Posts Tagged ‘photography’

“Frameable” Disney: Photography Tips for Your Next Disney Vacation

by on October 25, 2016

Let’s be honest: how many of us have come home from Walt Disney World and realized that you experienced 85% of your vacation through a camera lens? (You can’t see me, but I’m definitely raising my hand.) I usually get so caught up in capturing every detail while I’m on a Disney vacation that I don’t think much about exactly why I’m taking pictures in the first place.

As great as it is to look back on photos from every parade, show and character meet and greet, I’m willing to bet that you don’t want to print out a 12”x16” of Pluto prancing down Main Street, U.S.A. and frame it above your mantle (or maybe you do, and in that case carry on). But instead of going shutter happy during Wishes on your next Disney vacation, focus on snapping a few well-thought out photos that you would consider “frameable”. This can help you feel less stressed about capturing every moment and give you a few great souvenirs that cost much less than that Disney home decor you’ve been eyeing.

Lost as to where to begin in your hunt for “frameables”? Here are a few ideas to get you going!

Doors of Disney | Great for: framed posters, canvas collages

The idea that started it all! I spent an entire Disney vacation taking a picture of every door I could find and the collage turned out to be such a great momento of our vacation. If you print this one out as a collage and hang it in your house, it’s a great conversation starter and a way to subtly display a little Disney.
Photography Tip: When taking door photos, center the doors in every photograph and make sure they don’t fill the whole frame. Leave yourself some room to crop so your doors don’t turn out different sizes when collaging.

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Vacation photography that doesn’t scream ‘Disney’

by on November 11, 2015

Anyone who has been Walt Disney World has the instantly recognizable photographs of their family in front of Cinderella Castle or Spaceship Earth or the Sorcerer’s Hat (at least until last year).

There’s nothing wrong with those photos; I have a ton of them myself. But I’ve found that some of my favorite photos from my favorite vacation spot were often in unconventional locations — places where you can escape the crowds and still find a striking background. Here’s one case in point.

Photography at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

An unconventional spot for a photo.

Can you guess where this was taken? Most people looking at it probably wouldn’t think it was at a theme park. No characters or crowds to be seen, just an exotic looking setting providing the background for a magical moment.

We happened upon this location in the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, an area that’s full of interesting details. Here, you have the weathered, ancient walls of temple ruins, enhanced with various props. In subsequent visits, the bicycle pictured here had been moved to another location in the park. So this ended up being a one-of-a-kind snapshot for us.

But this is what I love about the Disney theme parks. The effort the Imagineers put into theming even out-of-the-way corners creates photography opportunities far beyond the Nikon branded picture spots.

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Is It Worth It? – Examining the Value of Memory Maker

by on February 11, 2015

Capturing the Moment

Capturing the Moment – © John Kivus, 2014

Walt Disney World offers a lot of different photography services, but are they worth it? In the past, I have purchased Memory Maker (and its predecessors) for most of my major trips (e.g, week-long vacations, my proposal trip, and my honeymoon (she said “yes” on that proposal trip)). Recently, however, I have wondered whether the ubiquity of available cameras (including cellphones), has reduced the value of Memory Maker. A recent blog post by fellow TouringPlans blogger Maddi Higgins inspired me sit down and flex my valuation muscles with regard to Memory Maker.

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15 Iconic Photos You Must Take At Disney World

by on February 21, 2014

I’ve seen several sources estimate that about 4% of all amateur photography in the United States happens at the Disney parks. If you’re planning a visit to Disney World, there’s a good chance that you’ll contribute to that number. While the possibilities for great shots at Disney are nearly endless, there are some classic pictures you’re all but obligated to take. These are the Kodak Nikon moments that will show future generations that you did Disney right. Here are my votes for the top 15:

1. Weenie in the background. Walt himself called the big landmark that draws you into the park the “weenie.” At Walt Disney World, these are: the castle in the Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth at Epcot, the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, and (for now) the Sorcer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You are 100% obligated to take a photo in front of each weenie.


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Disney Tourist Manners: How Bad Is It?

by on December 4, 2013

We all have opinions about proper theme park etiquette.

THIS is the way you should behave in public. THAT behavior is inappropriate. Can you believe he did THAT?


But while some tourist infractions are universally reviled, other perceived transgressions may simply be stylistic matters or mutable cultural differences. And as with any opinion-based topic, there’s bound to be a substantial gray area. What slightly miffs one person might absolutely horrify another. In the interest of promoting discussion, here are some commonly mentioned theme park infractions and my personal assessment of their level of severity.

I’m going to rank items on a scale of 1-5.

  • 1 = Perfectly fine. No bother at all.
  • 2 = Mildly annoying.
  • 3 = Pretty yucky.
  • 4 = Bad. This is really no way to behave.
  • 5 = Really super bad. Just stop now, you’re embarrassing yourself and those around you.

Stopping in the middle of a walkway.

What’s the issue?: You’re lost and need to consult your park map. Instead of pulling over to the side, you stop in the middle of a walkway to get your bearings.

My rating: 2 to 3, depending on the crowd level.

My rationale: When you stop with no warning in the middle of a walkway, the folks behind you have to stop short or possibly run into you, or possible have others run into them. If the park crowds are low, it’s relatively easy for the folks behind you to course correct. If park crowds are high, someone’s going to get hurt.

