Thursday, January 31, 2013

Walt & Lillian

1901 is the exclusive lounge inside the Carthay Circle Restaurant building reserved for Platinum members of Club 33 and their guests.  A couple of months ago, I was fortunate enough to be such a guest and be granted a look inside.  The atmosphere is luxurious, refined, and relaxed--an oasis of elegance within a bustling park.  But one area in particular drew my attention--over by the bar, there were two high chairs labeled Walt and Lillian.  Mr. Disney and his beloved wife.  It was a special moment noticing this touching tribute, and for a brief instant, I imagined it might be possible for the two to come strolling in and take a seat in their favorite spots.  Just a neat little detail inside 1901.

A special place reserved for two special people at 1901.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carthay Dining: The Third

This blog has showcased some of the eats available at the Carthay Circle Restaurant in previous posts, but downstairs, at the Carthay Circle Lounge, there is also a menu of delicious samplings that anyone can order--not just those with dining reservations on the second floor.  Here are some more visual delights to wet your palate!

A big hit among my friends are the Vietnamese Twice Cooked Beef Tacos. This fusion cuisine creation features bite-sized bits of beef cooked in a Vietnamese barbeque style.  It reminds me of when I have thịt bò nướng, with a sort of smoky, somewhat salty,  immersive, flavorful kick balanced by the sweet pineapple salsa and cilantro and mint leaves.  The portions make for a filling snack or a light meal.

Vietnamese Twice Cooked Beef Tacos.
 Available from the Kids Menu, but open for diners of all ages, is the Grilled American Cheese Sandwich, served with a delectable tomato bisque soup on the side.  This is an artsy and slightly smaller sized version of the Jolly Holiday Combo served at the Jolly Holiday Bakery across the way in Disneyland park, and it is every bit as delectable.  The grilled cheese sandwich makes an addictive complement with the soup, and just about the only flaw in this order is that it seems to be consumed too quickly! Then again, it is a kids' portion.

Grilled American Cheese Sandwich
 Also available on the Kids Menu is the Udon Noodle Bowl, a variation on a similar dish available upstairs in the Carthay Circle Restaurant.  Served in a simmering and flavorful broth, marinaded beef, snow peas, scallions, and sliced carrots, it's a fresh and delicious meal, especially on cooler days.

The Udon Noodle Bowl.
There are plenty of other items available to order, of course, and anyone is free to venture in, sit down, and sample the menu.  But for now, I'll end at these three.  Until next time...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Pirates' Parrot

It's not a pirates-themed ride without a parrot, of course, so Pirates of the Caribbean certainly does not skimp out on that detail.  Right out front, as guests enter the indoor portion of the queue, just inside the final turnaround before the boats return to Lafitte's Landing, there is a parrot perched on a shovel, next to a map of Isle Tesoro, gawking at riders and chirping to his heart's delight.  He's a talkative bird, never shy to express what's on his mind.  Which is probably what you want in a pirate parrot.  If you were ever marooned on a desert isle, that type of company might actually keep you from going insane.  But I digress...

The chirpy bird whistling, "Yo ho," to boats passing by.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Willy's Butte Part II

Time and time again, I come upon parts of Cars Land where, from the angle I'm looking, if it wasn't for my knowledge of where I was, I would be hard pressed to decipher if I was in a theme park or a real national park monument.  This view of Willy's Butte is an excellent example.  Right near the climactic finale of Radiator Springs Racers, this cantilevering anvil of warm, southwest desert rock seems to defy gravity.  It's a gorgeous scene that absolutely shines on a bright and sunny day, and if I haven't sounded like a broken record enough, part of why Cars Land is one of the best themed lands Disney has ever produced.

Willy's Butte in the glistening sunlight.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Projector Room

The queue at Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye is legendary for its length, immersiveness, and detail.  There are plenty of little things to spy while in line, which is helpful, since the line is often long and winding.  But not all of these items are in plain site, or in a position for prolonged inspection.  Check out some of these glimpses from the projector room, where Sallah gives council for guests to seek out their miraculous journey.

The projector broadcasts the safety instructions as well as provides the storyline of the ride.

