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Old 07-08-2014, 06:40 AM   #1
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A Disney PhotoPass/Memory Maker Primer

This is the third in a series of Disney Tech primers, designed to give those who are unfamiliar with it a basic understanding of all of the new technology that Disney deployed in 2013-2014.

The first in the series was A Disney Tech Primer, which outlined the entire My Magic Plus system and explained how the various sub-systems were all tied together.

Wait - which Coast?

Disney appears to be operating three separate, distinct PhotoPass systems, which don't talk to each other and don't share photos - one at Walt Disney World, one at Disneyland and Aulani, and one for Disney's Wide World of Sports. The three systems operate in a very similar fashion, but there are some differences between them. The biggest difference is that MagicBands and the MyDisneyExperience web site operate only at Walt Disney World, not at the other venues. There are also differences in products; the product known as PhotoPass+ (notice the Plus symbol) is still available at Disneyland, but was discontinued at Walt Disney World at the end of 2013 and replaced by a product called Memory Maker (more on Memory Maker later).

This primer will deal exclusively with the Walt Disney World system, but the basics of the system - create an account, get photos taken, buy products online - are the same for all three versions.

What is PhotoPass?

PhotoPass is a system of photographers throughout Disney property. These photographers will take your photo at no charge. The photos are all digital, and are automatically uploaded to a web site where you can view them, edit them, and buy products made from them, including paper prints, greeting cards, mouse pads, mugs, albums, and other specialty products. There are also several options for downloading the full-size versions of your photos.

The name PhotoPass refers to the entire system of photographers, ride photos, web sites, and products. Many people will mistakenly refer to a particular product as "The Photo Pass", or mistakenly believe that the barcoded cards they obtain from PhotoPass photographers are "Photo Passes". But this is incorrect; the name PhotoPass actually covers the entire system, and each product or component has its own name, most of which are preceded by the word PhotoPass, i.e. PhotoPass photographer, PhotoPass Card, PhotoPass PhotoCD, etc.

Getting Started

-> Creating your account

The first step in the process is to create a free PhotoPass account at MyDisneyPhotoPass.com. NOTE: If you create a MyDisneyExperience account, a PhotoPass account is automatically created for you. You can sign into your WDW PhotoPass account using the same user name and password as your MDX account.

Once your account has been created, you can access it at any time by either pointing your browser directly to the PhotoPass web site, or by clicking the PhotoPass link in the main menu of your MyDisneyExperience account. Your user name and password will remain synced with your MDX account.*

* Applies to the WDW PhotoPass system only. Disneyland/Aulani and Wide World of Sports PhotoPass systems do not connect with the MDX system.

-> Creating your photos

The next step in the process happens at WDW. When you enter one of the parks for the first time, find a PhotoPass photographer. They are scattered about the parks, generally in spots where people tend to want photos taken, such as inside the entrance plaza of each park, and down the main streets - Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, the walkway between Future World and World Showcase in Epcot, Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood Studios, and on the walkways of Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom (generally pointed at the Tree of Life). But they are not limited to these entrance areas - PhotoPass photographers can be found throughout the parks, in all of the Lands and areas. PhotoPass photographers also accompany most of the costumed characters at their appearance spots.

When you find a PhotoPass photographer for the first time, simply ask him to take your photo. Some of them have a few other Guests waiting in line, others don't, depending on the popularity of the location.

Once the photographer snaps a photo or two... or three... you can either have him scan your MagicBand, if you have one, or he can give you a free PhotoPass card, which is a barcoded card used to claim your PhotoPass photos. Once your MagicBand or PhotoPass card is scanned, your photos are associated with those ID media. You can scan as many photos as you want with your MagicBand or a single PhotoPass card.**

PhotoPass can be used by everyone in your travelling party. Anyone in your party whose MagicBand is linked to your MyDisneyExperience account can scan a photo from a PhotoPass photographer with their MagicBand, and the photo will show up in your PhotoPass account. Photos scanned by those in your MDX Friends and Family list will also be included in your account.

