Thursday, December 31, 2015

DDW Pic 1582. Illuminations

Illuminations
On this night of celebration, I thought it appropriate to post another Illuminations fireworks photo. I took this using a 4 second shutter speed on my new camera. This shot was from the "regular" finale, prior to the special holiday tag. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

DDW Pic 1581. Pirates

Pirates
Here is another pirate shot from a few weeks back. This was on a day where these characters could be found throughout the west side of Adventureland. This guy was sitting on the stage that is normally home to a show starring Captain Jack Sparrow.

DDW Pic 1580. Wide World of Sports

Wide World of Sports
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a huge venue with dozens of fields, courts, etc., that plays host to national and international sporting events. It is also the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves. Tonight, we were there to kickoff a baseball tournament that our son is playing in. I took this shot just inside of the main entrance.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

DDW Pic 1579. Rivers of America

Rivers of America
The Rivers of America in Frontierland are comprised of the Hudson, Mississippi, and the Colorado. Guests have to cross this body of water by raft to get to Tom Sawyer Island. I took this shot from a raft a few weeks ago.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

DDW Pic 1578. Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Wars Launch Bay
Star Wars is one of the most popular movie franchises in history. The most recent movie, "The Force Awakens" just became the fastest movie to gross 1 billion in worldwide box office sales. This replica of Rey's Speeder, from that movie, can be seen in the Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios.

DDW Pic 1577. Grand Floridian Tree

Grand Floridian Tree
In keeping with the Christmas week theme, here is the giant tree at the Grand Floridian. It stands in the center of the lobby and is very tall. When I took this shot, there was actually a large production crew filming a commercial on the other side of the tree.

Friday, December 25, 2015

DDW Pic 1576. Wilderness Lodge Villas

Wilderness Lodge Villas
The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is the DVC section of that resort. Just like the rest of the Walt Disney World hotels, it is decorated for the Christmas season. This tree is in the center of the lobby. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

DDW Pic 1575. Goofy and Donald

Goofy and Donald
During special events and holiday seasons, topiariies pop up around Epcot. This year, there are winter versions of Donald and Goofy in the area leading from Future World to World Showcase. I took this shot last Friday night, shortly after enjoying Illuminations.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DDW Pic 1574. Fort Wilderness

Wilderness Lodge
During the holiday season, Fort Wilderness offers a horse-drawn sleigh ride for guests to enjoy. Although the sleighs look very authentic, there is obviously no snow to be found in Central Florida. So, these are "modified" versions with small wheels at the base. I took this shot a few weeks back while visiting this resort.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

DDW Pic 1573. Cinderella Castle

Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle is amazing during the Christmas season. It is illuminated each night by Elsa from Frozen. With over 200,000 lights, it is quite a spectacle.

Monday, December 21, 2015

DDW Pic 1572. Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Continuing with this week's Christmas theme, here is a photo of the tree inside of the Jambo House section of Animal Kingdom Lodge. I was standing in front of the large glass windows, looking toward the hotel entrance. I took this shot while visiting the resort last week. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

DDW Pic 1571. Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree

Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree
Disney does an amazing job at decorating the parks and hotels for Christmas. The holiday focal point at each park is a giant tree. The Christmas tree in the Magic Kingdom is right in Town Square. I took this shot on Friday night.

DDW Pic 1570. Skipper Canteen

Skipper Canteen
A brand new restaurant opened in the Magic Kingdom a few days ago. Located in Adventureland, this Jungle Cruise themed spot is called Skipper Canteen. It is a table service location, where the cast members are all dressed like skippers from the famed attraction. It looks like a fun addition to the dining experiences at this park.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

DDW Pic 1569. Illuminations

Illuminations
Tonight, I had the chance to try out "fireworks" mode on my new camera. This shot is from Illuminations at Epcot. This is my favorite nighttime show at Walt Disney World, especially this time of year. For the Christmas season, they add a special holiday finale that features the song, "Let There be Peace on Earth."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

DDW Pic 1568. Robo-Newz

Robo-Newz
This newspaper vendor has been standing next to the entrance to the PeopleMover for many years. I took this shot just before riding that attraction on Tuesday. It looks like he may have gotten a fresh coat of paint that morning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DDW Pic 1567. Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin is a fun, interactive attraction in Tomorrowland. It is always a challenge to max out your score by trying to hit the high value targets found throughout the ride. Yesterday, I found myself stopped in this location, so I had to take a shot of the "Alien in a Box."

