Mom's Enchanting Photos of Daughter as Disney Princess

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Photographer Kristina Bewley helps her daughter shine in a series of stunning photos of the 4-year-old with Down syndrome posing in princess costumes at Disney World. (Photo: Giselle Evelyn Photography/Kristina Bewley).

Ah, the magic of Disney. Photographer Kristina Bewley discovered that when it comes to bringing out her daughter’s joy, nothing works as well as dressing up like a Disney princess and posing for photos at the happiest place on earth. 

“At home she’s like a little rosebud,” the Florida mother and designer, 28, tells Yahoo Parenting of 4-year-old Giselle Bewley, who has Down syndrome and is the muse of “Giselle’s Garden,” an enchanting photo series featuring her dressed up in spectacular costumes shot at the park. “She’s like in her own bubble and doesn’t really stray from it or even walk around much, but at Disney World she just blooms.” 

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(Photo: Giselle Evelyn Photography/Kristina Bewley).

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The typically introverted preschooler, whom Kristina says is only able to utter about 20 words, waves to the characters at the theme park and walks around saying, ‘Hi!’ to everybody. “We get to see our daughter blossom there and it’s amazing,” says the mom. “She’s so full of life there and I often feel like she’s hiding it from us. But when we get to Disney it just bursts out.” 

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(Photo: Giselle Evelyn Photography/Kristina Bewley).

Kristina says she and her husband, Matthew Bewley, 34, a media executive at a radio station, have “become addicted to seeing the transformation, which makes us want to go.” And so they do. Once a month, since that first trip back in September, the family packs up the car and drives the 2-and-a-half hours from their home in Jacksonville, Florida to the amusement park, with a special costume in tow each time. 

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(Photo: Giselle Evelyn Photography/Kristina Bewley).

“She gets so excited to wear each new costume and twirl,” says the photographer about the ensembles, many of which Kristina makes herself. “Gisele really likes the whole process. It’s fun for me but it’s really her thing.” 

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(Photo: Giselle Evelyn Photography/Kristina Bewley).

The princesses are among Giselle’s Disney favorites but she also adores the characters from Monsters Inc. and Big Hero 6. “She’ll run to Alice in Wonderland at the park too but I don’t think she even knows who she is,” marvels Kristina. “I’m like, why? I just love to try to figure out my daughter because she doesn’t talk much. I’m always wondering what she’s thinking. It’s a big inspiration for my pictures.” 

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(Photo: Giselle Evelyn Photography/Kristina Bewley).

Raising a child with special needs isn’t easy, Kristina admits, crediting her husband as her rock when she starts to stress about Giselle not talking much or whether college will be in the cards. “He’s the one who always says, “'The only disability in life is having a bad attitude.’ Any time I whine about something he reminds me how amazing she is.” 

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(Photo: Giselle Evelyn Photography/Kristina Bewley).

 The moving photos that the mom captures are an excellent reminder as well. “Giselle is our first child and I don’t know any different so her Down syndrome is our norm,” says Kristina. “Until people point it out, I don’t even think about it on a daily basis. I’ll never be ashamed of it and I hope that when people see her in pictures, Down syndrome is only part of what they see in addition to her great eyebrows and amazing hair. She’s more alike than she is different.”

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(Photo: Giselle Evelyn Photography/Kristina Bewley). 

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