Not A Creature Was Stirring, Not Even…

Not only is Disneyland Paris’ Main Street the most beautiful and detailed Main Street I’ve ever seen, but it’s also the most beautiful Main Street at Christmas. This is in large part to the Christmas tree (which I’m told dates back to 1992 and is due to be replaced next year, but has aged quite well), but is also due to the whole Town Square area, which is filled with small pine trees and fake snow (or fake and real snow, depending upon when you visit). It also doesn’t hurt that Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant looks even more resplendent with its icicle lights than it normally does, and that other decorative touches are added up and down Main Street. Besides Main Street and the north corner of Frontierland, the Christmas decorations are fairly subdued, but it definitely feels like Christmas on Main Street in Disneyland Paris.

This is my favorite view of Disneyland Paris at Christmas; I could have stood up here for hours just gazing out at the park (definitely make sure to click the photo to view it large). For some more of my photos of Disneyland Paris at Christmas, check out this post on the Disney Parks Blog yesterday. (more…)

Cinderella Castle Dream Lights: Reflections of Christmas

At Christmas-time, Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom is enhanced with the “Castle Dream Lights,” which give the Castle a resplendent glow. This look is amplified in the rain, when the lights from Cinderella Castle and all around Main Street glisten off the pavement.

Sarah and I took a quick trip to Walt Disney World this weekend to enjoy our favorite time of year at Walt Disney World: Christmas. Our plan with taking the trip was to book a cheap flight to Florida to earn the miles necessary to book a free flight (which otherwise would have cost $600+ each) to Disneyland for New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, by the time our credits from the flights registered, the awards flights were sold out. Oh well, it was a great weekend, nonetheless, and even though we were only there for less than two full days, it felt like a lot longer. We crammed as much as we could into the trip, even closing out three different parks on Saturday night! (more…)

Disneyland Paris Christmas Bokeh

This photo is what photographers describe as a happy accident (assuming you like it…if not, then I suppose it’s just an accident!). I was way at the end of Main Street, swinging around my bulky Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (security would have thought I were the paparazzi if it weren’t for the fact that no other guests were braving the cold to remain in the park) trying to find a perspective that would enable me to capture a photo similar to this photo that I took last Christmas at Disneyland. I had tried to capture this photo at the end of the previous night from the other side of the Christmas tree without success, and until I saw this photo today on my photo monitor, I had considered this shot a failure. What happened here was that some of the small pine trees with blue and white lights that are beyond the main Christmas tree got between me, the Christmas tree, and Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant as I adjusted my tripod, raising it above my head as I tried to get it above these small trees. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to move and recompose, as it was clearly time to head out even before I started taking this photo…so I just snapped away, hoping I might end up with something worthwhile. When I saw my LCD screen, I thought it was trash. The next night, I ended up getting exactly the photo I wanted by trying yet another perspective. However, the more I look at this photo, the more I like it. Sometimes mistakes turn out to be our best photos of all… (more…)

Haunted Main Street Train Station

The last ghouls slowly perish from the Magic Kingdom after a long night during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in September 2012. Halloween in the Magic Kingdom is always fun, even if it would be a little more fun if there were a couple of attraction overlays for the season, like there are in Disneyland. I know Haunted Mansion Holiday will probably never come to the Magic Kingdom, but Ghost Galaxy doesn’t seem like that much “work” to do for an overlay, and Disneyland fans seems to love it. If Disney didn’t want to do that overlay on Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain, maybe they could do a spooky version of the Jungle Cruise? Add some foreboding lighting and a corny Halloween-themed script in the vein of a Halloween B-movie and you’d have a low cost attraction unique for Halloween. If it were only utilized for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, there wouldn’t be the issue of tourists not getting to experience the “original,” either.

I know this is unlikely to happen, but I can dream. Oh well…at least the Magic Kingdom does a good job with the right mood for the party. Except in Adventureland, where the DJ style music just does not work at all.

We don’t do a whole lot for Halloween, despite it being one of Sarah’s favorite holidays (supposedly–we’ve never really done anything for it, so I’m not sure I buy this). Trick or treaters don’t where we live, we don’t create elaborate costumes or go to parties, we have never been to haunted houses, and we don’t carve pumpkins. This year, we thought we’d watch a couple of Halloween movies to ‘celebrate’ the holiday. However, horror movies aren’t really our thing (although I’m a huge Hitchcock fan, his movies are not horror), so we didn’t know what to watch. (more…)

Cinderella Castle Halloween HDR

One of my biggest personal reasons for attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party each year is the unique lighting utilized in the Magic Kingdom during these parties, and how that lighting makes for interesting and different photos. For this same reason, I’ve shared that I’m also personally looking forward to the “Limited Time Magic” 2013 promotion. Of course, I realize these probably aren’t compelling reasons for most guests considering whether they should attend the parties, but the lighting and atmosphere help make the parties worth the cost for me, nonetheless.

This particular photo showcases the unique lighting used on Cinderella Castle during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and much like the lighting on Main Street about which I’ve complained extensively, this lighting is harsh, uneven, and a bear to process. But, also much like the lighting on Main Street, this lighting is pretty awesome! Since I can’t get enough Cinderella Castle photos, I always make a point of stopping and getting a few each year during the Parties. Can you imagine if they had these parties at Epcot and had unique lighting on Spaceship Earth?! The “serious” Disney fan in me would cringe that the parties would be occurring in Future World, but the photographer in me would overlook that and go crazy at the chance to photograph Spaceship Earth with a new lighting package! (more…)