"When I went it was all lights, and music, and Mickey doin' his magic." — Aug. '18 Disneyversary TR

pepperandchips

[melinda]
Joined
Mar 16, 2014
Oops, didn't know you'd already gotten to everyone's favorite post of the TR! (I actually do like those travel day posts, am I weird? Wait. Don't answer that.) :ssst:

The Orange Lake villa looks super spacious and comfy! It's really close to animal kingdom, right?

This time, however, they just left the alcohol and other offending ingredients out of the normal dish, which is in a tomato-based broth. Still good. Yeah. Still good.
Oh no! Well, maybe it was good to have a dish somewhere between "lemon heaven" and "yucky" in case mussels don't make it onto the Snow White dinner menu.
They do look good though!

For dessert, N got the Dark Chocolate Cremeux (at least I think that's what this was...I definitely remember the "chocolate soup" element being a thing.) He reported that it looked pretty terrible in terms of presentation, but was yummy and very rich
Is that a... shard...? Of ice cream? Odd presentation. But it looks very chocolatey so I would love it!

I only had one option on the menu for dessert, but fortunately it was exactly what I wanted: the allergy-friendly version of their berry cobbler. This is gluten free, and it's topped with fresh berries and a berry sorbet (rather than ice cream, to keep it dairy free
She is beautiful! What a gorgeous dish.

Things are off to a wonderful start! I hope school is settling in a bit for you and that you're having a great week!
 

amazingact21

Upendi
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Hooray for snagging one of the Orange Bird purses! They were selling out super fast, probably one of the more popular purses I've seen them sell.
I'm looking forward to seeing all the different restaurants you and N go to on this trip! Glad you guys got to Artist Point before it undergoes its changes.
 


  • suse66

    Mickey Bars should be a daily food group!
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2008
    I'd been told a couple of weeks earlier that the Orange Bird Dooney and Bourke bag I'd been coveting had shown up at the CW on Vineland. This was actually anxiety-provoking news, because I anticipated that they'd be all gone by the time that we arrived. (Things can move quickly there sometimes.) Beyond that, I wondered if they'd gone to CW because they were going to stop selling them on property/online, and if I might miss purchasing one altogether! You can imagine my surprise and relief when we got there, and I was able to pick myself up this beauty:
    So glad you got your bag!
    I also managed to get one and the placement on mine is very similar to yours. :)
    Before too long we'd arrived at the timeshare, the Holiday Inn Orange Lake.
    The timeshare looks very nice!

    N got the cheese board and accompaniments. He loved this and was in heaven...that is, if heaven is bursting with thoughtfully-paired flavours.
    Deliciousness!

    I only had one option on the menu for dessert, but fortunately it was exactly what I wanted: the allergy-friendly version of their berry cobbler. This is gluten free, and it's topped with fresh berries and a berry sorbet (rather than ice cream, to keep it dairy free.)
    This looks amazing!

    These were quite tasty, and cooked very well.
    I am a bad maritimer too, the only shellfish I can deal with is scallops!
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    Every time I saw an orange bird item this trip I thought about you!

    I’m glad you were able to get the purse you wanted and on clearance!!

    The time share resort looks very nice!

    We never tried AP, I am excited about the new character meal, will have to try it.
    I'm such an Orange Bird fan! :lovestruc I'm not sure why, since I actually only eat dole whips and never citrus swirls, though I guess part of that is just because of food allergies. But I think Orange Bird is precious! I even splurged and ordered the Orange Bird mini Loungefly backpack from shopDisney the other day.

    The time share is really great! I don't know that I'd personally buy into it, but since my grandmother already has it and offers it up to us often for free or for a very reasonable price, we really can't go wrong. The rooms are large, and clean, and quiet, and having all the amenities is awesome! The pool areas are also awesome, and there's even a lazy river, but in true timeshare fashion they charge you to rent the tubes, so we didn't make much use of it. :laughing:

    I hope you enjoy AP! We really liked it pre-characters, and I'm looking forward to trying out the new character meal after the changes.

    Cute! I"ve never caved to a Dooney, but this one is sweet.
    It's so precious! I really wanted to add it to my collection, but I wasn't keep on paying $228 for such a small bag. 50% off made it a much more manageable splurge. Orange Bird is my jam, and this bag is the perfect size for wallet/keys/phone without being bulky.

