PlanningThe ParksTips

The Secret to Getting Empty Park Pictures at Disney

We have seen those fantastic pictures of families at Walt Disney World with no one around them. The question always is- how do they do that? We have the secret to getting empty park pictures if you want to capture those magical moments during your Disney vacation.

No matter what Disney park you are headed to, there are a few ways that you can get those empty park pictures during your trip. Consider one or more of these suggestions to capture those magical moments in an open park.

Early Theme Park Entry Sign, Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: V Mills

Early Entry

One way to get pictures in the Disney park with lower crowds is to take advantage of early entry. Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can enter all four Disney parks thirty minutes before the posted opening.

Take advantage of this extra time in the park to get those empty park pictures. Plan on being at the tap points at least 45 to 60 minutes before early entry. This will put you at the front of the group and give you a massive headstart on the crowd.

If you wait until early entry to show up, you will be behind the crowd already. Invest in the time if those empty park photos are essential to you.

VIP Tour Guide
Credit: Disney


Another way to get empty park photos is to book tours early in the morning. Most of these tours would be focused on Magic Kingdom. You could book a Keys to the Kingdom tour to start the day or a VIP Tour. Both allow you to enter the park early and have some time on Main Street, U.S.A. before the crowds enter.

Although tours are offered in the other parks, they typically don’t start pre-park opening; therefore, you won’t get those empty park photos like you can in Magic Kingdom. Look into the different tours offered to find one enjoyable for your family and get you those photos.

Family dining at Magic Kingdom
Family dining at Magic Kingdom

Dining Reservations

In all of the parks, you can consider booking the first breakfast reservation of the day to get into the park early and take those empty park photos.

Consider a breakfast buffet in Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Donald Duck and his friends at Tusker House. Magic Kingdom offers breakfast at Be Our Guests, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Crystal Palace, giving guests numerous options for getting into the park early for magical photos.

Top choices at EPCOT include Garden Grill in the Land Pavilion, where guests enjoy a family-style meal with entertainment from Chip n’ Dale. Akershus is the other top breakfast reservation for guests back in Norway. Here, guests enjoy dining with princesses and having a Norweign-inspired meal to start their day.

Finally, in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests can enjoy dining with Disney Juinor friends at Hollywood and Vine, a breakfast buffet full of Disney favorites, including Mickey waffles.

Booking an early morning dining reservation is a great way to snag some empty park pictures to start your day. Remember those early entry hours to ensure you book an early enough reservation.

teenagers enjoying ice cream at Hollywood Studios
credit: Disney

Capture Your Moment

Another way to get some fantastic photos is to book a Capture Your Moment photo session in one of the Disney parks. Guests can now book a 20-minute private photo session in all four Disney parks.

When you book this session, you are provided with at least one, if not two, fantastic cast members that will help capture and create magical moments for your family. Try to book this as early as possible for a chance at lower crowds, but also know that these outstanding photographers will work with you to capture fantastic photos with limited background distractions.

This is a great way to capture those special moments such as birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoons, and family gatherings.

Disney's HOllywood Studios at night
Disney’s HOllywood Studios at night

Stay Late

Consider looking at getting those magical pictures done at night. The parks are typically much less busy in the evening, making it a great time to capture pictures.

Instead of rushing out of the park after Happily Ever After or Fantasmic, take your time. Stroll the shops, grab a snack, and then get some pictures.

Having the castle, Spaceship Earth, the Tree of Life, or the Chinese Theatre all lit up in your picture is extra special.

You can stay late by booking those last-minute dining reservations as well. Get a late-night Oga’s reservation back in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and enjoy an empty park on your way out. You can do this after a late dinner at Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom.

Even though we often think of those daytime pictures, capturing some evening ones is also a great way to get empty park pictures.

Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle

Think Differently

Finally, consider thinking outside of the box when looking for empty park pictures. Instead of only thinking of the typical shots, such as the castle from Main Street USA or the front of the Tree of Life, consider looking for other places throughout the parks to capture those memorable photos.

In Magic Kingdom, two of our favorite spots for capturing pictures of the castle are located to either side of the hub. Right next to Sleepy Hollow and on the bridge to Tomorrowland are fantastic locations to get a family picture with Cinderella Castle and no one behind you. Because the moat is there, you won’t have anyone behind you in the picture. We also love the reflection of the castle onto the water.

Over in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we love to head towards Expedition Everest and get our pictures with the Tree of Life from that angle. Hidden paths provide excellent natural backgrounds for photos with no one in them.

Although we also get the traditional photos in the parks, we love getting those slightly more unique and special.

Related: Must Get Photos in Disney

Those tips are for getting empty park pictures during your Walt Disney World vacation. Smile big and enjoy!

Related: Dos and Don’ts of Disney’s Memory Maker



Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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