Tips for Using a Smartphone Camera at Universal Studios

Springfield USA at Universal Studios
Kyle Schurman

If you’re planning to ride the attractions at the Universal Studios theme parks, you’ll quickly discover that your large DSLR camera bag is not allowed on many of the rides. You’ll be forced to place the bag in a locker before you can get into the line for the attraction. Universal Studios does provide free lockers to use while you’re waiting in line, but it still can take several minutes to store and then retrieve the bag.

So rather than carrying a DSLR camera and the related equipment through the theme parks at Universal Studios, as well as the Universal City Walk area, you may be tempted to make use of a much smaller camera, such as your smartphone camera. A smartphone camera will fit in a pocket or small purse comfortably, which shouldn’t interfere with most rides. And you’re likely to be carrying your smartphone all day anyway, so using the smartphone camera won’t require that you carry extra gear through the parks in the summer heat.

Use these tips to understand the best way to use your smartphone camera at Universal Studios in Orlando!

Restrictions on photos and videos

Before you take your smartphone camera out to shoot video or photos while riding an attraction, check the set of rules posted at the area where you enter the ride to form a line regarding photography and video recording. Some of the rides at Universal Studios move extremely fast with sudden stops, twists, and turns, and the cell phone could easily fall out of your hand.

On some rides, such as the Dragon Challenge roller coaster in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it’s recommended you place your smartphone in a locker, rather than keeping it in a pocket, because the ride involves going upside down several times.

Selfies everywhere

Of course the most popular reason to use a smartphone camera at the Universal Studios theme parks involves shooting selfies, sharing the images on social networks.

If you’re traveling with a large group of people, shooting selfies can be challenging, because it can be difficult to fit everyone in the frame (unless you have freakishly long arms). Then you also have to deal with large crowds, trying to avoid being bumped or suffering a photo bomb.

Using selfie sticks

One of the more popular items I noticed during a recent trip to Universal Studios was the number of selfie sticks in use. As mentioned above, because it’s tough to fit everyone in the selfie photo, along with placing a park icon in the background, a selfie stick can provide the angle that you need. Some selfie sticks (which are basically monopods) allow you to fully control the smartphone camera from the handle of the stick, which is a great feature. Keep in mind that selfie sticks are not allowed to be used on the rides and attractions at Universal Studios.

Character photos

While walking through the Universal Studios grounds, you’ll find quite a few opportunities to shoot photos with characters, such as the Simpsons characters in Springfield USA. Don’t miss these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to shoot a photo of your children with their favorite characters. And by using your smartphone, you can easily share the photos with your social networks, letting your friends and family enjoy the photos too.

Smartphone camera negatives

If you choose to rely on a smartphone camera alone during your trip to Orlando and Universal Studios, you will have to put up with some frustrations. You won’t have an optical zoom lens available, and you probably won’t be able to make large prints in the future. But if you don’t mind those potential problems, it certainly is handy to carry your smartphone as your only camera at the Universal Studios theme parks, especially if you enjoy participating in the rides.