Monday, May 29, 2017

DDW Pic 2091. Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest
For the past week, most of the attention of Animal Kingdom guests has been on the new Pandora area. Because of this, the wait times have been less for some of the attractions in other areas of the park, including Expedition Everest. I took this shot after dinner at Restaurantosaurus last night.

DDW Pic 2090. Pandora

So, Pandora - The World of Avatar is officially open at Animal Kingdom. I have had the opportunity to visit for advanced previews on a few occasions, but only during the day. However, yesterday I experienced this amazing new area at night, and it was even more incredible. Pandora comes alive with "bioluminescent" lighting and uniquely lit pathways that provide a completely new landscape in the evening. This is a nighttime shot of the floating mountains.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

DDW Pic 2089. Gorilla

There are four male silverback gorillas in the "bachelor" area of Gorilla Falls at Animal Kingdom. Their habitat is a large area, and it is fun to try to spot these amazing animals. A few days ago, I found this guy sitting at the bottom of a gully, near the exit to Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Friday, May 26, 2017

DDW Pic 2088. Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace is a popular, buffet style, character dining spot in the Magic Kingdom. It features the Winnie the Pooh characters. I took this shot yesterday, while waiting for my tour guests to finish up lunch. It was a crystal clear day, which made for some good photos.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

DDW Pic 2087. Pandora

The grand opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar is happening this weekend at Animal Kingdom. Starting on Saturday, there will be huge crowds enjoying this new area of the park. I took this shot of an empty Pandora last week, during a preview. I don't think we will ever see this area this quiet again.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

DDW Pic 2086. Progress City

Progress City 
While riding the PeopleMover at Magic Kingdom, guests travel past this large section of a model of "Progress City." This was Walt Disney's vision of a futuristic community that he hoped to build at Walt Disney World. Although Epcot didn't end up being what he originally intended, Disney did eventually build the town of Celebration on their Florida property, and this is where my family currently resides. I took this shot this morning, while spending some time in Tomorrowland.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

DDW Pic 2085. Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror is one of the best themed attractions in all of Walt Disney World. The story, scenery, and pure thrills make this a favorite for many guests. I took this shot while waiting in the Fastpass queue over the weekend.

DDW Pic 2084. Boardwalk

The Boardwalk Resort opened in 1996, and is patterned after the type of hotel found in Atlantic City in the early 1900s. This area of the resort faces Crescent Lake. At first glance, this looks like a perfectly groomed lawn. However, upon further inspection, you will notice that it is actually artificial turf.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

DDW Pic 2083. Elsa

Frozen Ever After still commands the longest wait times at Epcot, and I don't get the chance to ride it very often. However, I was able to enjoy it yesterday with friends and family. This Elsa animatronic is pretty amazing.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

DDW Pic 2082. Cinderella Castle

Cinderella Castle
While enjoying Magic Kingdom tonight around sunset, we had this view. We were walking thru Tomorrowland when we saw these clouds, and the silhouette of Cinderella Castle. Although I've taken thousands of castle photos, this may be the first from this angle.

Friday, May 19, 2017

DDW Pic 2081. BB-8

The Star Wars universe continues to expand and evolve at Hollywood Studios. The latest addition is an interaction with the astromech droid, BB-8. He can be found in the Star Wars Launch Bay.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

DDW Pic 2080. Avatar

When I visited the new Pandora area of Animal Kingdom early in the week, I took hundreds of photos. I will be featuring many of them here, as we approach the official opening next weekend. Here is one of the more amazing figures to be featured in a Disney attraction queue. This Avatar can be seen in the standby queue of The Flight of Passage.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

DDW Pic 2079. Divine

At first glance, this looks like a picture of some trees. However, if you look closely, you will see a woman's face in the shot. This is Divine, who appears several times a day at Animal Kingdom. She is completely covered in foliage and moves slowly and gracefully. When she is standing still, many guests pass by without realizing what they are missing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

DDW Pic 2078. Goofy

There are only a few weeks left in this year's Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. I found myself near the Festival Center this morning, while waiting for my tour guests who were enjoying Ellen's Energy Adventure. I thought it was time for a Goofy shot.

Monday, May 15, 2017

DDW Pic 2077. Pandora

I was able to get my first look inside the amazing new Pandora area at Animal Kingdom today. This incredibly detailed land has so many photo opportunities, and I look forward to shooting here as much as possible. It made sense that my first shot be of the majestic floating mountains.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

DDW Pic 2076. Space Mountain

Space Mountain
Space Mountain is a very difficult ride to snap a photo on, because it is so dark. However, the "launch" tunnel has some flashing blue lights, which are just bright enough for a clear shot with the iPhone 7. I used burst mode and picked out the clearest picture.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DDW Pic 2075. Germany

One of the unique features of the Germany pavilion at Epcot is the outdoor model train display that includes a miniature village. The sun was in a good spot yesterday to get some nice close-up pics. I used the portrait feature on my phone for the depth effect.

