Thursday, October 30, 2014

DDW Pic 1156. Streets of America

Streets of America
Today, while waiting for my guests at Star Tours in Hollywood Studios, I found myself standing at the side of the New York City "buildings." You can see just how flat theses structures really are. When standing at the far end of the street, they appear to be the real deal, especially in photos. Disney utilizes this forced perspective technique to show how movie and TV scenes are filmed without the need to physically be in a particular location. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DDW Pic 1155. Way Back Wednesday - All-Star Sports - Aerial

Way Back Wednesday - All-Star Sports - Aerial
Today's edition of "Way Back Wednesday" features an aerial photo I took back in 2008. I spent about 10 minutes flying around Walt Disney World with my student, trying to get as many shots as I could. This one is of Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, which doesn't seem quite as big from this angle. It took us about a minute to fly from the area of the Magic Kingdom to the All-Star resorts. This mode of travel sure beats taking the bus!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DDW Pic 1154. Grand Floridian - Panorama

Grand Floridian - Panorama
As I was waiting for the Magic Kingdom ferry boat to take me back to the TTC tonight, I noticed this pretty sunset view of the Grand Floridian. Disney's flagship resort looks great from this angle. This time of year is great for outdoor photography in Florida, as there is very little humidity in the air.

DDW Pic 1153. Monorail

Monorail
It has been a while since I've posted a monorail photo. Today, after getting a haircut at the Magic Kingdom, I found myself on a fairly quiet platform as my favorite form of transportation was arriving. Although I have many shots like this on file, I just couldn't resist snapping another one!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

DDW Pic 1152. Mission Space

Mission Space
Mission Space has been thrilling Epcot guests for more than a decade. When it first opened, there was only one version, which simulated space shuttle g-forces by spinning guests at a high rate of speed. This became the first (and only) attraction with motion sickness bags available to guests. A few years after opening, Disney made the wise decision to offer a "less intense" version, which is virtually the same ride without the spinning. I took this shot last week from inside the cockpit, as my son and his friend were preparing for launch.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

DDW Pic 1151. Muppets

Muppets
In continuing with yesterday's idea of well themed gift shops, I found myself in the Stage 1 Company Store at Hollywood Studios today. This Muppets focused store is located just outside of the exit of Muppet*Vision 3D. It is one of my favorite gift shops in all of Walt Disney World because of the amazing amount of detail that can be found here. This shelf contains the whole "Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem" band in doll form. I have so much fun discovering displays like this!

Friday, October 24, 2014

DDW Pic 1150. Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain
Today, while waiting for my tour guests at Splash Mountain, I had the chance to take a closer look at the ride photo checkout area. It is totally themed like a rustic, old photography studio. There are old fashioned cameras, bottles of developing fluid, and photo paper all over the shelves in the shop. This is just another example of the amazing details that are so often overlooked by guests.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

DDW Pic 1149. Coronado Springs

Coronado Springs
One of my favorite resorts to stroll around is Coronado Springs. There are many winding paths, and the grounds are beautiful. The buildings are situated around a good size lake, which gives guests so many opportunities for great photos. I took this shot today from the Casitas section of the resort. The bird posing for me was just an added bonus.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DDW Pic 1148. Way Back Wednesday - Epcot Daredevil Circus Spectacular

Way Back Wednesday - Epcot Daredevil Circus Spectacular
Back at the end of 1987 and into 1988, Epcot Center hosted a very interesting show in the center of Future World. It was called the "Daredevil Circus Spectacular" and it featured death defying acts, elephants, and even a live orchestra. It was not something that guests were neccesarily expecting to see while visiting this park, but it was entertaining nonetheless. This picture, from 1988, shows an elephant approaching the main stage, which was set up on the Fountain of Nations. A handful of these giant animals would walk out from backstage between the UK and Canada pavilions, and parade through part of the World Showcase on their way to the show. Can you imagine seeing elephants walk by you as you were strolling through Epcot? It was quite a sight!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DDW Pic 1147. Town Square

