In this guide, we’ll examine My Universal Photos (formally known as Universal Photo Connect prior to July 11, 2016) in detail, and we’ll provide you with all the information about ride photos available throughout Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay.
We’d like to kindly advise you upfront that there is a lot of information in this guide, so don’t try to digest all of it on your first read-through. But do take the time to review all the details and advice we offer before your trip, because this program can be confusing to guests and Universal team members alike.
First, we will discuss the My Universal Photos service, and then we will discuss specifics about ride photos. Let’s get started!
My Universal Photos (formally Universal Photo Connect)
My Universal Photos is Universal Orlando’s program that enables guests to collect, view, and share photos, and also create one-of-a-kind custom memorabilia.
When you enter Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure, you will be greeted by a photographer who will offer to take your party’s photo. As with Disney’s PhotoPass, the photographer will take a series of pictures and hand you a My Universal Photos Card with a QR code. You may use the same My Universal Photos Card throughout your day at Universal Orlando – at both theme parks and on all participating rides – but you do need to get a new card each day of your visit (unless you purchase a My Universal Photos Package, as we will explain further down the page).
Unlike Disney’s PhotoPass, with My Universal Photos your pictures are not automatically available online. Instead, you are given the option to purchase individual prints or purchase a My Universal Photos photo package, which will give you online access to digital proofs of your images.
For guests already on-site, individual prints or the Photo Package may be purchased at the standalone photo stores or ride photo locations. The standalone stores, better known as the My Universal Photos Stores, are located just inside the turnstiles at each of the theme parks. The shop at Universal Studios Florida is pictured above, and here is the location at Islands of Adventure:
When you step inside, a team member will ask for your My Universal Photos Card. If you happen to have more than one card, they will be able to merge them. It isn’t necessary to stop at the My Universal Photos counter immediately after your first photo is shot because it can take up to two hours for your photos to become available in the system. However, you must – repeat, you must – view your photos inside either park before the end of the day – My Universal Photos cards are good for the same day only (again, unless you purchased a Photo Package).
The only way to have the ability to view your photos online is to purchase a Photo Package. The package can cover multiple days and includes unlimited access to digital proofs of all of your in-park and ride photos.
TapTu Snap locations can be found on your right as you walk into the park, in front of Kohola Reef Restaurant, near Honu ika Moana, near Ohyah and Ohno.
Both of Volcano Bay’s stores (Waturi Marketplace and Krakatoa Katy’s) have a photo stand where guests can scan their bracelets and then view or purchase whatever photos they have from their day’s adventure. These entries also include ride photos, but please note that only a certain number of the water park’s attractions offer such photographic mementos.
Purchasing a My Universal Photos Photo Package
The Photo Package currently offered at the parks can be bought at the My Universal Photos Stores or at participating rides. It is $99.99 plus tax for three consecutive days, and it includes:
- Unlimited access to digital copies of all your in-park and ride photos
- My Universal Photos lanyard and card
- One 4×6 and one 5×7 photo or one 8×10 photo print at the time of purchase or redemption
- Smartphone connectivity with the Amazing Pictures app – Android or iOS
- Exclusive pricing on park photo prints – as low as $2.00 per print
- ** These inclusions are always subject to change
What does “unlimited access” mean? This means that once you have included a photo as part of your collection during the period for which your package is active, you will be able to access that photo and view/download it at any time in the future using the My Universal Photos website (which we’ll discuss in a bit) or the mobile app. In this sense, once your photos are part of your account, your access to them never expires.
What if there are 10 people in my family. Do we just need one package? When you purchase and activate your My Universal Photos Package, you receive two cards for that package. Using these two cards, you can add as many photos as you’d like to your account. So, if you have 10 people in your family, as long as you’re happy collecting photos in one account using two cards, you’re set.
PRE-PURCHASE OFFER: currently, Universal guests can pre-purchase the three-day Digital Package at this special website address. What’s more, the online price is at least $10 less than the in-park price. Unfortunately, the website doesn’t give users any details about how long purchases are valid for, but we’ve been told by My Universal Photos reps that they are good indefinitely (meaning the voucher you purchase today should be redeemable even if you don’t travel for six months or more).
1-DAY AND 3-DAY EXTENSIONS: although not widely advertised, guests on-site may purchase package extensions – one day for $24.95 or three days for $39.95.
1-DAY AND 14-DAY PACKAGES – ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: My Universal Photos has now made available an one-day and 14-day version of the photo packages, but – and this is a big “but” – the one-day and 14-day options are only available online as a pre-order, not in the parks. It is $69.99 for one day and $139.99 for 14 days. To check out pricing and place your order, visit the pre-sale site.
ANNUAL PASSHOLDERS: you can also purchase a My Universal Photos Package in-park for $149.95, plus tax, but it is good all year. Please note that this price nearly doubled in August 2014 to $99.95 and then to $139.99 in 2015, but it still may be a good value for some. Annual passholders can also use the pre-sale site and save $10.
