Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Vacations, Walt Disney World

Disney PhotoPass Ordering Tip: Buy the Largest Digital Size

I broke down and bought the insanely expensive family photos that a PhotoPass photographer took of us at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios:

Family Shot - Epcot

Family Shot - Hollywood Studios

What can I say? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing because it is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE that any of us will ever go back to Disney World (at least until grandkids come along. *ahem*)

If you order photos from Disney’s PhotoPass option, let me give you a tip:

Order the largest digital copy you can.

For example:

Here are the options that Disney gives you for purchasing the PhotoPass photos.

Hard Copies
Two 4×6’s for $14.95.
Or, one 5×7 for $14.95.

Digital Copies
4×6, a 5×7, or an 8×10 digital copy for $14.95 each.

Here’s my tip: Buy the biggest digital copy you can. If you’re going to pay the same amount anyway, pick the biggest digital copy. Download it, upload it to someplace like Flickr, or simply go to Snapfish (if you have an account with Flickr, it automatically defaults to Snapfish whenever you want to order copies), and order any size copies you want from that 8×10 for WAY less than you would pay for actual copies through Disney.

When you pay the $14.95, you’re also paying for a royalty-free license – which means you have permission to make copies of the picture, you just can’t make copies and then sell it to someone else.

At Snapfish, you can get 4×6 copies for $.09 A PIECE!
5×7’s are $.79 cents a piece and 8×10’s are $2.99 a piece.

So, if you’re going to pay the same price for all sizes anyway, you might as well buy the biggest size available so you can order more prints at a fraction of the cost someplace else.

Hollywood Studios, Vacations, Walt Disney World

Visiting Hollywood Studios (at Disney World)

Ready to visit Hollywood Studios?


The line for Hollywood Studios wasn’t too bad, and there wasn’t a Brazilian girl in sight. (They must have left because we didn’t see very many of them after that first day). Most everyone else was lining up to go to one of the two Disney World water parks.

We’re not big water park people, but it sure sounded good when we were down there. (Actually, it was hot in Florida, but it was even hotter back home in Missouri. In fact, it was about ten degrees hotter in Missouri than it was in Florida OR the Bahamas – but there was more humidity which somehow makes it worse, I think).

As usual, our bus was the last to arrive and we killed some time talking to the young kid who worked for Disney and was marking down the number of busses arriving. He was actually going to military school, but was working at Disney for the summer to get some kind of marketing credit and to of course, make a little spending money. It was really interesting to listen to him talk about his future plans and I was glad Dude was there to hear him. The kid wasn’t much older than Dude, yet he really seemed to have his life in order.

*hint-hint Dude*

The ride over to the park was quiet and uneventful – thank goodness. And the day looked bright and clear. Nonetheless, we went ahead and bought two umbrellas, just in case, because the boys got so wet walking around Epcot the previous day that we thought we’d plan ahead and be prepared this go around.

It didn’t rain a drop the whole time we were there, of course. (Though we left a little early and the clouds were rolling in, so … never mind, I can’t really justify why we bought the umbrellas other than to say HEY! Souvenirs! ha!)

So we get to the park and the first thing we see is the Tower of Terror. Well, not the FIRST thing, the FIRST thing we see is the giant Mickey magic hat in the center of the park, but we didn’t get a picture of that, so, Tower of Terror is where we’ll start. (Actually, we took advantage of Disney’s PhotoPass program and we have a picture of all four of us standing in front of Mickey’s magic hat, only I haven’t worked up the courage to actually buy it yet because as with all things Disney, it’s expensive. Like $15 bucks FOR ONE PICTURE expensive. Oh sure, we’ll end up buying it, but still, stalling a few weeks seems a little rebellious to me and I’m all about the rebellion, don’t ya know).

There was no way, on God’s green earth (actually, it’s not actually that green right now, but rather a lovely shade of dead) that I was going to ride the Tower of Terror.

Yes. Because I’m a big ‘fraidy cat. And I really had no desire to puke my guts up because I assure you, that’s what would have happened. Kevin actually visited Hollywood Studios with a bunch of his work buddies some years back and he rode the Tower of Terror. He said that he nearly lost it so I KNOW I would because Kevin has a stomach of steel.

Still. Kevin tried to talk me into it and I’m sorry to say, I flatly refused.


However, to try and make it up to him, we did end up walking to Aerosmith’s Rock ‘N’ Roller coaster and getting a FastPass right away. (Hey, we may be slow but we DO learn eventually). I’m not the biggest roller coaster fan, I can take them or leave them, but I knew Kevin wanted to ride it so … what’s a spouse to do? 🙂 Our scheduled time was between 1:00 and 2:00, so we had plenty of time to explore the park.

You know, looking at a map of Hollywood Studios I just now realized:

1. Our hotel was practically across the street from the park and

2. I think we missed a lot of stuff.


I think we were all tired from the previous day and we didn’t take the time to fully explore the park like we did Epcot. Plus, it all seemed so … childish, I think. We would pass something and I would ask if the guys wanted to go in and they were all like, “Meh.” So, we didn’t.

