Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Who doesn't love Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  For years, watching this parade was the way I marked the official start of the Christmas season for me and my family.  This was usually combined with a trip to the Magic Kingdom to take part in the Very Merry Christmas party.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Balloons on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom

Walking down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom during the Holidays is extra magical and balloons make it even more special.

For this show I wanted the balloons in focus and the bokeh effect on the castle so I got fairly close to the balloons and used a 56mm focal length with the aperture set to f/5.6.  The ISO was set to 100 and the shutter speed was 1/500 of a second.  I also wanted a fast shutter speed to minimize blur in the balloons since the winds was moving them around a bit.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lady and the Tramp

Had a special request from one of my Instagram followers for this picture.

I wanted a lot of bokeh in this shot so I set the aperture to f/1.8, 1/60 sec shutter speed, ISO 2500, 35mm.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

101 Dalmatians

One of my favorite scenes of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.  The show is no longer there, but it brought us years of joy and happiness.

This shot was a long exposure with the camera set to f/8.0, 1.3 seconds shutter speed, ISO 100 and 16 mm focal length.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights was a display of lights, decorations and music at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.  The final performance of the show was on January 6, 2016.  The final songs the lights danced to were, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", and "Mickey Mouse Club Alma Mater".

Friday, November 25, 2016

Cinderella Castle

Another shot of Cinderella Castle and Main Street in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World all decorated for the Holidays.

This shot was taken with my camera set to Aperture f/5.6, 1/50 sec shutter speed, ISO 2000 and 98mm focal length.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Magic Kingdom During the Holidays

Cinderella Castle 

Walking down Main Street during the Holidays makes it extra special.  All the decorations, the music and even the snow transforms the Magic Kingdom into a Winter wonderland.  One thing you may notice in the past couple of years is the decorations don't cross over Main Street.  One reason for that was to make way for Maleficent during the Festival of Fantasy parade.  At 26 feet tall, Maleficent would not have been able to get past the decorations over Main Street.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Magic Kingdom

Disney at Night

During the holidays, the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World becomes even more magical.  The entire resort is transformed on a grand scale into a Winter wonderland of sights and sounds of the season.  In the Magic Kingdom, as you approach on the ferry from the Transportation and Ticket Center you get your first glimpse of Cinderella Castle.  The castle has more than 200,000 lights that are attached by 40,000 square feet of fisherman's net dyed to match specific areas of the castle.  To bring the lights together, 18 miles of electrical cable are used.  All of it run on the amount of power it takes to run three clothes dryers - pretty efficient.

Monday, November 21, 2016

France - Epcot

Disney At Night

Of all the country pavilions around the World Showcase in Epcot at Walt Disney World, France is one of my favorites.  While each country showcases iconic scenes from their respective countries as well as shopping and dining experiences and even a show about their country, I just like the "feel" of the France pavilion over some of the others.

Down this side street you'll find L'Artisan des Glaces where you'll find freshly made ice cream and sorbet.  You can also choose a variety of toppings including liquor for the adults.

If you are looking for pastries, this is the bakery to visit.  Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie serves the most amazing desserts and pastries as well as sandwiches and side dishes like quiche Lorraine.  There is also a selection of coffee and alcoholic drinks.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Aztec Sun Stone

Inside the Mexico Pavilion in the World Showcase, in Epcot at Walt Disney World is a replica of the Sun Stone.  The Sun Stone is a late post-classic Mexica sculpture housed in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City.  It was made by the Aztec's.  Shortly after the Spanish conquest, the monolithic sculpture was buried in the main square of Mexico City. It was rediscovered on December 17, 1790 during repairs on the Mexico City Cathedral.  Following its rediscovery, the calendar stone was mounted on an exterior wall of the Cathedral, where it remained until 1885.  Most scholars think that the stone was carved some time between 1502 and 152, though some believe that it is several decades older than that.  If you watch the Sun Stone in the Mexico Pavilion long enough, you'll see it light up.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Frontierland Railroad - Magic Kingdom

