McG does Disneyland Christmas! | McGowan Images Blog


McG does Disneyland Christmas!

This was the first time Mack had every been to Disneyland without kids, and boy, we did it up big. We met our friends Kevin & Nicole of Berg Photography at the park bright and early Thursday morning and spent the next sixteen hours soaking up everything there was to love in the Happiest Place on Earth. Have I mentioned that I’m a total Disneyphile? Because I am. I adore it. I hope that we’ll be able to continue to make at least an annual trek out to the west coast, so I never have to go a year without some Mickey in my life!

One of the best things about going on a trip with other photographers is that EVERYONE walks away with high quality pictures! We all shared our memory cards and took turns taking pictures of each couple, and it’s so nice to really love the pictures of Mack and I in a place that’s so dear to my heart. If I have to find a downside, it is that… well… we walked away with about 1,000 incredible pictures from ONE day at Disney. 🙂

Don’t worry… I’m not sharing 1,000 pictures in this blog. Just slightly more than 100. But when you think about that boiling down to less than 10 shots an hour, it really doesn’t seem like too much… right? 😉

Sit back and enjoy the recap of our wonderful, Christmasy day!!

That first picture was taken just after 8 a.m. on Main Street, after the gate opened but before the park did. It makes me insanely happy. Also, grateful, because it was taken by a sweet Japanese man that we targeted because he was carrying a Canon 7D so even though we didn’t speak the same language, we knew he could take a great picture for us. (We returned the favor). From this point out, any non-squishy face pictures you see of McG were taken by the Bergs! A few of the other pictures were as well, and I’ll try to point that out when I get to them, but I don’t always know when Mack was shooting. I do know I carried the 50mm most of the day, so a good chunk of the reason we were there for 15 hours is that I kept stopping to take more pictures. 🙂

Just above, you’ll see part of the super duper like 50 foot tall Christmas tree on Main Street. There’s a picture with more context at night, toward the end of this post. Also, you’ll see early evidence that I am one of those “OMG! Take a picture of me with the castle!” people. No shame.

Actually, there’s lots of pictures of US at Disneyland, because really, that was kind of the point. It’s a special place to Kevin & Nicole just like it is to me (and growing to be for Mack), and we all really loved the idea of doing mini-portrait sessions there. So we’d find a place with pretty light, and take turns. People thought they were engagement sessions… we got lots of “awwwws”. 🙂

It should be noted (yet again, because I’ve said it before) Mack really hates to have his picture taken. It’s ironic, but true. He did this just because he loves me so much… I tried not to make it too painful for him. 🙂

Those were all taken in the New Orleans area, just after we got off of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which we always ride first because DUH. From there, it’s just a short hop over to the Haunted Mansion, which is my very favorite… and this time of year, it’s all about “The Nightmare Before Christmas”!

Kevin shot this really fun series on “Big Thunder Mountain”, and of COURSE we had to animate it. 🙂

Oh yeah, we’re grownups who wait in line for pictures with characters… and SANTA!

Kevin shot some really killer details inside the castle…

The Indiana Jones ride is easily my favorite of the “modern” rides at Disneyland. So clever and fun!

I’m an Adventureland kind of girl.

We couldn’t decide between daytime and nightime pictures in front of the castle. So, of course, we took both.

Sometimes we’d only have a second to catch them, but you NEVER pass up a picture with a Disney princess!

For the first time EVER, I didn’t completely lose on the Astro Blaster ride! I actually beat Mack AND Kevin! (Ok, so Nicole took the overall price by a measly 5,000 points… but still… I didn’t lose! 🙂 )

Because Mack and I left San Diego before dawn to head to Disneyland, we were pretty hungry when we got there. So we had breakfast. Then a snack. Then early lunch. Then late lunch. Then another snack. Then popcorn. Then dinner. Then drinks. I swear, Disneyland would have given me 15 pounds as a souvenir if I hadn’t walked 47 miles that day.These pictures are from “Ice Cream Break”, a tradition that Kevin & Nicole happily agreed we should observe.

The sun set at around quarter ’til 5 p.m., so the last 6 hours of our time at Disney were spent in the dark. Mack was happy because he thought that meant no more pictures… whatever. We brought flash! 🙂 Those will come later. The sunset light is so pretty at Disneyland. Tell me why we haven’t shot a wedding here yet?

After the sunset, it was time for even MORE prettiness! A Christmas parade and a fireworks show (both of which made me cry, but whatever, you guys are probably so used to that by now.)

Okay, so this first picture is from BEFORE the parade. I’m a little mad at myself for not buying one of the light-up balloon within a balloon things. Sure, $20 is ridiculous and we had to get on a plane the next day… but so cool.

Sleeping Beauty’s castle at night is always stunning. But at Christmastime? With the snow and the icicles and the lights? MAGIC.

I could watch this Holiday Wishes fireworks show every single night, and never get tired of it…

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you with this picture below… that’s snow. And not some chemical nasty smelling weirdness, either. SNOW!

