Monday, August 31, 2015

Toys in Luminous Color

We close out August with another installment of our Paint the Night series.  Continuing off the Little Mermaid segment, we transition into another modern classic, Toy Story!  Take a look at some photos of this fun parade unit as it makes its way through Disneyland.

Here comes the Toy Story portion! It's fronted by Jessie and some glowing ball twirling cowgirls.
It's a light filled rodeo!
Jessie stops to say hi. Note the "Disney Point!"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Making a Summer Splash

I don't usually go on water rides when I'm at a theme park.  I wear glasses, and the feeling of water on them is irrationally annoying to me.  Plus, I usually have my camera  gear with me, so I don't like to risk getting that wet.

However, sometimes, circumstances just call for it.  A couple of weeks ago, I spend part of the afternoon at Disneyland enduring 100+ degree heat.  That was an occasion that called for a cooldown aboard a water ride.  And in that case, what better aquatic attraction than Disneyland's beloved Splash Mountain?

Riders zoom down Splash Mountain on a hot and cloudless summer day.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Tower Elevated

Here's another elevated Tower of Terror shot, taken from the back steps of the Hyperion Theater, which are really the entry steps--only they are located on the backside of the theater face.  This view affords a nice look at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, showing how large the structure really is.  Even high above ground level, the massing of the building still seems monumental.  And though the Tower may not look as sinister as it does at night, I still really enjoy this view and this time of day.

Soft, beautiful sunlight illuminates the Tower of Terror on a not-so-scary day.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Canopy of Color

I love photographing the Jumpin' Jellyfish at night.  It's so luminous and colorful and whimsical, it makes for a fantastic subject.  In fact, the nighttime scene amplifies the attraction with colorful neon accenting the rainbow medley that covers the ride vehicles and structure.  So here's another shot of a ride that I rarely go on (it is, after all, oriented for children) but enjoy nonetheless.

The Jumpin' Jellyfish glows with color at night.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Island Mine Train

I think Disneyland Paris's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the best for a variety of reasons, but the most visually spectacular is its setting.  Located in the center of the Rivers of the Far West, this E-Ticket races throughout the island in a wild and incredible journey through elaborate theming, mysterious mines, and dramatic geology.  It is unlike any other Big Thunder, and its layout is a complete repackaging of the ride.  The dramatic turnaround, for example, takes place in the first act rather than the final, and it is just one of many exciting moments on the ride.  I'm so glad I was able to ride this when I visited last year.  It made up for finding it closed for refurbishment the first time I visited Disneyland Paris nine years ago!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast

There are many differences between Disneyland Paris' Discoveryland and the Tomorrowlands of the other Magic Kingdoms, but one similarity seems to be the presence of a Buzz Lightyear laser shooting attraction.  In fact, this attraction finds a home in all five Magic Kingdom parks around the world.  In Paris, it is Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, and it is pretty much the same attraction as original Disneyland's Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters.  On the other hand, the exterior (like everything else in Discoveryland) is way cooler, and at night, it really comes alive with electricity!  Guess they've got plenty of crystallic fusion cells in there, don't they?

The entrance of Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, at Disneyland Paris.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gathered for the Spectacular

The Disneyland Forever fireworks has been packing in the crowds all summer, and nowhere is this most evident than on Main Street, when guests rush out onto the street immediately following the early showing of the Paint the Night parade and gather to witness Disneyland's 60th anniversary pyro spectacular.  The resulting projections, fireworks, and light show quite astounding, and the communal atmosphere heightens the magic guests feel.  It's a lovely ambiance--one that I'm eager to experience trip after trip.

A Mickey burst explodes over the skies above Disneyland.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Peeking into the Airfield

The Grizzly Peak Airfield addition has really tied the entire area together nicely.  The rustic atmosphere extends all the way to Buena Vista Street, and the long views look more consistent, with the desert environment of the former Condor Flats no longer disrupting the wilderness feel of the Grand Californian and Grizzly Peak proper beyond.  The Imagineers have done a fantastic job with this little refurbishment. Sometimes, you don't need broad strokes for a significant impact!

Signage and details into Grizzly Peak Airfield.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Scenes from the Jungle Cruise

I love the Jungle Cruise. The wise-cracking skippers, the terrible puns, the goofiness of the entire attraction... they're all just groan-worthy fun.  But what I don't do often is take photos of the ride. Maybe it's because I'm usually at the parks later, when the light is not so great, or because I'm too busy listening for the next punchline, or because the angles for shooting are never great, since you literally have to turn around.  So here are a few shots from one of my favorite rides, complete with cornball spiel!

Ladies and gentlemen, what a treat this is!  We've entered the Elephant Bathing Pool, and it looks like the whole herd is out! That's practically unheard of!  But it's ok, folks. Take all the photos you want. They all have their trunks on.

