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Photos are a quintessential aspect of any Disney vacation. They serve as souvenirs of ordinary days made marvelous by Disney magic or mementos from milestone events. Alongside PhotoPass, Disney offers “Capture Your Moment” Photo Sessions to commemorate guests’ celebrations. While professional photos aren’t as necessary as they once were since smartphones have given everyone the power to take studio-quality pictures, a private photo session can be worthwhile.
On our last vacation, my parents booked a twenty-minute private photo session for my senior pictures. This experience is available at each of the four theme parks, allowing guests a variety of backdrops to memorialize their special occasion, from the spectacular Tree of Life to the whimsical Cinderella Castle. I chose Epcot, as it has become my favorite park.
We met the photographers at the American Adventure pavilion ten minutes before my session. During that time, they created a sign reading “Class of 2023.” Of course, a not-so-hidden Mickey graced the prop; it wouldn’t be a Disney experience without our favorite mouse! Before we started, one of the photographers told me I could choose from Japan, Morocco, Italy, or Germany for the photoshoot. It’s essential to note that the locations available for photo sessions depend on the day, so you will not know definite availability until the day of your reservation, although a complete list of options is available on My Disney Experience. After choosing Italy for my experience, we strolled over to the American Adventure’s next-door neighbor.
Before the session started, I feared it might be awkward posing for photos by myself for twenty minutes, but the outstanding photographers, Danny and Nelson, were very friendly. They ensured I was comfortable and arranged perfect shots that made me feel like a celebrity.
The photographers captured photos with incredible backdrops throughout the pavilion, from scenic views of World Showcase Lagoon to the Italian plaza exploding with vibrant blossoms for Flower and Garden Festival. After the session ended, we had over ninety amazing photos!
You can schedule consecutive sessions if twenty minutes doesn’t seem like enough time for your photo shoot. Twenty minutes was the perfect amount of time for me to have more than enough photos, so I would recommend staying with that window of time in order to minimize the cost.
Speaking of the price, $79 per 20-minute session is rather high, especially considering pictures taken during private sessions are not included in this price. Unless you have already paid for Memory Maker or have an older Annual Pass that still includes free PhotoPass photos as a perk, you will have to pay extra to print these pictures, a downside to the overall fabulous experience.
While you may be able to easily eternalize memories with a phone camera, having professional photographers at your disposal prevents massive crowds from interrupting your moment. These photographers are experts on where to find the best shots, and they have the power to clear a busy area before they snap a photo. Because of this, paying for a private session to celebrate an important event can be justifiable. Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, my photographers were terrific. Their kindness and expertise made this experience worthwhile.
For those who do not find these sessions valuable, it may be just as well to snap their own photos or simply take advantage of PhotoPass spots throughout the parks. However, in my experience, a private photo session is a fantastic, stress-free way to preserve lasting memories.
Katrina is a bookish writer and unapologetic Disney enthusiast. She can't imagine anything more wonderful than a day at the Most Magical Place on Earth with her family. When she's not occupied with her studies, she writes, reads, daydreams about wandering World Showcase, and wishes she were riding Cosmic Rewind.