These tablets contain sacred inscriptions written in Marabic!

Artifacts in the office. Can you spot Mara?

More artifacts around the office.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Warmth of the Hearth

On the west side of the lobby, at the Grand Californian Hotel, lies a wonderful gathering spot for friends who want to relax and chat, or anyone who's looking for some warmth and comfort.  The cozy confines of this wonderful nook impart wonderful feelings gathering and kinship, reflecting the spirit of the Arts and Crafts style that makes up the entire hotel.  With the blazing fire in front, the ambiance created makes for a nostalgic setting after a long day of fun.

The fireplace in the lobby of the Grand Californian.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Through the Cosmos

One not-so-sunny day, I was strolling around Disneyland, when I came upon the view of Space Mountain from the Finding Nemo Sumbarine lagoon.  Immediately, I knew I had to capture this bold and suspenseful vista.  The clouds gathered behind a shimmering Space Mountain made for an incredible backdrop, and the whole scene seemed to brim with excitement and anticipation.  I thought it a fitting complement to a ride that blasts riders into the farthest reaches of super space.

Space Mountain on a dramatic cloudy day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Faces on Main Street

There are a host of characters on Main Street U.S.A. that go to work day after day, every day, from park opening until closing, never complaining, never missing a shift, and always dressed in their finest wardrobe.  Of course, these aren't necessarily human "cast members," per say, but they've all been a part of Disneyland park for quite a long time.  Esmeralda has given out fortunes at the Penny Arcade for decades, while Tilly has been accepting admission into the Main Street Cinema since the park opened.  And the Indian?  Though the shops behind him have have changed over the years--from the Tobacco Shop to Great American Pastimes to today's 20th Century Music Company--he still stands guard in front, stoic as ever, looking on as guests stroll up Main Street in search of a magical day.

Esmeralda, the fortune teller, at the Penny Arcade.

The old Cigar Store Indian, still outside what's now the 20th Century Music Company shop.

Ticket Taker Tilly at the Main Street Cinema.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Goofy Flight

A couple of years ago, as part of Disney California Adventure's park-wide upgrades, the wild mouse roller coaster at Paradise Pier was given a face lift to a new theme.  Gone was the cartoon-y zaniness of Mulholland Madness, and in was... the cartoon-y zaniness of Goofy's Sky School.  Themed after a flight instruction class led by everyone's favorite bird-brained... um, whatever Goofy is, Goofy's Sky School slapped on a fresh coat of paint, new sets, and new graphics, creating a cute overlay for the fun little ride.  And though it's a same ride, something about having Goofy heading up the effort just makes it a little more lovable!

The water tower marks the entrance to the line for Goofy's Sky School.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sledding Down the Mountain

The Matterhorn Bobsleds doesn't just occupy a special and historic spot in Disney park lore. It also holds a place in roller coaster history.  Officially, the Matterhorn is the world's first and oldest steel tubular rail type roller coaster.  Before it debuted, way back in 1959, all other roller coasters built before it had been woodies.  It was Disneyland, with the help of now-defunct coaster company Arrow Dynamics (originally Arrow Development), that created the first steel coaster. 

Incidentally, Arrow would go on to break other roller coaster barriers, developing the first runaway mine train coaster (no, it wasn't Big Thunder Mountain), the first looping coaster (Knott's Berry Farm's Corkscrew, which occupies the area now home to Boomerang), the first hypercoaster (the 200' tall Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point), and the world's first "4th Dimension" roller coaster (Six Flags Magic Mountain's X, now X2--which probably contributed to the company going bankrupt).  But it all started with a simple bobsled ride that hurtled down a man-made 1/100th replica of the Matterhorn mountain.  Where? At the Happiest Place on Earth.

Matterhorn (left track) careening down toward its final splashdown, right as the sun is setting.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Wildest Night in the Wilderness

Although Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a terrifically fun ride and stunning to look at during the daytime, it's particularly fun at night as well.  Racing through the dark shadows and towering rock spires, the runaway mine train feeling becomes even more heightened.  Dropping, twisting, turning, and careening out of control, without the benefit of daylight to see head, makes for a rollicking wild ride, and some of my favorite and most fun experiences aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad have come after the sun has set!

