The Ultimate Guide to PhotoPass at Disneyland: Tips and Tricks for the Best Picture Experience

Updated 9/16/18. One of the best souvenirs for remembering your trip to the Disneyland Resort are the pictures that you bring home with you. These pictures will last a lifetime in your family photo album and are something to cherish for years to come. Disneyland has their own crew of PhotoPass photographers strategically placed around the park and ready to take your picture.

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PhotoPass at the Disneyland Resort offers a variety of photography options for guests at Disneyland. We’ve put together an extensive guide on PhotoPass, the benefits of MaxPass, and tips for taking the best pictures at Disneyland.

PhotoPass Options at Disneyland

There are a variety of package options for PhotoPass at Disneyland and this can get a bit confusing for first time guests. Here are the different tiers of cost for PhotoPass packages currently available at Disneyland.

Disney PhotoPass+ One Week

Disney PhotoPass+ is a purchase option that includes all your PhotoPass photos linked to your Disney account for a seven-consecutive-day period. This will include all attraction, dining, and Magic Shot photos too!

What is Included

  • Digital downloads of all Disney PhotoPass photos from a seven day period.

Price

  • The cost of this PhotoPass option is currently $78.

When to Buy

  • Before your visit if you have plans to do a character meal.
  • You also have up to 45 days after your park visit to purchase your photos if you don’t buy them ahead of time or at the parks.

How to Buy

How to Activate 

One of the most confusing things about PhotoPass is the activation process. When you buy the PhotoPass package online you will be prompted to create a Disney account if you don’t already have one. Your PhotoPass package will be stored on your account. Once you go to your first character meal or get your first PhotoPass card from a photographer, scan that card into your Disneyland App account. Once you do that, our photo package will appear on your account with the option to activate it.

Disney PhotoPass Collection

Disney PhotoPass Collection is a purchase option that includes all your PhotoPass photos linked to your Disney account from a 45 day period. This will include all attraction, dining, and Magic Shot photos too!

What is Included

  • Digital downloads of all Disney PhotoPass photos in your account at time of redemption
  • Voucher for a Dining Print Package (Voucher may not be redeemed online. See voucher for restrictions.)
  • Disneyland Resort Gallery Disc, featuring more than 350 high-resolution professional photos from around Disneyland Resort

Price

  • The cost of this PhotoPass option is currently $99.

When to Buy

  • At your character meal if you plan on doing one.
  • This package can only be purchased in the parks so you must buy during your park trip.

How to Buy

  • This package can only be purchased in the parks at the Disney PhotoPass Sales Center, dining locations with PhotoPass photographers, and all attractions with PhotoPass on-ride photos.

How to Activate 

This is important! Make sure you do not activate this until after your trip. Once the photo package is activated, it will download all images up to 45 days prior to the activation date.

Disney PhotoPass Collection + Disc

Disney PhotoPass Collection + Disc is a purchase option that includes all your PhotoPass photos linked to your Disney account from a 45 day period. This will include all attraction, dining, and Magic Shot photos too!

What is Included

  • DVD disc with all Disney PhotoPass photos in your account at the time of purchase.
  • Digital downloads of all Disney PhotoPass photos in your account at time of redemption
  • Voucher for a Dining Print Package (Voucher may not be redeemed online.)
  • Disneyland Resort Gallery Disc

Price

  • The cost of this PhotoPass option is currently $119.

When to Buy

  • Right when you enter the parks and before your character dining, if you have one booked. Go straight to the Disney PhotoPass Sales Center to purchase.
  • This package can only be purchased in the parks so you must buy during your park trip.

How to Buy

  • This package can only be purchased in the parks at the Disney PhotoPass Sales Center.

How to Activate 

This is important! You must be in person to activate this PhotoPass package as the cast member at the PhotoPass center will physically hand you your DVD with your images burned on them.

MaxPass Photo Downloads

Phone with the Disneyland app

MaxPass has been a great addition for guests at the Disneyland Resort. You can read our extensive guide to MaxPass here. One of the best perks of purchasing MaxPass is the unlimited PhotoPass downloads that come with the purchase!

For $10 a day per person, you have unlimited download access to all of your PhotoPass images including Magic Shots, attraction rides, and character dining. This is such a fantastic deal- we highly recommend it!

Even if you have a large group and don’t plan on purchasing MaxPass for everyone, one person could purchase MaxPass on their phone just for the PhotoPass benefit and use that to download all the PhotoPass pictures onto their account. That’s a great savings which turns out to be a better deal than the PhotoPass+ one week option.

How to Use PhotoPass at Disneyland

Radiator Springs Racers attraction ride

Once you’ve selected your PhotoPass option, it’s smooth sailing to using PhotoPass at the parks.

Character Dining

Typically, most character dining options will offer at least one PhotoPass photo before the dining experience begins. The photographer will hand you a card with a code on it to put into your Disneyland Parks App. I recommend saving all of these to put into your phone at once at the end of the day and not spend park time messing with them. Store them in a safe place for later!

