The price of a Disney's PhotoPass CD increased this week, and the response on various Disney message boards and websites was somewhat negative. That's understandable. After all, who wants to spend more money these days? But just because the price of the PhotoPass CD is going up doesn't mean there aren't ways to maximize the value of the service.
The list price for a PhotoPass CD has gone up from $149.95 to $169.95. But did you know that visitors can pre-order the CD and save big bucks? The pre-arrival promotion is now $129.95, up from $99.95. The advance purchase works as a credit and can be applied to your order once you have loaded all your photos into your account.
There's even a money-back guarantee -- if you don't take enough photos or dislike the PhotoPass photos from your vacation, you can return the credit for a full refund. Be aware that the refund is only good for 90 days from the pre-purchase date.
Load up on photos
There's no disputing that the cost of Disney's PhotoPass CD is expensive. But if professional images are among your must-have vacation souvenirs, knowing the value of the CD might allow you to consider budgeting for it.
To maximize your investment, be sure to take as many photos as possible during your visit to Walt Disney World because there is no image limit to the PhotoPass CD program. Let photographers know you are buying a disc and they are usually happy to take extra shots. If you pre-order the CD, only photos added to your account after the purchase will be included on the disc. (See how Disney's PhotoPass system works on this AllEars resource page: http://allears.net/tp/ppass.htm)
Families interested in formal portraits can visit the PhotoPass center inside Guest Relations at Downtown Disney and there is no sitting fee. That location has a traditional gray background and props that are the norm for photo studios, and these photos can be added to your disc.
Some popular character meals give you the option of adding photos to your PhotoPass account after you purchase prints at the restaurants. These locations include Cinderella's Royal Table, Princess Storybook Dining, Chef Mickey's, Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Mickey's Backyard Barbecue, Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House, O'hana (breakfast only) and 1900 Park Fare.
A handful of rides -- Test Track at Epcot, Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom and Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios -- will allow you to add images to your PhotoPass CD. For Space Mountain and Tower of Terror, prints or downloads must be purchased first at the ride and then you can add them to your online account.
Timing is everything
For local residents or guests who plan multiple visits within a short period, timing can help you get more photos on your CD. For example, guests have 30 days after their photos are taken to claim them online. Once the photos are added to a PhotoPass account, users then have another 30 days to view and make purchases.
To keep photos "active" for a longer period of time -- and collect more images for your CD -- wait until the end of the first 30-day period to claim your photos. (You can check images in the theme parks, at Downtown Disney and at deluxe resorts if you want to see a particular shot ahead of time.) If you still can't stretch the life of the photos for another visit, consider purchasing a 7-day extension for $4.95 or a 15-day extension for $9.95.
Using this strategy in the fall, I was able to fill my PhotoPass CD with images from my kids' visits to A Pirate's League, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and a few other days in the theme parks and water parks.
Before you order your actual CD, look through your photos and add borders, character autographs and park logos as desired because you won't have access to these Disney tools after you own the photos. You can make copies of the photos and have several versions in various sizes with different embellishments.
Finally, your PhotoPass CD comes with the copyright for you to print the photos for your personal use. You can elect to receive the PhotoPass CD as an actual CD via mail or as digital downloads.
The previous post in this blog was Public can view Disney Fantasy from Jetty Park and join Sail-A-Bration .
The next post in this blog is To Walt Disney World in a Motor Home - Part 1.