** If you don't have a MagicBand, and use PhotoPass cards instead, you can use as many cards as you wish - each person in your party should have their own card, and they can all be linked to a single PhotoPass account. Be sure to take a digital photo of the back of each PhotoPass card, or write down the serial number, so that you can claim the photos if you lose the card.

Viewing your photos

Once you have photos taken, you will want to view them. To view your photos, simply sign into your PhotoPass account.

Photos which are scanned by a MagicBand were automatically linked to your PhotoPass account, and will already be there, ready for viewing. Photos scanned by a PhotoPass card will need to be claimed manually, by entering the card's number into your PhotoPass account.

-> Finding your lost photos

PhotoPass viewing stations can be found in the theme parks at the photo shops near the entrances to each park; in Downtown Disney at Guest Relations on the Marketplace side; and in the gift shop of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. At each of these stations, you can review your photos and order some products, but the stations also serve a more vital function - locating lost photos. If you had a photo taken, but it does not appear in your account, the Cast Members at the viewing stations can look through all of the PhotoPass photos in the system. Since there are hundreds of thousands of photos taken each day, you will need to provide some basic information in order to locate the lost photos - where and when it was taken, and the appearance of the people in the photo. When the CM finds the wayward photo, he will link it to your account.

-> Time limit

PhotoPass photos will stay in the system for 45 days after they are snapped. After that, they expire and are deleted, so you have 45 days to make your edits and order various PhotoPass products. If you need more time for editing, you can purchase a one-time-only 15-day extension for $20.

The expiration dates are cascading, meaning that photos taken on April 1 will expire on May 15; photos taken on April 2 will expire on May 16, and so on. As the expiration dates for your photos draw near, PhotoPass will send you emails warning that "Your DISNEY PhotoPass Photos are about to expire!" The body of the email will tell you when your photos will begin to expire.

Plussing your photos

Simply having photos snapped is only the beginning. Once you have a bunch of photos, there are several ways to jazz them up, or 'Plus' them, in Disney-speak.

-> Customizing your photos

From the PhotoPass web site, you can perform a variety of editing functions on your photos. You can crop them to smaller sizes; add one of several pre-made themed borders; or add character or title graphics, called 'stickers'. Your original photos will always remain unaltered. Any changes you make will be saved as copies.

-> Magic Shots

Every so often, a PhotoPass photographer will ask you to strike an odd pose - point at the ground and look amazed, hold you fist above your head, look that way and pretend to be scared. These odd behaviors indicate that a Magic Shot is about to take place.

Magic Shots are photos that are automatically customized by the PhotoPass system to add a little something extra into the image. When you pointed at the ground, for example, you set the stage for Stitch to be added in the spot where you pointed. When you hold your fist up in the air, a cluster of balloons will be added, with the strings clutched in your fist. Other Disney characters, such as Tinkerbelle and baby Simba, are often added. And perhaps one of the oddest Magic Shots I ever experienced was having fairy wings added to my back.

Getting your photos home

Everything that has happened up to this point - taking photos, viewing your photos, and plussing your photos - has been free.

Once you have modified your photos to your heart's content, you can buy a variety of PhotoPass products from the ever-changing catalog on the web site. You can buy prints of individual photos, you can buy digital downloads of individual photos, or you can buy the PhotoPass Photo Archive CD, which includes full-size digital versions of all of your PhotoPass photos. Other items typically available include picture mugs, mouse pads, photo albums, greeting cards, magnets, and more.

-> Prints and gift products

Even in today's digital world, many people think of photos strictly in physical terms - printed images. PhotoPass caters to such customers by offering a variety of physical products with the photo of your choice printed on them. A number of these products have the name Memory Maker appended to them, i.e. Memory Maker Phone Case, but this is merely a name; buying these products does not require purchase of a Memory Maker entitlement.

