Scenes from Disney Parks: Disneyland Halloween

I’m back with the second installment of “Scenes from Disney Parks,” with a set of new photos that I recently shot during the start of Halloween Time at Disneyland. Every photo in this set is from Disneyland and features Halloween as a motif (be it prominent or in the background, etc.).

Disneyland is always a gorgeous park, but I especially like how it looks during Halloween Time at night, when it has a slightly ominous vibe in Frontierland and Main Street has some of my favorite flowers of the year. Seasonal decorations are very well done at Disneyland, and I love how they make familiar scenes “new” with changes in color schemes or by incorporating elements of the holidays into existing displays.

Halloween Time at Disneyland still doesn’t top Christmas at Disneyland for me, but it is a beautiful time to visit. If you want to know more about what to expect when visiting this time of year, check out our Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland.

As for these photos, after each photo I’ll share some technical stuff like which lens I used for the photo. All photos in this post were captured with my Nikon D600. (Unfortunately, I had to send in my Nikon D810 DSLR for repair before this trip, so it was out of commission). You can click on each photo to view it larger in my gallery and to see EXIF data on it. Hopefully other photographers out there find this info useful.

If you’re a casual reader not interested in photo jargon, hopefully you still enjoy this new set of photos from Halloween Time at Disneyland!


Scenes from Disney Parks: Week 1

Welcome to a new, possibly recurring photo-sharing post here on DisneyTouristBlog! Back when I started this blog, photos were a key component, with “photo of the day” posts being the most common posts here. Over time, I noticed that those photo of the day posts weren’t popular compared to the meatier, text-driven posts. This was both surprising and unsurprising: my photography is probably what brought a majority of readers here when the blog started, but most people probably don’t want to read a full blog post about a single photo.

Photos remain a key component of the blog, but mostly now in that they are sprinkled in throughout posts on particular trip planning topics and in photography reviews. After receiving messages from readers asking where I “found” a particular photo and “who took it?” I thought it might be time to get back to my roots and highlight some photography here on the blog. I do take photos of more than just cupcakes and corn dogs, and I feel like there’s something wrong with the fact that I often find myself editing photos of random food and hotel rooms right after trips, while the “good” shots gather dust.

The idea with this new series of posts is to highlight some of my recent, new photos from a particular Disney destination in a single post. Doing a single post with several photos means less hassle for you seeing multiple photos in a single post instead of a single photo of the day post, and allows me to share some photos that aren’t necessarily “home runs” in themselves, but work well to round out a set of other shots. This also helps encourage me to make editing my more artistic photos a priority.

After each photo I’ll try to share a few thoughts on the photo, as well as some technical stuff like which lens I used for the photo. All photos in this post were captured with my Nikon D810 DSLR–check out my full Nikon D810 Review for more details about the camera. I also have more sample photos from the D810 here. You can click on each photo to view it larger in my gallery and to see EXIF data on it.

Hopefully casual readers enjoy seeing new sets of photos, and hopefully the photographers find my technical info useful. My goal is to do this about once per week as long as I have enough new photos to do it, and as long as you all find it interesting. Oh, and to answer those reader questions…I found the photos on my memory cards and I took them. ;)

Let’s kick this off by taking a look at some of my late-summer, early-fall photos from Walt Disney World… (more…)

The Beauty of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

One thing that struck me about Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa on our recent visit was the sheer beauty and detail of the resort. Part of this was to be expected–Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World is striking–but Aulani takes this to the next level. Overall, Aulani exceeded our expectations with its amazing collection of art (one of the largest private collections of Hawaiian art in the world), its “Disney Details,” and its incredibly engaging design.

As I was organizing and editing Aulani photos this morning, the beauty of the resort continued to strike me again and again. While Aulani certainly has its fans, I think it’s relatively unknown to a lot of Disney fans beyond the basic look of the buildings. This is understandable, as a trip to Hawaii is very expensive, and tough to justify solely for a Disney resort.

