Thursday, July 31, 2014

DDW Pic 1066. Adventureland

I took this shot a few weeks ago in Adventureland. At the time, I was waiting out a rain storm near Pirates of the Caribbean. I liked how the building roofs and surrounding trees created a frame for Cinderella Castle, which can be seen in the distance.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

DDW Pic 1065. Fantasmic

Here is another shot of Fantasmic from a few weeks ago. I was able to get a good angle for the float containing Snow White and her prince. There was enough light to get a clear photo of the couple dancing as well as the fountains in the background. If there are two showings of Fantasmic, I highly recommend the later show, as you will find it easier to get good seats.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

DDW Pic 1064. Kilimanjaro Exit

Kilimanjaro Exit
There is a "hidden" gem at Animal Kingdom that is overlooked by so many guests. It is located near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris. Most guests just leave that attraction and head toward the next ride or show. However, there is a little walkway that leads to the backside of the Pangani gorilla habitat. There is usually at least one male silverback in that area. Sometimes you have to look down over the fence to see him resting in a rock cut-out or staying cool at the base of this beautiful waterfall. Last week, I liked the way the morning sun was hitting the waterfall so I snapped this shot.

Monday, July 28, 2014

DDW Pic 1063. Frozen Parade

Frozen Parade
As part of the Frozen Summer Fun event at Hollywood Studios, there is a daily parade featuring Disney's two most famous animated characters of all time. The official name of this procession is Anna and Elsa's Royal Welcome. It also includes Kristoff, the ice cutters, and citizens of Arendelle. These skaters are at the front of the parade, which makes its way up Hollywood Boulevard, around Echo Lake, and finally out past Star Tours. I can only imagine how hot those hats must be in the Central Florida sun!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

DDW Pic1062. Mike Wazowski

Mike Wazowski 
The original Monster's Inc. movie came out 13 years ago, but Mike and Sully are still beloved characters. They made their return in last year's Monsters University, and they still have a presence at Walt Disney World. They can be seen greeting guests near the exit of the Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios. That is where I got this shot of Mike Wazowski a few days ago. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

DDW Pic 1061. Muppet Wars

Muppet Wars
I was waiting for my tour guests at Star Tours the other day when I noticed this view. I couldn't help but realize that it showed two of Disney's top "properties" in one shot. The Muppets have made a recent resurgence and Star Wars will be popular forever. So, when I was able to combine Tatooine Traders with MuppetVision 3D, I had to label it "Muppet Wars."

DDW Pic 1060. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
This is one of those shots I would classify as a "unique view." I was in a little alcove on the path between Asia and Aftica in Animal Kingdom. The bridge in the photo connects Discovery Island and Africa. If you look under the bridge you can see a boat docked in the new section of the Harambe Village, where the Festival of the Lion King takes place. Also, I used palm branches in the foreground to frame this shot.

Friday, July 25, 2014

DDW Pic 1059. Wandering Oaken's - Panorama

Wandering Oaken's - Panorama
Today, I had the chance to spend some time at Wandering Oaken's Frozen Funland. This is part of the Hollywood Studios "Frozen Summer Fun" event taking place through the end of August. Disney turned an entire building into a temporary ice skating rink with a Frozen theme. This was the same spot that was Darth's Mall, the giant gift shop used for Star Wars Weekends last month. It is fun to see this environment created in a Central Florida theme park.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DDW Pic 1058. Thunder Mountain

Thunder Mountain
I took this Thunder Mountain sunset photo last week. It was the same early evening that we saw the most amazing rainbow we could remember. It was quite the night for photography buffs in Central Florida!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DDW Pic 1057. Winged Encounters

Winged Encounters
I had the chance to see the new Winged Encounters show at Animal Kingdom today. It is a short but fun experience involving several species of macaws. These birds come flying in from a location outside of the park to a perch across from Flame Tree Barbecue. There appeared to be about 15 macaws involved in the show today, which was narrated by a bird expert. There were several handlers who were there rewarding the birds with food when they showed up. It was quite a sight to see these large, colorful birds come flying in over the unsuspecting crowd below. It was even more fun to see them all leave simultaneously.