DDW Pic 1566. Pirates

Pirates
I was happily surprised to see a whole bunch of pirates in Adventureland today. These "characters" will now be part of the Pirates of the Caribbean courtyard on a daily basis. This one seemed to have passed out near a cannon in front of the attraction.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

DDW Pic 1565. River Country

River Country
River Country was the first water park at Walt Disney World. Although it closed more than 14 years ago, it surprisingly still sits untouched behind large fences. It is rundown and overgrown, but still exists at Fort Wilderness. This River Country ticket booth is out in the open next to the entrance to Mickey's Backyard BBQ. If you look closely, it still advertises a "Relaxing Pool and Springs" and "White Water Rafting."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

DDW Pic 1564. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
Each Christmas tree at the Disney parks has a related theme. Obviously, the one at Animal Kingdom features animals. Here is a shot of the "Tigger in the Box" that I took a few days ago.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

DDW Pic 1563. Riverside Depot

Riverside Depot
Riverside Depot is a brand new gift shop that just opened at Animal Kingdom. It is a large retail spot that can be found just after crossing the bridge from the Oasis to Discovery Island. It seems like this park continues to evolve, and new things are opening on a regular basis.

Friday, December 11, 2015

DDW Pic 1562. Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness
Yesterday, I took a walk along the path between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. At one point, I came across this deer crossing about 50 yards in front of me. As I got closer, I discovered a family of about 10 deer in the woods on both sides of the path. With the natural serenity of this area, it is almost hard to imagine that the busiest theme park in the world is only about a mile from this location.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

DDW Pic 1561. Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge
I took this photo from the 5th floor of the Wilderness Lodge today. This is one of my favorite resorts to visit, especially in the winter. In this shot, you can see the pool, the geyser, and Bay Lake in the background.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

DDW Pic 1560. Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House
The giant gingerbread house is an annual tradition at the Grand Floridian. There are gingerbread displays in several of the Disney resorts during the Christmas season. However, the Grand Floridian one is the "flagship" of these confectionery abodes. I took this shot this morning, before giving a tour of the Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

DDW Pic 1559. Uzima Pool

Uzima Pool
The Uzima pool is located in the Jambo House section of Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is one of the largest on Disney property. I took this picture while spending some time there this morning. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

DDW Pic 1558. Italy

Italy
The Italy pavilion at Epcot features elements of Venice, including the tall tower known as St. Mark's Campanile. At the very top of the tower sits a small statue of the archangel Gabriel. My new camera allowed me to zoom in to get a better look at the detail of this statue. You can see that this version of Gabriel has a lightning rod protruding from his head.

DDW Pic 1557. Darth Vader

Darth Vader
This full-size bust of Darth Vader can be found in the new gift shop that is part of Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios. It includes the two part helmet as well. The price tag is steep at over $2000, but it would be quite a piece for a Star Wars collector.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

DDW Pic 1556. Walt Disney

Walt Disney
Today, we say happy birthday to the man who started it all. Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901. One of the best tributes to him is the Partners Statue at the Magic Kingdom, so I decided to post this photo today.

Friday, December 4, 2015

DDW Pic 1555. Germany

Germany
One of my favorite hidden Mickeys is in Germany at Epcot. This statue of "royalty" is one of three that are standing on a second floor ledge. You can see Mickey in the center of his crown. I took this shot today, while trying out a new camera.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

DDW Pic 1554. Dragon Topiary

Dragon Topiary
This dragon topiary is part of the landscape on the east side of Main Street in Magic Kingdom. Although they have created new walkways in this area, there is still a good deal of natural surroundings as well. I like how this photo shows the contrast of Tomorrowland in the background. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DDW Pic 1553. Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Wars Launch Bay
Yesterday, a brand new attraction opened at Hollywood Studios called Star Wars Launch Bay. It is a fun collection of exhibits and meet and greets related to the Star Wars universe. Fans of the franchise will certainly enjoy visiting this spot, as I have over the past few days.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DDW Pic 1552. Sunset Showcase

Sunset Showcase
A brand new building opened at Hollywood Studios today. It is located behind Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and it's called the Sunset Showcase building. It houses Club Disney, which is a character dance party. It is a place where guests can enjoy dancing with Mickey and friends throughout the day. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

DDW Pic 1551. Flik

Flik
Flik is now greeting guests near Pizzafari in Animal Kingdom. He seems to be there on a regular basis now. I took this shot today while checking out some of the new and refurbished spots at this park.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

DDW Pic 1550. Chef Mickey's

Chef Mickey's
Last week, we left a packed Magic Kingdom to enjoy lunch at the Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary Resort. Adjacent to that restaurant is Chef Mickey's. I took this shot of Mickey, Minnie, and Donald from a distance.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

DDW Pic 1549. Star Wars Monorail

Star Wars Monorail
The new Star Wars movie is coming out in less than a month, and Disney has decided to use monorail black to advertise it. Last week, it received a "Force Awakens" window treatment. They have decorated monorails in the past to promote such movies as Tron Legacy, Avengers, and Monsters University. Although everyone on the planet knows that Star Wars will be out soon, it is still fun to see Disney use the monorail as an advertising tool.

