I’ve seen several sources estimate that about 4% of all amateur photography in the United States happens at the Disney parks. If you’re planning a visit to Disney World, there’s a good chance that you’ll contribute to that number. While the possibilities for great shots at Disney are nearly endless, there are some classic pictures you’re all but obligated to take. These are the
Kodak Nikon moments that will show future generations that you did Disney right. Here are my votes for the top 15:
1. Weenie in the background. Walt himself called the big landmark that draws you into the park the “weenie.” At Walt Disney World, these are: the castle in the Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth at Epcot, the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, and (for now) the Sorcer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You are 100% obligated to take a photo in front of each weenie.
2. Posing with Mickey. You may be the person who gets a photo with absolutely every character know to man or mouse, but if you don’t get a shot with the Big Cheese, then you’re not doing gouda-nough. P.S. You are never too old to get a hug from Mickey.
3. Magic Kingdom Liberty Square pillory. I’m not sure why it’s so amusing to imagine your family members imprisoned in a public square, but it gets a giggle every time.
4. Flying on Dumbo. Flying elephant? Photo or it didn’t happen.
5. Oversized sombrero at Epcot’s Mexico. You’ll want to get shots of many other silly hats as well, but the sombrero is key. I’ve never seen anyone buy one, I assume that they’re only there for the photo op.
6. Slaying the troll in the Epcot Norway gift shop. They put the faux weapon display right next to the giant troll statue. The combination is inevitable.
7. Cleaning up the Kitchen Sink at the Beach Club’s Beaches & Cream restaurant. It contains an entire can of whipped cream and it’s served in a sink-shaped vessel. Don’t have to eat the whole thing, but it’s a cute photo if you pretend that you did.
8. The turkey leg. The smaller the kid, the better the photo. (Look Ma, the turkey’s bigger than little Billy’s head.) Here again, you don’t necessarily have to eat it, but you do have to pose with it.
9. Tasting Beverly. Beverly is the Italian representative at Epcot’s Club Cool free international beverage dispensary. Nearly everyone (at least everyone raised with a typical American diet) finds it revoltingly bitter. Feed it to an unsuspecting victim and be sure to have your camera ready to capture the grimace. Consumption is mandatory on this one.
10. Getting soaked. The attraction cameras at Splash Mountain can sometimes capture a mid-ride drenching, but if you want to have an up close and personal shot of your family members wetter than Nemo, head on over to Kali River Rapids at the Animal Kingdom. Even a poncho won’t protect you.
11. Exhausted kids. Walking around Disney can take a lot out of a young kid (or a middle aged dad). Be sure to snap a photo when they pass out on the first moving vehicle they encounter.
12. Your future on Spaceship Earth. The back end of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth features a personalized video of what your life might be like in the future. Better save the image for 20 or 30 years to see if they were right.
13. Dress-up. With the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Pirates League, Face Painting, and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, chances are someone in your group is going to go into dress-up mode at some point.
14. 3-D glasses. If you’re wearing 3-D glasses, then you’re having a good time.
15. A family reenactment. Disney theme parks have been around long enough now so that generations of people who visited as children have now returned as adults, often with kids of their own. If you’re in this category, consider reenacting an old family photo, either with the same people or with the next generation. Character and weenie photos work particularly well for these purposes.
The first photo below is of my husband with Pooh at age five and then at significantly more than age five. The second is of my husband as a child with Goofy and then our daughter with Goofy. Sing with me now … It’s the Circle of Liiiiife ….
Bonus photo. I had initially wanted to include a photo of PUSH the talking waste bin in this list, but it appears that PUSH has been junked. Farewell my trashy friend.
Have you taken all these photos during your Disney vacations? Do you have any suggestions for alternatives? Is there anything more iconic that these shots? What am I missing? Let us know in the comments below.