Monday, October 31, 2016

The Frightfully Fun Parade

Disney has debuted a delightful and cute villainous parade for Mickey's Halloween Party this year, and while it's not as spectacular as, say, Paint the Night or even Disney World's ridiculously catchy Boo To You Parade, it's still a solid and enjoyable showing.  The parade seems to run a bit short, but it has bundles of detailed floats, some nice dancing scenes, great character interaction, and the iconic Headless Horseman leading the charge.  Here are some photos taken from my recent trip to the Halloween Party!

The Headless Horseman approaches in advance of the parade.
The first float features Zero and is immediately adorable.
Some Nightmare Before Christmas characters flank either side.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

In and Around the Hotel Hightower

Tokyo Disney Sea's Tower of Terror is immaculate and spooky and stunning and eerie, all at the same time.  Outside and in tell different stories, but they both inspire amazement.  Here are a few shots from this incredible E-Ticket attraction at the most beautiful theme park in the world!

The grand and elaborate exterior.

Entering the hotel.

The lobby is lavish and abandoned.
I love the stained glass here.

The hotel has been condemned.

Here's an overlook across the water.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Spooky Castle

Like Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle receives the benefit of some beautiful and eerie 3d projections during the evening at Mickey's Halloween Party.  With animated scenes cast onto the park icon, the castle takes on a much different aesthetic and appearance compared to its normal, stately, elegant self.  But it's a cool difference and a nice visual treat for all who pass by or through during Disneyland's autumn special event!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Tree at the Halloween Party

I love the cute little projections that accompany the lighting and ambiance at Mickey's Halloween Party.  Bony skeletons, crawly spiders, and other spooky objects make surprise appearances on walls, the ground, and seemingly anywhere.  Paired with the Halloween Tree in Frontierland, they form a nostalgic, fun scene.  This is family friendly Halloween, playfully frightful, and certainly delightful.  Seeing this warms my heart during my favorite time of the year.

Some spooky projections accompany the Halloween Tree in Frontierland during Mickey's Halloween Party.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Another Season of Halloween Screams

Mickey's Halloween Party means a chance to watch one of my all-time favorite fireworks show, Halloween Screams.  This mix of spookiness, villains, and pyros is a joy to behold, and recent improvements incorporating projections on the castle and Main Street facades have made it even better.  Here are a few photos from last Friday's visit.  I wasn't able to secure a great spot because I arrived at the viewing area late, but these are better than nothing!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Disney Bounding at the Halloween Party

A favorite pasttime for many guests of Mickey's Halloween Party is to dress up in a unified theme with their friends and go as a fun group devoted to their favorite movie or attraction or Disney property.  It's also fun just to watch people dress up, so here are photos from last year and this year's Halloween Party and a look at some of the fantastic creativity Disney fans put into their works!

A mega-group of Pinnochio characters poses aptly in front of the Village Haus.

A guest gets a photo with an Inside Out fivesome.

That moment when not one but two families in ghostly garb run into each other.
A dapper couple adopts a Mary Poppins theme.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Salon Nouveau Halloween

Disneyland's seasonal decorations are everywhere, and that even includes inside Club 33, where a few festive pumpkins can be found sitting at the bar in Le Salon Nouveau.  It's a small touch, but they add a nice little holiday atmosphere to the elegant and inviting space.

Cute pumpkin decorations adorn the bar at Club 33's Le Salon Nouveau.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sonic Shrieks Over Space Mountain

Disneyland's Halloween Time is, of course, not actually that scary.  It's more spooky and fun frights.  But the closest they do come to something actually sort of intimidating is Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, especially when it comes to the sinister sounding spectral show they shine on the rooftop of the iconic show building.  Every so often, the roof will morph into a kaleidoscope of colors and effects, accompanied by violent shrieks and distorted screams that give the impression that something very scary is happening out there in space.  It's loud, booming, and definitely not the typical Disney warmth and charm, but I love scary Halloween things, so I love this.

The ever-changing projections on the roof of Space Mountain during Halloween Time.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Enter the Headless Horseman

New for this year's Mickey's Halloween Party is the Frightfully Fun Parade, and kicking the whole show off is a favorite from Walt Disney World's Halloween event in the form of the Headless Horseman.  Riding down Main Street and through the rest of the parade route, he carries his disembodied pumpkin head, a spooky and ominous symbol for Halloween.  It's a great, dramatic effect and makes for a nice scene! 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Overview of the Manor

Most (or all) of my photos of Phantom Manor have thusfar been from the pedestrian approaching, coming up to the Manor from the Hub side, show it looming on a hill, looking ominous and eerie.  Today, I thought I'd feature a shot from basically the opposite angle, taken mid-ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  From this view, one can see how sprawling the Manor grounds are, a sign of the former Ravenswood fortune.  Of course, these days, it looks spookier than grand, but that's why I love it.  There's an elegant state of decay here that just really enhances that sinister and intriguing backstory!

Phantom Manor as viewed from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Villains' Playtime

One of the really fun parts of Mickey's Halloween Party is seeing the Disney villains come out to have some fun and mischief.  Some of the villains aren't commonly seen during regular operations, and even those who do seem to have ham it up a little extra, since they know this is their time to shine.  The interactions with guests are often a hoot to behold, with extra zaniness lathered on.  Here are a few shots of some of the Disney villains that come out to play during Mickey's Halloween Party!

