Saturday, February 28, 2015

DDW Pic 1277. Bay Lake

Bay Lake
This is the view from a fifth floor balcony on the north side of Bay Lake Tower. It is a great spot in the hotel, since you can see the Magic Kingdom and this lake view from the same villa. If you zoom in tight, you can make out a house on the shore across the lake. I'd love to know who lives there!

Friday, February 27, 2015

DDW Pic 1276. Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth
This would appear to be a typical night shot near the entrance to Epcot. However, it was actually taken last week just before sunrise. It is another photo from the morning of the Princess Half Marathon. We parked at Epcot and were headed to the monorail to go to the Magic Kingdom when I snapped this picture. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

DDW Pic 1275. Maleficent

The Festival of Fantasy parade is nearly a year old and is a huge hit with Magic Kingdom park goers. The highlight for many is the fire breathing dragon version of Maleficent. This float is impressive to say the least. I took this shot near the hub last week. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DDW Pic 1274. Mickey Floral

Mickey Floral
The area in front of the Mickey floral at the entrance of the Magic Kingdom is typically packed with people. It is the most photographed spot in the world. However, it was quiet at 6:30 am when we arrived to watch the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday morning. It is fun to see this park at sunrise.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DDW Pic 1273. Princess Half Marathon

Princess Half Marathon
This past weekend, the Princess Half Marathon was held at Walt Disney World. I had several friends running so I decided to cheer them on. This race starts and finishes at Epcot, but it passes through the Magic Kingdom around the halfway point. While on the arriving monorail, I snapped this shot of the "home stretch." The runners seen in this shot were only a few short minutes from finishing the race.

Monday, February 23, 2015

DDW Pic 1272. Coronado Springs

Coronado Springs
Coronado Springs is a very large moderate resort with great southwestern theming. We had dinner at the Pepper Market food court tonight, and enjoyed some very good Mexican cuisine. It was surprisingly quiet, which helped to make it an enjoyable experience.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

DDW Pic 1271. Kidani Pool

Kidani Pool
One of my favorite resorts at Walt Disney World is Animal Kingdom Lodge. It has highly detailed theming, great restaurants, and two of the best pools on property. Today, we spent some time with friends at the pool in the Kidani Village section of the resort. It was a "picture perfect" Florida day. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

DDW Pic 1270. Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion has been my favorite attraction for years, and I'm always looking for unique photos. Every so often, it posts a wait time of 13 minutes to go along with the theme. This is the only spot in the Magic Kingdom where you will see this unusual wait time. I was able to grab this shot yesterday morning.

DDW Pic 1269. Caribbean Plaza

Caribbean Plaza
As I mention often, the Magic Kingdom is full of so many little details that most guests don't notice. In this smart phone world that we live in, so many of us walk around the parks looking down. However, it is a great idea to look up once in a while. A great example of this can be found in the Caribbean Plaza area of Adventureland. I took these shots of the "balconies" around Pirates of the Caribbean and Tortuga Tavern. If you look at the top right photo, you'll see a story being told. Looks like a scurrilous pirate overturned a table and chair up there!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DDW Pic 1268. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
This pathway in Animal Kingdom is located behind the Tree of Life. It is the exit for "It's Tough to be a Bug." This is also an alternate way to get from Asia to Africa. The air was cool and dry today, which made for some very clear pictures.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

DDW Pic 1267. Hall of Presidents

Hall of Presidents
I thought it would be appropriate to post a photo of The Hall of Presidents during presidents week. This attraction was one of only 3 opening day originals that weren't at Disneyland at the time. Also, on this day back in 2002, the official dedication of the updated version, including George W. Bush, took place. Presidents Day fell on February 18th that year. I took this shot today, while giving a tour of the Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

DDW Pic 1266. Sorcerer Mickey

Sorcerer Mickey
Although the giant "hat" is almost gone from Hollywood Studios, the Sorcerer Mickey topiary still remains at the front of the park. This is the spot where the Christmas tree resides during November and December. I took this shot this morning just before giving a Studios tour.

Monday, February 16, 2015

DDW Pic 1265. MK Monorail Station

MK Monorail Station
It is rare to see the Magic Kingdom monorail station empty. I arrived early this morning on the resort line, and there weren't many guests on that train. This platform sees tens of thousands of guests on a daily basis, and the monorail system has a daily ridership of approximately 150,000. So, it isn't common to see this area so quiet.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

DDW Pic 1264. Bay Lake

Bay Lake
This is a view of Bay Lake taken from the pool area of Bay Lake Tower. This is the body of water that was first spotted by Walt Disney from his airplane when he decided to buy this property. It is such a natural and serene view that it is hard to believe that the busiest theme park in the world is a short walk in the other direction. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

DDW Pic 1263. Magic Kingdom - Panorama

Magic Kingdom - Panorama
I took this photo today from a friend's villa at Bay Lake Tower. This resort has some great views of the Magic Kingdom. You can see Space Mountain, Cinderella Castle, and Astro Orbiter in the shot. It is also an amazing place to watch the fireworks.