Town Square
One of my favorite things to do in the Magic Kingdom is to find a comfortable spot and people watch. A great place to do this is from a rocking chair on the porch of the Town Square Theater. It offers a great vantage point to see the excitement of guests entering the most popular theme park in the world. I took this shot a few days ago, while enjoying the beautiful October weather that Central Florida is known for. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

DDW Pic 1146. Living with the Land

Living with the Land
Today, I had the chance to ride Living with the Land at Epcot for the first time this month. This is one of the few remaining attractions from Epcot's opening back in 1982. As we floated through the greenhouse area, it was fun to see this display set up for the "fall season." It seems that Disney is always doing little things like this to highlight the different times of year.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

DDW Pic 1145. Adventureland

Adventureland 
I was standing near the exit of Jungle Cruise yesterday, when I saw this view of Adventureland. I like how the palm trees nicely framed the lamp atop The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. It is always fun for me to see a different perspective of attractions that I've been enjoying for years.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

DDW Pic 1144. Crystal Arts

Crystal Arts
Today, I had a young tour guest who was interested in seeing a "glass blower" in action, so I took him to Crystal Arts on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. This store features handmade crystal and glass item, many of which are made right on location. Here is a master craftsman who was in the process of creating a "glass ball" Christmas ornament. This is a great little spot that many guests don't even realize exists in the most popular theme park on earth.

Friday, October 17, 2014

DDW Pic 1143. Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror
While waiting for my tour guests this morning at Hollywood Studios, I found myself standing near the charter bus drop off area. I noticed the Tower of Terror in the distance, framed by nearby trees and bushes. Although it doesn't look scary on a bright sunny morning, it is still an impressive structure, even from a distance.

DDW Pic 1142. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Halloween time is so much fun at Walt Disney World. It is highlighted by Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Tonight, my family had the chance to attend the event as guests of some very generous friends. We had a great time enjoying the trick-or-treating, shows, parade, and spectacular fireworks. I took this shot as I was leaving the park.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DDW Pic 1141. Way Back Wednesday - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Here is a shot of my dad and sister from back in 1977. They are standing in front of the now extinct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the Magic Kingdom. This classic attraction was located in the section where New Fantasyland is today. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train currently sits where the loading area seen in this photo used to be. Although 20,000 Leagues has been gone from the Magic Kingdom for many years, a similar submarine attraction can still be found in Disneyland.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DDW Pic 1140. Tree of Life

Tree of Life
The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom recently underwent a refurbishment, and the area surrounding the park icon was inaccessible to guests. It has now reopened and there are some notable changes, especially near the exit of It's Tough to be a Bug. You can see the Tree of Life on the right side of this picture. Disney removed much of the foliage and made this area considerably more open. They also remove the overhead netting, which helps to portray a more natural look.

DDW Pic 1139. Thunder Mountain

Thunder Mountain
Continuing with this week's semi-theme of framing pictures with rock work and/or statues, I took this shot near the exit of Thunder Mountain. I have spent quite a bit of time over the years waiting for my tour guests a few feet from this spot, but this is the first time this opening caught my eye. The next time you are exiting from the left track of this attraction, look over your left shoulder and you may see this "hole in the wall" that millions of guests have never seen!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

DDW Pic 1138. Tusker House

Tusker House
While waiting for my tour guests to finish lunch at the Tusker House today, I noticed some interesting "props" on the exterior of this Animal Kingdom eatery. The upstairs part of this structure is themed to be a hotel or "guest house." On the ledge, you can see a pitcher and a few glasses, as if there were guests sitting up there. This is just another example of Disney's attention to detail.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

DDW Pic 1137. Canada

Canada
While waiting for my tour guests outside of O' Canada today, I noticed this view of the Hotel du Canada in the cutout of the rocks. The rock work and waterfall that are part of this Epcot pavilion are visually impressive. When you head toward the back of the area, you almost forget you are still in a theme park.

