When it comes to planning our Walt Disney World vacations, our budget is always looming. We all know that expenses can rack up fast when planning a trip, so it takes a lot of family saving and budgeting to be able to go. While we would love all the Disney extras, there has to be a line drawn on what the budget can hold (especially if you want to go again in the not-too-distant future).
For me, the extra in question was PhotoPass. I wanted to have a lot of great photos from our trip — especially since our kids would be too young to remember it themselves – but my husband is a photographer. Do we really need to pay Disney to take our photos for us, especially since they would take photos with our camera for free anyway?
We bit the bullet and paid the $169 price-tag for photos for just two days in the parks in case my husband didn’t want to bring his camera in.
This was by far the best money we spent on the trip.
Even though my husband brought his camera to the parks and took a lot of great photos, the number of photos we had from the PhotoPass photographers far outweighed the number that he took. We decided to let him relax and enjoy our kids’ reactions to meeting characters so he could be fully present. We loved every moment of watching our daughter’s eyes light up as she met her favorite princesses and as she could barely stay in line once she saw Mickey up close. Then we relived all those memories when we downloaded our photos.
The decision to bring his camera to the park resulted in more photos we love in areas where they don’t have a PhotoPass photographer. However, the convenience of not having to get out his camera and adjust the settings for all experiences resulted in adding more time to our day to move along without missing out on photo opportunities. Their cameras are set up and ready to capture every memory as soon as you walk into the themed areas.
We can’t forget to mention the Magic Shots, which our daughters love to look at now. I get this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but my kids get a kick out of seeing photos of themselves with Tinkerbell flying above their heads.
Now that they are changing nine character locations to Automated PhotoPass in 2019, we will have to wait and see how those photos turn out, but I’m optimistic. For the time being, it is just nine locations, which wouldn’t make me change my mind on the topic.
So when it comes down to it, splurge on the photos. As the memories start to fade and other souvenirs break, the photos will always bring you back to your vacation.
Sara is a Marketing Specialist by day, but her true passion is writing. She's been a freelance writer for 11 years and uses that side hustle money for traveling with her husband and three young children.