Shutters, Disney Cruise Photography, Bad Value Disney Cruise, Photos Disney Cruise, Disney Cruise, diapersonaplane, diapers on a plane, creating family memories, family travel, travel with kids

Nothing on the Disney Cruise ship is as ludicrous as the thing they call Shutters. Shutters is the Disney cruise’s version of a photography gallery for all the guest photos taken on the ship. Yes, like at Walt Disney World you’ll find photographers poised and ready to take your pictures all around the ship, with all the characters, and doing all the fun things you love. But unlike at Walt Disney World, there is no set price of $169 for every photo of your entire trip. These are all individually priced, and the sticker shock might send you overboard.

Ranking: #stinkydiaper

Disney Cruise
Disney Magic and Disney Wonder
Deck 4

Shutters, Disney Cruise Photography, Bad Value Disney Cruise, Photos Disney Cruise, Disney Cruise, diapersonaplane, diapers on a plane, creating family memories, family travel, travel with kids
Shutters Photography on Disney Cruise

Disney is notorious for overcharging you for everything from entrance tickets to drinks, so this should come as no surprise. But the thing is, Shutters is outsourced. They aren’t Disney, and that irritates me to no end. You will find Disney castmembers that stand alongside them, and they will gladly take your family photos for you with your own camera, but you’ll also have to have a picture with the Shutters crew which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It works much the same way in the parks, but it still bothers me because it isn’t Disney.

Shutters photographers aren’t just poised around the ship taking your family photos with characters. In addition, they will place backgrounds strategically around the ship for pirate night, the captain’s meet and greet, formal night and more, for you to take more formal studio like pictures to capture all your memories aboard the cruise. However unlike with characters, in those instances, you cannot take your own photos. They can also be found at the port stops – especially on Castaway Cay.

The most absurd part? They have an actual studio on the ship that you can book for family portrait sessions. And, it’s only $500 for 30 minutes! 

Shutters, Disney Cruise Photography, Bad Value Disney Cruise, Photos Disney Cruise, Disney Cruise, diapersonaplane, diapers on a plane, creating family memories, family travel, travel with kids
Specializing in Black and White Photography Filters

At any time on the ship you can view your photos in the gallery on Deck 4. Each time you have your photo taken the Shutters photographer will scan your Key to the World card, other times the photographers will find you at dinner, or on the pool deck. Photos are based off of facial recognition in connection to your Key to the World card and you can find them all at the digital kiosks. From here, you can connect staterooms, and delete photos that are seriously offensive based off of poor facial recognition.

Inside the Shutters gallery is where you can view all your photos and create the package you want to buy. If you simply want to view your photos, there is no obligation to buy. Photos are sold individually, or as a photo book that include up to 10 pages. Prices range from $15 per photo, to $200 for a bulk package of 20 photos. There are also opportunities to win a rare photo or two if you play Bingo, or attend a DVC presentation. Should you decide this is something you want you must make the purchase before disembarking on the cruise. Shockingly, the studio is packed the last night of the cruise. 

Shutters, Disney Cruise Photography, Bad Value Disney Cruise, Photos Disney Cruise, Disney Cruise, diapersonaplane, diapers on a plane, creating family memories, family travel, travel with kids
Shutters Photo Area on the Disney Cruise Ship

If are keen on getting a Shutters package, you can receive a small discount by pre-purchasing your photos in advance on the Shutters website. Purchases must be made no later than 24 hours prior to the first night date of sailing at My Cruise Photos.


For Kids: We all love photos, but you’ve save a lot of money and take a lot more photos over several years if you just buy a nice camera yourself.

Shutters, Disney Cruise Photography, Bad Value Disney Cruise, Photos Disney Cruise, Disney Cruise, diapersonaplane, diapers on a plane, creating family memories, family travel, travel with kids
Photo Computer Kiosks to Review and Select Photos

We always buy the Disney World photo package, but we walk away with hundreds of photos! We just can’t stomach the cost of this extravagance. What are your thoughts on it?

Nap-Time Version: Run-down of the process of buying absurdly priced photos on a Disney cruise ship.

What else is there to do on a Disney Cruise that won’t cost you a fortune? Swimming is free, so are the Kids Clubs, and eating (thank goodness)!


  1. I’m so glad I found your article, but am sad you seem to have had a negative experience with Shutters onboard.
    While I assume your challenge is with the Company rather than the staff, I’d like to offer a few corrections to your information, which I am exeedingly happy you are sharing!

