A Disney vacation is always a memorable experience, but a small piece of that overall experience is capturing memories through photos. For many, this is a huge part of their Disney parks vacation. Personally, I’ve always been a big proponent of doing whatever you can to distance yourself from a smartphone or other technology while in the parks in order to really enjoy every moment without experiencing things through a lens or screen. However, to be quite honest, I’m the biggest offender of my own rule, especially now that we’re capturing new information for the site as we tour the parks.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t really consider myself a photographer in any way. The level of detail and color a good photographer can portray through an image is far beyond my skill level. Thankfully, with the growth of technology, many of us can take decent photos to share with friends and family with simply a smartphone and a little patience. So, today we’re sharing a closer look at our top 5 photo opportunities that can really help capture memories from Walt Disney World (photos best viewed on desktop).
1. First and foremost, everyone who comes to Walt Disney World wants to take that classic Cinderella’s Castle picture. However, it has become increasingly difficult to share a photo that doesn’t have hundreds of guests filling in the background. Personally, I’ve found two remedies to this issue. One option is to try and make it until park closing time. As the crowds thin out, about 30 minutes after the park “closes” you’ll be able to claim a spot and set up a great family photo. Another option, and typically the one I resort to is to leave the family or friends out of the picture and find a spot either under one of the new light projection areas on the left or right side of the castle. Another great spot is right before entering the walkway through the castle itself. Right before you enter, look straight up and you’ll be surprised how interesting the photos can be. Then, when you return home, you’ll have a new perspective to share with friends from your vacation and avoid all those random people in the background of your classic castle photo.
2. Second, and perhaps my favorite opportunity, is to to take some time and explore the resorts. For example, pick a floor at the Contemporary resort and head all the way to the corners facing the Magic Kingdom. If you don’t already know, there is also a huge balcony that opens up from the Grand Canyon Concourse and views the Magic Kingdom. However, nearly every floor has a door out to a staircase area as well (just make sure it’s not an emergency exit and that it doesn’t lock when you walk out!). Each resort really has an outstanding view at some point throughout the grounds if you take just a few minutes to explore. No matter if it’s a family photo or simply an image to share, thinking a little outside of the box can make all the difference.
3. Shut down the parks! As mentioned above, if you’re patient and just hang out around the parks as the night slowly comes to a close, the parks really change into a strikingly unique environment. There’s no mass chaos of people running to get to their next fastpass selection, no tour groups chanting through the streets, and really no reason to be rushed. Sit back and relax or simply shop around Main Street for a few extra minutes at the end of the night and you’ll be surprised at what you can capture and share. For example, imagine a completely empty Tomorrowland or a view of Fantasyland with an empty carrousel and only a few cast members in site. It’s an experience that takes you back and reminds you of memories from past vacations in a way that is really hard to explain. Along the way, take a camera or simply a phone with you and the cast and security won’t bother you if you’re simply taking pictures. There’s really nothing quite like seeing a place that remains so crowded all the time slowly drain the crowds and prepare for a new day.
4. Fourth on our list is something that not everyone may agree with and that is character photos. Personally, I don’t care what age you are or why you’re touring the parks, always try and get a picture with at least one character. I know the lines can be long, but character interactions can be some of the most memorable experiences for guests of all ages. Face charters like Mary Poppins and many others can weave stories together and create experiences that can only really be appreciated when you experience it first hand. Capturing those memories isn’t always easy, but if you’re the one taking the pictures, always have your camera ready for those “unexpected” moments.
5. Last but not least, I recommend that you visit Animal Kingdom as the sun goes down. To be quite honest, I hadn’t really done this up until our last few vacations (partially because it was rarely open until sundown before Pandora), but it really is a unique experience and one that lends itself to outstanding photo opportunities for amateurs like myself as well as very skilled photographers. The park truly come alive at night in ways that you can’t really grasp during the day (as is the case with most of the parks). Dinoland takes on a completely different look and feel as the lights overhead start to glow and the true carnival style atmosphere debuts. Not to be outdone, Expedition Everest also lights up as the sun falls from the sky and really shifts the attractions entire look. Last but certainly not least, you have Pandora. There is truly nothing quite as spectacular in photos at Disney as Pandora during sunrises and sunsets. As the night progresses, the bioluminescent forest starts to transform and the whole place turns into a photo opportunity that is second to none.
There you have it! As I mentioned above, I don’t claim to be a photographer and each and every one of these pictures were simply taken on an iPhone 7. I have considered getting into it a little bit more to share here on the site, but nonetheless it simply goes to show that you can share so many memories with friends and family simply by observing some unique photo opportunities around you.
Above all else, we want you to share your favorite Disney photos with us! No matter if it’s a family picture, quick smartphone image, or an incredibly professional photo, we want to see your favorite photo opportunities at Walt Disney World. Share them with us in the comments on your favorite social media site (links to ours above) or tag us in your favorite photos!