PhotoPass Photographer Spots

You can locate PhotoPass Photographers on the Disneyland Parks App to see which photographers are currently available. Don’t worry, they have the most popular photo spots covered! If you want a Magic Shot, you can ask the photographer if they don’t suggest it! A Magic Shot is where the photographer digitally inputs Tinkerbell or some other cartoon character into your image. These can be so fun!

Attraction Photos

The attraction photos that offer PhotoPass currently are:

At Disneyland Park:

At Disney California Adventure Park:

Once you exit the ride, you will be led to a room that has TVs on the walls displaying your attraction photo. Once you find your group, you will see in the bottom corner of the photo a code to put into your Disney app. I recommend taking a picture of this code with your phone so you can put the code in later.

Using the Disneyland App for PhotoPass

It is absolutely essential to have the Disneyland App on your phone for your visit. I recommend downloading it ahead of time and getting familiar with it before your visit.

When you log into the app, follow these steps to link your photos to your account.

  1. Log in and scroll down the main page until you see ‘My Photos.’
  2. You will see two options: Link Photos & Show PhotoPass Code
  3. When you select Link Photos you will be given two options: Link Attraction Photo & Link PhotoPass card.
  4. To link an attraction photo simply input the 8-character attraction id that was shown on the TV after the ride into the app.
  5. To link a PhotoPass card you will scan the code into your phone using your phone’s camera feature.
  6. The Show PhotoPass Code feature is a great way to save time and hassle at the parks. Rather than messing around with a pocket full of PhotoPass cards from photographers, simply show them this code on your phone. They will scan it and viola! Your picture will appear instantly. You can also use this code to access your photos at the PhotoPass Sales Center.

PhotoPass Issues

Overall, most guests have a great experience with PhotoPass. But sometimes mistakes can happen and photos may not show up even after a photographer linked them to your account.

This tragic incident happened to us on our last visit! Our images from our character dining did not show up on my app even though the photographer linked our photos using the PhotoPass code.

Once I got home after our trip, I called the PhotoPass help center to see if they could find my image. And they were beyond helpful! The amazing cast member I spoke to spent hours looking through all the character dining images from the date and time I gave her until she found us. She quickly sent me the photo by the end of the day.

If this ever happens to you in the parks, don’t be afraid to ask the PhotoPass customer service cast members for help! They are more than happy to help find your photos. You can go directly to the PhotoPass Sales Center in the parks (there’s one in each park) or visit the PhotoPass website. Make sure you are ready with a date and estimated time- this will help them find your photo quicker!

Photography Tips for Getting the Best Photo

Boy posing with spiderman

These are photos you’re going to cherish for a lifetime! Make sure that you take the time to ensure you’re getting the best photos to take home with you. Here are some tips for getting that perfect PhotoPass photo.

Assume the Character Pose

Ask the characters for pose ideas, they will be more than happy to show you their signature pose for the camera. Rather than having 20 pictures of simply standing next to the characters, incorporate some matching poses for added fun. Kids, especially, love to do this.

Take Advantage of Magic Morning/Early Magic Hour

If you’re taking advantage of your park hopper or Disneyland Resort Hotel privileges, you’ll be in the parks for Magic Morning/Early Magic Hour. While this is a great time to ride attractions, it’s also a great time to get fantastic pictures! This is the one time in the day you can get a perfect picture in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle with NO crowd in the background. How cool is that?

Let Your PhotoPass Photographer Guide You

Remember, these PhotoPass photographers are professionals! Ask them for advice on how to pose or stand for your pictures. They will be more than happy to oblige. This is always easier though when there’s not a huge line behind you for a photo so make sure you take that into account.

Don’t Forget Your Magic Shots!

Make sure you ask the photographers for some Magic Shots! These are so fun and you don’t want to miss out on them. Basically, the photographer can put a digital image of Tinkerbell or other Disney characters into your image. Then your group reacts to it! They’ll guide you through the process and the result is typically a really awesome picture! Don’t be shy, get into the fun. One of our favorite park pictures is my son and I holding Tinkerbell in our hands with our mouths wide open. It’s so silly and great. It ended up being one of my favorite pictures of us from our trip!

Dress for the Occasion

We always recommend being comfortable at the parks because of all the miles of walking you end up doing! However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also dress savvy for your park pictures! If you’re staying in a close by hotel and have multiple days to take advantage of, you can always dress up a bit in the morning for your pictures and dress down in average park clothes for the evenings. You’ll be happy you did if you have a few pictures of your group looking fresh and nice first thing in the morning. And don’t forget to take off your sunglasses for a few photos so your face is visible!

Remember: Kids WILL Be Tired

It’s always best to get those perfect PhotoPass pictures first thing in the day with kids. Your kiddo will be happier, cleaner, and it makes for a better experience for everyone. Trying to force your overheated, sticky, and cranky toddler for a picture at the end of the day will not end in a glorious picture. Although, it may be a funny one!

Plan Your Disneyland Trip Today!

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  1. Best Times to Visit Disneyland 2018
  2. Best Disneyland Souvenirs 2018
  3. Disneyland Restaurant Reviews and Tips
  4. Disneyland FastPass Guide
  5. Booking Disneyland Packages

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