Sunday, November 1, 2015

Walt Disney World Family Vacation - PhotoPass

This post is Part 3 of our family's trip to Disney World. Here are Part 1 and Part 2.

As a brief recap, my dad's crazy generous and my sister has organizational OCD.

And, with a couple of more details, my dad decided about a year ago to take the whole family to Disney World for a family vacation. He asked my sister to look into what that would involve and gave her free rein to set everything up, which she did - down to the very last detail. But, the combination made for a truly amazing trip.

Anyway, as part of the planning, my sister bought a whole-family PhotoPass package, which includes all-you-can-eat-style photos anywhere there's a photographer throughout Disney's property. It's something I would have never chosen if I were planning the trip but it ended up being a great extra.

Our first (and arguably one of the best) PhotoPass family photo right after we entered the Magic Kingdom on our first day:

The deal is that you pay one all-inclusive fee and there are photographers spread out at scenic locations throughout the parks as well at character meet and greets. It also includes those photos they take when you're on the rides.

Entering Epcot Center on our second day:

Whenever you see a Disney photographer anywhere, you can ask them to take your photo. They then scan your Disney MagicBand (or photo card). A little while later, you can see the photos on the Disney app on your phone (yes, they've got it all pretty much covered) and it's all downloadable when you get home.

With all the family photos, individual-ish photos, and ride photos, we ended up with over 350 between us. Even though the crappy web interface (not everything Disney does is perfect) made me spend a few hours downloading (three times!), unzipping, and comparing everything before realizing I had three (ugh!!!, differently named) sets of the same photos, it was still worth it.

Epcot Center character meet and greet:

Speaking of the Disney MagicBand (yes, Disney really likes CamelCase), when you stay at a Disney property, they give you a radio-frequency bracelet to wear. This bracelet gives you an easy way to open your hotel room, use FastPass (see - more CamelCase), pay for your purchases, and use PhotoPass (argh...maybe it should be called WaltDisneyWorld?). And, in addition to making your visit easier, it gives Disney's database geeks a treasure-trove of data to play with!

Seriously though, I really liked the convenience. Paying for everything was as easy as touching your bracelet to a terminal and entering a PIN. FastPass was simple. And no hotel key to keep track of! Actually, it's just like how people were paying for things in Japan when I lived there FIVE YEARS AGO! If you can't tell, I'm very much waiting for Apple and Android Pay to be widely accepted enough that I can get rid of my wallet for good... Helllllo! What's taking sooooo long???

Day three at Animal Kingdom:

...and day four at Hollywood Studios:

So, anyway, time for me to share a few selected-by-me favorites. Dad and Ginny... brother's family... sister's family...

...and, finally, Diana and me:

I know I already mentioned this in both of the other two posts but I'll say it again. We had a great time. It was a lot of fun to be able to stay and hang out together for such an extended period.

Thanks to my sister for planning everything and a giant thanks to my dad for making it all possible! We should do it again soon... :)

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