Sunday, April 30, 2017

Along the Old River

The Rivers of America have been closed for a while now, getting re-routed and changed up to accommodate "Star Wars" Land.  Here's a throwback to the River that was... which was only a little more than a year ago.  But that is a part of the park that has faded away to Yesterland, so here's a trip back to memory lane.

The Mark Twain steams around the Rivers of America at sunset.
History is all along the river.  For example, this old keelboat that used to operate along the River decades ago.
The no-longer-burning cabin on Tom Sawyer's Island.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Dream Castle

Disneyland Paris' castle is still my favorite Disney castle of all, so sometimes, I feel like reminding people exactly why with a pretty photo such as this one below.  It's like somethng straight out of a fairy tale.  Only at Paris' Magic Kingdom, it is real.

Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant is amazing against the blue sky.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dapper Day Spring 2017: Solo Artists

If you haven't figured it out by now, I've been breaking down my Dapper Day Spring 2017 coverage into categories.  Technically, I've been somewhat arbitrary--differentiating between Disneybounding and regular dapper dress-up and also organizing by number of people in photo.  So we come now to one... photos of people I encountered one on one.  They may have been on their way to meet friends or just temporarily on an excursion, but they were by themselves when I saw them.  But that doesn't make them any less fabulous!  Take a gander...

I've actually seen this Captain Jack fan around the parks dressed up as the part of the famous pirate...
...but I was shocked to see him fancied up as Dapper Jack Sparrow!
I ran into Phyllis Herman at Disneyland Park also.
This gorgeous Cruella de Vil certainly made villainy a little more glamorous.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dapper Day Spring 2017: Disneybounding Duos (and Trios)

Our Dapper Day coverage continues this week with more Disneybounding photos from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.  If you missed yesterday's and Tuesday's posts, check them out.  And as for today, we look at the paired up (and sometimes tripled up) guests who paid homage to their favorite Disney characters or themes.  Whether its couples or friends, it's great to see people get into the thematic wardrobe act together, and Dapper Day certainly featured some great ensembles.  Here are just a few from Sunday.

Cosplay Parents were adorable, appearing once again in a Mary Poppins theme like they did last year.
Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps from Zootopia.
A most adorable couple: daddy Donald Duck and daughter Alice in Wonderland!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dapper Day Spring 2017: The Dappers

These days, Dapper Day seems to have gone mostly to the Disneybounders--those derivative and creative outfits that use the general patterns and color palettes of characters (and rides, and sometimes foods and other park inspirations) to create outfits out of "everyday" clothes.  But Dapper Day was originally borne of the spirit of dressing up in vintage fashion--mid-century or earlier, to evoke the atmosphere of Disneyland during its early days.  Back in the '50s and '60s, most everyone wore their Sunday finest when visiting the park.  It was both the wardrobe trend of the time and a special occasion, and the nostalgia of that aesthetic continues to burn brightly in the hearts of many Disney park fan.

So while Dapper Day is practically Disneybound Day these days, the original spirit of the event can still be seen from guests who dress up not to any specific Disney property, but to a bygone era instead.  Here are a few snapshots I caught on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dapper Day Spring 2017: Disneybounding in Groups

This past Sunday was another Dapper Day, a twice-annual event that I've grown particularly fond of because of all the wonderful sights, seeing people dress up in dashing and creative ways, transforming the park into a throwback experience harkening back to the mid-century, when Disneyland Park was young, and everyone went to the park in their Sunday finest.

It used to be that Dapper Day was about dressing up, typically in vintage style, to create a nostalgic environment.  But these days, the popularity of Disneybounding has turned Dapper Day into a creative exhibit on iterative Disney character homage, and many turn their enthusiasm into a group effort.  Here are just a few of the many Disneybounding guests who enjoyed the parks over the weekend.  Part of the fun was figuring out who some of them were Disneybounding as, and while some groups were cohesive themes, others were collections of disparate characters.  And still others were different groups coming together to each other's outfits.

