Have you ever struggled with getting that perfect shot of your whole family in front of the castle? Or wished you could get that shot of just your party and the Millennium Falcon with nobody else in it (unless Chewbacca photobombs you, of course)? Well, you can put your camera down and live in the moment thanks to the Disneyland PhotoPass photography service. You can also get that perfect, in-focus character shot with your whole party in the picture — minus unwanted fingers or awkward angles — with Disneyland PhotoPass. Just let the Disneyland PhotoPass photographers use their professional equipment and expert eye to take the photos. Then, you can download the quality images when they appear in your account. we know you want those awesome professional photos, and here's how to use Disneyland PhotoPass to make magical memories without it costing a ton of green!
First of all, if you think you will want to download photos, be sure to purchase PhotoPass+ for the day of your visit. Normally, Disney MaxPass gives you unlimited downloads of all of your photos taken that day. But Disney MaxPass (and FASTPASS) are temporarily unavailable. PhotoPass+ one day service has arrived on the scene at $19.99 per day. You can purchase in the Disneyland app! If you have a multi-day trip planned, you might look into the PhotoPass+ One Week plan so you can get all of the Disneyland PhotoPass images from your visit. Below, we discuss all the options available to you!
Before we get into PhotoPass+, we want to address MaxPass. We loved Disney MaxPass and are ever hopful that it will return someday. Here is everything you need to know about Disney MaxPass so you'll be prepared for that day when it comes. Disney MaxPass was $20 per day before the parks closed. Besides including a day's worth of PhotoPass photos, MaxPass also included the ability to make FASTPASS reservations from your phone. We will leave some references to MaxPass in this post in case it returns sooner rather than later. You'll also see references to character meet and greets, character dining, parades, annual passes and other things that are temporarily unavailable. But since their absence is temporary, we'll leave them in this post because things could change back to normal over time as we emerge from the pandemic.
Answers to Common Questions about Disneyland PhotoPass Service
How does Disneyland PhotoPass work?
You'll find Disneyland PhotoPass photographers located throughout the parks at iconic photo spots, some places you might meet characters and at character dining locations. The photographers sometimes even walk the parade route with signs for your party to hold while they take your picture!
Whenever Disneyland employees take photos, they can scan your annual pass (temporarily unavailable), Disneyland app on your phone or hand you a PhotoPass card. Scanning your pass or app makes for the easiest way to access your images. You can then view the images through the app, in the park at a PhotoPass Service Center such as Photo Supply Co. in Disneyland, Kingswell Camera Shop in Disney California Adventure or on your computer.
Whether or not you use MaxPass, you can link your pass or PhotoPass card to your account on the Disneyland app to capture images and view them after your photo is snapped. It's not complicated. The photos may appear anywhere from a few minutes to a few days after they are taken. Magic Shots seem to take longer than other shots to appear, so keep checking the app for new images!
What is MaxPass?
As mentioned, MaxPass is an important tool that makes PhotoPass more affordable, among other things. It is not available at this time. When offered, MaxPass is an optional service that allows park guests to reserve FASTPASSes from their smartphone through the Disneyland mobile app. It includes unlimited Disneyland PhotoPass downloads for the day. It costs $20 per day, per guest. Before annual passes were canceled, passholders could purchase MaxPass for $125 per year.
If you do not have MaxPass or another PhotoPass package, each picture you download costs $16.95 (and the price could be going up). That can really add up! MaxPass and PhotoPass+ really save money if you want even just two photos. You can read more about Disney MaxPass here. We have ribbeting news! Did you know that you can purchase discount Disneyland Resort tickets from your favorite froggy friends at Undercover Tourist? You'll be ready to go as soon as you enter the park!
What if you have an unused pre-COVID ticket purchased with MaxPass? That's a good question. We recommend calling Disneyland ticketing at (714) 520-6222 to hear about options.
What is PhotoPass+ One Week?
The PhotoPass+ One Week plan allows guests to have unlimited downloads of Disneyland PhotoPass photos taken that week. It costs $78 for seven consecutive days. It is just for photo downloads and does not include the ability to make FASTPASS reservations through the Disneyland app even when MaxPass returns. You can call (407) 560-4300 to learn more about the One Week plan.
Do I need to download the Disneyland mobile app?
No, but you really should. We highly recommend it, and it's an important tool for managing your day at Disneyland! Using the app makes the entire experience easier. Download the free Disneyland mobile app. To purchase PhotoPass+, tap the "+" sign on the bottom of the home screen. Then select Buy Disney PhotoPass+. You do not have to wait to purchase until the day you intend to use the PhotoPass services. You can purchase and leave PhotoPass+ in your account. You can activate it by tapping Link PhotoPass+ Purchase. It will be good for images captured beginning at 6 a.m. PT the day you want activated and ending at 5:59 a.m. PT the following day.
