We had the opportunity to visit Disney World last month and I did a lot of debating about what gear I was going to bring on our vacation.

I knew that I wanted to bring some of my gear for places like the beach but I was indecisive about what I wanted to take to Disney World. In the end, I decided I was going to take my ‘big camera’ instead of something smaller and I am so glad that I did. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are packing for your own trip to the happiest place on earth.

Disney world for photographers doesn't mean you have to take all your gear. Here are some helpful tips when packing for your own trip to Disney.

Bring only one lens.

I know this might seem crazy but you really will only want one. When you are carrying your camera and lens around all day long, keeping the weight as light as possible will help so much after a long day (or even just a few hours) of walking and standing in line. I brought my 24mm prime lens with me and it was the perfect lens to capture the scene and also get closer when I needed to.

Don’t forget that you can also use your phone as well. I switched between my camera and my iPhone throughout the day depending on how fast I needed to grab the shot. Things generally move at a fast pace during the day and having both as an option worked really well. There just wouldn’t have been enough time to change lenses in most situations.

Disney world for photographers

Keep it casual.

There are so many opportunities to take images at Disney World but unless you have given the images some thought beforehand, it could be tough to grab them during the day. Don’t expect that every shot is going to be art – snapshots are perfectly okay! The most important thing is to be present with your family and enjoy your time together. Because it is usually crowded, make sure to grab the shots you want when you are at a certain place. Chances are, you won’t be back to that area of the park again that day. I am going to admit that even though most of my shots with my family are of us together in more of a snapshot type pose, it was what was best for us that day and they already bring back great memories.

Disneyworld-family-castle

Use one small bag.

I kept my camera, lens, wallet and other necessities in one small camera bag that doubled on as my purse. It helped me to only have to worry about keeping track of one thing and made it easy to take on rides with me. A separate camera bag and purse would have been too much to fit on some of the rides. In preparation for our trip, I purchased the Schoolgirl by Ketti bag and it was absolutely perfect! It kept my camera and lens protected while also keeping things light. If you do have other bags that you are bringing into the park, I would highly recommend renting a stroller just for your bags. We are no longer in the stroller or diaper bag stage because my youngest is five, but we rented a stroller as a place to keep our snacks and water bottles for the day. Just make sure that your valuables can fit in your small bag to keep with you.

Disney-world-parade

Bring extra memory cards and an extra battery.

This goes without saying but I didn’t want to leave it out. I normally shoot with two 64gb memory cards (that write simultaneously) and it was more than enough space for the images that day. I brought backup cards just in case something went wrong or if for any reason, I needed more space. I also took some video throughout the day and that can take up more space and use the battery faster than just the images by themselves do.

race-cars-disney-world

Bring a portable phone charger.

This is something I wish I had thought of to bring with me. My phone battery did not survive an almost 15 hour day at the park. My daughter and I had a dinner reservation in Cinderella’s castle later that night and the boys were going to keep riding the rides while we were there.

Because we weren’t sure on the exact time we would leave dinner, we ended up just meeting at the car because my battery had died. My phone battery was already pretty low at the time we left for the castle but even with it turned off during dinner, it wouldn’t start back up again. A portable phone charger would have been a tremendous help to keep in touch at that point.

During the day, we were able to divide and conquer with the kids while keeping track of each other’s location on the iPhone’s Find Friends app. It was extremely helpful to use to meet throughout the day and would have also helped at the end of the night.

Cinderella and Grace

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