Toy Story runs into the Purple Villains Club (see below for more details), and the result is fabulous.  Even Emperor Zurg can't help but be impressed by the Disneybounding.
This Roger and Jessica Rabbit seem to be the center of attention, flanked by their very stylish friends.
Donald and Daisy are too cute, with their friend, who is more on the Dapper side than the Disneybound side.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Along the American Waterfront

The American Waterfront at Tokyo Disney Sea is composed of three distinct zones representing different famous waterside areas in the United States: San Francisco, New York, and Cape Cod.  Despite the geographical differences, they come together pretty seamlessly in the magic of this Sea of Dreams.  I've posted a lot of photos of this area, but I don't think I've shown many from this particular angle, looking across the water from the section adjacent to Cape Cod toward San Francisco and the New York area beyond.  It's quite idyllic and provides a moment of respite.  And with the beautiful seascape and landscape sweeping across the view, it's a truly relaxing sense of grandeur.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Drive By Falls

Although I think it's most glorious at night, Firewall Falls is pretty grand during the day as well.  Especially when one comes around the corner and sees the cascade in all its glory, accompanied by a triumphant clash of orchestral music from the Radiator Springs Racers soundtrack, the effect is quite majestic. 

A leisurely drive on Radiator Springs Racers takes guests past Firewall Falls.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sunset Over the Volcano and the Fortress

During my first trip to Tokyo Disney Sea in 2015, moments of sun could be fleeting.  And yet, despite the majority gray skies with peeks of blue, on my last day, I was gifted with a wonderfully warm sunset as I was park hopping back to Disney Sea in the afternoon.  This wasn't a sunset that created blazing colors across the sky, but it cast a lovely warm hue across the park, and shooting into the sun to feature Mysterious Island and Fortress Explorations, I was struck by what an incredible sight this all was.  I'm sure you'll agree if you look at the scene below!

Fortress Explorations and Mount Prometheus and a Tokyo sunset.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tiki Birds and Glee Clubs

Can you believe that I went the first two decades or so (plus or minus a few years) without ever visiting the Enchanted Tiki Room?  When I was young and only went to Disneyland once a year, that was never a high priority attraction, and as a kid, I never really appreciated the significance of this attraction and how groundbreaking it was.  That was a mistake that was eventually rectified, and today, it is a wonderful classic I make sure to check out once every few months just to engage in the fun and nostalgia of those tropical birdies and their melodic friends.  Here are just a few snapshots from within the show.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Scenes from the Westernland River

The Rivers of the America at Tokyo Disneyland form a similar rustic setting to their California counterpart, but with a few subtle differences, such as the orientation of Critter Country and the lay of the Tom Sawyer Island land.  But the scenes along the waterfront are still lovely, with the Mark Twain riverboat chugging along and canoe paddlers huffing and puffing their way through.  The spirit of exploration is high here in this wonderful environment.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Elliott to Orbit

The Main Street Electrical Parade is continuing its nostalgia run through most of the summer, and I figured this would be a good time to post another photo from the parade.  Out of all the subjects to see, Pete's Dragon is probably the most iconic and popular.  This lovable classic warbles his way through the parade route, while Pete translates to the crowd and greets everyone with cheer.  We associate the parade with Main Street, but of course, it does have to come all the way from the back of Fantasyland.  This means it passes by backdrops that form interesting juxtapositions, such as this Tomorrowland scene.

Pete rides his luminous dragon past the Astro Orbiter during the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gadget's Tokyo Coaster

Tokyo Disneyland has a Toontown that's pretty much a spitting image of Mickey's Toontown in California--just with the layout mirrored and elements rearranged a little bit.  But the same attractions exist in Japan as back here, including Gadget's Go Coaster.  However, there is a key difference--because maintenance and care are at such utmost standards in Tokyo, the Go Coaster only there looks amazingly vibrant.  Meanwhile, operations are impeccable, with two train operation running regularly and minimal stacking delays!  This is Japanese efficiency at its peak, since the roller coaster circuit itself is relatively short, giving only little more than a minute to unload, load, and check all passengers before sending them off.  But they pull it off at Tokyo Disneyland, and it's quite impressive.  Just like the quality and upkeep of the theming at Tokyo's Toontown and throughout the park!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Head On with Engine No. 3

Since last year, the Disneyland Railroad has been closed, as the Rivers of America and the railroad itself are re-routed to make room for the future "Star Wars" Land coming to the park in 2019.  To compensate a little bit, the Main Street and New Orleans Square stations have been open during the daytime to provide guests with up close encounters with some of the locomotives that power Walt Disney's steam train system.  The opportunities are especially unique in New Orleans Square, where guests have been able to access the far side and stroll along the original Frontierland Station for the first time in decades.  There are also unique shots available for photographers, such as this head-on shot of the Fred Gurley taken in-line with the tracks!

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Nautilus Lagoon

It is only partially visible to guests walking by, but in being so, the Nautilus submarine seems to beckon to passers by to visit and explore its mysteries.  And at Disneyland Paris, guests can do exactly that in this walk-through attraction near Space Mountain.  Themed to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this attraction gives guests a close-up look at the vessel of Captain Nemo, and a glimpse of what lies deep in the dark, dark sea.  It's a nice little bonus, and usually a short or non-existent wait too!

