My husband is also a Disneyland junkie so we ended up taking a 3 day long Halloween family trip to California, and it was so much fun!
Monique and Alex had the cutest beauty and the beast outfit with so many pretty little details. Well, the headband was obviously the best part! It was made by Monique’s sister and it looked so good on them.
This was my first time photographing in a theme park and I wanted to share my experience and tips to help you plan the perfect Disneyland California engagement photo shoot!
But let me stop for a second! Not everything will go the way you imagine or want to! However pictures are all about preserving memories, so make them a great one! Especially when you’re at the Happiest Place on Earth.
We started our day with some wardrobe difficulties, then got stuck at the entrance line for over an hour, plus the weather wasn’t working to our favor either. But none of this mattered! When we finally started our session it was all about having fun at the park and snapping some pictures.
What is the best time of the year?
I was honestly a bit worried to have a photoshoot a day before Halloween, since it’s such a crowded season. Thankfully it was not that bad at all! However, try to find the off seasons if you can be flexible with your time. Monique wanted to celebrate Halloween and her birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth, so there was no debate about that. But if you are just looking for the best time to go, check out Disneyland California’s schedule before booking. (Unless you actually want a bunch of people in your photos.)
What is the best time of the day?
Ok, so the plan is you hit the park as soon as it opens to avoid the crowd, which means you have to be at the gate much earlier that the opening hour. (This can be 8 or 9 am, depending on the day.)
Tip: Make sure you check in the day before to speed up the entrance process. Since there are security gates before the park, try to arrive without any bags so you can get through it faster. (Hopefully they will soon have separate gates for those arriving empty handed.)
But! If you happen to fall behind schedule, (which can easily happen) don’t panic! We started 2 hours later than originally planned and there were waaaay more people than the day before. Trust your photographer, they will find that perfect moment, or that cute hidden spot with no tourists.
If you like those nighttime ‘watching the fireworks’ romantic photos, you can split the session in half and meet up with the photographer in the evening to they can snap those pictures too.
Because of the crazy crowd, I highly suggest you plan ahead and map out all the important locations, spots or rides you don’t want to miss. Disneyland is huge! Especially if you’re thinking about including California Adventure. You won’t be able to go through everything, so having a plan can save you lot of time.
If you are lucky enough to go for more than one day, try to schedule the photo shoot on the second day. That way you can look around, explore and have a location scout the day before.
Don’t forget the rides!
While you walk through the park and pose by some magical sceneries, make sure to hop on some cool rides too! Especially if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera. It gives you guys something to do, laugh and have fun. After all, that is what Disneyland is all about! Make memories, and let your photographer capture them!
Oh, and while you’re at CA, grab some sweets (ice-cream, churros or cotton candy). They make a perfect prop and you can get some very cute pictures with them.
Tip: Download the MouseWait App and don’t forget to plan the waiting time into your schedule.
Soooo many people!
Let’s be realistic! Disneyland can get pretty busy and crazy. There are lot of people walking by, blocking you or simply stopping to watch. So if you know ahead that you will have an audience the whole time, it won’t be so shocking when you start the session. But I promise you will get use to it as time goes, and a lot of people are actually really nice! They wait to pass by, congratulate for the engagement and may also snap a picture of you.
(Note: There are no hard regulations about shooting in Disneyland, as long as your photographer is respectful of the park rules and other tourist (can’t ask them to move or stop, it will ruin their experience).
It’s important to accept that no matter where you go, there will be tourists walking into your photos. So instead of stressing out just take a deep breath, embrace where you are, and enjoy some cuddle time with your fiancee. Your photographer will be able to edit some distractions out of your images, but ultimately I think documenting the reality and the crazy fun of Disneyland is also part of the experience! Because walking through an empty theme park would be a bit weird. Don’t you think so?
Tip: If you see a Disney character walking by, I encourage you to go there! Talk to them, be silly and have fun. It will make an awesome picture. And memory!
WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR?
This depends on a lot of things. Do you have a favorite Disney story, character or theme? Do you like adventure, exploring and going on rides? Your outfits will really depend on what you and your fiancee love the most. But if you just want to dress up more for the feeling and to fit into the scenery, Disneyland has a romantic, fairytale theme, and California Adventure on the other has more like a nightlife, dressy style. You can always go with two outfits!
Tip: Don’t forget to grab your “Just Engaged” or “Happily Ever After” pins at the entrance!