Still, I thought it would be fun to share some photos from Aulani to showcase the beauty of Disney’s new resort on Oahu in Hawaii. This article is sort of a change of pace from the norm here, as it really doesn’t offer and tips, commentary, attempts at humor (that’s probably a good thing!), or really anything useful. It’s just some photos that illustrate why we loved Aulani so much.

Let’s take a look at the beauty of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa… (more…)

50 Years of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room


Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room celebrates its 50th Anniversary at Disneyland today. In honor of this groundbreaking attraction (the first to utilize Audio-Animatronics), I though I’d share some of my favorite Tiki Room photos. This article includes photos from the Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the attraction.

Although we’ve seen multiple versions of the Tiki Room, history isn’t the strong suit of this site, so I’ll leave that to the folks who can do it so much better. You can see historical photos and read information about the Tiki Room herehere, here, here, here, and here. Some pretty cool stuff on those sites, so check them out.

Instead, here are some of my personal thoughts and experiences with the Tiki Room. I grew up with the Tiki Room at Walt Disney World, mostly before New Management took over. My parents enjoyed the classic Audio-Animatronics driven attractions, so Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, and Tiki Room were all frequent stops for us. I always enjoyed the show as a child, but honestly, it never made as much as an impression on me as Carousel of Progress or Country Bear Jamboree. To this day, it still pales in comparison to both of those shows for me, although I do enjoy it.

Under New Management came onto the scene in the mid-1990s, and it wasn’t exactly well received. Although I was far from a fan, I don’t think it was as awful as some people made it out to be. It was ambitious, but it did fall flat on its face in terms of execution. Still, I’ll take an ambitious failure over some simple “spinner” any day of the week. I was glad to see a variant of the original return in 2011 after a fire in the Under New Management version. The original, which plays in Disneyland, is my favorite version, but Walt Disney World’s version is substantially similar, and I enjoy both.

Tokyo Disneyland’s “The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha E Komo Mai!” is probably the most interesting of the bunch. It combines two things that history would inform us are a recipe for disaster: a modernized Tiki Room and a Stitch Audio-Animatronics figure in an “in the round” setting. After all, Under New Management was a dud and Stitch’s Great Escape is a dud. Yet, somehow, The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha E Komo Mai! isn’t awful. I actually enjoy it, mostly for Stitch and his ukulele-playing at the end (I could do without the “Prankster Stitch” elements). It’s not as good as the original, but it’s unique, and it’s nice to have variations in the attractions from park to park.  (more…)

Greetings from Tokyo Disney Resort!

Welcome…to Tokyo Disney Resort. (Read that like John Hammond in Jurassic Park.) We have made the pilgrimage to Japan to visit what many Disney fans regard as the pinnacle of the Disney theme park experience. Barring issues with our flights or our poor senses of direction, we are now at Tokyo Disney Resort to celebrate Tokyo Disneyland’s 30th anniversary, and to visit Tokyo DisneySea (where we will undoubtedly acquire at least 27 Duffy souvenirs).

We’re mostly disconnected from the rest of the world on this trip, but we (mostly Sarah) will be posting occasional photos to Instagram, assuming the modems we rented for our iPhones work. Further assuming that the nifty Instagram plugin works, you should be able to view our 20 most recent live photos from Tokyo Disney Resort on this post below. If for some reason photos don’t display below, or you want to see all of our photos from Japan (not just the Disney ones), follow us directly on Instagram: Sarah here or Tom here. Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the east coast of the United States, so expect daytime and nighttime photos to be roughly reversed in terms of night and day back in the US.


Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade Photos

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade is run during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom on select nights during the holiday season. Christmas is one of the best times of year to visit Walt Disney World, and this parade is a big reason why!

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade debuted in 2007, when it replaced the very similar Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade; the prior parade had been running since 1994. The current Christmas parade consists of elves, toy soldiers, reindeer, gingerbread men, and Disney characters in their holiday finery. The music in this parade is very catchy, and is available online (find it with our Disney Parks Music Guide). It is not the same as the parade that is shown on ABC on Christmas Day, which is filmed at Walt Disney World the first weekend of December each year.

Here are some photos of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade: (more…)