The Nautilus peeks just above the lagoon in Discoveryland.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Backside of Tokyo Castle

The tradition was started with Walt Disney's original Disneyland: the castle would be elegant and beautiful from the back as well as the front.  Though Sleeping Beauty Castle happened by accident (per Disney legend, Imagineers once accidentally flipped the top half of the model around, but Walt liked it so much that he declared it should stay that way), the castles that have sprung up at Magic Kingdoms around the world since have carried the trend of paying as much attention on the rear facade as the main one.  So in Tokyo Disneyland, Cinderella Castle gets similar treatment.  Granted, this is nearly identical to Walt Disney World's version, but hey, it's nice to see things be consistent!

Cinderella Castle from the Tokyo Fantasyland side.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Siren's Revenge

What's the first ever pirate-themed land in a Disney park without a pirate ship moored at a dock and open to guests to climb aboard and explore?  Fortunately, that is exactly what the Siren's Revenge presents at Shanghai Disneyland.  Docked in the Caribbean town that makes up Treasure Cove, this galleon has a cozy feel and serves as a nice overlook onto the water.  But it's nice to take photos of the ship as well!

A life size (or "life size") pirate ship is ripe for exploration at Shanghai Disneyland's Treasure Cove!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Readying for an Anniversary

Consider this a Throwback Thursday to a couple of years ago, just before the official start of Disneyland's 60th anniversary celebrations.  The castle had been pretty much decorated.  All that was left was to hang the 60th anniversary medallion.  And even without it, the castle had never looked more grand!

Entering Sleeping Beauty Castle two years ago.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Aquasphere Around the World

It might be hard to get a sense of scale from the photo below, but the Aquasphere at Tokyo Disney Sea is a grand icon befitting of countless photos throughout the day and into the night.  Replete with a soothing background music theme to fill out the ambiance, this giant globe coated in a shimmering fountain of a cascade represents the world-seafaring concept of the park itself.  With the beautiful Mira Costa Hotel as a backdrop, it's a majestic first sight in the morning and sentimental last sight when leaving at night.

The Tokyo Disney Sea Aquasphere spins in long exposure at night.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Queen of Her Domain

These photos are old, but they harken back to a time when I really enjoyed shooting the Evil Queen over Snow White's Scary Adventures.  The Queen is one of the better known "easter eggs" around the resort--a treat for sharp eyed guests who look up to see her peeking through the curtains, observing all beneath her.  Clearly, she plots.  And by night, she assumes a more prominent role--the lights of her chamber casting slight illumination out of the window.  And so, fittingly, here are glimpses back toward her.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Wharf Reflected

Photographers love reflections.  They create depth and engage symmetry and make for wonderful opportunities to showcase a sense of serenity.  Photographers love rainy evenings, because they maximize the availability of reflections with illuminated subjects that enhance the shot.  More puddles means more scenes to reflect, and this makes for wonderful scenes like this one below!

Rainy puddles and Pacific Wharf neon form a luminous sight!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Exploring Adventure

I've posted a very similar photo to this before, shortly after I returned from my Shanghai Disneyland visit last year.  But dagnabbit (do people say "dagnabbit" anymore?), this is one of the few sunny day photos I have from the park, and it's a lovely scene.  So you get this photo of Adventure Isle, with an Explorer Canoe paddling through the mid-ground.  And hopefully, you enjoy it.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Soarin' Over the Airfield

You know the photo below is a little older, because it still has Soarin' Over California in the signage!  But it's not that old, because it's post Condor Flats makeover into Grizzly Peak Airfield.  As a result, this photo is really a snippet of brief history, frozen in time forever marking the period after Condor Flats disappeared into Yesterland but before Soaring Around the World debuted across three parks.  Oh, and it's technically one of those rare rainy evenings--at least rare before this past winter.  What a lovely ambiance it is, don't you think?

A soggy evening in Grizzly Peak Airfield a year and change ago.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Figures with the Bloom

Springtime is a beautiful time at the Disneyland Resort, most notably because of those beautifully bold pink tabebuia blooms that burst fourth all around the park.  But nowhere are they more prominent than at the Hub, where they form a fantastic backdrop for all manner of subjects.  And they don't have to be human!  The statues and statuettes around the center of the park also get their moments in the lovely springtime air, and those pink blooms add a vibrant, wonderful, inviting backdrop for many a photo op.  As long as the angle has some of those pink blossoms in the background, a photo is sure to be fantastic!

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