Early Morning Magic with the Garrett Family - Magic Kingdom Photographer

You guys! I don’t even know where to begin with this one… but what I do know is that this trio is so dear to me. When I received an email from Sara about a year after the date of our first session, inviting me to join them for another magical morning, I was ecstatic, and could not type “YES, please!” fast enough.

This time I joined them for the Early Morning Magic Hour in Fantasyland and it did not disappoint! From Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel to the Hundred Acre Wood, Goofy’s Barnstormer to the Tomorrowland Speedway, and everything in between, it was magic. And I’m not just talking about the pixie dusted kind. Because, for me, the magic is in being given the opportunity to capture a family from one vacation to the next, being trusted to turn little moments into big memories, and being witness to the speed at which our children grow. And, boy, do they ever grow.

More from our first session, which was less than eighteen months ago, HERE.

The Ambrosie Family at the Magic Kingdom - Disney Documentary Photographer

I finished up my 2017 sessions with the Ambrosie family a few days before Christmas. It was a crazy month, one that actually resulted in losing my voice the day before our session and I could do hardly more than whisper when I met up with them.  Thankfully for me, they were incredibly kind and willing to embrace my miming and ridiculous gestures.  And luckily, my approach to photography is of the observe and capture variety, so all was well. ;)  We had a blast making our way around the park capturing the fun and festive atmosphere. Early morning sessions are always a win, in my opinion. But especially so at Christmastime.

Magic Kingdom with the Turner Family - Disney Documentary Photographer

Occasionally I get asked how I feel about photographing larger families, or even extended families, and to be completely honest, I love it.  More children means more interaction, more interaction means more opportunities for connection, and more connection means more moments.  And I eat the moments up!

My morning spent exploring Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Main Street USA with the Turner family was no exception.  And to top it off, their oldest son, Jaxon, had me from the start.  Watching him interact with his younger siblings and witnessing the bond he has with his dad, had me thinking about the future with my own young man.  

Magic Kingdom with the Reed Family - Disney Family Photographer

Last year I got to kick off my December sessions with the sweetest of families.  I met up with these three at their resort, the Polynesian, and we hopped on a monorail bound for the Magic Kingdom to enjoy an easy evening in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.  MJ was a bit shy with the camera at first, but eventually came around and gave me so many natural and easy direct looks into camera.  These environmental portraits are some of my favorites from the session.  That and all the LOVE.  So much love.

Harper and the Magic Kingdom - Disney Family Photographer

I met up with this spunky little girl and her perfectly laidback parents during the last week of November last year.  And I spent the whole morning marveling over their adorableness (and over the fact that we had what felt like an empty Magic Kingdom to explore).  We packed in so much, from the classics in Fantasyland to the mountains in Frontierland, and still had time for ice cream on Main Street.  

Magic Kingdom with the Guinn Family - Disney Family Photographer

Okay, so I seriously need to catch up, and here's the new goal: blog my final five holiday sessions from last year BEFORE my son starts first grade in less than two weeks.  So let's do it, starting with Sarah and her family.  I knew it was meant to be when Sarah quoted Stacey and the must-do's in one of her first emails.  She is my kind of person!  On the day of our session, when I first arrived at the Magic Kingdom it was blue skies and sunshine, but in true Florida fashion, by the time I met up with them in Adventureland there were raindrops falling down.  Lucky for us though, it didn't pour and we were able to enjoy some of Adventureland and Frontierland before heading over to the Polynesian to wrap up with drinks at Trader Sam's.  

Hollywood Studios with the Raider Family - Disney Documentary Photographer

You guys, not only did I get to hang out with the adorable Raider family again, but for the first time ever, I got to do a session in a park that is not called the Magic Kingdom. I love the Magic Kingdom, don't get me wrong, it's classic and timeless and full of so much fantasy, but having the opportunity to shoot a session in another park was exciting.  I was really inspired by different surroundings and the light and, well, the adorable Marceline.  Honestly, there is no happier babe than this little girl.  All smiles, all the time!

Magic Kingdom with the Wittmer Family - Disney Documentary Photographer

The very next day, after flying home from Disneyland, I met up with one of my favorite families for some fun at the Magic Kingdom.  It was crazy to see how much the boys have grown in a year.  Last year we hit up the carousel and Barnstormer, but this year we didn't even set foot in Fantasyland.  Instead, it was the Tomorrowland Speedway and Big Thunder Mountain at the top of our must-do list!  

I have a lot of favorites, but the one I keep going back to is the very last image in the set, with everyone walking back to the Contemporary after an exhausting but magical morning.  Every year they stay here and every year they make this trek home from the Magic Kingdom multiple times.  And my hope is that years from now when they look at this image, they will be immediately transported to this series of moments.  To the many times they walked this path and to the memories of a morning well spent together.

Favorite Frames: Our Disneyland Vacation - Day Four

And so it is, we've come to our last day of vacation.  But it may have been the best, filled with lots of favorites.  A quick trip over the Disneyland for Space Mountain and the Matterhorn, Lucas' favorites.  And then over at California Adventure, we broke the Guardians out again, met some of our favorite Asgardians, nommed on the lobster nachos at Cove Bar, and rode Mater's Junkyard Jamboree enough times to dance to every track.  

Everyone got to pick their favorite thing to do one last time and we ended up spending a crazy amount of time at Redwood Creek, wishing we'd gone there earlier in the week.  

It was the perfect little vacation and it's already hard to believe it was six months ago.  Guess it's time to plan another trip!

Favorite Frames: Our Disneyland Vacation - Day Three

Day three started with a quick trip to California Adventure, or more specifically, to Mission Breakout, during the extra magic hour.  And then from there, we hopped right over to Disneyland for opening and a sprint to Nemo's Submarine Voyage and a tour of the Fantasyland greats.  Big Thunder Mountain, lunch at Cafe Orleans, Haunted Mansion Holiday on repeat, dole whips, the Enchanted Tiki Room and more.  

Also, that double stroller, it's like it was covered in pixie dust or something.  Every time I look at these images, I think it's the double stroller ones that are going to make me smile the most in years to come.