Monday, March 30, 2015

Up to the Dream Suite

I've been fortunate enough to get into a lot of exclusive spaces inside Disneyland Park, but one place I've never explored is the Disneyland Dream Suite.  Formerly the Disneyland Gallery, this space was remodeled into a lavish apartment that was part of the Year of a Million Dreams, a Disneyland promotion from several years ago that awarded lucky winners fantastic prizes, including staying the night inside the park in this space.  Since then, it's been used to allow a select few to do the same, but usually as part of a special event or unique, one-time giveaway.  It's gotta be nice, though, to have the opportunity. Goodness knows it looks pretty chic from the outside. Perhaps one day, I'll have the chance to see things on the inside!

Looking up the stairs to the Disneyland Dream Suite.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Blue Hour Bakery

Lets make it back-to-back blue hour shots, shall we? Yesterday featured the Tower of Terror from an elevated perspective. Today, we venture to Disneyland Park and return to ground level at the Jolly Holiday.

Since it opened a few years ago, this mainstay at the end of Main Street has consistently served delicious soups, sandwiches, salads, sweets, and drinks.  It's not quite as regularly crowded as it used to be, but I always find at least some line when I go, and the evolving menu remains tasty.  Fares are always fresh and flavorful, and the seating area provides a great place to people watch and take in the ambience.  It's also one of the better lit seating areas in the park, so recently, I've even found myself spending some studying sessions there, just because the ambiance is so nice.  Hey, whatever you gotta do!

Dusk descends on the Jolly Holiday Bakery.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Twilight Zone at Twilight

For a long while now, I've been trying to get a shot of the Tower of Terror from the elevated vantagepoint below.  I was originally inspired by a Disney Parks Blog post from park photographer Paul Hiffmeyer showing the Tower of Terror from a similar angle.  It's not a picture I see often, but it provides a pretty interesting view and really communicates the stepped mass of the building. 

The Tower of Terror at dusk, as seen from the Mezzanine entrance into the Hyperion Theater.
A few weeks ago, I finally got the chance, and while I didn't quite get a golden hour afternoon photo, the blue hour timing might have provided an even more dramatic shot.  The challenging part of this photo was taking three long exposures free handed.  This picture is composed of a 1, 4, and 15 second exposure blended together, but when I was taking it, I was without a tripod.  To make do, I wedged my camera between two horizontal railings of the guardrail, then held my camera as tight as I could.  I'm very picky about how crisp my images are, so even small movement could result in some unsatisfactory blur.  I spent probably ten minutes trying to get the brackets just right, but in the end, I think the effort was worth it.  This is definitely one of my favorite shots I've taken of the Tower of Terror, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant

The castle at Disneyland Paris is easily the most richly detailed of the Disney castles that have been built thusfar, and not just from looks.  Guests can explore inside as well, and there is a trove of theming to behold.  I've already mentioned the Dragon's Lair below the castle before, so today, we go upward. 

On the second floor of the interior of the castle is La Galerie de la Belle au Bois Dormant, a beautiful space featuring ornate stained glass windows telling the story of Sleeping Beauty.  Consider it a plussed and fancier version of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough at the original Disneyland Park.  The glass is absolutely lovely, and the interior space is quite grand and whimsical.  Definitely spend a little bit of time if you ever to visit the castle and check out this space!

The tree columns give the interior of Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant a fairy tale feel.

The stained glass tells the whole story of Princess Aurora.

Mother and father at the celebratory banquet for her birth.

The fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather blessing the child.

Yes, some other things happen, but we'll skip to the end, to the scene that gives Sleeping Beauty its name.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flo's V8 Reflections

It's been a while since I posted a rainy evening photo.  As I ended up sorting through them, I found that many weren't in recoverable shape, since they had rain spots or blur from the haphazard way I took the photos during the rainstorm.  But this photo from Cars Land survived the culling, and it makes for a nice, lovely set of reflections.  Neon and water definitely make for a nice combo, and the luminous feel of the scene hopefully lets you understand why photographers actually love the rain--when it comes at night!

A rainy evening taken almost a year ago from Radiator Springs.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Golden Tinseltown

Hollywood Land is an area that innately glistens with energy and life, and a typical afternoon scene captures this wonderfully.  People are out and about, and the buzz is always fun to observe.  This main boulevard is one of my favorite parts of the park to walk through during the PM hours, and when the low sun hits the buildings just right, the effect is sublime.