Night has fallen upon the town of Big Thunder.

The horticultural nightlife around Big Thunder Mountain.

A lone turn into a mysterious tunnel.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Toad Hall

There it stands, a regal, elegant, brick-adorned mansion.  Stately and refined, it bears no indication of the turbulent disorder one finds inside, aboard Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.  Well, I suppose the motto "Semper Absurda" might be a small clue.  But really, from the outside, one might assume quiet, peaceful, opulent relaxation.  And one would be wrong.  For riding along Mr. Toad's newfangled automobile product is to experience a journey through all sorts of shenanigans--all while going to Nowhere At All!

The family crest of one J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq.
I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who continues to stop by and visit the post, view the pictures, read my blurbs, and tell their friends about it. Remember, you can access this blog more easily now by simply typing in, and you can also spread the word by referring to that link.  Thanks for your support!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Climbing the Peak

This shot has been one of my favorite angles within Disney California Adventure since the first time I stepped foot in the park, nearly twelve years ago.  The close-up of Grizzly Peak, with its iconic pinnacle looming in the background as an adventurous rafting party creeps up closer and closer to the crest of the river, has always struck me as a particularly picturesque vantagepoint, and even with my first camera, an old Canon Powershot G3, I was regularly snapping up photos of this beautiful and sunny composition.  Interestingly, I had never gone to make an HDR out of it... until now.

A lone raft, slowly being pulled up to the top of Grizzly River Run.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Jolly Roger

Ye come seekin' adventure and salty ol' pirates, eh?  Sure ye come to the proper place.  But keep a weather eye open, mates, and hold on tight, with both hands if you please... there be squalls ahead, and Davy Jones waiting for them what don't obey.

The final words of warning are whispered right before a drop into the world of pirates.

Psst! Avast there! It be too late to alter course, mateys... and there be plundering pirates lurking in every cove, waitin' to board. Sit closer together, and keep your ruddy hands inboard. That be the best way to repel boarders. And mark well me words, mateys...dead men tell no tales!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ariel's Undersea Adventure

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure gets a varied reaction in the Disney fan community, with some who love the immersive and beautiful sets, while others fretting that it could have been even more.  Personally, I think this is a very fun, very pretty dark ride that will appeal to children and families, and definitely The Little Mermaid fans.  Don't let the consistently short line fool you into thinking the ride is sub-par.  That's more a testament to the omnimover system it uses, which allows the ride to continue operation without ever stopping, unless there's an actual issue.  Once inside, riders are transported under the sea to a whimsical, colorful realm of music and song.  It's a great attraction that won't necessarily wow anyone (though the Ursula animatronic is pretty impressive) but definitely does the job it was designed to do.

The ride begins with Scuttle recounting the story of how Ariel fell in love.

After going "underwater," riders see Ariel wishing to be "Part of Your World."

The big musical scene "Under the Sea" is full of motion and color and song.

Sebastian conducts the revelry from his clamshell perch.

A picture of Ariel, back in her "strawberry softserve hair" days. Her hair piece has since been changed.
The fluke is the duke of soul. (Yeah!)

Flotsam and Jetsam greet guests as they enter Ursula's Lair.

The eight foot tall and eight tentacled sea witch casts her spell.
Back above water, Prince Eric tries to "Kiss the Girl."
Eventually, everything works out, and a big celebration commemorates happily ever after.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thunder Mountain Falls

The magic of photography is how they can take something in everyday view and present it in a different, wildly evocative context.  Take these waterfalls to the side of Big Thunder Mountain.  Normally, this is a somewhat dimly lit area, and guests crossing the bridge on their way between Frontierland and Fantasyland typically pay the falls little attention during the evening hours. But increase the exposure time, and suddenly, cool violet hues and warm yellows are captured, turning this scene into a dreamlike sense of wonder.  Pretty neat what a trick of the light can do!

