Getting pictures of your family members smiling ear to ear in front of Cinderella Castle is a must when you are vacationing at Walt Disney World. In addition to recording all the fun you’re having, did you know there are many practical uses for digital and cell phone cameras as well? Here are some camera tips that I’ve picked up over the years. Hopefully you’ll find some of them useful on your next trip.
1. First of all, if your camera gets separated from you, you’ll be glad you followed this tip. Write or print your name and contact information on a piece of paper. I like to include both my cell number and email address. I deliberately don’t put my street address because I don’t want to advertise where I live, especially if I am on vacation. Snap a clear photo of the paper and then use the features on the camera to lock it on the memory card so it can’t be easily erased.
2. Hopefully you will be lucky enough that the airlines will never lose or damage your luggage. If they do though, a picture will come in very handy to show the airline worker what it looks (or looked) like. While you’re at it, snap a photo of the contents of your luggage, being careful to get anything of particular value. One time I got my luggage back looking as if the airplane had run over it. It was completely trashed, including the few pieces of clothing that were still in it. The airlines reimbursed me for everything I could remember packing, but I still have a nagging feeling that I forgot about something. A photo of the contents would have eased my mind.
3. If you have medications, take a photo of the label to keep on your phone. This is helpful in case you need to replace the medication or tell someone what it is.
4. I keep track of all my confirmation numbers for dining reservations, tours, spa appointments, etc. in my datebook when I am planning my trip. Then I snap a photo of them. I am not likely to carry my datebook around Disney World, but I know I’ll have my phone with me wherever I go.
5. Use your digital camera to take photos of any dings on your rental car the minute you pick it up. This saved me a lot of hassle once. When I returned the car, they wanted to charge me for a scratch. Luckily I had taken a picture of it before I left the rental car lot. I showed the supervisor and that was the end of it. The couple of minutes it took to take the pictures saved me a lot of time, and possibly money, in the long run.
6. Have you ever wandered out into one of Disney’s giant parking lots, only to realize you can’t remember what your rental car looks like? Even if you do, there are dozens that look just like yours in the first few rows! I take a picture of my rental car that shows what it looks like and the license plate so I can tell it from all the others when I am ready to leave.
7. Speaking of parking… I used to have a great memory, but not so much lately. Just to be on the safe side I take a picture that will help me remember where I parked.
8. The same goes for my room number. Who wants to keep track of all that trivial information when you’re on vacation anyway – not me. I let my camera do it for me.
9. Take a picture your tickets and passes, being sure to include the barcode. Then the next time you leave your pass in the FastPass machine, or your party ticket in your room, you won’t have to panic. Just show the picture to Guest Services and they can issue you a replacement ticket.
10. Start each day with a head-to-toe photo of your children. That way, in the unlikely event that they get separated from you, you’ll be able to show a Cast Member what they look like and what they are wearing that day.
11. Here’s a tip I need to follow more often. When you see something that you just can’t live without, take a photo of it instead of plunking down the cash. Then later, maybe even on the last day of your trip, if you still think a Santa hat with Goofy ears is a good idea, you can buy it then. Just think of how much money you’ll save.
12. You can use your camera as a magnifying glass. I have an annual pass and it comes with a little booklet that lists out all the places I can use the pass to get a discount. Great idea, right? Well, I don’t think they want me to use the discount because the font in that booklet is miniscule. I showed them though – I just took a photo on my phone and then zoomed in to read the small print. Ha!
13. The last time I went to Flying Fish Café for dinner, I really liked the wine that the bartender suggested. I snapped a photo to remember it so that I could look for it at home.
14. Le Cellier and Tutto Gusto are two great places to eat at Epcot but darned if I don’t have the hardest time being able to see the menu because of the dim lighting. Guess what makes a great flashlight? A bright image on my camera gives just enough extra light to read with.
15. Lastly, before you even leave home, be sure to write your cell number on your media cards. This I learned from experience. While taking pictures of the Christmas lights at Ft. Wilderness, I must have dropped my media card when I switched it out for a new one. I never did find it, but I bet someone did. Without a way to reach me, there was no way for them to return it.
~ Barrie Brewer, Social Media Director