This, here, is Bertha.  She's been enjoying these falls for sixty years, and it shows.  Look at all those wrinkles!  She really needs to see a pachydermatologist.  And it just goes to show you, kids.  If you take a shower long enough, you'll turn into an elephant.

Shhhh, quiet, everyone!  Don't make any sounds like a banana.  This guy finds it realy ap-peel-ing.  We'd better split!

Here we are at the African Veldt, where the hand of man has never set foot.  Looks like we've got some striped horses, some long necked cheetahs, and... hm, I've never seen those guys on the right before. They must be new.

Oh boy, looks like we've found the lost safari!  See that guy at the bottom? His name's Ahontas.  And it looks like that rhino is going to poke... Ahontas.  It just goes to show you: never get into an argument with a rhino.  He always gets his point across... in the end.

Looks like the local villagers are performing a little ceremony there.  Let me see if I can translate: You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in... hmm, sounds like a bunch of hokey pokey to me! 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Splashdown at Grizzly Peak

I posted some similar photos last month, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to toss up some more photos of Grizzly River Run at its climactic finale.  We've had some warm spells this summer, as Southern California does every year, and nothing is more refreshing on a hot day than an exciting water ride.  Just look at all those droplets of cooling, comforting water.  Perfect for beating the heat!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Harkening to Halloween Time

August is winding down, and soon it will be September, which means Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort is just around the corner!  Sure, the weather will still be warm, and the leaves won't change any color (except for brown if they finally give into this California drought).  But just the same, we're not long away from attractions like the Haunted Mansion Holiday or the festivities at Big Thunder Ranch or Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.  Yes, Halloween Time will be coming next month. Are you excited?

A beautiful fall day at the Disneyland Resort during Halloween Time.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mansion Details

It's not often that I'm at the Haunted Mansion early enough to capture daytime and sunlit photos of the structure.  This gives it a different and much more welcoming feel, and it also provides better light for the abundance of nice details that abound around the home of those 999 Happy Haunts.  Here are a few of those items in a brief photo tour around this eerie estate!

Coming upon the Mansion from New Orleans Square.
The pet cemetery is quaint and cute.
Little jokes abound on the tombstones.

Approaching the mansion from the switchbacks affords this nice frame of the tree-shaded facade.
Ornate wrought iron supports the balconies.
A very close-up of the wrought iron.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rowing Down the River

Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes are not an attraction I do often.  The combination of proximity to water plus required manual labor do not fit well with my preferred mode of living, but recently, I decided to give them a try just for fun, because I hadn't been on them in a while.  As it turned out, the manual labor isn't really that bad (I knew that, but it was an excuse), and the position along the river affords some nice, unique views and angles that cannot be obtained any other way.  So here's a nice, leisurely day just above the surface of the Rivers of America!

Paddling along the Rivers of America.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Golden Wharf to Paradise

The calm, steady waters of Pacific Wharf are a constant datum in this peaceful, Bay Area inspired land at Disney California Adventure.  And when the afternoon sun strikes the water and the buildings just right, it evokes a soothing tranquility that pacifies the soul.  I love the mood of this scene as the afternoon winds down.  It reminds me of cozy summer afternoons from my childhood vacations to San Francisco--nice, nostalgic memories indeed!

A warm afternoon washes golden light upon the waters of Pacific Wharf.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Spooky Singers on the River

It's not Halloween yet, but with Southern California in the middle of the dog days of summer, I figured it would be fun to look ahead to the fall and the fun that is Halloween Time.  In particular, Mickey's Halloween Party offers a unique experience through Disneyland Park, with specialized entertainment and goodies for guests.  One of my favorites are the Cadaver Dans, the undead Dapper Dans, who perform along the Rivers of America and croon their ghostly songs.  The visual is amazing too, and it's just so nice to see this ghoulish gallery on display!

The Cadaver Dans give a solemnly spooky serenade at Mickey's Halloween Party.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Best Balloons

There seems to be few things that attract the attention of guests and cameras more than the balloons at Disneyland.  Bright and colorful, with a cheerful Mickey Mouse head inside a transparent sphere, these iconic orbs are instant photo ops, and any cast member with balloons will quickly find people stopping to take photos with or of them.  And why not?  Balloons symbolize the carefree whim of childhood fancy, a state of mind that beholds the Happiest Place on Earth full of wonder and adoration.  They connote innocence and fun, so much so that even if you accidentally lose one, you can always get a replacement balloon by showing proof of purchase.

A bundle of balloons floats along Main Street.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Nighttime Fill Up

This scene below is paired with a couple of similar shots I featured six month ago. The gas station pumps at Flo's V8 Cafe make for some great subjects. Their sleek, classic shapes and the cool canopy above emphasize sort of a classic mid-century look, but romanticized and fantasized. The bright lighting keeps the ambiance lively and welcoming, and the abundance of lines provide a medley of angles for photographers.  Is it any wonder why I enjoy photographing this place so much?

