While there has not been an official announcement from runDisney, it seems as though Disney’s PhotoPass photographers will be replacing MarathonFoto photographers during runDisney events beginning next month at the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side.
Personally, I see this as a welcome change to the current process. Our annual pass now includes all PhotoPass photos, so I am very excited to also get race photos included with that. We have never purchased any race photos, or PhotoPass photos for that matter, mainly because of the added cost. The photos were never great quality, so purchasing them never seemed quite worth it. Often during the races, especially for my husband, most of the photos are in the dark, and they never seem to look quite right. Because I’m much slower (LOL!), I will finish after the sun has come up, so at least my photos from the last mile or two and the finish line are better lit.
Currently, the cost to download all of your pics from MarathonFoto is $69.95 ($74.95 for enhanced images). Single images can be downloaded at $24.95 per image. For someone who has put a lot of time and effort into training and really wants those photos, that can be a lot of money when you add the registration fee for the race, and the cost of the trip overall. Not to mention if you are making a family vacation out of it, which many people do, you might already be purchasing Memory Maker for your park photos.
Memory Maker is priced at $149 if purchased more than 3 days before first use, otherwise it is $169. Just three months ago, Disney added a one day Memory Maker product for $59. This would make for an ideal purchase if you are primarily interested in race photos, plus you would receive park photos from the same day. That’s a deal if you are a runner that likes to get medal photos with characters after your race!
There’s no telling if Disney will create a special PhotoPass/Memory Maker race package, but with all the recent price hikes (tickets, dining plans, possible resort fees…), it wouldn’t surprise me. We will have to wait for the official announcement from Disney before we know exactly what the pricing will be.
As far as identifying runners, MarathonFoto identifies runners by bib number. While PhotoPass identifies guests by their Magic Band, I would expect Disney to begin using bib numbers with this transition. Too many guests stay off site and do not have Magic Bands, and the event would really need a common form of runner identification.
As I previously said, I like this change and think it will make our annual pass more valuable. A lot of runners are also annual pass holders, since it comes with a perk of being able to register for the races before the general public.
I look forward to finding out how all of this is going to work next month!