France Day 34: Disneyland Magic
Today was the magical Disney day I'd dreamed of since I was a kid - taking my own preschool-aged little ones to Disney. We bought Bittykins everything she wanted for a dressup costume at the Disney princess castle. She is way too small for even their tiniest real princess costume, so we bought her a 24 month crushed velvet leotard with a princess skirt from the baby rack. We bought her the princess necklace and little pocketbook and itty-bitty dress-up gloves she wanted: white, with pink bows on the wrists. So dainty. And I looked and looked the store over, but could not find any shoes that would even remotely close to fit her feet slightly, even for oversized dressup play. And then, on the very last section, I found what I know for certain was the only pair of size "Age 3" shoes in the entire store, and possibly in the entire park. They are hot pink glitter slingback wedges with a peeptoe. They are adorned with hot pink bows and a big clear heart-shaped jewel in the middle of each bow. And then we took them directly to the very top of the Disney princess castle, which, by the way, in Paris, is Sleeping Beauty's castle. The dozen gorgeous, 10-foot tall stained glass panels tell the story of Sleeping Beauty, which you can read in opened books stationed around the promenade. Bittykins was fascinated, and treated the place with all its due veneration.
I've gotten a lot of questions from readers on how I shot so many photos at Disney in the summertime without harsh light or extraneous people in the background. Well, I'll tell you. It's 99% patience. Even if the scene is unposed, you have to pick a small spot and kind of hover around the action. Then you stand there with a giant camera in your hands and you attempt to make eye contact with anyone in the way. Most of the time, people feel they're being looked at, and when they turn around and see you, just smile. They smile back and will move quickly and usually watch you take your pictures! One photo in here I caught another person, so I sent it out to my friend Todd at Todd Graham Photography because he is a Photoshop master, and I can't find my way out of a wet paper bag in Photoshop. That's pretty much it. Another tip, though, is to wait for Golden Hour. Most people are gone from the little kid areas of Disney by this hour, so you have great soft light and more space.
Oh, and I almost forgot...all those years since my childhood when I first saw the TV commercial featuring happy parents & children riding the Dumbo ride? I always envisioned myself in that commercial. That dream came true for me, and just as I had always envisioned it. Not as the kid. As the mommy.
And it was better than I envisioned, because right as we rode, the sun set over Fantasy Land, the last streaks of sun flickering through Bittykins' golden curls whipping around. Her giggle in that moment, and her snuggle up next to me, in her tiny size 24 month velour princess dress and her tiny white gloves and tiny (but still-too-big) hot pink glitter high heels in size 3 years was a sound I won't forget. I also remember the plastic clack of the beaded handle on her new little princess pocketbook dropping to the floor of our Dumbo, and her not reaching for it because she was too busy closing her eyes and breathing deep, her tiny gloved hands wrapped around my upper arm...
We rode it three times.