We missed Boot Camp last week due to this trip, and we’re missing it again this week because we’re traveling with the kiddos. So in an attempt to make it up to our fabulous trainer Shanna, we did a stacking plank in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. 🙂

Ahhhh… now, doesn’t that just fill your heart with all sorts of wonderful Christmasy dreams? GORGEOUS!

Kevin & Nicole, thank you SO Much for jumping on board this trip and spending the day with us. We had an absolute blast, and we’re so grateful for the pictures you took of us! Dare I say, let’s do it again next year? 🙂

Blogstalkers, you kind of rock my world if you made it through this whole blog post. 🙂 Don’t worry… Friday’s blog will be another personal travel post, but not NEAR this long. Don’t forget, if you haven’t voted in the McGowan Images Best of 2011 contest, do that before the week is out!


  1. bobbileigh says:

    Loved this post, I havent been to Disney since I was around 10 and I have always wanted to go back as an adult and we just havent made it a priority, this post may change my mindset.

  2. MeaganB says:

    Easily one of my favorite blog posts of the year!

  3. Ambo says:

    Love, Love, Love!!!! Amazing!!! I wanna go!!!

  4. Courtney says:

    I ABSOLUTELY ADORE this post!! For so many reasons! 1. I am a total Disneyphile too and I want so badly to go to Disney World/Land as an adult 2. I LOVE that it’s all Christmasy and wonderful 3. You are so stinkin’ CUTE in your Minnie ears and I love love love your hair! You look HOT! And that last pic of the castle all lit up in Christmas lights is definitely becoming my desktop wallpaper. Did I say how much I loved this post?! K, just checking 🙂

  5. Erica says:

    You guys are such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing this fun adventure… I’m going to look up Disney Land prices now. 🙂

  6. keri says:

    i love the stacking plank! haha.

  7. Erin says:

    Ahhh…SO jealous…I have to admit, I haven’t ever been to Disneyland (I know! And I call myself a Disneyphile…) but I have been to DisneyWorld somewhere upside of 6 or 7 times. Your pics just made me determined to travel to CA and actually go to DisneyLAND, as well. Especially during the holidays. And you guys take great pictures (I mean, with you in FRONT of the camera) I don’t care what Mack says… And an ice cream break is required at Disney, that’s a given- Sean laughed at me when I got super excited about my Mickey ice cream. Whatever. He doesn’t understand 😉

  8. Kevin says:

    We had such a great time hanging out with you guys!!! It made going back to work today not as terrible because I was able to re-live this awesome day! Thank you guys so much for our amazing pictures!!! I love them all! And Disneyworld or Disneyland, just tell us the day and we are there!!!!!!!

  9. Mike says:

    major ditto to MegB’s comment. WOWSERS! I can’t pick a favorite because I love every. single. shot. Seriously! you just made my day…and Christmas! (Lunch break WIN!) I’m totally going back through this post to get more Disney McG-Berg goodness. AND I’m sharing it with the rest of the world. soooo…I’m going to be one of those annoying fans 😉 and give you a long list of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES (despite what I said earlier. and yes, I scrolled up and down several times to get the numbers right. hopelessly devoted McG fan right here. haha!): 123, 266, wicked cool coaster animation (Kevin, you are one talented dude!), 318, 339, 399, 472 (SKINNY Chelsea! model much?!), 510, 589, 615, 921, 987 (McG rocks! so inspiring), and definitely 932. 🙂

  10. Christian U says:

    AHH!!! I LOVE THESE!! Thank you so SO much for sharing!! Chelsea you are so beautiful!! and FUN!!! This blog post makes me want to visit Disney World!!

  11. Abby says:

    Ummmm….. Disney might want to look all 4 of you up and get you on board with a gig… And when they do, you have to tell them that your 2 reeaaaallllyyy good friends Abby and Eric are your personal assistants, aaaand, that we all need season passes. for life. But, really, it looks like you guys had such a blast, and I am jealous! Chelsea, you look gorgeous~ and your Minnie ears just make it all the more wonderful. I love the laughing ones, they are always my fave, you guys have the best laughs! Remember that 15 days in January I’m trying to figure out what to do with? Even if I have to go alone…. I might just have to go see that castle!!!

  12. Nicole says:

    I SO LOVE THIS POST! We had a great time! And we are ALWAYS on board for a Disney trip!

  13. Sam says:

    those dancing reindeer in the parade are SO CREEPY. also, hey – you’re cute.

  14. Liesa says:

    0990 is my favorite of the portraits of you two! 🙂 I wanna gooooooo! Maybe that can be a trip Rob and I take someday. Thank you for sharing the Magic!

  15. Emily says:

    I love all of the photos…but the one of you and Mack facing the castle is so cute!

    This blog post makes me wish my companies conference was in December instead of July. We are going to Anaheim, CA next year! Chad & I can’t wait!

    We hope you have a very blessed Christmas and New Years!

  16. Kendra says:

    Y’all make Disneyland look fun for a couple of adults!!! I should show some of my friends this post and show them that I’m not crazy and that you CAN have a fun time at any age!! 🙂

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