Disney At Night

One of the three stops along the 1.5 mile 20 minute ride Walt Disney World Railroad is Frontierland.  Here you can disembark and enjoy attractions such as Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, watch the Country Bear Jamboree, visit Tom Sawyer ISland, and have fun at the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Rapunzel's Tower - Fantasyland

Rapunzel's Tower made famous by the Disney movie Tangled can be seen above a rocky waterfall.  This area is just to the left of It's A Small World and just to the right of Liberty Square.  It is in the location that formerly housed the Fantasyland Skyway building in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  This area has restrooms and a great rest area with tables and benches with power in case you need to charge up your phone.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom is a zoological theme park in Walt Disney World.  It is the largest of Disney's theme parks covering over 580 acres.  The park opened on Earth Day, April 22, 1998.  This is the fourth built in Walt Disney World.  The theme of the part is nature and animal conservation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Partners - The Magic Kingdom

Disney At Night

The "Partners" statue was unveiled in the Magic Kingdom in 1995.  The statue of Walt Disney and Mickey is located in the hub in front of Cinderella Castle.  This is the second Partners statue, the first being in Disneyland in 1993.  The statue was sculpted by Blaine Gibson.  One of the early sketches of the status has Mickey holding an ice cream cone.  The expression on Walt's face is Blaine's interpretation of Walt making people happy.  The initials STR is on Walt's tie is is supposed to be the initials of  "Smoke Tree Ranch" where Walt once owned a vacation home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid

At low tide, you can enter Prince Eric's castle through an underground cavern and board a clamshell and take a plunger under the sea.  You'll become part of her world where fish sing and dance, you'll see the evil sea witch and her eels.  You can see 128 animatronic characters in your journey under the sea.  You can find Prince Eric's castle in Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Main Street Railroad - Magic Kingdom

Disney At Night

The Walt Disney World Railroad is a 1.5 mile 20 minute ride around the Magic Kingdom, with stops at Main Street, Frontierland and Fantasyland.  The railroad operates with four historical steam engines.  Each locomotive pulls a set of 5 passenger cars that hold 75 passengers per car for a total of 375 passengers per train.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Maurice's Cottage - Magic Kingdom

Tucked back in the Enchanted Forest is Maurice's Cottage.  Maurice is a tinkerer and touches can be seen throughout the cottage such as the mismatched chimney.  A wishing well and the wooden fence has been repaired by Maurice using extra wood from around the cottage.  The cottage is located in the Enchanted Forest in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dinosaur 13 - Animal Kingdom

A Dinosaur Named Sue

The story of "Sue" is probably the biggest secrets in the Animal Kingdom.  Dinosaur 13 is a documentary that chronicled the events of American paleontologists Sue Hendrickson and Pete Larson and the team that discovered the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found while digging in the badlands of South Dakota.

In short, the skeleton was seized from Larson by the Federal government, followed by a ten-year-long legal battle with the FBI, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Maurice Williams, the landowner on whose property the bones were discovered.  In that time, Pete spent 18 months in jail and Maurice WIlliams wons the rights to Sue.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Epcot Monorail

The Epcot Monorail offers express round-trip transportation between Epcot and the Transportation and Ticket Center.

The Walt Disney World Resort currently uses the Mark VI monorail which and is classified as a public transportation system.  UP to 4 passengers used to be able to ride up front.  After an accident in 2009, passengers are no longer allowed to ride up front.

In total, the system consists of 12 trains each with a unique color.  There is almost 15 miles of track for the Express, Resort, and Epcot routes.  In 1026, ridership was approximately 150,000 passengers per day.

The famous announcement, "Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas." was done by Jack Wagner.  His nickname was "The voice of Disneyland".