PRINTS-ONLY VERSION: discontinued.
My Universal Photos online
For guests who are using a My Universal Photos Package, the online portion of the My Universal Photos service is fairly straightforward – all you have to do is visit MyUniversalPhotos.com. The URL is also found on the back of your My Universal Photos Card, and you will receive an email at the address you provide when you purchase the My Universal Photos Package in the park.
Once you register on the site with your email address, you can access your photos by entering the code on the back of your My Universal Photos Card. From that point on, any photos added to your card will go directly into your online account. That being said, we recommend that you stop by a My Universal Photos Store on your way out of the park each day you’re visiting; you just want to make sure all of your photos have been properly edited and placed in your account.
In addition to viewing and downloading standard prints, the Photo Package also allows you to order a large variety of products from the website when you return home.
Finally, there is an app available for iPhone and Android that will allow you to view and share your photos using your mobile phone. Keep in mind that full use of the app requires that you already have your My Universal Photos Card online account set up, which you need to do on the desktop website.
My Universal Photos – important reminders
Before we discuss ride photos at Universal Orlando, let’s review several key points to consider when working with the My Universal Photos service:
1. There are less photographers available around the Universal Orlando theme parks than you may have seen at Walt Disney World. You usually will find a Universal photographer at the front of each park and at the major character meet-and-greets (like Transformers, the Simpsons, and Shrek)…
But photographers are not at every meet-and-greet, and they usually are not spread around the park in scenic locations like Disney is well known for doing. So, if you want lots of photos to remember your trip by, you definitely need to bring your own camera. Think of the My Universal Photos service as a supplement to the pictures you’ll be taking and as a way to get ride photos.
2. If you want to be able to view your photos online, you must purchase a My Universal Photos Package. In the old system, purchasing any photo print would make all of your photos available online. This is no longer the case.
3. Only the three-day and annual passholder My Universal Photos Packages are offered on-site at Universal Orlando. If you’re interested in the one-day or 14-day option, you must pre-purchase the package online.
4. Once you purchase and activate your My Universal Photos Package, all photos added to your My Universal Photos Card should be automatically uploaded to your online account. Nevertheless, we still recommend that you stop by a store at the end of each day you’re visiting just to make sure everything is where you want it to be.
5. If you don’t purchase the My Universal Photos Package, you must view and purchase prints the same day your photos are taken. Without the My Universal Photos Package, any photos you have on your temporary My Universal Photos Card are forfeited at day’s end.
That’s a lot of stuff to remember, isn’t it? Don’t worry – this guide isn’t going anywhere. Just be sure to bookmark it and come back once or twice more before your trip to review the details.
Ride photos at Universal Orlando’s theme parks
On-ride photos are available at these participating attractions
Universal Studios Florida:
Islands of Adventure:
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
- Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
- Jurassic Park: River Adventure
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
This list is a work in progress as Universal continues to keep working Volcano Bay’s kinks out.
In addition, permanent photo ops (not on the ride, but in or near the ride building) are available at:
- E.T. Adventure (USF)
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (USF)
- Transformers: The Ride – 3D (USF)
- Shrek 4D (USF)
- The Simpsons Ride (USF)
- Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem (USF)
- Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (IOA)
- High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride (IOA)
For ride photos and the permanent photo ops, you will get your photo snapped and then be able to view it on a monitor such as the ones you see here for Men in Black: Alien Attack:
If you decide you’d like to capture the moment forever, proceed to the photo desk located near the monitors. There, you have three options:
- If you are using a My Universal Photos Package, present your Photo Card, and individual ride photos can be added to your account.
- If you are not using a My Universal Photos Package, you can present your temporary Photo Card (or get a new one) and have individual ride photos added. Just remember that, without a My Universal Photos Package, you must purchase prints at a My Universal Photos Store by the end of the day. (Please note the exception for Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts, which we’ll explain in a moment.)
- The final option is simply to purchase prints right there at the ride-photo counter. For example, at MIB, the most economical option for a print is a single 5×7 photo, which is available by itself for $21.95 or with a basic frame for $24.95. More elaborate printed souvenirs are also available.
Now, let’s discuss a few exceptions to what we’ve explained about Universal Orlando’s ride photos…
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (USF) works a little differently. For Rockit, Universal really wants you to buy a video of your ride, so its offerings focus on the video. Here is what’s available and the prices (click the image to view it full-screen):
As you see in the photo above, Rockit also has kiosks where riders can view their media, select an option, and make a purchase. At most other attractions, this must be done at a central photo desk.
If you decide to purchase your Rip Ride Rockit music video, you’ll get a DVD with a personalized version of what you see here:
My Universal Photos: ride photos taken at Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit can be added to a Photo Card, and they can also be included in the My Universal Photos Package. However, videos must be purchased separately.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Because Escape from Gringotts is a 3D ride, requiring its riders to wear goggles, the attraction doesn’t offer an in-ride photo. Instead, there is a photo op in the main queue, where you can get a family photo and separate security badge.
