Capturing The Magic of Walt’s Disney World

by Craig Hood on January 15, 2011

This is the fourth in a series of photography articles by Craig Hood.  If you haven’t yet, check out the photography section for more of his work.

I think some of my absolute favorite things to photograph in Disney World are simply the classic attractions and architecture that Walt actually had a hand in creating.  I’m talking about THE original Magic Kingdom attractions.  I can’t explain my fascination or the feeling I get from these rides.  I guess those are the attractions that I can remember from my first visit as a kid in the early 70’s, so I have some kind of sentimental attachment to them.  But mostly it’s the thought of experiencing something that is so closely connected to Walt himself.  Now I know Walt was gone long before The Magic Kingdom in Orlando opened, but many of the rides in the Magic Kingdom were inspired by the originals in Disneyland, so I like to believe when I ride It’s A Small World that I’m seeing what Walt envisioned in his own mind.  I’m seeing exactly what he intended for us to see.

(Click any image for full resolution)

I remember being so disappointed finding out that Mr. Toads Wild Ride was being retired.  I’m a big fan of Pooh, but couldn’t they have made room?

One of my favorite rides on property, The Haunted Mansion.  This is a great ride to practice your low light (or no light) photography on.

It took a LOT of trips through the Mansion to get a decent shot of this guy – the infamous “Hitchhiking Ghost”.

These old attractions make great photo subjects, not to mention a challenge to photograph on the inside because of the darkness.  Everything on these rides is “old-school.”  Hand made, hand painted figures and backgrounds with electric motors and servo’s providing all the movement.

Black lights, strobes and colored lighting supply all of the “special effects.”  No billion dollar computer controlled ride vehicles, surround sound, 3D glasses or projection screens the size of a cruise ship. They are as they always were, quite simple by today’s standards, but so purely classic Disney imagination. I think these rides are one of the strongest draws to the Magic Kingdom.

An interesting shooting option is to switch your camera to black and white mode.  I think it gives the photos a retro 50’s 60’s feel like the picture was taken by Walt himself with his box camera.

The Monorail is another one of those places that when you step inside the doors you know you’re in Disney World.

The many shops in Magic Kingdom are also a great source of classic Disney subjects.  One of my favorites is Sir Mickey’s.

So take a moment the next time you’re snapping away in the vacation kingdom and remember…

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” – Walt Disney

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

LisaCat August 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I have the same feeling about the stuff that Walt actually had a hand in. Or, in the case of my “home park” actually TOUCHED. Yes, I’m a California girl. But I suppose my attachment to Disneyland is the reason that with a 7 day ticket, 3 of those are allocated to Magic Kingdom and 2 to Epcot on my next trip!

Craig – your photos are great. Thanks for sharing!


Craig Hood August 15, 2012 at 5:40 am

Glad you enjoy them LC!


Mariah June 4, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Mr. Walt was so cool and he died so yong it would be nice if he was still with us till this day .


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