Disclaimer: While I am a Cast Member, the following is based on my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the policies of the Walt Disney Company.
Philosophers of the age ask: If there are no pictures, did it really happen? Photos are an integral part of preserving your Disney moments and sharing the memories with family and friends. To that end, Disney offers the Memory Maker for purchase. The Memory Maker is a way to get digital copies of all of the PhotoPass photos and videos from your Walt Disney World vacation. Like any major Disney purchase, you should look at the pros and cons before you decide to drop the cash. I recently had the opportunity to use a Memory Maker as a Guest and participated in the One-day Memory Maker pilot program as a Cast Member. Here are the questions I heard from Guests—and had myself—about the Memory Maker.
How much does the Memory Maker cost?
The full Memory Maker is offered at the advance purchase price and the regular price. Purchasing the Memory Maker in advance—at least three days before your trip begins—costs $169 before tax. Buying the Memory Maker less than three days before, during, or after your trip costs $199. If you purchase the Memory Maker at the advance purchase price, you will not be able to download any photos taken during the three days after your purchase. The One-day Memory Maker—which, as its name would imply, is valid for a single day of photos—is $39. The One-day Memory Maker can only be added to a single-day ticket.
If you were thinking about buying several One-day Memory Makers instead of the full Memory Maker, I ran the numbers for you: If you’re going more than three days, the full Memory Maker plus your ticket costs less.
How do I purchase a Memory Maker?
The Memory Maker can be purchased in advance online from MyDisneyExperience. The regular-priced Memory Maker can be purchased online or in the parks at select retail locations. The One-day Memory Maker can only be purchased at the vacation planning booths at the Ticket and Transportation Center or at Guest Relations. The One-day Memory Maker was offered beginning in September 2014 as a pilot program with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but is still available to purchase with any single-day ticket. As of now, there is no word on when (or if) the pilot program will end.
How will I carry my Memory Maker?
A Memory Maker can be stored on a MagicBand or an RF-enabled card. If you order your Memory Maker ahead of time, it will be mailed to you on a Memory Maker-branded RF-enabled card. A free MagicBand is included with your One-day Memory Maker. If you want to use a MagicBand with your full Memory Maker, it will need to be purchased separately.
How do I use my Memory Maker?
When a photo is taken by a PhotoPass photographer, the photographer will touch an RFID scanner to your card or MagicBand after your “photoshoot” to add the photos to your MyDisneyExperience account.
With the MagicBand, ride photos are automatically added to your My Disney Experience account using long-range RFID technology—there is no need to stop at the photo kiosk at the end of the attraction. If you choose to use a card instead of a MagicBand, you can stop at the photo kiosk after the attraction and touch the touch point under the photo display. The videos from Tower of Terror or Seven Dwarves Mine Train are only available on a MagicBand.
How do I get my Memory Maker photos?
All photos that are attached to any media affiliated with your MyDisneyExperience account will appear on your account. This includes any photos from people whose profiles you manage or any people on your “Friends and Family” list.
The One-day Memory Maker is activated when you use your ticket, so you will only be able to download photos taken on that day. If you have a single-day ticket with the Water Park Fun & More option, the Memory Maker will still be activated on first use—even if that first use is at a water park where there are no PhotoPass photographers. If you plan to visit one of the Water Park Fun & More visits first, add the One-day Memory Maker later.
The Memory Maker is active 30 days after your first download. Because PhotoPass photos do not expire for 45 days, you can theoretically download photos from a 75-day time period: from 45 days before your first download to 30 days after. An important note: if you purchase the Memory Maker at the advance purchase price, you will not be able to download any photos taken three days after your purchase date.
From the MyDisneyExperience website, you can edit your photos—including the ability to add Disney-exclusive borders and clip art. You can download the original photos, the edited photos, and any videos.
How do I get the most out of my Memory Maker?
- Get a MagicBand. Even if you have to purchase a MagicBand, the convenience and ride videos are worth the extra cost.
- Stop at every PhotoPass photographer. The higher the volume of photos, the better value you’re getting.
- Meet characters. The PhotoPass photographers at the character meet-and-greets will take several photos of you, both in poses and interacting with the character.
- Ask for magic shots. The PhotoPass photographer will set you in a specific pose and the effect will be added to your photo on you MyDisneyExperience account.
Is the Memory Maker worth it?
Full disclosure: I did not pay for my Memory Maker—I won it through a contest. However, I would recommend the purchase for some people. If you’re with a large group, it is probably worth it to split the cost since you’ll be able to download photos for the whole group. It’s also great for special events; we used ours for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade filming. A longer trip reduces the cost per day, so the more days the better; I think five days is a good minimum since it puts the cost at about $40 per day.
Have you used Memory Maker? Decided it wasn’t worth it for your family? Tell us all about it in the comments.