15 Iconic Photos You Must Take At Disney World

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I’ve seen several sources estimate that about 4% of all amateur photography in the United States happens at the Disney parks. If you’re planning a visit to Disney World, there’s a good chance that you’ll contribute to that number. While the possibilities for great shots at Disney are nearly endless, there are some classic pictures you’re all but obligated to take. These are the Kodak Nikon moments that will show future generations that you did Disney right. Here are my votes for the top 15:

1. Weenie in the background. Walt himself called the big landmark that draws you into the park the “weenie.” At Walt Disney World, these are: the castle in the Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth at Epcot, the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, and (for now) the Sorcer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You are 100% obligated to take a photo in front of each weenie.

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2. Posing with Mickey. You may be the person who gets a photo with absolutely every character know to man or mouse, but if you don’t get a shot with the Big Cheese, then you’re not doing gouda-nough. P.S. You are never too old to get a hug from Mickey.

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3. Magic Kingdom Liberty Square pillory. I’m not sure why it’s so amusing to imagine your family members imprisoned in a public square, but it gets a giggle every time.

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4. Flying on Dumbo. Flying elephant? Photo or it didn’t happen.

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5. Oversized sombrero at Epcot’s Mexico. You’ll want to get shots of many other silly hats as well, but the sombrero is key. I’ve never seen anyone buy one, I assume that they’re only there for the photo op.

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6. Slaying the troll in the Epcot Norway gift shop. They put the faux weapon display right next to the giant troll statue. The combination is inevitable.

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7. Cleaning up the Kitchen Sink at the Beach Club’s Beaches & Cream restaurant. It contains an entire can of whipped cream and it’s served in a sink-shaped vessel. Don’t have to eat the whole thing, but it’s a cute photo if you pretend that you did.

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8. The turkey leg. The smaller the kid, the better the photo. (Look Ma, the turkey’s bigger than little Billy’s head.) Here again, you don’t necessarily have to eat it, but you do have to pose with it.

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9. Tasting Beverly. Beverly is the Italian representative at Epcot’s Club Cool free international beverage dispensary. Nearly everyone (at least everyone raised with a typical American diet) finds it revoltingly bitter. Feed it to an unsuspecting victim and be sure to have your camera ready to capture the grimace. Consumption is mandatory on this one.

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10. Getting soaked. The attraction cameras at Splash Mountain can sometimes capture a mid-ride drenching, but if you want to have an up close and personal shot of your family members wetter than Nemo, head on over to Kali River Rapids at the Animal Kingdom. Even a poncho won’t protect you.

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11. Exhausted kids. Walking around Disney can take a lot out of a young kid (or a middle aged dad). Be sure to snap a photo when they pass out on the first moving vehicle they encounter.

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12. Your future on Spaceship Earth. The back end of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth features a personalized video of what your life might be like in the future. Better save the image for 20 or 30 years to see if they were right.

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13. Dress-up. With the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Pirates League, Face Painting, and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, chances are someone in your group is going to go into dress-up mode at some point.

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14. 3-D glasses. If you’re wearing 3-D glasses, then you’re having a good time.

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15. A family reenactment. Disney theme parks have been around long enough now so that generations of people who visited as children have now returned as adults, often with kids of their own. If you’re in this category, consider reenacting an old family photo, either with the same people or with the next generation. Character and weenie photos work particularly well for these purposes.

The first photo below is of my husband with Pooh at age five and then at significantly more than age five. The second is of my husband as a child with Goofy and then our daughter with Goofy. Sing with me now … It’s the Circle of Liiiiife ….

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Bonus photo. I had initially wanted to include a photo of PUSH the talking waste bin in this list, but it appears that PUSH has been junked. Farewell my trashy friend.

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Have you taken all these photos during your Disney vacations? Do you have any suggestions for alternatives? Is there anything more iconic that these shots? What am I missing? Let us know in the comments below.

