Okay first let me just say, I acknowledge that it is hilarious to see the horrible faces people make on theme park rides, especially if they are immortalized forever on official ride camera photos. But if you really want to strike a special pose (or just show off your best Toddlers-in-Tiaras smile), here’s a quick guide to all the ride cameras in Disneyland and DCA:
1. SPLASH MOUNTAIN
The ride camera for Splash Mountain goes off just after the huge drop - which means you’re going to have to hold your pose through the initial first few seconds of pure terror as you freefall down the waterfall. You’ll know it’s coming because the log you’re sitting in starts climbing an impossibly tall incline and the music turns super creepy and ominous.
2. SPACE MOUNTAIN
Once you get past the initial spinning-rotating-lights-tunnel, Space Mountain is basically one giant clockwise loop in the dark. The camera goes off right after the track suddenly takes a sharp left - changing direction from the loop you’ve been going in the majority of the ride. As soon as the track shifts direction, strike your pose - you’ll have about half a second before the camera flashes.
3. RADIATOR SPRINGS RACERS
Once you find yourself on the outside track and racing through Radiator Springs, pay attention to the scenery. The ride camera is under the only part of the track that has a rock overpass, after a few large bumps, and the camera flashes right before you go under the tunnel. Don’t be too hopeful for a great shot though, as your hair is probably going to be in your face no matter what.
4. CALIFORNIA SCREAMIN’ / INCREDICOASTER
California Screamin’ may be getting a new name and overlay, but odds are the ride camera isn’t going anywhere. The camera is at the end of the track, almost at the building you originally boarded the ride in. You’ll know it’s coming because you’re heading back to the origin of the ride, and you suddenly take a large dive to the left - the camera flashes when you’re in the left turn.
5. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: MISSION BREAKOUT
I can never for the life of me remember where this camera is, so I pretty much just pose every time. The camera for sure flashes right before a big drop, right after the doors of the elevator shaft open to reveal an expansive view of the park (though I can never remember when the doors-opening part is). So, as soon as those doors open, strike a pose ASAP!
6. STAR TOURS
So technically this isn’t a ride camera, but at some point they take a photo of the Rebel Spy to display mid-ride, and Kelsey and I are always terrified it’s going to be us so we try to move around as much as possible so that they can’t get a decent photo to display. The photo is chosen before you put your 3D glasses on, and I’m pretty sure the Spy is chosen personally by a Cast Member, so it’s always a surprise if you’re up on the screen!
7. BUZZ LIGHTYEAR ASTRO BLASTERS
Near the end of the ride, you’ll find yourself helping Buzz Lightyear take out the Evil Emperor Zurg himself. The room is huge, so it’s hard to miss. The camera goes off as you turn to face Zurg at the beginning of the room, so strike a pose pretty fast!