Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Headless Horseman

One of the many iconic additions to Disney California Adventure this as part of Halloween Time is a dramatic statue located in the side plaza on Buena Vista Street, depicting the spooky headless horseman rearing his horse, holding his pumpkin head aloft in one hand.  During the day, this statue is very busy with plenty of guests wanting to take pictures of themselves with this impressive structure.  By night, it's camera people with tripods eager to photograph this display.  Fortunately, no one seems to be Ichabod Crane, so we're probably all safe.

The Headless Horseman statue is a wildly popular photo op at California Adventure.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Rainbowall Falls

Around the corner from Radiator Springs, Ornament Valley is majestic and pristine.  But this Haul-O-Ween, it too has been transformed into a spooky saturation at night.  Rather than accent the typical red sandstone of the local geology, the lighting color wheel is rotated across the opposite, and those rocky cliffs now take on a spirited blue instead.  Firewall Falls has also changed colors--from a cool purple to a warmer red with tinges of the rest of the spectrum.  The whole scene seems unnaturalistic, but that makes a lot of sense during this ghostly time of the year.  If Halloween Time has indeed come to Disney California Adventure, it's completely subverted everything that is "normal!"

Willy's Butte grows a warm red as the rocks and Firewall Falls beyond take on an eerier hue.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

An Oogie Boogie Entrance

Disney California Adventure's foray into Halloween Time isn't limited to Cars Land's "Haul-O-Ween."  Buena Vista Street has gotten into the action too, and it all starts right when guests come in, as a massive facade now stands over the entrance gates.  The Streamline Moderne of the Pan Pacific Auditorium-style entry now has a decided spooky affair, and even though the themes don't exactly match, I absolutely love the look.  The flying bats coming out of Oogie Boogie sort of resemble a gnarled tree, and the orange moon behind him adds a really atmospheric touch.  Even the "O" in "California" has been replaced by a pumpkin.  And the lighting at night lends a lovely eerie glow.

I think it's safe to say that DCA has hit it out of the park with their Halloween decorations this year, and that's absolutely wonderful.  What else could you want for the spookiest time of the year?

California Adventure's entrance has been transformed this year by the invasion of Oogie Boogie!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Happy Haul-O-Ween!

This year, Halloween Time has spread to Disney California Adventure, as spooky autumn decorations have sprouted up around many areas in the park!  Perhaps the most extravagant occurs in Cars Land, where Radiator Springs is currently celebrating "Haul-O-Ween" by transforming itself into a visual pun-fest very much in the same vein as "Carsmas" during the winter holidays.  Everywhere one looks, the town has been cleverly decorated to reflect Halloween.  Gears create spiderwebs, cones become ghosts, and cars get their own costumes for the fall.  It's extremely cute, and it shows off the wonderful and incredible creativity the Imagineers have--especially when it comes to holiday theming!

A spooky flare has descended upon Cars Land, and it couldn't be any more adorable!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Halloween at the Photo Shop

Autumn Main Street is a throwback to a nostalgic, charming, spooky-but-fun Halloween from the turn of the 20th century days.  It's a Norman Rockwell styled, Americana-filled, romantic nod to the spirits and ideals of this country, and the family-centric stylings of the fall holiday season.  I love the pumpkins and leaves and sit on the facades of the buildings, and the Main Street Photo Supply Company has one of the more simply adorable looks.  The architecture and signage are already compatible with colors of September and October, and on a brisk fall day, the scene just echos enchanting Halloween!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Leota, Shock, and Barrel

Much like Disneyland California, Tokyo Disneyland transforms its Haunted Mansion into a Halloween and Christmas overlay every fall in the form of the Haunted Mansion Nightmare.  However, because their attraction more closely resembles Walt Disney World's layout, there are some notable differences between the Japanese and American iterations.  One of my favorite moments happens in Madame Leota's seance, when Lock, Shock, and Barrel appear to peer through the window and into the room.  Who knows what trouble they're planning, but it's a fun and photogenic surprise to see them.  And even though she has her back (of her head) turn to them, I have a feeling Madame Leota see them too...

Lock, Shock, and Barrel (trust me, they're all there) peek into Madame Leota's Chamber at Tokyo Disneyland.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Dead of Zocalo Park

It hasn't changed much over the years, but I still feel compelled to post photos of Frontierland's Día de los Muertos display in Zocalo Park, because it's a part of the Halloween Time offerings of the park.  The figures and scenes show a colorful and festive version of the Halloween season, reflecting the Mexican culture and outlook on the day of the dead.  Rather than a time of terror, it's a time of celebration.  And this year, with the upcoming release of Pixar's Coco, centered around this holiday, this area takes on additional significance.  Or at least it can be claimed to provide marketing synergy!


Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Hollywood Tower in Paris

With California Adventure's Tower of Terror having transformed into a Guardians of the Galaxy Ride, the only place to visit the "Hollywood Tower Hotel" is Disneyland Paris.  Their ride is identical to California's former version, although the building itself is fully concrete instead of steel framed.  The also towers over the center of Walt Disney Studios park, making it a prominent "weenie," or visual icon in Disney-speak.  Who knows if this version will also meet a similar fate as California's one day, but for now, a piece of California Yesterdland now resides in France!

The Tower of Terror looms over the Production Courtyard.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mickey-Lantern Through the Square

Well, we've come upon it again.  Today is the first day of the 2017 edition of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort.  The spookiest time of the year has expanded this year to Disney California Adventure, but over at Disneyland, there are many things that have remained the same--for example, the iconic Mickey Mouse giant jack-o-lantern in Town Square that provides a photo op throughout the day and evening.  It is not until the very end of the night, well after park closing, that the scene clears up.  But throughout the night, Mickey remains cheerfully smiling, enjoying the fun, autumn season.  He's certainly ready for fall.  Are you?
The familiar Mickey Pumpkin is back at Disneyland for another season of Halloween Time!

It is not until after the end of the night that all is still around the Mickey Pumpkin.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lost in Sally's Thoughts

Last year, the Haunted Mansion Holiday debuted a new animatronic in the form of a Sally figure, leaning plaintively against an unexpectedly happy gravestone.  Sally looks wistfully at nowhere in particular, perhaps lost in thought over Jack Skellington.  All around her, merry, dual-holiday crooning abounds, but she is detached from it all.

Sally is beautifully lit, making photography somewhat easy compared to many other components of this beloved ride.  A high contrast creates a clear focus to lock onto, and the ethereal glow of blue and orange behind her provide an eerie but striking composition.  It's easy to get lost in the joy that is Halloween, though, so I suppose one can't blame her for daydreaming!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Icons of Discovery

Discoveryland is absolutely beautiful, with a retro-futurism that feels timeless.  The colorful paint scheme spans all around the color wheel but harmonizes together nicely.  And on a beautiful, sunny day with puffy clouds in the horizon, the optimistic spirit of tomorrow and of invention shines brightly.  Do I ever get tired of editing and posting Discoveryland photos? No. Will I?  Likely also no.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Enchanted Castle at Night

The Enchanted Storybook Castle, like all Disney castles, looks fantastic at night.  With its magenta and blue and pink tones and it's numerous and grand spires, it towers above the rest of the park, looking quite regal and grand.  It's also not too tough to photograph, because the lighting is relatively well balanced.  Expose for the street lamps and for the castle, and that's about it.  That's much more convenient than Disneyland in California, where the Sleeping Beauty Castle requires a dynamic range taking up a dozen stops (mostly because the lighting at the center of the castle above the drawbridge is so bright).  For a Disney park fan photographer like me, less shots means more photos I can take elsewhere!

The Enchanted Storybook Castle looks lovely at night.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Parading a Frightfully Fun Course

Last year, Mickey's Halloween Party debuted their first proper parade in the original Magic Kingdom's history in the form of the Frightfully Fun Parade.  It's quite a fun little procession, and it returns in this year's iteration of the Halloween Party.  From the ride of the Headless Horseman to spooky Haunted Mansion folks to the Disney villains, there are a lot of fun sights to behold.  Here's another run through the parade, which you should definitely catch if you attend the separately-ticketed Halloween event!

The Headless Horseman opens the parade with an eerie ride up Main Street.
The opening float, adorably dressed up for Halloween.
Vampires from A Nightmare Before Christmas usher in the main characters from the movie.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Fink's Cabin

Once upon a time on Tom Sawyer's Island, there was a burning cabin that had [in storyline] been attacked by Native Americans, which created quite a dramatic scene as guests sailed by it on board the Mark Twain or S.S. Columbia.  Over time, though, either for safety or politically correct reasons, the cabin's flames were extinguished, and it simply became a frontier abode.  With the reopening of the Rivers of America, this cabin has a new and slightly modified role as the cabin of one Mike Fink.  Longtime Disneyland fans will recognize the name from the keel boats that once briefly plied the waters of the Rivers of America.  It's a nice gesture to re-purpose the cabin into the legendary riverboater's home.  And it's a pretty scene on the island for guests to sail by!

The old burning cabin on Tom Sawyer Island is now Mike Fink's Cabin.

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