Friday, September 30, 2016

Wistful Sally

The new Sally audio-animatronic inside the Haunted Mansion Holiday is absolutely beautiful.  Devoid of any projection effects or any of the newfangled technology going in many new Disney rides, Sally is just an old-fashioned mechanical character executed in majestically high quality fashion.  As she leans over the gravestone and gazes longingly into the distance, guests can almost feel the aching for that which she cannot obtain.  Her slow blinking eyes add a touch of animation to this wandering spirit, and instantly, Sally feels like she has always belonged to this holiday overlay of the New Orleans Square classic attraction.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Front and Back of Phantom Manor

This post is exactly what the title suggests.  Here are two photos from Disneyland Paris' Phantom Manor, a tremendous "Haunted Mansion" style E-Ticket with a spookily decrepit exterior and a stunningly spectacular interior.  I've written about this attraction plenty of times before, but looking at the facade of the show building never gets old.  And hey, it feels spooky, doesn't it?

The frontside.

The backside.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Getting Those Last Pumpkin Shots

A few weeks ago, I happened to run into a group of other Disneyland photographers congregating together to snap photos of the new Halloween decorations at night.  This so-called "Tripod Squad" knew each other from Instagram, and they had developed a nice network and social crew for nighttime photo run.  We started by Haunted Mansion and slowly made our way over to Main Street over the next hour.  Eventually, we found ourselves at Town Square, sternly eyed by security.  Other guests were still around, but of course, they hoped that we would leave soon.

And eventually, we did (and not last, either!).  But of course, before we did, we just had to take those last few snapshots of Pumpkin Mickey and the park in its nighttime Halloween splendor.  That's the dance we Disney fan photogs always play.  Stick around just long enough to get the empty park shot, but not so long that we overstay our welcome!

Late night photography before security ushers us out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More Inside Mystic Manor

Even though it's not haunted by ghosts, Mystic Manor bears its own connection to supernatural manifestations, as evidenced by the enchanted music box that Lord Henry Mystic's pet monkey, Albert, opens up, unleashing a charm that animates everything throughout the mansion.  It's spectacular and jaw-dropping adventure as Albert frantically tries to get things back in order before his master notices.  Lets take another look at the goings-on inside the ride.

Lord Mystic checks to see that everything is in order before retiring.

As soon as he's out of sight, Albert pops up to investigate Mystic's newest artifact.

Opening up the box enchants everything, turning rooms into melody and song.

The visual effects are spectacular and must been seen in person to be done justice.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Pumpkin Carriage

That old fashioned hearse carriage by the front of the line into the Haunted Mansion has always been a nice photo op, but when the Nightmare Before Christmas takes over, it becomes a lovely little festive adornment of Halloween and Christmas that becomes even more photogenic.  The warmth of the jack-o-lanterns combined with the green ivy brings a medley of colors to the scene, and at night, the presentation looks practically cozy.

Decorated with Halloween pizzazz, the Haunted Mansion carriage is more festive in the autumn and winter.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Hotel Hightower

We're back in Japan today to look at Tokyo Disney Sea's magnificent Tower of Terror.  Even though it has the same skeleton as California's (and France's--excluding the fact that the French Tower of Terror is structurally supported from concrete rather than steel), it looks drastically different on account of its Gothic Revival and Moorish Revival style.  Even those weird cantilevers on the sides of the tower--which I always thought looked peculiar in the Art Deco iteration--seem more natural.  It is a magnificent structure, and another amazing reminder of the detail that abounds at Tokyo Disney Sea!

The lavish, elegant exterior of the Hotel Hightower belies a sinister presence inside.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cadaverous Daniels on the River

Last night was the first Mickey's Halloween Party of 2016, and while I didn't go, I did feel that some photos from previous visits to the event might be fitting.  One of my favorite features of this party are the Cadaver Dans, who sing beautifully haunting acapella along the Rivers of America.  Bathed in eerie fog and cast in a ghostly glow, these crooners churn out a variety of spooky songs, and they are delight to behold.  Definitely don't miss them if you are attending Mickey's Halloween Party!