Friday, October 10, 2014

DDW Pic 1136. Space Mountain

Space Mountain
I have literally taken hundreds of photos of Space Mountain over the years, but I am pretty sure this is my first one from this angle. This morning, I found myself standing in front of Gaston's Tavern looking toward tomorrowland. I noticed the iconic attraction directly through this statue of Gaston and LeFou and thought it would make a fun photo.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

DDW Pic 1135. Daisy Duck

Daisy Duck
While giving a Hollywood Studios tour today, I ran into Donald's girlfriend strolling through the park. She was heading backstage from her meet-and-greet area. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure Daisy batted her eyelashes at me!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

DDW Pic 1134. Way Back Wednesday - Epcot Center

Way Back Wednesday - Epcot Center
Here is a shot of Future World from back in 1984. You can see both Spaceship Earth and Universe of Energy in this picture. Although both of these pavilions are still a prominent part of Epcot, it looks like the landscape was quite different back then. It appears to have been much more open with very little foliage. The two pavilions in Future World East that you can't see are World of Motion and Horizons, which have both been gone for many years.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

DDW Pic 1133. Wandering Oaken's

Wandering Oaken's
Although the Frozen Summer Fun event has come to an end at Hollywood Studios, Wandering Oaken's Trading Post has reopened in a new location. It has taken over the AFI building that used to be at the end of the Studio Backlot Tour. Although there is no longer an ice skating rink, it includes a frozen snow play area and a snack bar. There is also a large Frozen gift shop with plenty of merchandise for fans of this incredibly popular movie.

Monday, October 6, 2014

DDW Pic 1132. Japan - Panorama

Japan - Panorama
Today, my tour guests ate lunch at Teppan Edo, in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. While waiting for them to finish up, I had a few minutes to snap some photos on this beautiful fall day. I took this shot while standing on the wrap around deck just outside of the restaurant. There is quite a view of World Showcase Lagoon from up there. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

DDW Pic 1131. Memento Mori

Memento Mori
The new Haunted Mansion themed gift shop in Liberty Square is now open......sort of. This store, which took over for Yankee Trader, is soft opening tonight as part of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party. When I took this shot earlier today, it was still closed. I confirmed with a cast member outside this location that the name Memento Mori translates to "remember the dead."

Saturday, October 4, 2014

DDW Pic 1130. Maelstrom - Panorama

Maelstrom - Panorama
Unfortunately, the Maelstrom attraction in Norway at Epcot is closing permanently this weekend. The popularity of Frozen has grown to epic proportions and Disney has decided to replace this classic attraction with something from the most popular animated movie of all time. You certainly can't blame them for making the change, but Maelsteom will definitely be missed. We had the chance to ride it one final time last night, and I took this panorama of the giant mural in the load area.

DDW Pic 1129. Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth
We were at Epcot tonight to watch Starship perform in the "Eat to the Beat" concert series. We also had the chance to ride Maelstrom one last time before it closes permanently on Sunday. As we were walking toward the Fountain of Nations, my wife looked over her shoulder at Spaceship Earth and thought it looked like a nice picture. I totally agreed with her.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DDW Pic 1128. Barnstormer

Barnstormer
I often talk about the amazing details you find around Walt Disney World, and today's picture is no exception. If you look at the Barnstormer on its own, it is little more than a kiddie coaster that you may find at a local amusement park. However, when you add in the Great Goofini story, it becomes a well themed Disney "attraction." This crashed rocket with the trailing smoke is just one example of the fact that Goofy needs significantly more practice on his circus routines!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

DDW Pic 1127. Way Back Wednesday - Cinderella Castle

Way Back Wednesday - Cinderella Castle
Today we say happy 43rd birthday to Walt Disney World. The Magic Kingdom opened on October 1st, 1971. The main icon of this park has always been Cinderella Castle, and I thought the best way to celebrate would be with a picture of this world famous structure. This photo was taken on our family trip back in 1984. It was after this visit, at the ripe old age of 12, that I decided I wanted to work at Walt Disney World someday. That someday took almost 30 years, but patience and passion have finally paid off!

DDW Pic 1126. Astro Orbiter

Astro Orbiter
The Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland is flying again after a lengthy refurbishment. I was enjoying the Magic Kingdom with our son tonight when I decided to take some shots of the iconic attraction that visually draws visitors toward this part of the park. The sun did a great job of illuminating the cloud in the background, while turning Rocket Tower Plaza into a silhouette.