Between the pumps at Flo's V8 Cafe.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Under the Painted Sea

When we last left off in the Paint the Night series, we were zooming along with the characters of Cars.  We rejoin the parade at its next segment, diving deep beneath the sea to find The Little Mermaid!

This float is among the most spectacular in the entire parade, with lovely, luminous characters and twinkling lights, not to mention elaborately dressed dancers.  There's even a Finding Nemo tag at the end with Marlin and Nemo swimming amongst some jellyfish!  Take a look at these photos and float along!

Dancers usher Ariel and King Triton.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Well of the Briar Patch

Along the way to the entrance of Splash Mountain, there's a charming little well that features a carving of Brer Rabbit sauntering along to his Laughing Place.  It's a wonderful little detail that many people may overlook.  As such, it's a pleasant surprise for those who notice it.  And it's appropriate that this is associated with Brer Rabbit, because as followers if his adventure know, all's well that ends well.

...I'll let myself out after you finish groaning.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Evening at the Cinema

The clean, calm, pristine facades of Main Street give an extra sparkle at the end of the night, when all the guests have left, and it's just this romanticized representation of Walt Disney's hometown left to illuminate the scene.  Guests passing the Main Street Cinema may hear the short Mickey Mouse cartoons that play continuously inside, even at this late of an hour.  It's the bit of activity in an otherwise gorgeous scene of tranquility.

A peaceful evening on Main Street in front of the Main Street Cinema.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Backside of Flo's

I've always thought that the back side of Flo's V8 Cafe was pretty complex and detailed, considering the fact that it was not the primary facade.  Granted, it has to compete with standing right across from Willy's Butte, Radiator Springs Racers, and the beautiful Firewall Falls, but still--a lot of design and effort has gone into this part of the restaurant!

There's canted glass, sleek overhangs, lovely turquoise, warm clad stone, and a nifty little shade structure all along the walkway, integrated into a lovely outdoor dining area that provides a fantastic atmosphere.  Little touches add up, and the result is a wonderful contribution to the immersive environment that is Cars Land!

The sleek and stylish facade of Flo's V8 Cafe, but on the Ornament Valley side.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Les Tapis Volants

Walt Disney Studios has a spinning flying carpets ride at Paris' Walt Disney Studios similar to Dumbo or the Astro Orbiter.  It's called Les Tapis Volants - Flying Carpets Over Agrabah.  Here, guests spin around and can guide their ride vehicles up or down--all as the Genie barks directions.  It's not a bad ride, but it sort of symbolizes the short sightedness of Walt Disney Studios.  The ride doesn't maintain a consistent story--is it a movie shoot or actual flying carpets, and why is Genie acting as director anyway?  It's tucked in a corner, so there aren't really views to be enjoyed, and the facade behind the ride is just a regular painted wall.  The theming here is certainly not to par with typical Disney standards.  This could be in any amusement park that spent just a bit more money.

Oh well, such is the past.  It's just that the park still has to live with this.  But in any case, it's a featured attraction within Walt Disney studios, so here are a few pictures of the ride!

The fact that someone once thought this would be worthy of Fastpass seems laughable.

It's a fun ride with dual capacity compared to a ride like Disneyland's Dumbo.

Admittedly, flying around never really gets old.

Genie watches over all the action.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Walt Aglow

A few visits ago, I was strolling through Disneyland looking for focused views when I came across this orientation of Walt Disney in the Partners statue directly in front of the mid/late afternoon sun.  The rim lightning provided by the sun gave a nice ethereal touch to a figure many consider to be larger than life, so I sought an angle that would capture both silhouette, detail, and illumination.  What do you think of the result?

Walt Disney looks heavenly in front of the afternoon sun.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

An Afternoon at the Treehouse

I've shared many photos taken from Tarzan's Treehouse during the three years I've been running this blog, but I realized I haven't really posted that many photos of the Treehouse.  It's a wonderful attraction, both because of its views and its spirit of adventure.  And when golden hour hits it, it becomes quite the lovely structure!

The Riverbelle Terrace in front of Tarzan's Treehouse.

A close-up of the Union Jack flying over the living quarters.

Lamps and lanterns abound and make great details.


A view of the foliage, with the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain beyond.

That warm afternoon glow is magical on the Treehouse.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Summer Symphony

In this photo, I've tried to capture the humid summer evenings that Southern California has been experiencing recently.  This hasn't exactly been comfortable, but it has provided some visual texture to the skies and some interesting photographic opportunities.  I feel like the orange skies and ripply clouds embody the mugginess of the air.  Add the stormy connotation of the Silly Symphony Swings, which is inspired by the classic Disney cartoon The Band Concert, which itself features a turbulent setting, and I think the ambiance feels appropriate, right?

The Silly Symphony Swings spins in the silhouette of sunset.

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