How To Carry Your dSLR To Disneyland and Disney World

How to carry your dSLR to Disneyland and Disney World

Have you ever wondered what camera to take to Disneyland or what lenses you should carry?

It is the question I'm asked most frequently.

I can't imagine going into the park without my dSLR. How do I make it work though? Let me share my secrets with you.

Be A Minimalist

I can assume going into the park will be crowded. Lines to wait in, rides to  ride, passing through from one area to another, crowded stores  I'm going to bump into things and people. (Plus, I'm kind of a klutz.)

I carry my camera with the lens I will use while in the park.  That's it. No extras. No bag. No back up, just in case, lenses.

Wear Your Gear

To keep my hands free, I wear my camera slung across my body. I've used an old ratty neoprene strap for the last seven years. It's comfortable and sits exactly where I want it! My husband gave me a Black Rapid strap for Christmas so my next trip will be with a new strap. He said he couldn't stand to see my ugly strap anymore! I'm learning to love it, but must admit, I feel like I've lost my security blanket!

Select A Versatile Lens

Since I'm only carrying one lens I need a versatile lens. I know a few things about my Disney photos:

  • Rides and indoor lines have very low light
  • The park is big, but family tends to stay very close
  • I want to see wide angles and up close details
I want a lens that is fast (wide aperture), light, and has a shorter focal distance so the lens isn't bumping into things. While I could create some marvelous photos with a telephoto zoom lens I don't want the weight or the physical length of the lens to be in my way.

I make my choice between two lenses.

The 17-40mm f/4.0 lens'  short focal distance allows me to shoot fun photos of my son in close quarters. I can also hold it at arm's length for family photos.


The 50mm f/1.4 is light, small, and excellent in low light.

Once I make my choice I head out knowing the limitations of both. It's a fun challenge to work with what I've got. Your choices may be different. Whatever you choose think about your comfort and the versatility of the lens.

You can read more about how to pick a lens at The Daily Digi.

Protect The Glass

With my camera snug to my body my lens is the most vulnerable part of my camera. I'm going to make sure my UV filters are on both cameras for protection. (I remove the UV filters when shooting lights in low light situations because of the reflections they create.)

For the longer 17-40mm lens I also use the lens hood. It lengthens the lens a bit, but provides an inexpensive shield against bumps. It also helps avoid lens flare if I'm shooting in bright sun. (Nice to have an extra bonus!)

Never Remove It 

Once I'm in the park I NEVER remove my camera. The feeling on my hip has become a sign of security. As long as I feel it, I know I've got it with me. On rides, I swing it to my front, placing it between my legs with one hand firmly on it. It's secure and easy to lift up for photos.

So what about the restroom? Yep. I wear it. It only feels awkard the first 30 times you go in!

If I do need to remove it to remove a sweater or something silly, I hand it to my husband who has been carefully trained to place the strap around his neck.

Enjoy The Experience

As much as I love to document the day, I also try to take time to just soak it in. Just be there without seeing everything through my lens. I see my best photos without holding my camera up. Once I spot them, then I can lift it, shoot with intention and know that carrying the extra weight and worry has been worth it!

Have you carried your dSLR to Disney? What are your best secrets of success?