The amazingly talented and fabulous Aubrey of Adventures in Aubreyland just returned from quite the 8-day dream trip to Disney World! As she returns I countdown to leave. With departure looming in just three days, Aubrey is guest posting and being the Mary Poppins of my blogging life! She’s talking about the new Memory Maker service at Disney, what it is, and if it’s worth it. Make sure you also check out Aubrey’s blog where she blogs about travel, her kitties, Nashville life, good eats, and of course, for more Disney. Here’s Aubrey!
During my recent trip to Disney World, I decided to invest in an advance purchase of Memory Maker
the PhotoPass service that allows you to download ALL of your official photos from the PhotoPass photographers for a single price, $150 purchased in advance, $200 purchased on arrival (cost is much less for Disneyland). The Memory Maker can be linked to your Magic Band, allowing you to scan your band (or card) at each photo opportunity and have all of the photos at your disposal later for download for 30 days. I knew I would be visiting multiple parks, over the span of a week… and I just didn’t want to haul my bulky DSLR all over the place.
Value: I only had 58 photos taken, less than I anticipated because of a few days of storms that prevented more. That’s about $2.60 per photo. Not cheap. But if you factor in that ride photos cost $15 each, I think that Memory Maker can really benefit you in the end. Especially if you’re wrangling a stroller and a bunch of kids, and you take advantage of all the photographers. We bypassed quite a few because Dan gets sick of pictures, plus the thunderstorms sent all the photographers into hiding. Note that rain does mean the photographers aren’t out at their posts!
Convenience: When Dan and I travel together, we take plenty of individual photos, but not enough as a couple. I hate inconveniencing people to take our photo, and when someone doesn’t understand your DSLR the photos don’t always turn out. I think that Memory Maker increased the FUN during my trip, because I got plenty of couples photos for my scrapbook! It was well worth it to me in terms of convenience and not lugging around my DSLR. It was so easy to get a photo and scan my band; it took less than a minute each time, another plus when you have a camera-shy boyfriend!
I also love that I can download, edit, and share the photos. Period. It’s convenient. And ALL of my photos were available online in real time less than 24 hours after the photo was taken. Disney is doing a great job.
Quality: Here’s where the Memory Maker falls a little short… the photos are only as good as the photographers. You can tell in some shots that the focus isn’t quite right, or you end up with some that would be about the same quality on an iPhone, especially in low light situations where the photographer may not be as experienced at making adjsutments. The evening shots of me and my friends at Epcot were a bit blurry; a little extra time focusing on the people vs. the sphere would have helped in the low light. But the good news is, even if a photo is lackluster, the photographer will take a handful of shots to choose from. This really helped with blinking, cropping, vertical vs. horizontal, and more. If you hand them your phone or camera, chances are they’ll only take one pic.
Fun: Memory Maker also includes photos from rides and character dining and the Epcot Character Spot. We didn’t do any ride photos, but we did get a photo with the Beast after dinner at Be Our Guest. We also did a “Magic Shot” at Epcot. Photographers with non-tripod setups will have you do a seemingly funny pose, then they’ll add in a fun Disney character element later. Ask your photographer to set up some magic shots; they’re a really fun addition to your collection. Our photo had Stitch!
I really enjoyed (obviously, from the pics I’m sharing) adding borders and other elements to my photos so i can remember which parks and the year stamp. There are so many options, and it felt more like a “souvenir” to me. I didn’t buy souvenirs because the Memory Maker to me was the ultimate souvenir.
Overall: I would buy Memory Maker (for the advance purchase price) in the future if I knew I had an extended trip to Disney World, including character dining, ride photos, and visits to multiple parks over multiple days. I felt the opportunity cost of leaving the DSLR at home was worth it to me. I supplemented the collection with iPhone pics during the trip. As a personal measure, I posted 34 photos to Facebook for my trip album; of those, 18 are from Memory Maker. Note that’s because I didn’t post a lot of overly similar ones; I love them as a package.
If you’re on a budget, I would say have the photographer take a picture with your own camera or iPhone and call it a day. If you’re not, I still think Memory Maker is a good value for the convenience during a longer trip. I think it’s perfect for a week-long family trip to the property, and especially good for a big group. Might even be worth splitting the cost and having all the pictures added to one person’s account!
Thanks so much for spreading a little pixie dust here this week! -Meghan