Tour Guide Tuesday: How to take your own on-ride photos at the Magic Kingdom (without a selfie stick)

in Technology, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

The primary focus of my role as a tour guide is to help my guests enjoy their time at the parks without waiting in long lines. However, I am also there to point out the closest snack stands and restrooms, provide fun Disney trivia, and take family photos. Over the years of guiding people through the Magic Kingdom, I have found some great spots to take on-ride photos for them… and you don’t even need a selfie stick to do it! (They are, after all, banned at Walt Disney World now…)

Many attractions don’t offer on-ride photos, so they wouldn’t be available through Disney’s PhotoPass system. Also, my shots are typically from different angles than the Disney cameras. Today, I’m going to show you where to get the best on-ride photos of your friends and family.

Let’s start over at Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland. If you head up the walkway to the right of the entrance, you will be walking toward the two exits. At the top of the hill, there is a fence that provides a great view of the attraction. More importantly, you have the perfect angle to see the trains pass by. You have the opportunity to see if your subjects are on the approaching train as it passes below you, before making the left hand 270-degree turn over the bridge. I suggest using “burst mode” on your camera if you have it!

Big Thunder Mountain

Right next to Big Thunder is Splash Mountain, which is the next attraction for a fun photo. Most guests line up on the bridge facing the big drop. They hope for that perfect shot of their friends or family screaming down the hill at 40 mph. This is a very tough shot to get for several reasons. First off, the logs are moving very fast, which can certainly make for a blurry photo. Secondly, it is nearly impossible to know exactly when your guests will be approaching the top of the hill. So, I recommend going to the other side of the bridge for a fun “post drop” shot. At this point, everyone is wet and typically laughing. Also, you will have time to be sure your are shooting the right log, and they will also see you and most likely wave or pose.

Splash Mountain

From Frontierland, we now head up to Fantasyland to the most popular theme park attraction on the planet. Of course I’m talking about its a small world. This shot is taken from the Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant, which overlooks the attraction. The ability to take this photo is dependent on the time of day. It is best to ride small world early in the day to avoid the lines. This is also how you can get an unobstructed view of the boats below. Once guests start entering the restaurant for lunch, these spots are typically full for the rest of the day.

it’s a small world

Staying in Fantasyland, we venture over to the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I find that the best spot for the on-ride shot is at the fence, directly across from Enchanted Tales with Belle. Like Thunder Mountain, you can see if your friends or family are on the next train if you focus on the big drop. Then, you can snap a great photo as they come over the bridge into their left hand bank. Again, I’d certainly use burst mode for this attraction.

Best area to take Mine Train shot
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

From here, we head around the corner to Storybook Circus and The Barnstormer. This is a fun photo, if you time it right. The best spot to stand is off to the right of the big billboard and on the edge of the Dumbo queue. This elevates you so that you can take the shot over the heads of anyone passing by. Just like the other coasters, it is best to shoot this using burst mode to give you the best chance of seeing your friends or family.

The Barnstormer

Last but not least, I want to mention the Tomorrowland Speedway. This is another attraction that doesn’t offer a PhotoPass photo, but you can get a great shot of guests driving in the cars. You simply head up the exit staircase and stand along the railing overlooking the load area. As soon as the cars start moving, you have a great view as they pass below.

Best Spot for Speedway Photos
Tomorrowland Speedway

I hope you enjoy these photo tips and try them out on your next visit to the Magic Kingdom. Instead of just waiting around for your friends or family to ride an attraction, you may be able to get a great picture of them having fun!

If you want additional tips while you’re in the parks, WDW Guided Tours is happy to help!

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