Sahlin Studio | Digital Scrapbooking Designs

Taking Pictures of Disney Icons: Get More than the Obvious

Disney is such a fun place to take pictures… there are so many things to capture from attractions, buildings, the people or “cast-members”, to even the small details. But above all, anyone that spends a day at Disney will probably have their pictures taken in front of the most famous icons. The most obvious things to photograph are the park icons: The Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and other Disney parks; Spaceship Earth in Epcot; The Sorcerers Hat in Disney’s Hollywood Studios; The Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom. I’m sure that if you’ve spent a day at Disney, you probably have pictures of your family by these icons.

TIP #1 | Take MANY Pictures in Front of the Icons – For example: The moment after entering the Magic Kingdom, you will see a lot of Photopass Photographers (or Disney photographers) along Main Street, ready to take pictures of you in front of the castle. This is a great place to stop for a few pictures. But be sure you don’t just take the typical family picture in front of the icon. This seems obvious, but a friend of mine once complained that the one picture she got in front of the castle didn’t come out well. (Plus, the more people in the group, the harder it is for everyone to look perfect in a shot.) It’s always better to have a lot of pictures to choose from, than having one that didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Try to get several different perspectives of the castle. Walk all around the icon and look for a less obvious angles. Perhaps one of these will inspire a better layout than just one picture from the front of the castle; also your pictures, and layouts, will be more interesting.

TIP #2 | PHOTO SPOTS – There are several paths around the castle where you can see the side of the castle. Not only are you getting less obvious pictures, but these spots usually won’t have as many people in the picture. Or another example would be to try the Rose Garden in the Magic Kingdom. At the Animal Kingdom, go see “It’s Tough To Be a Bug.” The 3D movie is inside the Tree of Life, so while in line and after the show, you can get close-up pictures of the carvings on the Tree. If you want a picture in front of the icon with virtually no one else in the background, get an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) at a restaurant inside the park for breakfast before the park opens. Cinderella’s Royal Table or Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom, Tusker House in Animal Kingdom, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot (Norway), Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios and Minnie & Friends in Disneyland all offer such reservations. This is much easier than “Photoshopping” people or strollers out of the background of your pictures!

Here are a few layouts that use these tips for some great pictures of Disney icons:

Using Innovation

Using After Dark

Using So This Is Love

Give it a try. And if you have the perfect photo-taking spot at a Disney park, please comment below and I’ll share it as well!


  • That last shot you got of the castle is simply STUNNING! Love it! Thanks for the tips! The last time I was at Disneyland I didn’t take any pictures of any icons. I completely regret it and this next time I am doing exactly this!!!!! 🙂

    • Bummer!! I hate when this happens. On our last trip, our main Magic Kingdom shot didn’t turn out at all. Blech. I got home and was pretty disappointed. So I thought these would be great tips.

  • Love these tips! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Just FYI The photo pass people are usually willing to take pictures for you with YOUR camera if they are not swamped. This will enable you to be in the picture…and they tend to be located in prime picture spots.

  • Since I spend at least 40 hours a week at Epcot, that first layout is my favorite. I love the photo of Spaceship Earth with Remi right up front, but the abstract of those triangular tiles that cover the icon is my absolute favorite.

  • Incredible photos and layouts! My tips are to get to the park early or stay super late to get photos of the icons with as few as people as possible. Secondly, try to get them at various times of the day. The castle looks different first thing in the morning, at noon, then at dusk and at night. It gives it a different feel. Oh and another one, try to get photos from the rides themselves (Expedition Everest, Astro Orbitor, Splash Mountain, and the monorail come to mind).

  • I love your ideas, they have inspired me for my next trip out to the parks. I have so many photos of the Icons that you have inspired me to look for the less obvious photo spots.

  • DragonsLady (aka Francine) says:

    I have to agree that the last shot of the Castle is amazing. Disney should pay you for that picture.

  • The backgrounds of your photos can be really important later. I have some FABULOUS photos of myself at 9 on the tea cups at WDW before there was a roof. You could see the Sky Buckets in the background. These parks change all the time, and sometimes those changes can be really interesting to future generations.