Disneyland and Walt Disney World could very possibly be the two most photographed locales on the planet. Pictures have long been an important way of remembering a vacation. But these days, they’re also showing up on social media, digital scrapbooks, photo gifts, products—the possibilities are endless! So, what camera should you bring to the parks to capture all those magical moments? Let’s take a look at some of the options. Then, let us know what type of camera you choose for your theme park vacations.
Phone cameras today are light years better than the first versions we played with on our flip phones back in the day. In fact, one phone even boasts that it was made with the camera in mind first. Personally, I use my iPhone camera to snap quick pictures to upload to my personal Facebook, as well as my business Facebook pages. It’s quick, convenient and no equipment to tote around. However, if you’ve got a phone with a decent camera, chances are you’re also using that phone for social media, texting, wait time apps—oh, and maybe phone calls, too. This leaves you with the possibility of being stuck without a camera if the battery should die just before you get to Mickey. As a negative, phone cameras usually aren’t the best in low light situations as you often find in theme parks.
Get Park Wise: Carry a portable charger or your wall charger with you. Outlets are scattered throughout the parks and resorts for a quick charge, and charging stations are even popping up like the ones near the Tangled restrooms in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
I’m so amazed that we’re in an age where people are carrying around computers in their purses and bags. I’m also amazed that people use those suckers on dark rides. Don’t be that guy, or I can’t guarantee the dryness of your tablet at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean. In all seriousness, these are perfectly fine to use in lit situations, but they are a total eyesore for your neighbors in lowlight environments. Save this one for character shots or daytime events (as long as you’re not holding your 48-inch tablet above your head and blocking the views of those behind you).
This good old standby is still available for purchase and does the job for lots of situations. We gave some to the kids on their first few trips to waste on whatever they wanted. My niece’s camera had about a dozen shots of two Mousekeepers happy to strike a pose, as well as their carts. And about six shots of her finger. Which brings the issue of not being able to review your photos and not having an “unlimited” amount of images. However, they do work in a pinch. Take a moment to reminisce to the sound of *click*turn-turn-turn-turn.
Get Park Wise: Let the kids have a turn with the camera! You might be surprised and enjoy some great shots, but it’s more fun when the shots are funny.
Point and Shoot Camera
This is a great option for most tourists. With a few more options than your standard phone camera, these are often compact and can be slipped into a pants pocket or bag. Settings are usually easy to understand, so you’ll be able to catch the shot without fiddling around with focus and f-stops. You’ll also often have the ability to shoot video, so this could be the perfect choice for a trip to the parks. Again, no flash photography on dark rides, please!
Get Park Wise: My name and phone number are on my camera, as well as my memory cards. If anything happens to get lost and a sweet soul finds it, they’re able to contact me to return it. I’ve also seen photographers who take a picture of their contact information on each memory card so it is the first picture. Speaking from personal experience, it’s a sad day when you realize you’ve lost a camera, so make it as easy as possible for it to get back to you.
I haven’t yet taken the old school SLR to the parks, but I do lug around a DSLR. My reasoning: If I’m going to have this camera, I might as well take it to the most photogenic places on Earth. Yes, it’s heavier than the other options and bulkier, too, but with a DSLR, you’re able to get a wide range of photos that just aren’t going to happen with the others. With these cameras also come all of their expensive and heavy accessories. I keep it to one extra lens and a flexible tripod, but I’ve seen photogs out with an entire studio on their backs ready to capture the magic. I’m typically just interested in capturing family and friends and anything that catches my attention, so I edit the camera bag as much as possible.
Get Park Wise: Misters and water rides and rainstorms, oh my! Have some sort of waterproof solution when traveling the parks with your camera. Water proof cases are available, but I’ve seen Ziplocs do just as well.
What do you think is the best camera for theme parks? We’d love to hear your tips.