    I try to get a pin or two every trip- something that symbolizes something special from that trip or a memory or such, but I do like the idea of a "something" from each resort but am leaning to mugs now. Probably going to start this trip in fact. :)
    I like the mug idea, too!! We have too many dishes, and especially too many mugs. But they make great souvenirs! My grandmother and mom used to buy me pins whenever they's go away somewhere when I was young, so it became something I was interested in collecting at a young age. And now I've got quite a hefty Disney pin collection! (Nothing like some of the serious collectors I've seen, but still enough to fill most of a large bulletin board in our bedroom.)

    I think it's actually a good idea more than just occasionally.
    Agreed! It's the only way I'd ever have room for dessert anywhere. I usually just order an entree and no other courses, but this was a great choice to try more things and keep things lighter.

    ....but not great. ??
    Still pretty good! I'm actually not much of a mussel eater at home, but they cooked them well. Just thought I'd do a little play on:



    Wow, great that you were able to find it, and good you got it when you did. I was at Character Warehouse on Vineland about a week after and I don't think these purses were there. We probably would have noticed it because my wife had been looking for a new purse (she has a Dooney & Bourke one now but it's 4 years old). She never did find one she liked enough to cough of the full price. Half price was a great deal!
    It's probably for the best that your wife still hasn't found one that's worth the full price to her yet, because I held out for a long time on my first one to chose one I thought was worth it, or "the one." But then once I'd bought one, it became much easier to buy the second one....or the third... :laughing: It's a problem! But yes, half price makes it a much easier decision! I don't know whether I could have convinced myself to pay full price for this one and eat up so much of the souvenir budget, but half price made it a done deal!

    I have a confession...I'm a bad East Coaster. I don't like shellfish. And I don't often eat any kind of fish. Too bad you didn't enjoy it as much as your previous visit.
    I'm fairly inclined to eat most seafood, but I'm actually not usually a fan of mussels. These were very good the last time though, so I went out on a limb again. They weren't quite as good, but still enjoyable. Nathan, on the other hand, would eat mussels for days! And clams, which I won't go near.

    I want this too! I was hoping for the tote sized one though. Was there Orange Bird Bags at the parks at all? I saw that this style was on sale on the Disney store online as well.
    I think they were also still in the parks. (Which makes me wonder why they were even at the CW at all. Maybe overstock??) But I don't know about the totes.

    Yay for Character Warehouse shopping!! That definitely makes a travel day exciting :)

    We've never eaten at Artist Point, but I'm pretty excited about the snow White experience with my fingers crossed that Dopey will be joining her :)
    I've heard that it's supposed to be Snow, Evil Queen, Dopey, and Grumpy. I hope this is true!! I know you're a pretty serious Dopey fan. And I identify quite strongly with Grumpy from time to time, so I'd love to meet him. :laughing:
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    Glad you found your bag at Character Warehouse!

    Sounds like a nice dinner to kick off your trip!!
    It really did make for a great first day!

    You started this two weeks ago? How the heck have I missed this...and now, here I am showing up all the way on page 3! I am a bad DISer...will work on that.

    So glad to be able to read along on this report...I loved your wedding one! And your others in progress!

    Can't wait for more!
    :wave: Thanks so much for joining in and reading!!

    Not an Altima maybe? Not sure.
    It very well may have been. I don't remember it feeling quite that boat-like. But my step-father also has a Versa, and it feels a lot more tin-can-like...so I'll go with your Altima suggestion. It was a car, and it was kinda blueish-grayish. :confused3 :laughing:

    See? You can always trust me.
    (Cute bag, too. :))
    Of course! Why did I ever doubt?

    It IS cute. :)

    Shame, really.

    Really.
    I have to agree. I'm actually quite looking forward to the chance to meet Snow and her dwarf friends, and I'm definitely going to give it a chance. But I wish they'd kept AP as it is. Or maybe that they'd just introduce a character meal for breakfast, and keep the dinner menu and atmosphere the same. It really was kind of a hidden gem. (I guess maybe the "hidden" part was the part Disney had a problem with?)

