Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DDW Pic 701. Main Street - Panorama

Main Street - Panorama
Here is a unique shot of Main Street that I took today at Magic Kingdom. I was standing right on the curb in Town Square looking toward Cinderella Castle. It is interesting how the buildings look rounded when taking a panorama from this distance. Also, the castle looks so far away.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DDW Pic 700. Kilimanjaro Elephants

Kilimanjaro Elephants
Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom is a great attraction for many reasons. First off, it is over 100 acres in size, and nearly as big as the entire Magic Kingdom. Second, it truly makes you feel like you've left a theme park and gone on an actual african safari. Finally, my favorite thing about this attraction is that it is different each and every time you ride. One day, you may see the lions walking around on top of their rocks. Another ride may feature giraffes approaching your safari vehicle. Today, the elephants were playing in their pond, which was an amusing sight. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

DDW Pic 699. Chip and Dale

Chip and Dale
Chip and Dale have been very popular characters at Walt Disney World for many years. The playful pair is almost always found together, and they nearly ran into me yesterday. I was walking with my tour group on the west side of Epcot's Future World, when I saw them walking right toward us. By the time I grabbed my phone to snap this shot, the had already made a u-turn and were heading back to their meet-and-greet area. They needed to return the stroller to the guest who they temporarily "stole" it from.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

DDW Pic 698. Morocco

In my opinion, Morocco has some of the best theming in all of Epcot. When you walk toward the back of the pavilion, you really feel like you left the theme park and entered North Africa. Everything from the cast members' costumes to the style of the buildings transports you across the world. Even the Florida heat resembles that of Africa. I snapped this photo today while my tour guests were enjoying lunch at Restaurant Marrakesh.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

DDW Pic 697. Dumbo

After giving a tour of the Magic Kingdom today, my wife and son joined me for a little family time. After a couple of rides on Space Mountain, we decided to take the path from Tomorrowland to Storybook Circus for a quick flight on Dumbo. Riding in the car in front of them gave me a great angle for this on-ride shot.

Friday, July 26, 2013

DDW Pic 696. Safari Minnie

Safari Minnie
I had the chance to catch Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade today with my tour guests. This is a fun and unique parade at Animal Kingdom. The route takes it around Discovery Island and allows guests to see safari versions of their favorite characters. I was able to get a good shot of Minnie today.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

DDW Pic 695. Fort Langhorn

Fort Langhorn
There are many overlooked experiences that are a lot of fun at Walt Disney World. Tom Sawyer Island at the Magic Kingdom is certainly one of them. I had a great time with my little man tonight, playing on this 3 acre island in Frontierland. I took this shot from an upper walkway at Fort Langhorn. This area contains several rifle roosts with guns that make realistic sounds when you pull the trigger. I think my son fired every one of the rifles tonight.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DDW Pic 694. Monsters University

Monsters University
This may be the first merchandise cart picture that I've posted on Digital Disney World. This one is unique in that it is part of the "Monsters University Homecoming" party that has been taking place each night at Hollywood Studios. My son and I walked through the party last night, on our way to Star Tours. Of course he wanted to stop and browse at this merchandise cart!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DDW Pic 693. Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant
Although I've had the chance to try the Be Our Guest restaurant on my own, today was the first time I've experienced it with my wife, Melissa. It is a lot more fun enjoying a meal here on a "date." I got my hair cut over at the Harmony Barber Shop in Town Square, and then we strolled through the park before deciding on lunch in the "ball room." Needless to say, Melissa was impressed, and we will be returning to Be Our Guest whenever we get the chance.

Monday, July 22, 2013

DDW Pic 692. Kilimanjaro Safaris - Panorama

Kilimanjaro Safaris - Panorama
Here is another shot from our visit to Animal Kingdom on Saturday. I was able to grab this panoramic picture while the safari vehicle was stopped in the savanna section of the attraction. It always amazes me how Disney transformed this land to make guests feel like they are actually riding through Africa. The safari alone takes up as much space as the entire Magic Kingdom.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

DDW Pic 691. A Pirate's Adventure

A Pirate's Adventure
I had the chance to try out "A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas" with my son last week. This interactive game takes place in the Adventureland section of the Magic Kingdom. Much like Agent P's World Showcase Adventure in Epcot, guests move from location to location while triggering responses from statues, pirate skeletons, and other interactive figures. It is less "high tech" in that you don't use a cell phone to play this game. You actually use your park ticket or a "magic talisman" as the trigger. The interaction from this photo featured a black panther who's eye's light up and who's breath you can feel. "A Pirate's Adventure" is definitely a fun way to spend some time in the Magic Kingdom.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

DDW Pic 690. The Yeti

The Yeti
I don't normally post more than one picture from an attraction in the same week, but I had to make an exception in this case. After my son and I rode Everest for his first time on Thursday, we decided to go back again today. While riding in the front row, I decided to take a shot at an almost impossible picture. When the ride was over and I glanced down at my iPhone, I was amazed when I saw this photo. I was speeding by the Yeti at about 40 mph in the dark, when I snapped this shot. Through sheer luck, I caught the strobe light in the on position as we passed the Yeti's outstretched arm. I was also pleasantly surprised that the picture wasn't blury!

