Cinderella Castle might be the most iconic thing in all of Disney World.
Not only is it the first thing that catches your eye as you walk down Main Street, USA; but it also happens to be showcased in all of Disney’s featured films.
It’s a big part of Disney World and everyone wants a photo with Cinderella Castle. As a matter of fact, Photopass photographers are lined up on Main Street, USA ready to capture the icon for you and with you.
Those pictures from the Photopass photographers are great, and usually result in a photo of you front and center in front of the castle. However, this specific photo usually also includes you and about 20 other guests who happen to be walking around as the shot is taken.
Busy? Also yes.
Maybe a shot you want to get every trip, but not the exact composition you were looking for a in a Cinderella Castle photo. Specifically a crowd free castle photo.
What happens, then, if you want a crowd free castle photo?
Most likely, you’re going to have to fend for yourself and fight for a crowd free castle photo. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you might think. Plus, it doesn’t necessarily mean making sure you are the very first person to enter onto Main Street, USA. As a matter of fact, you can probably avoid all the craziness that occurs right when the Magic Kingdom opens ang grab most of the shots listed below throughout your day.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into how to get a crowd free castle shot at Disney’s Magic Kingdom with a few expert tips from a Disney veteran and pro-photographer.
1.Hub Grass Photo with Cinderella Castle
As you walk down Main Street, USA, but before you are right at Cinderella Castle, hang a quick right. Right past the Plaza restaurant and before you hit the walkway to Tomorrowland, there is an area called the ‘hub’. The ‘hub’ is a spot that features some ‘grass’ (of the fake variety) and provides AMAZING views of Cinderella Castle.
Have your family take a seat on the hub grass. In order to prevent a bunch of double chins and unflattering faces, have your family either: 1) look at each other or 2) look at the castle, sitting with their backs to you.
Once your family is in position, you yourself, as the photographer, need to get down really low. Have your family interact and pretend you’re not there. Perhaps they are sharing a Mickey bar (haha, just kidding, no one shares those!) or a drink from Starbucks. Perhaps the are pointing to the different parts of Cinderella Castle. Just some ideas off the top of my head.
Whatever the case might be, grab a few shots of them enjoying the moment. The iconic Cinderella Castle will be in the background and odds are, you’ll have a more relaxed shot than if you were taking a shot looking straight down Main Street, USA.
You can also find a ‘hub’ grass area to the left of the castle as well. Depending on the time of day, you might want to sit on the left for photos or the right. Getting the sun behind you and behind the castle is key, so determine your spot based on that detail.
2. Cinderella Castle on the Left
One of my favorite locations to take family photos in front of Cinderella’s castle is to the left of the castle.
If you head to the left, way on the side of the castle, there is a walkway that ultimately connects you to Fantasyland.
If you see the sign for Frontierland, don’t turn there, keep heading north, alongside the castle.
Find the walkway I’m talking about? Good.
If you look on your right hand side you will see a railing that separates you from Cinderella castle and a moat.
Use this spot to have a nice shot of Cinderella castle in the background with no other guests!
At times Disney’s Photopass photographers can be found in this area. Use them to your advantage of getting everyone in the shot.
Pro Tip: Morning Family Photographs on the Castle to the Left
The best time of day to grab a shot over on the left side of the castle is in the early morning. The sun will be rising in the east, near Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom.
If you want until the afternoon, or even late morning, odds are the sun is going to be a little harsh. Squinty eyes don’t make the best family photos. Or keep everyone from getting cranky!
3. Close Up of Cinderella Castle
Following along with my tip above to head towards the left of the castle in the early morning hours, you can get a different view of the in addition to the one suggested above.
Once you are to the left of the castle, keep moving forward, as though you are heading towards Fantasyland. Move past the first spot you took pictures at, up a little incline.
Right before you reach Fantasyland, stop and spot the railing near the side of the castle. Once you see it, head right next to it to take a picture.
This image will be more about having the brick details of the castle in the shot vs. having the entire castle in your shot.
The castle bricks add a really neat texture to your image.
4. Cinderella Castle Shots on the Right
My second favorite spot to grab unique family photos in front of Cinderella Castle is to the right of the castle (if you’re facing the castle right as you walk down Main Street, USA).
