rain, or any other number of things that can go wrong, you still have your photos waiting for you when you arrive home. Good to know that at least some of your memories are safe!
With the Magic Band technology many rides will automatically add your on-ride photos to your Memory Maker. Some attractions like Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin allow you to tap your band on your photo to add it. This does add some strangers photos to your Memory Maker from time to time but that can be fun too.
My wife happens to be a professional photographer but not everyone is that lucky. It makes a huge difference to have a professional taking the pictures no matter how good you think you have become with your new camera.
Some tips (keep in mind these are only suggestions that may or may not work depending on your situation and constant changes at Walt Disney World)
If you are traveling with many people just link your reservations through my Disney Experience and the individual who purchased Memory Maker will have all of the linked party’s photos as well that can be downloaded. If you are on good terms with that person then maybe everyone can split the cost and all enjoy the benefits.
If you are traveling with an annual passholder who has this benefit and will be with them a majority of the time, have them scan their band when you are getting photos and you may not need to purchase Memory Maker to have the benefits. This worked well when my family visited last month.
Purchase Memory Maker at least 3 days before you wish to use it. Buying in advance (3 days) saves you $20 as of the writing of this article.
Take advantage of it! You have it so take the time to get some photos. There are rarely long lines to get these photos. Just stand behind the PhotoPass Photographer and wait your turn. You will be done before you know it.
I hope this helps with your decision of whether to purchase Disney’s Memory Maker. I think it is an amazing option and really is worth it to have.