Disney’s Photopass, a cautionary tale

Meghan posts a short cautionary tale about relying on Disney’s Photopass Service to keep your vacation photos.

I just logged on to Disney’s PhotoPass to buy our vacation photos. But they’re gone. They expired on the 17th, not the 19th. Uh-oh. This makes me very sad.

They do have an expiration date of 30 days after the original photo was snapped. So make note of that if you’re hemming and hawing about your purchase.

Disney’s Photopass is a system where professional photographers take pictures of you throughout your vacation, and track you via personal card they can. You can buy them in the park as usualy or wait until you’re back home and can log on the internet and see your pictures then purchase prints of the ones you like.

Luckily for Meghan, her story turned out well.

In what I can only call a miracle, I just got a call from a certain
someone letting me know that they’d alreay bought all of the photos in
my shopping cart for me. They were going to be a birthday present, but
since I was so obvously upset, they wanted to let me know now that they
were coming. I am so completely thankful.

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About Whit

Whit Honea is the author of The Parents' Phrase Book. He lives in the L.A. area with his wife and two boys. You can find his writings and other works all over the Internets. Now available on Twitter.
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18 Responses to Disney’s Photopass, a cautionary tale

  1. Ron Adams says:

    One minor correction. I’m not trying to sound mean with this, but I have a hard time calling them “professional photographers”. Yes, they have professional equipment, but one photographer I spoke to, had just switched from being a bus-driver.
    Some of the photos they took were just not worth the time it took to take them. In fact, of the 57 photos taken, my wife and I only saw 3 that we liked and might buy, but at the price they’re charging probably won’t.

  2. Meghan says:

    Sadly, all of our character shots turned out pooly, off center and we were not even looking at the camera when the picture was taken. I know that there’s a line of 50 more peole wanting to see Mickey for themselves, and the cast members are trying to move things along quickly, but what’s the point if the photo isn’t going to turn out. I’m not going to pay the $12.95 for a 5×7 just because it has a character in it.

    The only ones I wanted to buy were from the entrance to the park, the ones taken at night in Epcot in front of spaceship earth were especially good. Out of the 30+ photopass photos we had at the end of our trip, there were only 6 I wanted to purchase, and only after editing them online myself. Everytime we saw a photopass person, we made sure to get a photo. You never know which shots will turn out and which ones won’t.

  3. Christopher says:

    I was a little worried about that when we went in November of 2005. I grabbed them ASAP before they went away. There were actually a few missing initially. I contacted them and they managed to find them in less than 48 hours!

    Chris
    http://amateureconblog.blogspot.com/

  4. Michelle says:

    There is someone on LJ, in the disneyworld community, who had relied on PhotoPass to take their photos just after getting engaged. When she got home, the photos were lost due to an unusual error of some sort, and there was nothing they could do. The photos were lost forever.

  5. smeeeko says:

    I thought photopass was a good idea, but it’s a shame the few photos they take don’t seem to last long, and then must rely on the bad photography of others.

  6. Smumdax says:

    Have I known of the Photopass service, I would have abused it a little bit. Instead of buying prints, you can by a CD of all your pics, high-resolution (1.5 Meg), for about 100$. I thought at first it was too much, then I figured… They let go of the copyright to you, that’s a good thing… and a CD can hold about 400+ pictures. So if yuo managed to really run after all photographers and get the most you can, the CD could be worth it.

    One note: Disney does not offer the CD themselves. Third party does it. Check the FAQ for more info

  7. Smumdax says:

    … and for the hackers in you, it is possible to get mid-quality pics, about 2.5 times bigger then the ones you see in your account… Not really legal stuff though ;-)

  8. Allie says:

    Beware ordering online from Canada – the address doesn’t match the website format for american addresses so it can decline your order – as it did mine. However, the charge appeared twice on my credit card and I still didnt get my pictures. Tried calling them and emailing them but didn’t get a response.

  9. Dianne says:

    My digital camera was stolen and before we could replace it we took my granddaughte to Disneyland, and bought a couple of disposable cameras before we got there. We were taken by the opportunity to have photographers deal with the photo-ops, as well as thinking “one more profit center” for Disney.
    Well it is now the next day, and the web site that we have been directed to http://www.DisneyPhotoPass.com says:
    “Sorry, we’re curently not available. Please try again soon!” I’m not too thrilled right now……

  10. James says:

    These are pretty great photographers, and the service is top notch. It is a free service, you don’t have to buy a picture, and you can even email them to friends for free from their web site.
    And the comment about someone was a bus driver… who cares?! Maybe they are a talented photographer and changed professions, from what I see they are trained to take some great photos.

  11. Lori says:

    The photos we took with our cameras were much better than the ones the Photpass photographers took. Disney should atleast check out the people applying for this position to see if they have any natural ability to take a straight picture. The only pictures I want out of the 140 taken are 3 of our family together and one in front of the castle where they imaged in Tinkerbell into our hands. DO NOT rely on Photopass photographers for all of your pics!

  12. Nathan says:

    As a former Photo Pass photographer, I can tell you personally to use caution when relying on ONLY their photos. I was one of very few who was a professional photographer. The 3 day training is not nearly enough to develop an eye for moments that are created at Walt Disney World. My advice, bring your own camera!!

  13. Doug Rapson says:

    We did a combination of our own camera and the Photopass Photogs. Truly afforded us some nice family moments that we could not have otherwise gotten !

  14. mike says:

    Disney does offer the cd themselves, it is not a third party. They burn them and ship them to you.

  15. Doug says:

    We just got back from Disney and used this service in conjuction with our own camera…I have to agree with most of the comments…most of the pics were off center, cut off and tilted. Of all the shots only 2 or 3 were worth while. I recommend to always bring your own camera.

  16. Lisa says:

    We just arrived home from Disney 2 days ago. We tried the photo pass thing for the first time and I am soooo glad we did! Yes it costs a lot for the cd, $125.00, but you can also upload some of your own photos and use the Disney borders on those, and they can go on the cd as well. I think that all of the pictures were certainly “professional quality.” I read the previous blog and I think that just because one person may have had a bad photographer on their trip, that does not mean that every one else will. I brought my camera also, but it was so much easier to just hand them the Photo Pass card and let them take 3 or 4 photos. I think it is another great service provided by Disney and from here on out, I will always use it.

  17. Dr. Nigel Channing says:

    Does anyone have any experience in ordering pics AFTER they “expire”? :-S Don’t want to lose our Disneyland pics…

  18. N H says:

    If you happen to not grab your pictures before the 30 days, call customer support!!!!!!

    I was recently there for my 1 year anniversary and ordered my cd just a few days too late and it only had 5 pictures on it, when I knew we took hundreds. They sent a new cd, no charge to us. They say that the pictures expire in 30 days, but they are able to get them up to 60 days later.

    This service has come A LONG WAY since 2005, but again, take your own pictures too, don’t be crazy. Miracles will only go so far, especially with pictures!

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