Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Many Faces of Ornament Leota

Madame Leota always has a penchant for the disembodied, but during Halloween through Christmas season, she's decoratively anti-gravitational.  In her seance room, she floats around within a giant Christmas ornament of a crystal ball, calling out to the spirits beyond, reciting the gifts she's received from her ghoul love.  And through it all, her expressions are varied and pointed!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Oh Christmas Buoy!

The holidays at the Disneyland Resort bring with them plenty of Christmas trees, and especially at Disney California Adventure, they come in different and creative forms.  There are the trees that look like trees--towering evergreens clad with tinsel and ornaments.  But there are more abstract forms, especially in places like Cars Land and even parts of Grizzly Peak.  The same is true in Pacific Wharf, where the "trees" are actually buoys, floating blissfully in the water.  Each topped by its own star, with string lights stretched from top to bottom, they are a serene reminder of the holiday spirit!

Floating buoys act as Christmas trees in the water of Pacific Wharf.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dapper Day Fall 2017: The Variety

Dapper Day was a little less busy for me this fall. Compared to my previous few visits, when i was trying to capture as much as possible, I took it easier this time and photographed people either when it was convenient, if I knew them, or if they were in a particularly spectacular group.  So I figured I'd post most of the rest of my photos today to showcase the variety of styles that can be found at this biannual event! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Under the Sea

Mermaid Lagoon is Tokyo Disney Sea's "kiddie area," but wow, is it a spectacular "kiddie area!"  Although there is an outdoor portion with a Vekoma roller coaster family roller coaster called Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster, most of the attractions are located in an indoor portion, beautifully lit, reflecting Triton's kingdom.  There are several flat rides here, along with a popular live stage theater, but it's pretty impressive how beautiful everything looks overall.  Compare that with a land like A Bug's Land, at California Adventure, which has similar content but much less elaborate theming, and you realize yet another reason why Tokyo Disney Sea is a wondrous Sea of Dreams.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Happy Birthday to the Mouse

Today is Mickey Mouse's 89th birthday, and he's certainly never looked better!  The Mouse that started it all made his debut back in 1928 in a little short film called Steamboat Willie, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Through the years, Mickey--along with his dear Minnie and his friends, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy, and the whole gang--have delighted audiences of all ages.  But without Mickey, Disney would not be the timeless cultural phenomenon it is today.  Happy birthday, Mickey!  It's sure swell!

Walt and Mickey in The Hub.
A partner through and through.
Mickey Mouse at an iconic moment in FANTASMIC!
Mickey Mouse Paints the Night.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Diamond Winter Castle

Today offers a bit of a #FlashbackFriday, as we look at a classic and beloved holiday scene at Disneyland--but from back a couple of years ago, when it intersected a classic anniversary celebration.  The Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle was less decked out than usual, retaining most of its 60th Anniversary banners, bunting, and glistening castle tops.  But it was still a lovely sight, especially with the spotlights beyond illuminating the night sky.  Those were late nights getting shots like this, since guests tended to stick around well past park closing to get photos of themselves in front of the castle too--all the way until park sweeping time.  Fortunately, a Disney park fan photographer's will to get that crisp, empty-park photo is much more enduring than that of a regular guest, so we photogs prevailed.  Stay late or not, we got our silent night scenes!

Looking back at the 60th Anniversary winter castle.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dapper Day Fall 2017: The Bounders

A week and a half ago was the latest installment of the ever-popular Dapper Day event at Disneyland.  Each Dapper Day seems to grow more and more involved, and Disney seems to even be cashing in on the trend by introducing its own version of a "Dapper Night" starting early next year. 

In the meantime, this past Dapper Day was once again filled with plenty of guests attending in clever and creative Disney Bounds.  Disney Bounding, if you're not aware, is a less intense level of dressing up in tribute of a favorite character.  But rather than intimate an exact look like cosplaying, Disney Bounding relies on using similar colors and patterns to impart the idea of a Disney character or attraction or theme.  The results can be wildly imaginative, and it's always fun to guess who is who.  Lets take a look at some of the Disney Bounders I ran into this year...

It was a villains party over at Frontierland, as I caught this group en route to another part of the park, and they were kind enough to pose for a photo.
Three of the Enchanted Tiki Room birds, plus Dole Whip!
These friends looked creeptacular as characters from A Nightmare Before Christmas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Le Château de Nuit

It goes without saying (at least to longtime readers) that I love the castle at Disneyland Paris.  It's dreamy and whimsical and organic and elegant.  It's unique from every other Disney castle, and it's still the most beautiful one of the whole bunch.  Most of the photos I post are from the daytime because, well, that's when I had the opportunity to take them.  Nighttime photos are a bit tougher, however, because Disneyland Paris actually times its castle show at park closing, so that by the time it's over, the security guards are already sweeping.  That leaves minimal time in the Hub area to snap shots, so people-less nighttime angles like the shot below are in short supply.