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Port of Harambe - Animal Kingdom

Harambe in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World is based on the coastal village of Lamu in Kenya.  Harambe has three main sections.  The main town, the marketplace, and the Port of Harambe.  The port can be seen as you cross the bridge from Discovery Island to the Africa section of the park.  This area is the new home of "The Festival of the Lion King" show.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Journey Into Imagination with Figment

One Little Spark

One Little Spark was written by the Sherman Brothers for the original Journey Into Imagination Attraction.  In the latest (third) version of the ride known as Journey Into imagination with Figment, this small purple dragon takes on on a journey to explore the five human senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.  Journey Into Imagination is located in Epcot at Walt Disney World.

The rumor is that Figment is purple because Kodak who originally sponsored the attraction, did not want a green dragon because green was associated with the branding of Fuji Film.  Figment was one of the first characters created exclusively for a theme park ride.  He is now a beloved character with his own merchandising.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Italy pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot

Gondolas Await

Like many pavilions around the World Showcase, the Italy pavilion reflects architecture from several parts of Italy including Venice, Florence, and Rome.

The Gondolas however, deserve a spot all to themselves.  Reminiscent of the canals of Venice,  the bridges allow you to take a close up look at accurate replicas of Gondolas.  Keep in mind, these are replicas and guests are not allowed to ride in them.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Germany Pavilion, Epcot

As you enter the courtyard in the Germany pavilion in the World Showcase, in Epcot at Walt Disney World, one of the first things you'll notice is the polka music being played which immerses you in the fun and festive atmosphere.  As you look around the courtyard, you'll see influences from around the country at different time periods.  The Germany pavilion is a great place for a quick bite to eat and of course have a beer.

As you enter the "platz", you'll see a statue of St. George and the Dragon inspired by the statue in the medieval Bavarian town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the clock tower.  While in the platz, hang around and watch the clock tower at the top of the hour where the clock will chime and two figurines will come out and ring the bell before going back inside.  Also see if you can find a Hidden Mickey on one of the three figures on the second floor of one of the buildings.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Marketplace in the Medina - Morocco, Epcot, Walt Disney World

Passing through the arch of the Morocco Pavilion in the World Showcase at in Epcot at Walt Disney World, you will find yourself in the shops of the Medina.

Here you will experience the hustle and bustle of shopping in a market where you will find woven baskets, straw goods, sheepskin wallets and more.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Himeji-jo Castle - Japan Pavilion Epcot

At the very rear of the Japan pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot in Walt Disney World is a castle inspired by Himeji-jo Castle.  Himeji-jo Castle is the typical castle style of 17th century Japan.  The castle is frequently known as Hakuro-jō ("White Egret Castle") because of its brilliant white exterior.

Fun fact - The Japan Pavilion was supposed to have a replica of Mount Fuji in the background.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Morocco Pavilion at Epcot

Morocco was the only country that funded their Pavilion at Epcot.  The King of Morocco sent designers and builders to build the pavilion.  An interesting fact is that none of the mosaics are perfect due to cracked tiles.  This is because the Islamic faith believes that only Allah can create something perfect, hence the imperfect mosaic.  

Have you noticed that Morocco does not light up during Illuminations.  That's because the main tower is a replica of a prayer tower.  Lighting a prayer tower at night would be a violation of the Islamic faith.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

France Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot

Impressions de France

Did you know that the bridge leading from the UK to France is modeled after the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris.  This bridge became famous for all the padlocks lovers would leave on the bridge.  Over time, the padlocks overwhelmed the bridge and have since been removed.

Another interesting fact is that the Eiffel Tower is one of the few structures in Walt Disney World that can be seen but not reached.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The United Kingdom in the World Showcase at Epcot

Did you know that the building that houses the Tea shop is based on Anne Hathaway's home in Stratford-Upon-Avon.  Anne was the wife of William Shakespeare.

After construction of the UK Pavilion was completed, it was decided it looked too clean to be accurate so they painted soot around the chimneys.

The second story windows of the gift shop has four crests that represent four prestigious Universities in the UK.  These are Oxford, Eton, Edinburgh, and Cambridge.