A new feature with PhotoPass+ is that you do not have to purchase in advance. You can purchase for your day (or days) in the 45-day time period that follows, should you look at your photos and decide you have to download them! It hoppens! How many times in the past did we froget to get a PhotoPass package and see our great images a day later only to have to pay for each download? That time is over!
You can show the PhotoPass photographer the PhotoPass code right from the app after you take your pics. The photographers can scan codes for multiple people in the picture. Or, one person can scan and share with the others. To view the photos, click the three lines in the bottom right-hand corner of the home screen. Click Photos. You can then view the photos, link an attraction photo, link a PhotoPass card or show a PhotoPass code.
You can have the PhotoPass photographer scan your annual pass (when available). However, you need to take an extra step to do this. Even if you have linked your annual pass to the Disneyland app, you need to link your PhotoPass code on the back of your annual pass. That extra step protects your photos. That way only you will see your photos in your app even if you link your pass to other people's accounts. They can book rides for you, but they won't get your pictures.
There are advantages to using the Disneyland mobile app with PhotoPass. The images will load straight into your account, saving you time and a few steps. Once photos appear in the app, you can edit them with filters, cute frames, stickers and borders. You can download them by clicking Save or share them on social media. With Share, you can also e-mail or text them to friends and family members.
We enjoy viewing our photos on our phones while still in the park. In fact, at times we have noticed that some photos did not load. We were able to get help from a cast member at Photo Supply Co. to locate them by pinpointing the location and approximate time we posed for the photos (front gate between 12 and 12:30 p.m, for example). We found them, and they loaded right into our app!
These are some of the benefits of using the Disneyland app:
- Eliminate the Disneyland PhotoPass card (no risk of losing it).
- Purchase PhotoPass+ through the app.
- See the images right on your device.
- Find a current map with locations for all of the Disneyland PhotoPass photographers in the app.
- Scan PhotoPass codes from existing cards right into the app using your phone’s camera.
- If you forget to hand a photographer your phone and they hand you a PhotoPass card, you can just scan the code within the app on your device right away.
- Store all of your images in one place rather than having them on separate cards.
- Easily take advantage of in-app photo design and editing features.
- Store all of the photos taken by different family members in one spot by scanning their PhotoPass cards.
- Immediately share photos on social media, or via text and email.
- Edit photos in the app.
- Purchase photo gifts through the app.
- Saves time versus hopping into the camera shops.
Can we capture on-ride photos?
Yes, both MaxPass and PhotoPass+ include hi-res ride images. Remember to type the number at the top of the photo into the app after you exit the ride. Rides such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission BREAKOUT! and Radiator Springs Racers have cameras that snap you while you're riding.
On-ride photos make a fun memory of you screaming on Incredicoaster or before you go over the hill on Splash Mountain. Sometimes the photos allow you to see how much fun your tadpoles are having — or just how terrified they really are — when you see their faces in the photos! To access the hi-res quality ride image, just type the ID number above the ride photo from the monitor into the Link Attraction Photo section of the Disneyland app. We find it easier to snap a picture of the screen (including the ID number) and type it into PhotoPass so we have a record of it just in case things do not load properly. The color and clarity are much better in Disneyland PhotoPass, and it does not include all the other numbers and words seen on the monitors.
What are Magic Shots?
A Magic Shot will sprinkle a little Disney magic into your photo. If you would like to add some fun elements (say, balloons or a character) into your shot, you can ask a photographer for a Magic Shot. You won't know what you'll get until you see the photo, just like magic! We are suckers for Disney magic. We jumped for joy when we saw our Magic Shots with the surprise characters and design elements added. So fun! You can also get a short animated video with a favorite Disney character to introduce your digital photo. Ask your photographer about these options.
During holiday times, such as Halloween Time and Christmas time, there are special holiday Magic Shots. They are so much fun! If you want a Magic Shot in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, they are called holograms there, and the PhotoPass photographers are called imagers. We cannot wait to experience The Child hologram (new)!
Are PhotoPass Photos included during parties and special events?
If you attend a special event that is held after the park closes and has a separate ticket, PhotoPass photos are usually included! That goes for the Disneyland Halloween Party — Oogie Boogie Bash — and the Disneyland After Dark events. Take advantage of that! We loved getting our PhotoPass photos included at A Touch of Disney!
Are PhotoPass Photos included with character dining?
If you get any PhotoPass Photos at Disneyland character dining locations (temporarily unavailable), buying the pictures can be very expensive unless you have PhotoPass+. If you show that you have MaxPass, the photo attendant will give you the downloads for free. One exception is the Disney Princess Adventures brunch at Napa Rose. That character dining experience includes free PhotoPass downloads of your farewell photo.
Are Keepsake Portrait Package downloads included?
