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How to Use Disneyland PhotoPass to Make Magical Memories

by Mommy Frog on August 15, 2017 7 Los Angeles

If you have ever struggled with getting that perfect shot of your whole family in front of the castle or that action shot of your little Padawan in Jedi Training, 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. It can sound like work, but it's quite easy to use.

There have been some recent changes to Disneyland PhotoPass and its pricing due to the newly launched, optional paid MaxPass service, which includes PhotoPass unlimited downloads for the day that you purchase it. (Here is everything you need to know about Disney MaxPass.) If you have a longer trip planned, you might look into the PhotoPass+ One Week plan so you can get all the Disneyland PhotoPass images from your visit. Below, we discuss all the options!

Disneyland PhotoPass Prints

Answers to Common Questions about Disneyland PhotoPass Service

How does Disneyland PhotoPass work?

Disneyland PhotoPass - Photopass Pickup

There are Disneyland PhotoPass photographers located throughout the parks at iconic photo spots, places you might meet characters and at character dining locations. They sometimes 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, park ticket, Disneyland app on your phone, or hand you a PhotoPass card. Scanning your park ticket 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 or Kingswell Camera Shop in Disney California Adventure or on your computer. Whether or not you use MaxPass, you can link your park ticket to your account on the Disneyland app to capture images and view them about 20 minutes after your photo is snapped. It's not complicated.

What is MaxPass?

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 $10 per day per guest or $75 per year (until the pass expires) for annual passholders. You can read more about Disney MaxPass here.

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 the week. It is just for photo downloads and does not include the ability to make FASTPASS reservations through the Disneyland app

Do I need to download the Disneyland Mobile App?

No, but the app makes the entire experience easier. You do need to download the free Disneyland mobile app to use MaxPass with PhotoPass. Don't worry about downloading the app if you have not purchased a plan or are using Disney PhotoPass+ One Week.

There are advantages to using the Disneyland mobile app with PhotoPass. The images will load straight into your account in about 20 minutes, saving you time and a few steps. We enjoyed viewing our photos on our phones while still in the park. In fact, when we 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.) We found them, and they loaded right into our app!

These are some of the benefits of using the Disneyland App:

  • You can eliminate the Disneyland PhotoPass card (no risk of losing it).
  • You skip a step in logging in and typing in an ID number.
  • You can see the images right on your device.
  • You can find a current map with locations for all the Disneyland PhotoPass photographers in the app.
  • You can 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 and ditch the card. No need to hold onto another card to type in later.
  • You can store all your images in one place rather than have them on separate cards.
  • You can easily take advantage of in-park photo design and less-expensive printing features.
  • You can store all the photos taken on each family member’s ticket in one spot by scanning their ticket and linking accounts.
  • You can immediately share photos on social media, or via text and email.

Can We Capture On-Ride Photos?

Disneyland PhotoPass - Splash Mountain

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 Splash Mountain, California Screamin' and Radiator Springs Racers have cameras that snap you while you're riding. Disneyland is generous in allowing guests to snap pictures of the monitors with their own devices, but the quality isn't as good.

On-ride photos make a fun memory of you screaming before going over the hill on Splash Mountain or your hair in your face on Radiator Springs Racers. To access the hi-res quality ride image, just type the ID number above the ride photo from the monitor into the PhotoPass 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. 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?

Disneyland PhotoPass - Magic Shot with Tink

A Magic Shot will put a little Disney magic in your photo. If you would like to add some characters or fun elements (say balloons or Tinker Belle) into your shot, you can ask a photographer to add them to appear in your 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.

How much does Disneyland PhotoPass Cost?

That depends on whether you use a plan or not. 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 money per image. The prices vary (and buying prints in the park can save you money from buying online—see below)! You can buy just one photo, but it is cheaper to pay a flat fee for all the photos taken during one day with MaxPass or even one week with Disney PhotoPass+ One Week.

When you first view the images, they will have a watermark on them. If you have purchased either MaxPass or PhotoPass+ One Week (or if you buy an image), the watermark will disappear. If you buy early in the trip, all 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. You can 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 MaxPass for one of the days, only the pictures taken during the MaxPass day will be available for free downloads. The other days will have watermarks on them.

Disneyland PhotoPass - Oswalt

The prices to purchase hi-res digital files that you can download and share are as follows and are subject to change:

  • One photo: $12.95 (free on MaxPass or the one-week plan)
  • One day of unlimited photos and videos: $10 MaxPass (introductory pricing)
  • One week unlimited photos and videos: $78
  • One year annual passholder MaxPass with PhotoPass: $75
  • One Year Disney Signature Plus and Disney Premier Passports MaxPass and PhotoPass: free
  • Expiration Extension: $19.95

Does the one-day vs. one-week pricing seem confusing? Yes, one day is $10, but that is $10 per person per day if you want to take advantage of the MaxPass benefits, which allow you to make FASTPASS reservations from your phone (very nice!). If you use MaxPass to get FASTPASSes, you will want to add multiple family members to the MaxPass account.

If you only want the PhotoPass photos and don't care about the FASTPASS feature, you can save money and get by with one MaxPass for the family. Just be sure to use the MaxPass holder's account (scanning their park ticket or code in the app) when taking photos, and then that person can download or share with everyone else from the app via text, email or social media.

