Today I wanted to provide you with some tips for Great Ride Photos at Walt Disney World. It may seem simple — you just get on the ride, have a blast, and at the end you buy your photo. NOT! Great on-ride photo taking requires several key elements of success, such as knowing the location of the cameras, strategic seating arrangements, ideas for fun photos and tips for not screwing it up. All of this knowledge has been gained simply by looking back on my own family’s photos.
1. Know where the cameras are – Once you know the locations of the cameras, you can be prepared for your close up. Here are the locations of all the ride cameras:
- Splash Mountain – at the top of the peak, immediately before the plummet.
- Buzz Lightyear – in the final room right after the “warp tunnel.” The vehicle will turn on its own and you won’t be able to spin it. The camera is to the right of Zurg.
- Space Mountain – soon after the start of the ride. At the far end of the tunnel, a field of stars appears as the blue strobe lights turn off. The camera snaps during the strobe light effect.
- Test Track – Right as you go out on the outside track.
- Tower of Terror- at the beginning of the ride sequences but because each ride has different sequences, just be ready.
- Rock N Roller Coaster – as soon as you enter the tunnel upon launch.
- Expedition Everest- right at the start of the final 80-ft plummet.
- Dinosaurs- when you see the big T-Rex on the right at the end of the ride.
- Frozen Ever After – during the 1st drop, after your boat faces forward again.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – immediately before the drop.
2. Strategic seating arrangements – Ride vehicles differ at WDW and so do the on-ride photo ops. On some rides you will not be able to purchase one picture with your entire family in it, and on some you will have your family plus some strangers who will hang on your wall or sit in your photo album for eternity. Here are the particulars of the on-ride photos so you can plan for it.
- Buzz Lightyear – you sit 2 to a car and there are only two guests per photo.
- Space Mountain – the ride vehicle holds 6 but it is divided into two groups of 3 seats; the picture will only show one group of 3 seats.
- Splash Mountain – capacity is 8 people to a vehicle and all 8 will show in the pic
- Test Track – the cars each hold 6 guests and all 6 will show in the photo.
- Tower of Terror – your ride elevator holds approximately 22 people and all of them will show in the picture.
- Rock N Roller Coaster – your super-stretch limo has 24 seats, but it is divided into 6 sections of 4 seats each; the photo will only show 4 people (all in one car).
- Expedition Everest – this train holds 34 guests, but it is divided into 6 sections (5 of the sections hold 6 guests and the back car holds only 4). If you are seated in the front 5 sections, then 6 people will be in your photo, and if you are in the back car with the engine then only 4 people will be in the photo.
So, be sure you are in the same car on the ride vehicle if you want to make it into the same picture. If you are not in the same car, you will be in a different photo and this can get costly when each 5X7 photo costs approximately $20. When you are in the line and the cast member asks you the number in your party, they usually put you in the correct location to have a successful photo.
3. Ideas for fun photos – Making funny expressions is something we really enjoy. You can tell in the Splash Mountain photo in the header of this article that our whole family is a bunch of University of Texas Longhorn fans. You can also tell that the two strangers in the back are afraid of getting wet – just kidding!:) As part of the fun, my oldest son also loves to start screaming for dear life at just the right moment on the Tower of Terror to freak out the new riders — Johnnie, shame on you!
4. Tips for not screwing up – Don’t be caught doing something embarrassing when it is time for the photo. It might be funny to little Alby now but when everyone in the world is viewing that photo for years to come,he won’t think it is so cool that he was picking his nose at the snap. Also, don’t put your arms up and hide the people behind you. Of course we learned this the hard way and then we had to ride Expedition Everest all over again for a retake, DARN! :) If you really want to hide Uncle Herbert, throw those hands up!
5. Buy the photo – Our on-ride photos are some of the best souvenirs I own. I look at them to remind me of all the fun we had and to see how my kids have grown up Disney through the years. Great memories here.
Final tip: Get ready to have a blast and capture some awesome memories in the process! Smile!.
Learn more about souvenirs in the Walt Disney World parks.
(Thanks Ideally Disney!)