Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DDW Pic 1308. The Seas

The Seas
The Seas pavilion at Epcot has the second largest aquarium in America, containing more than 2,000 fish and other sea creatures. If you look closely at this shot, you'll see that this fish is missing an eye. There are several fish with this predicament located here. A cast member explained that many fish get aggressive during feeding time, and sometimes injuries like this will happen. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

DDW Pic 1307. Morning Monorail

Morning Monorail
I took this shot of the Magic Kingdom Express at about 7:30 this morning. The air was crisp and the sky was very blue. What you can't see in this photo is the huge crowd that was lined up behind me, waiting to head over to the Magic Kingdom.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

DDW Pic 1306. Epcot Entrance

Epcot Entrance
Disney has been using the new electronic touch point system for over a year at the park entrances as well as for FastPass attractions. The Mickey symbol either lights up green for "go" or blue if there is a problem. However, when they are doing the morning tests, the touch points cycle thru a number of colors. I took this rare shot of a pink Mickey a few days ago at the Epcot entrance.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

DDW Pic 1305. Aloha Isle

Aloha Isle
One of the most famous treats at Walt Disney World is the pineapple soft serve known as Dole Whip. For many years, guests would line up at Aloha Isle in Adventureland to get it. However, this past week, Aloha Isle moved to a different location. It switched places with Sunshine Tree Terrace, which is located just down the hill. This new location can handle twice the amount of business, which should cut the Dole Whip lines in half.

Friday, March 27, 2015

DDW Pic 1304. Donald Topiary

Donald Topiary
Donald Duck is one of the main entrance topiaries at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival this year. He is at the back, facing Spaceship Earth. I took this shot this morning right after the park opened.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

DDW Pic 1303. American Adventure

American Adventure
The American Adventure is a classic attraction at Epcot that has changed very little since it opened in 1982. The only update has been to the film montage near the end of the show. I took this shot of Ben Franklin and Mark Twain in the finale last week. These are impressive audio animatronics, especially since they have been around for more than three decades.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

DDW Pic 1302. Anna and Elsa Topiaries

Anna and Elsa Topiaries
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is now in its third week. I had the chance to get a closer look at some of the topiaries a few nights ago. This year, the festival is featuring the popular sisters from the movie Frozen, Anna and Elsa. They can be found right at the end of the walkway that connects Future World to World Showcase.

DDW Pic 1301. Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest
I took this shot yesterday from the front row of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. This is the large lift hill that takes riders toward the top of the mountain. It is unique in that it is one of the few coaster lifts that doesn't have the "click-click-click" sound that is typically associated with this type of ride.

Monday, March 23, 2015

DDW Pic 1300. Ankole Cattle

Ankole Cattle
Every time I ride Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom, I try to take unique pictures. This afternoon, this Ankole Cattle was right next to our vehicle. I was surprised to learn that his horns only weigh about 15 pounds. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

DDW Pic 1299. Illuminations

Illuminations
I have hundreds of pictures of Illuminations over the years. However, tonight is the first time I've taken shots from near the Imagination pavilion. I like the way the "upside down" waterfall provided a canvas in the foreground for the fireworks that were over the World Showcase Lagoon.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

DDW Pic 1298. Festival Center

Festival Center
The old Wonders of Life building at Epcot is now only used for special events. Currently, it is the "Festival Center" for the 22nd Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. There are presentations, gift shops and exhibits to be enjoyed here. I took this shot today, as this was my first visit to the center for this year's festival. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

DDW Pic 1297. Grand Floridian Easter Eggs

Grand Floridian Easter Eggs
Today, the Grand Floridian set up their annual chocolate Easter egg displays. This year, they seemed to have added many more than in years past. Of course there is an Elsa themed egg, but there is also a Cinderella coach egg. This is appropriate with the release of the new film last weekend. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DDW Pic 1296. New Fantasyland

New Fantasyland
Although this section has been here for several years, it is still referred to as "new" Fantasyland. This shot combines the Beauty and the Beast theme with The Little Mermaid. I took it a few days ago in the early morning hours, when this area of Magic Kingdom wasn't crowded yet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

DDW Pic 1295. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
Here is another example of the detail that goes into every area of Animal Kingdom. This advertisement for a "technology" company can be found painted on a wall near the exit of the Festival of the Lion King show in Africa. It appears that in this area of the world, VCRs and cassettes are still popular items. I took this shot over the weekend.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

DDW Pic 1294. Test Track

Test Track
Today we say happy 16th birthday to Test Track. This fantastic attraction opened on St. Patrick's Day in 1999. Of course it is a very different ride today from what it was back then. I took this shot from the monorail a few weeks back. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

DDW Pic 1293. Coronado Springs

Coronado Springs
The Coronado Springs Resort is one of my favorites. Situated on a 15-acre lake, this large hotel has a lot to offer. The Dig Site pool is one of the best themed on property. I took this shot of the Mayan pyramid waterfall today. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DDW Pic 1292. Pizza Planet

