Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wanderlust : Disney World 2013 - Wrap-up & Photopass

There is so much about Disney World that I think people either don't realize or forget about.  It is truly an amazing place that is way more than just Mickey and the gang.  The food, especially the actual sit-down restaurants, is incredible.  The details that are put into every single nook and cranny is essential to the "believability" factor.

The customer service at Disney is off the charts.  You will not find a more helpful or cheerful staff.  Everyone takes pride in what they do (or at least seems to) and each cast member has the power to provide magic in someone's day.  I mean that literally.  Each person is given the authority to create a magical experience.  Anything from giving out a free FastPass to finding your child's favorite character for a one-on-one session or decorating your hotel room for a birthday celebration.  Disney brings out the imagination in everyone.

There are so many options available to customize your Disney vacation.  The must-do's for us are staying in a Disney property hotel, Park Hopper Tickets for each day you are there (even on travel days because you can eat in the parks!), and a dining plan with meal reservations at some of the most amazing restaurants you will ever experience.

One of the greatest services (in my opinion) that Disney offers is the PhotoPass and PhotoPass+.  Allow me to set the scene:  

You have your entire family in one spot, actually laughing and having fun together.  THIS RARELY HAPPENS and you want to document it.  "Wait a minute, how can I get all of us together if one of us has to take the picture?!"  You hand your camera to a random stranger, apologizing and thanking them profusely at the same time.  They, of course, man-handle your camera or phone because they aren't used to it but finally ask everyone in your group to "say cheese!".  Ah, sweet relief.  No one was crying or bickering. You have a family photo where everyone is happy.  Suddenly you freeze.  Panic runs through your veins. Nay, anger.  How could that stranger cut off your husband's head?!  How could they not see that the entire picture was blurry so that all you can make out are dark blobs against a colorful background?! Aaaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh!  You feel the sadness engulf you.  You feel the tears start to spill over.  Your vacation is ruined.  

*End scene*

Ok, so only a little dramatic, but you get the idea.  Disney thought of that moment.  {They think of everything}.  They thought of me the crazy photo lady that obsesses over getting those shots of her family having fun TOGETHER.  They thought "why not make her perfect vacation even more perfect?".  So they created PhotoPass.  There are professional photographers set up throughout each park in strategic locations to provide you and your party with the best shots of everyone having fun together.  When you sign up and pay, you receive a card that you carry around with you and every time you see a PhotoPass photographer, you hand them your card.  They take your photo (several times and in several different ways) and scan your card.  This uploads all of the photos taken to a database that you can access at the end of your trip (or during if you so choose).  Your initial purchase actually pays for a CD of your images, so it doesn't matter if you take one or eleventy billion photos, your price never changes.  {I actually asked if there was a limit to the photos, and they assured me there wasn't.  They said that they had actually had someone that needed 10 CD's for all of the photos that they had taken and their price didn't change.  Lesson learned.  The more photos you take, the bigger bang for your buck.} Bless you, Disney.  Bless. You.

We found out about PhotoPass during our honeymoon and were so thankful to come away with a ton of photos of us together.  Of course, this time around it was already built into our budget because I knew how important those moments with Canon would be.  Only this time, we upgraded to the PhotoPass+ edition.  In addition to the CD of all photos that PhotoPass photographers take of you, this includes all photos taken of your party on rides like Everest and extra photos taken of famous places in Disney sans crowds (think the characters, the castle, the Flower & Garden show topiaries, etc).  These are great because you can use them for scrapbooks or prints if you like.  I may have taken the "take as many pictures as possible" a little far according to Craig, but I don't think there is such a thing as "too many pictures" so I totally disagree.

See what I mean?  Disney magic is everywhere! (Nevermind Canon's eyes.  If he looks half asleep here, it's because he was.  He crashed right after this shot.) 

Upside to Canon's naps?  We got pictures with just the two of us also. 

For every character breakfast or dinner show that you book, there will be a PhotoPass photographer ready to take pictures to commemorate that event.

Though the Everest picture of the guys (back car) was the best, we received photos from Buzz Lightyear's ride as well.  I can't remember how many rides take photos, but with a three year old we obviously didn't ride very many of them. 

The photographers are also set up at every character meet-and-greet location.  We didn't do a lot of those (in fact, I think this is the only one we did because the line wasn't long yet.), but they are all over the parks as well.  If you or your child is dying to meet a character, then these events are a ton of fun.

Below are some of the examples of shots given to you as part of the PhotoPass+ option. 

All in all, I think Disney outdid themselves with this service.  I recommend it to anyone going to Disney World.

So ends my Disney World recap.  Anyone have any recommendations that other people may enjoy?

*I was not compensated for this post, but if Disney wants to send me on a free vacation - or even free PhotoPass+ next time we visit, I wouldn't hate it.  Just sayin'.*


  1. That is an AMAZING service, I think it's so great that the price doesn't change... I'd be just like you and take a gazillion photos, what an opportunity! I'm totally with you with the disappointment when somebody else takes a photo for me and I imagine how it'll be and it's terrible but I feel too bad to ask them to re-take it.

    1. Exactly! I can't just say "Seriously you are a terrible picture-taker. Thank you, though, for your time."