Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Caravan Courtyard II

I just wanted to post another view of the lovely main courtyard in Arabian Coast.  It's a lively area and functions the way a big plaza would function in a real city.  A theater on one side, a carousel on another, with passageways to other parts of the land that bring guests to and fro, it's a beautiful space that offers spatial relief after guests go through the narrow more winding streets.  Even just looking at the photo, I can remember the vibrant energy pulsating through this public space.  It's just so very nice!

Another view of the main courtyard in the Arabian Coast port of Tokyo Disney Sea.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Renaissance Docked

Fortress Explorations is an amazing Disney play area, and right along the harbor is the Renaissance sailing ship, a Old World galley reminiscent of those ocean explorers of the age of colonialism.  This version, however, allows children (and children at heart) to scramble up, around, and through a "pirate ship" of sorts, all in an absolutely gorgeous setting.  Looking at this, one would be hard pressed to remember that it's all just a theme park.  Again, Tokyo Disney Sea: a Sea of Dreams.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Frozen: Live at the Hyperion

A couple of months ago, Frozen: Live at the Hyperion debuted as the replacement for the Aladdin live stage show.  The show is a Broadway style musical covering the major points of the hit movie, and I finally visited to watch the show and take pictures.  Here's a look at this live theater spectacular!

The show features rich use of some beautiful 3D-mapping projections.
We start with the ice harvesters singing "Frozen Heart."
Then cut to young Anna and Elsa playing.
Elsa does her magic but can't quite control it, resulting in Anna being injured.
The King and Queen rush after hearing Elsa's frightened cries.
They call upon the Troll King to heal her, but he takes away Anna's memories of Elsa's magic as well.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sunset Over Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland represents the spirit and optimism for the future, and this is never embodied more than magic hour and sunset on a beautiful day.  With those warm solar rays basking the futuristic scene, the atmosphere is ripe with an aura of romance.  All the guests strolling through adds an element of dynamicism, and at this moment, the hope for a better tomorrow is never stronger.

The sun sets behind the Starcade building in Tomorrowland.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Spell on a Hotel

Although the classic photo of the Disneyland Paris Hotel is that head-on facade shot, the approach isn't quite so out and open.  In reality, there's a bit of a meandering path before the trees part, and the hotel unveils itself.  And before that, there's a nifty little statue symbolizing the magic and wonder of Euro Disney and the Magic Kingdom.  With the hotel in the background, it makes for a nice composition.

A sculpture of a sorcerer's wand in front of the Disneyland Paris Hotel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Come On and Kiss the Girl

The "Kiss the Girl" scene for The Little Mermaid ride at Disney California Adventure is solidly focused on Eric and Ariel, holding suspense as the viewer waits to see if Eric can break Ursula's curse.  But there are plenty of other details in the scene as well, and one of them is the great little Sebastian animatronic, singing the song to set the mood.  I realized during one of my rides that I could get a pretty cool perspective of the scene by focusing on Sebastian and framing everyone else in the background.  Suddenly, the prince and the mermaid weren't the stars, it was the little red crab.  And really, as far as music goes from the movie, he is the star.

Sebastian croons his romantic tune as Ariel and Prince Eric gaze into each other's eyes.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Other Side of the Tracks

The Disneyland Railroad is still closed to make way for "Star Wars" Land infrastructure, but fortunately, park operations has left two engines on display at the Main Street and New Orleans Square stations, so that guests may enjoy the locomotives.  At New Orleans Square, in addition to being able to inspect a train up close, access has been granted to the other side of the track, to the old Frontierland station that existed before New Orleans Square popped up.  This hasn't been open to the public since the 1960s, and it's pretty exciting for Disney nerds who relish those little things.  So here's a shot from the other side of the tracks--a view that until recently was not possible for the regular guest!

A different angle of the Fred Gurley sitting at New Orleans Square, currently closed due to refurbishment and track adjustment of the Disneyland Railroad.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Whirlpool

Swirling with dizzying motion, The Whirlpool is a family friendly teacups-style ride inside the Triton's Kingdom indoor area of Mermaid Lagoon, one of the seven ports of call in Tokyo Disney Sea.  Though not quite as expansive as the Mad Tea Party, it's got a much more immersive setting, and the pretty spectrum of this calypso land lend a whimsical flare to what on paper is a collection of children's amusement park rides.  But as Tokyo Disney Sea always does, these rides are transformed through the deeply detailed theming and atmosphere crafted to surround guests in the full illusion of the land.  Just another reason why Tokyo Disney Sea is the most beautiful theme park in the world.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Hazy Bay

This is one of the signature views of Paradise Pier, angled down the launch of California Screamin' and Mickey's Fun Wheel, with Ariel's Grotto in the foreground.  But the skies above Paradise Bay always lend a different ambiance to the scene, whether they're a peaceful solid blue or fiery reds and magentas or a muggy overcast.  So here's another shot of the bay.  It's always beautiful.

