Let’s start with the most important part.

I’m always looking for a better way to carry my gear. Whether it be for a wedding, portrait session, family vacation, or just walking around, I’ve never been fully satisfied with my options. And while I still feel like I haven’t found the perfect system, I’m definitely getting closer.

So to start, outside of when I shoot weddings and portraits, I switched over to shooting Fuji – it’s lightweight and still produces great images. So with my xt-1 around my neck, my other shooting necessities are a couple lenses, a flash, and flash accessories and batteries. Then comes my travel ‘darkroom’ – I picked up a Samsung Galaxybook to replace my Macbook Air while I travel (who would have thought the Macbook Air would become too big and bulky?). Couple that with a portable hard drive for image backup and I’m good to go. And now that I’m traveling with a family of 4, I had further requirements of multiple tablets, charging blocks and cables.

The goal, then, is to fit it all compactly in a carrying apparatus that allows me to keep my hands free, and still have quick access to switching out lenses or grabbing a tablet without causing a commotion. And while not checking off every box on my wishlist (though maybe it will if I cut back on what I choose to bring), I will say that the LowePro Slingshot has been the best I’ve found to date!

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It was perfect for traveling through the airports and walking around the theme park without slowing me down. Time will tell how well it holds up, but so far I can’t complain!

Now on to the other stuff. I’m not big on commercialized locations for vacations – I can rarely justify the cost with the value…I’m a cynic. The wife has been talking about the necessity of experiencing Disney, so I said that I will go 1 time during the kids childhood. I was under the impression that we decided the best time would be in a couple of years…she was under the impression it would be this year. So we went this year.

So she took the lead on planning out the details, mapping out the best rides and paths to travel and when to be and when. I was in charge of making sure I packed the camera gear and tech stuff. We work really well as a team.

We stayed at the Pop Century Resort which was a relatively short bus ride away from the parks. The first day we took it easy after the flight with a relaxed trip over to Disney Springs and dinner at Rainforest Cafe. Day 2 was what would be the madness of Magic Kingdom – which honestly was less madness than I expected. We started with a character breakfast where the wife kids were excited to see Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland – definitely a great experience for them to actually have short conversations with the characters.

After that we got our trip on. I was planning on going with the ‘if you get tired then we just don’t do things until you have the energy to start walking again.’ But the wife convinced me the better option was to rent a double stroller – kids will be in a better mood, which in turn kept us in a good mood. Through the magic of fast passes and the Disney app, we were able to hit up all the rides and experiences we wanted, without feeling like we were waiting in lines for days. It definitely helped having a 6 and 3 year old who were too small for the more popular rides and with little to no expectations, anything we decided would be a blast.

The next morning we ended our Disney experience with one last character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s – another fun time for the wife kids to meet some of the originals.

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The second part of our trip carried us to West Palm Beach to spend some time with the in-laws – a more tone-down vacation of sand and water for the kids. The clouds held back the rains just long enough for us to enjoy it all.

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For their one and only Disney trip, I think it worked out really well for the kids. We are reminding them weekly of their experiences so that they never forget…and never ask to go again. Because I’m not going. Ever.


Disney 2018

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Interested in booking? Head over to the contact page or shoot me an email to info@natemathai.com

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