We’re asking Disney photographers from around the world for their best tips and tricks in our series, Get the Picture. From what time of day to photograph Cinderella Castle to the most interesting angles at Castaway Cay, learn how to create picture-perfect moments wherever you are!
By Ty Popko
The Walt Disney Studios were purposely built to create images, from inked-and-painted cels to 24 frames per second. Many people drive past the Studio in Burbank, California, hoping to take a glance at Disney magic in the making. If you find yourself lucky enough to be invited through its gates—D23 Gold Members can learn more about our next official tour here—make sure you create a few images of your own. We have identified a few locations accessible on tours that are sure to inspire that perfect shot.
Disney Legends Plaza is one of the visual centerpieces of the Studio. Facing the Team Disney Building and adorned with the Seven Dwarfs (signifying the film that helped fund the Studio’s original construction in the late 1930s), it is easily one of the most photographed places on the lot by visitors and employees alike. It’s a place where Studio employees start their first day on the job, reading the names of the legendary people who have come before them.
Make sure you grab a picture at the foot of the iconic Partners statue. This statue of Walt and Mickey presents a unique opportunity to walk right up to the likeness that is usually separated from Guests by railing and flower beds at various Disney parks around the world.
Measure your hands up to Disney Legends of the present and past. These select few given recognition in the Plaza have been instrumental to the success of The Walt Disney Company since 1923. The continuing tradition of inducting new Disney Legends is an integral event that takes place during the D23 Expo.
The water tower is a classic vision of Hollywood that stands at most major studios to this day. Show anyone a photo of this Mickey Mouse-adorned water tower, and they will know exactly where you are. Near the tower is a perfect group photo backdrop. This homage to the old Studio Mill is unmistakably Disney and especially beautiful at night.
Released in 1941, The Reluctant Dragon featured Robert Benchley’s mostly self-led wanderings of the Disney Studio in Burbank. This was the public’s first official peek behind the curtain of how the Studio operated. The street sign on Pluto’s Corner (at the intersection of Mickey Avenue and Dopey Drive) was created as set dressing for the film and still stands to this day. Even though the directions on the sign are just for show, this iconic spot on the lot is a can’t-miss photo opp—make sure to add it to your Studio shot list.
Want to photograph unforgettable pieces of Disney history? Don’t miss the exhibits on display at the Walt Disney Archives in the Frank G. Wells Building. From animation maquettes and vintage merchandise to movie props and personal items that belonged to Walt Disney, you can see why the Walt Disney Archives is near and dear to the hearts of many Disney fans.
Now, to top off this list, the Studio holds many amazing spots to exercise your photographic prowess, but arguably the best location is the newly-restored office of Walt Disney. Suite 3H, which has been meticulously placed back into its original location by the Walt Disney Archives, holds priceless treasures you will not want to miss. Slow down here and study the room through the lens (and please do remember that flash photography and video recording are not permitted inside Walt Disney’s office suite)—but don’t forget to take a moment without camera in hand. As rewarding as it is to photograph all you can see, make sure you always take time to fully appreciate where you are in the moment.
Take a look at some additional shots of the beautiful and historic locations around The Walt Disney Studios.