An long exposure of the waterfalls next to the bridge by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The First Law of the Jungle

Ladies and gentlemen, we've come upon the African veldt, where the hand of man has never set foot. And wouldn't you know it?  Looks like that pride of lions has settled down for the evening and is enjoying their favorite dinner pastime--zebra on the rocks.  Yes sir, that right there is their favorite.  Do you think they just sit there, going "white meat, dark meat, white meat, dark meat?"  Never mind.  But it does simply prove the first law of the jungle, folks.  Never, ever, ever, EVER, ever... be a zebra.

This pride of lions is protecting that sleeping zebra. Isn't that cute?

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's a Terror Out There

I was fully ready to title this something like "A Lucky View of Terror," only I realized the sole four-leaf clover in A Bug's Land wasn't really featured in this photo. So you'll have to settle for a title that references mostly the Tower of Terror.  It's probably a bit odd to juxtapose these two together. Tower of Terror is a thrill ride that drops riders from stomach hurtling heights. A Bug's Land is primarily aimed at young children and sought to mitigate Disney California Adventure's initial lack of rides issue when the park first opened.  And yet, here, nearly a decade after they premiered, they both stand next to each other.

A view of the Tower of Terror from A Bug's Land.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tree of Innoventions

If you wanted another look at the "UFO" I posted about a couple of months ago, here you go.  It's actually a sort of treehouse of the future, and it can be found inside Innoventions, that tribute to the technological advances of tomorrow that, like much of the history of Tomorrowland, seems to always wind up quickly outdated.  But I don't go to Innoventions for the update in the latest fans.  I go there because it's actualy got some neat angles to photograph.  This being one of them.

Oh, and air conditioning. I go to Innoventions for air conditioning on a hot day.

A view from inside Innoventions.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ready to Race

You wouldn't know it from this picture, but during the daytime, this scene is usually filled to the brim with guests eager to ride the newest E-Ticket at the Disneyland Resort. And what a ride it is!  Part dark ride, part racing thrill, Radiator Springs Racers delivers a spectacular show and story and an exceptionally fun attraction as well!  This is evidenced by its consistently 1-2 hour lines, which can double on peak days!  The popularity is well deserved though.  For this ride is probably the best Disney ride in the entire Resort!

The entrance to Radiator Springs Racers stands empty after hours.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Echoes of Pirates Past

At Disneyland, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride sort of goes through in reverse.  After plunging down two waterfalls, riders find themselves in eerie scenes featuring pirate skeletons, some still locked in battle, all showcasing what a pirate's life truly was like... and how it often ended.  Only later on in the second half of the ride do pirates appear more "in the flesh."  But this beginning half sets the mood for a dark but fun and adventurous attraction--a favorite of Disney-goers throughout the generations.

A murdered pirate, pinned to a rock near the start of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

A crab scuttles amongst the remains of buccaneers.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bridge at the Wharf

Several months ago, I posted an old shot from the Pacific Wharf back when Cars Land was still under construction.  Well, times have definitely changed at Disney California Adventure, and Cars Land is now open, bustling, and wildly successful. But Pacific Wharf still retains an air pleasant peacefulness.  Despite the crowds it attracts by being a hub of three different dining locations, this San Francisco-inspired area still seems to impart a sense of calmness that's becoming increasingly rare at Disneyland's sister park.  And though it's small, Pacific Wharf certainly has picturesque moments!

The bridge to Pacific Wharf on a bright winter day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It Had to Be Tourists

If there's one thing Indiana Jones seems to always be doing at Disneyland, it's saving the necks of tourists who foolishly wander into the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, look into the eyes of Mara, and cause chaos and destruction.  Day in and day out, he needs to guide them through booby traps galore--be they giant snakes, poison darts, or a giant boulder.  With all of that going on, it's no wonder he has to catch his breath every once in a while, right?

Indiana Jones taking a breather after the climactic scene in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Foreboding Mountain

Sometimes, you happen upon a photo without expecting it.  This was one of those cases.

A few weeks ago, I was strolling through Disneyland with some friends, when I came upon this vantagepoint--one that I had spied countless times before.  But on this day, with dramatic clouds in the background, and the sun at a low angle just right for casting a moody golden glow, I knew I had to snap up a photo.

