We probably all have a straight-on, “classic” photo of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World like the above one. This is where two PhotoPass photographers are normally stationed, and they often have a line, so it’s safe to say that this is a popular photo spot. In fact, Cinderella Castle is commonly cited as the most photographed thing on earth (although Yahoo disagrees). While it’s virtually impossible to get a “unique” photo of Cinderella Castle, there are some places you can go to get interesting views of Cinderella Castle that are less ordinary than the normal straight-on Cinderella Castle photo.
Here are a few of my suggestions for interesting ways to photograph Cinderella Castle that not everyone goes for. Think of these as my online equivalent of the Kodak Photo Spots that are placed throughout the parks. The only difference is that this blog is not yet bankrupt! These locations are presented as a “tour” of the Magic Kingdom, and not by ranking. Although #1 is my #1 spot.
#1 – Liberty Square Bridge – As you walk from Main Street to Liberty Square, you’re confronted with what is quite possibly the best view of Cinderella Castle in the park (so good that Kodak has made it a photo spot!). This spot is fairly well known, but it’s so good that it doesn’t matter. Not only do you get Cinderella Castle here, but you get the moat and some trees to make it look almost as if it’s a castle in a forest. Bonus spot: turn to the left after you get off the bridge for a view like this–great for parades!)
#2 – Path Between Liberty Square & Fantasyland – This spot is not as well known. Once you’re off the bridge in Location #1, turn to the right by the Sleepy Hollow seating area and follow this path. You’ll find various breaks in the trees here–grab some photos of Cinderella Castle through those breaks. Due to the intense foliage and the angle here, these photos will not be your best photos purely of Cinderella Castle, but this is an interesting vantage and it gives you the opportunity to view the Castle as if peeking through the woods. Definitely more like a forest and less like a theme park!
#3 – Back of Cinderella Castle – Once you get to Fantasyland, you’ll be directly behind Cinderella Castle and have this great view. Fantasyland is probably the busiest land in Walt Disney World, yet it seems that there are very few images of the back of the Castle relative to how many there are of the front. Personally, I find the back to be prettier, so this is surprising. I guess it’s because people are always in a rush to get to Peter Pan’s Flight or Enchanted Tales with Belle once they’re in Fantasyland. Can’t say I blame anyone for that. Bonus spot: move tight to La Fontaine de Cendrillon and grab a photo like this with Cinderella and her Castle in the frame!
#4 – Frontierland Walkway – This is like two tips for the price (free?) of one! Not only is this walkway along the Rivers of America a great spot for photographing Cinderella Castle in a relatively unique way, but it’s one of my all-time favorite spots for a nighttime stroll in the Magic Kingdom. It’s usually tranquil, and the detail and texture of the experience just can’t be beat! This is our last stop in this part of the park, so let’s head back through the Hub…
#5 – Directly Under It – I’m a huge fan of ultra wide angle lenses, and I love getting close to the Castle and using my wide angle lens to introduce a little distortion and make it look domineering (sort of like how a small child might see it up close). Even if you don’t have a wide angle lens, you can still get close and capture an interesting angle of the top half Cinderella Castle. It looks especially pretty like this with the Cinderella Castle Dreamlights on it at Christmas!
#6 – From the TTA – Next we cross the hub and head for Tomorrowland. One of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World happens to offer one of my favorite views of Cinderella Castle–but you have to be quick! Near the beginning of the ride, the vehicle will be heading towards the entrance to Tomorrowland before turning and heading into a show scene (where the Progress City model is located). Before it turns, you’ll have a couple of seconds to photograph the Castle with the Swan Boat Landing in the foreground. This is a really tough shot to get. Later, towards the end of the ride, the ride vehicle will be on a straight-away (on the exact other side of the Avenue of the Planets, above the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor) before turning and heading deeper into Tomorrowland. This is your best opportunity for a photo, although various support beams will block your view here and there. Make sure you’re seated on the left side of the ride vehicle for these shots.
#7 – Tomorrowland Terrace – Leaving Tomorrowland, take the pathway to the Tomorrowland Terrace to get to the front of the park. In this seating area, where the Wishes Dessert Party is held, you have a great view of Cinderella Castle with the Sea Serpent Topiary in the foreground. Ironically, while this is a great view during the day, it’s not a very good place to photograph the fireworks. (Check out this blog post for a map of the best places to photograph the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.)
#8 – Main Street, USA Train Station – Your last stop inside the park is the Main Street, USA Train Station. During the day, this is a great spot to capture the liveliness of the Magic Kingdom without having individual tourists prominent in your photo. At night, it’s a great location to capture the beauty of Main Street and Cinderella Castle. It also is a great place to photograph the Main Street Electrical Parade, but not Wishes.
#9 – Disney’s Contemporary Resort* – The asterisk here is because the ideal spot is at the Top of the World Lounge, which is actually at Bay Lake Tower. However, only guests staying there have access, so it’s not the best tip in practical terms. However, for almost as good of a view, head to Disney’s Contemporary Resort right where the bridge connecting the main hotel to Bay Lake Tower is located. Instead of going to the bridge, head out to the outside staircase and grab some shots from there. (Another alternative is the viewing area from California Grill.)
#10 – Ticket & Transportation Center – You’re going to need a zoom lens for this, but the Transportation & Center Center offers a great, head-on view of Cinderella Castle and the Main Street, USA Train Station. Time things right and you might be able to capture a Ferry or Monorail (or both!) in your frame, too!
That’s all of our stops on the tour…for now!
As you can see, there are countless ways to photograph Cinderella Castle to differentiate your shots from the standard, straight-on view of Cinderella Castle from the Partners statue. It’s a good thing I limited this list at 10 (well, plus a few bonus spots), because I probably could have rambled on and on with alternate locations.