California Disney Photo Guides USA

28 Magical Photo Spots at Disneyland + California Adventure

Disneyland is not only one of the most visited (if not THE most visited) attractions in Orange County, it’s one of the most photogenic. There are tons of Instagram-worthy Disneyland photo spots to help you commemorate your magical visit to the park!

With everything from a fairytale castle, futuristic rides, retro route 66 vibes, and even lands inspired by Star Wars and Marvel’s Avengers, there is plenty of fun to be had (whether you’re a kid or even as an adult!) along with endless photo ops inside both Disneyland and California Adventure. Seriously, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to snap away with your camera!

But what are the best places to take pictures in Disneyland? As a photography enthusiast, content creator, and Magic Key (annual pass) holder who frequently visits the parks, I’ve been on the mission to uncover all of the best and most Instagrammable places in Disneyland.

Sure, we all know about those iconic Disneyland photography locations, such as the Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Mad Tea Party ride, the floral Mickey at the Disneyland entrance, and the Pixar Pier skyline over in California Adventure. You can’t go wrong with any of those spots – they’re iconic for a reason!

But I’ve also got plenty of secret photo spots in Disneyland for you as well, including hidden doorways, nooks, and murals that you might miss otherwise.

Keep on reading for all of the best Disneyland photo spots to add to your itinerary in the parks!

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Good-To-Know Disneyland Photography Tips

– Shoot early (or late): Early in the morning in the hour or so after rope drop is when you’ll find the least amount of crowds and the best chance to take the best photos! Late at night around closing is an ideal time as well, but you’ll need to know night photography (or have a flash) to get the best shots.

– Play around with angles and aperture. Chances are, it’s going to be BUSY! Even on a quiet day at Disneyland, it’s rare that you’ll get a photo without other people in the background. My way around this is to play around with your angles – if you shoot from the right angle (try shooting from below), you’ll block out some of the other people in your shot. Likewise, play around with aperture (the f stop on your camera lens), or portrait mode on your phone – if you blur them out, they’ll be far less distracting.

Be patient. And on that note, even if an area is swarming with people, if you are patient and wait a little bit, chances are it’ll clear out somewhat. 

Know your equipment. Whether you’re using a camera phone, a dSLR, or anything in between, knowing all the ins and outs of your equipment ahead of time will help you capture the best Disneyland photography! Play around with the settings and all of the bells and whistles of your camera before your Disneyland visit so you can shoot with confidence.

Pack light. Lugging around a ton of heavy camera gear gets tiring and cumbersome too fast. Opt for lightweight equipment that is multi-purpose. Honestly, I usually end up just bringing my iPhone to take pictures in the parks, otherwise I use my trusty Sony a6000. I love it has all the benefits of a dSLR but is so lightweight – it’s my favorite travel camera as well. 

Bring extra batteries (or a power bank)! If using your phone, taking tons of photos and videos (+ using the Disneyland app, which is a must when visiting the parks) drains your battery fast! Bring a power bank so you never run out of juice.

Avoid shooting midday. This is when the sun is highest in the sky and when lighting is the most unflattering, creating squinty eyes and tons of unflattering shadows. It’s also when it tends to be the hottest, and your subjects may be at their crankiest because of the heat! Try to take your photos earlier in the day, when the sun isn’t so high in the sky, or during golden hour, aka that magical hour before sunset when lighting is at its best.

You can bring a tripod, but not a selfie stick. Disneyland allows visitors to bring a tripod that folds up and fits into a standard backpack. It does not allow selfie sticks. I’m actually not sure what constitutes a “tripod” vs. a “selfie stick” as I tried to bring my small phone tripod and they wouldn’t let me in because it was considered a selfie stick because it extends. However, my friend was able to bring hers in, and I’ve seen other people with regular tripods.

Consider purchasing Genie Plus for the Photo Pass. This is ideal if you are visiting in a group and you’d rather have someone else take photos of the whole group. There are photographers located at many of the Disneyland photography locations I list below (but not all because I also have some secret Disneyland photo spots up my sleeve!). Keep in mind only one person in your group needs to purchase to get the photos (but you might consider getting it for the group if you want to use the Fast Pass privileges). You get all your ride photos this way as well!

