To make the high price of the Memory Maker photo package (which includes all photos and videos taken during your Disney trip) more palatable, Disney has been adding a spoonful of sugar to the PhotoPass experience, PhotoPass Magic Shots. These photos will include digital versions of favorite Disney characters, known as “magic shots”, and will colorfully appear when you have a look at your photos on your MDE (or on your computer when you get home).
While guests with reasonable Photoshop skills can add their own Disney magic to the photos they’ve taken themselves in the parks, that can be a lot of time-consuming work. And it’s fun to get home and discover that a couple of waltzing spooks or hitchhiking ghosts have suddenly appeared in your photo – or maybe Sebastian and Stitch have photo bombed unbeknownst. While a surprise is great, it’s better to know your options ahead of time. Very often, you have to request a magic shot. Otherwise, the PhotoPass photographer may just take the standard shot at a photo op.
Holding out an empty palm for a magically-added Tinker Bell is a popular magic shot on Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom. In fact, you can find a different version of the pixie in each park. By the time she gets to Animal Kingdom, she’s exhausted and takes a seat right in your hand.
At most locations, you can also outstretch your arm to have a bunch of balloons added. A fun version of this is to hold a child in your arms as though he’s about to float away – with his arm up for the added balloons. Meanwhile, Stitch can often burst out from the pavement below – in which case you’ll be asked to register a face of disconcerted surprise.
A more unusual magic shot is having fairy wings added to your back. This usually requires that the photographer shoot against a green background of trees or landscaping, so not every PhotoPass photographer is in a position to do it. If he or she isn’t, he can probably direct you to a photographer who is.
Different locations and different photographers have different Magic shots – so always ask the photographer what he’s got, in addition to saying, “Can you do the Jiminy Cricket Magic shot?”, etc.
Here are some of the current PhotoPass magic shots you won’t want to miss
Magic Kingdom Entrance and sometimes other park entrances – Zootopia’s Nick Wilde can add *you* to *his* photo – in which you’ll appear on his iPhone.
Princess Fairytale Hall – If you visit the princesses, ask specifically if the photographer has a magic shot. Jaq and Gus can be added as a frame around a greeting with Cinderella (both here and at Cinderella’s Royal Table).
Tiana’s Gazebo off the Hub – Hold out your palm and pucker up for a shot with a frogly Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog.
Prince Eric’s Castle (at Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid ride) – Ariel’s bossy Crustacean friend Sebastian will plunk down in the palm of your hand here.
Beast’s Castle – An adoring Chip (or Lumiere) can look up adorably from your palm. Chip can generally be found anywhere Beauty & the Beast are found – so ask at the Hollywood Studios show and at Epcot’s France.
Haunted Mansion – The apparition of a ghostly hearse driver will shimmer in your photo.
- Minnie and Mickey photo op – Minnie will appear as the photographer as Mickey poses with you.
- Sit on a bench (or even a curb) with plenty of empty space to one side – Mickey or Minnie might join you there.
- You can dance with Olaf in the snow – the photo will be cuter if you bust some moves.
- Sulley might just interrupt your Photo Shoot
Near Star Tours – Inquire about Star Wars Magic shots. Availability may vary, but Darth Vader has been known to show up as well as force-pushed Storm Troopers.
Toy Story Midway Mania – Have a scare off with Mike from Monsters University.
Animal Kingdom Park Entrance – If you see a PhotoPass photographer with a crate or box, you know that Stitch will come popping out of it later.
The Tree of Life area is a “hot spot” for magic shots.
- Cradled arms may receive a baby Simba.
- Reach out to catch dapper Jiminy Cricket floating down from the sky with his umbrella.
- Hang out with your favorite Lion King friends
- A crooked elbow may provide a perch for a single butterfly or for Pascal from Tangled.
- A kaleidoscope of orange butterflies will flutter over an open palm. (You may also find the butterflies around World Showcase at Epcot, particularly during the Flower & Garden Festival.)
In the Norway Pavillion in Epcot, get a shot with Sven.
Special Events typically have their own special magic shots:
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
- Hold your hand out, fingers together and you’ll find when you get home that you were holding a poisoned apple over a greenly bubbling cauldron.
- Haunted Mansion ghost options might be more numerous at the Halloween party.
- You can get a shot of all three hitchhiking ghosts (Phineas, Ezra, and Gus) rather than just one of the three (which is generally an everyday magic shot)
Tip: Any PhotoPass photographer holding a prop is a photographer to visit. He might have a sword (in which case you’ll find yourself digitally dueling Captain Hook) or she might have a lightsaber (in which case you’ll be battling Vader himself).
Another tip: If you’re on a ride and see a PhotoPass photographer with a camera, wave big and smile wide and his lens will pivot right to you. At the ride exit, he’ll be there so you can tap your band. This can happen at places like the Jungle Cruise dock as your ship comes in.
A third tip: Look out for animated magic shots with moving characters which are becoming more common. Tink will sprinkle your photo with pixie dust if you’ve had the photo taken at a park entrance. Baymax may walk into your shot near the Hollywood Studios arch. Anger from Inside Out may bubble up at the Epcot entrance. And Buzz Lightyear himself will arrive during his Space Ranger Spin!
Magic you add yourself can take the form of borders and stickers (including character signatures) on the PhotoPass website. Those for special events are particularly appealing (and will only be seen as an option during the specific season).
It all adds up to a lot of Disney magic infusing your PhotoPass pictures!