My friend Nichole has booked 2 different private portrait sessions with Disney Fine Photography. Here is an account of her experiences:
Have you ever thought about doing professional portraits at Disney? We all know how awesome those memories, character meet & greets, and poses in front of the castle are because we keep buying them! Photopass Photographers do a great job but you have to be right where they are to catch them. What if you could have your own personal photo shoot? Disney Fine Photography offers three different options. I have done two of the three this year and would love to share what I learned!
Package 1 – ($180) Disney Mini Portrait Session which is basically a 20 minute session whereby you receive a flash drive at the end of the session with all of your memories on them- untouched and instant. The photographs are good for up to an 8” x 10” reprint at your favorite online or brick and mortar printer. You retain the exclusive rights to print the images as you see fit. It’s meant to be a casual session (no bridal attire allowed) and locations are limited to the following:
Disney’s Polynesian, Disney’s Grand Floridian, Disney’s Beach Club, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Disney’s Art of Animation.
Package 2 – ($399) Disney Enhanced Portrait Session is the same as above but with MORE! It’s an hour long session! You receive your archival disk in the mail about 4-6 weeks after your session. This is because they go back and enhance the photographs. They do give you an exclusive website to review the photographs before your disk arrives. This was very helpful because we were able to show our respective parents without being obligated to give them the actual prints. Along with the copyright release, you are able to print the images to a much larger 30” x40”! Locations are much more broad than the Mini Portrait Session. They include ALL of the Disney Resorts plus Epcot World Showcase, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
Keep in mind that for the Mini Session and Enhanced Portrait Session you are responsible for your own transportation. We were staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Jambo House and needing to get to Disney’s Grand Floridian for 11 AM. We had to leave our resort at 9 AM to get Magic Kingdom and the ride the monorail over to meet our photographer at the lobby of the Grand Floridian- while dressed up in our formal outfits! This was not a pleasant experience so, keep that in mind if you have a large group and plan ahead.
We chose Package 2 to “get our feet wet” and try out the services before jumping into the much more expensive Package 3. We had to be dressed and ready to go for our 11 AM appointment. We had several email exchanges between Disney Fine Photography and us to set up dates, times and options. We were doing this during the week of Christmas and New Year’s Eve so, it was a little bit hectic getting the time. We really wanted to do our pictures in front of the glorious tree in the lobby of Grand Floridian since our first Disney trip was the previous year during this time. We thought it would be neat to start a family tradition of having our portraits in front of the tree. We coordinated with the staff and arranged to have one wardrobe change since we had matching Honeymoon shirts as well.
The photographers were amazing! It was a Dynamic Duo who showed up to make us look amazing. One was the assistant who carried the lighting and equipment around and the other was our photographer. They were a great team and constantly kept us on the move. We definitely received our money’s worth because we were all over that resort! Pictures in front of the tree, the gingerbread house, and even outside were part of session. The assistant even humored me and took several of them on my phone so that I could post them immediately to Facebook because I had to share! Our wardrobe change was quick and then the process started again with the poses. Some of them were fun and some were kind of a surprise! Each picture on the disk shows a color and a black and white version which was a nice touch.
This is what your Enhanced and Bridal Portrait websites will look like. You are given a link and password. You can show it to your loved ones and if they choose to buy from Disney directly, they can. Otherwise wait until your archival disk arrives and order to your heart’s content! I loved how you could play slideshow and look at everything.
Package 3 Bridal Session – price varies ($1700 for Magic Kingdom, $995 for other parks, and $450 for resort). I know you are thinking what a ridiculous amount of money but when you compare to bridal portrait sessions as whole, it really isn’t that out of line depending on where you live. We really thought about it and decided that since we had both had huge weddings the first time to non-Disney people, we were going to splurge and do the Magic Kingdom package. We had a small wedding and then celebrated at Disney. We couldn’t get our pictures during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve Week because of Extra Magic Hours. You have to be ready for photographer pick up at 7 AM SHARP. This package the photographers came to us. We were staying at Saratoga Springs for the weekend- truly just in town to do our pictures. They picked us up at 7 AM and we were in Magic Kingdom (a secret entrance) by 7:30. We actually drove in and parked right by Liberty Tavern. I had arranged with Disney Floral and Gifts to have a bouquet made and a boutonniere that was an exact replica from our wedding. It was there and waiting with a small hidden Mickey crystal in it!
We had the same Dynamic Duo from last month do our Bridal Portraits. You have to pick a route (they do 3 brides at the same time). Since I had an almost 9 foot train, I chose a shorter route – Cinderella’s Castle (where all the brides start from), the Carousel, and the Teacups. I did not do the Teacups because my dress would not fit so, we did more back of the castle photographs which was just such a difficult decision to make, you know?
It was fun to be dressed up and walking around behind the castle, especially when the morning breakfast diners were coming in for their table service! Thank goodness for editing because a few of the shots did have strollers in them.
We did a lot of couponing to have gift cards ready to use. Thank goodness for stockpiling them through swagbucks and Raise because we were able to save quite a bit. I would do this again in a heartbeat because it truly was a magical experience!