In Fantasy Faire at Disneyland, there is a toadally adorable photo studio in Fairy Tale Treasures where you can get your tadpoles' pictures taken. This photo shoot takes walk-ins based on availability. It's especially popular after doing the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience when your princesses or knights are looking their royal best. The package comes with prints, but the digital download of all the photos is included. You'll receive a PhotoPass code to link and then you can share the adorable pics with others and print them out wherever you like.
How much does Disneyland PhotoPass+ cost?
Getting your pictures taken and viewing them (with watermarks) is free for all guests. If you do not have MaxPass or PhotoPass+ and want to download images, it will cost per image. The prices vary! You can buy just one photo for $16.95, but it is cheaper to pay a flat fee for all of the photos taken during one day with Disney PhotoPass+. That flat fee is $19.99 for one day or $78 for seven consecutive days.
When you first view the images without a plan, they will have a watermark on them. If you have purchased PhotoPass+ (or if you buy an image), the watermark will disappear. If you buy early in the trip, all of the photos for that week will load without watermarks for immediate sharing on social media. You can then download them to your phone, tablet or computer for your personal use. Print images yourself or order prints through the Disneyland PhotoPass site. You can also share on social media directly from the app or view on your computer.
If you are ordering a PhotoPass+ One Week plan, be sure to select photos from your first day as your start date, because that picture you choose starts your week of photos. Photos taken before that date will still have watermarks. Rookie mistake! If you have a multi-day trip and only purchased one day PhotoPass+ for one of the days, only the pictures taken during that day will be available for free downloads. The other days will have watermarks on them. For the one-week plan, call (407) 560-4300.
The prices to purchase hi-res digital files that you can download and share are as follows and are subject to change:
- One photo: $16.95 (if you do not have PhotoPass+)
- One day of unlimited photos and videos: $19.99 (from 6:00 a.m. on day of purchase until 5:59 a.m. the next day)
- One week of unlimited photos and videos with PhotoPass: $78
- One year annual passholder MaxPass with PhotoPass: $125 (not available at this time)
- Expiration Extension (for an additional 15 days): $19.95
Even when MaxPass was available, we recommended it for people who wanted PhotoPass photos and did not care about FASTPASS app features. That $20 helps you save money over buying individual photos. You can get by with one PhotoPass+ purchase per day per family. If you purchase PhotoPass+ each day for three days or fewer, you'll save over the PhotoPass+ One Week Plan. But, If you are going for four to seven consecutive days, then the One Week plan is the cheapest. Just be sure to use the MaxPass holder's account (scanning their PhotoPass code in the app or scanning PhotoPass cards into that account) when taking photos. Then, that person can download or share with everyone else from the app via text, email or social media. Keep in mind that pricing is subject to change.
If you are planning on downloading many PhotoPass photos, you might decide in advance if you are going to concentrate on just one day of PhotoPass photos or take pictures the whole week. See what works for your budget. We frogs like to plan and budget how much money we want to spend on souvenirs and extras in the park. We loved MaxPass, so we got it every day of our journey because the ride benefit was worth it. But now that for the same price we only get PhotoPass benefits, we may budget out our days and focus on taking photos on the days we purchase PhotoPass+ and going without photos on other visits.
If you are looking to save money, you can just purchase PhotoPass+ on select days of your journey and focus on using PhotoPass for those days of meeting characters or getting those iconic park shots and then not really worry about photos other days.
If you order prints online, the price (plus taxes and shipping fees) includes download rights, as well (if you do not have MaxPass or PhotoPass+). You can order photos in the park or do it online once you get home. You are free to print the images wherever you'd like (your printer, Costco, etc.). There is a link online to purchase photo gifts.
If you want to print in the park, you can customize and crop the images right there in the shop. You can add words, Mickey's signature, characters, the year, special occasions and more. Keep in mind that you cannot customize at home, but you can customize in the Disneyland app. You can also purchase photo souvenirs.
What about Disney Visa and debit cards?
If you have a Disney Visa or Chase Disney debit cards, you can get free PhotoPass photos, even if you do not have PhotoPass+. There are two exclusive locations in the park to take these photos. In normal times, you get to meet characters. For right now it's your photo with a background and includes a Magic Shot. You can find the Disney California Adventure location in Hollywood Land behind Hollywood Lounge. Look for the Disneyland location in Tomorrowland. It's at the exit for Star Wars Launch Bay, across from the entrance to Autopia. The images will appear without watermarks in the app.
What if I have an annual pass?
The annual pass program has been canceled for now. But Disneyland will at some point present a new membership offering. In the past, certain levels of Disneyland annual passholders enjoyed special PhotoPass benefits. People who had valid Signature Plus and Disney Premier Annual Passports had MaxPass with PhotoPass included in their benefits. People who held Signature passes purchased before July 19, 2017, had PhotoPass benefits (but not MaxPass) grandfathered in and were supposed to continue to receive PhotoPass if they renewed before their pass expires.
