Thursday, August 31, 2017

DDW Pic 2185. Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is a focal point in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom. According to this sign, it was cast from the same mould as the original Liberty Bell. I took this shot using the iPhone 7 "portrait" mode, while giving a tour yesterday. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

DDW Pic 2184. Mickey Pumpkin

Mickey Pumpkin
Halloween season seems to come earlier and earlier at Magic Kingdom. The first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party this year was on August 25th. I took this shot of a Mickey pumpkin near the Emporium, while giving a tour today.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

DDW Pic 2183. Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones
I have taken many shots of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular finale over the years. Today, I took this one using "burst" mode. I like how the background fire created an Indy silhouette.

Monday, August 28, 2017

DDW Pic 2182. Grand Floridian 

Grand Floridian
The Grand Floridian is a great place for photography, especially in the early morning hours. The sun rises across Seven Seas Lagoon, providing perfect illumination of the large, Victorian style buildings. I took this shot prior to a Magic Kingdom tour last week.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

DDW Pic 2181. Liver Lips McGrowl

Liver Lips McGrowl
Liver Lips McGrowl is one of the stars in the Country Bear Jamboree in the Magic Kingdom. He has been strumming the guitar in that show since 1971. Recently, he has been spotted greeting guests around Frontierland. I took this shot while giving a tour last week.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

DDW Pic 2180. One Man's Dream

One Man's Dream
Walt Disney: One Man's Dream at Hollywood Studios has received a few updates over the past week. This wall highlights the Disneyland Resort. These are modern pictures, as they include the new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, as well as the future Star Wars area.

Friday, August 25, 2017

DDW Pic 2179. Casey's Corner

Casey's Corner
Casey's Corner is a classic quick-service hot dog stand on Main Street in Magic Kingdom. It has a fun baseball theme, and authentic Coca Cola posters from the old days, when you could grab a coke for 5 cents. I like how this sign says that "It is the best, and most refreshing beverage an athlete can drink." We don't often think of cola as being a drink for an "athlete" nowadays.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

DDW Pic 2178. Rey

Star Wars: The Force Awakens features a character named Rey, played by actress Daisy Ridley. This character is part of a show at Hollywood Studios, and Disney did a great job of finding an actress that looks just like Ridley. It is always tough to find "look alike" actors, but they hit the mark with Rey.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

DDW Pic 2177. Cruz Ramirez

Cruz Ramirez
Guests who visited Hollywood Studios could meet Lightning McQueen and Mater, up until the middle of last year. Due to the building of the future Star Wars area, and the need for that space, they are no longer at this park. However, in conjunction with the release of Cars 3, Cruz Ramirez has arrived to meet guests. She is located down near the new exit of Toy Story Mania. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

DDW Pic 2176. Tortuga Tavern

Tortuga Tavern
While walking thru Adventureland today, I came across this entertaining sign near the entrance to Tortuga Tavern. The "Pirates of the Caribbean" area of this land is full of fun details, and the theming is great. If you take the time to look at the details around Magic Kingdom, you will find more examples like this in every area of the park.

Monday, August 21, 2017

DDW Pic 2175. Eclipse 

Today was the great solar eclipse of 2017. I thought it would be fun to get some pictures from the most popular tourist destination on the planet. Although it wasn't a "total" eclipse for Central Florida, about 85% of the sun was blocked by the moon. You can see the crescent of the sun in the opening in the clouds. I was standing near the back of Cinderella Castle, and you can see a spire to the left.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

DDW Pic 2174. Main Street Railroad Station

Main Street Railroad Station
The Main Street Railroad Station is the backdrop for one of the most photographed spots in the world.....the Magic Kingdom entrance. Until recently, the park opening show took place on this platform every morning. A few days ago, I took this shot from the station, looking out toward the park entrance and the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

DDW Pic 2173. Magic Carpets

Magic Carpets
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is the first and only Adventureland attraction based on a Disney animated feature. It is very similar to the Dumbo ride, but can hold more guests, since there are two rows per carpet. I took this shot by the spitting camel yesterday.

Friday, August 18, 2017

DDW Pic 2172. Tomorrowland Speedway

Tomorrowland Speedway 
Tomorrowland Speedway is one of the original Magic Kingdom attractions. The best view of the track is from above. I took this shot today, while riding the PeopleMover thru Tomorrowland.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

DDW Pic 2171. Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge
I spent some time at Animal Kingdom Lodge today. It is one of my favorite resorts to visit. I took this shot from the savanna overlook area, after viewing the animals that were nearby. The quietness of the afternoon and beautiful weather conditions made for a nice panorama.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

DDW Pic 2170. Pirates

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is as popular as ever. The movies continue to do well at the box office, and the attraction always has a good number of guests in line. The Pirate's Adventure is a fun, interactive experience that takes place all around Adventureland. This shot features one of Pirate's Adventure locations, which is right outside of the attraction entrance.

