Should I Take My SLR to Disney World?

One of the questions we get asked around here quite often is, “Should I take my SLR to Disney World?” Katrina did a post on how to carry it, if you decide to take it. Aaron has gone back and forth on taking it. It's a decision that many people with SLR's struggle with when planning a trip to Walt Disney World. With smartphone cameras taking such great photos, it's a valid question.

I thought I would share what I have done in the past and how it's worked out for me:

  • Take the SLR and my sling camera bag with one lens on the camera (an extra wide angle) and a zoom in the bag. Wear the bag and keep the camera out much of the time. HOW IT WORKED: This worked out well for me. The bag did get heavy and this trip was in September, so it was a bit hot and rainy, but the bag wasn't too terribly hot. I was glad to have the bag with all of the rain. I was very grateful to have multiple lenses. I used my phone and my dSLR for various shots and was glad to have them both. The kids were not with me on any of these trips.
  • Take the dSLR and wear it with the Black Rapid Strap, with the extra wide angle lens and an zoom lens in my Vera Hipster bag. Use the iPhone and the dSLR for photos. HOW IT WORKED FOR ME: This trip was this past summer and it was HOT HOT HOT and crowded and the kids were there too. I was cursing that extra lens on the first day and left it in the room most of the rest of the trip. By the third day, I was resenting my dSLR too. It was so HEAVY!!  The kids were on this trip too.


On the last trip, this past summer, we were there for two weeks, so it was plenty of time for me to work out a really good system that I will probably use going forward:

  • I started taking the dSLR with us ONLY when we had a special event (carriage ride), special meal, or character meet. If one of those things wasn't going on, I left the dSLR behind. I also rented a locker once or twice.
  • I used the SLR for photos at the indoor locations where the lighting wouldn't be that great. I was always glad I had my “big camera” for those occasions.
  • I take better video with my iPhone than I do my SLR, so I did all of the video on my phone.
  • I was so grateful to not have the “big camera” all day, every day in the heat of the summer with the crowds. My favorite lens did end up getting broken when some people thought they would be funny and run as fast as they could, against the flow of traffic, and slammed right into my camera, knocking it from the front of my body (where it was hanging on the Black Rapid), to my back. I will probably still wear my dSLR, but I will carry it in my hand when in crowded areas going forward…my bad…live and learn!
  • I have found there is a big difference when the kids are with me versus when they aren't. When the kids are there, I don't stop to take as many landscape type shots (or shots of Minnie Me). So, I don't need to have my SLR out as much. For the quick shots of the kids, I can grab my iPhone out of my pocket, and grab a quick photo. That's one of the great things that a smartphone is for. However, I do take many, many more photos indoors when the kids are with me and with the infamous indoor lighting at Disney, my dSLR is the best tool!


There have been trips to DisneyLAND where I have left the SLR in the room the entire trip…or even at home, but I get to Disneyland far more often than I do Disney World. Those trips were also grown up only trips. I'm not sure I could leave my SLR home when the kids are going to be there. I would be so sad if I missed something great because of the camera.

The reality for me is that there are far more times when I have wished I had my dSLR, than there are times I've had it, but not used it at all. I also don't think I have ever said, “I wish I would have taken less pictures on that trip!”