Friday, July 19, 2013

DDW Pic 689. Contemporary Resort

Contemporary Resort
We hoped to visit the Magic Kingdom tonight. However, due to heavy rain, we took a detour to the Contemporary Resort and enjoyed a meal at the Contempo Cafe. After dinner, we took a roundtrip monorail ride before heading home. I took this shot on the escalator on the way up to the monorail platform.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

DDW Pic 688. Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest

Today was a milestone in my six-year-old boy's Disney life. We spent the early evening at Animal Kingdom, and he rode both Dinosaur and Expedition Everest for the first time. We actually rode each attraction five times. It was raining and we were there right before closing, so the crowds were light. This picture was taken on the last train of the night. My son and I were in the last row and the only two other guests were in the front row. As we were walking out of the park, my little man decided that Everest was his new favorite ride. I can't say I blame him!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DDW Pic 687. Disneyland

Today we say happy 58th birthday to Disneyland. It was on July 17th, 1955, when Walt stood in Town Square and spoke those famous words, "To all who come to this happy place.....welcome." You have to wonder if he knew the impact he would have on so many people who would come to Disney parks and resorts in the coming years. I took this picture of the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle on my trip back in May. Although Disneyland can't fairly be compared to the much larger and grander Walt Disney World, it is the park that Walt built and it has a charm that makes it special.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DDW Pic 686. Epcot - Panorama

Epcot - Panorama
Most pictures in this area of Epcot focus on Spaceship Earth. For this shot, however, I decided to stand directly beneath the park's icon and take a picture toward the entrance. You can see the monorail track and station as well as the "Leave a Legacy" sculptures. My wife Melissa and I have a small picture of ourselves on one of these marble blocks. It was taken on our honeymoon and it still looks good after 13 years. Hopefully that Leave a Legacy picture will still be there for our grandchildren to see someday.

Monday, July 15, 2013

DDW Pic 685. Phineas and Ferb

Phineas and Ferb
Phineas and Ferb have become very popular over the last several years, and kids line up to meet them at Hollywood Studios. The kid in this shot happens to be my own. We spent the day at Hollywood Studios last Wednesday, and meeting two of his favorite Disney characters was certainly a highlight of our visit. The line to meet Phineas and Ferb is typically longest after the Muppetvision show lets out. A good tip to keep your wait time down is to enjoy the Muppets from the far right side of the theater. This  will help you quickly exit the show, and therefore be one of the first to get into the Phineas and Ferb line.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

DDW Pic 684. Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion
Yesterday, after riding my favorite attraction with my son, I had the opportunity to snap a decent shot of the unloading area of the Haunted Mansion. It is rare to get a picture of empty "doom buggies" sitting still, but the circumstances called for it. There was a torrential rain storm occurring, which is typical for a summer afternoon in Florida. Because of the heavy downpour, people were reluctant to leave the covered exit area of the mansion. This forced the cast member to hit the emergency stop just as we were approaching the end of the moving walkway. If she didn't hit that button (a garage door opener style device that she was holding in her hand), my son and I would have crashed into a large Brazilian tour group. The bad news is that we were eventually forced out into the rain. The good news is that I was able to snap this relatively unique picture before we had to make our sprint to the Columbia Harbour House for shelter!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

DDW Pic 683. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain was recently refurbished, and it now includes an interactive queue. Since I almost always use FastPass for popular attractions, I hadn't yet had a chance to walk through the stand-by line. Today, I got that chance when my little man insisted we wait the 40 minutes so he could ride the runaway train. This is one of those instances where everyone should endure the longer wait at least once. This queue is a lot of fun and the time goes by fast. There are many things to look at as well as "hands on" type stuff. This picture shows a blasting plunger that guests can use to create a new mine shaft by blowing a hole in the mountain. When one of these is pushed down, you see an "explosion" somewhere on the mountain. My son loved causing these explosions while waiting to board the coaster.

