Photographing Disney Characters at Chef Mickey’s

Chef Mickeys Entrance Sign
Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s Grand Canyon Concourse at in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 800, EV +0.3, 85mm Focal Length.

Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s Grand Canyon Concourse has been one of the most popular character meals at Walt Disney World for as long as I can remember. It serves Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner and gives guests a wonderful opportunity to spend time with and have photos taken with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto.

Chef Mickeys Character Meal with Goofy
Goofy hanging with a Father and Son at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort at in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/60, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Bounce Flash.

When seated at any Character Meal at Walt Disney World, make sure to sit across from the VIP(s) of your group. At my visit to Chef Mickey’s, the VIP was my Grandson.  Another photography tool I use is a Speedlight or external flash unit to fill in the shadows and bring out the colorful characters.

Chef Mickeys Character Meal with Minnie Mouse
Minnie Mouse greeting an adult guest at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort at in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length, Bounce Flash.

Do not forget the adults in your party. In the case of the young woman above (who is also my daughter), she has been going to Walt Disney World since she was 3 years old and loves all the characters.

You will notice in the character photos, I bounce the flash off the ceiling to soften and spread out the light. This was very important for a couple of reasons. The first was to keep the flash from reflecting off the windows of the restaurant we were seated near. The other is to give more natural lighting on the faces of the people and characters.

Chef Mickeys Character Meal with Mickey
Mickey Mouse posing with a young guest for a photograph at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort at in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 27mm Focal Length, Bounce Flash, Cropped.

What one needs to do but what I failed to do in this photo is to remove distracting elements in the scene. I did not notice the straw sticking up at the bottom of the frame. Still, the photo is a classic keeper after I cropped it into a portrait from the original landscape.

Chef Mickeys Character Meal with Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse playing with a young guest at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort at in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 52mm Focal Length, Bounce Flash.

Another tip is to be ready the whole time a character is at the table. You never know what they or a member of your party might do. My Grandson was thrilled when Mickey decided to play with him for a couple of minutes.

For more Walt Disney World Character Meal tips and locations, visit the All Ears Character Meals Information Page.

Do you have any tips for photographing a Disney Character Meal? Please, share them in the comments below.

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Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.

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