Memory Maker - What? How?

Friday, January 31, 2014

We are just back from a magical five night trip to Walt Disney World. I am feeling completely overwhelmed with organizing all the photos, reviews, tips, and the general play by play of what I am sure will be THE trip of the kids' childhood. I am hopeful that all of this will prevent me from a massive breakdown over the fact that the trip is OVER. Steve is acutely aware that I am already having fantasies about our next trip and to his credit, he is beginning to accept that I intend to go back again and again and again. Forever. One thing is for sure though, I am relieved that we pulled off the surprise and I am no longer experiencing pre-trip anxiety at 4am every single night.

Speaking of the surprise, here is how it went down: Spoiler alert, our six year-old did not believe us.

I think I can safely speak for Steve when I say that this trip was simply boiling over with magic. The kids had an absolute blast and it was so much fun to watch them enjoying it all. Truthfully, there were moments when I was clearly the one having the most fun. Even more truthfully, there were of course some tough travel moments. There were dinners with misbehavior brewed from exhaustion and a couple upper arm drags to a quiet spot to remind one of them that this was Disney World and we needed to keep a smile and a good attitude. There were far fewer of those kind of moments this trip than the last one. Far fewer.

There was a healthy serving of sass in 2011.

This is more how I will remember 2014. 

So where to begin?? Let's start with a big debate in the Coconuts household; Memory Maker. For a general overview of what Memory Maker is please reference these well written and informative articles to get the nuts and bolts.

Straight from Disney Memory Maker Information
Touring Plans Memory Maker Information
Capturing Magic Podcast Memory Maker
Photo Pass vs. Memory Maker from WDW Prep School

We had used Photo Pass on a previous trip, but never really intended to purchase the photos. We had loved the way they turned out, but in the end purchased NOTHING (that's right, NOTHING) because the cost when we got home when we were also staring at a large pile of receipts seemed excessive.  We looked at the photos we had taken ourselves and deemed them "good enough." I regretted that decision when the photo pass expired and I could no longer look at the photos online. This time around, I was more focused on photos because the kids were bigger, we were spending more time there, and I knew that my daughter was going to be all about meeting the characters. They seemed somehow more important. I knew it would be a hard sell for my husband. Spending money on photos you haven't taken, let alone seen, seems a bit irrational. Luckily, a friend had just traveled down around the holidays and was able to share her very positive experience with me. That was the tipping point. I'm sharing my very positive experience to perhaps help you make a similar decision.

Why We Decided To Do Memory Maker

We wanted the shots that the Disney Photo Pass Photographers could take that we knew we wouldn't be able to. They start snapping away the moment you approach a character. If you tell them you have Memory Maker, they will take even MORE photos. It allowed us to truly enjoy the moment with the kids and focus more on experience and less on documenting it. We still took our own shots and video, but I was less concerned about capturing it myself.

We could not have caught our Character Phobic Connor high fiving Chip. (I could not have for sure because he is on my shoulders!) Good story for later is how chip got him down from my head and got him to pose for a photo... Willingly! With a smile even!!

How about these cute "Magic Shots?"

Worth Noting: Photo Pass Photographer's will take ONE photo with your camera if you ask

Each day when we got back to the resort we could go online and see what shots were captured that day. It was a fun way to wrap up the day, relive those memories, and feel triumphant that we had those shots locked up. I would recommend you do this to ensure that the photos you had taken actually made their way to your band. We had absolutely no issues and were able to add on cards from Enchanted Tales with Belle as well. Perhaps most importantly, it allowed us to split up! I could run to grab the day's fast passes at a kiosk, while Steve met Pluto or waited in line for Merida knowing that if I missed it, I could see it later. I missed this fantastic moment waiting by Stitch for the kiosk, but I love that we have these shots.

Steve missed this one when we split up later that day knowing Connor had no interest whatsoever in meeting Rapunzel and was desperate to ride Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin again. This was an excellent decision and the time us girls spent together is a wonderful memory. 
I love that the photos are saved on my computer! I can download them as many times as I want during the Memory Maker "window." I have them all and I can do whatever I want with them now. Look, I just uploaded them to this blog, NBD. Easy. EASY. EASY.


Steve and I both used our Magic Bands to collect our Memory Maker photos. They simply scan your band each time they take a photo of your family. It's unbelievably simple. We quickly saw that our bands were not linked together to Memory Maker and we had to pull up Steve's photos separately on the site. We didn't worry too much about this until we got home and I wanted to download all the photos, both his AND mine. How could we do that when Memory Maker wasn't recognizing that we were connected?? It took me a bit of time to figure out, but there is a simple solution.

Step 1: In your My Disney Experience page, open "Friends and Family"
Step 2: Ensure that your friend/family who has photos you want to download is listed as "can view and purchase your Photo Pass photos." If not, simply click on "Edit" and check the box to enable this. SIMPLE

We downloaded our photos last night and I cannot wait to scroll through them all to select ones to share both here and with friends/family. I am sure we will eventually have some printed for a memory book, but I'll have to find the time to do that.  Luckily, I own them now, so I can take my time and put that off for when I really need some Disney Magic. All those autographs Caroline collected in her TWO books can very easily have a photo beside them, creating a lovely souvenir for her to look back on. We will have those photos printed up locally or through an online photo site. Easy!

VERY IMPORTANT: The cost of photo pass is $50 less expensive if you purchase it before your trip and I encourage you to do that not only for the savings, but to ensure you can begin capturing images on your bands the moment you arrive. It can take three or more days to catch up if you buy it in the park when you arrive and you will then need to add photo pass card photos to your Memory Maker after the fact. You could lose those cards and let's face it, there is way less hassle in having your band scanned. Make this decision before you go.

Reflecting back, this was something we were unsure of prior to our trip, but we maximized it; seeking out photo opps with characters, around the parks, and even on rides (yes! Buzz, Space, Everest and more!) and even my skeptical husband stated Memory Maker was "the best thing we could have done!" I couldn't agree more.

There is so much more to share! any questions about Memory Maker?

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2 Responses to “Memory Maker - What? How?”

  1. Hi Kerri- Thanks so much for all this info- it certainly persuaded me to add this on to our package. Question -after i signed up it said i would receive something in the mail. Do I have to link this with my bracelet or are we good to go?

    1. Thanks Beth! This is a great question and something I should have addressed because I did make some calls on our arrival day, stopped at concierge, and both had different answers. That was frustrating, but I think is probably related to how new this is. At time of purchase I opted for the "will call" option, not delivery. My concierge informed me that I would need to stop into the photo pass service center at the park in the morning to link my Magic Band to Memory Maker. They instructed me to bring the confirmation number, any communication I had, photo ID. I was disappointed because the very last thing I wanted to do at rope drop was stop at photo pass. I called the guest service line from our room and that cast member informed me that if I had a magic band it should be a seamless process and should already be linked. She suggested we try it early in the day if possible and to seek assistance at the Photo Pass Service Center IF it did not work. I would recommend bringing the confirmation number with you (I printed the confirmation at home) JUST IN CASE. We had no issues whatsoever. So glad you decided to use this service, I don't think you will be disappointed!