    Woo hoo! I made it in fashionably late but still reasonably early. It sounded like you had planned an absolutely fantastic trip and I am looking forward to hearing all about it!
    Welcome!! It really was pretty spectacular!

    Oops, didn't know you'd already gotten to everyone's favorite post of the TR! (I actually do like those travel day posts, am I weird? Wait. Don't answer that.) :ssst:
    :rotfl: I actually thought of you when I was writing that! I figured you'd be one of the few who actually might enjoy hearing about a travel day.

    The Orange Lake villa looks super spacious and comfy! It's really close to animal kingdom, right?
    It is! Typically we try to plan more of our AK time for the days we're staying there because it's quite close. (Though we didn't spend much time at AK this trip. :sad1:) It's right along the 192. Very close to AK, but really not too far from anything as long as you have your own vehicle.

    Is that a... shard...? Of ice cream? Odd presentation. But it looks very chocolatey so I would love it!
    :rotfl: Basically! I actually don't 100% remember what the shard was on top of the dessert, and the menu on the Disney site is not being any help. It wasn't quite iced cream though. I don't think it was even cold. I believe it had almost more of a slightly crunchy meringue-y type texture?? ....hmmm...this is why I don't write dining reports. :laughing:

    Things are off to a wonderful start! I hope school is settling in a bit for you and that you're having a great week!
    Thank you!! School is hitting like a ton of bricks! But it's very interesting, and we're getting opportunities to do some real practical clinical-type stuff with real clients. So it's been mostly good. :)

    Hooray for snagging one of the Orange Bird purses! They were selling out super fast, probably one of the more popular purses I've seen them sell.
    I'm looking forward to seeing all the different restaurants you and N go to on this trip! Glad you guys got to Artist Point before it undergoes its changes.
    I'm a big fan of the Orange Bird bags (and really just Orange Bird in general) so I'm really glad I could pick it up on such a good deal! They still have this style (and only this style) on the shopDisney site, but not for the price I paid for it. :thumbsup2

    I'm glad, too! I'm looking forward to trying a new character meal, but I think there was something special about Artist Point as it was, and I'm really glad we got to eat there again. :goodvibes

    WOW what a great deal on the adorable Orange Bird D&B.
    Such a good deal!! Any other time I'd been to Character Warehouse, they always had D&Bs but they were never anything I'd be interested in, like Star Wars stuff, etc. This one worked out perfectly!!

    So glad you got your bag!
    I also managed to get one and the placement on mine is very similar to yours. :)
    Me, too! And glad you also got one! I was quite particular about picking one with the placement I liked, and the lady at the store was very patient with me about it, but you could tell she was kind of thinking in her head, "Ohhh boy, she's one of those!" :laughing:

    The timeshare looks very nice!
    It was excellent! I love staying onsite, and given the choice of only staying either off or on with no other factors to consider, I'd always pick Disney property. But we really loved the extra space, and the privacy and relaxed atmosphere here. It almost felt like having our own little apartment to come home to, rather than living out of suitcases in a hotel room. And saving some money didn't hurt!

    I am a bad maritimer too, the only shellfish I can deal with is scallops!
    Oh, I love some good scallops!! But I'm mostly a seafood eater, with the exception of clams and oysters. It's really funny though how very many Maritimers don't enjoy shellfish. Nathan loves shellfish, for example, but his mother wouldn't go near as much as a shrimp with a 10-foot pole!
     

    ariane37

    Dis veteran
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2012
    Then another arch to drive under...
    I think I love this arch as much as the WDW one :love:

    I got the muscles. These were quite tasty, and cooked very well
    I'm sorry they weren't as good as they were the first time, but glad you still liked them. And I'm glad you got to eat there! We got some info from your server earlier this month on what she "thinks" the new meal will be like. She's kind of excited and kind of not lol which I guess is how I feel except leaning more towards the not. I'm really happy we got in one more signature meal.

    Orange Lake looks nice. I may have said this in another one of your reports but I had a client (Chris's principal) who stayed there for a few days as his parents own there. They liked it.
     
  • MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    I'm sorry they weren't as good as they were the first time, but glad you still liked them. And I'm glad you got to eat there! We got some info from your server earlier this month on what she "thinks" the new meal will be like. She's kind of excited and kind of not lol which I guess is how I feel except leaning more towards the not. I'm really happy we got in one more signature meal.
    I'm really interested to see what it's like. But Artist Point is just such a great signature meal, and as much as it may make a good character experience, I know I'll miss it the way it was.

