Magical Blogorail: Disney Photography Tips

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing tips to get great photos on your Disney vacation.


We all like to get our pictures taken with Disney characters! But with the long lines and the short time available for posing, it can be hard to get anything other than the standard stand-and-smile shot like the one above.

So today I’m here to help you one and all break out of the same-old same-old with tips on how to get great character photos:

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Photograph Characters on Their Own

This is perhaps one of the hardest things to achieve due to the popularity of the characters, especially with the youngsters, who tend to rush up almost before the last guest has cleared the posing area. But with patience and good timing, a great shot can be had!

The one above was taken just before the meet-and-greet officially opened, so Aladdin and Jasmine were waiting off to the side, away from the crowds.

    

The picture of Mary Poppins was achieved through the miracle of cropping. A little guest was rushing over to the Practically Perfect Nanny when I saw my opportunity. With just two feet remaining between this shot and the inevitable hug-filled greeting, I had room to isolate my subject in post-editing!

Donald was easier, as he was on the way down the ramp from the Aztec Temple in the Mexico Pavilion. He saw me lining up the shot and struck this pose. Thanks Donald!

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Photograph Characters Interacting

Photo Credit: The Mousekatools Mom

We all know Olaf loves hugs, so this shot really plays to his strength. With everyone in on the premise, we have a great , and heartwarming, moment captured forever!

    

Most face characters will take the time to speak and interact with each guest, especially if the guest is a cute little child! Both Alice and Mary Poppins took the time to engage these little girls. One with a conversation, and the other by putting the little one to work! Can you imagine how thrilling it would be to hold Mary Poppins’ umbrella?

These kinds of shots capture a moment in time that will never be repeated by your child, and not exactly by another child. This makes each shot priceless!

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Photograph Characters in Close-ups

If you just have to have the obligatory stand-and-smile shot, make it more interesting by cropping out the extra stuff that does not add to the finished product. Legs, for example, aren’t that interesting and so can be amputated in post-editing.

Another tip for making this kind of shot better is to, if possible, choose a neutral background. Nothing can wreck a great shot like an unintentional photo bomb from some other park guest who is unaware they are in the frame. Hence the weird facial expressions or nose-picking moments that are all too common among the background extras when taking a character shot!

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Photograph Characters Being Funny

Photo Credit: Home is Where the Mouse Is

Welcome to Alice in Funland as she introduces this guest to a new way of getting an autograph! As you can imagine, this was fun for the subject, and is much more interesting for those who will look at the picture later.

Photo Credit: My Pixie Dust Diary

This is a nice shot because it shows a bit of the personality behind the character. Chip is being silly as he helps his littlest poser obtain the same height as her brother. Mischievous. And priceless!

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Photograph You Being Funny with Characters

Photo Credit: Love Our Crazy Life

Doing something funny with a character is a great way to get a unique shot. Of course, if you want to try the pose above, you might want to bring your own apple. I’m just saying.

Don’t be afraid to really ham it up! Most costumed and face characters love it when they get a ‘live one’ to break up the shift.

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Utilize PhotoPass Add-ons

If you’re OK with spending some extra money to get the professional shots from the PhotoPass Photographers, be sure to check out all of the great add-ons and fun extras available to you.

For example, you can add borders:

You can add Disney characters, and pretend they are posing with you, or photo bombing you:

And don’t forget the ride photos. Because a ride is a character too!

And last but not least, be sure to ask your PhotoPass Photographer if they can add any special elements to your picture in post-production. Like this:

Photo Credit: My Pixie Dust Diary

I hope these tips have given you some ideas for your next photographic adventure at Disney!

For more Disney photography tips, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Disney Photography Tips Loop:

Top 5 Ways to Chill Out at Disney

In honor of both winter and our new Disney friend, Olaf, I would like to present the Top 5 ways to chill out at any Disney Park or Resort.

Cup Topper from Frozen, the movie

Sometimes we get a little stressed and in too much of a hurry during our Disney vacations. What with rushing to get our FastPasses, running to get in a looooong line-up, or trying to plan hours ahead to get the best Parade viewing spot, we might miss the simple pleasures available to us.

Such as:

Chilly Tip Number 5

Hammocks. Most Resorts that have a beach front also have a hammock or two swinging around somewhere. And even if you’re not staying at that Resort, but just Resort-hopping like I do, no one is going to stop you from relaxing for a few moments while you watch boats go by. And if you pick the right hammock in the evening, you may even be able to watch the Electrical Water Pageant.

