Today, Walt Disney World launched a new photography product called Disney Memory Maker, which replaces the PhotoPass CD and PhotoPass+ offerings. Disney Memory Maker is fully integrated into the My Disney Experience website, and information on the website suggests that it should be included shortly in the smartphone apps as well (as of this morning, there was no mention of Disney Memory Maker in the iPhone app, and no update download available). So what is Disney Memory Maker, and what does this change about purchasing and using Walt Disney World photographs? (Note: At this point, Disney Memory Maker appears to be a Walt Disney World-exclusive product. Disneyland will continue to sell it’s current PhotoPass products).

First, nothing at all changes about getting photos taken. There will still be PhotoPass photographers scattered throughout the parks, ready to take photos of you and your family at various PhotoPass photo spots (though the Photo Spots are in the process of being updated as well, with Nikon coming on as the new camera sponsor at Walt Disney World, replacing Kodak). But Memory Maker does add some new options to how the photos that are taken can be linked to the guest’s account. In addition to the existing PhotoPass cards, photos can be linked to the guest account via a Magic Band or a Memory Maker card. It is important to understand that ONLY the guest to whom the Memory Maker entitlement is assigned can link photos to the Photopass account using their Magic Band – this is mostly significant for retreiving ride photos, because the person holding the Memory Maker entitlement may not always be on the ride. (This is where the Memory Maker card comes in handy).

You can also reassign the Memory Maker entitlement from guest to guest within My Disney Experience. The entitlement can be linked to anyone who has a My Disney Experience account and is in your Friends & Family list. And the entitlement can be reassigned multiple times. HOWEVER, the Memory Maker entitlement will be locked to the account to which it is assigned as soon as any photo is downloaded (and downloads will be accessible the same day that photos are taken, so be careful with whom you share your Memory Maker entitlement, and be sure that no one starts downloading your photos until the Memory Maker entitlement is assigned to the guest you want to have it. (Updates after the jump).

Which brings us to the question of which photos are part of the Memory Maker product. The answer is that the same photos that were part of PhotoPass+ appear to be part of Memory Maker, EXCEPT that Memory Maker is a digital-only product. So you will no longer get free photo prints at character meals (though, as of now at least, there has been no information released that changes the policy of including the Cinderella’s Royal Table and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus printed photos as part of the cost of the meal experience). But digital versions of every PhotoPass photographer photo, character dining photo, and attraction photo are included as part of the Memory Maker package. Note that attraction photos must be retreived as described above, within 24 hours of riding the attraction.

The Memory Maker package does NOT include any physical media at all in the price of the package – no more free PhotoPass Archive CD. PhotoPass Archive CDs will still available, but at an additional cost. At the moment, the price of the Archive CD is unclear, as the PhotoPass website still lists the old version of the PhotoPass CD for sale, presumably because most of the people they’re selling to right now have already had PhotoPass photos taken and are looking to purchase a disc of the photos that already exist. On the other hand, Memory Maker photos can be downloaded multiple times and will be available online for 45 days from the date the photo was taken (though Disney reserves the right to change that time frame). The Memory Maker Package downloads can be manipulated online to be cropped properly for a varity of print sizes, up to 16×20 photo prints. If photo downloads are purchased separately, without being included in a Memory Maker Package, they cost $14.95 each. So if just 10 of your photos are print-worthy, that would appear to justify the $149 Advance Purchase price. In order to qualify for the advance purchase discount, you must purchase your Memory Maker package at least three days before the first photo is taken that is covered by the package. If you decide to purchase Memory Maker at the last minute, for $199 you will have access to photos taken the same day as the package is purchased and thereafter.

Additional Information (12/10/2013):
Just a few upates based on information that has come to light since writing this post.
1. Any Magic Band that is on the same reservation as the Magic Band to which the Memory Maker entitlement is attached can be used to add photos to the Memory Maker account associated with that reservation. This takes care of the situation where the entitlement is linked to a parent’s Magic Band, and the children ride an attraction that offers an on-ride photo without the parent. The child SHOULD be able to get the ride photo linked using the child’s own Magic Band.
2. I’ve now seen confirmation that the stock photos that were included with PhotoPass+ are NOT avaialble for online download. The only way to get the stock photos going forward will be to purchase a $29.95 CD Backup for your Memory Maker photos (which, while slightly annoying, is cheaper than buying the Stock Photo CD alone separately).
3. We still don’t really know anything about how Memory Maker will work for offsite guests for the next few months, until we get past this interim phase where Magic Bands are only being distributed to onsite guests and are being tied to resort bookings instead of just to tickets.

What do you think of the Disney Memory Maker product? Will you be more likely to purchase this product than PhotoPass+? Do you use PhotoPass photographers?

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