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“Universal ScreenPlay” App: A Review

by on July 3, 2013

20130624-160158.jpgEarlier this year, Universal Orlando Resort launched a new mobile app entitled “Universal ScreenPlay”. Unlike most of the theme park apps out there on the market (including the wonderful one our website offers), this app is not designed to help and assist your vacation planning but to enhance your vacation itself.

The app’s three many features rely heavily on augmented reality. For those of you not-so techno-savvy readers, Merriam-Webster defines ‘augmented reality’ as:

an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (as a smartphone camera)

Let me break it down for you in Disney terms. Have you ever been inside the LEGO Store in Downtown Disney? If you stand in front of video kiosks there and display any LEGO box, it will magically bring to life an actual-size animated version of that set on the screen, and when you turn the box, the set moves in tandem.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Meeting Characters at Disney World

by on June 12, 2013

While the rides at Walt Disney World get all the buzz, very often it’s meeting Buzz, or some other Disney character, that becomes the highlight of a child’s vacation. Here’s the scoop on what you need to know about meeting characters at Walt Disney World.

Characters are often much larger than children.

Characters are often much larger than children.

SPOILER ALERT – I’ll be using words like costume and mask which may dull the magic a bit for true believers. If you’re in that camp, feel free to move along now. On your way out enjoy this video of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog Song. OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way …

What is exactly is a character?

Characters are the live version of animated creatures/people found in Disney films and television programs. Characters appear in the Walt Disney World parks and resorts in parades, stage shows, and in guest greeting opportunities. While a character may be just inches tall when you see him on TV, all the in-park characters are adult human size or larger (sometimes much larger).

There are two types of characters: fur characters and face characters. Fur characters are those with an oversized, non-moving mask serving as their entire head. Typically the fur characters are animals such as Mickey and Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pooh. There are a few “human” fur characters, notably Captain Hook and the Incredibles, but these are less common.

Face characters have a fully human form – they look like real people. The essence of the character is conveyed via costuming, wigs, and makeup. Face characters include all of the princesses, Peter Pan, Jack Sparrow, Mary Poppins and more.

Other than appearance, one of the key differences between face characters and fur characters is that face characters talk, while fur characters generally do not.

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Photo Gallery: Feathered Friends of Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer Island

by on June 8, 2013

Photos by Seth Kubersky

Ask the average tourist which top attractions they are planning their Disneyland Resort visit around, and she’ll probably name-check modern marvels like Radiator Springs Racers or vintage E-tickets like Space Mountain. Tom Sawyer Island, on the other hand, isn’t the kind of headliner anyone heads towards at rope drop. Yet Frontierland’s immersive playground environment is essential enough to the Disney theme park formula that a version appears in each of the first three Magic Kingdom parks (Anaheim, Orlando, and Tokyo), with Adventureland-based close cousins constructed in Paris and Hong Kong.

Lately, two of the Islands have been the subject of intense Internet scrutiny. The “escape tunnel” leading from the fort on Walt Disney World’s TSI was recently unceremoniously sealed off, leading to speculation that this popular feature might be permanently off-limits. And rumors are circulating that Tokyo Disneyland’s entire Rivers of America region, including Tom Sawyer Island, could be replaced with a copy of DCA’s Cars Land.

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Photo Gallery: Disneyland Resort In Spring Bloom

by on April 1, 2013

All photos by Seth Kubersky

Right now at Walt Disney World, the 20th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full swing, attracting tourists from far and wide to admire the park’s painstakingly pruned foliage. But while this Orlando attraction may get the lion’s share of agricultural attention, Disney’s left coast parks don’t need a special occasion to shine in the shrubbery department.

With the spring season officially started (as of the vernal equinox on March 20), it’s appropriate for us to take a moment to stop smell the roses… along with the irises, violets, sunflowers, and other assorted horticultural spectacles seeded around the Disneyland Resort. For today’s photo gallery, I’ve selected a variety of snaps that I took last month during an Anaheim research expedition, highlighting the vibrant colors and rich textures you can currently find in flowerbeds around the Happiest Place on Earth.

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Disney Fine Art Portrait Sessions

by on February 13, 2013

As most of us do in this digital age, I have many photographs of my family. These were mostly taken by me, my friends, or the occasional PhotoPass photographer. They’re all fine, good even, but they’re not knock-your-socks-off fabulous. For many years I had wanted something more substantial, and more fabulous: my own dedicated photo shoot with a professional photographer (something I hadn’t had since my wedding 20 years ago). Unfortunately the rest of the family thought my idea was silly and shot me down every time I raised the issue. “That sounds boring.” “We have enough pictures, why do we need more?”

But when my oldest daughter started to look at colleges (sniff), I could tell that the zeitgeist was changing. So this year I asked for only one thing for Christmas, everyone’s willing participation in a professional photo shoot. They readily acquiesced.

My daughters in their formal attire.

Several of my friends on the Walt Disney Parks Moms Panel have had positive experiences with the Disney Event Photography Group. And after seeing some of their portraits, I was hooked.

The Event Photography group, also known as Disney Fine Art Photography & Video, offers two standard levels of portraiture: a “mini” session and an “enhanced” session. Before I get into the difference, you should know that either of these products are available to anyone. The portrait sessions are primarily done for families, but they can work with individuals (a teen’s senior portrait, for example) on up to medium sized groups (a sorority sister reunion for 25 people, for example).

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