    Orange Lake looks nice. I may have said this in another one of your reports but I had a client (Chris's principal) who stayed there for a few days as his parents own there. They liked it.
    It's a great spot! I'm not sure I'd buy there myself or anything, but it's been a great resource for us. Rooms are nice, staff was good, and the location is great as long as you have your own vehicle. We're thinking about going next summer, and if we do we'll likely stay there for part of the trip again.
     

    PlutosRHM55

    Pluto's Prince (Haters back off!)
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2010
    *insert me suddenly appearing to drink that untouched glass of champagne*



    Hehehehe

    Glad to hear most of you travel day went smoothly (minus the fear of flying kicking in)! That Orange Bird Dooney is so so cute. I wants one (haha with what money and for what use, Timmy?). I'm sad I'll probably never get to eat at Artist Pointe because I LOVE me some mussels and if they were as good as you said they are I'm missing out. Hopefully some menu items will be retained once Snow White & co. comes in.

    Can't wait to hear about your first full day! :mickeyjum
     

    kastoney

    Disney foodie served with a side of sarcasm
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2010
    Travel days are always everyone's favourites to read about (and write about,) amirite?? *crickets* *one lone cough* ...Okay! So I'll try my best to get through this as painlessly as possible...
    I guess I'm in the minority but I like to read about travel days (there, not back) to see where everyone is coming from and how they got there. Of course I also like to fly and we are on the flight path for our airport so I spend countless hours on our deck with a drink and watching all the flights come in. Especially like to scope out the international ones and see where they are coming from. Yesterday was Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, and Air France. Yes I'm a total dork

    The flight was relatively uneventful, however, and soon enough we were arriving at the airport in Sanford. We had pre-booked a rental car, so I went to get that sorted out while N waited for the bags.
    Speaking of liking travel days, how was Sanford? I've seen cheap flights into there on occasion but have never been.



    It's sooo pretty!! .....And I love it even more because it was a full 50% off!!
    What a coup!!!!!! I'm not a big fan of the Dooneys but the orange bird is the only one I've really wanted. I just wish it came in different styles. I'm like goldilocks and they are either too big or too small for me.

    Before too long we'd arrived at the timeshare, the Holiday Inn Orange Lake. We've always had good experiences staying here on my grandmother's points, and we find the accommodations super roomy and clean.
    Looks like a great place, especially when its grandmas points that are paying!



    Then another arch to drive under...

    I'm not sure which of these arches are my favorites. Tough pick!

    We were going to Wilderness Lodge to eat at Artist Point!! I'd heard the rumours that this restaurant was going to be undergoing some changes—what we now know to be the Snow White character meal thing—and I wanted to make sure we got a chance to go back there since we'd enjoyed it so much on our last visit.
    I wish I'd heard the rumors before our trip because we most definitely would have eaten here one last day. Blasphemy what they are doing!!!!!!

    Oh, and here's a downright terrible photo of the complimentary celebratory champagne we received for our anniversary before I could tell the server that I can't drink alcohol. Whoops. More for N!

    I need to travel with you and just drink up all the free alcohol they seem to bring you :P

    I only had one option on the menu for dessert, but fortunately it was exactly what I wanted: the allergy-friendly version of their berry cobbler. This is gluten free, and it's topped with fresh berries and a berry sorbet (rather than ice cream, to keep it dairy free.)

    This may be the reason I'm not sad about Artist Point closing. Of course I'm presuming they will do away with the cobbler which is one of my favorite things in the world. We stayed at WL club level one time and Jason and I would sit on our balcony and eat cobbler and drink wine. To this day still one of my favorite trips and WDW memories.
     

    ariane37

    Dis veteran
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2012
    Yes I'm a total dork
    ::yes::

    they are either too big or too small for me.
    :scratchin

    I wish I'd heard the rumors before our trip because we most definitely would have eaten here one last day. Blasphemy what they are doing!!!!!!
    :worship:

