© 2013 photobookgirl

Disney Cruise Photo Tip #1: How to Get Photos With All Your Favorite Disney Characters



I had heard all the hubbub from other parents about getting photos with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and the gang, but I didn’t expect that I would be so eager to have Photo Book Baby’s picture taken with them. Never having done this before and being that Photo Book Baby is still quite young we didn’t know if he’d be scared (yes, we’ve all seen those tear-strewn, red-faced photos with Santa on the Internet). I have heard that getting these photo ops can be hard in the Disney parks, but on a Disney cruise, there are plenty of opportunities to get photos with your favorite characters. The longer your cruise is, the more likely you’ll be able to cross all of them off your list – and more than once at that. The characters typically make several appearances throughout the day and throughout the cruise in different attire. So you’ll see Pirate Mickey and Formal Mickey as well as Princess Minnie and Tropical Dress Minnie among other fun costumes (I made up these names except for Pirate Mickey b/t/w). The only photo we wanted that we didn’t get was with Santa Goofy (unfortunately it was naptime during that appearance).

Photo Book Baby turned out to be quite excited to meet the characters and would often wave to them. He is a huge fan of Captain Hook from Jake and the Neverland Pirates and he couldn’t stop saying “Hook, Hook!” and pointing to him while we were in line. His face still lights up now when he sees the character photos from our trip!

By the way for those of you with older kids, the characters also sign autographs, so bring an autograph book if you’d like. Now, we all know these will not be authenticated and sold on ebay, or appear on Antiques Roadshow 50 years from now, but it’s all in fun and makes for a cute memory of the trip.

Yes, it's Photo Book Girl and Mickey!

Yes, it’s Photo Book Girl and Mickey!

Photo Book Girl’s Character Appearances Tips

1) Each evening in your room, you’ll receive a newsletter called the Personal Navigator which lists the times and locations of each character appearance. That makes it easier to plan your activities and photo ops for the next day;

2) Get there early – thankfully I’m not talking hours here. If you get there about 10 to 15 minutes early, you’ll easily be one of the first in line;

3) The Disney characters make appearances on Castaway Cay too (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas) – so be sure to catch them there for a nice change of scenery;

4) As you approach the front, take some test shots of the character while you’re waiting – it can help you adjust some settings before reaching your turn;

5) You can snap your own photos with your own camera as well as have the photographer take them too. That way if you didn’t get the shot, you have a backup. You can also take more than one shot for insurance. I was usually able to fire off at least 3 shots before our turn was up. The photographers and staff are very friendly and offer to take the photo for you with your camera if you want to pop into the shot. My friend even chatted up one photographer before the character arrived to ask for his tips on using the flash and DSLR camera settings;

6) The photos are on the pricey side – an 8 x 10 print is $19.95 and 6 x 8 photo is $12.95 but worth getting a couple if they are too cute to resist (that’s what they’re counting on). They offer package deals too. You can get any 10 prints for $149.95 or 20 prints for $249.95. I ended up buying several photos by the end of the cruise, as Photo Book Baby looked irresistible in those shots. Most of the time however, my shots came out just fine and they were free!

7) As for non-character photos, there are plenty of opportunities for families looking to get family portraits or children’s portraits taken. It looked like some took advantage of every professional photo taking session they could, throughout the cruise. Typically the portrait sessions take place around dinner time into late evening. Disney offers a package which includes every photo taken of your family on a disc for $349.95 (plus $50.00 more for prints of all the photos too). When I first saw the cost I balked at it, but when I thought about that being the total cost for everything, it is pretty equivalent to the cost of hiring a pro photographer for a photo session back home (not including actual prints). If this is the only opportunity I had to have professional photos taken of my family for the year, I might just plan on it. Whether or not the photography suits your taste is another matter however. These are going to be all studio- type posed photographs (as opposed to some of the more natural approaches and outdoor shots you see a lot of today). Also some of the backdrops they use can be a bit cheesy (fake sunsets), but hey it’s a cruise – it’s gonna be kinda cheesy. You’re taking photos with a huge headed mouse for goodness sakes!