The Best Disneyland Photography Locations

Magical Disneyland Photo Spots

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Ahhh, the good ‘ol castle. This is hands-down the most popular of the Disneyland photo spots, and one look at it and it’s easy to see why – it’s absolutely magical (especially during the holidays). 

Even after going to Disneyland so many times, I still HAVE to get a photo of the castle almost every time I go – it’s just one of those super iconic Disneyland photography locations! It’s perfect for any kind of photos – family portraits, Disneyland couple photos, with friends, or just yourself.

Pretty much EVERYONE has the same idea and wants a photo with the castle, so you’ll usually find a crowd around it at any given time. You’ll need to have some tricks and tricks up your sleeve to get a good photo of it, but don’t worry – you can *definitely* get some amazing photos here!

Many people try to get a photo with the castle straight-on, but unless you run here first right after rope drop, there will be 3284729374 other people in your shot. Same goes for trying to get a photo right on the walkway – unless you literally run here first thing in the morning, forget about it (I’ve never gotten a shot here – I’ve literally never tried, I’m too lazy lol).

Instead, my insider tip is to take a photo from the side of the castle – either the left side or the right side work really well! You’ll find that it’s much quieter there and it will be much easier to get an amazing photo without a million people in it.

Another awesome photo spot is from the benches that are right in front of the castle – while there are usually people here, there is usually enough space that you can still pose and get some good shots. You’ll probably want to get up a bit closer to your subject(s) in order to cut out all the white space and background clutter. Have them sit up on the ledge for the best photo ops!

And if all else fails, play around with angles – place your subject in the shot where they can block out other people in the background. Using a shallow aperture (a low f stop) or portrait mode on your phone can work wonders as well – the background clutter looks much less distracting when it’s blurry!

Try to take photos with the castle in the morning, as it tends to be the least crowded then (the early bird gets the worm, especially at one of the most popular Disneyland Instagram spots!). Otherwise, come right before sunset – you can’t go wrong with the lighting then.

The castle is also beautiful when it’s all lit up at night, but it can sometimes be difficult to get a good shot! Try the night mode on your phone camera. If you are taking a photo with your dSLR or mirrorless camera, an external flash would be ideal – but if you don’t have one, try shining the light from your phone’s flashlight towards the subject to add light. 

Otherwise, there are usually PhotoPass photographers standing outside the castle and they can capture a great photo for you!

The pink door on Main Street

The pink door is a popular Disneyland Instagram spot amongst the Disney bloggers and it’s easy to see why – who doesn’t love pink?! This is one of those Disneyland photo spots that is super cute, but it can be hard to miss if you aren’t looking for it (it’s one of the best secret photo spots in Disneyland), so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

You’ll find the pink door under the Refreshment Corner sign on Main Street. 

Many of the photos I’d seen of the pink door were up close and of just the door and the frame, so I was looking for an all pink facade. While you can take photos of just the door, I also love the pastel colors on the rest of the Refreshment Corner facade, plus the retro vibes so I think it’s fun if you zoom out a bit and capture a bit of that as well!

Play around with angles here – straight on, from the side, etc. – for some fun shots.

Main Street flower carts

Main Street is just teeming with some of the best places to take pictures in Disneyland, if you know where to look for them! 

I loved these flower carts that were standing in a little nook just off Main Street, as I waited for my friend to grab some stuff from the lockers here. You’ll find it in between the Market House and the Disney Clothiers.

I loved the pretty flower carts (they kind of reminded me of the flower trucks in Nashville!), along with the buildings in the background – they make for some cute photos! 

It also tends to be relatively quiet in this area, so it’s a great spot to snap some photos! 

The Outside of It’s a Small World

I absolutely LOVE the outside of It’s a Small World – it’s one of the classic Disneyland Instagram spots. It’s also one of the prettiest – I’ve always loved the geometric patterns, and the white, gold, and pastel blue colors.