    I need to travel with you and just drink up all the free alcohol they seem to bring you :P
    I can picture it now: each time @MeghanEmily is given free alcohol she can't drink, she snaps her fingers. In runs Kari from somewhere unseen to grab it, guzzle it up, and quickly exit the picture. Where does she go? Who knows, but she'll make an appearance again as soon as more #freealcohol shows up :thumbsup2
     
  • kastoney

    Disney foodie served with a side of sarcasm
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2010
    I can picture it now: each time @MeghanEmily is given free alcohol she can't drink, she snaps her fingers. In runs Kari from somewhere unseen to grab it, guzzle it up, and quickly exit the picture. Where does she go? Who knows, but she'll make an appearance again as soon as more #freealcohol shows up :thumbsup2
    If this could be my super power think of all I could conquer in the world :-)
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    *insert me suddenly appearing to drink that untouched glass of champagne*



    Hehehehe
    :rotfl2: You should definitely tag along whenever I'm celebrating something on a trip! It's a crying shame how much champagne and how many mimosas go un-drunk.

    That Orange Bird Dooney is so so cute. I wants one (haha with what money and for what use, Timmy?).
    I highly recommend it! I'm sure you could find a good use for it! It's not a bad park bag, really—fits all the essentials without being too heavy or bulky.

    I guess I'm in the minority but I like to read about travel days (there, not back) to see where everyone is coming from and how they got there. Of course I also like to fly and we are on the flight path for our airport so I spend countless hours on our deck with a drink and watching all the flights come in. Especially like to scope out the international ones and see where they are coming from. Yesterday was Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, and Air France. Yes I'm a total dork
    Oh, that's actually really cool! I assume it doesn't keep you up or anything with noise?

    Speaking of liking travel days, how was Sanford? I've seen cheap flights into there on occasion but have never been.
    I actually don't mind Sanford. I find it a lot more chill than flying into MCO. It's definitely smaller, but we've never had any real issues. Though it seems like sometimes when we're there security is a real...[crap]show. We sometimes like having a rental car, but when we haven't it's a bit of a hassle to get to and from the Sanford airport without the benefit of ME. Having to take a taxi like a commoner!! Can you even imagine!? :laughing:

    I'm like goldilocks and they are either too big or too small for me.
    ....tehehe

    Looks like a great place, especially when its grandmas points that are paying!
    Couldn't agree more!! :goodvibes She really uses all her points in the year, so it's been great for us! And she always seems to give me the granddaughter discount. :thumbsup2

    I wish I'd heard the rumors before our trip because we most definitely would have eaten here one last day. Blasphemy what they are doing!!!!!!
    I totally agree! Now, do I enjoy a good character meal? Yes, often. And I'm excited to have a chance to meet Grumpy, because he's totally my homeboy. But I just wish they had left AP dinner exactly as it was!! Even if they'd thrown in a breakfast character meal or something, and kept the restaurant and dinner experience exactly the same, I could be cool with that. But dinner at AP is just such a lovely experience... *sigh*

    I need to travel with you and just drink up all the free alcohol they seem to bring you :P
    I highly recommend it! Any time we're travelling over a celebration of some sort, I'll be sure to invite you along! :thumbsup2

    This may be the reason I'm not sad about Artist Point closing. Of course I'm presuming they will do away with the cobbler which is one of my favorite things in the world. We stayed at WL club level one time and Jason and I would sit on our balcony and eat cobbler and drink wine. To this day still one of my favorite trips and WDW memories.
    :lovestruc Love this.

    I can picture it now: each time @MeghanEmily is given free alcohol she can't drink, she snaps her fingers. In runs Kari from somewhere unseen to grab it, guzzle it up, and quickly exit the picture. Where does she go? Who knows, but she'll make an appearance again as soon as more #freealcohol shows up :thumbsup2
    :rotfl2:
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    Is that...an Armadillo?
    Aug. 16—Part 1

    So...anyone else here never seen an armadillo in the wild? Because I never had! I mean...I guess I still haven't, if you don't count a Disney park as being "the wild." Anyway! Moving on!

    This will be a photo-heavy post...and soon you'll see why! (If you follow me on social media, some of this may be a refresher for you.)

