The best cameras in the Kingdom

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

According to FTC guidelines, I need to tell you that the services and equipment from Kingdom Camera Rentals in the following review was comped in exchange for a frank and honest review. All opinions are my own. Your opinions and experiences may vary. 

When I was at Walt Disney World for AEP recently (AEP is Agent Education Program for travel agents that specialize in Disney travel), I was fortunate to have the opportunity to try out the services, and equipment, from Kingdom Camera Rentals. I first read about KCR on my favorite Disney photo blog, The Disney Tourist Blog and then again on several different Disney message boards, and knew I had to try them out myself.

Kingdom Camera Rentals rents vacation ready DSLR camera equipment to the Orlando area and Walt Disney World visitors, with a focus on Canon and Nikon equipment. Other than having camera bodies and lenses available for rental, they also have flashes, filters, batteries, battery chargers, tripods, memory cards and bags, too. You can rent an entire package with body, lenses, battery and memory cards, or just piece together what you need if you want to bring your own camera body with you but leave all the extra gear at home.

KCR was started by owners Ron and Lenise after vacationing in Hawaii and traveling with all their gear (which took up all their carry-on space in the airplane!), they had the thought “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could rent your camera equipment at your vacation destination?” By renting at your destination, there would be no more lugging heavy equipment through the airport or risk getting it damaged going through security or in route to your destination, and it would also free up that coveted carry-on space on planes. It is from that vacation that Kingdom Camera Rentals was born!

“Kingdom Camera Rentals was inspired by our desire to provide affordable, high quality camera equipment to people vacationing in Central Florida who want to capture once in a lifetime memories in beautiful images they can enjoy with their family for a lifetime!”

Three Caballeros sing the praises for Kingdom Camera Rentals!
A bonus for renting at your destination is that you can be assured that you will have the equipment to catch those amazing shots that you might have missed with a point-and-shoot camera. How many times have you come home from vacationing and when looking at your photos, felt some disappointment at your shots, especially of fireworks, low-lights or overblown shots that are too bright? I know I have before…a point-and-shoot just doesn’t give you what you need for those conditions, and because those are the conditions you will ultimately face while vacationing in Walt Disney World, you need a camera that can help you achieve your vacation photography goals. 
Another important point to make, DSLRs are expensive and getting the glass to go with it can be even more pricey than the initial cost of a camera body. Few people have the money to drop on such a camera for a vacation, and even if they did, may not have any idea where to start. If you do have a DSLR body, you may not have all the glass needed to get shots you dream of and don’t have an extra $2,300 or so for the Nikon AFS VR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED Zoom lens you have been itching to get your hands on. I know I don’t have that kind of spare change laying around, but that hasn’t stopped me from renting that particular lens more than a couple of times. Renting is an economical way of trying out new things before you buy them, and is perfect for how I like to explore the DSLR world.  

Feel daunted by a DSLR? Don’t be! With amazing packages, personal delivery to your resort where someone from KCR will meet you and give you a quick lesson on your camera, there really is nothing to worry about!

For my trip, I had the Enthusiast Package (update 6/10/15 – the packages have changed. Please refer to their website for updated listings), with a Nikon D7000 (I LOVE this camera!), and a few extra lenses (prime lens, fish-eye and zoom…I’ll review those in a later post) to capture all the shots I had in mind. I met owner Lenise in the lobby of Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside Resort, where I spent the first night of my ‘work’ week. (It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! 😉 ) 
My Royal Guest Room at Port Orleans Riverside
Upon our meeting, she showed me each of the lenses as well as special features of the 7000 that I may not have been familiar with. I’m a Nikon shooter, so I knew many things already on the body, but what I wasn’t expecting was the ‘Scenes’ that you could pick from. For those that aren’t comfortable using Manual Mode but want better than Auto Mode, this is the way to go! A Walt Disney World vacation is usually fast paced with shooting conditions changing often. Unless you already know what Manual settings to use, most people stick with Auto, but with Scenes, you can choose from 19 different settings, including Night Portrait, Dusk/Dawn, Sand/Snow, Party, Food, Candlelight and more. Even with my mostly being a manual shooter, I admit that I used these Scenes a lot because they are just so goof proof and easy to use. 

The Beast’s Castle Guards

The Grand Ballroom at Be Our Guest Restuarant

During my week of training. we toured the parks, many resorts and the Disney Cruise Line ship, the Dream. Needless to say, I took a ton of photos. So many, that I still haven’t finished processing them all! I loved the equipment, and the service was the best. I have even read reveiws of where vacationers had issues with their own camera gear and one of the respresentatives of KCR rushed right out to make sure they had working gear, even late at night! That is outstanding service, some that you won’t find at an on-line rental. At the end of my trip, I met owner Ron in the lobby of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort where my agent pal and I were checking out, and had a great conversation just ‘talking shop’. He mentioned that he is always looking at new gear to add to their collection.

One suggestion I will make, always spend a little extra and add the Damage Waiver. For a small deductible, your equipment will be safe from any ‘Covered Loss.’ Don’t think that will happen to you? Remember, Walt Disney World is a large place with thousands of other people wanting a great vacation, and great vacation photos, too. Accidents happen. Lens caps get lost (I know this first-hand!), UV filters get bumped and shatter, tri-pods get kicked over where that huge zoom lens you had to have goes crashing to the cement (this happened to Tom Bricker from the Disney Tourist Blog)…things happen. Cover yourself from additional expenses by adding that waiver to your package. You may never need it, but the peace of mind makes a huge difference!

I have rented from other camera rental companies before, but would either have to pay large shipping fees or pick it up myself. With KCR, all that extra time and expense is gone, now I can just focus on taking the pictures! I am already planning what gear I want for my trip in a few months for The Ultimate Field Trip, and I can rest assured that I will have not only great quality in products, but fantastic service, too! You can find KCR on their Facebook page here, where you can read the many happy customer’s reports for yourself.

If you are ready to take your vacation photos to the next level, I urge you to check them out! I believe they will be an invaluable resource for Disney photographers!

Poolside at Stormalong Bay