You can capture some lovely photos from right out front, before you get in line for the ride. The facade makes a beautiful backdrop for all your photos, and is one of the best Disneyland photography locations.

However, if you want a different take on this shot, one of my favorite places to take pictures in Disneyland is from the side, where the turnstiles are coming out of the ride. I love the blue of the turnstiles and think it complements the photo so well! 

Do note that It’s a Small World is often used as the start or end point for parades, and is where the fireworks go off every night. If you want to take photos here, avoid these times, otherwise you will encounter a large crowd of people standing in front and it will be impossible to get a good shot.

The Small World wall

While the outside of It’s a Small World is one of the most well-known Disneyland photo spots, this one kind of gets passed over unless you are specifically looking for it.

The Small World wall stands across from the ride (if you’re looking directly at It’s a Small World, the wall is to your left), and is one of the best secret photo spots in Disneyland. However, it’s a popular spot among Disneyland bloggers and those in the know (which is now you!) – it even has its own Instagram account.

The wall actually has a huge door that leads to a backstage area, and you’ll often find Cast Members (and even characters!) going in and out of it. You’ll find that the wall features a similar design to the facade of the ride, just in a bigger scale form.

Play around with the shapes on the wall, and perspectives. I love zooming out to capture the entire design of the wall, but I’ve seen others zoom in to just bits and pieces of the wall, playing around with the individual shapes in it. 

So many possibilities here, which makes it one of the most fun Disneyland Instagram spots!

Mad Tea Party 

The Mad Tea Party (aka the teacups) is not only one of the most classic rides in the park, it’s also one of the most Instagrammable places in Disneyland. 

I mean, how can one not resist the bright colors of the teacups, as well as the lanterns hanging above it? It’s just so whimsy and colorful and make the perfect photo ops for your Instagram feed!

While you can certainly get some fun photos from the rail with the teacups and lanterns in the background, my favorite place to photograph the Mad Tea Party is directly ON the ride!

Have your photographer sit across from you on the ride. I had them take the phone above with my iPhone at 1x on portrait mode. They might have to lean back a bit and move their arms back in order to achieve the perfect composition. 

I find that using portrait mode cuts down on the background distractions, while still managing to capture lots of color! For a similar photo on a dSLR camera, use a wide angle lens and shoot at a shallow aperture (a low f stop number).

Another fun effect is to use the wide angle mode on your phone – it adds a bit of distortion, which perfectly fits the Alice in Wonderland theme and adds an additional touch of whimsy to the photos!

You can also play around a bit with motion blur on the ride – simply set your shutter speed to a lower number (I recommend around 1/30). Be sure to keep still though and focused on the subject! If you move, the subject is going to be blurry as well.

Personally, I think the best time of day to take photos on this ride is in the mornings or late afternoon, before the ride ends up being in the shade. I’ve always thought that it would be fun to take photos here when the lanterns are all lit up, but it might be a bit difficult with all the movement. Let me know if you try it though! 🙂

Bonus Disneyland photo spot: If you absolutely cannot get a good shot on the spinning teacups, there is also a Photo Pass spot of a single pink teacup located in front of the Mad Hatter shop, near the ride.

Dumbo

Another classic Disneyland ride that makes some picture perfect photo ops! 

Like with the Mad Tea Party, I think the best way to get some photos here is directly ON the ride. However, do note that it will take a bit of coordination to get the shot! I actually found it much more difficult to get good photos on the ride than I anticipated.

You’ll want your photographer to sit in the car in front of you (if you want your face in the shot – if you want your back, have them sit behind). Keep in mind that the ride moves up and down, so it is likely that you and your photographer won’t be level with each other most of the time. They’ll have to shoot up or down in order to get shots of you.

Using portrait mode is also the way to go here (or shooting with a shallow aperture – low f stop – on a dSLR) to cut out all the background distractions. It creates more of a magical photo!

You can also take a photo standing in front of the rail, with the ride behind you. A fun Disneyland photo idea would be to play around with motion blur here. You want there to be just enough blur, but not too much. Using a shutter speed of around 1/30 should do the trick. STAY STILL – be sure not to move too much when taking the shot, otherwise the subject is going to be blurry as well.