Friday, February 13, 2015

DDW Pic 1262. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
Some construction walls recently came down on Discovery Island at Animal Kingdom, revealing some new animals carved into the roots near the Tree of Life. You can see an elephant and a deer in this shot. Animal Kingdom is receiving a makeover of sorts, with many projects going on right now. This already amazing park will continue to get better as some great new features will be revealed over the next few years.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

DDW Pic 1261. Mickey

Mickey makes many appearances around Walt Disney World each and every day. Yesterday, I caught him coming down Main Street, USA after performing in the Move It, Shake It, Dance & Play It Street Party at the Magic Kingdom. I like how the flag was part of this shot. There isn't anything much more American than Mickey Mouse.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

DDW Pic 1260. Way Back Wednesday - Donald

Way Back Wednesday - Donald
It is always fun to compare a character with an older version of himself. On the left is a shot of Donald from back in 1977. My dad took this photo during the afternoon parade at the Magic Kingdom. On the right is the "Amazing Donaldo" from Storybook Circus. I took this shot this morning while giving a tour of the Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

DDW Pic 1259. Space Mountain

Space Mountain
Here is an area of Space Mountain that most guests never see. If you have been down this very long and nondescript hallway, chances are you chickened out and decided not to ride. This is the way to go from the loading area to the exit without having to fly through space. I grabbed this shot over the weekend while doing some FastPass research. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

DDW Pic 1258. Thunder Mountain

Thunder Mountain
While riding Thunder Mountain on Saturday, I was unexpectedly able to get a picture that I've wanted for a while. Right before the last drop, there is a mine tunnel that continues above the path of the train. Because of the low light and motion, I've never been able to take a clear shot. However, my coaster stopped in exactly the right spot for just enough time for me to get out my phone and snap this photo.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

DDW Pic 1257. New Starbucks - Panorama

New Starbucks - Panorama
Today, I had the chance to check out the new Starbucks that just opened inside of Hollywood Studios. It is actually called the Trolley Car Cafe, and is very well themed to a Hollywood trolley station from the 1930s. It is the third Starbucks to open in the parks, leaving only Animal Kingdom left without one. However, Disney is planning to open one at that park later this year. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

DDW Pic 1256. Characters in Flight

Characters in Flight
I had some fun with my iPhone and the Tadaa app while walking around Downtown Disney today. The Characters in Flight balloon was anchored at its dock when I snapped this shot. I was standing in the vicinity of the food trucks, which isn't far from the House of Blues. This entire area is being transformed from Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. They are adding a large number of new shops and restaurants, and I took a bunch of construction photos today as well. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

DDW Pic 1255. Journey Into Imagination

Journey Into Imagination
Here is another attraction photo taken from the Epcot monorail last week. The Journey Into Imagination pavilion has such a distinctive look, with the glass pyramids. If you look in the right edge of the picture, you can see the building that houses Soarin. Although this attraction is technically part of The Land pavilion, it is very close to Imagination.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

DDW Pic 1254. The Art of Shaving

The Art of Shaving
Today, a brand new store opened up at Downtown Disney......soon to be Disney Springs. The name of the store is The Art of Shaving. It is a place to buy shaving kits and supplies. There is also a "barber spa" attached where you can get a haircut or a shave. This window display shows their 4 step process to "smoothness."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

DDW Pic 1253. Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror is one of my favorite attractions, mostly because of the amazing attention to detail that can be found there. Whether it is the dust and cobwebs in the lobby, the darkness of the boiler room, or the disappearing guests in the hallway, this ride immerses you into the story of a scary nght in 1939. I took this shot of that hallway last week. This is well before the rising and dropping of the elevator, but it sets the scene for what is to come. It is a very dark hallway, but I was able to brighten it a bit with my camera's editing feature.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

DDW Pic 1252. Thunder Mountain

Thunder Mountain
It seems like I am taking pictures of Thunder Mountain on a weekly basis. This long exposure shot was taken from the spot where I typically photograph my tour guests flying by. You can tell that there was a guest on this train wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt.

Monday, February 2, 2015

DDW Pic 1251. Walt Disney World Railroad - Panorama

Walt Disney World Railroad - Panorama
There are certain pictures around Walt Disney World that only come about due to luck. This shot that I took on Saturday falls into that category. We were on the express monorail when we had to temporarily hold for further traffic clearance. We were in the perfect spot when the Walter E. Disney steam train came by. I was able to grab this panorama from the monorail just before we started moving toward the station again.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

DDW Pic 1250. Mission Space

Mission Space
One of the fun things about taking the monorail to Epcot is the preview riders get of the Future World attractions. My son and I took this ride yesterday, and I was able to snap a few pics prior to arriving at the station. This shot of Mission Space contains a tribute to the previous attraction that was located in this spot. If you look at the flower "island" in the middle of the walkway, it is in the shape of the old Horizons building, which was one of my all-time favorite rides. It also contained the original sign for that attraction, which existed from 1983 to 1999.