Top 10 Lists

My Top Ten Disney Parks Photos of 2019

It’s back! Wandering in Disney’s most self-indulgent post of the year. Every year I go through the photos I’ve taken in that calendar year and then share the 10 I like the most. 2019 wasn’t quite as ambitious from a travel perspective as 2018 but the year has seen us go to Disney World multiple times, along with Disneyland. This post will share my favorite of the 2019 photos along with a couple from outside the parks.

Before you think this is a complete ego trip, know that I don’t consider myself to be a good photographer. I’m trying to improve and call this one of my favorite (and definitely most expensive) hobbies but there are much better websites or accounts to follow to get great Disney photography. Drop a comment below if you’re looking for some recommendations on those sites. Part of the reason this post exists is to simply talk about what happened in our 2019 in travel in a more unique way. I’ll get into the location, as well as how I took the shot, in each way. So instead of a complete ego trip maybe it’s just a partial one 😉

Before getting into the Disney Parks photos, here are a couple of my favorites from elsewhere this year. Both with the Disney photos and ones outside of the parks, some of these are simply favorites and not what I consider to just be the best.

Haystack Rock fog

This is Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, a small town on the Oregon Coast. It’s a common place for many Pacific Northwest residents to travel for a long weekend. I liked how moody the photo turned out, with the fog and mist hovering just off the ground and the dark clouds behind the rock. There’s nothing special about the actual picture taking here. I like the composition well. More this photo kind of captured my mood of that time in my life – a little anxious and worried, just waiting for the fog to clear. Thankfully it has and this picture is a reminder of a long walk on the beach that day, trying to overcome that.

Love lock

This photo is in Vancouver B.C., a gorgeous city and one my favorite in the world. Vancouver’s North Shore is especially beautiful with plenty of outdoor activities to do. We’d spent the morning hiking around there before heading back to a market just off the water. There are these locks on the fence somewhere along this path and I ended up taking a few minutes to get this. I wish I had upped the aperture a little here to make the background, shooting towards the city of Vancouver, clearer. Still, there’s enough color to make it interesting.

Alright, let’s move on to the actual Disney photos! These are my 10 favorites of 2019 and I may have cheated those rules a bit. I’ll start with number 10 and countdown to number 1.

Elephant Pool Jungle Cruise MK

We’ll start off with a fun one! The elephants all had their trunks on so I felt okay taking a few photos. This is Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise right after exiting the temple. The light is pretty soft and it was approaching sunset, making the greens a little darker. What really stands out about the photo though is the elephants smiles. It’s a simple touch by Imagineering but adds to the joy of this pun-filled attraction.

Lights Castle in background Christmas MK

This is a recent addition but cracks the top ten because I like how the yellow lights turned out. I took this photo around midnight but opted for a handheld photo over using a tripod because I was trying to fit it all in the composition. I wish I could have stood on the wall or something but I’ve heard that’s frowned upon. The speaker on the left isn’t the most interesting thing to look at but all of the beautiful lights make up for it.

Bear Merry Menagerie AK

Another fun one because gosh dang it that bear is adorable. This is at Animal Kingdom during Merry Menagerie, a holiday offering. There is truly nothing special about this photo but I could stare into that bear’s eyes for hours and that’s why it finds a place on the list.

Incredicoaster in motion DCA night tall

For all of Pixar Pier’s faults, there is some beautiful kinetic energy in the land, especially at night. We ended up getting off the Incredicoaster just after sunset and I rushed over to this spot. The blue hour light was enough to not warrant a tripod. But eventually I decided I wanted a photo with the coaster in motion and the water shooting up. I clumsily tried to balance the camera on the rail and wound up getting this shot. As usual, there are some aspects that I’d like a do over on but the red, blue and gold all compliment each other well and I especially like the lower half of the photo.

Illuminations streaks Epcot
Torii gate Illuminations red burst Epcot

As I said, I’m going to cheat. I couldn’t decide on an Illuminations photo so two end up here, one from each side of the lagoon. The first one uses a filter to catch the show’s final bursts. That was always my favorite part of the show and while I have some issues with the composition there, the fireworks look great.

The bottom photo is kind of the opposite. The composition and streaking clouds over the pagoda look great while the fireworks are a little more lackluster. Either way, I spent a few nights this year trying to capture my favorite fireworks show of all time and I’m pretty happy with the results.

Flags door Maharajah Jungle Trek AK

This picture in Animal Kingdom’s Maharajah Jungle Trek is more artsy than most on the list. There is so much texture and color in that animal trail and the whole park that I wanted to capture a glimpse of it and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. The aperture is as low as it can go, blurring out the background while still giving a sense of the depth of field. This is probably more divisive than any other pick on the list and I get why someone wouldn’t like it, but I’m happy with the result.

Pandora night AK Mountains

I finally got it! After many bad attempts and nights spent in Pandora – World of Avatar I finally ended up with a nighttime picture of the park that I like. All of the photo turned out pretty sharp, outside of the purposefully soft clouds in the top left. Frankly, I wish the clouds filled the whole sky but you can’t win them all. A 30 second exposure time, along with a few other choices, gave the photo some beautiful color. I wasn’t blown away by Pandora at night over the first few years it opened but now I thoroughly enjoy being inside that land around closing time. It’s dark and moody, unlike many other areas Disney offers.

Mickey topiary DHS sunset

Right place, right time here. We had just gotten off the boat and were walking up to this topiary outside of Hollywood Studios as the sun had just finished setting. The color in the background is beautiful and makes for a nice backdrop to the green, yellow and blue in the front. Mickey right in the center of the photo is a nice focal point. I wish I had been able to get my tripod out for this shot, as it could have been better.

Pumpkin Mickey Main Street DL night

I spent a good amount of time on Disneyland’s Main Street trying to get this shot. The Mickey Mouse pumpkin winking at the end of Main Street is fun and I always think shooting from the ground is an interesting way to go at night. There were other ideas that I had that night that also used the rail on Main Street but nothing turned out like this. Is it weird that Mickey is winking on the backside of this pumpkin? Is it a wink?

Castle Tomorrowland rocks sunset MK

My favorite photo of 2019 comes from Magic Kingdom. The Tomorrowland rocks, in their metallic blue, are fun to play with when it comes to taking photos. Really I got a little lucky with the sunset and the sky showing off all of those colors that slowly bleed into the rock’s texture. The photo also makes it seem like the castle is in some far off kingdom instead of a few steps away. While I ended up liking last year’s set of photos better (mostly thanks to the locations), I’m happy with what I ended up with. Thanks for indulging me for a post!

What was your favorite photo from this set? Let us know in the comments below! Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney. If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email and like our social media pages. You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Have a great day!

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