Disney Before PhotoPass

Did you ever borrow a Polaroid at Disney World?

Disney Before PhotoPass - DisneyDayByDay

Disney has gone through a few sponsorships when it comes to film and camera products.   Most of us remember the Kodak Picture Spots around the parks and have taken many pictures from them.   When Walt Disney World opened in 1971 the camera sponsorship was with GAF (Great American Film) Company.   While GAF was the sponsor they maintained the GAF Photo Trail, you could follow the trail through the park to take pictures and it was described as follows “Follow the GAF Photo Trail for outstanding scenic pictures in the Magic Kingdom. The picture spots on the map have been carefully researched and selected as the best locations for taking memorable pictures. Each spot has been marked by a Photo Trail sign providing useful information for colorful and exciting movies and still pictures. Photo Trail spots have been located at the hotels and other scenic areas around Walt Disney World. Watch for the blue picture spot signs.”

In 1977 sponsorship changed from GAF to Polaroid.   They remained the sponsor for 5 years from 1977 to 1982 just before EPCOT Center opened.   One of the fun things to do during Polaroid’s sponsorship was to borrow a Polaroid camera (with deposit) for free to use in the park.   The only catch was you had to pay for the film.   You could also pose in front of backdrops of the Walt Disney World Railroad dressed in vintage costumes.

As EPCOT Center opened and the Imagination pavilion was built Kodak moved into the picture and sponsorship of the parks.   They sponsored many areas of the parks including the park pictures spots, PhilharMagic, MuppetVision 3D, Epcot Camera Center, and the Garden Gate Gifts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.   Unfortunately Kodak entered into bankruptcy and as of Dec 2012 removed all sponsorships.

Kodak - Nikon Picture Spot Disney - DisneyDayByDay

In 2013 Nikon entered the picture.   In Nov of 2013 Nikon was announced as the official camera of Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.   You may have seen the picture spots being rebranded and also noticed that the Photopass Photographers now only carry Nikon equipment.

What kind of camera do you carry into the parks?   

Posted in History.
  • I had forgotten you could rent Polaroids! I wasn’t around to see that, but wouldn’t that have been fun?!

  • Oh wow….what a cool history for photos at WDW. I never knew about the Polaroid sponsorship. Fun post!