Engagement photos are becoming more and more popular with today’s brides and grooms. Traditionally, engagement photos were professional portraits taken at a photography studio and sent out with wedding invitations to provide a keepsake for the wedding guests (and maybe even a sneak peek at a new family member they’ve never met). Today, couples are taking the opportunity to have their portrait taken outside of the classic wedding studio. In fact, many are choosing to visit scenic areas or places that are special to the couple to use as backdrops for these increasingly casual photos.
It’s a little known fact that couples can actually use the Disneyland theme park for their engagement photos if they’re looking for a fun background that’s full of pixie dust. Although the theme parks at Walt Disney World prohibit outside photographers from entering the parks to do professional sessions, the parks in California (Disneyland and California Adventure) have no such rule. So, park guests can book professional photographers in the Anaheim area and arrange to meet inside the park area for their engagement sessions.
If you’re considering taking engagement photos (or any other type of professional portrait) inside of one of these Disney theme parks, here are some things to keep in mind:
(1) You can take pictures at most of the places inside the park. You can even take pictures while you’re riding the rides! However, it is against the rules at both parks to do anything that interferes with the vacation experiences of the other guests. That means that you can’t block off areas that guests normally use because you want to take pictures. You’ll have to wait until there’s a break in the crowd to capture that special shot, or plan ahead to find out of the way corners where guests won’t accidentally step into the frame. You will need to follow park rules during your session, which means you will not be allowed to move into prohibited areas to get your picture taken.
(2) If you’re taking photos on one of the park attractions, follow all of the rules posted. This may mean that your photographer won’t be able to use a flash, since flash pictures are prohibited on rides like The Haunted Mansion. You and your photographer also will not be able to break the rules by standing up in your ride vehicle or stepping out into a prohibited area to capture that shot. Additionally, you will have to wait in line with everyone else and you won’t be able to request a second ride if you don’t quite get the picture, since you’ll be treated like any other park guest. This is something to keep in mind if you have a limited amount of time for your photography session and you don’t want to spend it standing in lines.
(3) Your photographer will have to pay park admission to enter the park (and so will you). Unless you are having a special event at Disneyland or California Adventure and have received special permission to do so, you will not be allowed to take photos inside the park outside of the normal park hours. Additionally, you’ll want to let your photographer know that while he or she may bring a camera bag, etc., it will not be possible to bring in large photography equipment, such as additional lighting sources, backdrops, or large props to use for staging.
(4) You will not be allowed to enter the park in your wedding gown or any other type of unusual outfit. All of the Disney parks have a strict rule prohibiting guests entering the park in any type of costume and wedding gowns (as well as other types of formal attire) are included in this prohibition. The reasoning behind this rule has to do with park safety. Since there are a number of Disney characters walking around the parks at any given time, young children are accustomed to approaching those characters for hugs, photos, and autographs. In order to prevent the possibility of a child being lured to a predator by a pretty costume, Disney does as much as they can to keep park guests from being mistaken for characters.
(5) There are lockers near the entrances to both Disneyland and California Adventure which are perfect for storing extra outfits, props you want to use, or cosmetics and hair products for quick touch-ups during your session. Be sure to let your photographer know that these lockers are available, just in case they have extra equipment that they don’t want to carry with them as they travel around the parks.