When to and when to not take your big camera in Disney World

11:41 PM
 For anyone who has been to Disney World you know what a massive undertaking it is to see and conquer all 4 parks...Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. I heard that the the average person will likely walk 6-7 miles a DAY when visiting the parks. Which I completely believe because after 6 days of hopping from park to park my feet literally felt like they were broken.

Obviously the less baggage you have to carry around while walking through the Disney parks, the better. So here are my suggestions of when to bring your "big camera":

1-Definetely have it out as you arrive. It's so fun to capture that excitement and thrill as you and your family get your first taste of Disney. For example:

Here is a picture I took on the bus as we were just entering the most magical place on earth.

My father-in-law was checking in at our hotel.

My Father-in-law walking with Lyndon (my son) and Adam (my nephew) to the room.

2- The next place you HAVE to take your good camera is to Magic Kingdom. This is where you will be able to get all those "classic" Disney shots like these:
The entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

Walking down main street with the castle in the background.


Your kids admiring the castle (perhaps many for the first time, like Maddie is).

The iconic "It's a Small World" ride.

Another Disney icon...the teacups!

And of course, the classic shots in front of the castle during the day.

I don't normally ask others to take a picture of our family (no reason, I just don't) but you really have to here. And actually the woman who offered to take our picture happened to be a photographer herself. Although, she looked really bugged that I had a "fixed lens" on my camera. Haha, maybe she should read my book to find out why I love fixed lenses so much, huh? :)

This shot was actually taken by my sister-on-law who didn't once grumble about the fixed lens. Thank you, Rachel.

You simply can't leave out Cinderella's castle at night.
(this shot was taken just as you are leaving Tomorrow Land)

 Another view of the castle this time taken from Main street as we were leaving.

Same picture as above only in black and white.

And here is a picture of what it looked like down Main street as we were leaving.

3- If you're up to bringing your good camera along another day, I would suggest to take it to Disney's Hollywood Studios. This park used to be mostly for teenagers and adults (Tower of Terror, Rockin' Roller Coaster etc.) But they have brought in a lot of kid friendly rides and attractions over the last several years including, Toy Story Mania (see picture below), Beauty and the Beast--live on stage, Playhouse Disney characters (see picture below), Muppet's 3-D, "Honey, I shrunk the kids" Movie set adventure (which we didn't get to but would probably be a good place for pictures), and the big show at the end of the night, "Fantasmic" (see pictures below).

 Waiting in line for the "Toy Story Mania" ride.
(btw, I had the highest score in my car! ...I have to gloat now and again.)

Handy Manny!
(Maddie and Lyndon don't watch Handy Manny anymore but they still know who he is!)


4- And last but night least try and capture at least one photo of the "after". Here is Maddie in the airport on the way home. We were all so exhausted, but it was all so worth it!

For me it wasn't really worth packing my slr around animal kingdom (which I did only because we were heading to Hollywood Studios right after) or Epcot. Although some would argue that there are TONS of photo opps in Epcot as you walk around the loop of all the different countries and I agree but my kids were more interested in the Innovations buildings, the ride Soarin' (which is AWESOME) and talking to Crush the Turtle. All of which I felt like just a normal phone camera or small point and shoot would work to capture those memories.

Any questions or tips for other bloggers heading to Disney?


angelq said...

Info on your nighttime pics and on the It's a Small World ride, please.

Valerie@Occasionally Crafty said...

I'm going to Disneyland next week and was wondering if I should pack along my "nice" camera. Weren't you worried about it going on rides and stuff? Did you carry it in a separate camera bag or with all your other stuff? Sorry for all the questions- I'm curious.

Alice said...

How did you get such good pictures at Fantasmic? I had such bad luck. Most places I did pretty good.

Katie Evans Photography said...

HI Angelique! Okay, here's the info on my nighttime pics: 30mm lens, ISO 500, f/2.0, 1/30th sec. The reason I didn't boost my ISO way up was because I wanted to see a lot of the detail in the castle and not have the pic look too grainy. The shutter speed was quite slow at 1/30th but I just held VERY still (held my breath) and took the picture.

Info on It's a small world pics:
30mm lens, ISO 3200, f/1.4, shutter speed ranging from 1/60th-1/100th.

No flash on any of the pics.

Katie Evans Photography said...

Hi Valerie!

Yay, I'm excited for you to go to DL!! Should you bring your nice camera? To me it was a MUST. I felt like I couldn't sufficiently capture the vacation by using a point and shoot or my camera phone. Is it a risk to tote it along? Perhaps, but the pros outweighed the cons, for me.

We didn't push around a stroller, which would have been SO NICE when it comes to toting around the camera so I put my camera in a cloth bag and put it in my backpack. You might even wrap it in a jacket or something as you will most likely be using one at night. I didn't separate the camera from all of our other stuff. I threw the autograph book, map, sunglasses, mickey ears, granola bars...everything in the bag along with the camera. I tried to keep anything liquid out of the bag...just in case.

When it came to the rides, I just put the backpack down at my feet. There wasn't one ride that didn't easily accommodate my backpack. (Even Tower of Terror and Rockin' Roller Coaster)

My camera came out great, no problems. :)

Katie Evans Photography said...

Hi Alice!

When we were at Fantasmic I basically just got my camera on the correct settings when the big boat first came out and so when it finally got close to us I didn't worry about the settings and clicked away! (Honestly some if it was just dumb luck!)

Our Wired Lives said...

very cool list. I always wonder if it's worth it to lug around the big ol dslr or just deal with a point and shoot. This is nice to think about.

Jodi @ Make Three blog said...

I'm catching up on my favorite blogs and I'm just seeing your post for the first time now. As someone who just got her first DSLR over the summer, I was thinking "The next time we go to Disney, should I take my DSLR or is it going to be a pain or hassle with some of the rides?"

Did having a DSLR opposed to a point and shoot a pain? Did you have to check your camera anywhere or rent a locker to store your camera before getting on certain rides?

Katie Evans Photography said...

Hi Jodi!

Congrats on getting your dslr this summer! Have you loved it?

As far as taking the camera along to Disney...

what it a hassle? yes, a little bit but the improved pictures I got as opposed to only using a point and shoot was worth the hassle to me. I didn't take it every day to every park. I just wanted those "Classic" Disney pics so I pretty much jsut brought it along to the Magic Kingdom.

Did I put it in a locker? Nope, I carried it in a backpack and took it on all of the rides! There's really not many rides that are too wild and crazy that you wouldn't be able to put your bag between your feet or in a mesh bag on the ride.

I hope this helps!!


Jodi @ Make Three blog said...

I looooove having a dslr. I still have a lot to learn but I love the photos I've been taking.

Thanks for getting back to me! We have a while before we go back to Disney but this was very helpful. Thank you!

Jodi @ Make Three blog said...

Hi Katie! It's Jodi again from Make Three. Unexpectedly I'm actually going to Orlando with my 12 month old son on Thursday and we will be doing one day in Disney. Any tips on getting through the airport with your camera? I bought myself a nice camera bag that also looks like a purse from Jo Totes. I plan on having it double as my camera bag AND purse. But what about security scanning? Thank you so much in advance!

izza said...

You'll have more of these beautiful pictures at Disney Garden Festival, which is held annually.

JULIE said...

I just found your blog though pinterest and totally LOL when I read about the fixed lense. I am a photographer also and I only used fixed. When we went to Disney I used my kit lense the first day because I didn't know what to expect and the rest of our trip I used my 50mm 1.4

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