Friday, May 12, 2017

DDW Pic 2074. Swan

Today, I found myself walking across the bridge above where the boats go from Epcot to Hollywood Studios. There is a walking path that connects the bridge to the walkway adjacent to the river. It was a unique vantage point for a photo of the Swan Resort.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

DDW Pic 2073. Tree of Life

Tree of Life
There are several paths around the Tree of Life where you can get nice photos of the animals carved into the trunk and limbs. However, there is one segment of a path that I've never actually seen "open," until yesterday. The newly opened area gave me a great angle to take this shot of the bald eagle.

DDW Pic 2072. Elephants

While riding Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom today, I had some great views of the elephants. I always enjoy seeing these magnificent creatures, but today was even more special. In the center of this photo is a baby elephant who was born only about 6 months ago. Her name is Stella, and her birth brings the total number of elephants at this park to 10.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DDW Pic 2071. The Emporium

The Emporium
The Emporium is the very large gift shop that takes up the entire west side of Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom. This store helps to portray the era of Main Street, which is the early 1900s. This display can be found high on a shelf in the center of the store, where clothing, furniture, clocks, and photos from that time period can be seen.

Monday, May 8, 2017

DDW Pic 2070. Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise
There is so much detail in the area of the Jungle Cruise queue at the Magic Kingdom. This wall is right behind the FastPass kiosks, and it displays an Egyptian map as well as hunting supplies. However, one of the best features of this spot is something that can't be seen in the photo. There is actually outdoor air conditioning flowing in from the ceiling above that area.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

DDW Pic 2069. Maleficent

I have posted several photos of the Maleficent float from the Festival of Fantasy parade, over the last few years. However, I had a great angle for another shot a few days ago. This is certainly one of the more impressive figures in the history of Magic Kingdom parades.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

DDW Pic 2068. Rice Krispy Treat

Rice Krispy Treat
Although it hasn't been scientifically proven, they say that everything tastes better shaped like Mickey. After enjoying this rice krispy treat today, I tend to agree. Before indulging, I decided to take this shot with Cinderella Castle in the background.

Friday, May 5, 2017

DDW Pic 2067. Liberty Belle

Liberty Belle
My favorite time at the Magic Kingdom is early in the morning. It is quiet and peaceful, and I can take photos before the large crowds arrive. Yesterday morning, I snapped this shot of the Liberty Belle from the exit area of Thunder Mountain.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

DDW Pic 2066. Festival of Fantasy

Festival of Fantasy 
The Festival of Fantasy Parade has been entertaining guests for more than three years now. It has over 100 performers, and many incredible floats. However, it always ends with the "big cheese" himself. I took this shot of Mickey (and Minnie) near the end of the parade route today.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

DDW Pic 2065. Tomorrowland

Today, I was riding Dumbo with a tour guest, when I noticed this view. You can see parts of the Tomorrowland Speedway, the PeopleMover, and Astro Orbiter in this shot. It's always fun to take photos of an area from an uncommon angle.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

DDW Pic 2064. Center Street

Center Street
Center Street is one of my favorite "quiet" areas in one of the busiest sections of the Magic Kingdom. Located about halfway up Main Street, USA, this little side street is overlooked by most guests. I took this shot at the end of Center Street a few nights ago.

Monday, May 1, 2017

DDW Pic 2063. Be Our Guest

Be Our Guest
We had the pleasure of eating dinner with good friends at Be Our Guest a few nights ago. After enjoying the "grey stuff" for dessert, we came outside and it was dark out. I took this picture from the bridge leading into the restaurant.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

DDW Pic 2062. Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain
Although I have many photos of the outside of Splash Mountain, I have far fewer on the ride itself. This is mainly because I wanted to keep my iPhones dry. However, my latest one is water resistant, so I took quite a few pictures while riding last night. Here is one of Brer Rabbit.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

DDW Pic 2061. iCan

I ran into this robot from outer space in Tomorrowland today. This recent Magic Kingdom addition interacts with guests throughout the day. Since "Push" the trash can has left the park, there hasn't been much in the way of interactive,  guest experiences. iCan seems to have added some fun to the area.

Friday, April 28, 2017

DDW Pic 2060. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
There are so many little "quiet" spots to be found around Animal Kingdom. This brook is located next to a small path that runs parallel to the main walkway between Asia and Africa. There is also a small seating area nearby, which is a nice place to take a break.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

DDW Pic 2059. Thunder Mountain

Thunder Mountain
I always like to take unique "on-ride" photos when possible. I took this shot near the top of the second lift hill. You can see another train, as well as Cinderella Castle in the distance.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

DDW Pic 2058. Polynesian Bungalows

Polynesian Bungalows 
The Polynesian Bungalows are unique accommodations on the shore of Seven Seas Lagoon. They each sleep up to 8 adults, and they have a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. I took this shot last week. You can see how I used two Bungalows to frame Space Mountain in the background.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DDW Pic 2057. Kidani Village

Kidani Village
Today, I visited some good friends at one of my favorite resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge. Their villa was in the Kidani Village section, and this was the view from their balcony. These are two of the biggest ostriches I have ever seen.

