I recently planned a trip to Disney World with my family and wanted to figure out the best way to create a vlog about my families experience. I had seen a few YouTubers do it before, but I had also seen people like Casey Neistat refuse to show footage from his trip to Disneyland because of their policies. After some research and my own experience, this is what I learned.
Can you vlog at Disney theme parks? You can vlog and record video on Disney properties as long as it is for personal use (not commercial) and you don’t use anything that could be considered a selfie stick for your camera.
That being said, here are a few tips for capturing your experience at the happiest place on earth.
Quick Tips for Vlogging at Disney
There are a number of things I learned on my own vacation and mistakes I made that you can learn from.
Here is a quick list of tips for vlogging at Disney:
- Keep your camera out at all times. There is so much going on, that it is easy to miss a moment.
- Bring extra batteries for your camera and a portable power supply for your cell phone.
- Be ok with getting photobombed in your vlog. It’s going to happen.
- Consider using a Peak Design Capture Clip to keep your camera on your backpack strap. It made a huge difference for me.
- Capture less footage of what you are seeing and more footage of how you, your family, or friends are reacting to what is going on.
- Tell us about your experiences and what you think is great or not so great as you roam through the park.
- Remember to look into the lens. There are a lot of people and activity going on but look into the lens at your viewers.
- If you can only pick one lens, a wide angle will be your best bet for shooting most things in a Disney park.
- Let the Disney photographers help you get the shot of your group. Just press record and ask them to hold the camera.
- Use your phone to record faster rides. While you may be able to get away with bringing out your big camera, why risk it?
Camera Gear To Bring & Not Bring
After entering into the Magic Kingdom, it was obvious that camera gear was everywhere. Everybody is taking pictures, videos, and panoramas on every corner of that theme park. Disney even has photographers wandering around to take photos of you with their gear or yours.
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What Camera Gear Is Allowed in Disney Theme Parks
I saw just about every consumer camera imaginable walking around the Magic Kingdom. From point-and-shoots up to full frame DSLRs. I carried my Canon 80D and even had an external shotgun mic mounted on top of it without any problems.
Banned Camera Gear
Disney does have specific rules when it comes to camera gear, however, and they can apply directly to vloggers. Here are the two regulations they have related directly to camera gear:
“Selfie sticks, hand-held extension poles for cameras or mobile devices, flags and banners are not allowed in any Theme Park and Water Park”https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/park-rules/
Enough guests in the parks were obstructing views and knocking each other on the head with selfie sticks in Disney’s theme parks, that they banned them altogether in 2015. This can be a hurdle for a vlogger if you depend on a gorilla pod or some similar device to get your camera in a selfie position while you talk.
“Recreational devices such as drones, remote control toys, skateboard, scooters, inline skates or shoes with built-in wheels.”https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/park-rules/
It makes sense that Disney banned drones, considering the FAA regulations against flying over people and the risk they pose to people on rides. Disney even has a legal ban over the airspace over all their parks in Disney World. Something that is incredibly rare for a private company.
“Tripods or monopod stands that cannot fit inside a standard backpack or that extend over 6′ (182cm) are not allowed in the Theme Parks, Water Parks, Disney Springs or ESPN Wide World of Sports.”https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/park-rules/
You can bring tripods and monopods if they fit your backpack. I’m not sure why you would want to carry around a full sized version around the park all day anyway. That explains how all those YouTubers capture still footage of Fantasmic.
“Equipment used for unauthorized photography, videotaping, recording, broadcast or transmission of any kind for commercial purposes is not allowed. Professional photographers with professional cameras or recording equipment, who are visiting the Disneyland Resort with the intent to take photographs or recordings of people, Disneyland Resort properties, or icons for professional purposes must request permission and make prior arrangements with appropriate Disneyland Resort representatives. Permission for any recordings or broadcasts on the premises are within the sole discretion of Disney.”https://disneyland.disney.go.com/faq/parks/permitted-items/
This is a broad stroke to all “professional gear” and the lines are very fuzzy as to what they consider professional gear. Professional cameras like any cinema style camera like the Canon C100, Red Camera, Alexa, etc; will likely get you kicked out of the park. It’s also likely that if you bring a camera the size of the Canon 1DX you will get turned away at security since is difficult to argue that it is a “personal” camera.
The rule is not limited to cameras though. So any equipment that doesn’t look like a personal recording device is subject. That may include professional audio recording devices like the Zoom or Tascam, lav’s, boom mics, boom poles, etc. Any external lighting equipment also falls into this category and a reflector would be risky.
I was able to walk around with a shotgun mic on my DSLR camera all day without any problems.
What Camera Gear I Recommend
Anything that looks and is the general size of a DSLR or mirrorless camera is probably safe even if you use it professionally as a videographer or photographer. It’s too hard for park staff to distinguish between consumer, prosumer, and some professional cameras. You don’t want to bring gear that is too big or heavy, because you will want to be able to store it into a standard size backpack to carry with you on the rides (every ride that I went on can fit a standard backpack by your feet).
Without a selfie stick or gorilla pod of some kind to turn the camera around, you will need a wider angle lens to record yourself or use your cell phone to capture that shot. Some vloggers have used pistol style hand grips to accomplish this also.
What are the best Disney World YouTube Channels to watch? Here are a few of my favorites that helped me prepare for my trip:
What was the Disney vlogger boycott all about? In 2018, James Montanus, a popular vlogger was arrested at Disneyland after he confronted Disney security guards for stealing his backpack. He later called for all his YouTube fans to boycott Disney until they apologized.