Tips for Taking a Camera to Disney World

Get the best shots at minimum inconvenience

Two boys on a Disney ride
Handout / Getty Images

If you're visiting the theme parks in the Disney World complex, you'll want to capture all the fun and excitement—and that means taking photos. Some people are good with smartphone pics, especially given the ever-evolving technology in cell phone cameras. Others tote small point-and-shoot cameras in their pockets. Those who want superior image quality bring along DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) or mirrorless ILC (interchangeable lens) cameras.

Here are a few tips bringing a camera to Disney World.

Photo and Video Opportunities

Cinderella's Castle, Friends Statue in Disneyland at Night
Cinderella's Castle, Friends Statue in Disneyland at Night. Betsy Malloy Photography

Fun, interesting props are ubiquitous at Disney World, beginning with the iconic Cinderella's Castle.

You're allowed to shoot photos throughout the Disney World theme park grounds, with one caveat: You can't bring unconstrained items on some of the rides. The reason is simple: They might escape your grasp and hurt you or other riders.

Signs outside each attraction list any restrictions that apply, such as whether you can keep certain items with you for the duration.

For most rides, you'll have to place your bag in a pocket or compartment that's part of the ride or keep the bag near your feet. If your bag is too large, a ride attendant will notify you, in which case you could leave it with a non-rider or leave it in one of the lockers that dot Disney World.

For rides with sharp turns and high speeds on which you take your bag, keep a hand on its straps, stick your feet through them, or stand on them while you're on the ride—whatever's necessary to keep the bag attached to you.

Camera Bags

Backpack-style camera bag
 Amazon

A backpack-style camera bag is easy to keep close to you, so your equipment stays protected from theft and damage. Pockets and partitions help keep everything organized and at the ready. Consider one that will protect your camera against water, too; showers are frequent occurrences, particularly on summer afternoons.

Expect an attendant to search your bag when you enter the park.

Storing a Camera Bag

Full Frame Shot Of Lockers
Nicolas Ayer / EyeEm / Getty Images 

As mentioned above, lockers are available for rent in all the parks. As of November 2019, Magic Kingdom and Epcot offer three sizes of lockers:

  • Small: 12 inches by 10 inches by 17 inches; $10/day.
  • Large: 15.5 inches by 13 inches by 17 inches; $12/day.
  • Jumbo: 17 inches by 22 inches by 26 inches; $15/day.

Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks offer these:

  • Standard: 12.5 inches by 10 inches by 17 inches; $10/day.
  • Large: 15.5 inches by 13 inches by 17 inches; $15/day.

With this convenient, secure access, you can store your equipment safely when you need a break from lugging it around or would like to enjoy the rides.

Equipment

Because you'll spend much of your day walking between attractions or standing in lines, try to keep your camera equipment to a minimum. For example, if your camera has interchangeable lenses, you might bring just a 50mm lens; it's light and easy to pack and carry.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Amazon

Don't get caught short on memory. Take along more memory than you think you'll need. A 32 GB card is a good choice and offers ample room; in fact, it can hold about 5,700 JPG (compressed) or about 572 uncompressed RAW shots at 16 MP (megapixels) resolution.

SanDisk flash memory card
SanDisk

As of 2019, memory cards are available in capacities of up to 1 TB. That's 1,000 GB!

Type of Camera

Your decision on camera equipment to bring to Disney ultimately depends on your priorities.

If ease and portability are paramount, you plan to share your photos mainly on social media, and your smartphone offers a decently high resolution, it's a good choice.

Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL phones in each available color.
Google

If you're willing to compromise just a little portability for higher quality, bring a small point-and-shoot camera.

Point-and-shoot digital camera
BraunS / Getty Images

If you're planning to enjoy the water rides, take along a waterproof camera especially geared for action shots and video, such as a GoPro.

GoPro Hero 3+
 Amazon

If you want sharp, high-resolution photos of the highest quality to print out later, your DSLR camera is the right choice.

Whichever type of camera you decide to bring, be sure to:

  1. Back your photos up to the cloud using a service such as Google Photos, iCloud, and Dropbox; and
  2. Pack a few external battery packs so you don't run out of power and miss that once-in-a-lifetime shot.

Professional Photos

If you don't want to carry your camera at all, Disney World's professional photographers are at the ready throughout the parks to take photos of your group that you can purchase later. Many rides record photos as you’re riding, giving you another photo purchase option; these are designed more as fun photos and not professional prints you can purchase at large sizes. 

Prohibited Equipment

Disney World prohibits tripods that extend more than 6 feet or that can't fit inside a camera bag. Upon arriving at the security entrance at each theme park, a cast member will take a look at your tripod to ensure it fits within the guidelines. Selfie sticks are forbidden.

More info: Walt Disney World Resort Property Rules