Walt Disney World Part VII: Magic Kingdom

This article will conclude my series on Walt Disney World and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate this blog's 50th post!!! I know this is not a huge milestone, but I wasn't sure how long I would keep this up after my initial "want" to share my photography and write about it. I am glad I have been able to keep up with it and hope that any regular readers out there have enjoyed its content. I have been writing about the opportunity for photography at Disney's Parks and feel like trying to describe my experience at Magic Kingdom is like trying to explain human anatomy and physiology using a Barbie... but I am going to try my best. Some of the attractions at Disney (like Cinderella's castle) have become classic national and international icons. Below is a collection of attractions that I feel are part of the spirit of Magic Kingdom. They are all processed in black and white in attempt to highlight their classic appeal and bring something special subject matter that has been photographed a million times over. As far as attractions go, if you are visiting Magic Kingdom in hopes of catching a thrill, the "big three" you will want to check out are Space Mountain (my personal favorite), Thunder Mountain (sit in the back, you will go faster!), and Splash Mountain (if you don't mind getting wet).

Thunder Mountain
Trip to Space
Cinderella's castle
Space Mountain
World famous Dumbo ride
Crystal Palace- in my opinion, the best view of Cinderella's Castle, where introductory photo was taken
Main St. USA

Sometimes it is hard to sow down and stop yourself from running to your next destination in the park, but it's worth the time to stop and capture some of the scenery around the park. Another great place to take photos is while waiting in line for rides and as I mentioned before in the Hollywood Studios post, it can help pass the time. The attention to detail and amount of work Disney has put forth ensuring authenticity is remarkable and for a lack of better terms, "begs" to be captured. Also, I have found that experimenting with abstract photography (usually long exposure) is a fun way to wait. Once I (sometimes F I N A L L Y) get on a ride I usually have my camera out to try and get some photos of the attraction itself. When photographing inside a ride I found my portrait lens (50mm-100mm on MFT) was too long and my fisheye (7.5mm- 15mm on MFT) was sometimes too wide (but created some awesome effects due to distortion). I think something in the middle like the 20mm Panasonic or brand new 25mm Olympus would be just right. Also, its really dark in most od the rides so the "faster" your lens is, the better and having autofocus life makes things much easier!

Space Mountain

Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin

Haunted Mansion

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

I think in each of these posts about Disney, I have mentioned that people are everywhere and I love photographing them whether it be as a huge mass, a candid portrait or somewhere in between. Taking photos of children at Magic Kingdom is great because you can tell that they are having the best time of their lives and their emotions make for great subject matter. Also kids are what Disney runs on so I have made a small effort trying to document their presence at the parks. I try not to photograph kids when they are screaming at the top of their lungs (because they haven't slept in 14 hrs and are crashing from their 3rd sugar high) as their parents are already frustrated. The last thing I want is for one to vent it out on me. In addition to kids, it is also fun to try and capture the interactions between street performers and other Disney staff. Below are a few of my favorite in this genre.

Never a shortage of people

Work day
If you ask a street performer for a photo they will be more than happy to pose for you

... But candid shots are also great fun

Kids at heart

In relation to people photography, but a bit different, is the opportunity to photograph cast members who are part of Magic Kingdom's parades and shows. They have around three parades and multiple shows per day and with every one being unique there is tons of opportunity to capture some great moments! If you are "in front" during the parades then a short telephoto lens will work to capture some detail in the characters, but if you are far away then a longer lens is probably necessary. For best results, I recommend getting to the shows early to pick a good spot beforehand. I think photographing parades and shows is challenging because you have to wait for moments that bring life your subject and be able to act fast enough to capture them. Admittedly, I could use some practice here, but that's where the fun is right!?!?

This past month has been nothing but swimming in Disney photography and I hope to have captured some of the charm these parks have to offer. Walt Disney World is truly a magical place and especially so during Christmas. After all, there is a reason why it is considered one of the best theme parks in the world and you will definitely not suffer from boredom as a photographer visiting any of the parks! One of my photography goals is to take some really good photos of the fireworks around Cinderella's castle. Unfortunately all my attempts have failed, but one of these days I will bring a tripod and remote shutter release into the park and hopefully that will do the trick. The last thing I will touch on is that if you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World; if possible, dedicate two days to Magic Kingdom. The park is huge and saying there is a lot to get done in one day is a massive understatement... plus, after the first day, you are going to want to go back!!! If it is your first time here and you enjoyed some of this imagery, links for the rest of this series which feature the three other parks can be found below =)

Sam D.

Walt Disney World Series:

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Animal Kingdom
Part IV: Post Processing in China
Part V: Hollywood Studios
Part VI: Snapseed User Review (Magic Kingdom)
Part VII: Magic Kingdom