3 Secrets to Make Disney Look Empty in Pictures

Engagement photo in front of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom Disney World captured by top Orlando photographer
[This article was originally published on December 19, 2019]

Important Note: As of November 1, 2021 sessions will no longer be offered in Magic Kingdom per their new ‘Capture the Moment’ photo pass program and stricter guidelines for outside photographers. Sessions will be available for Epcot and Animal Kingdom.

If you’ve been following my work for even just a short while, you know that Walt Disney World is practically my second home. I even have Cinderella castle on my forearm as part of my Orlando tribute tattoo! One of the most common questions I get asked all the time is “how do you make pictures at Magic Kingdom look so empty?” After all, it is undoubtedly the most popular park for photos because of the iconic castle and it’s also the most frequently visited by Orlando locals and tourists alike.

As a matter of fact, Magic Kingdom gets an average 56,000 visitors PER DAY. That’s literally insane. Yet I am able to get photos like these at any given time, even during busy Summer months and even during the holidays. I have even done photo shoots at Magic Kingdom the day after Christmas and on New Years Eve (which for the record I do not recommend!). Even so, I managed to get some amazing images for my clients! How!?

Here are 3 of my secrets to making photos at Magic Kingdom look empty no matter what.

Engagement photography at Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom captured by top Orlando photographer

#1 I know all of the best spots!

Depending on the time of day there are specific areas in the parks that tend to have less traffic than others. There are also certain areas that are pretty much ALWAYS empty no matter what. Because I have so much experience shooting there, my photographer brain has bookmarked all of the best spots to take photos. There are lots of factors that affect this like the time of day, the parades or showtimes and the season so hiring a photographer with experience is worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to shooting at Disney! 
Engagement photo in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom in Orlando
Disney engagement photo in front of the Beauty and the Beast castle in Magic Kingdom in Orlando
Romantic engagement session with a flowy dress in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom in Orlando
Couple walking in Magic Kingdom during their engagement session at Disney World in Orlando

#2 Angles are everything

You will find me crouching, ducking and sometimes even laying on the ground if I need to in order to get the best photo. Strategic angles allow me to crop people out of the frame so that it appears as if nobody is around even if they are literally standing right behind you! Getting low and shooting up works great for cropping out those pesky strollers too. I very rarely ever ask guests to move for me. Instead I prefer to work around them so that we are not interfering with anyone else enjoying their Disney experience! 

Engagement photography session in front of Rapuzel's tower in the Tangled area of Walt Disney World
Engagement photography at Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom captured by top Orlando photographer
Engagement session photo in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom in Orlando Florida

#3 Patience is a virtue

Despite my ninja photographer hacks– it definitely takes good old fashioned patience to shoot at Magic Kingdom. Nonetheless, I find that if you time it and wait for just the right moment the crowds will clear for a few seconds, which is long enough to get the shot. When we are shooting in high traffic areas I will anticipate breaks in the crowds, pose and position you in advance and give you a “3-2-1” countdown so that you are ready to go when the perfect moment presents itself! I can do 5 different poses in 5 seconds so once we get our golden opportunity I make sure to shoot fast and pose faster so we can get as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
Creative Disney engagement photo at the carousel captured by Orlando photographer
Disney engagement photo in front of the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom in Orlando
Engagement photo on Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom in Orlando
Sunset sky over Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom captured by Disney engagement photographer in Orlando

Of course there are a handful of other factors that play into how I photograph engagement sessions at Magic Kingdom, but these are the biggest ones! Remember that when you hire a photographer you are not just investing in the photos themselves– you are paying for their knowledge, expertise and experience which is especially true in order to get those breathtakingly beautiful Disney photos!

Ready to schedule a magical engagement, anniversary or honeymoon session of your own? Send me a contact form— I’d love to help!

Author: Elle Baez, engagement & wedding photographer and proud Orlandoan (yes, that’s what we are called!)