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 Disney’s California Adventure Attractions


By Mike Ellis.

Disney’s California Adventure — the park has a lot going on there, doesn’t it?  With the all new Cars Land, Paradise Pier, and all the other places to see and do things, how am I going to choose just five things that I think are my top five for the park?  Well, let’s see how I did in my top five California Adventure attractions countdown!  I hope you enjoy my choices!  If you want to see what my other choices were for other parks, last week we did Disneyland Park, and before that we did Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to cover Walt Disney World.  Go check them out if you missed those posts!

#5: Soarin’ over California!

Soarin' Over California -- the same as Walt Disney World, but still incredibly cool!

Soarin’ Over California — the same as Walt Disney World, but still incredibly cool!

Soarin’ Over California was great to experience at California Adventure!  I really enjoyed it, and the best thing about it:  it’s in a park where it isn’t practically the only big ticket attraction, so we walked right in and waited perhaps five minutes for a ride!  Oh, wouldn’t that be nice to experience that at Epcot?

#4: Toy Story Mania

Mr. Potatohead beckons you on towards the games!

Mr. Potatohead beckons you on towards the games!

The neat thing about Toy Story Mania is that it fits right in with the area of the park that you are in — Paradise Pier.  This attraction feels like it’s part of the boardwalk, as if it was picked up and transplanted here, perhaps from Atlantic City…and the line doesn’t feel quite as long as Walt Disney World, but it can get long sometimes.  We enjoyed it!

#3: Radiator Springs Racers

Radiator Springs Racers is in perhaps the most beautiful land at California Adventure!

Radiator Springs Racers is in perhaps the most beautiful land at California Adventure!

Radiator Springs Racers — the crown jewel of Cars Land — has a lot going for it, but for me, perhaps the best part of it all is the beautiful scenery and the way the Imagineers truly immersed us right into the middle of Radiator Springs.  Cars Land itself is a great land to visit, but the true beauty of this land is seen at night, with all of the Neon on, and the beautiful scenery over by Radiator Springs Racers.  The only problem I have with this attraction is the line, and how incredibly long it is, even with FastPass tickets.

#2: World of Color

The  World of Color is a beautiful display of musical genius!

The World of Color is a beautiful display of musical genius!

I have seen many videos of the World of Color show, but until I actually saw it in person, I didn’t know how deprived I was.  This show — without a doubt — is the BEST show in any Disney park in my opinion.  I love the way they use water, lasers, color, fire, music, and video to create such a compelling storyline, and how it feels as if you are watching a story unfold right in front of your eyes.  We were blessed to have our balcony look right over part of Paradise Pier, and while we couldn’t see the show from our vantage point, we could definitely hear the incredible music.

#1: California Screamin’

California Screamin' -- bar none, the biggest thrill ride at Disney in my opinion!

California Screamin’ — bar none, the biggest thrill ride at Disney in my opinion!

Sitting at the top of my leaderboard is California Screamin’!  This intense roller coaster is what Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios strives for, except California Screamin’ is twice as long, is outdoors, and keeps on going and going and going!  Cindy and I, and even Sophie, loved this roller coaster!

Honorable Mention: The Disney Animation Building

The Disney Animation Building has so much cool stuff, if you haven't seen it, go check it out!

The Disney Animation Building has so much cool stuff, if you haven’t seen it, go check it out!

Honorable Mention: Mickey’s Fun Wheel

Mickey's Fun Wheel is a lot of fun -- hence the name! We like both the stationary and the moving cars!

Mickey’s Fun Wheel is a lot of fun — hence the name! We like both the stationary and the moving cars!

Honorable Mention: Silly Symphony Swings

Image ©Disney Parks

Image ©Disney Parks

The  Silly Symphony Swings are one of my daughter’s favorite rides because of the freedom she experiences in riding them.  Also, she likes the music, and she loves the Silly Symphony Cartoon Short that this ride is based off of!  Put it all together and it’s one of the honorable mentions!

5 Days til Disneyland – Radiator Springs Racers!

Image ©Disney Parks

Image ©Disney Parks

Radiator Springs Racers — three simple words, one incredible attraction! This brand new attraction in Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure park is the hottest thing since sliced bread!  Jump in a car and see who is going to win the big race!  This is our selection for Day 5 in our countdown to Disneyland!

However, Radiator Springs Racers isn’t just about racing!  Before you even get to the great conclusion with the race, you’ll learn more about the town itself, with looks of Stanley’s Oasis, Ornament Valley, and Radiator Springs.  Don’t forget your camera!  You’ll surely want it to take pictures of the Radiator Falls waterfall!

I don’t know about you, but Radiator Springs Racers has been on my radar to experience for a long time, and I can’t wait to try this attraction out multiple times.  What is your favorite part about Radiator Springs Racers? Why not leave a comment and let me know, and thanks!

16 Days til Disneyland – Cozy Cone Motel!

Image ©

Image ©

As we get closer to the day we leave for our trip, we start running into more and more things that are reflective of the areas that we have a lot of interest in.  Today, for Day 16 in our countdown to Disneyland series, we are taking a look at the Cozy Cone Motel which, while not a motel like in the movie, still has plenty for us to enjoy — namely, some delicious ice cream!

The unique backstory behind Cars Land is that the Radiator Springs Racers is the next big race, and it has come to Radiator Springs!  As a result of the big race, Sally has converted the Motel into an eatery, featuring everything that you would find that comes in a cone, such as ice cream, chili “cone” queso, “route” beer floats, and even popcorn served in a cone!

This uniquely themed area will be a stopping point for us during our trip.  Is it a stopping point for you as well?

18 Days til Disneyland – Cars Land!

Image ©Disney Parks

Image ©Disney Parks

At day 18 in our countdown to Disneyland, today we are taking a look at perhaps one of the biggest series of attractions that Disney has ever added to one of it’s parks: Cars Land!

Located at Disney’s California Adventure park, Cars Land is totally based on the majestic scenery of the hit movie Cars, which my daughter Sophie reviewed for me back on July 31st, 2011.

Cars Land has something for everyone — and I have been told that my first experience of Cars Land has to be at night, when the land truly evokes a magical experience that only Disney can create.  Some of the things that you can experience at Cars Land include the following (in no particular order):

I am extremely excited to see all that Cars Land has to offer.  Places like Fillmore’s, Sarge’s, the Cozy Cone Motel, Flo’s V8 Cafe, Radiator Springs Curios, and Ramone’s offer food or souvenirs, but it still excites me to see how all of these have been inspired by the movie Cars, and to experience all of this.  To me, it just feels like this new land has so much more to experience then you find in other lands.  Maybe it’s just me, but that’s how it feels.  Tell me please, if you’ve seen it, what do you think of it?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!