Editor’s note: One or two Fridays a month, Enjoying the Magic will go through our emails and social media comments to find specific questions about Walt Disney World travel, trivia, etc. and answer them in this column. If you have a question you’d like answered, email email@example.com!
Today’s post focuses on Wishes viewing, Disney’s Memory Maker and a little talk about a much-debated topic: Free Dining! Let’s get to it!
Sara C. asked:
What’s the best way to get the most out of the memory maker package and are there any really good spots to get pictures taken that I should keep in mind and any other info I should know, please?
Before I answer your question, Sara, let me give a quick overview of what Memory Maker is for everyone.
Walt Disney World offers the Memory Maker, a pre-purchased photo package that allows everyone in a travel party to be in the pictures. Throughout each of the theme parks and even some restaurants, special “PhotoPass” photographers are ready and waiting to snap a picture to capture your family memories. Want a picture in front of Cinderella Castle with the whole gang? No problem! Once the picture is taken, the photographer can either take your Magic Band or your ticket and transfer it directly to it! Your photos will be waiting for you online to view, edit and download.
Ok, Sara, now to your question: how do you get the most out of the Memory Maker package? Here are my suggestions:
- Purchase the Memory Maker more than 3 days before you’re going to use it. You can go directly to the Memory Maker site to purchase it for a $30 discount ($169 advance price compared to the $199 price if you purchase it the day you arrive and plan to use it.) So, you save a little money that way.
- Get every ride photo and video you can. Many attractions in the parks have either a photo opportunity and a few even have video (including the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom). If you get shots and videos from all of these without the Memory Maker, it adds up quickly! We got a bunch of fun shots at Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Test Track that we never would have purchased because we decided to go for the Memory Maker for our last trip.
- Ask for Magic Shots! What are they? The PhotoPass photographers can help create a little magic if you ask about it. You may find yourself holding Tinkerbell in the palm of your hand or have a favorite Disney character wander into your shot. You just never know what kind of magic you’ll see on your photos!
- Don’t be shy about going to the photographers. Many people purchase the Memory Maker, but wind up with so few pictures, they didn’t get their money’s worth. The photographers are there for the guests, so don’t hesitate to ask them to take multiple shots! The more photos you get, the better.
- Get photos beyond the classic icons. Of course, every family wants that castle photo, but there are so many other places you can capture magical memories around the parks! It may be a shop on Main Street, or the Fountain of Nations in Epcot or even in one of the countries over in World Showcase. If you see something that captures your eye, look for a photographer and get the shot!
- Lastly, once you get home and start editing your photos–make multiple copies! Put different frames on pictures, the date on others, and other special graphics or effects that the online editing system allows. You can be as creative as you want! Then, you can share them with friends and family–for FREE!
I admit: I was hesitant to use the Memory Maker for our last trip because 1. It seemed like a lot of money and 2. I HATE being in photos. Turns out that with the amount of photos we had taken on rides and lots of other places more than made up for the cost and…the photos I was able to be in with my family are priceless. So, I recommend everyone try it at least once!
Hope that helped, Sara!
Jenny B. asked
Where is the best place to be for the fireworks at Magic Kingdom to see Tinkerbell fly through the sky??? I have been to Disney twice this year and haven’t been able to see her and I am going in about 2 weeks! Does she fly across before or after the fireworks?
The nightly Wishes Fireworks Spectacular is a must-do on our list, but finding a good location to see them can be difficult because it is so popular. There have also been a lot of changes recently to the Cinderella Castle Hub area that complicates the issue even more. I haven’t been in about 18 months, so things are different than last time. But, I did some research to get the scoop. Here are some tips:
- You can only see Tinkerbell fly from the front of the castle. I’ve seen her when I’ve stood dead center in front of the castle, as well as off to the side (on/near the Tomorrowland Bridge or close to Liberty Square Bridge). Note: Tinkerbell may not fly if the weather is questionable–especially wind and lightning. Even fairies need to be safe in storms.
- One thing that hasn’t changed is the Dessert Party. As of now, it is still known as the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party through July 4th. This is the BEST way to see the fireworks from both a viewpoint and the delicious desserts. The Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant sits right across from Cinderella Castle and offers spectacular views of the show, along with pretty sweet dessert and beverage buffet. This is a reservation only experience–and you usually need to get the reservations months in advance. However, since you are getting close to your travel date, go to the reservations page and check every day; many people will cancel at the last minute to avoid cancellation fees and you could scoop up a table! The current price for the party is $25.99 (tax included) for ages 10 and over and $13.99 (tax included) for ages 3-9. Starting July 5, the party will get a bit of an overhaul: The Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party will keep the dessert and drink buffet, but also add a special toast, new themed treats and more. Unfortunately, the price also goes up: $53.24 (tax included) for ages 10 and over and $31.94 (tax included) for ages 3-9. That’s a big jump. But, I can tell you that I thought it was worth it at the current price simply to enjoy the show without being crammed in big crowds–the desserts were a bonus.
- You can use a FastPass+ reservation for a special viewing area. With the Magic Kingdom’s hub construction almost complete, the park recently opened its new grassy area in front of the castle, including the new FastPass+ reserved viewing area. The area is divided into two sections (East and West). There is no seating, but the area is carefully monitored so that only those with a reservation can stay there. I will see what it’s like for the first time when I go next month, but reports I’ve read are mixed on whether or not it’s worth it to use a FastPass+ reservation. It really depends on how important it is for you to have a reserved patch of grass and not have to find a place an hour before the show starts.
- I also enjoy watching the fireworks from the Main Street Train Station platform. Sure, you’re not right up close, but it’s a different perspective of the show and you can see Tink make her flight from Cinderella Castle. It’s not as crowded in that part of the park and the bonus: if you’re planning on leaving right after the show, you can make a quick getaway down the stairs and out the main entrance!
Let me know what you decided to do and how it worked out!
I plan to write about the experience as someone who did NOT use a FastPass+. I’m hoping I can find a spot to see it.
Anyone have experience using the FastPass+ for Wishes? What did you think of it?
What about the Memory Maker? Share your review of the service!
See you next time!