Disney’s PhotoPass Plus: What You Need To Know – Disneyland Edition

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A few days ago, TouringPlans blog contributor (and my good friend) Krissy posted a fantastic article breaking down the information, costs and benefits of using PhotoPass+ during a trip to Walt Disney World. Inspired by her post, and my own trip to Disneyland last week, here is a look at some of the similarities and differences between the PhotoPass+ service at the Disneyland Resort.

As with PhotoPass+ at Walt Disney World, this service in Disneyland provides you with the pictures taken from PhotoPass photographers dispersed throughout Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, along with pictures from certain attractions, dining experiences and special events. You PhotoPass+ card can be purchased on site from one of the Photo Centers within the parks for $99.95, or can be pre-ordered 14-days in advance from the Disney PhotoPass website for $69.95. The pre-order package from Disneyland provides you with the following:

  • A voucher to exchange for the PhotoPass Plus card - voucher can be redeemed at the following Disneyland Resort Photo Centers: Disneyland: Main Street Photo Supply; Disney California Adventure: Kingswell Camera Shop
  • A photo gallery on CD (stock images)
  • A unique code to download all images from the PhotoPass Plus card to PhotoPass CD
  • Print packages at select dining locations - Ariel’s Grotto, Goofy’s Kitchen, Disney’s PCH Grill, and Plaza Inn (breakfast).
  • Digital photos from select attractions - Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin’, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

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After exchanging your voucher, you will receive one PhotoPass+ card, which is a hard, plastic card attached to a lanyard. Only PhotoPass pictures scanned onto this card will be available to download once you redeem the PhotoPass CD code from the PhotoPass website. This is also the only card which Cast Members can add photos received through dining or attraction options. However, if members of your group obtain traditional PhotoPass cards from photographers, they can be added to your primary PhotoPass+ card by visiting one of the Disneyland Resort Photo Centers before the end of your trip.

Is it worth it?

This question can be difficult to answer, as it depends on how you and your family weigh the tangible and intangible factors which determine worth. Looking deeper into the cost:

  • A “standard” PhotoPass CD – which is included in this package – costs $69.95
  • Print packages at Dining locations (~$30/each)
  • Digital images from attractions ($14.95 value per image)

With these figures in mind, let’s evaluate PhotoPass Plus for a family visiting Disneyland for a week:

  • They purchase pictures from all the the attractions feature on-ride photos (5 x 14.95 = $74.95).
  • They dine at all four of the locations that feature a photo package (4 x 30 = $120)
  • After arriving , they decide to purchase a PhotoPass CD since they enjoyed all the pictures they’ve had taken throughout their vacation ($69.95)

This brings the total to $264.90. By purchasing the Disney PhotoPass+ package in-park, you would save $164.95, and by pre-ordering, you would have a savings of $194.95. As you can see, the cost of the PhotoPass CD is the same as the pre-order price for the PhotoPass+ package, so if you believe your family would be likely to purchase the PhotoPass CD for your vacation, it is definitely worth it to pre-order PhotoPass+ to include digital copies of your ride photos, even if you do not plan on participating in any of the dining locations which include a photo package.

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As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I recently returned from a trip to Disneyland. My husband and I were traveling alone, and it was also our first trip to the west coast Disney parks. In addition to wanting my ride photos, I also wanted to make sure that we had a number of pictures of the two of us together in Disneyland, without having to rely on self-taken shots or hoping that the individual to whom we give our camera was able to successfully capture a shot of the two of us. By placing our pre-order and having the PhotoPass+ card from the start of our Disneyland trip, we also made a more conscious effort to stop when we saw PhotoPass photographers and have our picture taken. In 3.5 days, we acquired 90 pictures, including our ride photos, which breaks down to a cost of approximately $0.78 per photo. For our situation, I definitely think the cost was worth it, and this would prompt me to even start considering whether PhotoPass+ would be a smart investment for our next trip to Walt Disney World.

Have you or would you use PhotoPass+ for Disneyland?

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Posted on August 27, 2013

16 Responses to “Disney’s PhotoPass Plus: What You Need To Know – Disneyland Edition”

  • Thanks for the great info. I have been wondering myself if the photoPass+ was worth it for my husband and myself. We are going to Disneyland in November for our anniversary. I think I just may have to pre-order one.

    • by Theresa Mabe on August 27, 2013, at 8:28 am EDT

      Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary and trip! I think an additional bonus for getting PhotoPass+ during November would be the inclusion of pictures on the CD with all of the holiday decor.

  • This did not exist on our last trip, but we are definitely pre-ordering this for our trip in May. What a great deal!