If you are planning on downloading many PhotoPass photos, you might decide in advance if you are going to concentrate on just one day or taking 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. If we know we are paying for the week, we might really take advantage of MaxPass or PhotoPass+ One Week opportunities to get the most benefit out of our flat fee. Or we might focus on using it for one day of meeting characters or getting those iconic park shots and then not really worry about it the other days. Plus, if you go with MaxPass, there are other great benefits such as skipping the lines, which can free up your time for more photo opportunities.

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 like (your printer, Costco etc.) Prices for printing through Disney are as follows:

  • Two 4x6 prints: $14.95
  • A single 5x7: $14.95
  • A single 8x10: $18.95

If you want to print in the park, the prices are the same as ordering from home. The advantage to ordering in the park is that you get to customize and crop the images right there in the shop. You can add words, Mickey's signature, characters, the year, special occasions and more. You cannot customize at home. We purchased a few prints in the park and had a great time picking the designs—even Lily chimed in and had Mickey and Minnie added to a photo. You can also purchase photo souvenirs.

What if I have an annual pass?

Certain levels of Disneyland annual passholders have special PhotoPass benefits. People who have valid Signature Plus and Disney Premier Annual Passports have MaxPass with PhotoPass included in their benefits. They can view PhotoPass photos for up to 365 days at no additional cost. People who hold Signature passes purchased before July 19, 2017, have PhotoPass benefits (but not MaxPass) grandfathered in and will continue to receive PhotoPass if they renew before their pass expires. That benefit will not be offered to new Signature passholders who purchase going forward.

Other level annual passholders may purchase a yearly MaxPass with PhotoPass for $75. It expires when your pass expires no matter when you buy it. The fee is not prorated. If your expiration date is approaching, you might want to wait until you renew it to get the most benefit.

How long can you view the images?

You have 49 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) can view the images for 365 days.

Will the photographers take pictures with your camera?

Disneyland PhotoPass - Photographer

Yes, the 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 like Magic Shots to the Disneyland PhotoPass images. 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, they get shots of the hugs and initial greeting that you might miss with your camera. Plus, when you are not experiencing Disneyland only through your lens you can feel like you are part of the experience too, rather than an observer or recorder. The person who always takes the vacations 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?

Disneyland PhotoPass - Meeting Sofia the First

While locations vary, you can find photographers by the entrance to the parks, at iconic photo locations, sometimes at character meet and greets (here are some tips on finding your favorite characters), on the parade route, at character dining, and at certain shows such as Jedi Training. 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 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 you usually can usually find PhotoPass photographers at:

  • Partners Statue
  • Minnie’s House Character Experience
  • Main Street, U.S.A. Train Station
  • Royal Hall Character Experience
  • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
  • Pixie Hollow Character Experience
  • Town Square
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • New Orleans Square
  • Toontown
  • Mickey’s House Character Experience
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle
  • Winnie the Pooh Character Experience

At Disney California Adventure Park you can usually find PhotoPass Photographers at:

  • Buena Vista Street
  • Paradise Pier Character Experience
  • Cars Land Entrance
  • Paradise Pier Entrance
  • Route 66
  • Cars Land Character Experience
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail Character Experience
  • Toy Story Character Experience
  • Cars Land Overlook
  • Storytellers Statue
  • Hollywood Land
  • Grizzly Peak Airfield Character Experience
  • Monsters University Character Experience
  • Hollywood Boulevard Character Experience
  • Buena Vista Street Character Experience
  • Red the Fire Engine Character Experience
  • Carthay Circle Character Experience
  • Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome Character Experience
  • Olaf Character Experience

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?

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Comments
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Kerry Oct 21, 2016 at 1:05 a.m.

Thanks so much for this post! It's highly informative and helps me make my decision to go or not to go with PhotoPass :)

- Newbie to DL!

Reply
Jessica Jul 25, 2017 at 7:35 p.m.

Does each member of a group need to purchase the plan? Or can we do one for the whole family and add multiple PhotoPass cards?

Reply
FrogBlog Jul 28, 2017 at 11:18 a.m.

Hi Jessica,

If you are only getting MaxPass just for the PhotoPass option, you can just have one person purchase and scan that person’s park ticket or code in the app so all the photos will be linked to them and be available for downloading. If you all want to take advantage of MaxPass FASTPASS reservations feature, then you would have to purchase for the entire group.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Troy Aug 2, 2017 at 10:44 a.m.

I don't understand the additional fee for prints. If PP includes all downloads from that day wouldn't I simply print my own at home or go to Walgreens for 39 cents per photo?!

Reply
FrogBlog Aug 4, 2017 at 5:23 p.m.

Hi Troy,

That's always an option!

Keep Hopping!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Janel Skrabanek Aug 10, 2017 at 4:08 p.m.

Thanks for the great info.

Reply
Tina M. LaMorte Aug 10, 2017 at 4:25 p.m.

Omg! Magic shots are absolutely adorable!! I must get that when my boyfriend and I go in October!! Soooo cute! Thanks for sharing!!

Reply
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