Pizza Planet 
Pizza Planet is a fun spot at Hollywood Studios, mostly due to its theming and environment. It makes you feel like you are in a real life version of the animated restaurant and arcade. I took this shot while having lunch there on Friday. This alien is located in the left, back corner of the building.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

DDW Pic 1291. Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest
Today, I had the chance to ride Expedition Everest with some fun tour guests. I was able to snap a few pics while enjoying the ride. I took this shot after the big drop and after hurdling out of the mountain for the second time. This is one of the most unique coasters in the world, and it allows for some great photos. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

DDW Pic 1290. Chinese Theater

Chinese Theater
The Sorcerer Hat has come down, and the Chinese Theater has been returned to its status as the icon of Hollywood Studios. It took several months, but it was worth the wait to see the view down Hollywood Boulevard that was there from  1989 thru 2000. I took this shot while giving a tour today. There are still some construction walls in the area, as they complete the surface work. However, it shouldn't be long before the entire project is complete.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

DDW Pic 1289. Fountain of Nations

Fountain of Nations
I took this shot of the Fountain of Nations this afternoon while enjoying the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. I attached a mini tripod to a railing and used a long exposure app. I like the way it "softens" the look of the water. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

DDW Pic 1288. The Hub

The Hub
The hub re-construction project has finally been completed. For several months, the Partners Statue was in a box  to protect it while work was being done to the surrounding area. It is nice to see Walt and Mickey back where they belong. I took this shot on Monday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

DDW Pic 1287. Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion
I found myself standing in the stretching room of the Haunted Mansion last week. Since I am always looking for unique views of my favorite attraction, I snapped this shot. I like how the gargoyle became a sillouette against the backdrop of the ceiling. It adds to the creepy ambiance of that room. 

DDW Pic 1286. Festival of Fantasy

Festival of Fantasy
Today marks the one year anniversary of the Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom. It debuted on March 9th, 2014, and has been a huge hit ever since. With most of the princesses, a fire breathing dragon, and Mickey and Minnie, this parade appeals to everyone. This shot of the "big cheese" and his lady friend is from the finale. Of course they save the best for last.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

DDW Pic 1285. Rapunzel's Tower

Rapunzel's Tower
Rapunzel's Tower at the Magic Kingdom is quite a sight at the corner of Liberty Square and Fantasyland. I've had many tour guests ask if they could go inside. However, this tower is a decorative part of an elaborate restroom area based on Tangled, and isn't an attraction. However, it makes for a nice background for photos. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

DDW Pic 1284. Mary Poppins Topiary

Mary Poppins Topiary
Although the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot is known for its amazing topiaries each spring, there are some that can be found year round at Walt Disney World. On of these is Mary Poppins at the Grand Floridian. I took this shot today, while waiting to meet some tour guests. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

DDW Pic 1283. Town Square Theater

Town Square Theater
Like many of the shops around Walt Disney World, the Town Square Theater is full of amazing details. It is themed like a backstage prop department from an old style theater. There are all kinds of fun props to be found throughout the store. I think this "Saw of Destiny" is placed in an interesting spot, right above a huge pile of plush Mickeys.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

DDW Pic 1282. Peter Pan's Flight

Peter Pan's Flight
Recently, a brand new queue area opened up at Peter Pan's Flight. It features the nursery, complete with interactive shadows and pixie dust. It is a great addition to a ride that usually has waits of an hour or more. I snapped this shot of the amazingly detailed queue while waiting to enjoy this classic attraction a few days ago. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DDW Pic 1281. Stitch

Stitch
Stitch can be seen in the Magic Kingdom on a daily basis. Typically, he is found over in Tomorrowland. However, yesterday morning he was walking in Town Square. It was nice of him to pose for this quick shot. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DDW Pic 1280. Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion
I had the chance to visit the Haunted Mansion today and had an interesting experience. I was the first one out of the stretching room, and there was nobody in the line for the doom buggies at that point. This means that there were many ride vehicles ahead of me that were empty. The ride stopped temporarily just as I came out of the attic, and I was able to snap this creepy photo of empty doom buggies. You can see the tree branches in the background and one of the buggies turned backwards as it was beginning its journey off the roof and into the graveyard. I normally wouldn't use a flash on a dark ride, but there were no other guests to disrupt!

Monday, March 2, 2015

DDW Pic 1279. Cinderella Castle

Cinderella Castle
As I was crossing Main Street yesterday, I quickly turned and got this shot of Cinderella Castle. It was just before the parade was about to arrive. This is the only time of day you can get this photo with nobody standing on Main Street. Even first thing in the morning, there will be cast members on the street.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

DDW Pic 1278. Plaza Gardens East

Plaza Gardens East
Several new areas were revealed in the Magic Kingdom over the last few days, as part of the hub expansion project. They are referred to as Plaza Gardens East and West. They have added much needed walking paths and open space to     the area at the north end of Main Street,  USA. The additions will greatly relieve congestion around parade and fireworks times. There are also new spots that become designated FastPass fireworks viewing areas at night. The one seen in this photo is in front of the Plaza Restaurant.