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by Fancy Free Diva

I consistently find myself in a defensive position any time someone asks about my family’s pending vacation plans. Yes, we’re going to Disney again. Yes, sometimes we do go to other places, like the Grand Canyon, but Disney’s definitely our favorite. Why? For me, the answer comes down to two things: family and tradition.

My parents took me to Walt Disney World, so I want to take my own children. Not only that, but Walt Disney World is a family friendly vacation location. When we go, I know that my husband and I and our kids will have a great time. And, because we’ve been bringing our children at least once a year, every year for the last five years (since the first one was born), we have started building Disney traditions of our own.

Some of our traditions are tangible, like having a portrait or caricature drawn of the kids on every trip, or purchasing a Christmas ornament every time we’re there, but other traditions are about making memories. Other traditions are about special photo ops – pictures we make sure to take every time we’re at Walt Disney World. From year to year and trip to trip, we can watch our children grow. Of course, we always take the standard Disney trip photos, you know, the ones posed in front of the castle, or the Epcot ball, or the Tree of Life. And we take lots of photos with characters. Lots of them. But there are other photos that we also take year after year, trip after trip. Here’s a snapshot of my family’s top 5 family-friendly photo ops:

  1. The Sword in the Stone in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom

Fancy Free Son is skeptical about making that sword budge even an inch.

This photo op can be found right in front of the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, and it allows park guests to re-enact that scene from the classic Disney movie, The Sword in the Stone. There is a small step at the back for smaller or shorter guests to stand on, and the hilt of the sword makes a perfect handle for leveraging your strength. Of course, if you are able to pull the sword out of the stone, you’ll be the next king of England, so make sure you’re ready for the responsibility!


Fancy Free Daughter tries to become the next ruler of England!

  1. The frowning gargoyles by the Beast’s Castle in New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom

We love eating at Be Our Guest, and typically score lunch and dinner reservations each trip. We love the décor inside the restaurant, but it’s the gargoyles outside the castle that first captured our attention. Even if you’re not eating at the restaurant, you can ask a cast member to go down the walkway just a bit to see the gargoyles. They are beautifully detailed and almost comically sad. We like posing next to the gargoyles with our best frown, bottom lips stuck out as far as they will go. These are some of the funniest pictures we take on every trip!


Fancy Free Son gives his best gargoyle frown.

Note: We used to have another fantastic photo op in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. Inside Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, you used to be able to go to jail with Emperor Zorg. On our last trip (April 2016), though, they had moved the prison bars closer together so that there was no squeezing through. You can still pose in front of Zorg’s prison cell, but you can no longer join him (insert gargoyle frowny face here!).

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  1. The Yeti footprint at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We found this photo op by doing the fun activities in our Wilderness Explorer’s Guide with my daughter, who was, at the time, too small to ride Expedition Everest. This roller coaster has a unique height-measuring device, shaped like a giant Yeti foot. This is the perfect photo to take each year so that you can see how tall your child has grown and celebrate when they are finally tall enough to ride into the heart of the Forbidden Mountain and face the Yeti themselves.


Fancy Free Daughter is not quite tall enough.

Diva Tip: To read more about how you can become a Wilderness Explorer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, check out Tangled Diva’s review!

  1. Inside the giant shark at Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo and Friends


This is one of our favorite photo ops. It’s part humorous and part adorable in a perfect combination. Of course, Bruce’s normal mantra is, “fish are friends, not food,” but he never said anything about children, did he? There is space in Bruce’s back to climb up inside, but smaller children may need to be held up in order to get their heads in the perfect place for the picture. It’s totally worth it, though, given how cute the photos are.


Hey, Bruce! Kids are friends, not food!

Diva tip: To read more about all of the other exciting attractions and creatures that can be found inside The Seas With Nemo and Friends, read the Disney Diva’s review!

  1. The giant troll at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion


This is probably my favorite family photo op, because it’s a photo I remember taking with my parents when I went to Disney with them as a child. We make sure to stop at the Norway pavilion every time we travel to Epcot, not just for a chance to snack on the school bread, but also to get a photo with the giant troll. Even though the Maelstrom Trolls have been replaced by the Frozen trolls, this troll remains unchanged. He’s huge in comparison to small children, but still big enough for a family to pose in front of.


Fancy Free Son at 1-year-old bravely facing the troll


Fancy Free Son at almost 2-years-old…see how he’s grown!

People always say that a picture’s worth a thousand words, and memories are priceless. What happens when the two are combined? You end up with pure Disney magic and perfect souvenirs you can snap year after year. For help planning your trip to Walt Disney World, be sure to contact Patricia with All for Dreams Travel. Click here for a free quote!


***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!