Friday, July 12, 2013

DDW Pic 682. Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise
I took this shot from the FastPass distribution area of the Jungle Cruise today. I was waiting for my tour guests, who were riding this attraction. This is my favorite spot to stand in the area. First off, I can see when my guests are disembarking their boat. More important, however, is the large vent overhead that provides a nice blast of "outdoor air conditioning."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

DDW Pic 681. Mission Space

Mission Space
Whenever possible, I like to get "on ride" pictures of attractions. I took this shot of the screen while riding Mission Space today with my son. This is the part when we were approaching Mars. We were riding the green "less intense" version. I don't think picture taking would be possible on the orange version, due to the g-forces experienced throughout the ride.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DDW Pic 680. Sci-Fi Dine-In

Sci-Fi Dine-In
I had the opportunity to have lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine-In "Theater Restaurant" at Hollywood Studios today. The food was very good, but this spot is known for its atmosphere. Guests sit in old style convertibles while enjoying lunch at a drive-in movie theater. The huge screen plays clips from old science fiction movies, cartoons, and tv shows. This clip was of Walt Disney standing next to a robot, while talking about the future. Another nice feature of this restaurant, is that the prices are very reasonable!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DDW Pic 679. Dumbo - Panorama

Dumbo - Panorama
I took this shot while giving a Magic Kingdom tour today. Disney did an amazing job when they re-located Dumbo to Storybook Circus last year. In the previous location, the hot summer sun made it nearly unbearable to wait in the typically long lines that were so common at this popular attraction. Now with a second Dumbo cutting the lines in half, and an indoor air-conditioned waiting area, this classic ride is a much more enjoyable experience.

Monday, July 8, 2013

DDW Pic 678. Chinese Laundry

Chinese Laundry
As I often talk about, Disney is amazingly detail oriented when it comes to their theme parks. This little spot, tucked next to Pecos Bill's in Frontierland, is a good example of this. Chinese laundries were very common in America during the late 1800s. Many Chinese immigrants entered this profession during this era, and it was common to see these types of laundries throughout the West. I took this shot on Friday, while waiting for my guests at Splash Mountain.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

DDW Pic 677. Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean
Exactly seven years ago, on July 7th, 2006, the sequel to the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie opened in theaters. On the same day that Dead Man's Chest opened, the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in the Magic Kingdom re-opened with the brand new Jack Sparrow and Barbosa audio-animatronics making their debut. This is an example of an attraction inspiring a movie, and a movie re-inspiring an attraction. I took this shot on an early morning back in March.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

DDW Pic 676. Agent P's World Showcase Adventure

Agent P's World Showcase
Today is the one year anniversary of Agent P's World Showcase Adventure. This fun, interactive game takes guests through many of the countries, on a quest to foil the plans of the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. This is a must-do experience for all fans of Phineas and Ferb. I had the opportunity to play the game this week with one of my tour guests. This picture shows her holding the F.O.N.E. or Field Operative Notification Equipment, used to stay in contact with the O.W.C.A. or Organization Without a Cool Acronym.

Friday, July 5, 2013

DDW Pic 675. Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Magic Kingdom Fireworks
This year, the Magic Kingdom is doing their spectacular 4th of July fireworks show each night, from July 1st to the 7th. I had the opportunity to see them tonight with my tour guests. We stood right in front of the Main Street Railroad Station and had a great view toward Cinderella Castle. Like other holiday shows, this display includes "perimeter" fireworks which light up the sky in all directions.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

DDW Pic 674. The American Adventure

The American Adventure
I enjoyed the 4th of July fireworks at Epcot with friends and family tonight. Before the show, we thought it would be appropriate to experience The American Adventure on this patriotic holiday. I took this shot of the "rotunda" just prior to entering the theater. I think this may become a yearly tradition for my family.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

DDW Pic 673. Theater of the Stars

Theater of the Stars
The Theater of the Stars at Hollywood Studios is home to Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage. This long running show is one of Disney World's most popular. I took this shot last week, shortly after helping my tour guests find great seats in the fourth row. When you sit near the front of this theater, you get the benefit of the air conditioning that flows from the stage. For this reason, it is a great idea to get to the theater early, especially in the summer months.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

DDW Pic 672. La Hacienda de San Angel

La Hacienda de San Angel
While giving a tour of Epcot today, I felt like a little Mexican food for lunch. I headed over to La Cantina de San Angel and ordered up some chicken tacos. There were no outdoor tables available, but that was not a problem. During busier times of year, they open up the indoor restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel, for overflow traffic. This allowed me to enjoy lunch in air conditioned comfort. I took this shot of the restaurant from my table.

Monday, July 1, 2013

DDW Pic 671. Soarin'

It isn't often that I find myself in the regular "stand-by" queue for Soarin.  However, I was touring with my brother's family today and we got there around park opening. The wait was under a half hour so we started out with this popular attraction. I had to take this shot, which shows the giant interactive screens that are part of the queue. These help guests pass the time by encouraging them to collectively wave their arms to control an on-screen game.