Like CRAP! We completely missed Fantasmic! I mean, we didn’t even walk down that way at all. Bummer! It looks pretty cool, too. Oh wait, it was only on select nights, so chances are we wouldn’t have seen the show anyway.

I wanted to see Beauty and the Beast, but the guys looked horrified when I even suggested it, so no, we didn’t see Beauty and the Beast. *sad face*

Looking at the map, I see we missed an entire other section, too. The part with Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, and the Magic of Disney Animation.

Crap again!

Oh well. We did go see Muppet Vision 3D, which was cute, but got on our nerves about five minutes into it. I like the Muppets, but they’re a little like Jim Carey to me, they are just too much, all at once and they’re exhausting to watch for any length of time because it’s non-stop … something.

But the show was cute and it gave us a chance to cool off.

We went through The Great Movie Ride and that was … okay. It was really cheesy and super loud, but whatever.

We went through The Studio Back Lot tour and I think the boys really enjoyed that one.


They did a special effects demonstration when we first arrived and we all really enjoyed watching them blow stuff up.


The canyon disaster was really fun, too.


There really wasn’t much else to the tour, I’m not sure what we were expecting, but it was more than what we got. However, it was fun and interesting and that’s all we could ask for, I suppose.

We ate lunch at the ABC Commissary – again, we ended up buying two plates and all of us shared it. (I mentioned the food was insanely expensive, right? Just checking).

By this time, Kevin was feeling the effects of not eating very much and he was starting to get snappy. (He will deny it, but I’ve known the man for 24 years and trust me when I say, he was snappy and on edge). This is the biggest reason vacations stress me out – the food situation. We should have just broke down and bought another $9.00 plate of something, but Kevin wouldn’t hear of it. Needless to say, by the time lunch was over, I was about over Disney World entirely. I know it’s kind of stupid to base so much of my opinion on their food prices, but good grief, people, I just really felt like we were being ripped off, big time.

After lunch, we checked out the Extreme Stunt Show. I knew Kevin really wanted to watch it, but they only ran two shows and we had missed the first one. The second one was at 4:30 and we all agreed that we would leave the park after the show was over.

We were tired, the park was smaller than Epcot, therefore more condensed and claustrophobic feeling and we were all just exhausted, quite frankly. We had had enough of all things Disney, I’m afraid.


We cashed in our FastPasses (well, we cashed in one, the other one we had had been stamped “invalid” for some reason, but the guy was kind enough to let us both go in anyway), and rode the Rock ‘N’ Roller coaster.


I had no idea it was an inside roller coaster and completely in the dark. One of the reasons I can even ride a roller coaster in the first place is because I can see where I’m going so I can anticipate which direction we’re going to turn or go upside down. Since it was pitch black, I had no idea what was happening. Taking off was pretty spectacular – going from zero to 60 in a few seconds was pretty thrilling. Kevin said he knew, though, the moment I started feeling sick because I suddenly stopped screaming.

I was afraid if I opened my mouth something other than a scream would come out. HA!

It was fun though and I’m glad we got to ride it. The boys didn’t ride, of course, (wimps), and waited for us outside. Kevin wanted to ride it again, but I just didn’t think I could stomach another round. I wish I didn’t get so sick like that, but … I do so … there you go.

After getting off that ride, we headed to the Indiana Jones show.


We REALLY enjoyed that show. It started out with the ball rolling after Indiana Jones scene before the “director” yelled CUT. The entire stage then parted to make way for another scene from the movie, the city scene where the bad guys do all sorts of kung-fu moves and Harrison Ford pulls out his gun and simply shoots the guy.

HAHA! I love that scene.

After the “director” yells CUT for that scene, that too rolls away to reveal a desert scene complete with an airplane.


This would be the scene where Indiana Jones fights that big huge dude and knocks him into the airplane propeller before everything explodes.


The heat off the fires were so intense we could feel them in the stands – it was that hot.

That show was a lot fun. By the time we got out of that show, it was time to go watch the Extreme Stunt Show.

The car stunts were truly impressive. After they ran a few chase scenes, the “director” would then explain a few tricks of the trade.

For example, there was one scene where our hero, being chased by several black, bad-guy, cars, drove backward the entire time. We were very impressed, until we saw that the stunt driver was in a car MADE to look like it was driving backwards – the windshield was actually the back window. Still though, it was impressive to watch them narrowly miss each other.

They did a few scenes with motorcycles, too. And jet skies. It was a great show.

After that was over, they then did a cute little skit with Lightening McQueen from the movie “Cars”.


He too had to chase the bad guy, identified by the big bomb strapped to its roof. HA!


It was a great show and we were really glad we stuck around to watch it.

But after it was over, we were done. All we wanted to do was head back to the hotel, have A LITTLE *ahem* bite to eat and turn in early.

I’m embarrassed to say, we never took advantage of the pools. We had gone back to the hotel with the intention of going swimming, but by the time we finished eating, none of us had the energy to attempt it. (In fact, we all took swim suits but none of us ever put them on. I know, we’re so boring).

But we needed our energy, because the FIRST part of our vacation was over – we still had the SECOND part to look forward to: the cruise.