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4 Ways Disney's Memory Maker is Totally Worth the Cost (And 1 Way it's Not)

When you visit Walt Disney World, the company’s marketing department wants you to think about your Disney Side. What really matters to you, however, is the underlying goal for every vacationer. You want to create memories that will last a lifetime. And in the social media era, you can share your happiness with your friends by proudly displaying your photos on services such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr. Your loved ones can live vicariously through you when you visit Walt Disney World and vice versa. Vacation imagery remains a keepsake of memories from happy days. It’s simply more interactive and shareable now.

If you plan to visit the world’s most popular amusement park, you are probably wondering about Memory Maker. This service leverages the many Walt Disney World photo opportunities as well as the technology in Magic Bands. The premise is simple. For one low price, you can get as many pictures as you want taken by professional Disney photographers. The pictures are usually taken in high profile settings such as gorgeous restaurants or set against amazing backdrops like Cinderella’s Castle and Spaceship Earth. We are discussing images that truly qualify as showstoppers. All you have to do is notify a Disney employee that you want a picture taken, identify yourself as having Memory Maker, and take the picture. You can even get special types of pictures taken that cannot be duplicated anywhere else, something explained in detail below.

The cost of Memory Maker is the primary sticking point. Disney charges $199 to do the same that your cellphone does for free. If you order more than three days prior to your arrival, the price does drop to $169, which is a sturdy 15 percent discount. At $169, your pricing decision comes down to how much you plan to use the service. What you’ll want to do is take note of every Disney photographer setting up shop across the various parks. A lot of them are hidden in plain sight, by which I mean that there are a lot more photo opportunities than you have probably realized during previous visits. Unless you look for them, you barely even notice they’re there.

1. Impeccable Picture Quality

Image © Disney

So, what are the advantages of Memory Maker? Have you ever been sitting at a table service meal when a Disney photographer walks over to make a sales pitch? They offer you a special, deluxe version of the picture they asked (maybe even forced) you to take outside the restaurant. And they assure you that they are practically giving it away at the cost roughly $30. Well, if you have Memory Maker, they will give it away, at least at participating restaurants and shows. Included in your package are Chef Mickey's, Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, Tusker House breakfast, ‘Ohana breakfast, 1900 Park Fare, and Spirit of Aloha.

 The picture you took prior to entering the building has been automatically uploaded to your account, something you can proudly exclaim to the salesperson interrupting your meal. Don’t be rude about it, of course. They’re only doing their job.

Still, this is the beauty of Memory Maker as a service. These are pictures that Disney considers so good that they won’t blink at charging you thirty bucks for one. Yes, you get a little care package included, but the picture is what they are really selling. For the price of six such keepsakes, you can ask every Disney photographer you see to take as many pictures of you as possible. If you spend a week at Disney, this number should exceed 100, all of which will be high quality images worthy of a picture frame. To wit, just looking at my desk right now, I see no fewer than four such Memory Maker framed photographs plus a pair of collages. The $169-$199 sticking point may dissuade you, but once you get past the sticker shock, you can really make it up in (picture) volume. I don’t care if I’ve just gotten off a water ride and am dripping wet. If I see a Disney photographer, they are going to Memory-Make for me.

Best of all, Disney offers some of the best photography training in the world. Their experts will find a way to show your good side, even if you have the face of Cruella De Vil and the hair (well, horns) of Maleficent. I’ve had professional pictures and Glamour Shots taken. Nothing holds a candle to the artistry of Disney photographers.

2. Disney Magic Shot

Image © Disney

Disney photographers have the ability to spice up your theme park images. If you ask them to do so, they can incorporate certain Disney characters in the shot, thereby providing photographic evidence that you’ve met Stitch and lived to talk about it. Other characters from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog, Frozen, Star Wars, Cars, and Monsters, Inc. are all options. If you don’t want a character, you can also add butterflies or balloons to your picture or give yourself wings. Recently, Disney added actual animation to some Magic Shots. Your kids will LOVE those.  

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There are 8 comments.

Can you purchase a memory maker and use it at both Disneyland and WDW? or do you have to purchase one for each? Thanks

It can be used at both parks as long as your tickets are linked to the my Disney experience account. The catch is that there is a 90 clock on it. If you go to both parks in that time, it in theory will work. I don't know if anyone who goes to both parks in a 90 day period.

Thank you. We will be going to both parks within the 90 day period. We are from Australia and are travelling to the USA in Sept/Oct this year. :)

Did this work for you? I will be going to disneyworld and disneyland with in a 90 day period - and I'd love for this to work!

We will only be in the park for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and will be on a cruise the next day with many of the characters. Is it still worth the price?

We are visiting Disneyland soon but won't be staying in a Disneyland hotel. I understand that when we purchase our ultimate ticket we will receive a card but not the Magicband. How do we inform the photographers that we require photos and how do they know where to send them? Can this be done?

I just got back from Disney and here are my thoughts.
First, when you get off a ride that offers photos, they scroll so quickly its hard to get through the crowd in time to scan your bracelet for your photo, and frequently you are put in a seat with other people (ruining a good photo, IMHO, because you don't want a picture of strangers) or you are in the back seat, and the photo has a great pic of the people in the front seat only, you only get half of your head and your 6 yr old son is hidden behind someone else's raised arms and smiling faces.
Also, not every restaurant accepts the memory maker. We had to pay more for the photos taken at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney.
They also don't apply to the kiosks where they superimpose your face onto character backings (like Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy) which we had to pay more for. I think at least ONE of those per family should be included!
I do like the Magic Shots but they did not have a good selection of those. Only Tinkerbell and Monsters Inc. I feel they should have different magic shots for each park, instead of repeating the same.
Finally, I think for the price, they should have something at the resorts themselves so you can get a nice photo with a backdrop done when your hair isn't frizzed out and your makeup hasn't melted off, and your husband doesn't already have sweat stains on his shirt! Just saying!

While I agree that the Memory Maker is worth it, I'm gonna have to disagree about the quality and "artistry" you get with MM photos! If you've had professional shots taken that aren't as good as the Memory Maker photos, you need to find a new professional photographer!! I have had legs, arms and other body parts cut off in pictures at places that a well-trained photographer would never but off. I have several pictures with my feet cut off right at the ankle! It's an awkward picture at best. Plus I've gotten blurry pictures, pictures where we weren't posed to show our best side, dark pictures, etc... Yes, there are a few well-trained photographers (that were professionals before going to Disney), but the norm are not well-trained. I've had some of them not even give me direction as to where to stand. I am an advocate of the MM because pictures mean a lot to me, but let's be honest in what we're saying. These are not beautifully lit and posed pictures. They are candid pictures taken with a flash on the camera, by some person that was assigned to take pictures and had very little training.

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