This scene from Paradise Pier never gets old.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fireworks Over the River III

Another #FireworksFriday features more shots of Disneyland Forever from the Rivers of America.  As I've mentioned before, this vantagepoint offers a lovely vista of the show, with colorful reflections created off the pyro bursts, the riverfront lamps, and the Mark Twain riverboat.  The angle allows a wider view of the fireworks and some different compositions compared to the usual straight-on perspective.  And these days, with the Rivers of America relatively quiet at night due to the lack of FANTASMIC!, it's a relatively hassle-free spot from which to photograph!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Estrellas del Zocalo II

The Rancho del Zocalo sparkles at night after all the guests have left, and the cantina has closed up shop.  Those wonderful star-shaped hanging lamps provide a lovely ambiance, and they're lovely to photograph too.  So during another recent late night run, I (once again) couldn't help but snap a few shots.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Watching, Always Watching

Dry, all-business, and the ultimate paperwork tracker, Roz is one of my favorite all-time Pixar characters.  And at the end of the Monsters Inc. ride at Disney California Adventure there she is, quipping at riders with unique and sarcastic comments.  With a face like that, how could you not like Roz?

Roz needs your paperwork.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Riverfront Jazz Band

I have always loved FANTASMIC!, and aside from the wonderful show itself, one of my favorite memories of watching it as a kid was actually enjoying the live jazz music that was played before the show began by a jazz band that floated along the Rivers of America aboard one of the rafts that took guests to Tom Sawyer Island.  The mood they set was always fun and high spirited, and I loved the idea of floating entertainment.  When they eventually removed that pre-show, I was disappointed, because it was a habit I had really enjoyed.

Well, recently, nighttime riverfront jazz has returned along the Rivers of America.  The Jambalaya Jazz Band has been doing several sets along the river, presumably to make up a little for the lack of a FANTASMIC! while the back half is being reworked and rerouted to accommodate "Star Wars" Land.  This has only been occurring since the beginning of the summer season and seems to be designed to be a crowd appeaser for those expanded summer crowds, but I welcome it.  It stirs those childhood memories and adds another platform for live jazz--something I have always enjoyed.  Here are some photos taken just this past Sunday of the band, playing their swinging tunes after dark.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Afternoon at the Lagoon

The submarines in Tomorrowland offer a beautiful and classic shot, especially on beautiful, cloudless blue sky days, when the azure hues of the water and skies contrast nicely against the vibrant yellow of the submarines.  Gazing upon this vista, one can't help but appreciate the loveliness of the scene.  It's just so pretty!

The submarine Seafarer rounds Nemo Lagoon on a beautiful summer afternoon.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Icons on the Waterfront

Even now, thinking back on my experiences at Tokyo Disney Sea, I still can't get over how amazing the park is.  There is such a richness in detail both from afar and up close, such grandeur in scale and scope, such hyper-realistic immersion... it is almost overwhelming.  Tokyo Disney Sea is a photographer's dream, because pointing the camera anywhere yields a shot of something fantastic.  In the American Waterfront, this especially holds true around the area of the S.S. Columbia and the Tower of Terror.  The Tower of Terror is what happens when the Japanese get a hold of a rather simple facade and decide they want something more magnificent.  So exit the California Spanish style and enter an intricate Moorish Revival style.  And the Columbia?  Nothing significant... it's just a restaurant and lounge... inside of a large scaled steamliner... that they built because they could. 

Tokyo Disney Sea is insane... insanely detailed and beautiful... and I can't wait to go back.

A lantern, a steamliner, a bridge, and a cursed hotel stop into a frame...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Alice's Tea Party

The tea cups carry different names depending on which Disney Magic Kingdom in which they reside, and at Tokyo Disneyland, they are Alice's Tea Party.  This whimsical ride is the same as its brethren--spinning tea cups on a turntable, with the goal of maximum dizziness.  This is a ride I will actively avoid except for rare circumstances, because I just do not like the feeling of having my head spin.  But I can't deny that there's lots of fun and whimsy on this ride--even if I can't appreciate the fun part.  At the very least, it's nice to photograph.

A teapot in front of a castle at Tokyo Disneyland.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Hong Kong's Paint the Night II

I posted photos of Hong Kong's Paint the Night parade earlier this year.  In that post, I detailed some of the differences between this predecessor to Disneyland's version.  However, I still maintain that Hong Kong's offers a more photogenic setting and lighting, and here are some more photos of the show to demonstrate.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

At the Cookery

I like my nighttime photos of the Lucky Fortune Cookery best, but I still think it's nice to show off this quick-serve restaurant during the day too.  To be fair, it's most interesting looking at night, but I think the hanging lanterns and rustic Monterey aesthetic still make for a nice ambiance during the day.  And as much as I like to trash on Americanized Asian fast food, I have to admit... the cuisine here isn't really terrible.  It's actually not that bad!

The line at the Lucky Fortune Cookery, past the lunch rush.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Auction

It's one of the most famous scenes in Disney ride history.  It's where they "wants the redhead," and where one shows them her larboard side.  Yes, inside Pirates of the Caribbean, pirates do what pirates do, and one those things is auctioning off wenches.  Of course, the star of the show is the brazen redhead, the only one who doesn't seem to mind her predicament and in fact seems to rather enjoy the attention.  Well, I suppose she'll make some pirate happy someday, if anyone can ever have her.