Each of these products can be customized with any photo from your PhotoPass account. You can also upload one of your personal photos to add to each product in place of a PhotoPass photo, except the Photo Prints - these can only be made from PhotoPass photos. Your uploaded photos can only be used in the creation of one of these specialty products; they cannot be Plussed with borders and stickers like PhotoPass photos, nor can they be downloaded or included on a PhotoArchive CD or in a Memory Maker download. To upload photos, first choose one of the products (i.e. a PhotoBook, Calendar, etc), and in the upper-right corner of the editing pages, an Upload button will appear (NOTE: WHen creating a PhotoBook, you must click on the Photos button on the bottom of the screen, and the Upload button will appear in the lower-left corner of the page).
  • Photo prints in three sizes - 4x6", 5x7", 8x10"
  • Digital download (single photo)
  • Photo greeting cards, 5x7", set of twenty
  • Twelve-month photo calendar with a photo each month
  • Twenty-page glossy leatherbound PhotoBook (additional pages $3.50 per pair)
  • Ceramic disk/star/snowflake holiday ornaments
  • Coffee mugs
  • Mouse pads
  • Magnets
  • Phone cases for several iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models
  • Stock photo frames in several sizes (not custom)
  • Gallery disks containing stock photos (three choices at differing prices)
  • Memory Maker (see below)

->Memory Maker

Memory Maker is a PhotoPass product which premiered in late 2013. A common misconception is that Memory Maker is a new photo system that has replaced PhotoPass. This is not so; the misconception stems from a fairly comical error - Memory Maker replaced an older PhotoPass product known as PhotoPass+ (PhotoPass Plus). Note the Plus symbol in the old product's name - when reading it fast, it is easy to miss the Plus symbol. Thus, when someone says "Memory Maker has replaced PhotoPass+" it is easy to mistakenly think they are saying "Memory Maker has replaced PhotoPass". It doesn't help that Disney has placed Memory Maker prominently in the MyDisneyExperience web site without mentioning that it is actually a PhotoPass product.

-->What's in the box

Memory Maker is a digital download product consisting of includes two "items":
  1. A code to be entered into your PhotoPass account, which allows you to scan your MagicBand or PhotoPass card at special dining and attraction venues that are not normally included in PhotoPass unless you purchase them separately***
  2. A complete digital download of every photo and video in your PhotoPass account, originals and edited copies, at full resolution, along with a legal release to allow you to print them anywhere and use them for any non-commercial purpose.
I like Memory Maker because it gives you all of your photos at full-size, to do with as you please. You can print them yourself. You can send them to Target or Walgreens or Snapfish or anywhere else for printing. You can post them to Facebook, or on your own web site. You can send them to Aunt Marge and Uncle Vernon. You can burn them to CDs. And most importantly, you can edit them yourself in Photoshop or whatever photo editor you choose.

*** When Memory Maker is included as part of your WDW vacation package, or bought as an add-on to your package, it will automatically be linked to your MyDisneyExperience account. You will only need to manually add the code to link your Memory Maker purchase to your MDX account if you purchase Memory Maker separately from a WDW vacation package, such as when you are staying in a non-Disney hotel off-site.

-->Cost

It's best to pre-order Memory Maker. When pre-ordered, the cost is $169 (price increased from $149 to $169 June 2017); otherwise, it's $199. It should be pre-ordered at minimum 3 days before you go to WDW, because any photos taken within 3 days of the original order won't be included. I typically recommend that you order at least two weeks ahead of time.

-->Time limit

A Memory Maker entitlement (i.e. on purchased Memory Maker) allows you to download one, some, or all of your photos, as many times as you wish. But there is a time limit - when you make your first download, a 30-day clock starts ticking. You have until the clock runs out to download all of your photos; after the clock runs our, you won't be able to download any more under that Memory Maker entitlement, even if it runs out before your PhotoPass photos expire. You can, of course, buy more individual downloads at $15 each, but that can add up pretty quickly, so it's best to get all of your Donalds in a row and make sure you've customized and downloaded every photo in your account before that 30-day deadline expires. To my knowledge, there are no extensions available for an expired Memory Maker.

-->Automatic ride Photos and Videos (Memory Maker only)

In June 2014, WDW introduced a new ride-photo system, which automatically detects each Guest's MagicBand as their ride vehicle passes the camera. If a Guest has purchased the Memory Maker product, the ride photo is automatically added to the Guest's PhotoPass account, removing the need for you to visit the gift shop after the ride. Ride videos were added to Tower of Terror and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; these videos are a mixture of canned footage from the ride, and footage of your actual trip through the ride. Videos are expected to be added to other rides at a later date.

