Sunday, October 4, 2015

Be Sure to Bring Your Sandy Claws Sack

Little Leota is a classic fixture of the Haunted Mansion, bidding adieu to guests who have avoided becoming the 1000th Happiest Haunt.  During Halloween Time, Sally takes her place, sending a similar message with a Nightmare Before Christmas twist.  "Hurry back," she offers.  "We can't wait till next year."  It's a fun end to a fun seasonal overlay--brought back just enough to keep me wanting for more when it finally goes away.

Sally waves goodbye to visitors in the Little Leota spot exiting the Haunted Mansion.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

It's Always Sunny in Main Street... During Halloween Time

A couple of random housekeeping ('k, not really) notes for today's post:
  1. This is the 1200th post on this blog, ever!  That's not really a milestone number, but it's a round one, and I just happened to notice it while typing out the blog entry.
  2. If you haven't noticed, I haven't actually featured any Halloween photos from this year yet.  That's because I actually haven't been to Disneyland since Halloween Time began.  However, the decorations are mostly the same every year (this year, they've retained the 60th Anniversary diamond motifs to go along with the autumn leaves and bunting), so the atmosphere is still similar.  Why haven't I made it?  Well, a combination of being busy at work plus focusing on haunted attraction updates over at friends-of-the-blog Westcoaster, where I'm taking a greater lead in posting updates.  If you're a Halloween event fan, go check it out!
That's... actually about it.  Enjoy this photo of Main Street during Halloween time.  The lighting and bright day don't scream Halloween, but the welcoming mood echoes the family fun aspects of the spooky holiday!

A sunny afternoon during Halloween Time.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Avoiding Friends on the Other Side

The Main Street Emporium windows have been slowly rolling out.  In addition to the Peter Pan and Cinderella displays, there has now been the addition of a display themed to The Princess and the Frog.  These snapshots were taken a month an half ago, and I haven't gone back to take more complete shots including the second scene, but I thought this scene fit really well with the atmosphere of Halloween and spooky October.  In the dark, sinister bayou, two frogs certainly have reason to be a little afraid!

An overview of the window scene in its primary state, before the transformation.
Tiana and Naveen are clearly apprehensive about their current state.

The mood and scenery are fantastic in this diorama.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cadaverous Incantations

When I tell  people what are the advantages of going to Mickey's Halloween Party, I always list the Cadaver Dans as one of the attractions.  And honestly, they are!  Made up in ghoulish pale pall, harmonious crooning spooky songs along a fogged out Rivers of America, they are a wonderful entertainment group that add some lovely charm to the fun and ghoulish atmosphere of the event.  They don't show up during regular Halloween Time nights, and the only way to see them is via the separate ticket Halloween Party.  But they do bring joy to the soul, and that makes them an attraction at this event!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Villains on Display

One of the great features of Mickey's Halloween Party is the chance to meet less common characters, especially the villains.  Since it is all about having a sinisterly spooky time, this separately ticketed event makes sure to provide photo opportunities with Disney's most dastardly antagonists.  It's a lot of fun, too, because they sure enjoy hamming it up for the camera and acting villainously vain. 

Jafar gets his dramatic hand gesture on.

The Evil Queen is elegant and diabolical.

Lady Tremaine oozes patronizing disdain, while Drizella and Anastasia are always on the look-out for a new suitor.

And Captain Hook is both dashing and devious.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Frozen Painted Wonderland

Our Paint the Night series marches on with part nine, featuring the Frozen segment that immediately follows the princess floats.  With Frozen mania still going strong, it's no surprise Disney has featured the franchise in the Paint the Night Electrical Parade (along with pretty much everything else).  But regardless of any bias for or against the movie, the float in this parade is remarkably stunning.  Beautiful, icy, and full of details, it towers above the crowd, increasing its already prominent stature.  And Anna and Elsa appear to greet the crowd--with Olaf dispensing pleasantries too.  Take a look at photos!

The Frozen float makes its way up Main Street, U.S.A.

Beautifully lit ice dancer herald the float.

Anna and Elsa are on hand to greet the people.

