Thursday, April 30, 2015

DDW Pic 1338. American Adventure

American Adventure
Today is the anniversary of the day that our first president, George Washington, was sworn into office. A photo of the American Adventure seemed appropriate. I took this shot while walking around Epcot this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

DDW Pic 1337. Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto
Yesterday, I had a chance to check out the new Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at the Polynesian Resort. It is a very popular bar that serves unique and interesting drinks. The inside is pretty small, so it isn't easy to get a seat. However, there is a very nice patio outside called the Tiki Terrace. You can see the Hawaiian style singer entertaining guests, with the Grand Floridian Resort in the background. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

DDW Pic 1336. Cinderella's Royal Table

Cinderella's Royal Table
The entire second floor of the castle (with the tall windows) is home to one of the most popular restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. It was originally called King Stefan's Banquet Hall. However, on this date in 1997, the name changed to Cinderella's Royal Table. The original name was peculiar, since King Stefan is Sleeping Beauty's father and has no relation to Cinderella!

Monday, April 27, 2015

DDW Pic 1335. All-Star Music

All-Star Music
Today, I had the chance to walk around the All-Star Music Resort. Although it falls under the "value" classification, it has some of the best theming of any Disney hotel. This shot is from the Jazz section, so you see a New Orleans style fountain along with a giant drum set in the background. 

DDW Pic 1334. Fantasyland

Here is another rare view of a very empty Magic Kingdom. I came out of the Be Our Guest restaurant with my guests this morning, and the park hadn't opened yet. So, I snapped this shot of the area between Peter Pan's Flight and Small World. This is one of the most congested areas of the park, throughout most of the day. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

DDW Pic 1333. Hidden Mickey

Hidden Mickey
Today, I was shown a "Hidden Mickey" that I was previously unaware of. There is a merchandise cart in the exit area of Kilimanjaro Safaris, and this Mickey is right on the checkout counter. According to the cast member who pointed it out, it is the smallest Hidden Mickey in all of Walt Disney World.

Friday, April 24, 2015

DDW Pic 1332. Peter Pan Topiary

Peter Pan Topiary
There are more than 100 topiaries that are part of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. They include princesses, animals, and beloved Disney characters, all made out of plants and flowers. Peter Pan is located on top of one of the buildings in the United Kingdom. If you don't look up, you could miss him.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

DDW Pic 1331. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris
While spending yesterday afternoon at Animal Kingdom, I took the time to look at the details found in the Kilimanjaro Safaris standby queue. Like so many Disney attractions, there are some fun things to be found here. This "check in" desk is something that most guests just pass by. However, it is worth stopping to take a look.....and a listen. While I was there, the phone rang and there was an entertaining outgoing answering machine message that could be heard..

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

DDW Pic 1330. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
Today, we say happy 17th birthday to Animal Kingdom. This amazing theme park opened on Earth Day in 1998. I spent the afternoon walking around and taking photos in many of my favorite spots. This shot was taken from behind the Tree of Life, not far from the exit of It's Tough to be a Bug. I used my "long exposure" app to create the smooth waterfall appearance. The sun was in the perfect spot to light up the water. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

DDW Pic 1329. Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney
Tonight, we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney. As we were walking back to our car, we noticed this pretty sunset view over the new footbridge that recently opened. I was close to the World of Disney store when I snapped this shot.

Monday, April 20, 2015

DDW Pic 1328. Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth
Yesterday, there was a pretty big storm passing just to the north of Epcot as I walked through Future World. I liked the contrast of Spaceship Earth against the storm cloud background. I am always looking to shoot different angles of one of my favorite attractions.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

DDW Pic 1327. Figment

While riding Journey Into Imagination this afternoon with my son, our ride vehicle stopped for a few seconds in front of Figment. This is the spot just before you head into his upside down house. Although this attraction isn't the original version that so many of us remember and love, it is still fun to stop in and see Figment on occasion.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

DDW Pic 1326. Coronado Springs

Coronado Springs
Last night, we had dinner at one of my favorite Disney resorts, Coronado Springs. The Pepper Market has a good variety of food, but we specifically enjoy their nachos. After dinner, we walked outside, where I took this photo by the lake. The air was still, so the buildings reflecting off the water created a nice mirror image.

Friday, April 17, 2015

DDW Pic 1325. Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror
Yesterday, I was waiting for my tour guests at Beauty and the Beast. I took this shot from near the "Once Upon a Time" shop. The Tower of Terror is an impressive site from any angle. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

DDW Pic 1324. New York City Street

New York City Street
As I write about often, the Disney parks are full of details that many guests never see. The Streets of America at Hollywood Studios is a good example of an area full of "stuff" that makes you feel like you are in a different place. This is a shot of a New York City apartment building that I took today. If you look closely on the balconies, you'll see things like a grill, flower pots, and even a scooter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

DDW Pic 1323. Empty Magic Kingdom

Empty Magic Kingdom
Today, I had the opportunity to enter the Magic Kingdom prior to park opening with my tour guests. They had an early breakfast reservation at Cinderella's Royal Table. This gave me the opportunity to take some rare, "empty" park photos. I was in the center of Main Street, just past Casey's and The Plaza, when I snapped this shot. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

DDW Pic 1322. Mexico

I took this shot of the Mexico pavilion at Epcot a few weeks ago. This is from the left side of the building, looking up. The very top of this building is where the control room for Illuminations is located.