This system is currently in operation on the following rides:
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (video included)
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Test Track
  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror (ride video included)
  • Expedition Everest
  • Dinosaur

->Memory Maker Archive Disc

This product is an add-on available when you have purchased a Memory Maker entitlement. For an additional cost of $30, you receive a disc containing all of your Memory Maker photos, and a gallery disc with stock photos of the Walt Disney World resort. NOTE: The Memory Maker Archive Disc is only available as an add-on after you have purchased a Memory Maker entitlement; the Memory Maker Archive Disc cannot be purchased separately.

Value

->PhotoPass

Overall, PhotoPass is definitely worth using. For decades, vacationers (holidaymakers to those from across the Pond) have been stuck with the choice of handing over their own (possibly expensive) camera to random strangers to take their photo, or having one member of a travelling party missing from the entire trip's photos because they were behind the camera instead of in front of it. With PhotoPass, even a solo traveler can finally be seen in their own vacation photos, and no family members need be absent from the entire vacation photo album because they were the one carrying the family camera.

->Prints and gift products

Photo prints are, in my opinion, the least value for your money of all PhotoPass products. Although they are the cheapest product, they are also the most fragile, easily lost or damaged, and completely irreplaceable once the original photo has expired from the PhotoPass system. It is a far better value to obtain the original digital file, which never fades like a print, and can be backed up, shared, and printed as much as you wish.

Typical products like the Photo Ornaments, mouse pads, greeting cards, calendars, coffee mugs, and magnets, are a moderate value. Products such as these can be bought from many other sources once you have the original digital file, but the PhotoPass versions of these products include additional DIsney graphics besides your photos, making them fairly unique versions that cannot be duplicated by third-party sellers.

The most unique and expensive printed product, the Photo Books, would be nearly impossible to duplicate by another supplier. The customizable leather binding, glossy pages, and copyrighted Disney imagery which surround your photos inside the books, make this product a long-term keepsake, and thus a higher value than the other print and gift products.

->Memory Maker

Memory Maker is, in my opinion, the best value for your money of all of the available PhotoPass products, well worth the $169 pre-purchase cost. Individual downloads of your PhotoPass photos cost $15 each, so only 11 of them equal the cost of Memory Maker. While prints are less expensive, they also have the least longevity; if you buy prints, and the prints are later lost or damaged, there is no way to replace those prints once the photos have expired from the PhotoPass system. Thus, it is far more important to obtain the original digital files, which can be backed up for sefekeeping, and used to make as many prints and other products as you wish, at any time, forever.

After a typical week-long stay at WDW, your PhotoPass photos can number in the hundreds, and after creating multiple copies of some of these photos, each with different borders and stickers, the total number of photos can be overwhelming. If you figure that you'll have at least 11 PhotoPass photos taken over the course of your trip that you'll want to download, the value of Memory Maker becomes apparent, since Memory Maker includes full-resolution downloads of every photo in your account. Once you have those photos in your possession, you can print them, share them, and modify them with your own photo editing software at home, to your heart's content, and they will never expire.

--->Memory Maker Archive Disc

The archive disc is a good value only for those who do not have their own CD or DVD burners. If you have a CD or DVD burner on your computer, you can burn all of your photos to disc for only the cost of the blank disc - which generally sell for less than $1 - and any disc you burn at home can contain not only PhotoPass photos, but your own personal photos and any other content you wish to add, as well. For this reason, I recommend the Memory Maker Archive Disc only to those who do not have a CD or DVD burner on their home computers.