    Our alarms went off early this morning. I don't have the exact time written in my notes, but I'm guessing that it was shortly before 5am, since we left the resort around 6:10am. 4:45 sounds familiar...? Regardless, we hadn't had such an early morning at Disney since...well...our wedding day. That was even EARLIER! But if you remember why we were up so early for our wedding, then you're already on the right track as to guessing why we were getting up so early now...

    We both got showered and dressed in our best "dressy casual" attire. (I'm so bad at remembering how to label dress codes. I always have to Google it. Anyway, I wanted us to look nice, but not super formal.) I rushed through my hair and makeup, and we were out the door. We were on our way toward the Grand Floridian and Franck's soon after. While we were in the car, I got a call on my cell phone from Ali, confirming that he would be meeting us. Ali would be our photographer for the morning from Disney's Fine Art Photography (DFAP), and if you haven't figured it out yet, we were going to have our anniversary photos taken! This would be exciting enough on its own...but what made it a million times better was that the pictures would be taken in my favourite park, Animal Kingdom! :lovestruc:lovestruc We had done an early morning Magic Kingdom photo session for our wedding day 364 days prior, and now we were doing the same thing at AK for our anniversary.

    Side note: just after I booked this, they hiked the prices way up AGAIN for pre-park photo sessions. I'm so glad I booked it when I did. I could get into a huge rant about Disney weddings, and how the costs keep skyrocketing because they know people will continue to pay...but I'll save that for another time. :headache:

    If you're not familiar, Franck's Bridal Studio is beside Disney's Wedding Pavilion, and the Grand Floridian, and it's where they do the planning for Disney weddings, showings of linens and things, cake tastings, etc. We got to Franck's before the photographer and his assistant, so we had a moment to appreciate the beauty of the morning. I couldn't help but feel a little giddy that we'd be returning to the Grand as resort guests before too long.



    They arrived shortly after we did, and we hopped into the big white van they were driving to take us backstage at AK. Ali was friendly, and I'd really liked his portfolio and what I'd seen of his pictures on Pinterest. I think he was actually my first choice when I called DFAP and gave them my top 3 photographer requests. But we didn't immediately connect with him like we did our wedding photographer, Amanda. Once we started to get more comfortable with him, however, and once he showed me a few raw shots he took of us on his camera screen, any worries I might have had melted away. We had a great morning with him!

    The van pulled to a stop, and we got out, only to realize we were parked right beside where the Kilimanjaro Safaris queue entrance is. I felt like a VIP! We had told Ali—and I'd mentioned when I filled out my forms for DFAP—that one of my priorities for backdrops was the prayer flags in Asia. We went there first.



    Just as Ali was getting us set up at our next location...we noticed something waddling along the path beside us...and it was an armadillo! I was so surprised and excited! I know there are certainly more exotic animals to see in Animal Kingdom, but I'd never seen a free-roaming armadillo before! We don't have them up north! I was surprised how pinkish he was...and also how adorable. :love: He continued on his way—I think he was late for his shift because he didn't stop to chat—and we went back to posing.







    One of Ali's best qualities as a photographer, I believe, is the way he gets creative with light/shadow. I always appreciate when a photographer really cares about using lighting to make subjects look their best (and I didn't like the lighting in some of our wedding pictures, though that couldn't always be helped since we had an outdoor ceremony in sunny Florida...but alas...). Ali went above and beyond, making sure that, not only were we never poorly lit, but that he also used light and his understanding of camera settings to create some unique and beautiful effects.



    My prayer flag desire satisfied, we moved on to the second location on my wish list: Everest!

    I was desperate for a shot like this, and Ali truly delivered! (He even made sure to time our session properly so that the sun would be hitting just the right spot.)





    I also wanted Tree of Life photos, and pictures of our anniversary buttons. We headed that direction next, but stopped along the way when Ali decided he liked these blue doors...



    It was the most beautiful morning! Ali and his assistant also kept encouraging us to pull out our cell phones if we wanted to take any pictures. This was different from my last DFAP photo session. They'd also take our phones and have Ali's assistant snap a few photos for us during the shoot for, what they referred to as, a "behind the scenes look!"

    As Ali set up the next shot, I took these:





    Here we are, in place and waiting....



    Ali doing his magic...