Still, I find them pretty majestic.

The beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris glows with mystery.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Venetian Christmas

I fawn all over the exceptional detail and deep immersive atmosphere at Tokyo Disney Sea all the time, because having been there, I know how hyper-realistic everything is.  And I still maintain that can take a photo in any direction at any place in the park and grab a spectacular scene.  But some areas are more incredible than others, and a prime example is the Venice-style area at Mediterranean Harbor--especially at night, when everything is peacefully still.  Add the holiday ambiance to this, and the scene becomes even more magical.  Though the theming is modest--mostly garland and wreaths--the decorations add a nice little touch.  And in the setting of such a spectacular scene already, this part of Tokyo Disney Sea is a gift in and of itself!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Paradise Christmas, By Day and Evening

Once upon a time, there used to be a Christmas tree at Paradise Pier.  This doesn't quite occur anymore, because since these photos were taken several years ago, the Cove Bar at Ariel's Grotto has expanded to take over the footprint where this tree once stood.  But it's nice to see a bit of how the park used to be.  And the tree in this location in particular was one of the most densely decorated in the entire resort, practically littered with ornaments so densely that hardly any evergreen could actually be seen.  I suppose that was to reinforce the pizazz of Paradise Pier?  In any case, it made for a nice scene both during the day and as night descended!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Small World, Bright Lights

It's a Small World Holiday Edition is a tradition in absurdly bright and super saturated colorful Christmas lights.  It's Disneyland's best version of the now-defunct Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney Hollywood Studios, which painted building facades with vibrant illumination.  This makes the scene very fun to photograph, since there's so much going on, and provides a classic atmosphere for Christmas lovers every year.  And it's also about the only time I willingly ride It's a Small World, because being a lover of the holiday spirit, I actually enjoy the noel version of this classic attraction!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Inside the Trolley Park

Although it's just a mini-land in the American Waterfront portion of Tokyo Disney Sea, Toyville Trolley Park is one of the most popular parts of the park.  This owes entirely to the Toy Story Mania attraction, which nets hordes of guests eager to go on this virtual shooting game ride.  The ride itself is the exact same version as what's at Disney California Adventure and Disney Hollywood Studio, but of the three worldwide versions, this is definitely set in the most beautiful area.  With a facade inspired by the classic Luna Park (both the original defunct park in New York City and its inspirations in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia), this classic Victorian area represents the transformation DCA's Paradise Pier was meant to take on (but was only partially completed).

In any case, at Tokyo, the area makes for a very photogenic scene, especially on a beautiful afternoon like the 2015 day I visited!

An overview of Toyville Trolley Park.
The architecture on the facades is fantastic.
This Woody mouth entry might be disturbing to some, but it's a direct reference to a similar facade at Luna Park.

Friday, November 10, 2017

R.I.P. Jingle Cruise

Today marks the start of the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort, and both parks will see the return of the usual host of popular Christmas-themed overlays and attractions, such as It's a Small World Holiday, the continuation of the Haunted Mansion Holiday, Carsmas, the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure, and World of Color: Season of Light.

Unfortunately, one attraction that won't be returning is the Jingle Cruise--that over the top Jungle Cruise overlay of literally a scattering of holiday decorations throughout the entire jungle, done in absolutely gaudy fashion.  Claiming to want to minimize attraction downtime, Disney made the decision to pull this overlay, which started out sort of roughly thrown together four years ago but made drastic improvements the following year and had already carved out a bit of a Christmas tradition for this part of the park.  Sadly, that tradition seems to have already been extinguished, so all we'll have left are the memories. 

And the fruitcake jokes.  So many fruitcake jokes...

The Jingle Cruise station: in overview.
Inside a skippers office.
A detail of the signage and the Christmas lighting.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Space Mountain Focus

Tokyo Disneyland has a lot of specifically designed framed views or broad vistas that emphasize a landmark or highlight one's attention.  One of my favorites is the simple nighttime setting of Space Mountain at the end of the main entry boulevard of Tomorrowland.  The pathway is straight on into the queue, but at night, I'd need a tripod to properly capture this scene--something that Tokyo Disney does not allow in either of its parks.  So the compromise is to set my camera on the ground and get shots that way.  Fortunately, this seems to create a greater looming effect, giving this classic attraction an even stronger presence.  And with all the nighttime blues coming together, the scene ends up pretty evocative!

Space Mountain at the end of the night at Tokyo Disneyland.

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