Last edited by WillCAD; 06-07-2017 at 01:25 PM.. Reason: New info...
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:17 AM   #2
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Question: DW and I are linked to one MDE account under my name. When we put the MM on this account does it link to both of the MBs? That is, if we are riding on different rides with pix will the pic go on each of the MBs? Also, we are going to WDW in September and December this year. There will be more than 60 days between the end of the first trip and the start of the second so we will need to buy MM for each of the trips. I would guess that it would be better for me to buy the second MM until after we have downloaded the pix from the first and just outside the 3 day minimum period. Is this correct?
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:35 AM   #3
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we will have a number of folks in different rooms/different reservations. we should be able to be linked through MDE if i read this correctly.
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Old 07-08-2014, 10:42 AM   #4
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Thanks Will!! I need to think over the Memory Maker. Now that my kids are grown we don't purchase as many photos as we used too. In December I purchased a digital download of our photo at Splash Mtn, and it never showed up on our Photopass I waited too long to call Disney about it. I love the idea of all ride photos instantly linked to Memory Maker.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhinohunter View Post
Question: DW and I are linked to one MDE account under my name. When we put the MM on this account does it link to both of the MBs? That is, if we are riding on different rides with pix will the pic go on each of the MBs? Also, we are going to WDW in September and December this year. There will be more than 60 days between the end of the first trip and the start of the second so we will need to buy MM for each of the trips. I would guess that it would be better for me to buy the second MM until after we have downloaded the pix from the first and just outside the 3 day minimum period. Is this correct?
If your DW does not have her own MDX account, but is only in your Friends and Family list, then yes, both of your MagicBands will be linked to your MM purchase, and you can both be on different rides or even in different parks and all of the pics will wind up in your account. Essentially, anyone in your F&F list is covered by your Memory Maker purchase.

Unfortunately, the expiration period means that yes, you'll have to buy two Memory Maker products. Even at the discounted rate of $150, this is a lot, but if you know you're going to have a lot of PhotoPass pics taken, then it's worth it.

The system is pretty smart. It knows the dates of each pic and it knows the date of your Memory maker purchase, so it's probably not necessary to wait till the last minute to buy your second Memory Maker.

Being the bitter, jaded, cynical old pessimist that I am, however, I agree with your caution and would recommend not linking the code from your second Memory Maker to your MDX account until after you've begun the downloads from the first one. Just to keep the codes from getting mixed up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmom View Post
we will have a number of folks in different rooms/different reservations. we should be able to be linked through MDE if i read this correctly.
This is a slightly different situation that requires just a bit more attention than Rhinohunter's.

All of those folks can be covered under your Memory Maker purchase. However, any who have their own separate MDX account need to be cross-linked to you, i.e. you're in their F&F list and they're in your F&F list. But simply adding their name to your F&F list is not enough.

Let's say your sister has her own MDX account, and she's added all of her family to her F&F list (but they don't have their own accounts). Likewise, you've added your family to your F&F list (and they don't have their own accounts, either).

To properly cross-link your accounts, when you add her to your F&F list, there is an option to send an email invitation to her. Use this option. This will let the MDX system know that the Susan Ivanova you've added to your F&F list is the same Susan Ivanova who holds MDX Acct #12345-LUG. Likewise, have her use the email option for you.

Once your accounts are cross-linked, then any pics added to her account by the MagicBands in that account, will be visible in your account as well, and included in the Memory Maker downloads.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:02 PM   #6
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What confuses me is this:

I have two reservations and five individuals that I manage on MDX (I own the account and the other four individuals do not have their own MDX accounts)

My SIL has her own MDX account and manages one other individual who doesn't have his own account.

So there are seven people in total on our trip.

My SIL joined my friends and family list. I can see her reservation and her park ticket assignments, etc. but ONLY her name shows up. There were only five people on my friends and family list (not counting myself).
The other individual on her reservation does not appear on my friends and family list. If I look at a dining reservation my SIL created, I can see his name and avatar listed as a dining guest, but otherwise I don't see him. When I made my ADRs, I had to add his name in order to identify him as a dining guest on the reservation.

Is this how it works? Will his magic band still be linked to my friends and family list through my SIL's connection with me even though I don't see him?
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:40 PM   #7
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What confuses me is this:

I have two reservations and five individuals that I manage on MDX (I own the account and the other four individuals do not have their own MDX accounts)

My SIL has her own MDX account and manages one other individual who doesn't have his own account.

So there are seven people in total on our trip.

