Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Halloween on Main Street II

Though most of my Disneyland Halloween photos are nighttime shots (to fit the mood), the park is quite pretty during the daytime portion of Halloween Time as well!  This is especially true for Main Street, which is always beautiful.  So here are some more photos of Main Street during Halloween season, dressed in its spookiest holiday garb!

The large Mickey Mouse jack-o-lantern greets all visitors entering Main Street,

Though the decorations have remained the same each year, I still enjoy the cute, whimsical quality they bring!

The Partners Statue is surrounded by pumpkins!

Here's a lower view from the other side.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Library of Terror

To continue the spooky mood of Halloween Time, I thought I'd post some photos from the very dim and dark library portion of the Tower of Terror queue. It's a nice, spooky environment throughout the year, not just September and October, and it's certainly got some eerie touches!

These photos aren't as crisp as my usual batch, but I could only hand-hold the camera (no tripod), so I had to dial up the ISO big time!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The New Mission

Space Mountain is iconic in all of its iterations around the world, but at Disneyland Paris, it is perhaps the most uniquely spectacular.  Rather than feature the clean, sleek lines of its brethren in California, Orlando, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, this Space Mountain carries a Jules Verne inspired retro-future look.  Local Disneyland fans may recognize this aesthetic as what the 1998 Tomorrowland refurbishment tried to accomplish, but to much less success.

In Paris, though, the effect is top notch and utterly fantastic.  The attraction, which received an upgrade in 2005, carries a unique steampunk look and is the only Space Mountain that is launched and the only version with inversions.  The ride itself is quite exhilarating, and if it wasn't for the roughness caused by the trains, I'd rank it as one of my favorite roller coasters overall!

Nevertheless, the theming and architecture is stupendous, and I think you'll agree that Disneyland Paris certainly has its fair share of eye candy.  And don't worry, we're just getting started with the DLP Resort content!

The entrance sign of Space Mountain: Mission 2 greets guests.

Unlike the other Space Mountains of the World, this one is set in a watery retro-futurescape.

It is the only launched Space Mountain among all the Disney parks.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Summer at the Wharf

I won't expound too much today, but I just wanted to post a couple of pictures from Pacific Wharf, taken earlier this summer.  Although it's officially fall now, in Southern California, it seems like summer never truly leaves.  The past week has been pretty warm, not unlike the temperatures on the day these photos were taken.  But it sure makes for pretty blue sky days!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Halloween Carnival

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort has many offerings around the park, but one of the less noticed occurs back at Big Thunder Ranch.  Tucked away in this far corner of the park is a carnival of Halloween-related activities available to any guests who ventures in.  There are plenty of decorations in a harvest-y environment, and folks can see world-class pumpkin carvers, pet goats dressed in fall attire, meet Disney villains, and see fun Halloween dioramas.  It's all a bit of good ol' countrytime fun, and it's in the back of Frontierland, at Big Thunder Ranch!

Big Thunder Ranch features the Halloween Carnival, where guests can engage in a variety of crafts, see amazing Disney-inspired jack-o-lanterns, and meet Disney villains.

This scene can be found in one of the little "cabins" at Big Thunder Ranch.

Bountiful autumn theming abounds in these parts!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bienvenue au Monde de Ratatouille

Two days ago, I introduced Disneyland Paris to the confines of this blog, and today, it's time to do the same for its neighbor at the Disneyland Paris Resort, Walt Disney Studios.  This theme park, which opened in 2002, is very similar to Disney Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, except with less attractions and more sparsity.  In effect, it suffers from the same general lack of content that Disney California Adventure did for many years after its opening. 

Fortunately, the Imagineers have been trying to correct this, and their latest venture is a mini-land inspired by the world of Pixar's Ratatouille, including a radio-controlled trackless dark ride themed after Remy's capers at Gusteau's.  Here's a look at the ambiance of this area, which attracts a long queue just to get into the mini-land every morning.  It's quite beautiful, and although it doesn't solve Walt Disney's Studios content woes, it certainly goes a long way toward building the park into the quality and quantity Disney fans expect!

The Ratatouille mini-land in Toon Studios has attracted crowds at Walt Disney Studios.

The area recreates Paris--as romanticized by the Pixar movie.

In addition to Ratatouille--Remy's Totally Crazy Adventure, the area features a sit-down restaurant.

Bistrot Chez Remy is themed to the eatery Remy opens up at the end of the Ratatouille movie.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Midnight Main Street in the Fall

There are lots of places around Disneyland that are decorated during Halloween, but Main Street, U.S.A. is the most handsome out of them all.  With orange and yellow trim, jack-o-lanterns everywhere, and that warmly illuminated atmosphere, Main Street reverberates the tones of autumn.  This is especially true at the end of the night, when all is still.  When it's just the land and oneself, the setting transforms into something beautifully magical.

Looking down Main Street at the end of the night during Halloween Time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant

Welcome to the first of what will be many (and I mean many) posts from Disneyland Paris!  Last month, I embarked on a two and a half week vacation that stretched from the last few days of August through the first two weeks of September, traveling through France, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden.  The first leg went through Paris, which meant, of course, that I had to visit the Disneyland Paris Resort.  I had been there before, eight years ago, but that was before my photographic hobby got as serious as it currently is. 

Beautiful Sleeping Beauty Castle stands tall at the end of Main Street in Disneyland Paris.
This time around, I went armed with my Nikon D600, and I came out of the day with hundreds upon hundreds of photos on what turned out to be a beautiful day in Marne-la-Vallée (when the sun was out).  But perhaps the most beautiful object in the entire resort is Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, or Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  This centerpiece of the Disneyland Paris park is--in my opinion--the most beautiful and spectacular Disney park castle of them all. And though Shanghai Disneyland's Enchanted Storybook Castle will give this one a run for its money, until Shanghai Disneyland opens, Paris' remains the king.

With a verdant hill ascending one side and a jagged moat wrapping around, it's certainly dramatic!
The immediate difference one will discern is the fairytale, whimsical nature of the castle. It doesn't look like a real castle, but rather something out of an artist's brush for a fantastical story in a make-believe location.  The Imagineers knew that in France, land of hundreds of real life castles and gorgeous chateaus, simply creating a castle would not be anything special. And trying to outdo real-life historic castles of the countryside would be an unwise task. So instead, the designers went to the architecture of dreams, conjuring a beautiful structure that seems to be full of magic.

It's the most photogenic of all the castles as well! Nary a bad angle to be had for this beauty!
The result is a most wonderful "weenie" for the park.  And as you'll learn in upcoming posts (if you don't happen to know already), this castle hides some mysterious and exciting surprises!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Boardwalk Carbs

It's been a while since I've posted photos of the Boardwalk area of Paradise Pier. This dining district received a lovely facelift a few year ago during the Disney California Adventure expansion and upgrade program and is now home to a pair of great quick serve restaurants.  My favorite of the two is Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, which offers tasty salads, pizzas, and pasta dishes, all set in a nostalgic, seaside Victorian environment.  On a beautiful day, it's quite a lovely sight, so here are some photos to go along with the recent warm weather we've been having in Southern California!

The entrance to Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, formerly Pizza Oom Mow Mow.

It has some lovely Victorian-esque facades.

The entrance to one side of the Boardwalk restaurants.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Ghostly Queue

During Halloween Time, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy is a fantastic transformative experience.  Besides the ride itself becoming significantly spookier, the exterior gets a nice lighting treatment, and the queue becomes a lot eerier.  The screen flickers in an out with the effects of a spectral disturbance out in space, and sinister music pervades the air.  I always thought this added to a great, slightly scary ambiance!

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