B/t/w some of you may be wondering about it, but I haven’t written about the Disney Photobook that was offered for sale while on the cruise. It’s similar in ways, but not the same as the Disney Photopass books you can get if you’ve visited the parks. The photo books offered on the cruise are more limited. More on that in a later post.

Hope you find my tips helpful! Have you gone on a Disney cruise before? Did you enjoy it? Would love to hear from you – comment below!




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  1. Filena
    Posted April 26, 2014 at 10:50 am | #

    Are the character shots included on the disc?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted April 27, 2014 at 1:46 am | #

      Yes most definitely! Everything you get their photographers to take will be on there. Bon Voyage!

  2. Posted June 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm | #

    Great blog and information I was on web looking for info on per purchasing photo package on the Disney cruise vs the price of it on the cruise. We have been before and I just remember being shocked by the price and mulling over our photos last minute to pick out a few to take home. I don’t era all that pre purchase was available when we went before, which just so happened to be on the same cruise you were on. We are now planning our next thanksgiving Disney cruise with family. I was debating on having each cabin pre order the full cd plus print package but I might just do one and maybe a 10 print package for the other. Didn’t know they would add the border on all the cd photos, thanks for that warning. Just means a little more photoshop work before photo book. Thanks for all your info..

    • photobookgirl
      Posted June 8, 2014 at 11:07 am | #

      You’re welcome – that’s funny that we were on the same cruise! I think if you intend to buy a package you’ll make a bigger effort to take advantage of all the photo ops, so hopefully that will make it worth the cost. If you have several family members going it is a nice keepsake. I spend very little on other souvenirs unlike before, as I realize photos of the trip are what I value most. Have a great trip!

  3. Barb
    Posted October 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm | #

    You have shared some wonderful information here! My family went on the Disney Magic in May and had MANY pictures taken. We love them!
    However, I have one BIG question. I never realized that my Cd would contain pictures all formatted with borders at 8×10. I really like the borders, but I really need to print the pictures at a much smaller size. I have an on-going autograph book that is 8×8, and I would love to print the pictures with the borders so that they fit in the book. Any suggestions? I’ve tried uploading them to my local store, but it always crops something off. I’ve been looking for some type of tool online, but I am at a loss. My last option would be to import them into Word, shrink them and print them on my printer, but I don’t have a photo printer, so the quality is never as good.
    Any ideas for me?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm | #

      Hi Barb,

      Sorry for the late reply. If you want to apply some cropping then perhaps a free online editing tool will work best for you. http://www.photobookgirl.com/blog/top-free-online-editing-tools-review-2012/ Or I have heard of folks using gimp. I don’t have a great solution for wanting to fit the full 8 x 10 photo into the 8 x 8 as that would make for a much smaller photo than you probably want. If you would be okay with making a new photo book, you could easily get the full 8 x 10 in with a portrait oriented book. there would be a slight border around the edges, but I would just use a plain black background and put one photo per page. Or you can do several per page like I have here: http://www.photobookgirl.com/blog/disney-wonder-photo-books-a-multi-volume-set/ You can see the borders are all there. Hope that helps!

  4. May
    Posted January 20, 2015 at 6:29 am | #

    Thank you so much for all these great tips!!! Very helpful!! Do you know if the ‘all images’ digital package ($229 for 5D cruise) include pictures with the different backdrops too (ie. Ones you mentioned similar to studio shots)? Or just pix with characters as you see photographers around?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 27, 2015 at 1:02 am | #

      Unless anything has changed, you get EVERYTHING – all poses regardless of backdrop or with characters 🙂

  5. Matt
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 4:59 pm | #

    Hi, great info! :). We have 8 people going but booked under 3 different reservations. Do you know if we can share our photos by linking us all together and just pay the $350 one time?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 15, 2015 at 6:43 pm | #

      Hi Matt,

      Sorry for the late reply – don’t know if you’ve gone on your trip yet… I believe it goes by room. So, if one room has the photo package, as long as someone from the main room is in the photo, to my knowledge that photo is included. If someone from another room takes an individual photo, it’s not supposed to be included. However, I suppose you can see if it will work… 🙂

  6. Amanda
    Posted February 22, 2016 at 9:43 am | #

    I know this may be a strange question… Where did you get your lanyard you are wearing in the picture?

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