Monday, April 13, 2015

DDW Pic 1321. Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion
Although, it is in the distance, the Haunted Mansion is at the center of this shot. I like the framing of this picture. You can see the Liberty Square boat dock on the right and Aunt Polly's on the left, with the river running right down the center. I'm always looking for new angles to photograph the Haunted Mansion, and I found this one on Friday.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

DDW Pic 1320. Polynesian Lobby

Polynesian Lobby
The Polynesian Resort has been under a major refurbishment for the better part of the last year. The lobby has been completely redone, with the waterfalls removed. Recently, this tiki statue has been added and is now the focal point of the new lobby. I took this shot last week, when I briefly visited this resort before heading to the Magic Kingdom.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

DDW Pic 1319. Carousel of Progress

Carousel of Progress
Although Carousel of Progress isn't the most popular spot in the Magic Kingdom, it is historically significant. This is the only attraction that Walt Disney himself physically worked on. Originally debuting at the 1964 World's Fair, it was moved to Disneyland, where it stayed until 1973. In 1975, it opened in its current location in Tomorrowland. I took this shot yesterday, while my tour guests were enjoying the revolving theater show.  

Friday, April 10, 2015

DDW Pic 1318. Aunt Polly's

Aunt Polly's
Aunt Polly's Dockside Inn over at Tom Sawyer Island served lunch and snacks to Magic Kingdom guests for many years. However, it has been closed for more than a decade. I was happily surprised to learn that it recently opened for a short spring break "test" to see how it would be received during the busy season. I rafted over to the island to enjoy a bite for lunch today. The cast member said it would once again be closing tomorrow, but hoped to see it re-open in the summer. Only time will tell.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

DDW Pic 1317. International Gateway

International Gateway
Today, I found myself in a quiet area just outside of the France pavilion at Epcot. It overlooks the river connecting the World Showcase Lagoon and the Boardwalk Resorts. Known as the International Gateway, this "back entrance" to Epcot opened in 1990. It allows guests from those resorts to arrive on foot or by boat. It was another beautiful day in Central Florida, making it ideal for photography,

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

DDW Pic 1316. Grand Floridian - Panorama

Grand Floridian - Panorama
As I was leaving the Magic Kingdom today, I had this view of the Grand Floridian from the monorail. I have seen this angle of the resort hundreds of times. However, I liked the way the sun was hitting it, along with the puffy clouds in the background.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

DDW Pic 1315. Norway

While waiting for my guests at Akershus today, I found myself standing in a shady spot across from the restaurant. I liked the way the blue sky was providing a backdrop for this shot of the Norway pavilion. I am missing the Maelstrom ride, but am excited to see what the new Frozen attraction will be like.

Monday, April 6, 2015

DDW Pic 1314. Center Street

Center Street
There is a little area on the east side of Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom where you can get away from the big crowds on a busy day. It is between Uptown Jewelers and the Crystal Arts shop, and it is called Center Street. There are a few tables set up near the end of the street where I like to relax or have a quick snack. If you look at the windows on the second floor of one of the buildings, you will see an advertisement for singing and dancing lessons. The fun part is listening to the sounds coming from that area, as you can hear the lessons taking place.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

DDW Pic 1313. Thunder Mountain

Thunder Mountain
Today, my son and I rode Thunder Mountain twice. The first trip was from the back row and the second was from the front. This pic shows what the engine looks like from the front row. You can see there is no engineer, as this is a runaway "ghost train."

DDW Pic 1312. Easter Parade

Easter Parade
Today and tomorrow, Disney is featuring an Easter "pre-parade" at the Magic Kingdom. It is a short set of characters and floats that is highlighted by Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny. I took this shot at the 12:00 parade today.

Friday, April 3, 2015

DDW Pic 1311. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
This giant sand sculpture was recently created at the entrance to Animal Kingdom. It is there to advertise the new "Disney Nature" film, Monkey Kingdom. The movie comes out in two weeks, on April 17th. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

DDW Pic 1310. Test Track

Add caption
I took this shot of Test Track at Epcot last week. I was standing just outside of Innoventions East, not too far from Ellen's Energy Adventure. I was a pretty good distance from Test Track, but could still hear the cars racing by. The stand on the left is a great spot to grab a quick cup of coffee.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

DDW Pic 1309. Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach
Today we say happy 20th birthday to Blizzard Beach. This very popular destination opened on April 1st, 1995. It is typically one of the top three water parks in the World for yearly attendance. However, if you visit in the middle of winter, you could have the park to yourself. I took this picture in December when the temperature was about 70 degrees. There were very few other guests in the entire place. You can see the chair lift as well as the Summit Plummet slide in the shot. If you look off in the distance at the top of the trees, you will also see Tower of Terror.