As soon as Maty contacted me I knew I was dealing with a uniquely wonderful young woman. She found me online, knowing that she was coming to visit Disney all the way from Tennessee; Maty came up with the original and fun idea of having her senior portraits done – at the Magic Kingdom. Maty saw I was previously Walt Disney Imagineer’s in house photographer, so she realized I knew the Disney parks inside and out. She also loved how colorful my photos are on my web site. She put two and two together and reached out to me to see if I can help make her dream come true.
At the same time here in Orlando myself and the rest of the state of Florida were going through Hurricane Mathew. You got to believe me when I say that getting a text from someone who claims they are in school and will call me when they get out to discuss senior portraits – I thought someone was pulling my leg as, well, Florida was closed at the time and everyone was sitting put under careful waiting for this massive storm to pass.
But as it turns out Tennessee, of course, had school that day, and Maty and I planned her senior portrait session over the phone and met in front of the Magic Kingdom gates one very early morning.
Our concept was a Disney fashion shoot. Maty loves bright colors – a girl after my own heart – so she wore a couple of very bright colored outfits for this session.
And there we were, on the Magic Kingdom’s crowded Main Street – snapping away as waves of people, kids and strollers pass us. At the beginning I realized Maty was feeling uncomfortable in front of all these people. I walked up to her and said “just look at me, pretend none of these people are here. It’s just you and me, and we are turning your dream into reality. Just think about that, realize how happy you are, and ignore everything else” Maty smiled her beautiful smile at me, and from there on she was enjoying every moment of the experience.
As I was photographing I was wondering to myself what will happen first – will I get run over by the mob rushing to see the show at the castle, or Disney police will walk up to me and escort me out of the park. But neither of these happened. And I realized no one cared. It is, after all, the happiest place on earth. And in that spirit everyone was busy – being happy.
We ended our session on the Dumbo the flying elephant ride. Turns out it’s a favorite ride for both Maty and I, and proving you are always a kid at heart no matter what your chronological age you actually are – we both jumped on the ride. I asked Maty to sit behind me, and as the ride started, and Dumbo was airborne, I turned around and saw Maty stretched her arms out in pure glee, I snapped a few frames and I knew it was a wrap. We succeeded in this pursuit of happiness. What an incredible high school senior session!
On a personal note, after the session, on the way out of the park I passed Walt’s portrait. It is hanging by the entrance, just a black and white standard 8×10, most people pass it and not even notice it. When I was WDI I had to photograph in the parks before and after opening hours. Whenever I was photographing at the Magic Kingdom I would stop in front of Walt’s portrait and say hello. After the senior session with Maty, on my way out, I stopped in front of Walt’s portrait again. I smiled at him and thanked him for this incredible place he created. And I swear he smiled back at me. Hey, it’s possible. it is the Magic Kingdom after all.
For more information about high school senior portrait packages available and to book a session CLICK HERE