Saturday, October 31, 2015

Main Street Spooks

Happy Halloween!  I hope you are enjoying a fun-filled spookiest of all holidays.  Halloween is the season of trick or treat, but seeing as this blog is devoted to eye candy, I've been dispensing mainly in treats.  And here's another...

During Mickey's Halloween Party, Main Street, U.S.A. is lit up in the same facade projections used during the Disneyland Forever fireworks.  This wonderful feature wasn't really something that was advertised, and I would have never known about if I hadn't stayed past 7pm on a Halloween Party night (and then, a week later, attended the event).  The result is an incredible sight up and down Disneyland entrance land, and a fantastic and photogenic display that brings joy to the heart... and the eyes.  Here are just a few angles of the Main Street projections found only at Mickey's Halloween Party!

Looking down Main Street during Mickey's Halloween Party.
A few facades, such as Candy Palace and Refreshment Corner.

On the east side of the street...

The projections cycle through a variety of Halloween-related scenes!

They are a visual spectacle and quite lovely to behold!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fireworks of Fright

It's another Fireworks Friday, this time, Frightful edition, with this year's iteration of the Halloween Screams fireworks show that runs exclusively during Mickey's Halloween Party.  The soundtrack and fireworks are the same as in past year's, but as I mentioned last week, the addition of the 3D mapped projections really amplifies the show, making it even more spectacular.  As we head into Halloween weekend, here are a few more shots from the show.  Consider it a treat!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Autumn Flower Shop

A couple of years ago, around Christmas time, a flower stand sprang up on the east side of Center Street, just off the midpoint of Main Street.  A throwback to similar features from many years ago, this was met with fondness and nostalgia.  But it seemed to last only a month or two at most before the floral shop disappeared again.

This Halloween season, it seems to have manifested itself back on Center Street, which is a pleasant surprise.  The scope is not quite as extensive as the previous iteration, but it's still a nice little touch added to Main Street.  I enjoy these little unadvertised bonuses.  They provide the occasional variety for someone like me who goes regularly, and even though it's nothing extravagant, I appreciate the effort for this small touch.

The flower market just off Main Street seems to have re-apparated for the Halloween season. Who knows how long it will remain?  Perhaps the security member is guarding the flower stand so it doesn't go away!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Skeletons Around the Zocalo

It's the same display every year, but there's a nice festiveness at Zocalo Park in Frontierland, next to the Rancho del Zocalo restaurant.  This is where the park sets up its annual Dia de los Muertos display in honor of the Mexican "Day of the Dead" holiday, and it shows a different take on Halloween, where the dead are celebrated and cherished rather than the source of gothic fear.  Different culture, different approach, but still fun and family friendly.  And my, how colorful it is at night!

The Dia de los Muertos display is back again this season.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Around the Hub III

The Partners Statue is lovely during Halloween, with those friendly and warm jack-o-lanterns providing some friendly company, but this year, it's been even more scenic with the wonderful spotlights overhead of Sleeping Beauty Castle adding a dramatic flare.  It is such a photogenic scene that I photograph it every year, even though it generally remains the same.  But look at the picture below and tell me... can you resist?

Walt and Mickey stand during Halloween Time in front of the 60th Anniversary Castle spotlights.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The 60th Halloween

Although they are lovely, the decorations Disneyland puts out are repetitive year after year, which is a bit of a disappointment to those looking for some freshness each Halloween season.  So when you can find a view that is unique, you take it.  This scene, for example, will not happen again next year, because by 2016's Halloween Time, the 60th Anniversary Celebration will be over.  So I present to you a photo that can only happen this year.  As this Halloween week winds up, have fun and enjoy the spookiest time of the year!

The Halloween Time banner in front of the 60th Anniversary signage at the Disneyland Railroad.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Another Holiday Mansion

We're into the final stretch... it's Halloween week.  Seven days leading up to the spookiest moment of year.  So why not mark this occasion with more Haunted Mansion Holiday photos?  I mentioned last week that the brighter lighting made everything easier to shoot this year, and here's some proof.

This body can hardly contain himself, and evidently can't read the gift tag.

Madame Leota floats around an eerie noel scene.
This year's gingerbread house (it's new every year) is a stacked effort, and not entirely stable!
Look at all the presents for all the good boys and girls. And maybe the bad ones too.