Monday, April 24, 2017

DDW Pic 2056. Dale

The 2017 Flower and Garden Festival is past the halfway point, and I headed to Epcot a few days ago to take some more pictures. There are so many great topiaries this year, which make for excellent photo opportunities. This Dale topiary can be found on the main walkway between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

DDW Pic 2055. Key Lime Tart

Key Lime Tart
I don't post too many pictures of food, but this is one of my favorites. This delicious dessert is the Key Lime Tart from the Sunshine Seasons food court in the Land Pavilion at Epcot. I took this shot a few days ago while doing some exploring at the Flower and Garden Festival.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

DDW Pic 2054. General Store

General Store
Although it sells modern day treats, the General Store in Frontierland is very well themed to the "old" West. This Mickey stands in the main window display of the store. I took this shot today, while giving a Magic Kingdom tour.

Friday, April 21, 2017

DDW Pic 2053. Butterfly

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival has a pavilion called Tinker Bell's Butterfly House. It is a great place to enjoy and learn about butterflies. I took this closeup shot this afternoon.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

DDW Pic 2052. Wedding Pavilion

Wedding Pavilion
At last check, there are an average of six weddings per day at Walt Disney World. Many of them are performed at the Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian. I took this shot from the Polynesian beach yesterday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

DDW Pic 2051. Pinocchio Village Haus

Pinocchio Village Haus
Pinocchio village house is one of the quick service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. It is very well themed to the 1940 film. This wall can be found near the exit door leading to the restrooms. If you look directly above the letter "a" in the word dreams, you'll find a small, dark, hidden Mickey.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DDW Pic 2050. Polynesian

I spent some time at the Polynesian Village resort today. Although the volcano  pool is one of the most popular on Disney property, the other pool at this resort is also very nice. It has a "zero entry" area, some private cabanas, and even a full service bar and walk-up quick service restaurant. The other perk of this pool, is that it is usually less crowded than the volcano pool.

Monday, April 17, 2017

DDW Pic 2049. Adventureland

There are many statues, structures, and figures in Adventureland that appear to be stationary, but actually come to "life" at times. A Pirate's Adventures is an experience, where guests interact with these objects using their Magic Band or a magic talisman. This statue is near the stairs to Jungle Cruise. You can see that it's mouth opens and eyes turn green when someone interacts with it.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

DDW Pic 2048. Chewbacca

We are approaching the 40th anniversary  of the Star Wars franchise, and it is a pretty big deal in Central Florida. There is a huge celebration taking place in Orlando this weekend, and Hollywood Studios continues to be the place to be for all things Star Wars. I took this shot of Chewbacca during the "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away" show, in the center of the park.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

DDW Pic 2047. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is still one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World, with wait times often exceeding 2 hours. At the end of the ride, the coaster passes by the dwarfs' house. Inside the house are several figures that were taken from the old "Snow White's Scary Adventures" ride. I took this shot of Happy Dwarf a few weeks back, while riding the Mine Train.

Friday, April 14, 2017

DDW Pic 2046. Polynesian

While walking thru the Polynesian this morning, I noticed this photo in a hallway near the lobby. It was obviously taken in the 70s, shortly after the resort opened. Although I visited Walt Disney World in the late 70s, I don't remember seeing these cabana style boats on the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

DDW Pic 2045. Adventureland

The Adventureland attractions are known for containing many animals. There are the wild ones on the Jungle Cruise, the birds in the Tiki Room, and even a bunch in Pirates of the Caribbean. However, this "real" squirrel was just hanging out on a wall near the Swiss Family Treehouse when I snapped this shot.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DDW Pic 2044. Future World East

Future World East
Future World East is the area of Epcot where you will find Universe of Energy, Mission Space, and Test Track. The monorail heads thru Future World East when it enters the park, and continues thru Future World West just prior to arriving at the station. I took this shot near Test Track a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

DDW Pic 2043. Tree of Life

Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a beautuful park icon as well as an amazing engineering feat. It is 145 feet tall and has over 325 animals carved into it. It was built over an offshore oil rig, and can withstand hurricane force winds. I took this shot at park opening time. You can see from the massive crowd that this is spring break season.

Monday, April 10, 2017

DDW Pic 2042. Lightning McQueen

Lightning McQueen
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival has so many good topiaries this year. One of the best is the full size Lightning McQueen that can be found in the area of Test Track. I took this shot in "portrait mode," which is a fun new feature on the latest iPhone.