Here's how to book time with a Walt Disney World photographer

February 5, 2020, 12:59 PM · Walt Disney World is introducing another option for fans using its PhotoPass or Memory Maker photo plans. Starting this month, there's a new way to book time with a Disney PhotoPass photographer in advance, saving you the wait for a shot in front of the Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle.

Using the castle as the backdrop for engagement photos, baby gender reveals and family reunion shots has become a staple, creating sometimes long lines as people queue for time with the photographers that Disney has stationed on the hub above Main Street USA. So think of this new option as a paid Fastpass for Photopass.

For $50, you get a 20-minute session with a Disney photographer, who will consult with you about available locations and what you want to capture, just before your time begins. Right now, the "Capture Your Moment" option is available only in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World, but it's hard to imagine that Disney won't expand the program if people buy it.

Fifty bucks for 20 minutes isn't bad rate at all for time with a professional photographer, and you can book additional 20 minute increments if you want more time. And you still need to have a Photopass or Memory Maker plan to get your prints or digital downloads. (Unless you just hand your own camera to Disney's photographer, which I suppose you can continue to do under this option.) Bookings start February 10 and will be available by calling +1-407-939-7758.

I suppose that you could continue to queue up and wait for time in front of the castle without booking the $50 session, but frankly, I've always thought it a bit unfair that people who just want a quick photo have to wait while another party sets up a complicated, 20-minute shot. If Disney can steer guests who want more involved photo sessions to book the paid spots, that could cut the waits for people who just want a simple family snapshot in front of the castle.

If Disney assigns additional photographers for these paid sessions, that is. Disney has replaced Photopass photographers with "photo booth"-style automated photography at some meet and greet locations, so this announcement might stoke fear among some Disney fans that paying for a human photographer might some day become the only reliable way to get time with one.

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Replies (10)

February 5, 2020 at 1:30 PM

I saw the WDW Blog tweet this out today, and having just returned from a trip there, I don't think there's a shortage of people that will pay for this. Honestly, if you're just patient and/or observant, it's pretty easy to find a PhotoPass photographer with little to no wait. At any given time, Disney has at least 2 dozen different PhotoPass photographers in the hub and along Main Street shooting with Cinderella's Castle as a backdrop. If you see a photographer with 5+ groups in line, there is invariably another photographer 10-20 feet away with a shorter line, and an even shorter line a bit further away.

I do think it's naive to compare this to a professional photography session in that Disney PhotoPass photographers are by no means "professionals" in the purest sense of the term. Sure, they have lots of experience with decent camera equipment, and their primary job is to capture the best images possible of guests. However, there's a high range in quality, and no guarantee that the photographer you're working with has been a PhotoPass Photographer for 3 months or 3 years (a keen eye can quickly see the difference in the photos). It's also only fair to include the cost of Memory Maker along with the $50 session, since any professional photography session would include at a minimum digital copies of your photos, which are severely watermarked unless you purchase Memory Maker ($199 if you buy after your trip).

I won't be surprised if this service expands and flourishes, but I just downloaded over 200 photos from Memory Maker from our 6 days at WDW last week, and we didn't wait more than 5 minutes for any single shot (including the "zoom" photo in the hub - though we really wanted the 360 photo in Galaxy's Edge that had a 30+ minute line when we first saw it but never saw it again on our later trips through Black Spire Outpost). This is again proof that the Drones will pay for ANYTHING at WDW. FWIW, Disney will now sell you Galaxy's Edge sporks for $11 if you weren't able to grab one during the opening weeks when they were quickly snapped out of existence.

February 5, 2020 at 1:52 PM

Russell ..... did you get any on-ride photos?

Just interested because I'm having no luck at the moment, and the photo-pass hotline people seem to be at a loss to explain as well. I can get the photographer pictures with magic band or hard card, but an on-ride is being very elusive at the moment.

February 5, 2020 at 2:19 PM

Yes, we got ride photos from Buzz, PotC, Rock 'n Rollercoaster, ToT, Slinky Dog, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Everest, and Frozen Ever After. Even the rides that didn't have touch points at the exit to claim your photos (7DMT, Pirates, Frozen, and Slinky Dog) were viewable in the MDE app within 10-15 minutes of us finishing the ride. It was a bit random how some of the ride photos were packaged with stock video while others were just the standard photo by itself, but I didn't notice any missing ride photos from our trip, though I'm still cataloging and archiving images and videos (well over 1k photos and 2+ hours of video in addition to the stuff from Memory Maker).

February 5, 2020 at 2:38 PM

My family still has photos from the old places they had. One on Main Street with us in 1920's style clothing, the other from Pirates of us in Pirate outfits. It was a fun bit and miss those as it helped spark up a trip.

February 5, 2020 at 4:03 PM

They need this at Disneyland more than WDW, frankly.

February 6, 2020 at 7:02 AM

Thanks Russell .... as I suspected, something is wrong with my photopass, but finding out just what it is, may take a while.

I've missed out on both SDD and Everest recently. Time to go back into the parks and do some more "testing"

Weird, because I've had issues with my photokey at SeaWorld as well, but I did eventually manage to sort that one out.

February 6, 2020 at 7:22 AM

@Robert - Frankly, they need more PhotoPass photographers in Disneyland before they start offering a service like this. Considering that guests are supposed to get access to digital photos with the purchase of MaxPass (indicating that revenue generated by the service is theoretically funding PhotoPass costs), it's sad that there are not more PhotoPass opportunities in DL and DCA. Our primary motivation for purchasing MaxPass was to receive digital access to the FP system, but PhotoPass was also an important consideration for the $15 per person daily upcharge ($45 for our family of 3, which totaled $135 for our 3 days in the parks last summer). We knew from experience that there wouldn't be nearly as many PhotoPass photographers in California as there are in WDW, but it was far more noticeable when we were essentially paying for the service this time around. Our overall cost for MaxPass for 3 days was only slightly cheaper than a WDW pre-paid Memory Maker, which lasts for up to 15 days

February 6, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Anybody remember when you used to go to Disney World, pay for the ticket at the front booth, wait your turn in line for rides, take your own pictures, and the only up-charge was the over-priced Mickey Mouse ear hats?

February 6, 2020 at 11:50 AM

"Anybody remember when you used to go to Disney World, pay for the ticket at the front booth, wait your turn in line for rides, take your own pictures, and the only up-charge was the over-priced Mickey Mouse ear hats?"

It was probably around the same time that you could go to Universal, pay for the ticket at the front booth and wait your turn in line for rides (but less than 8 hours) - the days before 'Express' passes, luxury resorts and rising expectations....

February 7, 2020 at 12:08 AM

Just when you think Disney has exploited everything they always come up with some ridiculous new product to sell lol. I truly feel bad for the people that work in the guest relations/call center capacities. There is such a massive volume of things they can sell and things are constantly being added it must be a b*tch to keep up with.

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