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10 reasons you should bring a camera to Disney World


10 reasons you should bring a camera to Disney World

I’ve been asked a number of times if a person should bring their own camera to a Disney Park.  Many people see it as a matter of choice and may even see tugging around a heavy camera as a task that is added to the many other planning decisions.  Here’s my opinion.

Yes, you should bring your own camera!  Disney offers many Photopass opportunities of which you may wish to avail yourself.   They are stationed near the major icons like Cinderella Castle, Tower of Terror, Spaceship Earth and the Tree of Life.  They even offer many special photos where little characters may appear like these that I had taken at the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Many prefer to use Memory Maker to save themselves money on purchasing Disney photos and the package even includes downloads of on-ride photos and some videos.

Disney photographers can do a great job of capturing your character photo and may get a special reaction that you miss because you’re too into the moment.  (Some characters like Mary Poppins and Green Army Men NEVER offer Photopass and occasionally they may just be understaffed).

  1. However, Disney photographers cannot capture catch your child’s reaction to their first ride on Big Thunder Mountain or Kilimanjaro Safaris.  You should know that I invented the “Selfie” back in 2004.
  2. Disney photographers cannot capture your child’s reaction to seeing Mickey mouse for the very first time in a parade.  It’s pretty amazing to me that two of my kids had the exact same reaction when seeing him for the first time!
    My son seeing Mickey for the first time a Jammin' Jungle Parade
    My son seeing Mickey for the first time a Jammin’ Jungle Parade

    My little girl sees Mickey for the first time in SpectroMagic
    My little girl sees Mickey for the first time in SpectroMagic
  3. Disney photographers cannot capture your child’s reaction to getting kissed by a Princess, when they didn’t really enjoy that moment.
    Ariel kiss
  4. Disney photographers cannot capture your resort experience. I caught the MouseKeeper leaving our stuffed animals in a variety of positions.   One morning she left them peering out the window and another they were playing cards.  My son fell asleep with his brand new Chicken Little (we still have it) and he loved soccer, so he wanted to pose with the foosball guy.  Once when checking in, the Cast Member tied special balloons for each child.  They carried those things around for days.
  5. Disney photographers cannot capture your experience on a given ride or at a show.  My oldest’s reaction to seeing Pocahontas holding a snake a the old Pocahontas show in Animal Kingdom and my youngest’s reaction to Disney Junior (when it offered Bear in the Big Blue House) and Tarzan Rocks.
  6. Disney photographers cannot capture your child testing out some costumes before deciding what to buy.  Some times you just have to slow down and let the kids play a bit.
  7. Disney photographers cannot capture the moment when your commando touring plan caused your kids to zonk out during Wishes :)
    nathan and jordyn sleeping
    or fall asleep eating Pizza at the food court at the end of the night.  (You wonder why I tell you to TAKE A BREAK?  I learned the hard way, having to carry my kids all the way to the room.)
    nathan sleeping
  8. Disney photographers cannot capture the special traditions that you create with each visit.  We really miss the old horse that used to be in Hollywood Studios.  We’d take photos in all kinds of crazy poses each visit.  Oddly enough, we used to end most trips at MGM / Hollywood Studios.  The kids always enjoyed posing with Zurg “in jail” and in the Liberty Square stockade.
  9. Disney photographers cannot capture your character meal experiences or popup characters or Character Palooza meets.  That’s right, they don’t show up for those things!
    nathan hugs eeyore
  10. Disney photographers cannot capture the moments when your child is playing with Cast Members.  My son and daughter battled it out before a 3pm parade.  It was a long distance jumping contest.  My son actually won, but my daughter got the credit.  He wasn’t all that happy about it.
    nathan skipping in magic kingdom Jordyn wins

Many choose to use their mobile phone or tablet (please don’t!) to catch these memories, but be sure you understand that the quality of the photo may be as poor as some of mine before I acquired a decent camera.  Many of my photos were blurred and had bad sun spots. It’s really only possible to take good dark ride photos and fireworks photos with a quality camera.  If you’re looking for an awesome and light camera that will fit in your purse, try the Sony RX100!  It takes phenomenal photos for such a small camera, even in low light.  My go to camera right now is my Nikon D5200 with a couple of different lenses.

What camera do you use in the parks?


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  1. I have an older model Canon Rebel T4i. It has taken wonderful pictures on all of recent Disney trips. Plan to take it again, but hubby will be at the parks with the kiddos some by himself as I am there to work attending a conference. What light wait camera do you recommend that he would be willing to carry with him in his pocket?

    • I used to have a pocket Sony RX100 that I really liked. It took great quality photos. I now use the Sony RX10M2, but that is more of an around the neck DLSR camera.

    • I just recently switched to Sony RX10M2 to shoot photos and video. So far I love it. I can even capture stills while shooting video, which is perfect for meets, parades and shows. Zooms up to 200mm and shoots great in low light with f2.8

  2. My family is going to Disney World next year so I’m asking for a new camera for Christmas. Trying to figure out what to go with. I’ve generally just used point and shoots but had started looking at the Sony A5100. Not sure if something like a basic and inexpensive DSLR is better than a more expensive point and shoot. I’ve never had to change lens before. Not sure if I’m better off learning to use the DSLR or staying basic. Any suggestions?

  3. I want to take video of my next trip in May but I am not sure what video camera I should purchase. I do not want it to be too expensive so if it could be under $100 that would be great!

  4. It’s fun to watch your kids grow up on this site. The pictures are great! We always take our camera and ask the photographer to use ours as well as their’s. We had some instances where we didn’t get the Disney photographer’s pictures, once we got someone else’s. Do you know if that can still happen with the magicband?

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