Friday, September 23, 2016

More Main Street Projections

...of the spooky kind!

Last year, Mickey's Halloween Party had the visual plus of using the Main Street window projection technology introduced in the Disneyland Forever fireworks show to broadcast some fun and spooky imagery onto the facades of Main Street throughout the evening.  Silly ghosts, creepy crawlies, and macabre patterns spread across Crystal and Penny Arcades, the Cinema, Emporium, and more.  Here are some more pictures of this fantastic piece of eye candy!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

More Screams Around Halloween

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort means Mickey's Halloween Party, and Mickey's Halloween Party means Halloween Screams.  This fantastic pyrotechnics show is one of the best in Disney's arsenal, so here are a few more photos to show off some of the sights of the nighttime spectacular!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Evening at the Hightower

At this moment, the Tower of Terror in California is starting the beginning of its drastic exterior transformation into Guardians of the Galaxy--Mission: Breakout, a move that will turn the classy Art Deco exterior into... something science fiction-y.  I'm not exactly a fan of this change, which seems like it will adversely alter the exterior sightlights of the ride from all over the park, so here's a scene from Tokyo, featuring their Tower of Terror--a clone of Disney California Adventure's, but noticeably more spectacular.

The Hotel Hightower is an ominous presence even in glamorous New York in the American Waterfront.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Festive Halloween Time

Halloween in Frontierland means the Día de los Muertos display at Zocalo Park.  Not much has changed here over the years.  It would be nice for the park to mix things up a little bit, but I guess that's just not in the cards.  In any case, here are a couple more photos of the area from a week and a half ago.

Monday, September 19, 2016

At Night with the Pumpkin King

At the end of the night, Jack Skellington stands alone at the Haunted Mansion Holiday, surrounded by his festive dual holiday decorations, surrounded by quiet where screams and laughter had been earlier in the day.  This is a fleeting moment, for tomorrow will bring more thrills and chills.  But for now, the Pumpkin King rests.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Sparkling Bay of Color

Regular World of Color is back, and I took a recent visit to photograph what might be the prettiest part of the show--segment after it ends.  If you didn't know about it before, after the show concludes, there is a nice little post-show of colorful dancing fountains that sends departing guests off on a good night.  The fountains ripple in all varieties of shimmering color, and they are incredibly photogenic.  On this night, I shot from the Silly Symphony Swings, affording me a view of Ariel's Grotto in the background for a nice, luminous composition I had never taken before.  Enjoy this eye candy, and catch regular World of Color before it changes again to an all new World of Color: Seasons of Light Christmastime show!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

House on Phantom Hill II

Since it's the season of spooks, I think it's fitting that I post some more photos of Disneyland Paris' fantastic Phantom Manor, the Haunted Mansion's darker, creepier cousin in France.  Whereas the U.S. and Japanese versions of this attraction feature stately, elegant, and regal exteriors, the Paris version is clearly in disrepair and plainly more sinister looking.  I've said before that it inspires some Psycho house vibes, with the dilapidated Victorian mansion facade evoking connotations to the infamous Bates family home.  What would make for a better visual display of the Halloween season than this?

Phantom Manor, on the river in Thunder Mesa.

The house certainly looks like it's full of frightful spirits.

From this angle, it's easy to see how it reminds some people of the house from Psycho.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Making Final Reservations

By now, you've probably heard that the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is going away early next year (last ride January 2nd, to be specific) and is being repackaged as the Guardians of the Galaxy--Mission: Breakout!  This has caused a strong reaction in the Disney community, with many bemoaning the loss of a still-very-popular ride featuring a classic intellectual property, while others express consternation over the aesthetic decisions being made on the exterior remodel that appear to clash with pretty much everything else neighboring.

