If you’re anything like us, then taking lots of photos is a must during a Walt Disney World vacation. Fortunately, Disney makes it incredibly easy to capture each and every magical memory, with PhotoPass photographers around every corner, on-ride photos for certain attractions and even private (and pricey) photo shoots available inside each of the theme parks.
But what if you want something more formal, fun or just plain silly? Or maybe you want the one-on-one attention and customization of the in-park Capture Your Moment photo sessions without the high price tag. That’s where Disney PhotoPass Portrait Studios come in. Read on for everything you need to know about these convenient and complimentary (with a catch) Walt Disney World photo spots.
Disney PhotoPass Portrait Studios: What You Need to Know
Photos make the best souvenirs for any vacation, but especially one at Walt Disney World. While you certainly can (and should!) take some on your own and with the many Disney PhotoPass photographers posted up around the park—don’t forget all those ride photos, too—sometimes it’s nice to enjoy some extended time in front of the camera without having to worry about the next group waiting in line.
Sure, you could always book one of Disney’s Capture Your Moment photo shoots. However, priced at $99 for a 20-minute session, these sessions don’t come cheap. And that doesn’t even include any images you’d like to buy—those come at an additional cost. Luckily, there is a more affordable option: Disney’s PhotoPass Portrait Studios.
What Are They
Located at Disney Springs, two of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, PhotoPass Portrait Studios are a convenient and cost-effective way to take a bunch of photos in a professional setting with one of Disney’s photographers behind the lens. You know those portrait studios you can find inside a JCPenney? Disney’s PhotoPass Portrait Studios are a lot like that, with a generous pinch of pixie dust. Think fixed backdrops (and some virtual options at the Disney Springs location) and a collection of props or Magic Shots.
These Disney PhotoPass photo shoots can be customized to fit your party and whatever you may be celebrating (or not). So, feel free to switch up the group configurations and request certain poses however you’d like. Then, simply smile, say “Mickey!” and let the PhotoPass photographer do the rest.
The best part about Disney PhotoPass Portrait Studios is that doing a photo shoot at one is completely free. You only need to pay for any photos you would like prints or downloads of. What’s more, no minimum purchase is required. So, you feel free to buy one, all of them or none at all. The choice is yours! You can even visit Disney World PhotoPass studios just for fun. We’ll get into the purchasing particulars in just a bit.
How to Book
No reservations are required for Disney’s PhotoPass Portrait Studios. All you need to do is show up and strike a pose. Sessions are on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is no time limit. Studios are also open to anyone. However, keep in mind that you will need a valid park ticket to take advantage of locations inside the theme parks.
How to Buy
As we already mentioned, while doing a photo shoot at one of the Disney PhotoPass studios is free, you will need to pay for any photos you would like to download or get a print of. Individual photos cost around $18.95 for two 4x6s or one 5×7 or $20.95 for an 8×10 and can be purchased directly at the portrait studio in Disney Springs or from any of the other Disney PhotoPass viewing stations around Walt Disney World. They include:
However, if you would rather get digital downloads or you want to keep a lot of photos from your visit (like those taken at one of the portrait studios, photos taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers around the parks or during character meet-and-greets and attractions photos), your best bet is to buy Memory Maker. Available for $75 for one day or, for 30 days, $185 if purchased in advance or $210 when bought during or after your vacation, respectively), Memory Maker is Disney’s all-inclusive photo package. With your purchase, you’ll receive unlimited digital downloads through the My Disney Experience app for any photos taken during your visit, including photos from Disney’s PhotoPass Portrait Studios.
Disney PhotoPass Portrait Studio Locations
You can choose from four convenient PhotoPass Studio locations, with two in the parks, one at Disney Springs and another at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. In fact, you can even visit all of them, if you like. Here’s where you can find them and what is offered at each location.
Disney PhotoPass Studio in Disney Springs Marketplace
Located behind the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, in between the Arribas Brothers glass store and Marketplace Co-Op, the Disney Springs PhotoPass Studio is arguably the best location of them all. Unlike the other studios, Disney Springs’ portrait studio features two stations with both traditional and virtual backdrops, which can make guests look as if they’re in different locations at the parks (or even Disneyland!) or inside a scene from one of the Disney Princesses’ stories.