The Hatbox Ghost has some seasonal flare.

And Oogie Boogie is always trying to trick or treat guests--mostly trick!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Screams Before Hallowen

It's a week before Halloween, so I figure I better get around to posting some photos from the Halloween Screams fireworks show--exclusive to Mickey's Halloween Party.  This has always been one of my favorite Disney pyrotechnic spectaculars, but this year, with the 60th Anniversary upgrades, the show has been plussed with added projections onto the castle!  This brings added depth and wonderful video villainy to an already superb show, and I was quite pleased to be able to have a pretty good view of the show this year--especially considering I literally arrived three minutes before showtime!

For now, here are a half a dozen snippets from the show.  Of course, more will come!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Castle Brothers in the Fall

One of my favorite details on Main Street to photograph is the Castle Bros. sign about a third of the way up Disneyland's entrance land.  I just love the classic turn-of-the century filigree, next to the wraught iron balcony railings, with the jack-o-lanterns, set in a Victorian facade.  It brings a nostalgic and heart-warming sense to an already evocative street, and on the cool, crisp autumn afternoon, this scene almost glows with the spirit of the fall holiday.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The River Fogged Out

Last year, when I attended Mickey's Halloween Party, I was captivated by the fog lingering around the Rivers of America.  And with the Columbia moored at Frontier Landing, I tried to find an angle and fog saturation to make the the ship look like it was emerging from the mists, a phantom voyager come to haunt the land.  I never quite got things right, so I resolved to try again this year.  And wouldn't you know it... I actually landed a shot that gives a convincing illusion.

So enjoy the ghost ship... and a spooky remainder of the Halloween season!!

The S.S. Columbia as a ghost ship.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Costumed for the Party

One of the coolest sights at Mickey's Halloween Party isn't the great decorations and atmospheric setting, but rather the people who attend in costume.  This is a great place to spot some innovative and impressive creativity, so lets take a look at some of the people who dressed up for last Friday's Mickey's Halloween Party.

A couple of Ghostbusters were hanging out near the Haunted Mansion.
Speaking of Mansion, here is a family of lavish Victorian ghouls.

Also Mansion related--for the holidays--a gender-bent Jack and Sally.

There were nice mashups too, like this Jedi Belle and Beast!

Along the Star Wars route, a family of Star Tours!

Finally, my crazy Beauty and the Beast themed group definitely drew attention.  Loved attending the party with this gang!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Eternal Bones

This year, the Haunted Mansion Holiday appears to be more brightly lit than in the past, and as such, I'm finding traditionally very challenging shots to be a little easier. Take the never-ending hallway, pretty much the first scene riders encounter.  Under regular Haunted Mansion lighting, it is dim and mysterious, and the floating candelabra makes a fantastically eerie effect.  But when it's Zero and his ghost dog treats?  Beautifully illuminated with wonderful color.  Now, it's not quite this bright in real life, but it's close.  And it means I can actually photograph this scene to satisfying clarity for the first time ever. 

It's also a ridiculously cute scene. So enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Autumn Penny Arcade

I love shooting Main Street at night, but I've found that I especially love shooting Main Street at night durring Halloween Time, because the fall trimmings add a nice warmth to the scene that is quite complementary to the nostalgia of smalltown U.S.A. that Main Street evokes.  There's something about the oranges and yellows that provide a fantastic glow to an already beautiful and timeless land.  Everything just seems to go together perfectly.

The Penny Arcade glimmers on a cool autumn evening.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Halloween Tree Bokeh

Usually, when I am photographing, I aim to take the sharpest, most crisp photo that can.  That way, every last detail can be rendered with great clarity.  However, as I've mentioned from time to time, there's only so many shots you can do at Disneyland before you realize you're basically taking pictures of the same thing, so at some point, your mind wanders, and you try to get creative.  Well, on Friday, at the end of Mickey's Halloween Party, I found myself on a photo run and in front of the Halloween Tree.  I snapped various angles, but then decided to do some more experimental work.  The easiest of these was to simply NOT focus my lens and instead create some fun bokeh effects. 

Bokeh, in case you're not aware, is a Japanese-originated term that refers to the pleasing out of focus qualities of points of light.  It's normally used as a background or foreground framing device to enhance the actual subject, but as a field, it still creates a pretty artistic effect.  What do you think? Should I try getting similar shots at other locations around the park?

