My Universal Photos Service and Photo Packages
While some guests still find their point-and-shoot or cameraphone sufficient for documenting their vacation, Universal (in partnership with Colorvision's Amazing Pictures) has capitalized on advancing digital photo and social media technology with their My Universal Photos program (formerly known as Photo Connect). All the images captured during your day by Universal – either by roving paparazzi near the park entrances, at organized character meet and greets, or inside of attractions – can be collected on plastic cards (distributed free from every photo location), and retrieved at the end of the day at the photography shops at the front of either park.
Photos can be printed a la carte, which quickly gets expensive at $20+ each. A better value are the My Universal Photos daily packages, which offer 1, 3, or 14 days of unlimited digital photos, deep discounts on additional prints and videos, and a souvenir lanyard to hold your My Universal Photos card. 3 day and longer packages also include two free prints: one 4x6, and one 5x7 or 8x10 in a folder. The packages include all street photographers, on-ride still images, and even unique photo ops like E.T.'s flying bicycle.
The digital images can be downloaded at MyUniversalPhotos.com, or through the free Apple or Android app (search for “Amazing Pictures Mobile” on your app store or visit amazingpictures.com/app) from which they can be emailed, shared on Facebook and Twitter, or saved at approximately 4 megapixels, a resolution good enough for printing (though not poster-sized enlargements).
To use the My Universal Photos card, simply present it to every Universal photographer you approach, or at the photo counters at the exits of rides. Ride photos can be edited to zoom in on your party, and some photographers can set up “special effects” shots. Universal also has automated My Universal Photos kiosks at the exits of select attractions including Men In Black Alien Attack and The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster, so you can register your photos without waiting in line, though My Universal Photos team members are still available to help find and edit your photos if you don’t want to use the self-service stations. You get two cards per My Universal Photos package, in case your party splits up, and any additional images you get on other photo cards can be added to you My Universal Photos account at any photo service center.
If you pre-purchase your Photo Connect Star Card package online at presale.amazingpictures.com/UniversalFlorida.aspx or universalorlando.com/Theme-Park-Tickets/My-Universal-Photos.aspx, it won’t begin expiring until you activate it upon visiting the parks; once activated at the photography shop near the front of either park, My Universal Photos packages are valid for the purchased number of consecutive days. Online prices are $69.99 (plus tax) for a single day, $89.99 for 3 days, and $139.99 for a 14-day package. Annual pass holders can get a full year of My Universal Photos service for $99.99 online, or $149.99 in the park. A package combining a three-day My Universal Photos card with a video session at Shutterbutton's costs $139.99 online. Single-day My Universal Photos packages can only be ordered online, and the 3- to 14-day packages cost $10 more if purchased inside the park.
We used to be big fans of My Universal Photos, especially the year-long package for Annual Passholders, before the last few rounds of steep price hikes. If you are the type of person who buys ride and character photos, you'll still save money over buying a la carte, and if not the freedom of unlimited snapshots may seduce you. But Universal's offer is no longer a superior value to Walt Disney World's similar Memory Maker package, which costs $169 for 30 days ($149 if ordered online at least 3 days in advance), and is included with Gold level or better annual passes. There are some deficits and gotchas to the Star Card that you should be aware of before buying.
For starters, My Universal Photos photographers are not ubiquitous throughout Universal property the way Disney’s PhotoPass cast members are. Roving photogs can be found at each parks entrance, and occasionally at an improptu character greeting, but they aren't on every corner like at Disney World. You can sometimes find an exceptional Universal photographer who will spend time posing with your family in various locations, but you’re equally likely to encounter a meet and greet where the phototog has gone mysteriously MIA. You certainly should not leave your camera at home with the expectation that Photo Connect will be able to capture all your vacation memories.
Second, if you want to purchase any photos, you must do so (or buy and activate a My Universal Photos package) before you leave the park; once you exit at the end of the day, and photos not paid for or connected to an active My Universal Photos account will be erased. Likewise, if any photographers asked you to pose pointing or with your empty palm, you should stop by the photo store before leaving to have special effects characters layered into the image; otherwise you’ll look pretty silly in the shots. Also, if you want digital copies of your photos you must have a My Universal Photos package, as a la carte digital photos are no longer offered.
Finally, a few specific attractions have their own quirks. All digital photos in the Wizarding Worlds are included with My Universal Photos, but your included free prints are not valid at the Gringotts rides, and if you want to use them for Forbidden Journey, you must get your photo printed at that attraction. All other attraction pictures may be printed at any photo service location.
For the record, here is where you can always find Photo Connect locations throughout Universal’s two parks:
Universal Studios Florida My Universal Photos Locations
- Park entrance
- Meet and greet near Shrek 4-D exit
- Minions Meet and Greet at Despicable Me ride exit
- SpongeBob shop in KidZone
- Transformers meet and greet
- E.T. shop
- MIB on-ride photo
- Revenge of the Mummy on-ride photo
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit on-ride photo
- Gringotts queue photo
- Roaming Photographers during Halloween Horror Nights and other events(seasonal)
Islands of Adventure Photo Connect Locations
- Park entrance
- Incredible Hulk on-ride photo
- Spider-Man queue photo
- Spider-Man on-ride photo
- Spider-Man meet and greet
- Ripsaw Falls on-ride photo
- Jurassic Park photo op
- Jurassic Park River Adventure on-ride photo
- Jurassic Park Raptor Encounter
- Forbidden Journey on-ride photo
- Seuss Trolley queue photo
- Grinch Meet and Greet during Grinchmas (seasonal)
Last updated by Seth Kubersky on January 10, 2017