Stock Photo of the Electrical Water Pageant

Want to know some of the best places to watch the Pageant across the Walt Disney World Resort? Locations include:

  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Beginning at 9:00 PM
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (including Narcoossee’s) – Beginning at 9:15 PM
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Beginning at 9:30 PM
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground – Beginning at 9:45 PM
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Beginning at 10:10 PM; in instances when Wishes Nighttime Spectacular takes place at 10:00 PM, the Electrical Water Pageant will begin shortly following its conclusion
  • Right outside the entrance of Magic Kingdom park – Beginning at 10:35 PM, during Extended Theme Park Hours only

Chilly Tip Number 4

Dole Whip or Mickey Bars. Most of us can’t resist a frosty treat and these two (among others) are WDWorld-renowned for helping weary and hot Guests chill! Rather than bore you with details here, I’ll let my fellow blogger over at Disney Musings thrill you (or should I say ‘chill you’?) with details at this link.

Picture from Disney Musings

Chilly Tip Number 3

Water. Not just for drinking anymore! If you’re like me, and who isn’t, you likely seek out free chill opportunities wherever they can be found. Well, let me recommend getting a little damp as a great way to chill!

Here are a few places to get a free splash of water: World of Disney at DTD (Stitch will ‘spit’ on you for free); Splash Pad also at DTD (just outside the Disney Design-a-Tee store); Outside Star Tours in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (an Imperial Walker will ‘shoot’ you for free); Test Track Cool Wash at Epcot (see pic below).

Stand and prepare to be misted!

There is simply no end of places where you can get misted, squirted, sprayed, or ‘spit’ on for free at WDW!

Chilly Tip Number 2

Beverages. Sometimes you need to chill from the inside and so only an ice-cold drink will do it! Again, there is no end to the places that serve frosty beverages, but Club Cool is perhaps one of the most fun! Located at the Innovations Pavilion at Disney’s Epcot, this store features Coca-Cola merchandise as well as several fountain drink stations where you can sample some of the world’s more unique flavors of Coca-Cola products, such as:

  • Krest Ginger Ale from Mozambique
  • Fanta Kolita from Costa Rica
  • Beverly from Italy
  • Vegeta Beta from Japan
  • Kinley Lemon from Israel
  • Lift Apple from Mexico
  • Smart Watermelon from China
  • Mezzo Mix from Germany

Of course, flavors may change from year to year or visit to visit. Not adventurous with your sipping? Then find your drinking comfort zone just over the bridge in World Showcase. Pick your country and enjoy a regional beverage of your choice!

Chilly Tip Number 1

Water Attractions. OK, no more fooling around! If you really want to chill out then it’s time to get WET. Hit the Kali River Rapids or Splash Mountain and leave the rain poncho in the stroller! The only rules here are no hiding behind another body and never wear white. Other than that: Bring on the Chill!

The temperature was 50 degrees and we got soaked = CHILLED OUT

Bonus Round

Water Parks. This is a no-brainer so… water parks.

Ice Gator from Blizzard Beach

Of course, my wife found another way to chill out during one of our visits to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Simply get caught in one of Florida’s sudden thunder showers:

Each to her own, I guess.

Disney Frozen Characters: Olaf!

Olaf

Olaf, the lovable snowman from Frozen!

Hello everyone, it’s Saturday, and for today, we are going to take a look at many people’s favorite character from the Disney movie Frozen — Olaf, the snowman who loves warm hugs!

Many people, myself included, thought that he was a filler character, something that Disney felt it had to include in the movie because of some of the more somber moments.  However, I’ve got to say, after seeing the movie, Olaf was perfect in the role he was developed for, and there are many layers to that snowman!

When it comes to Olaf, so many different facets are wrapped up on that snow exterior, I think it is fun to examine him from the perspective of some of the great lines that Olaf had.  It all begins with one of his first memorable lines, which was spoken by Elsa in the beginning, but became Olaf’s montra as the movie progressed:

“Hi, I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs.”

The beauty of Olaf is his childlike innocence, and how, at the heart of the matter, Olaf is the snowman with one of the biggest hearts in Arendelle.  It’s interesting to me how the original statement wasn’t made by Olaf, but was instead made by Elsa when Olaf was nothing other than just a snowman, yet when Olaf was recreated and came to life, that one line because his way of greeting people.  Obviously to me, at least, Elsa must have subconsciously put that quote in his mind, but we don’t know why or anything, and any conclusion we come to would just be speculation.

“Some people are worth melting for.”

Those powerful six words, found near the end of the movie, really struck home with me.  It is at that moment that Olaf tells all of us in the theater exactly what life is all about, that there are times in our lives when we choose to stand with someone regardless of the circumstances — it is at that moment in time that we realize that some people are worth melting for.  Who would you “melt” for in your life?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!

Lastly, my friends, let’s take a look at Olaf and his imagination at what life will be like for him In Summer:

Thank you for stopping by today!  At this point we’ve looked at Elsa, Anna, and now Olaf.  Who is your favorite character, and who would you like to see me write about next from the movie?  Please let me know in the comments below, and thanks!  Now, go out there and make it a Disney Day everyone!