Back when up! put together its 2010 Disneyland Guide, I chatted with Scott Brinegar, the official photographer for Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, who has been snapping shots of the iconic theme parks for 25 years.
He shared the prime places to take travel-brochure-worthy photos at Mickey’s California headquarters like the pros.
Check out his top 10 spots for Disneyland photo ops to make the most of your next trip there:
The Rear of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Fantasyland
Brinegar’s favourite spot to photograph at Disneyland Resort is actually the back of the famous castle. You read that right. Everyone clamours to get the usual shot of the front, but Brinegar assures me that the castle's stunning back is the place to be. A note from the photo master: "You really should only get good pictures of it later in the day and at night, because otherwise you’re looking right into the sun."
Carnation Plaza Gardens in Fantasyland
For another creative Sleeping Beauty Castle composition, stand near the Carnation Plaza Gardens and turn your camera on the chateau. You'll be able to get in the wooden bridge that leads over to that area and Matterhorn Bobsleds' mountain in one shot. Carnation Plaza Gardens is "one of those areas where you don’t see a lot of [castle] pictures taken from," shares Brinegar. "It’s one of those great little surprises."
The Compass in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Fantasyland
If you insist on photographing your kid in front the front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, direct him or her to stand on the tip of the south point of the gigantic compass painted on the ground out front. You’ll get a great shot from this perspective "pretty much any time of the day, because [the castle] faces south," says Brinegar, "[which was] consciously done so that it is always in the sun."
The Tree House at Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island
Climb to the top of the tree house and look out. The Matterhorn Bobsleds' mountain rises out from behind Sleeping Beauty Castle, making for a magnificent photo. "It’s the only place in the park you can see that," Brinegar explains. "And it's pretty cool."
Across the Water from Paradise Pier
Brinegar says it's best to shoot the Paradise Pier waterfront at night. This way, you can capture the glistening water in the foreground, reflecting the colourful lights along the boardwalk. To boot, Mickey’s Fun Wheel will be spinning in a whir of rainbow colours in the background.
Second Level of Innoventions in Tomorrowland
The upper level of Innoventions "is just a nice, high vantage point, which there aren’t a lot of," Brinegar says. Shoot from almost anywhere to get a variety of different angles of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, which are spread out below.
Sailing Ship Columbia in Fowler's Harbor
The Sailing Ship Columbia docks in Fowler's Harbor, surrounded by an area resembling a seaport village. Brinegar recommends getting close to the boat’s bow for a one-of-a-kind shot. "The bow actually stands over your head, and you’re very close to some of the detail... that’s really intricate. There’s a lot of great rope work on that ship, and a woman’s figure on the bow."
Rivers of America alongside Hungry Bear Restaurant
Stand near the river's edge outside the restaurant. Point your lens beyond the ducks and reeds in the water towards New Orleans Square on the other side to capture some cool architecture. If you're patient, the Sailing Ship Columbia and a few canoes will glide into your viewfinder. Bringer reveals, "It’s a good place to take pictures along the river that a lot of people don’t know about."
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Tomorrowland Lagoon
A warning: this photo requires patience and good timing. Or lots of luck. The Disneyland Monorail runs right above the water the submarines travel through. Wait until a train crosses over the rail just as a submarine is heading under it, then press the shutter. With Tomorrowland in the background, "it’s a nice, postcard type shot that I've taken many times," says Brinegar.
Ariel's Grotto at Paradise Pier
Get close to mega roller-coaster California Screamin’ and wait for the car to come speeding by just a few metres away. When it’s shaving the railing near Ariel’s Grotto, snap the perfect amusement park action-shot. "That's a great place to take pictures, because people are just literally hanging their heads off," Brinegar says.
First Photo: Courtesy of Scott Brinegar
All Other Photos: ©Disneyland Resort