They're certainly glad to be here!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Echoes of the Past Preserved

Cobwebs and dustballs and spirits of Hollywood gone past echo through the lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel.  Eight decades ago, a tragic accident shuttered this lodging place of the elite and left five people stranded in another dimension, and the place has just never been the same.  Today, the eerie ambiance lends a creepy atmosphere to those who brave wandering through the grounds.  Interestingly, drop-in's are still welcome!

Seems like no one's dusted around these parts in a while.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Moonlight over Catal

Catal's location as an anchor right in the center of Downtown Disney makes it a beautiful scene to photograph. The luminous neon, the pleasant copper and green patina hues, and the sleek architectural lines provide a nice composition, especially at night.  A fixture of this retail promenade since its inception in 2001, Catal has become an integral part of the Resort, and I can't imagine the place without this fine dining establishment.

The midnight moon floats stilly over Catal Restaurant.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Partners with Pumpkins

It may be Halloween Time, but the Southern California weather doesn't seem to want to cooperate.  In traditional manner, fall has started off with a heatwave, which should surprise exactly no one who has paid attention to past years' weather patterns.  As welcome as it would be to have the Halloween season come in with a brisk snap of cold weather, it's usually more like a September sauna, slowly roasting to a peak during the third and fourth weeks of September, before October offers varying degrees of reprieve, finally cooling down to an autumn chill right before actual Halloween.  Well, I suppose we can't have it all.  But this weekend, the Disneyland Resort will certainly feel as warm as the photo below, so hydrate up, have fun, and enjoy Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort!

Walt Disney and Mickey stand surrounded by jack-o-lanterns for the fall season.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mickey and Walt from the Start

With a suitcase and a dream, Walt Disney set out west with the hopes of a bigger success in showbiz after his initial animation foray turned sour thanks to some shady business dealings.  Fortunately, he had a little friend named Mickey Mouse that would soon turn Walt into one of America's great success stories.  But it's important to remember that Walt came from relatively modest beginnings--a mindset he kept throughout his life, even as he became wealthy and successful.  He was always a man of the people, desiring to serve the people.  He regularly strolled through Disneyland Park to observe operations from the guests' point of view, and he chatted with visitors as well to learn the good and the bad--all in an effort to improve the park.  This every-man's spirit is reflected in the Storyteller's Statue, which is just as accessible.  That's why so many fans lovingly call him Uncle Walt.  He just felt like a family figure!

The very approachable Storytellers Statue at DCA stands cheerful in the peaceful night.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Spinning Threads of Light

Playing with long exposures is fun, especially when you have a subject that does light painting for you.  At that point, the only difficult part is to figure out the proper combination of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to yield a well balanced photo.  Fortunately, that task is something easily discerned after a little bit of practice.  Afterwards, you can get pictures like this fun bit of nighttime spinning!

The whirling Golden Zephyr paints beautiful patterns at night over long exposure.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Great Mickey Pumpkin

It comes back year after year... that great big Mickey Mouse pumpkin head.  Smiling and cheerful, it provides a friendly welcome into the park during Halloween Time, and at night, it's a lovely and photogenic subject.  In this shot from last year, I decided to try a telephoto lens and look for a focused angle.  If ound this one, with the banners and the flag pole framing the Mickey--with just a glimpse of Sleeping Beauty Castle beyond.  I liked how this gave the composition layers and complexity, and hopefully, you do as well!

Looking through Town Square at the giant Main Street pumpkin.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Golden Tower II

So the photo below isn't exactly intimidating... it's hard for even the terrifying Tower of Terror to be so when it stands in the afternoon sun.  Then again, around Southern California, fall seems to behave much more like summer, so these pretty blue sky (and hot) days are pretty common, even though it is supposed to be Halloween season.  Ah well, I suppose that's the price we pay for year-round generally beautiful weather!

The Tower of Terror is less terrifying bathed in afternoon golden light.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Saturated Wilderness

During Mickey's Halloween Party, Disneyland Park receives some lighting effects that isn't present during normal nighttime hours, even during Halloween Time.  One of the interesting effects I noticed last year occurred across from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, along the path toward Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland.  The trees were light up in an assortment of colors, providing an unnatural but fascinating visual scene.  I thought it made for a nice composition, and seeing examples like this made me wish that regular Halloween Time nighttime lighting could look like this.  Alas, I suppose that would detract from the special-ness of the Halloween Party, wouldn't it?

Lighting on the woods in Frontierland presents an interesting array of colors.

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