    • by Theresa Mabe on August 27, 2013, at 9:35 am EDT

      I agree, especially if you have any interest in ordering the CD of pictures anyway, it’s great that for the same price you can also get your ride pics.

  • by Kristina Murphy on August 27, 2013, at 9:27 am EDT

    Disneyland’s versions definitely sounds like a no-brainer! Nice job on the post, T :)

  • We got the PhotoPass+ on our last trip in October. It was worth every single dollar. I highly recommend it to everyone I know. We had a photographer spot my pass around my neck and took a bunch of picture of us on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. They are some of my favorite pictures of the trip.

  • PhotoPass+ is one of the greatest deals you can find at Disney. Besides the monetary savings, I can not underscore enough how important it is to have someone else capturing the magic for you. These guys are pro’s, and it shows in every picture. It was nice to not have to worry about who was messing with my camera or not being in a picture because I was behind the camera. My Hero Moment: We did the PhotoPass+ on our last Disney trip (to Disney World), and during one of the parades at the Magic Kingdom we had the PhotoPass+ cast member take a large family photo by the Partners Statue. Since we were locked into that area until after the parade was done, we were enjoying the parade. However, the PhotoPass+ cast member kept taking pictures of my daughters (and family) playing and enjoying the show. The pictures were all great, and I would have missed those experiences if it wasn’t for the PhotoPass+ cast member.

    There should be no question in your mind: Buy This.

    • How fun! You can get some very cool shots using Photopass, and the convenience is a plus. However, I’m not so sure I would say all of these guys are pros. We had a handful of pictures that were not the best exposure or even focus. YMMV.

  • When we went to Disneyland last year, I ended up buying the PhotoPass CD after our trip for several reasons. First, we had a big group who could help off-set the cost, and second, Disney’s pictures were just better than mine! This year I decided to take a gamble on the pre-order PhotoPass+. Our package arrived much quicker than 14 days, so we’re all ready for our trip in September. We’re not doing character dining this year, but I’ll be excited to download the ride photos! I also agree that I’m more likely to seek out the photographers while we’re in the parks since I’ve already paid for the pictures.

  • I am taking my kids on their first trip to Disneyland in September and I think I will have to get the PhotoPass+! There are going to be 5 of us traveling together so plenty of people to take pictures but I know we won’t get as good of shots and I really want to get all the ride photos.

  • We ordered Photopass+ for our recent trip to Disneyland in May. I definitely think it was worth it for DL, but maybe not so much WDW. A few things we noticed and worth mentioning — the landyard and clip attachment is not sturdy. We nearly lost our card the first day, and then resorted to storing it in our pockets or purse. Also, be sure to check they included all of your photos. Especially if the photographer takes a picture of your card instead of scanning it. We had several photos that were missing and they had to track down for us. Including Mickey Mouse! And at first they said “oops, sorry, we can’t find it”… to which I responded “try again”, and voila! they found them.

  • I really wish we had known about this sooner! We have a 4-day trip for 8 people planned for next week that has been in planning for months. If we’d known about the features and costs just one week ago, we could have gotten the pre-order package! :( I still think it will be worth it at the “gate” price for all you get.

  • How long is the photo pass plus good for? Can I use for a whole year as I have an annual pass to Disneyland?

  • So glad I found this info! Thanks so much! Birthday trip around the corner and while I purchased Photo Pass Plus – recommended by Disney by the way – I was not sure how it all worked. Very informative. Know I will be happy with results. Actually is anyone ever
    un-happy after a trip to Dizzy!!

  • WDW_We used the photo pass for a family reunion type vacation with teenage girls last january. i cannot stress what a great experience it was. we got an absolute ton of photos. i carried the ride pass because i knew i wouldn’t lose it. we then got every member a regular photo pass card from the desk. i took photos of the backs immediately with my cell phone before handing them out. instead of just group pictures, a few of us or two of us would be together so we got a great mix of photos. rides photos, dining photos. depending on the time of day, there are several photographers out in each area so we would get a few of them to take photos from different angles. The girls were impressed with the photographers who were friendly and worked quickly, but we noticed if there was no or few people in line they would fool around with the poses and take a ton. the girls especially loved that after we got the photos back they were holding a disney character like baby samba or tinker bell. And almost every shot was exceptional. if there are just 2 of you, you will have to price it out but i find we generally get a couple of photos per trip with just my husband and I, so the passes pay for themselves and you don’t have to carry photos around. And the best part was, i just brought my phone and not my camera. i knew the disney photographers were recording the trip for me. So as the usual family photographer, i found the trip more relaxing. and this time i was actually in most of the photos!!!!!