    ...to produce these:





    Ali also quickly learned that N and I are terrible at posing. We're seriously the world's worst models. And we're pretty awkward about it. It took many tries, with Ali asking us to "just walk," or "dance," or "twirl her around," or "just do your thing together! Whatever you feel like doing!" etc., before he realized that we needed a little more structure. After a while he started being a little more direct and recognizing that we needed some help posing properly. (Probably because every time he asked us to do those things above, we didn't look carefree and cool...we just looked stupid. :laughing:)



    We finished up early with lots of time to spare. I had all the items on my wish list checked off. So we told Ali to just go for whatever he wanted, and we'd try anything. He told us that often in a session he would take everything the couple wanted, and then the photos that turned out being their favourites would end up being the ones they just took on the fly because someone noticed an unexpected location, or had a "silly" idea. So we just went along for the ride. That's when the real fun started!









    One of our favourite pictures ended up being in the market area of Harambe. Ali suddenly got really excited and was very intent on making a certain light effect work exactly how he wanted it. After he took the picture, he was thrilled and his eyes were shining. He told us he'd never taken that picture, or anything like it, for a couple before! And that it was exciting because he liked to always give his couples something a little different, and not just the same shots everyone else already had, etc. This was it: (I struggled with whether to include it in B&W or colour, because both were stunning...)



    We kept playing, and continued to loosen up as time went on...





    We saw one of the open-air gift shop things, and Ali was like, "Oh, take some hats!" I was like ummm, can we even do that!? But he was the Disney-employed photographer, so I took his word for it.





    Our session was nearing its end, so we slipped in a few more pictures just as the Pandora crowds were starting to be let into the park.







    And for the record...this, below, is the kinda dumb stuff N and I do when somebody asks us to just "do whatever we do together." No wonder Ali started giving us more direction in our posing!



    Just when we thought our session was over, Ali stopped us once more because he had an idea for this one last location. We started out just walking, holding hands, having N try to twirl me around, etc. We leaned in for a kiss, and Ali started getting more creative. He asked if I could jump and N could catch me. Then it got more and more complex as Ali slowly refined exactly what it was that he wanted. It took many attempts, trying to time this photo perfectly. As it turns out, I'm terrible at simultaneously jumping, being caught, fanning my bent legs, and kissing. But Ali had unwavering faith in my ability to make it happen, and N just kept trying to catch me and support my weight like a champ, and eventually we got this last photo:



    It was finally time to get going, so we piled back in the van. Ali and his assistant pointed things out to us on our way out through the backstage areas, like the barns where the elephants are kept at night, etc. They returned us to Franck's to collect our car, and we said our goodbyes. We were anticipating receiving our photos within about 6 weeks, but it ended up being much faster than that. We actually got the email with the gallery while we were still on vacation! Ali was wonderful, and I'd definitely work with him again in future if I had the chance. I really had to work to pare down the photos I wanted to share from the session here, but he gave us so many wonderful shots! Doing a pre-park opening photo session was a huge expense, even compared to some of the other big splurges we made for our anniversary trip. I wasn't sure whether I could justify the cost, or whether I'd regret it. Even though I'd loved our MK wedding pictures, it seemed a little much for an anniversary. But this ended up being one of the most wonderful and worthwhile experiences from our trip, and I truly cherish the photos Ali took! No regrets here!! I didn't think anything could stand up to our amazing Magic Kingdom shoot from our wedding day, but this was a close second. :lovestruc
     

    Dentam

    Dreaming of Disney
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2015
    Gorgeous pics! I especially love the lighting on the Tree of Life ones!

    I saw an armadillo in the Wilderness Lodge parking lot one evening. Apparently they're really common in FL but nocturnal. Guess they're the FL version of opossums!
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    Gorgeous pics! I especially love the lighting on the Tree of Life ones!

    I saw an armadillo in the Wilderness Lodge parking lot one evening. Apparently they're really common in FL but nocturnal. Guess they're the FL version of opossums!
    Thanks so much! Ali was a master at his craft, so he made it easy for us. I love what he came up with!

    And that makes perfect sense then. It was just a bit before sunrise when we started our session, so he must have been scuttling off to bed. :goodvibes
     

    Smilelea

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 15, 2017
    OH my goodness!! The pictures are beautiful! There's way too many to choose from as far as a favorite goes.

    BTW - we see armadillos here all the time - Sadly more often as roadkill than not.
     



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