DDW Pic 2169. Magic Kingdom 

Magic Kingdom
The entrance area of Magic Kingdom is one of the most photographed spots in the world. This park is also the most visited theme park on the planet, topping 20 million guests per year. So, it is very rare to get a picture like this, without people in it. However, a couple of days ago, this area was vacant for just a few seconds, so I quickly took a panorama.

Monday, August 14, 2017

DDW Pic 2168. Pandora

There are so many beautiful views in Pandora, which makes it a photographers dream. This landscape includes a river, giant tree roots, and Pandoran chalice plants. I took this shot while giving a tour on this moon, just a few days ago.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

DDW Pic 2167. Universe of Energy

Universe of Energy
Today marks the end of an era for an "opening day" Epcot attraction. The Universe of Energy closed its doors for good tonight, after nearly 35 years of entertaining and educating guests. We enjoyed the attraction one last time this afternoon, and I snapped a few shots. Although the "show" changed in 1996, the dinosaur scene has been there since 1982, when Epcot opened.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

DDW Pic 2166. Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise
Disney has done quite a bit of foliage trimming around Swiss Family Treehouse recently. This has allowed for much better views of the entrance to Jungle Cruise. I was standing near the Treehouse stroller parking area, when I took this shot a few days ago.

Friday, August 11, 2017

DDW Pic 2165. Tree of Life

Tree of Life
I'm always looking for new angles to photograph the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom. I noticed this view while waiting for my tour guests at the "It's Tough to be a Bug" exit today. The large leaves on this plant perfectly framed the owl on the tree.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

DDW Pic 2164. Beast's Castle

Beast's Castle
While giving a Magic Kingdom tour today, I noticed this nicely framed shot. I was standing outside of the Winnie the Pooh gift shop, looking toward Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Although Beast's Castle is a small structure atop Be Our Guest Restaurant, it looks like it could be "full size" from a distance.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

DDW Pic 2163. Pete's Silly Sideshow

Pete's Silly Sideshow
Pete's Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus is one of the best spots in Walt Disney World to meet some of the traditional characters. First off, the air conditioning is extra cold in this location. Secondly, if you visit shortly after it opens, you can meet four characters in about 15 minutes. This large sign can be found in the queue on the Minnie and Daisy side.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

DDW Pic 2162. Magic Kingdom 

Magic Kingdom
This quiet pathway connects Tomorrowland to Storybook Circus. It can be accessed next to Space Mountain on one side and Barnstormer on the other. It is a great way to avoid the crowds when moving between these two lands, especially on a busy day.

DDW Pic 2161. Disneyland - Thunder Mountain

Disneyland - Thunder Mountain
Today was our last day at Disneyland, and I wanted to do one more attraction comparison. Thunder Mountain is another "similar but different" ride. It has basically the same look and feel as the one at Magic Kingdom, but the track is situated in an opposite configuration. So, when you are turning left in Florida, you go right in California. Also, the Disneyland version feels a little smoother. Finally, the queue area is quite different.

Monday, August 7, 2017

DDW Pic 2160. Disneyland - Monorail

Disneyland - Monorail
The Walt Disney World Monorail and the Disneyland Monorail are much different. First off, the Disneyland version is smaller, and there is no "standing room." Next, the Disneyland Monorail station is actually inside the park in Tomorrowland. Finally, the Walt Disney World Monorail is a major mode of transportation, while the Disneyland one is more of a sightseeing ride.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

DDW Pic 2159. Chinese Theater

Chinese Theater
The Chinese Theater is the main "park icon" of Hollywood Studios. The exterior is an exact replica of the "real" Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. I had the pleasure of visiting the real one today.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

DDW Pic 2158. Disneyland - Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland - Sleeping Beauty Castle
Disneyland features Sleeping Beauty Castle at the end of Main Street, while Cinderella Castle is the park icon at the Magic Kingdom. They are similar in importance, but very different in size. The California castle stands at 77 feet, while the Florida version is 189 feet tall.

Friday, August 4, 2017

DDW Pic 2157. Disneyland - Soarin'

Here is an attraction at California Adventure that definitely falls under the category of "the same but different," in comparison to Walt Disney World's version at Epcot. The exterior of the California Soarin' has a distinctive historical aviation theme. Also, the interior corridors have that theming as well. The Epcot version has a much more futuristic motif. However, when you are actually in the theater enjoying the attraction, both shows are identical.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

DDW Pic 2156. Disneyland - Guardians of the Galaxy

Disneyland - Guardians of the Galaxy
At first glance, this structure resembles Tower of Terror. It actually was Tower of Terror, until this past January when it closed for a major "re-imagineering" of the ride. When it reopened in May, it became Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout. This new attraction is a very fun Marvel ride, that takes the "drop tower" concept to another level.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DDW Pic 2155. Disneyland - Small World

Disneyland - Small World
This week, I am spending time at Disneyland in California with my family. I thought it would be fun to post some photos of attractions with similar (but different) counterparts in Walt Disney World. Today, we will start with the original "it's a small world," which debuted at the 1964 New York World's Fair.