First of all, you could just leave it up to Disney World and buy the Memory Maker package. Unfortunately, it only takes pictures of your vacation party. What about the scenery or the places you want a picture, but there's no photographer? Everyone has the intention of taking pictures of their vacation party and they're prepared if they are vacationing at a popular sight-seeing destination like Alaska, the White Mountains in New Hampshire or the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine, but if you haven't been to Disney World, yet, or have only been once or twice, let me prepare you now that your pictures will increase exponentially and many of them will be of the scenery as well as your vacation party. I've been to Disney World many times and I recently noticed the number of pictures has grown significantly after each visit. Your pictures tell a story and it's a story we love to reminisce on by ourselves or with family and friends. So, let me warn you now, be prepared with not only having your camera with you and ready at all times, but make sure it has plenty of memory to store all of the pictures you will take. Stop and look at all photo opportunities as a way of catching and freezing your past memories. You won't regret it.
Cinderella Castle--I know this may be a no-brainer, but it's when and how you get a picture that is my absolute favorite photo, which I discovered by accident. I fell in love when I saw this picture I took of the castle. Many of my pictures are chance and I don't know how good they came out until I look at them on the big computer screen when I get home. Now I make every effort to take nighttime pictures of the castle. Raise your camera above people's heads and start taking those pictures. It doesn't matter if the castle has Christmas lights or not. Raise your arms and get a picture of the whole castle at night. Looking at the picture to the left, you wouldn't know there was a crowd of heads in front of me.
Magic Kingdom Entrance--After you pass through the turnstiles, WAIT! Don't rush down Main Street, USA, just yet. We all rush to get into the park to be at the beginning of the loooonnnnggg lines, but wait! Look at all the details Disney has put together for all of us to enjoy that is not ride related. There's a beautiful garden with Mickey's smiling face right in front of the train station. Perfect time for a scenic photo and/or photo with your vacation party.
Japan Pavilion, Epcot--The Torii Gate is located at the Japan Pavilion on World Showcase Lagoon. This is one of my favorites, because not only is it a pretty structure, but you can get the Spaceship Earth in the background, too, if you wanted to!
Characters--I've taken dozens and dozens of my family with characters, but every once in a while, you catch a unique picture of the family and characters doing something funny, standing a different way, making a funny face. If you look at the little boy with Mickey and Minnie to the right, you will see there are no other kids around. There's no photographer, either. We had just arrived at the resort in 1998 and we were walking to dinner. Why would I carry my camera to dinner? I don't know! I grabbed it on our way out of the room and look at who we bumped into. Mickey and Minnie do not take pictures with people together unless you know someone who can get you special privileges or they are paid to be at an event. The event just so happen to be where we were walking by. I could NEVER duplicate that picture. It's a once-in-a-lifetime photo.
While on rides--When it's safe to do so, I have my camera ready, get on a ride, buckle myself in (if necessary) and turn to my vacation party to try to get some good pictures. Some of my best pictures are of my vacation party smiling and enjoying themselves.
Statues--It's amazing how something so simple as walking up to a statue (that most people just pass by) and have your picture taken with it. Once again, you're telling a story of your travels. So, take pictures to show others and remind yourself of what you saw along the way.
Liberty Bell, Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom--There are several great spots for pictures in Liberty Square. One that many people rush by is a replica of the Liberty Bell. This Liberty Bell replica is special, though. In 1976 there were 50 copies of the Liberty Bell made to celebrate America's bicentennial. One of them was given to each state. Since Pennsylvania has the real Liberty Bell, the state donated its copy to Disney. It has been in Liberty Square since July 4, 1989.
Showcase Lagoon, Epcot--Any place of the Lagoon is a great photo op. Especially on a beautiful day and there's activity in the water.
Expedition Everest, Asia, Animal Kingdom--I have found myself taking pictures from near and far, as you can see in the pictures to the right. It really is beautiful. You'll want to take several photos. There is an outdoor area for people who are waiting for their party and want to catch them as they are on the ride, which is one of the pictures here as well. While waiting in line to go on the ride, there are several areas to take pictures with your vacation party and/or of the décor.
Resorts--We may not spend much time in our resort rooms, but I think it's important to take some pictures of the gorgeous lobbies! Take some time to look at the details and the beauty of each resort you stay at.
Park Icons, All 4 Themeparks--No photo album from a Disney World vacation is complete without pictures of all four park icons. While the castle is already on this list, because it holds a special place in my heart and I think it is the most beautiful thing Disney could every build, the other icons are stunning, a must see and structures you find yourself taking endless pictures of. There are just so many places you can take pictures with Spaceship Earth. There are quite a few places to get fantastic photos of the Sorcerer's Hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios. When you're at Disney's Animal Kingdom you'll want to take a picture of the Tree of Life after you pass the Oasis. Taking a picture of anyone in front of these icons can be challenging, because they're just so big. But, for the sake of memories, take a picture of each icon as best as you can. Update 1/7/2015: Now that the Sorcerer's Hat has been dismantled, there has been no official word or release of the new Hollywood Studios icon.
LEGO Imagination Center Statues, Downtown Disney Marketplace--The statues change from time to time so you'll want to stop every time you plan to go to Downtown Disney. You'll be amazed by what they can do with LEGOS!
If you have a digital camera and have plenty of memory available in the camera, experiment with taking pictures! It doesn't cost you anything to take pictures. You can delete what you don't want. You may just surprise yourself with what you see.