Monday, May 2, 2016

The RC Racer

The RC Racer roller coaster is a launched linear synchronous motor thrill ride utilizing magnets to hurtle an oversized racer car forwards and backward up a half pipe track, providing thrills in the form of hang time at either end.  There are versions of this ride in Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland (the latter of which is pictured today).  There's nothing particularly spectacular here, but it's still pretty fun.  The car picks up some decent speed as it zooms closer and closer toward the tip of each end, and it's a nice trainer for young adrenaline junkies.  Overall, I consider this a solid ride worth going on at least once, though not necessarily worth constant repeat patronage. 

The RC Racer car hangs momentarily at the peak of its half pipe course.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day at the Hub

Spring has been fantastically beautiful at the Disneyland Resort, so I thought I'd commemorate May Day with some more photos taken a month and a half ago of the tabebuias in bloom.  On this day, dramatic clouds and alternating periods of overcast and sunshine made for some pretty wonderful views, and the rosy pinks and purples of the blossoms around The Hub added a lovely pop of color to the springtime scene.  Take a look below for yourself!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Between Mermaids and Arabia

When I say that you can point a camera anywhere at Tokyo Disney Sea and capture a spectacular shot, I mean it.  There is rich detail everywhere and plenty of beautiful sights and angles.  Even a general view down a river can produce some splendid sights, such as this one below that shows off the spires of the Arabian Coast and the whimsy of Mermaid Lagoon.  The two lands are drastically different as far as theme, but they're both fantastic and quite pretty.  It really does prove that this place is a sea of dreams!

A view down this waterway shows both Mermaid Lagoon and the Arabian Coast!

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Lilly Belle

With the Disneyland Railroad on hiatus during the construction of the future "Star Wars Land," the park has put a couple of the engines on display at the Main Street and New Orleans Square stations.  At the first, this includes a special viewing of the Lilly Belle presidential parlor car, the special caboose of the C.K. Holiday that was created to provide a private and elegant space to entertain V.I.P.'s touring the park.  Named after Lillian Disney, it features a lavish and ornate interior, with warm wood trim and lush velvet upholstery.  Various keepsakes are scattered around the car, and it's a great treat to be able to see this Disneyland treasure up close!

Looking down the Lilly Belle.
A wide angle view, peeking in from the side.
A lovely crystal candy dish sits on a side table.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Unusual Car Park

Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin has quite the zany facade, with bulging walls and wild (though now-faded) colors and action literally bursting from the (building) seams.  It's a proper facade for a silly and entertaining movie that inspired the fun and whirlwind ride.  And despite the area's general neglect over the years, it still seems pretty popular.  That's certainly a good thing!

Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin is bursting with animated energy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Festival of Sweetness

We're back today with the Disney California Food and Wine Festival, and today, we focus on the items that satisfy your sweet tooth!  The Festival Marketplace features booths with five total dessert items, each with its own blend of delectable sweetness and each appealing to a different type of palate.  Lets take a look at these scrumptious items!

The Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart with Almond Brittle and Sea Salt ($4.25 + tax), at the "LA Style" booth, is absolutely delicious, with luscious chocolatey and caramel taste, a nice salty crunch, and extra sweetness from the white chocolate candy swirl.  Some people may find this too sweet, but I like my after meal dishes that way.

The Apple Bacon Whoopie Pie with Maple Cream Cheese Icing and Bacon Brittle ($3.75 + tax) at the "Gold Rush" booth was surprisingly tasty!  I usually don't like to mix sweets and savory tastes, but the bacon provide a nice, non-overwhelming saltiness that paired very nicely with the subtle maple icing.  

Based on description, this was the dish I least expected to care about.  Found in the "Bay the Bay" booth, the Coconut Tapioca Layered with Fresh Mango, Lychee Boba, Mango Coulis, with Green Tea Micro Sponge and Sesame Tuile ($4.25 + tax) was refreshing and fruity, with a lingering mellow sweetness.  The tapioca gave a nice soft pop between the teeth, and though the sponge cake was a little strange, it was nice together with the gelatin components of this dish.
The Meyer Lemon Macaron, with Blueberry Marmalade, Meyere Lemon Cream, and Dried Blueberry Dust ($3.50 + tax) at "The Farm" booth, was another nice surprise.  The lemon flavor was not overwhelming, and the blueberry marmalade inside provided a nice tartness.  The macaron shell was soft with a light crispness, lending a pleasant texture to this miniature cake.

