Friday, November 27, 2015

Mysterious Island

I recently went on a vacation to Asia and came back with a loaded trove of photos from both the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort as well as the Tokyo Disneyland Resort.  This trip represented the accomplishment of a bucket list item I've had for a long time--to visit every single Disney theme park around the world.  That bucket list item has now been achieved--until Shanghai Disneyland opens next year, anyway.  But for the next while, expect a barrage of Asia Disney park photos.

We'll start this off with an image from Mysterious Island, the centerpiece of Tokyo Disney Sea, a park opened in 2001 nautically themed to seven ports of call.  It's not a water park; it's a park about water.  And Mysterious Island may be the most dramatic.  Marked by the towering "weenie" (Disney term for iconic monument in a park that draws guests' attention) of Mount Prometheus, an actual erupting volcano (well, not real volcano, but you know...), this fictional locale is themed to the explorations of Jules Verne.  Housing two of the best Disney rides anywhere--Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea--it is an incredible, immersive, detail rich land unlike any other.

Below, inside the area, you can see a queue spiralling down to 20,000 Leagues on the left, the dominant figure of Mount Prometheus in the background, and a prop submarine, the Nautilus on the right, which serves purely as a theming element for the Nautilus Galley quick serve.  It's an epic scene that only gets better as guests explore the details and up close theming elements that are everywhere.  I'll rave more about Disney Sea in future posts, but for now, enjoy this image.

The dramatic and moody Mysterious Island glows with intrigue at night!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Liberty Arcade

At Disneyland Paris, there are two arcades on either side of Main Street, U.S.A. that serve as crowd relief bypasses during especially busy days or during parade times.  However, rather than be simple emergency relief routes, these are actually elaborately themed indoor promenades that lead into backside entrances for the shops and restaurants of Main Street. 

Today, we take a look at some scenes from the Liberty Arcade, which features a World's Fair feel and is reminiscent of turn of the century America.  I love the concept of this thoroughfare and wish Disneyland Park could have something like this.  Of course, this was more of a lesson learned from previous park designed, something the Imagineers developed as a result of dealing with crowd control in older Magic Kingdoms.  And it's absolutely beautiful.  Take a look at these photos, and you'll see yet another reason why Disneyland Paris is my favorite Magic Kingdom!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Grave Present

It's almost Thanksgiving, and you know what that means...  We've actually already been in Christmas season for 1-3 months (depending on the retailer).

I'm a believer in taking one holiday at a time, and it's always jarring each year to see Halloween pass and immediately change from spooks and frights to warm fuzzies and noel joy--especially since it seems like Thanksgiving just gets shafted, but I get why this happens from an economic standpoint.  Still, you'll notice that I've refrained from posting Christmas photos before Thanksgiving for the past couple of years.  The Nightmare Before Christmas is the closest thing, and that's because it starts during Halloween season! 

This graveyard is certainly more festive than the average one!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Memories in the Boiler Room

There are a lot of creepy little details inside the Tower of Terror, if you know where to look.  In the example below from the boiler room, we encounter a desk with memorability from decades past, frozen in time, a haunting reminder of what once was. 

I love little setups like this.  This might be a small part of the scene, but the attention of the detail really enhances the immersive nature of the attraction.  Plus, anything with a spooky vibe makes me happy, although maybe I'm just still not quite over Halloween, even though it's been nearly a month!

Details inside the Tower of Terror queue.

Monday, November 23, 2015

L'Auberge de Cendrillon

L'Auberge de Cendrillon, or "Cinderella's Inn," is a table service sit-down restaurant at Disneyland Paris that features traditional multi-course French cuisine.  Set inside a beautiful building reminiscent of fairy tale architecture, this eatery also features character meet-and-greets.  It's definitely an experience that requires a slower pace, and given my limited time during my two past visits to Disneyland Paris, I have never actually dined inside.  But the outside is just lovely, and perhaps one day, I'll do the park a little more slowly and actually be able to savor experiences such as dining here!

Add caption

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Light Painting with More Jellyfish

I've talked about the interesting compositions I can make via play with long exposure photography in Paradise Pier, especially at the Jumpin' Jellyfish, so I'll keep today's post short and sweet.  Here's another angle of the colorful attraction.  It's amazing just how beautifully the colors pop, and of course, the long exposure enables the cool motion blur effect to just happen.

A fun long exposure with the Jumpin' Jellyfish.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Captain's Organ

The Mysteries of the Nautilus is a fun walk-through attraction next to Space Mountain: Mission 2, in Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris.  Intended as a recreation of Captain Nemo's submarine, it offers a look at life living in the mysterious waters of the ocean deep. 

The French iteration is actually an update of the old Disneyland version that occupied Walt Disney's original Magic Kingdom in the 1950s.  Of course, the detail and quality is improved thanks to higher modern day standards.  The climactic scene occurs in the Main Salon, where Captain Nemo's organ stands front and center.  Nemo's face actually appears like a ghostly apparition in the center, and to the side, a porthole to the ocean outside reveals a potentially horrifying sight (more on this in a future post).  It's a fun attraction that routinely has minimal weights.  I consider it one of Disneyland Paris' hidden treats, and I definitely encourage guests to take a visit.  It doesn't take that long to explore, and it's a cool experience!