A golden afternoon in front of the Art of Animation building.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Columbia at Dock

Docked in Fowler's Harbor, the majestic Columbia serves as a beautiful reminder of our country's history in exploration.  Built as a full scale replica of the first American ship to sail around the world, the Columbia is a testament to the early days of our country, back when the West was quite unexplored, and life much simpler and more rugged.  The ship has a museum below deck, and it offers a more adventurous feel around the Rivers of America compared to the Mark Twain.  And at night, after it's finished sailing, it sure is nice, moored up next to New Orlean's Square!

The Columbia is docked in peaceful waters after a long day of service.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Focused Around Walt and Mickey

To be honest, there aren't a lot of scenic angles at Walt Disney Studios in France.  It remains the least photogenic Disney park of any that I've visited. However, there are exceptions, and the "hub" of the Production Courtyard is one of them.  The beautiful flower bed surrounding France's Partners Statue provides a nice, green softness to an otherwise open and often lifeless-feeling outdoor space, and the facades beyond are enough to give a visual interest and depth to a photographic composition.  It also helped that the sun cleared up the skies a bit whenever I seemed to stop by this part of the park!

Walt and Mickey stand in front of the Production Courtyard at Walt Disney Studios.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spires Everywhere

I've mentioned in a previous post how much I like the perch from atop the Queen of Hearts Castle in Alice's Curious Labyrinth.  Well, photo ops this the one below are part of the reason why.  Being able to get a long shot up high offers a unique perspective that's notably different from the grounded view most guests have.  Here, all the spires of Fantasyland really come into prominence, and the dreamscape that the Disney Imagineers have woven becomes quite fantastic.

The castle at Disneyland Paris, seen from behind.

Friday, March 20, 2015

That SoCal Life

Is there anything more symbolic of L.A. than sand and snow in the same place?  Well, Southern California is one of the few places around where you can go skiing and surfing within a few hours of each other, thanks to our local mountains and our famous beaches. 

The shot below reflects that juxtaposition.  Taken from the second floor balcony of Innoventions, this view of the Matterhorn combines icy mountain with tropical plantlife--a reality that exists in very few locations.  But SoCal is definitely one of them!

Matterhorn and palm trees together are the epitome of Southern California.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tower in the Sun

I've posted a similar angle of this facade before, but not during golden hour.  I'm always fascinated by how potent lighting can be in affecting the mood of a scene.  Normally ominous, the Tower of Terror suddenly becomes glowing and inviting when hit by the late afternoon sunshine. With palm trees in front, it looks like a place you'd love to stay in--if it weren't for the whole supernatural malfunctioning elevator thing.

Golden sun strikes the Tower of Terror on a bright winter day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More Adventures in DisneyBounding

Last week, I featured some photos of some of the DisneyBounders at Dapper Day this month.  Here are a few more photos of dressed up park fans. And though not all of them in this case are necessarily dressed to Disney inspired characters, they're all in some character, which is pretty neat, don't you think?

DisneyBounders of the sci-fi and fantasy variety.

Cleverly dressed are Anna and Elsa from Frozen, and the house from Up on the left!

The 13 Black Cats stunt pilots pose in front of the Jolly Holiday. More of these folks in a future post.

Ellie and Carl from Up, with balloons fittingly in the background!

I happened upon this group while leaving Disneyland park. Another photographer was literally gathering any random strangers he could to take their photos, telling them to "Get in! Get in!," and people naturally obliged!

Finally, I caught a military outfit over in Cars Land.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wilderness Greenery

Today is St. Patrick's Day, which is traditionally associated with the Irish, cloverleaves, and green.  Well, since I don't really have any Irish themed pictures from Disney properties, I'll offer the alternative: something green.  In this case, that green means the verdant forest of Grizzly Peak.  Here are some more photos from that Grizzly Peak back path behind Grizzly River Rapids, and some more of the sights that can be found there!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bonne Nuit de Disneyland Paris

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my 1000th blog post on this site (and 999th day in a row posting).  To mark previous milestones, I've usually posted a photo of the Disneyland castle, or some iconic Disney park monument.  Well, for this one, I'm going across the ocean to the place that has always held my wanderlust heart: France. 

I've mentioned before how much I love Disneyland Paris.  It is the most beautiful of Magic Kingdoms in my opinion, and much of it has to do with its amped up romantic character and atmosphere.  Everything here evokes feelings of dream and fantasy even more than in the other parks I've visited.  It's a park that still retains that feeling of specialness, due to how infrequently I'm able to visit, and I think it's a fitting subject for this milestone post!

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant as seen from Main Street.
And from further back, at the crossroads of Main Street.

And from the end of Main Street, where Town Square is found.
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