While I think the ride itself will likely be fantastic, I do share these worries, especially since Hollywood Land was pretty much re-written as the story of the 1930s golden age of Hollywood just a few years ago within Disney California Adventure's 5-year expansion and improvement project.  Now, it appears to be headed toward a transformation into a "Marvel Land," which would disrupt the overall narrative of the park as "Walt Disney's California through the decades."  We'll see how it turns out, but in the meantime, you have till the end of the year to get your rides at the Hollywood Tower Hotel.  Be sure to... drop on by.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Ghostly Galaxy

Today's photo is an edit.  I took a photo of the Milky Way and the stars that I shot recently out at Borrego Springs and mixed it into the regular Disneyland nighttime sky, to give this scene of Space Mountain a bit more of an interstellar feel.  Because it wouldn't make complete sense for the skies to be this littered with stars above such a brightly light space, I didn't keep the sky completely clear and star-filled.  But this a bit of playing around for possible future Photoshop edit ideas.  After all, I've been doing daily posts on this blog for over four years.  I'm bound to get bored and start looking for new ideas after a while!

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy is a regular hit during Halloween Time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Ghostly Rivers

I get the business decision of not "giving this away" to regular operation nights, but I really wish they would fog up the Rivers of America all through Halloween Time instead of only on Mickey's Halloween Party nights.  The effect is so ethereal and fantastic, and the lighting really adds a spooky mood to the scene. 

I don't grow tired of taking photos of this.  It just perfectly captures the spirit of the season!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Halloween Up and Down Main Street

Disney's Halloween Time is a lovely time of year, full of autumn trimmings and decorations that recount those classic, old-fashioned days of Halloween fun and spookiness.  It harkens back to olden Hallowen nostalgia, and it also means that it's a lovely subject to photograph at night.  I've posted many photos of this in the past, but I always go back each fall to shoot more.  Here are some from this past weekend's visit!

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Halloween Tree V

Another year, another appearance for the beloved Halloween tree (beloved by myself plus many of my friends, anyway).  This tribute to Ray Bradbury's same-named novel has been a fixture of Disneyland's Halloween Time for many years now, and its cute and light-hearted spooky nature is just one of those things I love for no rational reason.  But it's lovely and colorful and fun to photograph, so I'm glad it comes back every fall.

Back for another year, Disneyland's tribute to Ray Bradbury.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sally's Haunted Mansion

It's the time of the year again when The Nightmare Before Christmas takes over the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and transforms it into the Haunted Mansion Holiday!  This year, Sally seems to be the star, as a new animatronic of her has debuted in the graveyard, while this year's ginger cake (which changes every year) is done in the style of her stitched up self.  It's pretty fun stuff, so lets take a pictorial tour through this now-classic holiday overlay of a beloved attraction!

A colorful facade greets riders as they board their Doom Buggies.
Vampire Teddy makes his first of many appearances as the ride begins.

Zero floats down the Neverending Hallway, a pile of bones waiting for him as a present.

Vampire Teddy again, this time with a present that just can't wait to get out!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Halloween Hub II

Yesterday marked the start of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort.  In less than a week, most of the 60th Anniversary decorations have been taken down, replaced by the Halloween overlay of years past.  Though the props and theming stay the same, there are still parts of the park during Halloween Time that I do not grow tired of photographing, and The Hub at night is certainly one of them.  The warm orange hues provide a nice counterbalance to the cool blues and magentas of Sleeping Beauty's Castle behind, and everything seems lovely and intimate.  It's a nice scene, and it gives me a calming effect.

Walt, Mickey, and Jack-O-Lanterns after hours at Disneyland.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Bygone Blue Hour

Most of the focus on the Disneyland Diamond Anniversary celebration was fittingly on Disneyland Park, but Disney California Adventure got it into it with a lovely Carthay Circle Restaurant building draped in lovely blue banner, with a beautiful Disney medallion as well.  The decoration gave some nice pop to an otherwise clean looking building, and I actually thought it looked rather nice.  Perhaps they can do other building decoration from time to time, if it is tastefully done.

The 60th Anniversary-decorated Carthay Circle Restaurant provided a nice azure vibe to the Diamond Celebration.

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