If you want similar photos with more of a space vibe, another one of the best Disneyland Instagram spots is the Astro Orbitor in Tomorrowland. The ride works in a similar way, so all of the tips above apply here as well.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain has always been one of my favorite rides, and nowadays it’s home to one of my favorite Disneyland photo spots as well!

This is a ride that almost always has a long line, but why not take advantage of your time in line by snapping some photos? I love the outside area of the line, with the dock (it’s got a cool design on the floor) and the spaceport in the back.

I imagine that it would also create some fun photos if you used wide angle mode and shoot from the bottom, angling upwards!

Millennium Falcon

Galaxy’s Edge (aka Star Wars Land) may just be my favorite land in all of Disneyland! Not only is it the newest area of the park (even though it’s a few years old now), every single detail is so well thought out and it’s just so completely immersive that you’ll feel like you’ve transported yourself into a scene from the movies.

Perhaps the highlight of Galaxy’s Edge is the replica of the Millennium Falcon starship, one of the coolest and best places to take pictures in Disneyland. Obviously, it goes without saying that taking some photos here is a must for all Star Wars fans!

This is the perfect opportunity to try out your best Star Wars-inspired poses, or take some pictures with your light sabre (especially cool when they’re lit up at night!).

New Orleans Square

New Orleans Square is one of my favorite areas in Disneyland because it actually DOES remind me of being in New Orleans, with its pastel-colored facades and wrought iron balconies (they even hang up beads around Mardi Gras!). It’s also one of the prettiest, which makes it one of the best Disneyland photo spots.

It’s a bit busy in and around New Orleans Square unless you come to take some photos in the morning. 

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find this little corner, nearby the entrance of the Blue Bayou restaurant, which was still relatively quiet even in the middle of the day which meant that I had to stop to snap some photos. It’s definitely one of the best secret photo spots in Disneyland!

Disneyland Entrance

This is just one of those iconic Disneyland photo spots, a must to commemorate your visit to the park. The floral Mickey emblem, made up of seasonal flowers, welcomes everyone into the park and is picture perfect with the Disneyland railroad station in the background.

It’s the perfect spot to snap a photo of you and your group as you enter the park and begin your day at the happiest place on earth.

There is usually a Photo Pass photographer here and a giant line of people waiting to get their picture taken. If you want to skip the line (hey, you’ve got a full day and no time to waste!), simply just take your photos off to the side. 

With some balloons

So, the above photo was taken back in 2019, when the Cast Members let you pretend to hold onto the giant bouquet of balloons for a photo op (don’t worry, they held the end of the ribbons so they don’t fly away). Being able to hold the balloons was kind of a childhood dream of mine, so basically, this was the happiest day of my life (for reals tho!).

Unfortunately, since then, we’ve gone through a global pandemic, and well, things have changed. Being able to “hold” the balloons is not a thing anymore. BUT! That doesn’t mean that you can’t still take a photo with them.

They will still let you take a photo with the balloons as a background – the Cast Member will hold them out for you and you can stand in front of them. While not the same, I still think this is a fun alternative Disneyland photo idea!

Just be sure to ask really nicely! Also catch them when they’re not busy.

Another fun Disneyland photo idea is to purchase a balloon and use it as a prop when taking photos at some of the Instagram spots on this list, i.e. the castle or Pixar Pier!

Best California Adventure Photo Spots

Pixar Pier skyline

The Pixar Pier skyline is the most iconic Disneyland Instagram spots on the California Adventure side. You can’t do better than the giant Mickey on the Pixar Pal-Around ferris wheel combined with the Incredicoaster – it just gives off those classic Disney vibes.

You have a few options of where to take photos of the Pixar Pier skyline. The first is across the pier, where the World of Color viewing area is (across from the Little Mermaid ride). You’ll be able to photograph the ferris wheel and roller coaster with the lagoon in front of it. This area has plenty of space so you’ll find plenty of spots to take photos from.

During the seasonal food festivals (Festival of the Holidays, Lunar New Year, Food & Wine Festival, Halloween), this is near where many of the vendors are set up, and it makes a perfect location to take photos of your yummy food!

