Walt Disney World is tailor made for this photographer. Everywhere you turn there are scenes bursting with color, small details, and pop-culture nostalgia. All those things are like photographic catnip for me. Do people even say catnip anymore? Do I even know what catnip is? Hold on, be right back. Okay, it’s a plant, cats like it, yawn. Okay, back to talking about Disney World. The Disney theme parks are chock-full of imagery waiting to photograph and maybe someday I’ll focus on capturing those things. For our recent family vacation to the humid, Mickey-adorned bowels of Orlando, I was a Dad first and foremost.
I’ve been to the Florida-based theme parks many, many, times in my lifetime and depending on how you view The Walt Disney Corporation’s role in shaping contemporary American culture, you may consider me fortunate, or alternatively, part of the problem. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a Disney person, but darned if I don’t enjoy these parks. For me there’s just something about sitting in a dark ride and being transported to somewhere magical and amazing, if only for a few minutes, that is absolutely captivating.
Because of my frequent visits in the past, I made a conscious decision before we left that this vacation was 100% about the boys’ experience and nothing else. Sit out a thrill ride because the 6-year-old wasn’t on board, no problem. Change lunch plans and carefully orchestrated fast pass schedules to accommodate everyone’s fatigue and hunger levels, check. Not worrying about “getting my photos,” yep. Visiting four separate parks in five days, this was not the kind of vacation where pockets of time were going to be found for photography, nor should it have been.
On this Evans family adventure, I didn’t snag a lot of non-family images I would consider “keepers,” but I captured so many great images of the boys (that I’m not sharing extensively here), because that was the essence of our trip. This vacation wasn’t about how I viewed and experienced this place, it was how my children did, and the photos I ended up with reflect that. I think that’s how it goes with good photography, your heart leads and the camera just follows.