Backdrop options: Both traditional and virtual, including park scenes, seasonal and holiday variations, and settings inspired by Disney movies and shows
Extras: An array of props are available—like a bow and arrow à la Merida or Ariel’s dinglehopper (AKA a fork), just to name a few
Royal Portrait Studio in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park
Looking to take a few photos after your child’s fairytale transformation at the nearby Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? Or maybe you and your crew are sporting an especially regal DisneyBound. Then, be sure to pay a visit to the Royal Portrait Studio in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. Located just behind Cinderella Castle inside Sir Mickey’s, this is one of the more limited PhotoPass studios at Disney World, with only one backdrop for each of the two portrait stations. However, it is still a fun way to snap a few photos without having to worry about there being a lot of people in the background.
Backdrop options: Fixed, castle-inspired backdrop with arched “windows” opening out onto forest scenes
Extras: An array of props are available
Wandering Oaken’s Pop-up Portraits in World Showcase at EPCOT
Be magically whisked away to the icy world of Arendelle with a visit to Wandering Oaken’s Pop-up Portraits in the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT’s World Showcase. Located inside the Wandering Reindeer, this is the newest PhotoPass Portrait Studio to open at Walt Disney World. Although there aren’t any props or virtual backdrops here, guests can try out their best Elsa pose in front of a wintry wonderland or try a cool Magic Shot, making this a great pick for Frozen fans.
Backdrop options: Fixed, frosty forest scene inspired by Frozen
Extras: Frozen-themed Magic Shots
PhotoPass Portrait Studio in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The most minimal of all the Disney PhotoPass Portrait Studios is the location at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Located above the lobby on the second floor of the main building, near the top of the grand staircase, this PhotoPass studio has only one fixed backdrop, and it isn’t always staffed by a photographer. Still, if someone is available, it is a nice place to snap a quick portrait before heading to the park for the day or before a special meal at Victoria & Albert’s. Note that a PhotoPass photographer is usually on hand at busier periods of the day, like mornings and dinnertime.
Backdrop options: Fixed watercolor backdrop with a gold curtain
Extras: One or two props are usually available, like Cinderella’s glass slipper
Tips & Tricks for Your Disney Photo Shoot
Ready to vogue it up at the PhotoPass Portrait Studios? Here are some handy hints to help make sure your session is a success.
Buy Memory Maker to Get All of Your Photos
Although you might get a bit of sticker shock from the initial price, Memory Maker is a great deal if you plan to purchase a lot of photos for your visit. As unlimited digital downloads are included, you won’t have to worry about needing to choose between poses, leaving you free to snap and share as many photos as you please.
Stop by Every Portrait Studio
Now that we’ve convinced you about Memory Maker, the best way to get your money’s worth is by taking as many photos as possible. So, along with paying a visit to every Disney PhotoPass photographer you see out and about in the parks and taking advantage of all the on-ride photos that are available, be sure to stop by the different portrait studios around the resort. Since all of the locations offer something different—whether backdrops, props or Magic Shots—the photos you take at each are sure to be unique.
Go During Slower Periods
Since photo shoots at the portrait studios are available on a first-come, first-served basis, try to go during off-hours to have a more leisurely experience. For example, head to the PhotoPass Studio at Disney Springs when it opens first thing in the morning. This way, you’ll have more time to play around in front of the camera with backdrops, props, poses and groups or individual shots.
Dress Up for Your Photo Shoot
A photo shoot is your time to shine. So, make the most of it by dressing for the occasion. This is a great opportunity for a group portrait with matching shirts and Mickey ears or a character-inspired DisneyBounding outfit. Just be sure to follow Walt Disney World’s costume guidelines, especially for adults, or you may be forced to change clothes or denied entry altogether.
Visit After a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Makeover or Before a Holiday Party
Relatedly, Disney PhotoPass Portrait Studio photos are the perfect mementos of your little princess or prince’s regal makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or a night at one of Disney World’s special holiday parties. After your child receives the royal treatment, make your way to the nearest studio so they can snap a few shots while their hair, makeup and outfits are still looking fresh. Alternatively, for folks heading to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in costume or those donning their finest ugly Christmas sweaters or other yuletide apparel for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or Jollywood Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, plan to do a photoshoot at one of the portrait studios first.
Commemorate a Special Event
As they say, “pics or it didn’t happen.” The next time you’re celebrating something special—be it a birthday, anniversary, graduation, first Disney World visit or other memorable occasion—consider adding in a trip to a portrait studio so that you can capture the moment.
Have you ever done a photo shoot at one of Disney’s PhotoPass Portrait Studios? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can make room in your budget for Memory Maker by buying our Disney World discount tickets.