In April of this year, I got the chance to go to Disneyworld for the first time. A lot of people I know went as children and I was curious what it would be like to experience the place for the first time as an adult. It was an interesting experience. In some ways, no different that going to Canada’s Wonderland but it other ways truly magical.
I’ve been pondering the best way to share this trip with folks and after working through the over 2000 pictures I took during this trip, I came up with a plan. Step 1 – I’m not going to show you all 2000 shots… you’re welcome. Step 2- try to highlight the place and experience instead. This is going to be a 5 part series where I show you each of the parks plus a final post with some of my favorite shots.
I wanted to start with the Magic Kingdom as this is the most Disney place of them all, and this shot of Walt and Mickey in front of Cinderella’s castle was a shot that I knew I had to get. You do get caught up in the moment when you come across iconic views like this.
As this was my first time visiting, there were certain rides I felt I had to do by law in the Magic Kingdom – It’s a Small World, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. The first one in the queue was It’s a Small World.
The ride is a technical marvel with what feels like thousands of these child dolls from all over the world singing the song (about a dozen times at least by the time you make your way through the place). I really appreciated the complexity of keeping a ride like this going- that’s a lot of moving parts. That being said, it’s a ride out of time. There are a lot of cultural depictions that land on the wrong side of stereotypical and it feels very awkward in 2018. My friend had overheard that this ride will be shutting down in the next year or so, and I can understand why. Also, my horror movie watching side was convinced they all come to life after dark 🙂
The Haunted Mansion was up next, and it was a lot of fun. Another dark ride (you sit is a seat and move through a place), you travel through the house and get to see a lot of fun setups, including one where holographic ghosts are dancing around a ballroom. One of the things that Disney has done very well is that the areas where you line up for rides usually have a lot of visual items to keep you occupied while you wait. The winding line for this ride starts with these family busts and moves you through graveyards with cute tombstone epitaphs and architectural features.
As I walked around (and I did a lot of that, each day at the parks resulted in at least 20,000 steps on the old pedometer), I was trying to keep an eye out for shots and angles that I found interesting. This shot was me enjoying how the lamps lined up. I also framed it so you couldn’t see the hordes of people travelling under the archway.
Experiencing Disneyworld involves three things: hot sun, so much walking and crowds. There is no way to avoid any of them. I wanted to capture this shot of one of the gazillion stroller/scooter parking lots around the place to give you that sense of busyness. One of the things I can say about Disney is that they have crowd and traffic management down to science!
As mentioned earlier, there are moments of Disney magic that caught me off guard. This was a show they do in front of the castle many times during the day. It has Mickey and Minnie going around to invite other Disney characters to a party they are having. As you might guess from this photo, they have stumbled into Frozen land and we are being treated to Let It Go once again (as I didn’t have small children through the Frozen time, I still love this song so much). This moment when Elsa produces snow in the 30C temps of Florida made me gasp a little, it was such a fantastic moment. This show also ends with them shooting daytime fireworks out of the castle:)
One of the things I knew I wanted to see was the Festival of Fantasy parade that takes place at 3PM every day. Getting a good photography location for this one resulted in my burning the back of my hand and ears as I waited in the sun- the price of photography!! The parade features a number of character floats, and the details on them were incredible. This one for The Little Mermaid (you can see Ariel’s tail at the top) was just one example of this detail.
The highlight of this parade for me though was the steampunk designed dragon from Sleeping Beauty. As everyone know, I have a bit of a dragon thing, and watching this one go by was amazing.
In yet another example of detail, as this is the Sleeping Beauty dragon, the inside of the dragon is powered by the spinning wheel. I will confess I found out about this detail on the Disney shuttle we took in from the airport. It’s such a nice touch!!
As I walked around, I came across Rapunzel’s tower. I loved how it was framed with the trees and thatched roof. I used a wider aperture to get the tower in focus but blur out the flowers on the branches a bit, lending it a bit of mystery.
The castle is definitely the key landmark in the Magic Kingdom and I was very happy when I came across this angle that let me frame it between these rocks in Tomorrowland.
The Magic Kingdom was an interesting place to visit. As the oldest of the 4 parks, it does feel quaint at times, but definitely is the most Disney of all of them and is worth a wander around if you have the time. I won’t be redoing any of the rides again if I go back, but it’s a wonderful place to just experience. As I and several hundreds of my closest friends left the park at the end of the parade, I relished the atmosphere of the place.
Stay tuned for the next blog where we move over to Hollywood Studios and I come clean about my fascination with Storm Trooper outfits!!