Walt Disney World is one of the most photographed places in the world, and for a number of years Cinderella Castle topped the list of most photographed structures anywhere. It’s a given that visitors to WDW will take a picture (or 17) in front of the castle; Wayfinding TravelingMom Jennifer Kaufman has some suggestions of other places you and your family should go for some stunning family portraits or fun candid photos at Disney World – outside the parks.
It’s well known that there are countless opportunities to take magical photographs in each of the four Walt Disney World parks. Character interactions, Cinderella Castle, live animals on a savanna, reactions to spectacular parade floats, your children enjoying a Mickey bar as it melts all over their faces – in this era of digital and cell phone photography, you won’t be coming home from a trip without a plethora of captured memories.
What often gets overlooked though, is the opportunity for amazing photos – and memories – outside the parks! I could probably just tell you to go to any and every Walt Disney World Resort hotel, and you would be able to find beautiful options. Here are some (slightly) more specific places you should check out for your next family portraits, engagement pictures, or just some fun pictures of your kids taking in the magic that is abundant in all areas of Walt Disney World.
Where to Take Family Photos Outside the Disney Parks
Animal Kingdom Lodge
The colors at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge make for some really amazing portraits. You also can’t go wrong with the landscaping out along the savannas. And who knows? You may just get a giraffe in your family photo!
Art of Animation Resort
Whether you prefer to visit under the sea with Ariel, sing Hakuna Matata with Timon and Pumbaa, or stop for a breather in Radiator Springs, the Art of Animation Resort is so, so much fun for pictures of the kids – or the whole family!
If you prefer a different theme, larger-than-life icons are also available (and fun to photograph) at each of the Value Resorts. Pop Century offers cultural icons from a variety of decades, and Disney’s All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, and All-Star Movies Resorts offer instruments, sports equipment, Disney movie characters, and more.
Beach & Yacht Club Resorts
The beautiful, muted colors of the Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club Resorts are especially stunning in the early and late hours of the day, but this area is one of our favorites no matter the time!
Even inside the Beach Club Resort, the materials used throughout make excellent portrait backdrops. We have a photo of our daughter that looks like it could have been taken inside a portrait studio, but it was taken just outside the gift shop and quick service snack counter at Beach Club Marketplace. If you’re looking, there are often beautiful backdrops in the most random places!
When you find lush places like the one below – located throughout most of the resort properties – you can get photographs that nobody will necessarily even know were taken at Walt Disney World. You’ll always know, though, and that will make them extra special.
Disney’s Boardwalk is a favorite spot for many photographers. There are so many wonderful colors and elements you can include in your photos!
Shooting from the Boardwalk, you can also capture great memories with the picturesque Yacht & Beach Club Resorts in the background.
“Downtown Disney” always had must-do photo opportunities for us, but those were always more about nostalgia and whimsy. Now, however, Disney Springs is a legitimately gorgeous location for your shoot – especially the Town Center and Springs Overlook areas!
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
All throughout the beautiful, sprawling grounds at the Grand Floridian Resort are locations just perfect for photographs. Whether you opt for the grounds or the breathtaking lobbies – or some pictures in both – you can’t go wrong!
Polynesian Village Resort
The entire Polynesian Village Resort exterior looks like it was made to be photographed. Lush greens, dark woods, tiki culture (done in a classy way)… it’s almost like being in Hawaii for a photoshoot. Almost.
One of the reasons we love Saratoga Springs is for the upscale feel and upkeep of the grounds. Marble and granite, beautiful woods, large lakes, and fountains, make this perhaps one of the most overlooked areas for family portraits.
Don’t forget about the beaches! Obviously beach photography is a popular choice for family portraits around the world, and for good reason. You can find beautiful beaches on which to take pictures at several of the resort hotels, including: Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Caribbean Beach Resort, Contemporary Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Old Key West Resort, and Polynesian Village Resort.