Much like the left side of Cinderella Castle, you have the advantage of having a moat and a railing between you and the castle. The railing and moat take the place of tons of guests that could be in your background instead. Much better for photos!!
Pro Tip: Afternoon/Evening Family Photographs of Cinderella Castle to the Right
The best time to grab the photos of the Cinderella Castle on the right take place during the afternoon or evening. The sun rises on the right of Cinderella Castle in the east, but then heads to the west as afternoon and evening approach. Once you hit the afternoon, or evening, the sun is starting to set on the left of Cinderella Castle.
If you are patient and wait until the timing is right you can have beautifully backlit photographs of your family in front of Cinderella Castle!
5. Walkway to Tomorrowland (A Hidden Photo Gem Most People Walk Past)
Similar to having family photos taken to the right of Cinderella Castle, you can also grab photos on the walkway to Tomorrowland.
Head up Main Street, USA, past the Plaza Restaurant, until you hit the walkway leading to Tomorrowland.
You’ll know you’re in the correct place when you see the overarching Tomorrowland entry with the words: Tomorrowland on it. If you’re heading towards Tomorrowland Terrace and the purple wall, you’ve gone a little bit too far.
Using the railing on the left of the walkway, you can grab shots of the castle without many crowds in the way.
Shoot with a 2.8 aperture or wider, if you happen to have a DSLR camera.
With a 2.8 aperture, you’ll be able to get your subjects in focus. Plus, while it won’t be tack sharp, you’ll have Cinderella Castle in the background and any non-family members won’t be taking center stage in your photos.
Be sure to watch your shutter speed and ISO so you don’t blow the background out completely. This is especially true if the sun is really, really bright. It’s Florida, so odds are it’s going to be really, really bright.
Lifestyle Cinderella Castle Shots
The above suggestions are perfect for capture shots of the castle when you want it to be your main focus.
There are times, however, when you want the castle to be even more so in the background of your shots.
The best ways to do this, in my opinion are when you are on a ride.
6. Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover Crowd Free Castle Shot
One of my favorite, and in my opinion, under rated rides in all of the Magic Kingdom is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover.
There is hardly ever a wait for the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover and the ride itself is long and relaxing.
Plus, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover has some of the best views of the castle in all the park.
To get a shot of the castle while you’re on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover that includes your family, you need to be strategic.
Ideally, if you can, sit a car back from your family. Have them face you in their car. Make sure you’re in a car that is going to be sticking together as some cars do seperate after they take off from the ‘station’.
As you come around the bend and Cinderella Castle comes into view, be sure to have your camera ready to grab the shot. If you miss it the first time, you’ve got an excuse to ride again!!
Pro Tip: Best Time of Day to Take Family Photos on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover
The best time of day to take the shots from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover is in the early morning or late afternoon.
In the morning, the sun is still coming up over Tomorrowland. Your family will be shaded but the castle will have a beautiful golden, early morning glow to it. Make sure you expose properly for your family and for the castle in this shot.
In the evening, once the sun is behind the castle, is also a perfect time to grab a few shots. It might be tricky to time an evening shot, but if you can get it, it is so worth it! Due to being up high in the Tomorrow Transit Authority People Mover, you’ll have good luck getting a handful of crowd free castle photos.
7. Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel Shot
Following your quick stop on the left side of Cinderella Castle, heading over to Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel.
Some of my favorite images of the castle are in the background of this ride.
In order to capture the castle, you can take two vantage points.
First, you can shoot from behind as the carrousel is spinning in a counterclockwise motion. Snap your camera as you are positioned on the left side of the carrousel.
Second, you can sit ahead of your family and capture Cinderella Castle when you are on the right side of the carrousel.
Both shots will result in just a touch of Cinderella Castle in your background, but enough to differentiate this carrousel shot from ‘ordinary’ carrousel shots.
It’s a royal carrousel afterall and deserves to be showcased with the royal castle in the background.
Conclusion on 7 Expert Disney Tips for Crowd Free Castle Photos
There ya go! 7 tried and true expert Disney tips for getting crowd free castle photos at the Magic Kingdom. Let’s face it, nothing beats a photo of Cinderella’s Castle. Now you can come home with a variety of shots to remember your epic Disney World vacation. Plus, all your shots are going to be crowd free castle photos! That’s a big win in our book!
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