A defocused Halloween Tree in Frontierland makes for a great abstract subject.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Snapshots from a Halloween Party

Exactly one year ago today, I attended my first ever Mickey's Halloween Party with my friend, Heather, from Disney Food Blog.  It ended up being a wildly fantastic fun and ridiculous time and started a tradition that continued last night, when I went with Heather and her band of merry Disney fans to Mickey's Halloween Party again.  Those photos will be showing up in these last two weeks of Halloween, but for today, I'm posting a few shots from last year's event.  It seems silly to go to Disneyland to trick or treat, but once you're there doing it, it becomes strangely addictive.  Plus, there are all the great costumes people where to the event--some very impressive to behold.

So suffice to say, I think I'll be making this an annual thing.  It doesn't hurt that hanging out with Heather means being part of a massive themed group that catches a lot of attention.  But it's all a lot of fun, which is the most important part of the family Halloween season.  "Trick or Treat!" we say, but most of the time, we're really hoping for a treat!

Trick or treating inside the Golden Horseshoe.

Trick or Treating in a pirate-themed area... in Frontierland.
Trick or treating inside the Village Haus.

And then there's this cast member scarecrow who chats with anyone who decides to talk to him.  And those who don't too!

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Pumpkin King

When you're the Pumpkin King, you probably don't stand a good chance understanding Christmas and snow and trees and garland. But that doesn't stop Jack Skellington from trying, and his attempts at bringing a new cheer to Halloween Town and then the world result in a wild menagerie of terrifically terrifying toys for all the girls and boys.  Too bad they were made more for ghouls and boils.  Nevertheless, you have to commend the effort.

One day, you'll figure it out, Jack. One day.

Jack examines a curious snowflake while perched atop a familiar jack-o-lantern.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Drifting Out to Socialize

The Cadaver Dans are just so creepily cool, I need to keep posting photos of them every once in a while.  Honestly, for me, they are a feature attraction at Mickey's Halloween Party.  Not only do they sound great, they look great--perfect for a shutterbug and audiophile like me!

Three of the four Cadaver Dans (the fourth being just off frame) crooning to creepy cantations.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

We All Scream For...

It's fitting, right?  Halloween time is the season of screams, but in Southern California, it's also often the hottest part of the year, when those blustery Santa Ana winds sweep a cauldron over the basin and leave denizens sweltering under a suffocating pall of heat.  Of course, if there's one solution to such summer-like conditions, it's ice cream.  So really, for Halloween in SoCal, we do all scream for ice cream!

The Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor on an autumn afternoon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Distress in the Station

If you don't immediately notice something is amiss when you enter the station of Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, just wait.  In addition to the green tint that pervades the lighting, the observation screen at the head of Space Station 77 occasionally shows some abnormalities.  They may seem like glitches, but they're actually a harbinger of what's to come--the sinister space spirit that stalks rocket ship riders out in the cold, desolate abyss of super space.  It's thrilling indeed, but just don't say you weren't warned.

Irregularities on the screen at Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Partners in the Fall

Sometimes, I like replicating a shot I've previously taken with a different twist, either via adjusted framing on my part, updated surroundings on the subject's part, or a bit of both.  This shot is a less zoomed in shot of the Walt Disney statue backlit in a heavenly glow.  Added to the scene is the Halloween Time twist, with the fiberglass jack-o-lanterns scattered around Walt and Mickey.  The time of day is absolutely love, a reminder of those nearly unbeatable golden hours at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Add to it my favorite time of the year, and you have a photo that gives me great nostalgia, and hopefully evokes similarly wistful feelings.  In a good way.

The Golden Hour sun casts a lovely glow on the Partners Statue and the Halloween-themed Hub.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Halloween Tree IV

It's something I have to post about every year, and like Michael Myers, it always comes back.  Yes, the famous Halloween Tree, made memorable by Ray Bradbury, is a recurring feature at Halloween Time.  This festive and lit up deciduous icon glows with a lovely red and orange in Frontierland, full of whimiscal Halloween themed ornaments.  The Halloween Tree is innocent fun and joy, and I always enjoy stopping to admire it when I'm passing by.

The lovely Halloween Tree in Frontierland at the end of the night.

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