Another option is to head up the ramp towards the Pixar Pier entrance sign (near Lamplight Lounge) and snap a photo on the rail. This is a Photo Pass location, so you know you’re gonna get some awesome shots here!

Lastly, sit down for a meal or some drinks at Lamplight Lounge, and snap a few photos of the skyline from there. It’s also an excellent place to watch and take photos of the World of Color show (look into getting a dining package).

I personally love taking photos of the Pixar Pier skyline around sunset time – I love seeing it against the magical sky. It’s also one of the best Disneyland photo locations to do some night photography – be sure to know how to work that night mode!

But really, you can’t go wrong taking photos at ANY time of the day at one of the most popular Disneyland photography locations.

Pixar Pier entrance

With the bright colors and fun details, the Pixar Pier entrance sign is one of the best places to take pictures at Disneyland on the California Adventure side. It’s just so fun!

One side of the sign has “Pixar Pier” written out on it, while the other side says “adventure is out there” – a line from UP, one of my all-time favorite Disney movies! I think it’s an awesome photo op for travel enthusiasts (like me!), don’t you?

This area tends to get busy as the day goes on, so your chance to capture the best photos here is going to be earlier in the day, on a slower day (on a weekday, if possible). You can try to find a break in the crowd, but during busier times, this is going to be impossible.

I took this photo around lunchtime on a Friday afternoon in January and as you can see, there are still plenty of people around. However, it’s not so many people that it’s not super overwhelming.

Web Slingers mural

If you’ve been around here awhile, then you probably know that I’m crazy for murals and that I have to take a photo with them every time I see one. 

So it’s no surprise that this one ended up on my list of best Disneyland photo spots – I loved the combination of graffiti and bright colors here. It’s such a fun wall!

You can find it on the side of the Web Slingers building – if you’re at where the line starts, it’s on the left side, on the way out of the Avengers Campus.

Cars Land mural

Cars Land is probably my favorite land in California Adventure, simply because every little detail is so well thought out and on theme. It’s also got a ton of fun Instagram spots, including this mural that is inspired by the postcard murals you see in various cities.

I love this mural because it changes based on season. There’s one for the holiday season, one for Halloween, and another version that’s for when there are no special celebrations. It’s a fun way to have multiple photo ops throughout the year!

You can find the mural at the entrance of Cars Land, next to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.

Flo’s V8 Cafe sign

One thing I LOVE about Cars Land are the retro vibes seen all around, reminiscent of vintage Route 66. One place that perfectly encapsulates these vibes is the Flo’s V8 Cafe.

The vintage typefaces and motifs + the neon lights makes Flo’s perfectly Instagram-worthy! 

My favorite time to shoot here is right after sunset, when the lights start to come on but the sky isn’t completely dark yet. You’ll still get a bit of the sunset sky with the fun lights for a picture-perfect shot!

Flo’s gas pumps

Flo’s is also home to another one of my favorite California Adventure photo spots – the gas pumps in the seating area. I love the vintage look, plus the bright turquoise – so fun and perfect for photos!

Many of the gas pumps have tables in front of them, but there is one that does not, which is the best one for taking pictures.

Radiator Springs Racers

Another reason why I love Cars Land? (Do I really need to give more reasons?). The beautiful red rocks that make me swear I’ve been transported somewhere in Utah

Seriously, the red rocks that are part of the Radiator Springs Racers ride are just so breathtakingly scenic. I love going through them as I’m on the ride, but I love taking photos of them too – it’s one of the best Disneyland Instagram spots in California Adventure!

The best place to photograph the rocks are just to the side of the ride, on the walkway behind Flo’s and as you head back towards the Pacific Wharf area. Come around golden hour or sunset for the best shots – seeing the rocks against an orange sky is absolutely magical.

Radiator Springs Curios

This is another fun photo spot that has some retro Route 66 vibes. I love all of the vintage license plates and highway signs that are tacked onto the wall here.

The best part? This is one of those Disneyland picture spots that tend to be quiet throughout the day, so it’s an awesome spot to snap some shots no matter the time of day. That’s a win in my book!

