Scenes from Disney Parks: “Regular” Disney World

It’s time for more of my Disney photos in this installment of “Scenes from Disney Parks”! This time, we’re heading to Walt Disney World, with a set of new photos of the parks looking “normal.” I almost opted to dig into the archives and edit some new Christmas photos, but I know not everyone is excited for Christmas as I am, so I’ll spare you that…for at least another week! 😉

I’ve been photography at Walt Disney World has been a hobby of mine for 6 years now, and I’m still amazed at how I keep finding new subjects to photograph and new ways to compose familiar subjects. This is not meant to boast–I’ve been to plenty of non-Disney locations and found myself lacking any variety in my photos outside of the weather after only a handful of visits. It’s more a testament to how photogenic, thoughtfully designed, and inspirational the parks are in terms of photography.

Some people might roll their eyes and think another Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, etc., photo?!, but I feel like there’s an infinite number of ways to come up with interesting and unique photos of these oft-photographed subjects. The Disney theme parks really are a photographer’s playground, and taking good photos in the parks is sort of like shooting fish in a barrel. Not only is it great hobby, but I feel like it’s a great way to absorb and appreciate more of the detail in the parks (I know there were a lot of things I missed prior to getting serious about photography). So, if you’ve ever thought about taking up photography, and you’re a Disney fan, I’d highly encourage you to give it a try. Sorry for the random-ish odd thoughts there, but it was just something that struck me while going through photos from this particular trip, and I figured I’d share here…

As for these photos, after each photo I’ll share some technical stuff like which lens I used for the photo. All photos in this post were captured with my Nikon D810 DSLR—check out my full Nikon D810 Review for more details about the camera. I also have more sample photos from the D810 here. You can click on each photo to view it larger in my gallery and to see EXIF data on it. Hopefully other photographers find this useful.

If you’re a casual reader not interested in photo jargon, hopefully you still enjoy this new set of photos from Walt Disney World!

This is one of my favorite photos from the trip. For a while, I’ve been trying to capture a new photo that effectively conveyed the solitude of the Hub when the Magic Kingdom is empty, but not just by taking another generic shot of the empty hub. I think I finally got that here, with the low angle and the lines of the bricks leading to Cinderella Castle. I used the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens (read my review of this lens) because originally this was going to be @ f/1.4 to make the bricks out of focus foreground bokeh, but that photo was too distracting that way. There was no real reason why I stuck with that lens for this version of the photo other than laziness, I guess.

I managed to sweet talk my way into Be Our Guest for lunch without a FastPass+ reservation, and then I waited another 10 minutes for a table to open up in the West Wing. It was totally worth it as I went wild with photos in there. Although I did get some weird looks, but probably not just because of all the odd angles I used to capture photos…I also purchased enough food for about 3 people, and ate it all myself. On the one hand, having so many plates of food spread on the table in front of you makes you feel a bit like a king…on the other hand, it makes you feel a huge pig. (I haven’t had a chance to update the review again yet, but my opinion of Be Our Guest Restaurant at lunch continues to increase.) This photo was shot with my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens (read my review of this lens).

In the first installment of “Scenes from Disney Parks,” I shared a couple of photos from an amazing sunset at Epcot. Here’s another, shot with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. I really ran around like a madman during that sunset, and it was probably one of my most fruitful hours of photography ever. World Showcase epitomizes that Disney photography is like shooting fish in a barrel, and when you add a gorgeous sunset to the mix, it’s more like…I dunno, fishing with a stick of dynamite? The point is, you would have to try really hard to take a bad photo of World Showcase that particular evening…

From the Villains Unleashed party, here’s one of Hades with some foreground fire bokeh. I got lucky with the way the fire frames him here, although I’m not sure whether it’s distracting. It would be a pretty boring shot without it, I think. This was shot with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

I shared this on my Instagram account the other day, but it’s still new to here, so I hope it counts. the Imagination pavilion at Epcot is really beautiful, but I think the way things are spaced out can make it more difficult to capture good photos than it seems like it would be. In this case, I used the budget Zenitar fisheye lens (read my review of this lens) emphasize these often-overlooked jumping fountains, with the main fountain, monorail, and Spaceship Earth all just being “icing” in the background.

I don’t expect anyone to say “wow” over a photo of a walkway, but I like this type of shot that captures the ambiance of a scene. There’s no gorgeous or eye-catching subject here, and I think that probably works in favor of this photo, because instead of focusing on that, you allow yourself to be drawn into the scene (or maybe I’m just making excuses for a dull photo?). I know when I look at this, it takes me right back to walking along the Rivers of America at night.

I love photographing the Haunted Mansion Stretching Room, mostly for the challenge it poses. Here, I opted to make one of the gargoyle candle holder dudes the subject, and go for some symmetry.

Want to learn more about photography to take great photos in the Disney theme parks and beyond? The best place to start is Tom’s Photography Guide, which covers a variety of topics from links to tutorials, tips, and tricks to recommendations for point & shoots, DSLRs, lenses, and more!

If you do want to purchase new photography equipment, we recommend the following trusted & authorized retailers. Buying from these retailers helps support this blog, and doesn’t cost you a thing:
B&H Photo

For other photography equipment recommendations or photography tips in general check out a few of my top photography blog posts:

Best Books for Improving Your Photography
5 Indispensable Tips for Better Vacation Photos
Choosing the Best Travel Tripod
Choosing the Best Camera Bag for Travel

Your Thoughts…

What do you think of these Walt Disney World photos? Any favorites? Have any additional questions about how I captured these shots? Please ask or share below, and I’ll offer my feedback!

11 Responses to “Scenes from Disney Parks: “Regular” Disney World”
  1. Kayla December 15, 2014
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    • Tom Bricker November 6, 2014
    • Stephanie November 15, 2014
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    • Tom Bricker November 6, 2014

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