Lady Tremaine and her daughters strike a fashion pose.
The Evil Queen looks rather plotting.
Hades interacts with a guest Peter Pan to silly avail.
Captain Hook is a little more dashing with a guest Phantom of the Opera.
Afterward, he requested a solo shot, since Hook has to be the star.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lens Play at the Halloween Tree

Today's post is a bit different.  Rather than show a crisp, clear scene like I usually try to do, here are a couple of experimental shots that play with focus and long exposure lens manipulation.  Both present the Halloween Tree in Frontierland in a unique, well, light.

The first features the tree in intentional soft focus.  I was playing around with different depth of range and bokeh when I shot this as one in a barrage.  I thought it provided an interesting and abstract texture to a normally brilliant and sharp scene. 

The second photo was accomplished with a tripod and a zoom lens.  I set the photo for a regular long exposure, but in the middle of my shot, I slowly twisted the lens to zoom in, creating light streaks across the frame.  It's a cool zoom effect that doesn't necessarily show any crisply but just makes for a unique composition. 

Just some of the things you do when you get bored and try to come up with new shots!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sally and Vampire Teddy

While Sally may be new at Disneyland Park's Haunted Mansion Holiday, over in Tokyo's Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare, Sally has been a fixture for years.  She can be found early on in the ride, in a scene that does not occur at the original home of Grim Grinning Ghosts.  Sitting next to Vampire Teddy as he plays a little jingle at the harpsichord, Sally takes in the enchanted and eerie ambiance.  Teddy does his best to impress her, but I'm sure her mind is still on her beloved Jack Skellington.  After all, a musically inclined blood-sucking plush might be impressive, but there's only one Pumpkin King.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Towering Over Cloverleaves

From Tokyo's Tower of Terror on Sunday to a #TowerTuesday today... here's a view of the iconic ride from a place where it's supposed to be especially monumental--A Bug's Land, where everything is insect size.  Come next year, this view will definitely look a lot different and probably more sci-fi with the Guardians of the Galaxy overlay.  But the Tower of Terror is still availble through the end of the year, so get your last rides soon.  It won't be the same after January 2!

The Tower of Terror from Flik's Fun Fair.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Sea Witch

Halloween is about spooky things, and what's spookier than a villain?  Particularly when that villain is a tentacled witch who lives under the sea?  From her first introduction, Ursula has always been a classic Disney baddie, and her sinister and insatiable lust for power makes her a most menacing antagonist.  In The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, Ursula comes to life in towering audio-animatronic form.  Theh 8-foot tall life size recreation of the sea witch is a grand sight and a marquee part of the ride.  Pity those poor unfortunate souls that get caught in her grasp!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Hightower of Terror

As far as Towers of Terrors go, Tokyo Disney Sea definitely has the most spectacular looking iteration.  Walt Disney World might have the original creepy classic, while California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios have a familiar cozy California style (soon to not be in California!), but in terms of just grandeur and pure beauty, Tokyo's Tower takes the cake.  But as with many things, the exterior belies a sinister inside, where the evil idol Shiriki Utundu lurks, waiting to send unsuspecting guests to a different dimension. 

So beware if you step foot inside the Hotel Hightower.  It may look stately and elegant, but that won't protect you from Shiriki. 

Sure is nice to look at, though.

The chilling Hotel Hightower with its alter ego revealed.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Spooky Town Square

At the end of the night, Disneyland is at its most serene splendor.  The guests have gone home, but the beauty of the architecture, the space, and the theming still shine through.  During the autumn season, this atmosphere takes on an especially warm feeling, as the fall colors cover Main Street in their lovely oranges and yellows.  It's a scene that never gets old for me, and even though it's a lot of the same every year, I still come back and photograph it!

Another Halloween night in Town Square.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Dragon Underneath the Castle

Continuing the theme of ghouls, fiends, and monsters this month, we go underground at Disneyland Paris to visit La Tanière du Dragon, home of a slumbering beast of smoky and scaly proportions.  The animatronic dragon that resides under Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant is truly impressive, not only in size but also range of movement and programmed expressions.  It's a hidden gem at Disneyland Paris, but one I make sure to see each time I visit the park!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Legacy of the Bride

The tragic tale of Melanie Ravenswood traces through each hall of Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris.  The daughter of the cruel and opportunistic Henry Ravenswood, founder of Thunder Mesa, Melanie was engaged to be betrothed to a train engineer who planned to take her away from the town.  But on the day of her wedding, a sinister phantom lured her fiance up to the attic of the estate, where he was hung.  Left at the alter, Melanie slowly lost her mind, never relinquishing her wedding dress or bouquet, wandering the halls calling lovingly to her husband-to-be.  Over time Phantom Manor fell into derelict.  But the spirit of Melanie Ravenswood still haunts this cursed property.  One need only listen to hear that eerie and somber wail.

The chamber of the loading station for Phantom Manor is lushly furnished.

A portrait of Ms. Ravenswood hangs on a nearby wall.

Candles covered with cobwebs mark the age of the house.

A close encounter with the bride-to-be is a haunting affair.

A piano plays a ghostly song.

And Melanie Ravenswood weeps for her groom who will never come.

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