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.)
(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?