Posts Tagged ‘photography’

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?

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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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Goodbye Gobbler Gallery: A Thanksgiving Tribute to Disneyland’s Ex-Turkeys

by on November 22, 2012

Disneyland's Big Thunder Ranch may not draw as much demand as the similarly-named roller-coaster next door, but it's always been one of my favorite places in the resort for catching a quiet moment.

Best known as home to the Happiest Petting Zoo on Earth (featuring a herd of friendly pigmy goats) the Ranch is currently in the clutches of Santa Claus and his elf-managing Mrs.

This year's Jingle Jangle Jamboree features photo-ops, DIY craft stations, and seasonal performance by Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies on the arena stage. But this year, you may notice certain long-running VIP guests are absent.

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Disney Gallery Farewell: All Aboard… A Grand Circle Tour of the Trains of Disney

by on June 19, 2012

In a recent blog post, I related my reverence for the Disney Gallery on Main Street U.S.A. as a respite from the rush of the Disneyland Resort, and shared some snapshots from the gallery’s 2011 Art of Mary Blair exhibit.

Today, I want to share a final farewell to the gallery’s current inhabitant, which is about to depart the station. On June 30, a new collection called Crowning Achievements – Creating Castles for Magical Kingdoms will debut, displacing the existing exhibition entitled All Aboard… A Grand Circle Tour of the Trains of Disney.

If you are in Anaheim between now and June 27, when the railroading exhibit ends its run, I highly recommend you set aside half an hour to examine it. Walt was famously fond of trains, having worked as vendor on one as a boy, and even built a scale train layout (known as the Carolwood Pacific Railroad) in his backyard. The final remaining intact fragment from that track is one of the treasures of this collections, appropriately displayed in the former bank vault.

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Disney Gallery Flashback: The Art of Mary Blair

by on June 7, 2012

In a park overstuffed with sensory overstimulation, Disneyland’s Disney Gallery is my favorite aesthetic oasis. Next time you need an adult escape from the Happiest Place on Earth, simply poke your head into the former bank building at the beginning of Main Street U.S.A. There you’ll find a diminutive but delightful museum displaying an ever-changing selection of artwork from the archives of Walt Disney Imagineering. And if you have the cash, reproductions of many of the artworks on exhibit can hang in your home thanks to Disney’s Art on Demand program.

The Gallery has a substantial history at Disneyland Park, going back to 1987, when Imagineer Tony Baxter proposed that the underutilized apartments above Pirates of the Caribbean (originally designed to house Walt and his family before his untimely death) be converted into a publicly-accessible art gallery. The Disney Gallery occupied that location for almost 20 years until 2007, when it was evicted in favor of the Disney Dream Suite, a hotel room that was given to sweepstakes winners during the “Year of a Million Dreams” promotion.

Since 2009, the Gallery has been located on Main Street U.S.A., in an area adjacent to the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln lobby. Featured exhibits in the past few years have highlighted Disney’s “Little Golden Books,” the park’s 55th anniversary, and the boats in Disney’s world-wide “naval fleet.” Currently, a fascinating display of Disney railroading memorabilia is on display through June 27th, 2012.

Recently, Disneyland announced that the galley will replace its current display with Crowning Achievements: Creating Castles for Magical Kingdoms begining on June 30th. This latest collection features concept art of the various castles Disney has designed for its theme parks around the globe, including a preview of the edifice anticipated at Shanghai Disneyland.

Before the castles can arrive, I wanted to take a two-part look back at the Disney Gallery’s most recent displays. Today, I’m presenting selections from my personal collection of photos taken during The Art of Mary Blair, which was my favorite Disney Gallery display since its relocation. Mary Blair, who was named a Disney Legend over a decade after her 1978 death, was among the first female animation artists. Blair’s unique two-dimensional approach to characterization and color styling, immediately recognizable in attractions like it’s a small world, was beloved by Walt and remains an inspiration even today.

The 2011 Disney Gallery show dedicated to Mary Blair’s art provided glimpses of the exceptional conceptual work she did for Disney films like Alice in Wonderland, and attractions including Adventure Through Innerspace and the fabled Western River Expedition. Enjoy this selection of shots I took during the exhibit’s run, and please return soon to see a final tribute to the current train exhibit that is about to leave the station.

All photos by Seth Kubersky/ images copyright Disney

 

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