Photos for our Universal Trip
This summer our family planned a family vacation with a group of 9 to the Universal Orlando theme parks. Having been familiar with the Photo Pass system at Walt Disney World, I was curious if Universal offered a similar photo option to capture our memories. With our large group consisting of 3 family units on a rare vacation all together, I wanted to be sure to get as many photos of all of us as possible. I knew the best way to do that easily was if Universal provided a photo package and provided photographers stationed in the park to take photos for such a package. Fortunately, after my research I discovered that Universal offered a photo package called My Universal Photos. Universal offers a 1-day package at $69.99 or 3 day package at $89.99 (which is a $10 off in advance price for buying online rather than in park). Since our family planned to be at the theme parks for 3 days, I chose the latter package.
Purchasing the My Universal Photos package
First, I went to the website: https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/my-universal-photo to purchase the photo package.
I received an e-mail receipt. When I entered the park, I was directed to the My Universal Photos store which was near the park entrance. Following assistance from an employee, I was provided with verbal instructions/tips, a My Universal Photos lanyard and ONE photo card to use scan our photos. Very easy!
Photos scanned to the card would be reportedly uploaded to a website where we could create and account and download as many times as we desired. There is also an application for a smart phone named "Amazing Pictures" where you could link your account to view photos.
Using Our Photo Package
After I received my photo card, I quickly located a Universal photographer at the entrance where we took a group family photo. Our first ride was the Minion Mayhem ride and at the end of the ride there was a Minion character photo opportunity. We were able to get our large group photo with the Minion also using our My Universal Photos card. We then proceeded to ride several rides and wanted to capture all those fun ride photos. The process consisted of scanning photos to our card as we exited rides. For example, on The Revenge of the Mummy ride, there were photos from the ride available to purchase at a kiosk in the gift shop as you depart the ride. Utilizing the preview screens for viewing photos, we were able to select and scan our photos onto the card as we were with many later rides. One group in our party had ridden a few minutes before my group and was able to write down the corresponding number of their photo so we could locate it again to scan it the card also. While not every ride had photo opportunities, many did and it was fun to get to keep these memories without having to stop, think or purchase individually! It was definitely a huge savings in money and time to our family to have access to ALL the ride photos without having to purchase them individually.
There are a few spots where there is an automatic camera and you can get into position for your photo and have it scanned to your card. (we used one near the Jurassic rides)
Also, there are Universal Photographers scattered in a few spots around in the park you can utilize. We encountered one in front of the Mythos restaurant and Poseiden's Fury that took from creative pictures of us in that thematic area of the park. The gift shop at the end of the ET ride also has a great photo opportunity I will discuss in more detail in the next section.
One photo provided was made animated to simulate the water element of our Jurassic Park River Adventure ride.
My Favorite Ride Photo Spots:
The ET ride provided nostalgic photo fun for my childhood 80’s memories. There was a Universal Photos photographer stationed in the gift shop with a picture spot where you could get your photo riding a bicycle with ET in the basket AND a photo in the closet with ET surrounded by all the toys to disguise him as in the iconic movie scene.
Some of our other favorite ride photos at the 2 theme parks were on the following rides which usually managed to capture our thrilled expressions:
Rip Shaw Falls
Jurassic Park River Adventure
Revenge of the Mummy
My Universal Photos vs Disney Photo Pass:
The 4 biggest differences I noted were:
-Not nearly as many photographers are available in the Universal parks as there are at Disney World parks.
-It can be inconvenient to wait to be able to scan your ride photos at the kiosk at the end of the ride. Sometimes I had to wait in line a few minutes until I could access a worker to scan my photo card.
-With Disney if you have a magic band, the photos are automatically linked to your account wirelessly.
-Disney also provides more "magic" with there photographs by adding characters and effects to the photos. They also provide more video clips from rides.
-There is also an app to view the Universal photos as with Disney but your photos are reportedly in your account indefinitely rather for a limited time after your trip as with Disney Photo Pass Photos
While not as far down the line of advancements as Disney, I still felt the My Universal Photos package provided our family with many great photos that will be memories for a lifetime including photos of our whole group that we would otherwise not have had. I definitely recommend it!