PhotoPass No Longer Free for Annual Passholders—A Good Thing for Some?

by | Sep 7, 2021 | WDW Blog, WDW News

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PhotoPass is Not Free for Annual Passholders, Which Could Actually Be Good News for Many Guests

The New Disney World Annual Pass program goes into effect on September 8th, and one detail has guests buzzing: PhotoPass is no longer free for Annual Passholders.

As someone who took full advantage of digital downloads, I am indeed sad (and more than a little frustrated) to hear that PhotoPass will no longer be included in an Annual Pass (AP) at Walt Disney World. 

But we can still add it on, and I’m checking my Gold Pass privilege at the door: This change could actually make PhotoPass more accessible for other Annual Pass tiers.

PhotoPass is No Longer Free

In case you’re out of the loop on all the hullabaloo, PhotoPass used to be included for all Gold and Platinum Annual Passholders. 

This means that all the ride photos, magic shots, and other digital content were readily available for these Passholders via the My Disney Experience app.

With the new pass system, those who would be gold or platinum (now likely opting for Sorcerer or Incredi-Pass) will now need to pay for PhotoPass access.

How Much Does Add-On PhotoPass Cost?

The new add-on is $99.00. 

The cost is the same for Pixie Dust, Pirate, Sorcerer, and Incredi-Passholders. All benefits stay the same as previous PhotoPass access.

Why Some PassHolders are Benefiting From the Change

But this could be great news for renewing AP holders who didn’t have a Gold or Platinum.

Gold and Platinum Passholders used to get PhotoPass for free, but all other Annual Pass tiers still needed to purchase Memory Maker if they wanted to preserve their PhotoPass photos. 

The Memory Maker package is priced from $69.00 (for one day) to $199.00 to capture a vacation’s worth of memories.

That’s been a fairly pricy conversation for previous Epcot After 4, Theme Park Select, Weekday Select, and Silver Passholders.

Now, with the new add-on for all Passholder tiers, the playing field has been evened out a bit. Every tier will pay the same $99.00, with no special treatment for the top two tiers. 

Figaro at EPCOT's Italy Pavilion PhotoPass Cost

What About Magic Shots?

Magic Shots are part of PhotoPass and will be included in the new pricing structure.

Be sure to ask a Cast Member if they have any Magic Shots BEFORE you start posing. They will be sure to offer all the Magic Shots available.

Here are our favorite Magic Shot spots in EPCOT to get you started.

Disney World Ride Photos in PhotoPass Memory Maker_Blanken

Also my face when I heard the PhotoPass news…

Are Ride Photos Included in PhotoPass?

The previous PhotoPass option included ride photos, and this one does, too. 

Make sure you are wearing your MagicBand for ride photos. Many rides rely on your MagicBand to automatically load them into your PhotoPass account.

For previous Gold and Platinum Passholders,no more free ride photos. You’ll need to pony up the $99.00 to access ride photos that are taken automatically via your MagicBand.

This includes Super Zoom shots and special videos that are created on rides like the Seven Drawfs Mine Train.

You Can Still Get Free Photos

This excludes Magic Shots and Ride photos, but just… hand your camera (or more likely, your phone) to a PhotoPass Photographer.

The professionally-trained PhotoPass Photographers will gladly take a photo of the whole family with your camera so that you, too, the family shutterbug, can be in the shot!

disney-genie+-audio-experiences-photopass-exclusives Disney Genie PhotoPass

Photo courtesy of Disney

How Will I Access My PhotoPass Photos?

If you’ve purchased the extra PhotoPass option, then just like before, you’ll be able to access PhotoPass photos via the My Disney Experience app or website.

First, you’ll need to link your annual pass to your Disney account. If you are renewing a previous pass, then your new one should automatically show up in your account. 

Once you’re all linked up and you’ve posed for some stylish park photos, check the PhotoPass area of My Disney Experience.  Here, you’ll find all of the videos and photos you took, with an option to download them (download are included with the PhotoPass add-on package) or pay an additional fee for prints.

Christmas PhotoPass Hollywood Studios Blanken

PhotoPass opportunities will be different in 2020. Photo by Rain Blanken

And with the new Disney Genie+ service, you can also get PhotoPass Exclusives.

If you aren’t sure how to download your photos and videos, here is a quick guide from Disney.

Photos will still expire after a set amount of time, so be sure to download them while you can. Here is more on the PhotoPass expiration policy.

Did Anything Else Change?

The PhotoPass process will work the very same in the parks. Just have a Cast Member scan your MagicBand so that your photos appear in your My Disney Experience account.

Per-Pass Breakdowns

Get all the details for each pass level here:

Written by Rain Blanken

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Rain Blanken is the frying pan-wielding editorial director for WDW Magazine. She is a published author who has been working in digital media for 15 years. She is a DVC Member, WDW Annual Pass holder, former Disney Vacation Planner, and would live inside Boma if they would just stop checking under the tables at night. Did you like this article? Tip Rain in tartar sauce...
Rain Blanken

Written by Rain Blanken

Rain Blanken is the frying pan-wielding editorial director for WDW Magazine. She is a published author who has been working in digital media for 15 years. She is a DVC Member, WDW Annual Pass holder, former Disney Vacation Planner, and would live inside Boma if they would just stop checking under the tables at night. Did you like this article? Tip Rain in tartar sauce...