Help­ing Hands


WDW Magazine - - Content - BY CARL TRENT

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!

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