Friday, November 27, 2015

DDW Pic 1548. Liberty Square

Liberty Square
This window is on the outside of The Hall of Presidents building near Liberty Square Market. The doll in the window would have been significant during Colonial times. It was to alert firefighters that a child lived in that home. I took this shot a few days ago, while enjoying the nice weather at the Magic Kingdom.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

DDW Pic 1547. Frontierland

Frontierland
This sign hangs on a wall in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom. It is a good example of the fun details to be found throughout the park. Most guests pass by these types of signs workout taking time to read them. Sometimes, it is worth pausing to enjoy these overlooked gems. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

DDW Pic 1546. Contemporary Gingerbread

Contemporary Gingerbread
This year's gingerbread display at The Contemporary features Frozen. You can see Kristoff, Anna, and Elsa in front. Disney used over 500 pounds of flour and 400 pounds of chocolate in this creation. I took this shot a few days ago, after lunch at the Contempo Cafe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

DDW Pic 1545. Bay Lake

Bay Lake
This area of Bay Lake is where it connects to Seven Seas Lagoon. That boat is headed towards Wilderness Lodge. I took this shot yesterday from the resort monorail.

Monday, November 23, 2015

DDW Pic 1544. Pirates

Pirates
Pirates of the Caribbean recently underwent a 4 month refurbishment. Disney spruced up some of the scenes and redressed several of the pirates in new clothes. I took this shot of the drunk pirate with the pigs while riding today. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

DDW Pic 1543. Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth is one of the most photographed structures in the world. I have taken hundreds of photos of the big "golf ball" over the years. This is my most recent shot, which I took while walking out of Epcot tonight. 

DDW Pic 1542. Under the Sea

Under the Sea
The Under the Sea attraction has one of the best themed queues in all of Walt Disney World. It is also home to one of the most unique hidden Mickeys, which appears once a year on Mickey Mouse's birthday. It is created by the sun shining through a rock outline at noon on November 18th. I took this shot at the entrance of the attraction.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

DDW Pic 1541. Skipper Canteen

Skipper Canteen
In about a month, a new restaurant is opening in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom. It will be based on the Jungle Cruise and is called the Skipper Canteen. I took this shot from up in the Swiss Family Treehouse.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

DDW Pic 1540. Colortopia

Colortopia
This past week, a new exhibit opened at Innoventions in Epcot. It is called Colortopia and it's sponsored by the Glidden paint company. It is comprised of three sections that highlight how color affects our lives. Guests move through each area in order, and they have the chance to "virtually" paint on walls at the end. I took this shot yesterday during a brief visit to Epcot. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

DDW Pic 1539. Dapper Dans

Dapper Dans
The Dapper Dans is a barbershop quartet that has been entertaining guests at the Magic Kingdom for many years. This time of year, they are dressed in their Christmas attire. I took this shot this afternoon, while watching this group entertain guests in Town Square.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

DDW Pic 1538. Green Army Men

Green Army Men
The Green Army Men are a fun part of the Toy Story universe. You can take a picture with one at Hollywood Studios in Pixar Place. You can also see them on the roof across from Toy Story Mania. I took this shot last week while waiting for my guests to come off the attraction. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

DDW Pic 1537. Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood
The Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs is the largest in the country, and it is a fun place to visit. The food is good and there are hundreds of interesting movie props to look at. I took this shot from the top floor a few nights ago, after enjoying dinner with my family.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

DDW Pic 1536. Minnie Mouse

Minnie Mouse
It's always fun to get a close-up shot of one of the classic characters. A few days ago, I had just enough time to take out my phone and snap this shot of Minnie as she walked by. She was headed to her meet and greet area at Hollywood Studios.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

DDW Pic 1535. Osborne Lights

Osborne Lights
This is the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Although it is disappointing that this event won't be returning next year, the reason behind the change promises an exciting improvement to Hollywood Studios. That area of the park is being turned into "Star Wars Land." However, I highly recommend enjoying the lights during this last season, before they are permanently removed. I took this shot tonight. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

DDW Pic 1534. Hollywood Studios Christmas Tree

Hollywood Studios Christmas Tree
The second Walt Disney World park Christmas tree has gone up. It is located outside of the enterance to Hollywood Studios. I took this shot this morning, prior to giving a tour.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

DDW Pic 1533. Riverboat Landing

Riverboat Landing
One of the oldest attractions in Walt Disney World is the Liberty Square Riverboat in the Magic Kingdom. A steam powered ship has been taking guests on a 17 minute cruise on the Rivers of America for more than 40 years. I took this shot at the "dock" today while waiting for my tour guests. I like the detail of a sailing ship weather vane.