    Studio backdrops are placed in the lobby atrium area only, on all 4 ships, with the odd exception of a set up in Preludes. Many guests understand “all around the ship” as anywhere on any deck, which was frustrating for us all until we asked.
    While it’s not efficient for you to take your own photos at the backdrops (because the lines are so long on nights like formal and pirates), and the photographers themselves are not allowed to use your camera, it is not prohibited. On other cruise lines, no photos are permitted with characters or studios or in ports with your own camera, even though the Company is the same, it’s the cruise line themselves who male the rules.

    Unlike other cruise lines, Disney photographers are only permitted to shoot at port stops in some European ports, but not any other, with the exception of Castaway Cay, as you mentioned. For those of us who have cruised with Royal and the like, this too was confusing until we asked.

    With regard to the separate portrait studio you can book for 30min, the $550 fee is not for the session, as I understood in your article, but rather IF you would like to make a purchase after having actually seen the photos in a separate selection session. And thats the starting price. For those of us who do not want to pay hundreds for a sitting fee at home, in hopes of getting something good, this is not a bad thing. If the photographer is good and personable, you can get some gems to blow up at home, or, if thats within your budget, have some of them blown up and shipped to you along with having the digitals from the session. Truth be told, it’s obviously not for everyone.

    I would like to clarify the pool deck part, since so many guests assume the photographers are permanently roaming the ship. Shutters staff are on the pool deck only at sailaway (ship and port dependent) and character sets (mainly on Magic and Wonder). Depending on the port, they are sometimes around for sail in as well, like in San Francisco.

    Connecting staterooms is a huge thorn in our sides because the staff are limited to terms and conditions. Single families with children under 21yo in two rooms, they can be connected. Multiple families traveling in a group cannot. Kind of the equivalent of going for dinner as a group and expecting to pay for 4 people just because your there together. It’s a pain, but business is still business.
    It’s always best to go to the gallery on the first night and speak directly to the Shutters manager to see what your options are before spending your whole cruise with the wrong idea.

    The photobook that Shutters offers is 20pages standard and holds 34 photos. For $150, thats a deal. Also sold by stateroom, as with the other packages, if you’re not worried about framing your favorite 8×10, its a great memoir for every cruise.
    Having said that, the print and digital packages (which vary in quantities based on the length of the cruise) are only worth the money for the all inclusive IF you’re taking a whole bunch of photos, as with the PhotoPass. But, as with PhotoPass, if you don’t have that many that you’re in love with, buy a few for the crazy price. It’s a service, if you want the service, it is what it is.

    The Shutters gallery is always packed on the last night because human nature is to leave everything till the last minute, just in case. My friends and family check on a continuous bases for missing photos and facial recognition mistakes to avoid all that hassle on the last night, then make a simple pick up before debarking in the morning.
    Sure, sometimes theres a bit of a wait for collection, but, to get as upset as I see people on a regular bases makes me wonder how they are at the grocery store on pay day.
    If you’ve done your bit to check and follow up during the cruise, all should be good, as with any service offered.

    Purchasing or booking anything for the cruise closes 48 hours prior to sailing, and, because technology is what it is, anything booked (services or products) should be followed up on and confirmed on the first night of the cruise, or at the very least, during day two. It has happened a few of times that our package has not been registered, but with the confirmation email, Shutters has always honored our purchase.

    The new digital system on three out of the four ships has been a blessing, far fewer people in Shutters on the last night and much easier to resolve problems, obviously if you let the staff know as soon as you see a problem so that they have time to assist. They don’t know what’s wrong until you tell them, and they have a much harder time helping if you’re only checking your photos at 10pm on the last night, as I see many people doing.

    We have not had any (unresolved) issues since we started asking questions and doing research. The staff are helpful and friendly, and, unlike in the parks, it’s amazing to get to know them during the cruise so that you have a familiar friendly face to approach when you have challenges, people who have gotten to know you and your family, getting the Disney service we keep coming back for.

    I truly hope this helps your future cruises. They may not be Disney company, but it’s far better than sailing Carnival!

    Thank you again for taking the time to share all this, you’re helping so many new cruisers to make informed decisions and bookings!

    Kind regards,

  2. I have to agree. We purchased our photos a la carte and was a good thing because out of all the pictures that were taken, only 4 were good. The pictures taken during dinner all stunk. The lighting was terrible, the framing was bad and some were actually blurry. They are moving so fast from person to person that they really didn’t take any time to make them right.

    • I’m glad you got 4 good pictures! I guess that’s better than nothing! I’ve always found the servers and seatmates to be great about taking pictures with our own camera.

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