Do I Need A Camera If I Have the Disney World Memory Maker Option?

Disney World sells a Memory Maker Photo Package that allows you to download digital photos taken by the Disney PhotoPass Photographers and ride photos - it is a great way to get fun photos of your group.  Two of our agents weigh in on whether or not you also need to take a camera into the Disney World theme parks if you've purchased the Memory Maker photo package.

Monica's View: Yes, Take Your Camera

Jump to "No, you don't need your camera"


We get a lot of questions about the Memory Maker and if it's worth it. We also get a lot of questions about whether or not guests should bring their own camera if they purchase the Memory Maker. My answer to both questions is YES!!

I know there are some differing opinions on this subject--even amongst us Build A Better Mouse Trip agents! I'm going to give you my point of view, and Ian Scott is going to give his! Neither is right or wrong...just different!

As many of you know, I'm a professional photographer so pictures are super important to me! I will carry 30 lbs of photography gear on Big Thunder Mountain or the Kilimanjaro Safaris just to get THE picture! However, I don't think YOU have to carry that much---you could get away with a nice little point and shoot, and I highly recommend you do! I know, I's a nuisance to carry something extra around, but I think you'll thank me in the end! I also do not recommend that you rely on your phone camera. I have an iPhone 5 and I would never rely on it for memories of my vacation. Do I still take pictures with it? Yep, but I don't rely on it solely.

What is my biggest and only reason for carrying a personal camera with you even when you purchase the Memory Maker?

There are not PhotoPass photographers everywhere you go. They don't stand in line with you. They aren't with you when you go shopping. They don't go with you on the bus. They aren't around when your kids are playing in the pool. They just can't be everywhere!

If I relied solely on the pictures I got from the Memory Maker package, I would not have been able to capture these images, which are some of my favorite images of all time!

That's my dad, sitting down laughing at the antics of his grandchildren! There were not any PhotoPass photographers around to capture that image. That is my daughter with a large fake spider on her head. If you know my daughter, you would know that is SO her! Once again, no photographer around. How about that moment when your unsuspecting daughter takes her first sip of a lovely beverage named "Beverly" at Epcot's Club Cool? No photographers in sight! (And I encourage ALL of my clients to have their cameras ready for that shot!)

Yes, the Memory Maker is fantastic for those iconic shots with Cinderella's Castle, Spaceship Earth and the Tree of Life, as well as pictures with the characters, but it's those images that get taken when they aren't around to shoot that make taking a camera of your own to Disney World with you a magical idea!

Have a magical day!

P.S. A great point that Ian brought up in his perspective below is that, if you do take a point and shoot camera, the PhotoPass people will take a picture for you using your own camera, so you can actually BE in all the pictures! Even if you don't have the Memory Maker. You just stand in line like everyone else and ask them to use your camera. I actually do both! I have them take it with their cameras, and with mine

About the Author: Monica is the most experienced agent at Build A Better Mouse Trip, a travel agency specializing in Disney World and Orlando theme park vacations.  

Click Here to Get Monica's Help on Your Next Disney Vacation

Ian's View: No, You Don't Need Your Camera if You Have Memory Maker

Jump to "Yes, take your camera"

Ian's Tells You Why the Disney World Memory Maker photo package is great!

Ian's Tells You Why the Disney World Memory Maker photo package is great!

Well, in honor of (and at the behest of) the lovely and talented Monica, here's my take on Disney's Memory Maker package.

I am (clearly) not a camera guy, and I LOVE the Memory Maker. Here's why:

#1) I am lazy. When I go to Disney, I consider myself to be on vacation, and therefore exempt from lugging around anything I don't want to, including a camera and/or all the ancillary equipment. If it doesn't fit into my pockets, it gets left at the resort.

#2) I will not selfie. I will be in somebody else's selfie, but I refuse to take one on principle. Mostly because......

#3) I want everybody to be in the picture - if somebody has to take the picture, somebody - by design - has to be left out. And....

#4) I want to pictures to actually be good. This means that *I* should probably not take them. Disney PhotoPass Photographers take thousands of pictures every day. They have excellent equipment, are intimately familiar with the setting, know the correct light levels, exposure, and the rest of the photography witchcraft that I do my best to avoid. They take more pictures in a week than I will in a lifetime, so I choose to let their experience work for me.

#5) I can't get ride pictures on my own. Splash Mountain? Test Track? Space Mountain? Too busy actually riding them to use a camera. With the Memory Maker I can take those home with me (in high resolution) instead of trying to snap a low resolution picture with my phone from from the display monitor.

#6) I can't get the iconic backgrounds and/or character experiences on my own. To do this as well as they do, I would need all of the camera equipment, and the ability to interrupt and divert large crowds of people from the most heavily trafficked area of the park. They excel at getting the shot quickly and cleanly without being overly disruptive to the overall crowd.

#7) They do magical stuff. Without ruining the surprise, they'll sometimes add in little extra things to your picture to surprise you when you see them. It's a super-cool bit of fun they add just because. I'd rather see what they come up with than spending a few hours with photoshop trying to pirate copyrighted characters.

#8) I refuse to experience my vacation behind a phone or though the viewfinder (or whatever it's called) of a camera or a video camera. I want to experience it in person, in real time, right then. I'm delighted to let professional photographers capture and preserve those moments so that my family can continue to enjoy them with little or no interruption.

#9) I hate paying to have film developed only to see that the pictures are bad. You can view ALL the pictures in the Memory Maker before you have to spend anything on getting the digital images printed. (In all fairness, not every picture they take will be perfect - they'll shoot several exposures to get a good one.) You can pick, choose, and approve from all the high-resolution images they shoot.

#10) They'll take all the pictures you want. The Disney PhotoPass Photographers aren't constrained by film or camera memory like we are - you can leave your vacation with hundreds of pictures, taken by professionals, with everybody in them.

One caveat to all of this, and I don't think it's contradictory. Monica is 100% right on something that needs to be re-stated: The opportunity to capture a moment doesn't always happen in front of a photographer. Accordingly, I do bring a little point-and-shoot with me - because it fits in my pocket - and I have gotten some really wonderful moments from those little disposable cameras.

It never hurts to be a little bit prepared, just in case. To each his own!


About the Author:  Ian and his wife Toni work together to help their clients have wonderful Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando vacations.  There is no extra charge to get their expert help for your trip when you book your vacation through them.   

Click Here To Get Ian's Help On Your Next Vacation