Sunset Boulevard + the Hollywood Backlot

This area of California Adventures has got their Hollywood vibes down – it does actually remind me of walking down the real Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood!

It’s also got one of my favorite photo ops – the forced perspective wall at the end of the Hollywood Backlot. It’s super fun and wonky looking, and makes for some really fun shots!

Getting up close with it and using the wall itself as a backdrop will create some cool photos (it’s also a Photo Pass spot). However, I also love zooming out a bit and taking a photo from halfway up Buena Vista Street – I love how the shot becomes framed with the palm trees and creates some sunny California vibes!

Buena Vista trolley

The Buena Vista trolley is modeled after the trolley cars of the Pacific Electric Railway and is full of vintage vibes. Inside California Adventure, it travels from the main entrance to the Hollywood Backlot.

Definitely pose with the charming trolley for some fun photos! I love seeing it with the facades of Sunset Blvd. in the background. 

It’s also one of the best Disneyland photo spots during the holidays, when the cars become decked out with seasonal decorations!

(note: the trolley will be returning to the park in summer 2022)

Monsters Inc door

The giant pink door at the entrance of the Monsters Inc. Mike & Scully to the Rescue ride makes such a cute backdrop for photos! The florals on it also create just the perfect touch of whimsy for some adorable shots.

This is a great time to create some fun shots and play around with perspective, since the door is so huge.

Seasonal Disneyland Instagram spots

Mickey pumpkin (Halloween)

I love how the park becomes all decked out in orange, candy corn, and pumpkin everything in September and October in celebration of Halloween. Disney does holiday inspired decor right, and Halloween is no exception!

Perhaps one of the best places to take pictures at Disneyland during Halloween is the giant Mickey pumpkin that stands at the entrance of Main Street. It’s a perfect backdrop for all of your Halloween photos!

There is usually a Photo Pass photographer here, and a long line to accompany it. If you don’t want to wait in line, take a shot from off to the side.

Disneyland Christmas tree

Once Halloween is over and November rolls around, the giant pumpkin is replaced with a giant Christmas tree. Disney knows how to do the holidays right, and one of the most breathtaking sights in the park is the spectacular Christmas tree that stands at the entrance of Main Street.

It makes a perfect backdrop for your holiday photos! I love seeing it all lit up at night, but it’s really beautiful any time of the day.

I took a close up shot with just a bit of the tree, but if you want to capture more of it in its entirety, use a wide angle lens or the panoramic mode on your phone.

California Adventure Christmas tree

You’ll find a smaller, but equally pretty Christmas tree inside California Adventure (seriously, there are trees everywhere you look in the parks + Downtown Disney). I love the colors in this one!

This one usually has fewer people waiting to take photos than at the main one in Disneyland, so if you don’t feel like waiting around, this is a good option.

Sleeping Beauty Castle holiday edition

The Sleeping Beauty castle is always breathtaking, and is one of the most popular Disneyland picture spots year-round. However, it is truly magical during the holiday season, especially when it is lit up at night!

You’ll see no shortage of people trying to get their Christmas card photos in front of the castle, and for good reason – it’s one of the prettiest sights in the park during the holiday season! You’ll have to be patient to get your shot – there will usually be a break in the crowd if you wait just a bit.

The castle is especially breathtaking at night, as it is covered in tons of string lights that resemble snow. Be sure to illuminate some light on the subject (via an external flash or even a flashlight), use night mode, and shoot at a shallow aperture (low f stop) – the blurred lights in the backdrop makes for some truly magical photos.

It’s a Small World holiday facade

While the It’s a Small World facade makes a pretty backdrop for photos at any time during the year, it is extra magical during the holidays – especially at night! 

The designs and shapes of the facade are outlined in colorful lights, and it’s absolutely magical! For the best shots, use night mode on your phone, or bring something to illuminate your subject (an external flash and/or using a flashlight). 

Have you been to Disneyland? What are some of your favorite Disneyland photography locations?

You might also like:
The Ultimate Orange County Bucket List
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