Please note that the photo op is only accessible via the main queue, not the single-rider or Express Pass queue. If you want to make a purchase, this is done after you unload from the ride.
Prints are $19.95 for the family 8×9 photo and, if you buy the family photo, an additional $19.95 for the security badge.
Printing Escape from Gringotts photos: we know this is confusing, but here is our best attempt to explain it. Because of licensing, the only place you can have Escape from Gringotts ride photos printed on-site at Universal is at the actual Escape from Gringotts attraction. This is different than every other non-Potter ride on-site, whose ride photos you can have printed at the attraction or at the My Universal Photos stores as you leave the park. So if, for any reason, you want an Escape from Gringotts ride photo printed, remember that any Gringotts photo printed on-site must happen at the attraction.
My Universal Photos: if you are using a My Universal Photos Package, the good news is that Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts photos can be added to your online account. In addition, guests with a Photo Package can purchase the security badge without having to print the family 8×9 print first. The bad news is that you cannot redeem your My Universal Photos Package free prints at this attraction.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Due to its popularity and licensing agreements, Universal charges a premium for ride photos at Forbidden Journey. The most economical option is a single 8×10 for $29.95 or a single 8×10 plus two 5x7s for $34.95. The Forbidden Journey photos look like this:
As with the other rides, more elaborate photo collections are available if you still have money left over from buying Harry Potter souvenirs!
Printing Forbidden Journey ride photos: if you read the section above covering Escape from Gringotts, this will look familiar. Because of licensing, the only place you can have Forbidden Journey ride photos printed on-site at Universal is at the actual Forbidden Journey attraction. This is different than every other non-Potter ride on-site, whose ride photos you can have printed at the attraction or at the My Universal Photos stores as you leave the park. So if, for any reason, you want a Forbidden Journey ride photo printed, remember that any Forbidden Journey photo printed on-site must happen at Forbidden Journey.
My Universal Photos: if you are using a My Universal Photos Package, the good news is that Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride photos can now be added to your online account. What’s more, you can redeem your My Universal Photos Package free prints at this attraction.
Transformers and Spider-Man
Because of their popularity, guests often ask about these two rides. Here’s what you need to know.
Transformers: again, there is no on-ride photo opportunity here. Instead, Universal offers a very elaborate meet-and-greet opportunity for guests to interact and have their photos taken with the Transformers characters (alternating between Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron). If you do get your photo taken, those images can be purchased at the nearby My Universal Photos booth.
Keep in mind that, like all character photo opportunities, these ones can also be added to your temporary Photo Card or My Universal Photos Package for safe keeping.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: there are three photo opportunities associated with this attraction, one of which happens on the ride, but all of which you may be interested in. The first one is actually offered inside the regular queue for the ride, where you can have a photo taken in the Daily Bugle newsroom.
There is a My Universal Photos kiosk in the Spider-Man gift shop to make your purchase or save to your Photo Card (shown above). Keep in mind that, if you use the Express or single-rider queue, you do not pass by the Daily Bugle photo op, so you’ll have to make a special trip through the regular queue if you really want this photo.
There is an on-ride photo taken, which is also available to be purchased at the aforementioned kiosk.
The final Spider-Man photo opportunity is a traditional meet-and-greet, which happens in the building across the street from the Spider-Man attraction. Information about the exact location and character times can be found in the in-park guide map.
How to get a personalized My Universal Photos ID card
Personalized Photo Cards may be created and purchased for around $5.00 plus tax at either Men in Black: Alien Attack (USF) or Jurassic Park: River Adventure (IOA). If you like this idea, your personalized Photo Card will replace your generic card. It is worth noting that any photo currently on your account can be used for the personalization. Here is an example from one of our fans who got his card at River Adventure but used a photo shot earlier:
Please note that the personalized Photo Card used to be included in the My Universal Photos Package, but that is no longer the case. If you’d like a personalized Photo Card, you’ll have to purchase it separately.
- 20 ideas for free or inexpensive entertainment around Orlando
- Character Meet and Greets at Universal Orlando – complete guide
- Child Swap at Universal Orlando’s thrill rides
- Internet Access at Universal Orlando – complete guide
- Lockers at Universal Orlando – a complete, up-to-date guide
- Men in Black: Alien Attack – How to max out your score at 999,999
- My Universal Photos & ride photos at Universal Orlando – complete guide
- Phone Charging at Universal Orlando – complete guide
- Refillable cups, popcorn buckets, and Coke Freestyle at Universal Orlando – complete insider’s guide
- Shopping and merchandise at Universal Orlando – complete, up-to-date guide
- Visiting Universal Studios Florida with Kids – complete, up-to-date guide
- Visiting Universal’s Islands of Adventure with kids – a complete, up-to-date guide