{stuff no one tells you about photography on a runDisney trip}

I first heard about runDisney sometime in 2014, before running was a part of my life. It sounded fun, but I couldn’t imagine running 13.1 miles, let alone through Disney World. I told myself it wasn’t for me, because I wasn’t a runner and I’m not a devoted Disney fanatic. Fast forward two years later, I’m running regularly and am having a blast picking outfits that match the theme for my race events. I found a fellow MRTT runner who has done several runDisney events and drilled her for info when we met up for the RibFest 5-Miler back in June 2016.

She gave me some recommendations for hotels to stay in (ie: on property, for the shuttles), and she gave me a heads up about registration. That was kind of it. I am a planner… this wasn’t enough for me. Everything else I’ve been figuring out accidentally or by trolling other blogs.

In an effort to help you avoid your best sad princess impression, here is some of (what I would consider to be) the most important stuff that no one tells you about photography on a runDisney trip:


  1. Disney’s PhotoPass photographers will be along the race course capturing your magical moments while you run. If someone in your chEAR squad takes a blurry photo of you as you run by, don’t fret – there will be professional photos available of you. And think of it this way – these people are trained to catch you in action, and their cameras are nicer than your sister’s cellphone, so it’s likely they’ll get better shots of you than your friends and fam-bam will.
  2. Don’t forget to smile and flash a thumbs up, or try for something a bit more fun for your photo (click here for more tips about upping your chances for great race photos). Just don’t forget to be conscious of the runners around you when you do it. Don’t be a hazard on the course – people might not notice that you’ve stopped or flung your arms out in their way, sooooo just don’t. Keep running!
  3. Selfie sticks aren’t allowed in Disney parks for safety reasons, nor are they allowed on the race course, so don’t be shy about smiling for those photographers.


  1. Memory Maker or PhotoPass? I’ve been combing through blogs, and it seems like people use these two services interchangeably when speaking about them. They are NOT the same. Here are the differences:
    • PhotoPass is a free service that Disney World and Disneyland provide where photographers are stationed around the parks at the ready to snap pictures of you and your loved ones and friends. They will either hand you a card with a code or they will scan your MagicBand (if you have one) to look up your photos later. While PhotoPass is a free service, you do have to pay for prints and downloads if you see photos you like. Pricing can be found here for the various printed options.
    • Memory Maker is a photo package you may purchase to get unlimited downloads (within 45 days from the date the photo was taken) of all photos from your entire trip, including select attractions and dining events.
      • You can pay in advance and get a $20 discount, ultimately paying $149 for access to all of your digital images.
      • If you don’t pay in advance, the cost for Memory Maker is $169.
      • The longer your trip is, the more cost-effective this price is… $169 for a 3-day trip equals out to $56-ish per day. For an 8-day trip, it’s $21-ish per day.
      • If you have your entire family on the same Disney reservation in your My Disney Experience, you only need to buy one Memory Maker because everyone’s MagicBand will capture photos across the park and collect them all in once place.
      • You “may be able” purchase an extension on the expiration date if you waited too long to download your pictures. I say “may be able” because that’s what the Disney website says in their Memory Maker FAQ. At the time of writing this post, I haven’t figured out exactly what the restrictions are for this.
  2. Photographers are happy to snap pics with your phone or camera after they’ve snapped with their cameras, from what I hear. (Alternate tip: if someone from your group is willing to sacrifice not being in the photo, they should get right up behind or next to the PhotoPass photographer to take pictures so it looks natural.)
  3. Link your MagicBand to your PhotoPass account. If you’re staying on property and are automatically getting a MagicBand, you can use your reservation number to link your MagicBand. Or if you’ve purchased one, you enter the 12-digit number on the inside of your band. This way any photos that are tied to your MagicBand will automatically show up in your photo collection.
  4. Link your Memory Maker to your PhotoPass account. If you’ve decided to purchase Memory Maker, I’d suggest linking this up ahead of time. If anything, it gets this step out of the way so that you can enjoy your trip without worrying about whether or not your photos will be easy to find and are going where you want them to!

So this is the most important stuff that no one tells you about photography on a runDisney trip. So far as I can tell, anyway… I just wanted to make sure I have access to race photos, since I won’t be traveling with anyone who can take photos of me.

Only you can decide whether or not Memory Maker is worth it for you, or if you can get away with one or two digital downloads of your favorite pictures. Personally, I’m planning to ham it up for every single photographer I see. I travel alone quite frequently, and I’m seldom in a place where there are photographers at the ready (which is why I have a selfie stick), so being able to have photographic evidence of my trip is highly appealing to me. However, I’m going to save myself money and buy the Walt Disney World Gallery Disc – it’s $29.95, and comes with a Limited License Agreement so that I can print my favorite photos on my own.

In case you missed it, go read my post about the stuff no one tells you about registering for a runDisnsey event and stuff no one tells you about planning a runDisney trip.

Featured Image Credit: Ariel and Jasmine from QuotesGram, Cinderella from Giphy, Belle from FanPop

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