Buy a wench in this iconic scene from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rainbow Ridge

It's the last scene of the twisting and turning Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but Rainbow Ridge actually predates Frontierland's E-Ticket  Long before the "wildest ride in the wilderness" ever took off, there were the Mine Train to Nature's Wonderland and the Pack Mules, and before that, the Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach Ride--a historical triple threat of attractions in  early Frontierland that sprawled across the area that is now Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the former Big Thunder Ranch.  The epicenter of these attractions was Rainbow Ridge, a sleepy but charming little western town with adorable facades and a real pioneer feel.  When these old Frontierland attractions went away over time, the buildings remained and were incorporated into Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Today, there's a lovely reminder of Yesterland--Disneyland's own frontier forever bound in the history books.

Rainbow Ridge lies along the brake run of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The facades are quite nice.

Wouldn't it be great to actually live in this town?

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Banner Entry

For anyone used to the regal entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park, the one at Disneyland Paris might be a bit of a surprised.  Rather than enter into a highly visible and elegant building, this entrance is more tucked away, and the only real notice for it is this nifty sign, an unfurled sale with the ride logo on it.  It's a nice fitting scene here, in a part of Adventureland that is more tropical and, well, Caribbean in ambiance.  And if the show building facade is a little understated, that's ok.  It's the interior that matters, and on that end, Disneyland Paris' Pirates absolutely excels.

The entrance to Disneyland Paris' Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Union Jack over the Jungle

Last Friday, I was taking a friend through Tarzan's Treehouse.  It was golden hour--that magical moment in the late afternoon and early evening when the setting sun casts a warm, luminous glow on a scene, and I stopped when I reached the scene where Jane sketches Tarzan.  Looking out over Adventureland, I was drawn to this scene of a ship mast with the flag of the United Kingdom hanging, leaves stretching toward the Union Jack, that lovely light cast across the vegetation.  It just made for an interesting composition to me, and the lighting only helped the beauty of this little detail.  This might not be anything spectacular overall, but for me, it's a warm memory of a soothing moment at Disneyland.

The British flag hangs at Tarzan's Treehouse during golden hour.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Splash Mountain Nostalgia

Bright, colorful, sun-drenched... that describes the scene of my first memory of staring up at Splash Mountain at Disneyland as a child.  Of course, back then, I was too young and too timid to brave this ride.  It would only be later in childhood that I would work up the courage.  But then I discovered what a fun, charming ride it was, and from then, I loved it.

Fast forward to my Japan (and Hong Kong) vacation last year.  When I visited Tokyo Disneyland, I had to ride Splash Mountain, even though it is very similar to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions I'd been on before.  The Japanese version is absolutely adorable and fantastic and in wonderful condition.  The high Japanese standards of maintenance and good quality were clearly on display here.  And I also managed to snag a photo that visualizes that first memory I had of the ride.  I was shorter back then, but the good vibes remain the same.

Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Haunted Hotel Hightower

If I could bring a tripod into Tokyo Disney Sea, this would be a better framed shot.  Unfortunately, those are prohibited, so I had to find a nearby trash can on which to prop my camera.  As it were, I like the street sign and just wish the tree was trimmed back a little more. 

That said, the Tower of Terror sure looks eerie in this scene, doesn't it?  It's impressive to think that this is the same skeleton as the Disney California Adventure and Walt Disney Studio versions, but with a different theme that carries a bevvy of detail and intricacy.  Plus, the ride has Shiriki, the best murderous inter-dimensional idol ever!

The Hightower Hotel is even spookier when it looms silently at night.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Paradise Blue II

If you look back far enough, you'll find that I've posted a similar photo to this before.  But I can't help it--the day I photographed this scene was one of my rare moments where I was at the Disneyland Resort during an epic sunset that turned into a spectacular blue hour as well.  And there's something just utterly soothing about a beautiful blue hour (probably because blue is a calming color--especially more aquatic looking blues).  Of course, since this was taken from Cove Bar, the serenity belies what was likely a chaotic scene behind me.  But hey, that can be disregarded when the scene in front is so pretty.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fortune Red

Over around 21 Royal Street, right next to Pieces of Eight, there's a coin operated animatronic pirate inside a booth.  This Fortune Red, and similar to Shrunken Ned in the Adventureland Bazaar and Esmeralda at the Main Street Penny Arcade, Red can tell you your fortune--with a few coins as offerings, of course!  He's a cool little almost-hidden secret that's been around for decades and offers some nostalgia back to the early years of Disneyland Park!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Magical Mystic Manor

The whimsical and curious Mystic Manor building is quite the oddity.  It seems to be a hodgepodge assemblage of several styles of architecture, with a bit of Winchester Mystery House thrown in for good measure.  Then again, for a man like Lord Henry Mystic, who collected artifacts and treasures from all the around the world and across many different cultures, this exterior makes sense.  It's an eclectic mix of everything, and it barely begins to cover the adventure to be found inside!

Mystic Manor looms in colorful eccentricity.

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