Finally, the Blackberry Tart with Rosemary Vanilla Bean Creme Fraiche and Cabernet Wine Glaze ($4.00 + tax) at the "Wine Country" booth was... actually a little disappointing based on my expectations.  I love blackberries, but this dish didn't seem as rich in flavor diversity as the others.  It was pretty much all blackberry in a tart breading that was a bit tough.  The candied rosemary was pretty nice, but I'd qualify the dish strictly in the average category--good, but not fantastic.
If you missed previous posts from this year's Food and Wine Festival, check them out here and here!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness

They say that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the "wildest ride in the wilderness," and it's certainly not inaccurate.  This runaway mine train roller coaster takes riders along a rip-roaring journey around buttes, through caverns, and into an explosive mine shaft.  And what's the best way to capture the fun turbulence?  Well, perhaps a little slower shutter speed to convey the motion on the ride.  That way, things are blurred, with just enough focus in the foreground to bring the viewer onto the ride.  These aren't my typical ultra-crisp photos, but I like how dynamic they are.  Now, just hang on to them hats and glasses!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Promenade Beside the Pier

I've always considered the Boardwalk restaurants along Paradise Pier to be a very underrated part of the Disney California 5-year Redesign Plan.  Though not as flashy as Cars Land or prominent as Buena Vista Street or even as crowd-attracting as Toy Story Midway Mania, the redevelopment of this dining promenade into Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and the Paradise Garden Grill provided a lovely space to eat, people watch, and relax.  Shaded and pleasantly landscaped, it's also home to some nice entertainment options.  Plus, the restaurants themselves are vastly superior versions of their predecessors.  Yes, I very much enjoy this area, and I don't think it gets nearly the attention or acclaim it deserves!

The north entrance to the Boardwalk restaurant area is adjacent to Goofy's Sky School.
Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta provides delicious Italian fare.
The architecture is playful and colorful, but elegant in its own way.

There is bountiful seating, much of it covered, which is welcome on warm Southern Californian days.

This gazebo was salvaged from Bountiful Valley Farm across the park before it made way for Cars Land.

And Paradise Garden Grill offers delicious Mediterranean style cuisine--and specialty foods during certain times of the year!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fiery Skies Upon the Port

I didn't get a lot of good fortune with photogenic skies while I was in Tokyo, but my last day at the Tokyo Disney Resort was an exception.  The day itself was gorgeous--pretty and blue and sunny--a far cry from the drab gray heavens that had characterized most of my trip.  But as the afternoon descended into evening, the clouds came together in a lovely pattern to amplify the light of the setting sun.  The golden swath painted by the uplit clouds became a spectacular sight, and over the outline of the show building for Stormrider, I was able to capture some beautifuly sky-burning photos.

The winter sun sets to the southwest at Tokyo Disney Sea.

A closer-look at the skies and clouds.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Entering a Hong Kong Adventureland

Hong Kong Disneyland is most similar to the original Magic Kingdom, but it's not exactly a clone.  On the west side of the park, there is only one themed land directly off The Hub--Adventureland, and it isn't quite the type that other parks present.  Instead, it's a bit of a mixture between Adventureland and the Rivers of America, with a jungle setting but a large body of water adjacent, and the spirit of exploration alive and well.  Here, the Jungle Cruise is actually the Jungle River Cruise--a water tour that's sort of corny and sort of not.  And the premiere attraction is actually a stage show--the Festival of the Lion King.

Fittingly, though, in the spirit of Adventure, Hong Kong Disneyland's Adventureland also serves as a gateway to the three expansion areas of the park--leading directly to Grizzly Gulch, which then allows access to Mystic Pointe and Toy Story Land.  So, it definitely allows a model of exploration.  It's not quite the same as our Disneyland, but there's plenty to discover here!

Hong Kong Disneyland's Adventureland in the stillness of the night.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The E.P. Ripley Parked

With the Disneyland Railroad closed for an indefinite period of time, the Main Street and New Orleans Square stations have become exhibits for the steam engines themselves, with a train parked for the time being at each station.  Guests can walk around the station and wander onto the other sides of the track to get close-up views not normally seen.  It's a cool little feature, and while there's plenty of time if you haven't seen this yet, I still recommend checking it out as soon as you can!

The E.P. Ripley sits at New Orleans Square station at night.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Mountain and the Mansion

It's another photograph from Tarzan's Treehouse!  Yes, it's arguably my favorite perch from which to snap photos, especially around sunset, because the view is gorgeous.  With so many Disney park icons to spot, I'm surprised more people don't come up here to take pictures.  But I like having this location as "my secret" (even if it isn't really). And hopefully, you enjoy the view too!

Splash Mountain and Haunted Mansion at sunset from Tarzan's Treehouse.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Dragon's Lair

The dragon's den beneath Disneyland Paris' Sleeping Beauty Castle is a really fun walk-through attraction, and presentation is quite atmospheric and immersive.  The animatronic dragon is intimidating and really cool at the same time.  I really wish they had this at Disneyland California, but alas, that infrastructure was not built in at 1955.  Oh well, Disneyland Paris will have to do.  Here are some more pictures of the cavern!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

An Antebellum Afternoon

The Haunted Mansion is a gorgeous building, created in the spirit of a Southern manor (though ironically modeled after a mansion in Baltimore of inconsistent thematic architecture), fit into New Orleans Square with the air of Southern hospitality--from grim grinning ghosts.  Though the house is full of frightful spooks and dilapidated grounds inside, from the exterior, it remains looking immaculate and pristine.  It's quite welcoming, really, and it looks wonderful from all angles.  Unfortunately, aside from the main entrance, most of the other angles have some elements obscured.  But that is part of what makes the exterior fun--the overlap of trees and lamps and fences and building create some nice visual compositions, and these translate to fun little photographic moments.

A detail from the queue of the Haunted Mansion.

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