My SIL joined my friends and family list. I can see her reservation and her park ticket assignments, etc. but ONLY her name shows up. There were only five people on my friends and family list (not counting myself).
The other individual on her reservation does not appear on my friends and family list. If I look at a dining reservation my SIL created, I can see his name and avatar listed as a dining guest, but otherwise I don't see him. When I made my ADRs, I had to add his name in order to identify him as a dining guest on the reservation.

Is this how it works? Will his magic band still be linked to my friends and family list through my SIL's connection with me even though I don't see him?
Did you cross-connect? She's in your F&F list, but are you in hers? If I recall, this is what makes her list visible to you and yours to her.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:46 PM   #8
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Did you cross-connect? She's in your F&F list, but are you in hers? If I recall, this is what makes her list visible to you and yours to her.
I will have to double check on that as I am unclear what she is seeing currently. Thanks.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:50 PM   #9
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I will have to double check on that as I am unclear what she is seeing currently. Thanks.
OK, so I checked with SIL, and we looked at our respective accounts. She can see me - she has the one profile she manages PLUS ME on her F&F list, but she cannot see anyone else in our group that I manage.

I can see HER but I can only see her and not the one other person she manages.

Is this the way it is supposed to work?
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:40 AM   #10
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OK, so I checked with SIL, and we looked at our respective accounts. She can see me - she has the one profile she manages PLUS ME on her F&F list, but she cannot see anyone else in our group that I manage.

I can see HER but I can only see her and not the one other person she manages.

Is this the way it is supposed to work?
Did you invite everyone on her list? I'm pretty sure that's what Lenny had to do to see both Abby and I on his account. He had to invite me and then he had to invite Abby even though she's a minor and doesn't haver her own account (the invite came to my account but "Abby" had to accept it).
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:26 AM   #11
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OK, so I checked with SIL, and we looked at our respective accounts. She can see me - she has the one profile she manages PLUS ME on her F&F list, but she cannot see anyone else in our group that I manage.

I can see HER but I can only see her and not the one other person she manages.

Is this the way it is supposed to work?
That will be enough for PhotoPass. As Darlene posts below, you have to do a separate invitation to each person on the other account's list, in order to get them to show up on your list, but having your SIL in your list will allow all of the pic in her account to show up in your PhotoPass account, and you being on her account will allow your pics to show up in her PhotoPass account.

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Did you invite everyone on her list? I'm pretty sure that's what Lenny had to do to see both Abby and I on his account. He had to invite me and then he had to invite Abby even though she's a minor and doesn't haver her own account (the invite came to my account but "Abby" had to accept it).
You have to do this if you want to be able to make FastPass selections and control dining ADRs for the both groups, but if that's not an issue, and all you're trying to do is share a Memory Maker, then cross-connecting the accounts should be enough.
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:26 PM   #12
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I have used the prepaid photopass for years. I love that I could go in and crop the pictures and add borders.

If you have the memory maker, can you still crop pictures and add the cute borders to them or is it just the picture that was originally taken.

And second, is there a difference in price. I know if you order memory maker in advance its around 150.00. Is photopass the same price and can it still be ordered in advance.
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:39 PM   #13
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I have used the prepaid photopass for years. I love that I could go in and crop the pictures and add borders.

If you have the memory maker, can you still crop pictures and add the cute borders to them or is it just the picture that was originally taken.

And second, is there a difference in price. I know if you order memory maker in advance its around 150.00. Is photopass the same price and can it still be ordered in advance.
You can still crop and add borders to pictures.

Is there a difference in price in what? PhotoPass is the photo-taking service; it sounds like you're talking about the PhotoPass CD, which is still available. It doesn't include the ride and dining photos, and it costs $119 if you pre-order it, which you can do here:

https://mydisneyphotopass.disney.go.com/wdwsave
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:36 PM   #14
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Thanks so much. I was getting myself so confused. Yes I was talking about the CD and it is a little cheaper. Have to talk to the family to see if they want the ride photos. We've never bought them before so it might be neat to have them for a change.
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:19 PM   #15
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Thanks so much for this explanation! I know this was posted months ago, but it's super helpful!

I just made my Memory Maker purchase for our upcoming trip!
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