Ever since the Matterhorn reopened in June, it's been especially vivid.  This owes, of course, to the new paint job it received during the course of its refurbishment--its first full scale painting since the attraction first opened in 1959!  So everything really pops, and when the light is right, it makes for a very dramatic shot!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Today, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad begins its nine month refurbishment, which will bring cosmetic and technological upgrades to the famous attraction and bring this fan favorite roller coaster back to a new condition, similar to the upgrades that have recently occurred on the Matterhorn and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!  So unfortunately, you'll have to make do with not riding this until September.

To tide you over, I present a video I've put together for this blog, showcasing the thrills and excitement of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  This is the first of what I'm nicknaming my "Point and Shoot Productions" series, so named because all video footage was taken from my Canon Powershot S95 camera, and the aim was to create a series of moving pictures to showcase various glimpses of the park from a videographic perspective. Hope you enjoy!

And here are a few photos to go along with the presentation.

Big Thunder, home to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!

The gorgeous spires show off the inspiration from Bryce Canyon and the national parks of Utah.

  A runaway mine train careening down a curving drop.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

End of the Holidays

Well, the holiday season officially comes to a close today at the Disneyland Resort.  Tomorrow marks the start of one of the rare slow seasons at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. So I thought I'd mark this by posting one more holiday-related photo, this one from the Carthay Circle Restaurant, in Christmas regalia.  The festive dressings really add a nice touch of color to an otherwise stately and elegant building, and give a sense of liveliness to the architecture.  Simple but stylish--like all of Buena Vista Street!

A look at the Carthay Circle Restaurant in holiday wreaths and ribbons!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Monumental Gateway

This is the 200th post here at Disney Photoblography, and to celebrate the milestone, I thought I'd take a trip back to viewpoint that kicked this whole adventure off.

There's a reason Cars Land is featured so often here.  It is the most beautiful addition to the Disneyland Resort in a very long while--some could even argue ever--and it was the impetus that pushed me to finally start doing this blog.  Everywhere throughout this gorgeous land, there are fantastic snapshots and angles and views.  But none are as spectacular as this view--the entrance to Cars Land via Pacific Wharf.

This is, in my opinion, the most impressive and spectacular view in the whole park.  Heck, in the whole Resort!  Standing here, for a moment, everything else fades away--the real world grind, the city congestion, even the rest of the Disney California Adventure--and you're transported to Monument Valley amidst incredible rockwork and a parched landscape of magnificent splendor.  It is Disney at its finest, and it never gets old for me to walk through here and simply gawk.

The stunningly spectacular entrance to Cars Land from the Pacific Wharf side.
As I've mentioned already, I'm looking to make this blog bigger and better in 2013, with more content and more variety.  So thanks for reading, and keep on doing so, and keep on spreading the word (don't forget the new convenient address:!), leaving comments, +1'ing on Google, pinning on Pinterest, retweeting, sharing on Facebook, and generally providing your support. I really appreciate it!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cozy Holiday Afternoons

The Cozy Cone really does go all out in any sort of theming.  Cones here, cones there, cones on other cones. Cones forming shapes. Cones rightside up, upside down, rotated around.  Just a lot of orange plastic goodness, and yet it all comes together so charmingly. On a beautiful winter afternoon (or really, any afternoon), this area constantly attracts crowds--be they guests looking to meet Mater or Lightning McQueen or hungry tummies looking to snag a Chili Cone Queso or Ice Cream Cone or Churro Bites in a cone cup.  It's just part of what makes Cars Land utterly wonderful to stroll through and enjoy.

The Cozy Cone at a beautiful winter afternoon.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

To A Happiest New Year

It's a few days into 2013!  Hopefully, the year's gotten off the a good start.  If not, hopefully, it's just a bumpy beginning that will make way for smoother waters and a happy rest of 2013.  And if this blog in any way helps contribute to a little bit of positivity in your day, then I'll be very content.  Apologies, though, if I got that darn song stuck in your head.

Best wishes on this voyage into a new year!

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