Exclusive Access

By Cory Disbrow on September 28th, 2010   |    Posted in:  Disney Photo Tips   |    10 Comments

Hello readers! For today’s post, I wanted to share with you a quick tip on how to get some great photos of the hub in the Magic Kingdom, like the one I shot above.

So, you’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation. When you get to your 180 day reservation window, pick a day to go the Magic Kingdom. When you pick that day, make a very early breakfast reservation at the Crystal Palace. Like 8AM, for example. By doing that, you are allowed into the Magic Kingdom before the normal day guests are allowed in. That means you can walk a near empty Main Street USA, and you can go as far as the entrance to all the themed lands of the park. This also includes the Hub. You can get great shots of the Partners statue and Cinderella Castle with no one around, and the subtle morning light that kisses the park from the Tomorrowland side is truly beautiful. You can get great family shots with no one in them as well, making it seem like you own the park. For the shot I posted, I was even able to climb up on the concrete near the Partners statue for my shot, as no one was around and the Photopass Cast Member didn’t have to get any

Hope this little tip can help a lot of you out on your future trips! See ya real soon!!


  1. Emma   |   Sep 28, 2010

    Great photo! I have that exact ADR at Crystal Palace during my upcoming December trip to WDW.. hoping to get some photos like this!
    Really like your website and articles :)

  2. Matt Pasant   |   Sep 28, 2010

    This tip has nothing to do with aperture, ISO, lens, or camera, YET is one of the most important tips I think this site has posted. The key to great photos is put yourself in position to take them. Cory’s tip is just that.

  3. Alan   |   Sep 28, 2010

    Great tip Cory. My two cents, this even works at the end of the day as well. I’ve had late night ADRs at The Coral Reef restaurant after Future World was closed. Cast members were turning other guests away from the area, but we were free to pass. Made for some great, late night tripod shots of Imagination’s waterfalls without guests.

  4. Kiki   |   Sep 28, 2010

    Excellent tip! Technical expertise doesn’t matter if you don’t have access to the subject you want to shoot.

    What a great site for photographers of all levels of experience and especially for WDW fans! Keep up the great work.

  5. Christian Lambert   |   Sep 28, 2010

    Excellent tip! I will have to try this one next trip!

  6. Tom Bricker   |   Sep 28, 2010

    Stop giving away the secrets! Next thing, you’ll be telling people how Matt shots fireworks out of his head or Joe’s methods for getting the Haunted Mansion to break down!!! ;-)

  7. Keith Kolmos   |   Sep 28, 2010

    Got some good photos this past spring doing just this. Want a really adorable shot? Get a pic of your three year old skipping in front of the Castle all by herself.


  8. Scott Thomas   |   Sep 29, 2010

    Remember, the restaurant in Cinderella’s Castle also has early morning ADRs.

    When I took the morning Keys to the Kingdom Tour, I get in early and got some nice shots of guests and families walking down Main Street as well as seeing the Family of the Day brought in and taken for a ride on Engine No. 3.

  9. Brian Hubbard   |   Sep 29, 2010

    Another option for early Magic Kingdom access is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Cinderella’s Castle. We made a reservation for the first available time on a morning Extra Magic Hours day and was able to get several great shots.

    Now, granted, this will set you back a fortune, but at least you will get great photos!

    • Tom Bricker   |   Sep 30, 2010

      Brian, I think that’s what Cory actually did, although he wanted to cover it up.



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