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Posted on February 21, 2014

26 Responses to “15 Iconic Photos You Must Take At Disney World”

  • The sombrero picture at EPCOT sounds like a good idea, until you think about the number of sweaty heads that try one of those on over the course of a hot, humid summer day. Guess you’ve got to live a little, though. Still …

    • I was thinking the exact same thing! I don’t consider myself a germaphob but this is one experience I will have to skip. Who knows how often those things even get cleaned?

    • Forget sweat… what about other tiny little “friends” that can be passed along via hats? Lice are not and can never be Magical! :) LOL! (But those are very cute pictures, Erin!)

  • For number 9, I originally read “Testing Bravery” and then I realized it said “Tasting Beverly” and then thought to myself, “Well, those two things aren’t so different.”

  • We don’t have any pics eating the sundae. But, I think just about everyone has a picture of him/herself eating a Mickey bar! And you left off playing in fountains…what kid or adult can resist playing in at least one of the fountains and having a picture made while doing it?!? And let’s not forget…pictures of the family wearing rain ponchos! For those of us that were lucky enough to wear the yellow ones, well, those pics are priceless ;).

    • We still have two functional yellow ponchos that we take when the weather is threatening (or ANY summer day). I always wonder how many people know how old they are and how many people think they’re from some offsite souvenir store.

  • 1987, first visit, aged 14, I bought the sombrero! :)

  • I really wish they would add an attraction photo on Kali River Rapids – right when you get soaked at the end. We have a family photo of us afterwards all soaking wet, but it’s just not the same. :)

    • I agree. My family and I were discussing this very topic. I think there’s no photo because the ride car is round and it would be impossible to get everyone in the shot :-(

  • Such a fun list of photo ops!! But don’t forget the all important shot of the family on Main Street USA! That to me is the most important of all.

  • Yes! Best TouringPlans.com blog post ever! Anyone who is a WDW geek has all of these photos. Thanks!

  • I have heard you can present Disney staff with a card that loads all of the pictures you take at the parks. What is this called and how do I sign up for it?

  • My daughter saved up her money and bought a sombrero in October! We got lots of laughs on the way out, but it made a really cool photo standing on the wall with Spaceship Earth in the background! The whole family was able to get under it. I thought my husband was going to have a stroke trying to fit it in the trunk for the ride home, but I just rearranged some stuff and make a hole in the center of everything and turned the sombrero upside down. I don’t know how you’d get it on an airplane. We now have it hanging on her wall.

  • I love all of these! We have three that are special to our family:
    * On the bridge at the entrance to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. My parents had their photo taken there on their first trip in 1978, and now we try to get a family pic on the same bridge. Doesn’t happen every trip, but often enough.
    * When my sister was little (age 6, I think), Mom got a great pic of her swinging from one of the street light posts in the back of the UK pavilion (think “Singin’ in the Rain”). Each time we have been back, we get a photo of my sister (now in her 30s) swinging from the same light post.
    * On the WEDWAY People Mover – a classic attraction and one of our family’s favorite picture spots (sleeping kids and all)!

  • I love Disney World. I grew up in Southern California and went to Disneyland all the time, but I must admit that Disney World is my favorite. But I have never been to Disneyland France. That is next on the list I guess. I love and admire all things Disney, but nothing more than the fine art. The artists behind Disney are wonderful. I have a shop on Etsy where I put up my own disney art but I will never be as talented as Walt Disney. I don’t know how I have never seen your blog. But I love it! Thank you for putting in all the time to run such an awesome Disney resource.

  • Erin – Here was my attempt at #10 (the “Getting Soaked” one…), if you’re able to see these here in my DropBox folder:

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ecm3kdtjvty96ct/SFrPQOqqRH

    I had brought a not-terribly-expensive waterproof camera on our trip for just such opportunities as this…

  • …and I very thoughtfully managed to sit across the raft from my wife and son, and fortunately for the photo, they managed to win the lottery on catching the big wave!

  • There is a totem pole at Wilderness Lodge. Every trip we try to take one with all the family members in a totem pole-like pose.

  • My family did one of each of us trying to pull the sword out of the stone with various degrees of skill and strength. Got that in a four picture frame above my computer here :)