The final room of The Mysteries of the Nautilus, featuring the iconic organ from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Assailed by the Wicked Wench

For the longest time, I always dreamed of being able to photographically capture that thrilling seafaring battle between the attacking pirate ship, the Wicked Wench, and the seaside fortress on Isla Tesoro (i.e. the town where Carlos gets dunked, wenches get auctioned, and that yo-ho pirate's life is for everyone).  Of course, it's a very dim space, so most cameras don't do the scene justice.  Fortunately, a quality full frame DSLR equipped with a fast lens does not have this issue, and now, I can capture this exciting approach that more accurately captures the actual feel of the scene.  That's exciting to me at least, and if that isn't to you, well, hopefully the scene itself is!

Approaching Captain Barbosa's ship.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Alpine Foxtails

I am terrible with plants, so forgive me if I've completely misidentified this flower.  I believe they are foxtails, and a Google search doesn't immediately disprove me, so I'm running with it. 

Over by the Matterhorn, there is some lovely landscape beside the queue filled with plants and wildflowers evocative of a Swiss countryside.  In the warm light of the afternoon, these become especially vibrant, and I feel like a close-up provides a nice, naturalistic composition.  Never mind the people in line or the lamppost on the left or the Matterhorn station in the background, I suppose.  But focus on the flowers and the lighting, close your eyes, and you can almost imagine being in Switzerland!

Foxtail flowers bloom near the Matterhorn at Disneyland.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wild Around the Turn

I haven't posted a black and white (or almost black and white, in this case) photo in a while, but while I was editing this focused shot of the turn after the splashdown at Disneyland Paris' Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, I found that this processing created a more dramatic scene than the color version, which was drab due to the cloudy day and the lack of dramatic sky due to the zoomed in framing.  It feels thematically appropriate.  One can easily imagine being back in the 1800s and seeing this runaway mine train careen around a sharp turn--a thrilling ride, though probably not so safe for its occupants as its modern day equivalent provides!

The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness in monochrome, and in Paris!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Buttes of Big Thunder II

Disneyland is full of a variety of pretty perspectives.  Many are obvious--open panoramas with iconic scenery and beautiful theming.  Others are more fleeting--a window here or a frame there, and it's gone if you move just a bit.  And then there are the angles that are only possible while riding other attractions.  For a photographer, it's these more unique views that I search for when I'm at the parks, especially given my exhaustion of the typical money shots. 

That's why I find a snapshot like this picture of Big Thunder Mountain sort of intriguing.  It feels like a glance from a moment, and there's a bit of a uniqueness in this. 

Or maybe I'm just overthinking it.

A glimpse of the buttes of Big Thunder, as seen from the Mark Twain traversing the Rivers of America.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Les Véhicules de Main Street

The morning of my visit to Disneyland Paris last year contrasted greatly with the rest of the day.  Rather than cheery blue skies, ominous clouds and gray, French gloom seemed to be more predominant.  Fortunately, thanks to the weather patterns in Europe in general, even a more monochrome day featured some drama in the skies.  So I went about snapping photos anyway, putting greater care in composition in some cases to offset the subpar light.  In Main Street, I found that this made scenes appear more exceptionally Parisian, meaning that the character still shone through the drab lighting.  It doesn't hurt that Disneyland Paris has the most beautiful Magic Kingdom in the world.  So from Europe to your screen, enjoy this edition of "Main Street Monday!"

The Main Street Vehicles in Paris are just as charming as in the States.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Rainy Neon Night

This winter promises to be a wet one, with a massive and record El Niño promised by meteorologists.  Goodness knows California needs it, given our multi-year drought.  That's what makes moments like last year's April showers even more special--especially since I was actually in the park to capture some rainy evening photos.  At the risk of moisture to my camera, I ran around trying to capture scenes accentuated by the reflective puddles.  Naturally, Radiator Springs was one of my targets, and the results were certainly worth the trouble.  With nary a person in sight but all the colors reflecting off the damp surfaces, I had quite my pick of compositions.  Perhaps this winter will provide similarly soggy opportunities.

A rainy evening in Cars Land is one of the most luminously beautiful sights that the Disneyland Resort offers.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Scenes Along the River

As I mentioned last week, with the upcoming Star Wars Land expansion, the Rivers of America will be irreversibly altered, changing a piece of the original Disneyland Park fabric.  Now, this isn't the atrocity that some may claim it is.  The change affects primarily the back half of the river, will not substantially shorten an excursion around the waters, and shouldn't change the experience on Tom Sawyer Island.  But it will be something different.

So with that thought, lets take a look at some of the sights that can currently be found along the Rivers of America!

An old keel boat harkens back to the days when such vessels traversed the Rivers of America.

A friendly Native American brave greets cruisers as they approach an Indian village.

A young Native American waits for a bite along the Rivers of America.

Young tribesmen listen to an elder narrate a piece of Native American lore.

Moose and other "wildlife" are spotted along the second half of the river, on the return to Frontier Landing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...