Monday, July 21, 2014

DDW Pic 1056. Fantasmic

Last week, I had a great seat to enjoy Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios. I took a bunch of pictures, but this was my favorite. I love the way the lights appear as straight lines beaming from the snake's eyes. This is certainly one of my favorite scenes of the show.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

DDW Pic 1055. Heritage House

Heritage House
The Heritage House used to be a fun little gift shop full of patriotic items. Guests exiting The Hall of Presidents could purchase a piece of Americana after enjoying the show. However, this space turned into a FastPass+ service center for a short time. Recently, it went through another transformation and is now an indoor seating area for guests who get food from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. Although I miss the gift shop, it is nice to have an air conditioning seating area in this part of the park.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

DDW Pic 1054. Morocco

Morocco is probably the most unique country in World Showcase. Due to strict religious rules, it was built under the supervision of the Moroccan government and had no corporate sponsor. Also, it is not adorned with lights for Illuminations, as this would go against Islamic rules. I took this picture of the Koutoubia Mineret (prayer tower) last night while walking around World Showcase.

Friday, July 18, 2014

DDW Pic 1053. Disneyland

Once in a while, I need to post a photo from a spot outside of Walt Disney World. Today is the 59th anniversary of the day that the general public was first let into Disneyland in California. I took this picture of Sleeping Beauty Castle on a trip last year. I just added the black and white filter to give it more of a 1955 look.

DDW Pic 1052. Frozen Fireworks

Frozen Fireworks
Tonight I had the chance to see the special Frozen fireworks show at Hollywood Studios. It is part of the Frozen Summer Fun event going on thru the end of August. The show was well done, mixing in live characters on the main event stage. The fireworks were entertaining and similar in scope to the ones from Star Wars Weekends.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DDW Pic 1051. Magic Kingdom Hub

Magic Kingdom Hub
This is the view of the Magic Kingdom Hub from the stage in front of Cinderella Castle. I took this shot while giving a tour last week. You can see straight down Main Street to the Railroad Station. The Hub has changed over the years and many trees have been removed. Disney is also in the process of a major refurbishment, creating a much larger area for fireworks viewing and foot traffic.

DDW Pic 1050. Scuttle

Although the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has stole the show in "new" Fantasyland, Under the Sea is still a popular ride. This is especially true with fans of The Little Mermaid. I rode this attraction yesterday, and love its classic "dark ride" feel. Our clam shell stopped for a few moments, which gave me a chance to snap this picture of Scuttle. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DDW Pic 1049. Thunder Mountain Rainbow

Thunder Mountain Rainbow
Earlier tonight, we were riding Thunder Mountain at the Magic Kingdom when we saw an amazing rainbow. I quickly grabbed my iPhone and took as many pictures as I could. This one was taken from the very last row of the train, as the ride was coming to an end. I can't remember ever seeing such an incredible rainbow in my life.

Monday, July 14, 2014

DDW Pic 1048. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Now that "New Fantasyland" is finally complete, there are some great views to be had. While standing on the entrance bridge to Be Our Guest restaurant, I snapped this shot of the Mine Train. After more than two years of construction, this new attraction really helps to make the whole area visually appealing for photography buffs.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

DDW Pic 1047. Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain
There aren't too many spots where it is wise to take out your camera (or phone) on a water ride. However, there are a few such places on Splash Mountain, where there isn't too much splashing going on. I took this picture a few weeks back while riding with my son. This is an area early in the attraction before the extended indoor section.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

DDW Pic 1046. Monorail - Panorama

Monorail - Panorama
Earlier this week, I visited Epcot with family and friends. We were walking through Future World when monorail yellow came around the corner. This is one of those situations where having my iPhone always nearby paid off. I was able to quickly grab this shot as the monorail was passing overhead. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

