Should you purchase Memory Maker for your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation (Splurge), or should you save the money and take your own pictures (Scrooge)? This is the questions of the month.
You might be asking, “What is Memory Maker?” And that’s a good question— with all of the changes that Disney has made over the last couple of years, the whole photography thing at Walt Disney World has become pretty confusing.
Memory Maker is how you buy the photos that are taken by the official Disney Photographers throughout the WDW Resort. You might hear the word “Photopass” being thrown around during your visit. Photopass is the former program…
The term Photopass is still used in the context of taking the pictures at WDW. You sign up to have pictures taken with Photopass, then go to a Photopass Photographer to have the picture taken. You then purchase the pictures through Memory Maker.
Confused? Me too.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. What we’re here to talk about is whether or not it makes sense to pay for Memory Maker.
Lately, I’ve had a big change of heart on this one. A few weeks ago, Mrs. Mom, my wife, told me a story about a family that we know from church. Long story short, the wife died about a year ago from cancer, leaving her young husband with two small children.
The young husband wrote something that struck a cord. He said the family was looking through pictures and didn’t have very many pictures of the mother because she was the photographer of the family. They were losing the memory of mom because they didn’t have the pictures.
I know what you’re saying—you’re saying, “That’s a sad story,” and, “So what does that have to do with Memory Maker?” Let’s see if I can tie it together.
Memory Maker is all about the memories you make at Walt Disney World. With Memory Maker, no one is ever left out of the photo—they are the photographers, instead of Mom! There are photographers all around WDW to take pictures. There are photos and videos that are taken on rides. One of the biggest bottlenecks at a lot of rides is the area where the pictures are shown.
Photographs and memories (a great song by Jim Croce, by the way) go together, especially at Walt Disney World. Memory Maker is a way to preserve all of those memories that are created during your vacation.
On the Splurge side, Memory Maker is a great idea to help keep the memories of a fantastic vacation for years to come. You can share Memory Maker between families and friends. When we used it a few years ago, all three families on our trip were able to get and share the pictures.
There are some really cool photos included, too. Sometimes Photopass photographers will have you pose a certain way, then a character like Stitch will be added to the photo.
Photopass Photographers are in the BEST photo locations. Look down Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom and you’ll see a whole line of Photopass Photographers ready and willing to take pictures of your entire party in front of Cinderella Castle.
If you have several families traveling together, if you will be there for a while, if you like lots of great pictures, then Memory Maker is for you!
Now for the Scrooge side...
Memory Maker isn’t for everyone. It is expensive. It’s $149 in advance (as of February 1, 2017), and $169 if you buy it after you arrive at WDW. That’s a lot of money and it doesn’t include any actual prints of pictures, just a digital download (but a release is included in the download for you to later print the photos on your own).
If you are going on a short trip to Walt Disney World (four days or less) it might not be worth it to buy Memory Maker, unless it’s the only trip that you will ever take. If you won’t take the time to get pictures taken by the Photopass Photographers, it’s probably not worth it (and there are often lines at some of the more popular photo spots).
It does take time to get the Photopass pictures taken. Sometimes Photographers aren’t found in the places that you need them, and most of the character meals don’t have Photopass Photographers, which is kind of sad.
I’m a big picture taker, myself. I kind of pride myself on being a photographer in training. (I’ve been training for 30 years. I’m a slow learner.) I’m the kind of guy that thinks that I don’t need Memory Maker. (Scrooge.) “I can do it by myself” has always been my motto.
However, after testing Memory Maker a couple of years ago, I’m a big fan. Everyone is in the pictures. There are pictures of us on rides, there are videos of us, there are even some pictures of the big guy himself (Mickey).
If you are on a tight budget, Memory Maker is not an essential, but it is a really nice extra if you can afford it. Get those memories of the whole family. Don’t leave the picture-taker out.
You’ll thank me someday. Trust me!