Other level annual passholders were able to purchase a yearly MaxPass with PhotoPass for a flat fee. It expired when the pass expired no matter when it was purchased. The fee was not prorated. We do not yet have the details on future passes and how they work with PhotoPass, so keep hopping back for updates.
How long can you view the images?
You have 45 days (from the day taken) to view and purchase the pictures. Be sure to download the images right away because Disney will not store them for you online. There is no way to save them in PhotoPass long-term. You can purchase an additional 15 days for $19.95 if you need to buy yourself some time. You can download the hi-res images in the Disneyland app to your cell phone/tablet, or you can download directly to your computer. Some upper-level annual passholders (Signature, Signature Plus and Disney Premier) could view the images for 365 days but that is no longer available.
Will the photographers take pictures with your camera?
Normally, yes. During Disneyland's reopening period, no. They are not allowed to touch your phone or camera at this time. It is Disney's rule to keep cast members and guests safe.
In a more normal world, PhotoPass photographers will always cheerfully use your camera to take pictures of you in addition to the Disneyland PhotoPass pictures with their camera. You can have the best of both worlds by having your images while also having professional photos from the photographer's camera to choose from, just in case your images do not compare favorably to their photos. Or maybe your photos are great, and you do not need to spend the money. Either way, it is nice to have the option.
A bonus for using the photographers is that they can add special surprises such as Magic Shots to the Disneyland PhotoPass images. We love Magic Shots and especially enjoy seeing different ones during different holiday seasons. There is a new The Child Magic Shot along the outer edges of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge!
An advantage to using the PhotoPass photographers is that they shoot a lot of images, ranging from posed to candid shots and vertical to horizontal. They may also help you pose or get the right positioning. They do this every day and know what works best. When meeting a character, the photographers get shots of the hugs and initial greetings that you might miss with your camera. When posing in front of the Millennium Falcon, they position you so that you have a shot of you and the ship without others in the shot. They may direct you for cool poses that you'll enjoy seeing later.
One of the great parts about using the PhotoPass photographers is that you do not have to experience Disneyland through a lens. You can leave the pics to them and be part of the experience, too, rather than an observer or recorder. The person who always takes the vacation pics often gets home to find out that there is no historical record of them on the trip in the hundreds of photos of everyone else. Jump in the picture so the whole family can be part of the fun!
Where can I find a Disneyland PhotoPass photographer?
While locations vary, you can find photographers by the entrance to the parks, at iconic photo locations, sometimes — but not always — at character meet and greets (which are temporarily unavailable, but here are some tips on finding your favorite characters), on the parade route and at the entrance to character dining. You may identify them by their professional digital cameras and cast member name tags. Ask for a photo — they will be happy to oblige. Consult park maps and the Disneyland mobile app to find up-to-date locations.
Below are a few places you might find a photographer at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Keep in mind that Disney PhotoPass photographers’ availability may vary. We find that the ones wandering the park are more available in the morning and daytime than at night in some locations, which is good for catching some nice posed shots before the roller coasters and water rides have had their way with your hair. Nevertheless, we frogs call wind-blown roller coaster hair a good hair day even if it does not photograph well. Any day you can hop on a roller coaster is a good day!
At Disneyland Park, locations vary, but you usually can usually find PhotoPass photographers at:
- Main Entrance
- Partners Statue
- Minnie’s House Character Experience
- Mickey’s House Character Experience
- Main Street, U.S.A. Train Station
- Royal Hall Character Experience
- Mad Tea Party (daytime)
- Sword in the Stone
- Town Square
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Mark Twain Riverboat
- New Orleans Square
- Sleeping Beauty Castle
- Winnie the Pooh Character Experience
- In Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge: Garrison, Millennium Falcon, A-Wing/X-Wing, Marketplace Entrance and The Child Magic Shot (in the entrance to the market)!
- Star Wars Launch Bay
- In front of holiday-themed decorations such as the giant pumpkin or Christmas tree during certain times of the year
At Disney California Adventure Park, you can usually find PhotoPass photographers at:
- Buena Vista Street
- Paradise Pier Character Experience
- Cars Land Entrance
- Pixar Pier Bridge
- Pixar Pier Character Experience
- Route 66
- Cars Land Character Experience
- Toy Story Character Experience
- Cars Land Overlook
- Storytellers Statue
- Hollywood Land
- Grizzly Peak Airfield Character Experience
- Super Hero Character Experience
- Hollywood Boulevard Character Experience
- Buena Vista Street Character Experience
Note that traditional character meet and greets are not operating at this time.
With these tips, you should feel confident that you can take advantage of the benefits of Disneyland PhotoPass to add some magic to your next trip! What questions do you have about Disneyland PhotoPass? Be sure to get a hoppin' deal on discount Disneyland Resort tickets from Undercover Tourist.