DDW Pic 1045. July 4th Fireworks

July 4th Fireworks
Here is another photo from Independence Day at the Magic Kingdom. We were able to get a pretty decent spot atop the Main Street Railroad Station about an hour before the show started. This display is unique in that it incorporates the "perimeter" fireworks, which create a 360 degree spectacle around the park. It is one of the best 4th of July celebrations anywhere in the country.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

DDW Pic 1044. Castle Reflection

Castle Reflection
At first glance, this picture of Cinderella Castle looks normal. However, if you look closely you can see that something doesn't look right. This is because you are looking at a mirror image of the iconic structure. While I was waiting for my tour guests to finish lunch at The Plaza, I noticed this image in the window. I thought it was an interesting "twist" on the most photographed structure in the world.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DDW Pic 1043. Polynesian Beach

Polynesian Beach
The Polynesian Resort is in the midst of some major renovations. They are completely redoing the lobby, about to start a refurbishment on the volcano pool, and are adding new DVC villas "on" the Seven Seas Lagoon. However, even with all the work being done, the Polynesian beach is still a beautiful place to relax in paradise. I took this shot a few weeks back while enjoying one last visit to the volcano pool before it closes.

Monday, July 7, 2014

DDW Pic 1042. World Showcase Lagoon

World Showcase Lagoon
It was a nice afternoon for a stroll in World Showcase. I took this shot of the lagoon from the bridge connecting the UK and France. This is the spot where guests symbolically cross the English Channel. In the distance you can see Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, and Italy. If you look carefully above China, you can see the Characters in Flight balloon at Downtown Disney.

DDW Pic 1041. Rivers of America

Rivers of America
Several of my favorite quiet spots in the Magic Kingdom can be found on Tom Sawyer Island. One of those quiet corners is near the northwest edge of the island on the Thunder Mountain side. When you look up the river toward Frontierland, this is the view. It really is a great spot to relax and remove yourself from the crowded walkways of the Magic Kingdom.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

DDW Pic 1040. Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon
Here is another shot from our trip to Typhoon Lagoon last week. This tremendous wave pool contains over 2.7 million gallons of water. It produces six foot tall waves every two minutes. Even though the guests know what is coming, there is a collective scream as the wave is created. I took this photo from the upper right side of the pool, just after the giant wave passed me.

Friday, July 4, 2014

DDW Pic 1039. Independence Day Castle

Independence Day Castle
This is a twilight shot of Cinderella Castle about 30 minutes prior to "Disney's Celebrate America! - A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky." You can see the enormous crowd that has gathered on Main Street. It was so busy today that the Magic Kingdom hit a phased closing, which means that some hopeful guests were not allowed to enter. If you look closely, you can see that the castle had stars projected on it for the holiday.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

DDW Pic 1038. Blizzard Beach - Panorama

Blizzard Beach - Panorama
It's summer in Florida, so that means it is water park time. The two most popular parks in the United States are Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, both located at Walt Disney World. Each one gets about 2 million guests per year. Today, we had a blast at Blizzard Beach and our son enjoyed some of the big slides for the first time. However, he has yet to conquer Summit Plummet, the tallest and fastest water slide in the country.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

DDW Pic 1037. Seven Seas Lagoon

Seven Seas Lagoon
Last week I saw a couple of interesting boats in the Seven Seas Lagoon. They had large containers of what appeared to be some sort of sprayable liquid. My guess is that it was either pest control or weed killer. I never knew how Disney "maintained" the islands and shoreline of this body of water as well as Bay Lake. This must be how they do it. I took this shot from the monorail as it was approaching the Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DDW Pic 1036. PeopleMover

Today we say happy 39th birthday to the WEDway PeopleMover in the Magic Kingdom. This unique, futuristic tour of Tomorrowland opened on July 1st, 1975. This has always been one of my favorite rides in Walt Disney World. There is rarely a line, always a nice breeze, and one of the few that you can re-ride without getting off.