Top 10 Lists

My Top Ten Photos From Our Disney World Year

Yesterday, our latest trip report came to a close and with it our final trip under our Disney World Annual Pass.  Over the last year, we went to Disney World four times and with it came around 5,000 photos.  While we will certainly be back to WDW before long, this seems the opportune time for a little bit of looking back.

I don’t consider myself a very good photographer.  This hobby I’ve picked up has helped augment my Disney trips, along with other travels.  I thoroughly enjoy it and try to learn more and more about the art but I’m certainly no expert.  For fantastic photography visit to see my favorite Disney photographer, Tom Bricker.

With that said, sometimes the stars align even for the worst of photographers.  A great scene or setting can be hard to screw up even if you aren’t quite sure of what you’re doing.  Now that I’m done trying to thoroughly convince you that I’m a bad photographer, I’m going to share some of my favorite photos from Disney World that I took in the last year.

I’ll try to stick to ten but won’t put them in any certain order.  I’ll add a few thoughts below each one and I’d love to hear any comments you have down below.  Without further adieu…

Echo Lake night DHS

I’ll start off with an obligatory Hollywood Studios shot.  None of the ones I took really stood out to me but I felt I needed one.  I do think this photograph envelops the mood of this Echo Lake area after dark.  There aren’t many people around and this is one of the more peaceful areas in Walt Disney World.  The area is almost too quiet and bare but is a nice treat to stumble upon.

Dandelion Fantasia end monorail Epcot

One of my favorite shots of the year because of the subject matter.  Fantasia (and Fantasmic!) is one of favorite Disney related projects and this topiary display in Epcot during Flower & Garden Festival is beautiful.  I knelt very close to the flowers and waited for a monorail to pass by.  The results were pretty good, though I wish I had gotten this particular shot at sunset.

Closer Discovery River Harambe AK

Shooting back up Discovery River is an easy way to make a good photograph.  This is from the walkway between Harambe and Pandora.  I love the details in the area along with the ‘natural’ beauty of the water and greenery.

BTMR wider MK

The clouds really make this photograph.  Big Thunder Mountain is a great subject in its own right.  Add in the train for some kinetic energy and the photograph becomes much more exciting.  But a photo full of tan and gray would get a little dull.  The blue in the clouds here add a nice contrast to the mountain’s peak and make the photo much better.

Splash mt. night

This is a case of working hard for a certain shot and now just wanting it to be slightly better.  I love the clouds, reflection and subject in this photo.  But, each aspect can be a little better.  I wish the clouds stretched through more of the sky, meaning a longer shutter speed.  I wish the subject was a little less bright, meaning a higher aperture.  Lastly, I should have raised the tripod just a little higher to get the reflection.  All that said, the color in the sky balancing out Splash Mountain is beautiful.

Pirates Jack Sparrow

I still struggle with dark ride photography.  I don’t spend money to get the highest quality lens but I do my best with a high ISO, low aperture and short shutter speeds.  This shot is the best I’ve ever done.  While I don’t love the inclusion of Jack Sparrow in Pirates, I certainly think this final scene is impressive with all the detail in the room.

Bear ToL wide

This photo is included because the bear is my favorite animal on the Tree of Life and the blurred plant and flowers in the foreground make a somewhat interesting frame of the animal.  I could do my favorite 10 photos of Tree of Life and, while I’d be the only one who found it interesting, would enjoy myself.

China dragon Epcot night

Another case of it being hard to screw up this photo.  The subject, framed by the building in the China Pavilion, is very interesting.  Having a tripod made this photo so much easier.

AK Asia night

Right place, right time.  The photo has a certain energy to it that really matches that of Animal Kingdom at dusk.  There’s a mystery and excitement.  The prayer flags, light fixtures and trees blend into the sky and stars, making for a beautiful blue hour.

MK Hocus Pocus jack o lantern Oogie Maleficent

The is a simple showcase of depth of field.  The pumpkin followed Oogie Boogie(!!!) followed by Maleficent is really fun.  Them all staring in my general direction is a bit fortuitous, although it seems like all of the characters in Magic Kingdom stage shows are told to look right near the Partners Statue.  This is the best spot to photograph these shows if you have a zoom lens.

We Renew Broken Hearts AK

This photo makes it simply because I love the subject.  This is my favorite sign or artwork in all of Disney World.  It’s in the seating area of Harambe Market.


Hello there!  This little guy was posing for me and the rock he’s standing next to adds a little mirroring to add a little bit of symmetry.  The frame was filled with natural elements so my job was easy.

Ferry boat higher

My favorite photo I’ve ever taken partially because I worked hard for it.  The previous evening I had lost part of my tripod and was pretty down about not being able to do my normal nighttime photography.  We were walking out of Magic Kingdom at about 1 AM and the sky was beautiful so I gave this a shot.  I balanced my camera on the fence and tried multiple shots using a different ISO, aperture and shutter speed each time.  I ended up with this and think it looks pretty good.

Okay, I snuck a few more than 10 in but that’s it for now.  Thank you for reading and looking!  If you’re interested in more posts like this than let me know in the comments!  To check out more of my photos, click here.

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– Andrew

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